PRETTY, Frank

1878 - 1934

Frank Pretty

Born at Ipswich on 28 December 1878, son of William Pretty (1842-1916), a draper & corset manufacturer, and his second wife Annie Maria née Sherington (1850-1925), who married at Lambeth in 1874. In 1881, a 2 year old living at 1 Henley Road, Ipswich with his parents, 39 year old William, a draper, and 31 year old Anna, together with three elder sisters including Maud Pretty [q.v.] and Elsie Pretty [q.v.]. 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, 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 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 the Suffolk Regiment after the war, also working in the family business of clothing manufacture. After a long courtship, he married on 8 April 1926, Edith (1883-1942), younger of the two daughters of the very wealthy Robert and Elizabeth Dempster of Vale Royal Abbey, near Whitegate, Cheshire. After their marriage they purchased, from the family of John Chadwick Lomax [q.v.], 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 [q.v.] formerly called 'Sutton House' but renamed by the Pretty's '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, Edith enlisted the help of Basil Brown, an 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 7th-century Saxon ship, probably 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 died at Sutton Hoo House on 28 December 1934, on his 56th birthday.