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Name: ELKINGTON, James Llewellyn Meredith OBE (Major)

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Nee: cousin of Ernest Howard Armstrong Elkington, son of James B. Elkington of Bordesley Hall, Alvechurch, Worc. cousin of Ernest Howard Armstrong Elkington

Birth Date: 1875 Brighton [1901 census indicates 1873] North says 1876

Death Date: 22.2.1925 Kinangop

First Date: 1905

Last Date: 1925

Profession: The owner of Masara Farm on the outskirts of Nairobi and Master of Masara Hounds, he was a keen horse breeder and importer of thoroughbred dogs, being especially interested in Fox Terriers and Great Danes.

Area: Elmenteita, Hut has J.L.M. Elkington Masara Kiambu

Married: In Hereford 1895 Rachel Kavanagh b. 13.11.1867 Grantham, d. 1.5.1964 Kabete

Children: Margaret Meredith Kavanagh (10.10/1895 Kensington-1976) conceived out of wedlock

Book Reference: KAD, Hut, Red 22, Land, Gazette, Harmony, Eton, Medals, North, Gillett, HBEA, Cuckoo, Best, Random, Nellie, Midday Sun, Brewery, Markham, Empire, Cranworth, White Man, Playne, Drumkey, Advertiser, Web, Leader14, Chandler, Red Book 1912, LG, Red 19

War Service: WW1 - Lieut. Transport at Kajiado then Censorship Office, Nairobi

School: Eton

General Information:

