Sir Frederick & Flatford
Sir Frederick Minter has a long association with Suffolk and in 1935 was instrumental in saving Flatford’s Valley Farm.
In August 1934 Valley Farm was owned by, Leonard Richardson who threatened to take down the ceilings unless Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) visited to see the state of the building for themselves.
In October 1934 Richardson asked SPAB for a loan of £2000 to spend on the house at 5% interest. On 19 October 1934 SPAB refused.
Several years followed with no action taken. The problem for SPAB was that its constitution prevented it from actually purchasing buildings in need of a rescue, so nothing could be done.
As a dwelling Valley Farm was valued at £500. Because of its historical importance the value was re-estimated at around £1500.
When Sir Frederick Minter heard about the plight of Valley Farm, he decided to set up a trust fund to save Valley Farm and he provided all the money needed to purchase and restore it.
SPABS Annual Report 1939 states “The property was purchased in 1935 by the Company, the entire purchase money having been provided by the generosity of Sir Frederick Minter, who is one of the directors of the Company.The company carried out extensive repairs and the property is now let to Captain Quail and is seen by the public at reasonable times”
SPAB restored Valley Farm to the condition we see it in today until in 1959 it was sold to the National Trust.
Sir Frederick Minter
- Sir Frederick Albert Minter, GCVO, JP, was born in Wandsworth in 1887 and educated at Framlingham College. He served in WW1 and became a Captain in the Royal Marines and then became a civil engineer and also worked with his father.
- His father, Frederick George Minter, who was born in Washbrook, Suffolk, was a building contractor. He had been made a Freeman of the City of London and was responsible for some of the largest buildings in the West End. He started the firm of FG Minter in 1890 in Putney.
- From 1929 to 1937 Sir Fredrick was living at Rivers Hall in Boxted Essex, which is still owned by the family. Between 1937 and 1967 he was a Governor of Framlingham College and was a very generous donor to the school.
- As well as saving Valley Farm, Sir Frederick was a generous benefactor for many other causes but he never sought acknowledgement of such deeds.
The King's Beasts
The Minters are mainly remembered for their restoration of St George’s Chapel, at Windsor Castle. The Chapel had originally been built in Tudor times with the ‘King’s Beasts’, which were large carved stone statues on the parapets, but in 1682 Sir Christopher Wren found them ‘decayed and dangerous’ and they were removed.
In the 1920s when the Chapel was being renovated it was suggested that they should be replaced. Frederick George Minter offered to pay for the statues and also carve them in his Putney building yard.
In addition he gave £4000 to the Chapel Restoration Fund. Frederick George died in 1927 but Sir Frederick continued the financing and completed the project. In the end 76 ‘beasts’ of 14 different designs were erected on the parapets.
Sir Frederick died in 1976 and the conclusion of his obituary in The Times described him as “Quiet and courtly in manner and address, there can have been few who did so much for others or said so little.”