You could be forgiven for not knowing who Valezina Frohawk was. She did not leave any mark on the Lydiard Estate, the property having passed out of family ownership by the time she married Vernon, 6th Viscount Bolingbroke in 1950. However, you can view her photograph which today stands on a table in the Drawing Room at Lydiard House.
Barbara Valezina Frohawk was born on August 30, 1913 the daughter of eminent lepidopterist Frederick William Frohawk and his second wife Mabel Jane. She was baptised on November 7 at the parish church in Beddington, Surrey when her father was described as a zoological artist and the family home as Stanley House, Park Road. After attending Croydon High School Valezina spent several years studying under the legendary Portuguese ‘cellist, Guilhermina Suggia and went on to become a professional solo ‘cellist of note herself.
The couple were married in a very low key wedding at Christ Church, Sutton, Surrey on Thursday, June 15, 1950. Vernon was 54 years old and Valezina 37. Miss Frohawk had previously told The Sutton and Cheam Advertiser “Both my fiancé and I are very retiring people, and we wanted a quiet wedding. There is no suggestion of any secrecy about it.”
On paper Valezina and Vernon appeared to be the perfect match, but sadly it didn’t work out. After just two years of marriage Valezina was granted ‘a decree nisi of nullity’ because of the ‘wilful refusal by Viscount Bolingbroke and St. John to consummate the marriage.’ Poor Vernon, who had already had his father’s scandalous life aired in public now saw this last humiliating episode published in the press.
Valezina announced her engagement to Commander Maurice C. Pascoe in The Times on May 3, 1955, but a wedding does not appear to have taken place.
Valezina let it be known that her marriage to Vernon had been the unhappiest two years of her life. However, this didn’t stop her from continuing to use the title of Viscountess Bolingbroke until she died in 2000, aged 86 years old.