Henry Cranstoun Adams [Obituary]

Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol.  44, (1912). p. 35.


Maxwell Adams (Ed.)

Prepared by Michael Steer

The obituary was delivered at the Association’s July 1912 Exeter meeting. Colonel H. C. Adams was the grandson of Sir William Elford. The Dictionary of National Biography (1885-1900), vol. 17 offers a comprehensive entry for baronet Sir William Elford (1749-1837), banker, politician, and amateur artist, of Bickham, Buckland Monachorum. Renowned artist James Northcote, R.A. was an intimate friend of the Elford family, and painted numerous portraits of its members, most of which, with others, were at the time of the Dictionary entry, in the possession of  Colonel H. C. Adams, at Lion House, Exmouth. More complete information about the ancient Adams family of Bowden House, Totnes and Old House Sydenham is available on Nicholas Kingsley’s Landed Families of Britain and Ireland’s website. The obituary may be located in a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal that can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers. 

Colonel H. C. Adams, who was born at Ashprington House, Totnes, on 26 November, 1826, was the youngest son of General Sir George Pownall Adams, K.C.H., of Bowden, near Totnes, by Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Elford, Bart., some-time M.P. for Plymouth, and was educated at Blundell's School and King's College, London. He became a Solicitor in 1849, in which, year he came to Exmouth and married Matilda Winsloe, daughter of Commander Palton, R.N., and resided there until his death on 29 September, 1911.
He became a Cornet in the West Somerset Yeomanry Cavalry in 1845, and in 1874 left that regiment with the rank of Captain, having been selected to command the 1st Devonshire Artillery Volunteers, in which he had served since 1859, and remained in command until 1896, shortly afterwards becoming Honorary Colonel of the corps, and holding that appointment until the Territorial Army came into existence. For his services he received the Volunteer Decoration.
He was Clerk to the Exmouth Local Board of Health and the Urban District Council for about sixty years, and Clerk to the Woodbury Division of Justices for about fifty years.
He joined the Devonshire Association in 1881. He was a strong Conservative, a Churchman, and a Freemason. His widow, two sons, and a daughter survive him.