Charles Walter Raffety, benefactor

Stop number WHITE 14: Now go up the path to your left, just to the second tier of graves, and find the family plot of Charles Walter Raffety.
 Raffety family plot
Rafety family plot
Read the story below and when you are ready to move on click on the dot/circle for D Clarke.
CW Raffety's grave Castle Street
CW Raffety's grave Castle Street (SWOP RHW12046)
Charles Walter Raffety 1840 – 1926

I am Charles Walter Raffety and I live at Fairholme in Castle Street. I was an auctioneer and an estate agent, and at one time I also ran a house furnishings service. I am now a widower and my five sons have all grown up and are now living elsewhere. I was very lucky that my sons were already in their 30s by the time war broke out and three were already past 40 when conscription came into being in 1916, and so at that point were considered to be too old. The focus was still on single men then of course and my boys were all married with children.

My wife, Louisa, died in 1911 so she was spared any worry about our war time lives. And she and I will share the same grave – well actually it’s a vault – here in Wycombe Cemetery, along the avenue of limes.

I am well known in Wycombe and I’ve done my best to encourage local interest in the town’s past. I often give talks on my memories of the town when I was growing up and I became a Justice of the Peace, helping to do my bit for the town and its community. I have always liked to help where I can and have supported the upkeep of Keep Hill, renewed the inscription on the Guild Hall, and placed seats on Priory Hill and Amersham Hill for the wounded soldiers who had nowhere to rest. In 1924 I will be given the great accolade of being made an Honorary Freeman of the Borough of Chepping Wycombe.

On the King’s coronation (George V) in 1911 my family and I paid for five stained glass windows in the Red Room (now called the Oak Room) to be installed in the Town Hall and after this dreadful war is over I will be the benefactor of a memorial window in the Guild Hall, not for the soldiers who have died – as there are already memorials planned for those poor souls, but for the men who have fought and survived, some of whom will be badly scarred, both physically and mentally, from their ordeal. It will be designed and made by the company of Arthur Dix who also made the Town Hall windows. The Dix family are local to Wycombe of course, living just along the road from me.

The idea for the window came to me as I was talking to a soldier on Tom Burt’s Hill. He was home from the war and we got into conversation. He felt that the actions of those who had fought but survived should be commemorated in the same way as we commemorate the fallen. I had to agree with him.

My good friends Thomas Harsant Butler and James George Peace also have stories about life in 1916. It is a time that none of us will ever forget.
The Guild Hall window Charles Walter Raffety
The Guild Hall window Charles Walter Raffety

Arthur Dix 1860-1917, stained glass artist

I am Arthur Dix and I was born in 1860, the son of Joseph and Susan Dix. My father was an ironmonger and we lived next door to The Priory in Castle Street. Our ironmonger's shop was at 16 and 17 Church Street.

I trained under AA Orr, with whom I later collaborated, and became a decorative artist.  By 1901 I was living with my widowed father and had become known as an artist in stained glass. 

In 1902 I had a studio in Berners Street, London and my firm continued to make stained glass windows after my death in 1917. (Between 1921 and 1939 the Dix stained glass company were at 101 Gower Street and by 1939 Dix’s business was in the hands of H G Wright).

Although I worked in London I retained ties in this area and for a while my wife Maria (nee Croil) resided in Flackwell Heath before she died - she is buried in Little Marlow Cemetery where I will join her in 1917.

I was commissioned by Charles Walter Raffety to produce the five stained glass windows in the Oak Room of the Town Hall to commemorate the coronation of George V but it is the firm’s 1921 design for the beautiful commemorative window in the Guild Hall which is probably the best well known.

CW Raffety researched by Sally Scagell and performed by John Dunsterville, FLAHG Arthur Dix researched by Sally Scagell and performed by Michael Bannister, Friends of Chesham Cemetery
CW Raffety researched by Sally Scagell and performed by John Dunsterville, FLAHG Arthur Dix researched by Sally Scagell and performed by Michael Bannister, Friends of Chesham Cemetery

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