There are three members of the Bankes family interred at Wimborne Cemetery:
HENRY John ‘RALPH’ BANKES
Born 27th August 1902 Died 9th August 1981
Section 19 L25
Henry John ‘Ralph’ Bankes – known as Ralph – was the last private owner of Kingston Lacy until his death in 1981 when he left an estate valued at £30m to the National Trust. This legacy has bought thousands of visitors to the estate where they have been able to view the beautiful house designed by sir Roger Pratt, gaze at the extensive art collection and walk around park land.
The land included covers Studland, Corfe Castle, Wimborne, Holt and Badbury Rings – a total of 16,000 acres. The Bankes family ran the estate for over 400 years after they first came to the area in the 1600’s to live in Corfe Castle which was subsequently destroyed in the Civil War and left in ruins.
HILARY MARGARET BANKES
Born 29th October 1908 Died 11th September 1966
Section 19 L26
Hilary Stickland-Constable, originally from Wassand Hall in East Yorkshire, married Ralph on 19th September 1935, following a short engagement of just 49 days. Ralph Bankes had been friends with her brother at Eton & Oxford.
They had two children John (b.1936) and Mary (b.1940), John died in 1996 and is buried at Studland’s beautiful 12th Century St Nicolas Church and Mary is believed to still be alive. Hilary died at the aged of 57 whilst out for the day with her husband in the car. The death certificate recorded the cause of death as Disseminated Sclerosis natural causes.
DAPHNE MAUD Adelaide BANKES
Born 23th June 1898 Died 28th July 1967
Section 19 L29
Daphne was the sister of Henry ‘Ralph’ Bankes and the second member of the Bankes family to be interred at Wimborne Cemetery. She never married and loved to travel, sending postcards of her adventures home to her nephew John. When home, Daphne spent much of her adult life at Studland where she lived in Manor Cottage and ran Studland Bay Café.
ELSIE EDNA O’CONNELL
Born 31st December 1915 Died 31st May 1995
Section 19 C18
Mrs Elsie Edna O’Connell, was the housekeeper to the Bankes family for many years and was believed to be a companion to Ralph after his wife Hilary, passed away in 1966. In his will, he left her £50K, 2 properties on the Kingston Lacy estate for use during her lifetime and a property together with its contents in London SW7.
Elsie is buried with her daughter who passed away in 1964 at the age of 18.
With thanks to staff at Kingston Lacy and
National Trust Collections for information and photographs.