Skip to content ↓

View entry

Back to search results

Name: TENNENT, Maurice Battiscombe

Nee: one of 8 children, bro of Charles Beresford Tennent

Birth Date: 21 Jan 1894 Blackheath

Death Date: 1982 Bexhill on Sea

First Date: 1926

Last Date: 1963

Profession: Farmer

Area: Chipsioni, Lumbwa, Kericho, 1930 Kibelewa, Chemelil

Married: In the old wooden church at Lumbwa 19 Apr1928 Betty O'Rorke b. 11.8.1908 Molo (dau of Athol Alfred Stanton)

Children: Jean (Abbott); Gillian Kathilda (1930 Londiani); Marion Betty (1933 Londiani) (Johnson); Barbara (Joubert)

Book Reference: EAWL, Red 31, Hut

War Service: Rifle Brigade

General Information:

Gazette 6 Dec 1938 Nyanza Voters List
Memoirs of Maurice B. Tennent - 1926 - Bought a farm at Lumbwa from Mrs Lee Mellor in partnership with Butler and Ney and, later, Lord Portman.  ........... Lived at 'Mombwa' farm in partnership with a Mr Woodthorpe but moved down to Chemelil on the way to Kisumu.
Memoirs of Maurice B. Tennent - 'my brother Beresford who had been in the Army since entering Woolwich in 1910, but suffered the 'Geddes Axe' and had decided to go and try his luck in BEA
'Left England in 1914 and sailed for the Far East to work for the Borneo Company in Siam, Borneo and Sarawak, the parent company of which he had joined in the City of London a few years previously. In 1918 he returned from Sarawak to fight in the Great War. He joined the Rifle Brigade, was commissioned  in the same year and sent to France. Peace was declared ...... and a year later he returned to Siam. He loved the life in the Far East  and was to speak affectionately of it and its peoples all his life. Unfortunately he contracted T.B. and malaria and had to be invalided back to England in 1924. After several months at Munderley Sanatorium in 1924, he was passed fit enough to leave. ..…..
At the beginning of 1926 his brother Beresford who had been in the Army since entering Woolwich in 1910, but who was now to suffer the "Geddes Axe" on the grounds of Govt. economy had decided to go and try his luck in Kenya, which country was being highly spoken of for people wishing to take up farming ....... Kenya sounded a most attractive life and it was in April of 1926 that he sailed from Southampton to Kenya via S. Africa. ....... to a farm at Lumbwa recently sold by Mrs Lee Mellor to Ney, Butler and his brother. .........
stayed at the Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi .... Lumbwa - "It was nice to meet Beresford  whom I had not seen since Blackheath days. He was looking well and the ox drawn cart from the farm having received my couple of boxes, Beresford and I went into the Lumbwa Dak bungalow for breakfast, after which we commenced our walk to the farm which was some 4 miles away. The short cut we took was across the stream by the Lumbwa Creamery, after which a climb of about 1000 feet followed by some 3 miles of undulating ground to the farm. The view from the top of the 1000 ft. pull up was quite fascinating and the air most invigorating after the steamy jungles I had been accustomed to out East.
We arrived at "Chepsioni" the farm at about midday ........ Ney, Butler and Beresford had apparently joined together to buy "Chepsioni" from a widow named Mrs Lee Mellor and Portman had come along later to make the fourth partner .......... Whereas I had arrived in June, Portman had arrived on 'Chepsioni' only a month later and he had got busy immediately in building a very adequate house for himself and his wife, so that I was left carrying on with the farming business whilst he was left exclusively attending to his rather palatial sized house. By this time also the four original partners (portman, Ney, Butler, Beresford Tennent) had been bought out and Portman and I were left sharing the farm on a 50/50 basis. Would that it could have remained like that, but, Mrs Portman was a person much more inclined to a London life in Portman Square than a life in primitive Kenya with the result that Portman asked me if I would buy him out. The price he was asking was very reasonable and gave him no profit and I accepted it, though it entailed raising a mortgage and I found myself in debt for the first time in my life. At that time any farmer was prepared to occasionally accept one bad year in say three, but not a series of calamitous price drops in farm produce over the future years, which was what came about. .….
I gave a dance; and to this dance the Hemphills, Barkers, and 'Angie' Trench all Molo people whom I had got to know and with whom I had occasionally played tennis up at Mau Summit came, together with a Betty Stanton of Mau Summit, with whom I had played tennis also, and whom I thought was a most lovely and attractive girl. ...... I too had fallen very much in love with the beautiful Betty Stanton, to whom I became engaged in early 1928 and to whom I was married on the 19th April two months later.' after a very bad year of Rust in his wheat in 1929 he took a job as accountant at Lumbwa Creamery in 1930

Back to search results