Basil Thomas was the second son of John Gaspard Fanshawe and Barbara Frederica Beaujolois Coventry, and was born on 28th July 1857. He attended the Repton School from 1871 to 1875, then served an apprenticeship and became a qualified civil engineer. In 1878 he took a different direction when, along with his friend Evelyn Pulteney, he travelled to Ceylon to take up tea planting. In 1890 he returned to England briefly and married Mary Georgina Clerke (1862–1945), daughter of Sir William Henry Clerke, 10th Baronet, and Georgina Gosling, on 19th April. The couple returned to Ceylon where they had their first child. On returning to England they went on to have five more children and the family settled in Bratton Fleming, Devon, where Basil had a home built, Holywell Girt. He was a member of the Royal North Devon Hussars, from which he resigned in 1905 whilst honorary captain. He died in 1944, and was buried at St Peter’s Church, Bratton Fleming, Devon.
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Valence House Museum
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