Land 1909 - J.L.M. Elkington - Buildings, 5 acres - Eldama Ravine - 29/12/08 - Leasehold for 25 years from 1/7/09 - Registered 9/12/09
Land 1909 - J.L.M. Elkington and H.A. Penton - Grazing and agricultural, 608 acres - Fort Hall District - 10/3/08 - Leasehold for 99 years from 1/7/09 - Registered 11/12/09
Land - 1910 - James L.M. Elkington - Grazing and agricultural, 4806 acres - Nyeri District - 24/2/07 - Leasehold under Occupation Licence for 2 to 99 years from 1/7/10 - Registered 5/10/10
Land - 1911 - J.L.M. Elkington and H.A. Penton - Grazing and agricultural, 8968 acres - Chania, Kitimuru and Thika Rivers - 19/1/11 - Leasehold for 99 years from 1/7/09 - Registered 15/9/11
Gazette - 7/4/15 - Liable for Jury service, Dagoretti - J.L.M. Elkington
Gazette - 4/11/1914 - Appt. - East Africa Veterinary Corps - To be Lieutenant - J.L.M. Elkington
Gazette - 4/11/1914 - Appt. - Permitted to resign his appointment - EAVC - Lieutenant J.L.M. Elkington to date 19th November 1914
Member of Lodge Harmony - Initiated 4/11/07, age 34, Settler, Masaba
Medals - East Africa Veterinary Corps - James L.M. Elkington, Lieutenant
North - arr. Mombasa with wife, daughter Margaret and Charles Craven 27/7/1905; Settlers Game Licence, Mombasa 5/9/1905; Firearms registered Nairobi Oct-Dec 1905
HBEA 1912 - Joint Master of Masara Hunt and Huntsman. Master 1908-12.
Cuckoo - Jim Elkington opened some training stables at Limuru, and proved most successful until his untimely death in 1908 [Incorrect]
Best - story of Duke of Connaughts visit and his comment on a naked Masai coming up to Jim after lunch on his lawn 'The Elkington livery, I presume?'
Nellie - sold 500 acres of land at Thika to Jos Grant who had been at Eton with him.
Midday Sun - 'Almost every 'early days' account of Kenya brings in Jim Elkington, a resplendent figure who rode handsome horses and imported a pack of English fox-hounds with which to pursue jackals and small antelopes on his farm, Masara, about 6 miles from the centre of Nairobi. Sometimes the quarry led hounds and hunters into the nearby Kikuyu reserve, and Nellie, freshly out from England where she had pursued the fox over green pastures, was startled to hear a view-holloa followed by the cry: 'There they are, running like hell among the bananas!' That was in 1913. The bungalow which the Elkingtons had lived in, I think, 1905 was still there when I was at Loresho. So was Mrs Jim, as she was always known, a stoutish, respectable old lady, and her only child, Margaret. The resplendent Jim, who had a roving eye, had died of gunshot wounds believed to have been self-inflicted because a married lady had refused to go off with him, but there was a rumour, probably no more, that the gunshot wounds had been inflicted by the lady. Masara was such a perfect example of the Early Colonial style of settler dwelling that I wished it could have been preserved as a folk museum, complete with bleached and horned animal skulls lining the walls, a veranda that ran all round the ramshackle wooden bungalow, littered with riding crops and bits of saddlery; ...…
Coffee bushes reached almost to the veranda steps. Most of the furniture had been bought at auction sales about 30 years before and looked it. The Elkingtons had brought up their daughter on strict Victorian lines, sending her to bed at six o'clock until she was 17 or 18 years old. Margaret never went to school, and grew up to be rather simple-minded, but knowledgeable about horses and their breeding. Her youthful playmate and companion had been a large black-maned lion named Paddy, an amiable beast raised from a cub who roamed the place at will, uncaged. Then one day instinct erupted and he seized a visitor, a young girl named Beryl Clutterbuck, by the leg. A posse of syces headed by Jim brandishing a whip came to the rescue and Beryl was freed, and recovered, but Paddy was caged for the rest of his life. ........ Regardless of the whims of fashion, both Mrs Jim and Margaret continued to dress in ankle-length skirts made of khaki drill, blouses buttoned at the neck, and black button boots, though Margaret wore a divided skirt for riding.
After about 30 years at Masara, they decided to replace their tin hip-bath, filled with debbis carried in from the kitchen, by a modern appliance filled from taps. With considerable reluctance, Margaret agreed to take the first plunge. Like the dachshunds, she had by then grown somewhat portly, and the bath must have been a small one: she found herself stuck. Her mother was unable to dislodge her. A frantic search ensued for some garment with which Margaret could be covered before help could be called in. Mrs Jim found an old sou'wester oilskin in which she swathed her daughter; houseboys were summoned and, amid rousing cries of 'pull! pull! pull! harder!' Margaret was extricated. She never used that bath again. ........... (more re trip to England) ..…..
Mrs Jim died not long after this excursion and Margaret never left EA again. The dachshunds grew fatter and more sluggish, the cats sleeker, the house dirtier, curtains and covers more frayed, but Margaret's horses thrived and won a satisfactory number of races. She died in 1976, aged 81.      
Brewery - One of the first regular customers of the Kenya Brewery in 1924.
