Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Prehen House and the German Connection

I purchased a copy of the booklet concerning Prehen House which has been published recently. It is by no means a weighty intellectual tome, but it does what it is meant to do very well. It is something which a visitor to the house will buy and I think retain. The photographs are clearly not just snaps and they have not been diminished by the use of inferior paper. Obviously the potted history of the house and its owners includes reference to "Half Hanged McNaghten," but the story of the confiscation of the house and estate after the outbreak of the 1914-18 war is also well told. When Lieut-Col. George Knox died in 1910 he left his estate to his German born grandson, Baron George Carl Otto Louis Von Scheffler-Knox , (the Kaiser had permitted the addition of Knox to his name).

I never met the Baron, although I do remember his funeral in 1966 when his ashes were interred in the Knox family vault in Londonderry's City Cemetery. I did however meet his widow, Baroness Kathryn Von Scheffler-Knox and his son Johann Ludwig Prehen Von Scheffler-Knox. Both of them were very typically Germanic and both of them walked with sticks, she because of age related infirmity, he because of leg wounds sustained on the Russian front. It must have been in the early 1980's that the Baroness passed away. Johann died in 2011, the last of his line.

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