1878 - 1934

Frank Pretty

Frank Pretty was born at Ipswich on 28 December 1878, son of William Pretty (1 January 1842-12 February 1916), a draper & corset manufacturer, and his second wife Anne Maria Sherington (1849-28 December 1925), second daughter of Charles Sherington (1814-10 July 1868), a hairdresser & perfumer, William and Anne married at Christ's Church, Gipsy Hill, Lambeth on 30 June 1874. In 1881, Frank was a 2-year-old, living at 11 Henley Road, Ipswich with his parents, 39-year-old William, a draper, and 31-year-old Anne, together with three elder sisters including Maud, Elsie Mary and Hilda who married Robert Harold Paul. Frank was educated at The Leys, a Methodist preparatory school in Cambridge, and in 1891 the family were living at 'The Firs', Woodbridge Road, Ipswich but by 1901 had moved to 'Goldrood', Belstead Road, Ipswich. In 1911, Frank was a 30-year-old corset manufacturer, still living with his parents at Goldrood, with two sisters and a brother, all unmarried. A Life Member of the Ipswich Fine Art Club 1913-1935 from the Goldrood, Ipswich and from 1924 from Beacon Hill, Ipswich but does not seem to have exhibited. A major in the Territorial Army's Suffolk Regiment during the First World War and who continued to serve in the Suffolk Regiment after the war, also working in the family business of clothing manufacture. After a long courtship, he married at St Mary's Church, Whitegate, Cheshire on 8 April 1926, Edith May Dempster (1 August 1883-15 December 1942), younger of the two daughters of the very wealthy Robert Dempster, who had died the previous year at Cape Town, South Africa on 17 May 1925, aged 71, and his wife Elizabeth Hannah née Brunton (1858-10 February 1919), of Vale Royal Abbey, near Whitegate. After their marriage, the Pretty's purchased from the family of John Chadwick Lomax for £15,250, the 526-acre Sutton Hoo Estate near Woodbridge, Suffolk with a mansion built in 1910 to the designs of John Shewell Corder, formerly called 'Sutton House' but later renamed 'Tranmer House'. On 7 September 1930, at the age of forty-seven, Edith gave birth to a son, Robert Dempster Pretty, who died on 14 June 1988 leaving three children. In 1938, his widow Edith enlisted the help of Basil Brown (22 January 1888–12 March 1977), a local archaeologist, to dig ancient mounds on her land and in the summer of 1939, he unearthed the remains of an enormous burial, later identified as a seventh-century Saxon ship, the last resting-place of King Rędwald of East Anglia. In September 1939, at the treasure trove inquest, it was determined that the grave goods from the ship were Pretty's own property but a few days later, she made the greatest donation to the nation made in a donor's lifetime, giving the treasure to the British Museum. Sutton Hoo House and the burial site are now in the care of The National Trust. Frank Pretty died of stomach cancer at Tranmer House on 28 December 1934, on his 56th birthday, leaving an estate of just under £38,000, his wife's estate on her death on 15 December 1942 was just under £400,000. Both Frank and Edith were buried in All Saints' Churchyard, Sutton, Woodbridge.