Markham - the Elkingtons had a lion called 'Paddy' given to Jim by Lord Kingston. When it attacked Beryl it was chased off by Harry Weston, Clutterbuck's jockey.
Empire - The best known pack had their kennels a few miles from Nairobi and were hunted for some years by Capt. Riddell and Major Elkington with a draft of hounds from Lord Leconsfield's hunt. The club was called the Masara Hunt, and had their hunt uniforms and everything just as at home.
Cranworth - 1906 - that genial Old Etonian who had a charming homestead some 3 miles outside Nairobi. He was the first Master of Hounds in the Colony and one of the first two trainers of horses. He had, I recall, a tame lion of very formidable dimensions with which he had concocted a successful joke ....... (to frighten newcomers)!  
White Man - story of Duke of Connaught's visit and "the Elkington livery I presume!"
Playne - '...... Most prominent amongst owners and trainers are Mr C.B. Clutterbuck and Mr James Elkington. The former rides a good race, and, further, knows how to get his ponies fit to race. Besides his own animals, he generally has a certain number of others in his stable to train for different owners .......... Mr Elkington, unfortunately, is not sufficiently light to ride races, but no man knows better than he how to get his animals fit, and in his well kept stables at Masara, near Nairobi, can be generally seen some 30 horses and ponies of every kind, belonging to many different owners ....... A very good class Arab, by name Governor, the winner of scores of races in India is standing at stud at Mr Elkington's place. Several mares are now in foal to him. He is the property of Captain Riddell and the only pity is that this high-class pony is now well advanced in years. ..... ..... Seven and a half couple of fox-hounds, chiefly from Lord Leconfield's pack in Sussex, were presented to Mr J.L.M. Elkington, the owner of Masara farm by Mr G.H. Goldfinch, of Nakuru.
Hunting for jackal and duiker takes place on Sundays and Wednesdays, and on occasional bye-days. Captain G.H. Riddell and Mr Elkington are joint masters of the Hunt. There are no subscriptions as the Hunt is entirely private, but every one is made welcome, notices of meets being posted weekly. More couples of hounds, presented to Mr Elkington are on their way from England at the time of writing. The kennels (presented by Captain Riddell) are of stone, well ventilated and dry. ....... [description of horses with Mr Elkington and names of owners] ....... The stables at Masara are built of bamboos, the roofs being thatched with the strippings off stems of the banana tree; they are beautifully cool and waterproof. 30 syces and about 30 other boys are at present employed; the former have their own shamba land and live on the property. The farm consists of 20 acres and 130 acres are rented on the ridge. 50 acres are cultivated with coffee, oats, potatoes, and maize. This includes some 5000 coffee-trees 2 years old, 17 acres of oats for Mr Elkington's own use, and a large vegetable garden. The dwelling-house is built of wood and iron, and there is a nice garden attached, with ornamental and wattle trees for shelter and shade. Several imported pigs died from poison roots, but poultry has been tried with success.
Mr Elkington is in partnership with Mr Penton in 10,000 acres of land between the Chania and Thika Rivers, on the Fort Hall Road, 29 miles from Nairobi. This property is to be stocked with sheep and cattle, and later on it is intended to start horse-breeding
Drumkey 1909 - Steward, East Africa Turf Club - J.L. Elkington?
Advertiser - 8/10/1909 - Mr J. Elkington has taken over command of the mounted troop of the Legion of Frontiersmen.
Pioneers - Kitimuru 1912 to 1920 - Nellie Grant - We bought 500 acres at Thika from Jim Elkington. It was part of a 5000 acre block, stretching from the edge of the Kikuyu land unit to the Blue Posts Hotel and lying between the Thika and Chania Rivers, that had been given to him by a Mr [Reggie] Wyndham as a token of gratitude for the treatment of a poisoned foot by Mrs Elkington.
Web - At his father's death in 1907 James also adopted his mother's maiden name "Meredith" in order to difference them from the rest of the Elkingtons. James attended Eton College from September 1888 to 1892. He was a member of the Shooting VIII in 1891 and in 1892 he rowed in the Procession of Boats, suggesting some ability as an oarsman. On leaving Eton took no interest in the family business but apparently took a part time interest in military matters being listed as an officer in the Militia Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment for a couple of years. In 1895 when James was 20, he married Rachel Kavanagh, in Hereford. They had one child, a daughter called Margaret born the same year. James, his wife Rachael [sic] and daughter Margaret were lured to Kenya by the fantastic tales of the spectacular scenery and the abundant panorama of the various animals in their natural habitat.
