Arthur Drummond was the son of Arthur Currie, a very wealthy Magistrate and Distiller, of 12 Cavendish Square, London, and of The High Elms Estate near Watford. After three daughters he was born on 10th March 1840, and baptised at All Souls, Langham Place. He went to Harrow School and then, for the year 1858/9, to Balliol, Oxford.He left before graduating but on 3rd August 1860, aged 20, he was appointed an Ensign in the 41st (The Welch) Regiment of Infantry which was then serving in the Isle of Wight. In 1864 the Regiment was posted to Ireland, in 1865 to India and in 1874 to Ceylon. In January 1884, as a Lt. Colonel, he joined and then became the Commanding Officer, The Welsh Regiment, then serving in Natal.In December 1884 he returned to the UK. He was promoted to the rank of full Colonel on 23rd September 1887. He retired shortly afterwards, on half-pay, aged 47.
During his 27 years in the Army, Col. Currie had become fluent in French and Hindustani.On 25th September 1873, aged 33 with the rank of Captain and while stationed in Pembrokeshire, he married Annie nee Maybery, a solicitor’s daughter, in St. Mary’s Chapel in the parish of St. John the Evangelist, Brecon Their only child, Arthur Henry Augustus, was born the next year, on 10th December 1874, at Milford, Pembrokeshire, when Currie’s UK address was Connaught Place, Hyde Park, London.Mrs. Annie Currie had died, possibly in Ceylon, by 1890 when Col Currie purchased Laughern(e) House (now Kinloss School) with 180 acres.
The 1891 census shows him living at Laughern House as a widower with his unmarried sister Mary and a number of servants – a Valet, Laundress, Housemaid, Kitchen Main, Footman, Groom and in the Lodge the Gardener.Col. Currie quickly became a popular and respected figure in the area. He became a J.P. He attended services at St. Peter’s twice each Sunday. He was a sensitive man noted for his poetry who nevertheless became actively engaged in a number of good causes.Thus it was not too surprising that, in spite of being a recent newcomer, Col. Currie’s name was the only one proposed as Chairman at the first meeting of Martley Parish Council on 4th December 1894. In those less frenetic days, the Parish Council met only once a year in March. Even so, Currie remained Chairman for eleven years, dying in office in 1906.At Laughern House, in the presence of his sister Mary, Col.
Currie died on 24th September 1906 from cancer of the colon. He was 66. His death came more quickly than he thought it would as he signed his new will, necessary because of the death of his son three months before, on the day before he died. He left £34,956 (£2.1m now). After generous legacies to two of his cousins who were also his executors, Leonard C. and Arthur D. Currie, and to other members of his family, he left Laughern House and the bulk of his estate to his sister Mary. However, he left £200 (£12,135) to each of eleven charities including the Church Army, five hospitals, The Waifs & Strays Society and The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. He also left “£200 to my Coachman H. Taylor”, “£100 to my Gardener W. Roberts”, “£500 (£30,335) to Miss. Mary W. Dixon, my sister’s companion”, and “my brown mare called Jessica to Mrs. Fanny Baldwin of Horsham”.Martley District Rural Council suspended a meeting so that its members could join Col. Currie’s other friends, who included a Major General and two Admirals, at his packed funeral service at St. Peter’s to which the household servants had walked behind the cortege from Laughern House.In his memorial sermon the next Sunday, the Rev. James J. Hastings said that Col. Currie “had not long to suffer and was spared the life of an invalid” but he went on to praise “his patience in the many heavy troubles he had to bear”.
This referred to the sudden and tragic death of his only child. The Coroner’s verdict was “misadventure”.His son, Arthur Henry Augustus, was educated at Radley School and Brasenose College, Oxford, where, in 1899, he had graduated with a B.A. in Law. He became a Barrister called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in May 1901.A bachelor, he died on 22 June 1906, in a London hotel, aged 31, from “cocaine self administered”. He was buried in Martley churchyard in the triangle by the porch.Perhaps Col. Currie had his son in mind in the last verse of the last poem he wrote before he died:
“O Lord, in times of bitterness Regard Thy children’s cry,And when we struggle through the press of dangers and of sore distress,Thou wilt not pass us by”
Miss. Mary Currie continued to live at Laughern House until she died there on 11th March 1918, aged 78. She was buried alongside her brother by the path leading to the Rectory.She was an amiable unassuming person often seen in the village in her pony and trap. A regular Church attender she gave £150 (£8,545) to the 1909 Restoration Appeal. She was noted for her kindness. She would invite the pupils from the village school to have tea with her at Laughern House and gave generously to those in the village less fortunate than herself.The 180 acre Laughern House Estate was sold out of the Currie family at an auction held at the Hop Market Hotel, Worcester, on 6th July 1918.Jeremy Campbell-Grant