Horatia Durant

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Lily Horatia Ethel Georgiana Somerset DURANT

  • Born 6 June 1888 in Raglan, Monmouthshire, Wales
  • Married, Lt.-Col. Hugh Norcott Durant, 3 February, 1913
  • Died 19 Mar 1982 in Pontypool, Gwent, Wales

Horatia was born at Hill House, Raglan, 6 June 1888 to Raglan T.H. and Elizabeth Somerset. Her father, Raglan T.H. Somerset, was Warden of Raglan Castle and Churchwarden of St Cadoc's Church. She went to school near Bath College to be near her brother, Raglan HEH. She wanted to go to university but couldn't because her brother was studying at Queen's College, Cambridge and the family couldn't afford to send her to university.

Friends of the family, the Pelhams of Pelham Hall in Penalt, suggested that Horatia should go to London to take a secretary course. Her parents weren't keen on the idea as they would prefer that she stayed in Raglan to look after them. So in 1913 - 1914 she found herself working in London. There she met and fell in love with Captain Hugh Durant (b.1883). Durant was made a Lt.-Colonel in the service of the Royal Irish Rifles in World War 1 and was badly wounded by shrapnel while in battle. He was brought back to a hospital in England to recover and recalled waking up to see the King, George V, at his bedside.

Her parents were against the marriage but being a woman of strong character she and Col. Durant were married in Marlyborne. Soon after they had a daughter, Celeste Horatia Agnes Blanch Durant, (b.14 Aug 1914, d.22 Jun, 1933. Horatia and Lt. Col. Durant went to America on a recruiting trip during the war travelling through the Panama Canal.

After the War, the family settled down in Sussex but, sadly, Celeste died of cancer 22 June, 1933 at the age of 19 years. In 1939, Horatio and Lt.-Col Durant built a house near Grosmont at Twyn-y-corras, Kentchurch, Herefordshire (but later returned to Rising Sun in Sussex). Lt.-Col. Durant died in London on 24 March 1948, aged 56.

After his death, Horatia returned to Raglan. She stayed with Mrs Betty Hamer Lewis at The Broom before settling into Monmouth Road (where Vicar Plant once lived).

In 1955, Horatia and D.L. Lewis started the Raglan History Society (D.L. Lewis was planting history groups around the county). She also wrote many articles for the Beacon, some of which were reprinted in her unpublished book, Portraits of the Past and Present.

Between 1940 and 1973, Horatia published 7 books. She published her first book, Badminton, Gloucestershire: Guide, in 1940. Many of Horatia Durant's books are now out of print, however, two books are still available: The Raglan Castle book, first published in 1966, has been revised by her niece, Mrs Anna Tribe, and is still on sale at Raglan Castle. Simenly, St Cadoc's Church: A short history (also updated by Mrs Anna Tribe) is available in the Church.


  • Portraits of the Past and Present, undated
  • Badminton, Gloucestershire: Guide, (1940), Badminton, Gloucestershire books.google.co.uk/books?id=aMgXMwEACAAJ
  • The Somerset Sequence (1951). Traces the history of the Somerset family, headed by the 10th Duke of Beaufort, over 500 years.
  • The Somerset sequence books.google.co.uk/books?id=7OQ8AQAAIAAJ and The Somerset Sequence, Etc. [With Plates, Including Portraits.]. books.google.co.uk/books?id=S6zpMgEACAAJ
  • Lord Nelson's Visits to Monmouth (first published in 1955 as "Memorials of Monmouth No. 4) books.google.co.uk/books?id=llLyMgEACAAJ
  • Lords Nelsons Visits to Monmouth (books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=0951070215)
  • Sorrowful Captives (1960). the Tudor Earls of Devon. "Sorrowful Captives": The Tudor Earls of Devon books.google.co.uk/books?id=2o7SAAAAMAAJ
  • Raglan Castle (1966), books.google.co.uk/books?id=wYkrNAAACAAJ and Raglan Castle books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=0903434415
  • Henry, First Duke of Beaufort and His Duchess, Mary (1973). Henry, 1st Duke of Beaufort and his Duchess, Mary books.google.co.uk/books?id=xB8JAQAAIAAJ
  • St Cadoc's Church: A short history of the 15th Century Church and of Raglan Castle with Which it is Closely Associated.


Interview with Anna Tribe, 2013

The Peerage , (source: http://thepeerage.com/p11975.htm#i119749)

Horatia Durant Essays annual event to encourage the interest of children in local history

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