They arrived in Kenya on 27 July 1905. The land for the British subjects and other Europeans was very cheap, with good loans and cheap labour. But they were not told of the perilous natural disasters of severe droughts, floods, army worms and locusts which could devour crops within days and serious human and animal diseases which could suddenly kill animals and people in great numbers, especially horses were extremely vulnerable, that people were forced to revert using ox-carts as main means of transport instead of the horses and coach the Elkingtons thought would be in great demand. It was at this stage that Ernest Howard Armstrong Elkington, James' favourite cousin decided to join them and arrived in Kenya on 1 January 1906.
At the outbreak of WW1 James, probably because of his previous military experience was commissioned in the BEA Transport Corps. A little old for active service he appears to have spent most of the war in the Censor's Office in Nairobi. ……… James' untimely and tragic death on 22 February 1925. It is said that the property was sold to off-set the death duties and debts owed. Rachel left the country immediately, leaving her vulnerable daughter Margaret at age 30 to live in the guest house of the property they had once owned. Margaret continued to train horses for the new owners. It is said that James and Rachel raised their daughter in the strict Victorian Code of child upbringing. She was never sent to school and wore same style of clothing from 1905 throughout her life.
James was buried near his cousin Ernest Howard Armstrong Elkington at an unmarked grave {Not true I think buried at Naivasha} Margaret was forced to work as a housekeeper in a school before all trace of her disappeared. Some say she died in 1976, others say she went to Mombasa but the fact remains Margaret Elkington granddaughter of James Balleny was in actual fact an heiress as she was the sole member of James Balleny [sic] alive in the 70's. Her Uncle George Meredith died in 1913 and step-mother in 1921. [?]
About 1921 they left Masara and rented a house from Lord Delamere, six miles from Elmenteita station named Busilughun. 1915 there was a bad outbreak of Anthrax, out of Jim's 22 horses, 9 died. 1919, after the war Racing started again and in spite of his continued success Jim decided to give up racing altogether in January 1921, as too many of his friends had been killed or left the country.
Obituary - EA Standard 28/2/1925 - The sad news reached Nairobi on Tuesday morning of the death of Major J.L.M. ("Jim") Elkington, OBE which occurred on Sunday. Maj. Elkington was one of the best known pioneers and sportsmen in the Colony. Coming out some 20 years ago, he was one of the first to develop a coffee estate. This he did first at Thika in partnership with Mr Harry Penton, who also cooperated with him in the establishment of the Blue Post Hotel. In 1910 Major Elkington moved to Masara, 5 miles from Nairobi, where he also grew coffee and where he resided for more than 10 years. In 1921 he left Masara for Elmenteita. It was in the world of sport however, that Major Elkington came most prominently before the public notice. He was one of the fathers of horse-racing in this country and it is largely due to the impetus that his keenness gave to this form of sport that racing has taken a firm hold of Kenya. His racing stables at Masara were among the first large stables established in this Colony. He imported good blood; he was the owner and importer of Shafts mare and he engaged the services of James Weston as trainer and jockey. His stables were enlarged from time to time. He threw himself into the sport but subsequent developments led him to withdraw from active participation in racing after the war when thoroughbreds came to this country in increasing numbers. He will always be remembered as owner of the Masara Hounds which he kept at the kennels near his Masara home. Hundreds of people have enjoyed the Sunday morning hunts with his pack in the country around Nairobi.
During the war Major Elkington was for a time in charge of the Remount Camp in Kajiado; subsequently he became a member of the Censorship staff in Nairobi. He leaves a widow and daughter to whom we tender our sincere sympathy in their bereavement. Major Elkington is to be buried at Naivasha at 9 o'clock this morning.
Judy Elkington - James could not return to Eton after taking Vesta Tilley (music hall star) to the Derby in a hansom cab!
North - Had to marry Rachel as she was pregnant.
Barnes - St Mary's Church Kabete Cemetery - Rachel Elkington, 20 Nov 1867 - 1 May 1964, aged 96
Census 1901 shows James L.M. Elkington, age 28, living on own means, Retd. Lieut. 4th Battn Worcs. Regt. And Rachel Elkington, age 31, living on own means - at 'Oaklands', Brailsford, South Derbyshire.
Red Book 1912 - J. Elkington - Kyambu
London Gazette - 18 Nov 1918 - OBE for distinguished service in connection with military operations in East Africa - Captain James Llewellyn Meredith Elkington - EA Force
Gazette 1/5/1912 - General Retail Liquor Licence issued to J. Elkington and H. Penton, Chania Bridge, Blue Posts Hotel for 1 year from 9/1/1912
Red Book 1919 - East Africa Turf Club - Nairobi - Steward
Red Book 1919 - Masara Hunt Club - Nairobi - Joint Masters and Huntsmen - J. Elkington, OBE and E.D.A. Gooch
Gazette - 13/9/1927 - Probate and Administration - James Llewellyn Meredith Elkington who died at Kinangop, Naivasha on 22 February 1925. Letters of Administration granted to Hugh Cholmondeley, Baron Delamere, and executor named in the said will
See also Kathleen Tatham-Warter entry

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