The Weald of Kent, Surrey and Sussex
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle, son of Charles Altamont Doyle and Mary Josephine Doyle [Foley]
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© National Portrait Gallery

Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Professor Challenger and Brigadier Gerard, lived at Windlesham in Crowborough with his second wife Jean Leckie and their family from 1907 until his death in July 1930.


In 1926 Conan Doyle was interviewed in The Soul Surgery - Sir Conan Doyle talks of many things
His relationship with Sussex is reviewed in Sussex and the Stories of Conan Doyle by Gilbert Pass in 1936
His life in Crowborough is detailed in Crowborough - The Growth of a Wealden Town by Malcolm Payne in 1985

For much more see the best Sherlock Holmes website in the world as well as The Conan Doyle Society; The Chronicles of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and The Conan Doyle (Crowborough) Establishment website



Date
Type
Information
Source
 
22nd May 1859
Born
At 11 Picardy Place in the City of Edinburgh, Scotland
Brian Pugh
 
1868 to 1870
Educated at
Hodder (Jesuit preparatory school), Ribble Valley, Lancashire
Brian Pugh
 
1870 to 1875
Educated at
Stonyhurst (Catholic public school run by Jesuits), Ribble Valley, Lancashire
Brian Pugh
 
1875 to 1876
Educated at
Feldkirch (Jesuit school), Austria
Brian Pugh
 
1876 to 1881
Educated at
Edinburgh University Medical School
Brian Pugh
 
Aug 1881
Graduated as
Bachelor of Medicine (MB) and Master of Surgery (CM)
Brian Pugh
 
1882 to 1890
Home
1, Bush Villas, Elm Grove, Southsea, Portsmouth
Brian Pugh
 
Apr 1885
Biography
Louise Hawkins - Conan Doyle's first wife
 
"Of Louise, twenty-seven years old - 'Touie', her nickname was - he saw a great deal. Though not beautiful, she was of a type which appealed to him: the round face, the wide mouth, the brown hair, the widespread blue eyes, shading to sea-green, which were her finest feature. Her gentleness, her complete unselfishness, roused all his protective instincts. Louise, or Touie, was what they then called a home-girl, loving needlework and an armchair by the fire. He met her in sorrow; and ended by falling deeply in love. Towards the end of April they were engaged …
And on August 6th, 1885, with the strong approval of the Ma'am, Louise Hawkins and Arthur Conan Doyle were married."
from John Dickson Carr's The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
 
6th Aug 1885
Married
Louise (Touie) Hawkins in the County of Lancashire
Brian Pugh
 
Nov 1887
Published
The 1st Sherlock Holmes Novel - A Study in Scarlet
Brian Pugh
 
"Sherrinford Holmes, as the name of the detective, was not quite right. It was near, but not close enough. He studied it, toyed with it, and then - entirely at random - he hit on the Irish name of Sherlock. …
At the top of the manuscript he put, A Study in Scarlet. Writing between breakfast and supper, writing between peal's of the doctor's bell and calls from Touie upstairs, he had no idea that he was creating the most famous character in the English language."
from John Dickson Carr's The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
 
28th Jan 1889
Birth of a daughter
Mary Louise Conan at Southsea in the County of Hampshire
Brian Pugh
 
Feb 1890
Published
Sherlock Holmes Novel - The Sign of Four
Brian Pugh
 
1891
Home
23, Montague Place, London
Brian Pugh
 
1891 to 1894
Home
12, Tennison Road, South Norwood, Croydon
Brian Pugh
 
1892
Published
Play - A Question of Diplomacy
Brian Pugh
 
14th Oct 1892
Published
Sherlock Holmes Short Stories - The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Brian Pugh
 
15th Nov 1892
Birth of a son
Alleyne Kingsley Conan at South Norwood in the Parish of Croydon, Surrey
Brian Pugh
 
1893
Published
Play - Jane Annie or The Good Conduct Prize - written with J.M. Barrie
Brian Pugh
 
6th Apr 1893
Biography
Conan Doyle kills off Sherlock Holmes
 
"Early in 1893, when the Holmes stories were appearing in the 'Strand' and he was finishing the later ones, he took Touie for a visit to Switzerland. The falls of Reichenbach roared in their ears. And he needed that brief rest. He was exhausted by plot-spinning, harried by the necessity for making ideas grow … At Norwood on April 6th 1893 … he wrote a letter to the Ma'am.
'All is very well down here,' he said. 'I am in the middle of the last Holmes story, after which the gentleman vanishes never to return! I am weary of his name.' So Professor Moriarty waited by the black rock; the falls of Reichenbach opened; and, with a happy sigh of relief, he killed Shelock Holmes."
from John Dickson Carr's The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
 
13th Dec 1893
Published
Sherlock Holmes Short Stories - The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
Brian Pugh
 
"… he invented the enigmatic clue. We find it running far back through the stories, notably illustrated by a passage [from Silver Blaze in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes] which has been repeated over and over:
'Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?'
'To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.'
'The dog did nothing in the night-time.'
'That was the curious incident.'

Call this Sherlockismus; call it any fancy name; the fact remains that it is a clue, and a thundering good clue at that. It is the trick by which the detective - while giving you perfectly fair opportunity to guess - nevertheless makes you wonder what in sanity's name he is talking about. The creator of Sherlock Holmes invented it; and nobody … has ever done it half so well.".
from John Dickson Carr's The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
 
1894 to 1895
Home
Davos, Austria
Brian Pugh
 
1896 to 1897
Home
Grayswood Beeches, Haslemere, Surrey
Brian Pugh
 
15th Mar 1897
Biography
Jean Leckie - who became Conan Doyle's second wife
 
"Miss Jean Leckie was just twenty-four. Even the not-very-expert photogaphy of the time reveals her extraordinary beauty. But the colouring of that beauty it cannot show: the dark-gold hair, the hazel-green eyes, the delicate white complexion, the changes of the smile.
Her great talent was for music: she had a fine mezzo-soprano voice which she had cultivated at Dresden and was later to cultivate at Florence … she was an expert horsewoman who had been trained to ride from childhood … we see her across the years as quick of sympathy, impulsive, strongly romantic; the slender neck rises from a lace gown, and the eyes tell her character.
Under what circumstances they met we do not know; but the date, which neither Jean Leckie or Conan Doyle ever forgot, was March 15th, 1897. It was just a few months short of his thirty-eighth birthday. They fell in love immediately, desperately, and for all time. His letters to her, in his seventy-first year, read like those of a man who has been married for about a month.
Meanwhile, it seemed helpless and hopeless."
from John Dickson Carr's The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
 
1897 to 1907
Home
Undershaw, Hindhead, Surrey
Brian Pugh
 
1899
Published
Play - Brothers also known as Halves
Brian Pugh
 
25th Mar 1902
Published
Sherlock Holmes Novel - The Hound of the Baskervilles
Brian Pugh
 
"Through the winter [of 1900] Conan Doyle had been seedy and run down … he went [to Cromer in Norfolk] for a golfing holiday with his friend Fletcher Robinson … one raw Sunday afternoon … Robinson began talking of the legends of Dartmoor, the atmosphere of Dartmoor. In particular his companion's imagination was kindled by the story of a spectral hound. … he was so ensnared as to invent, and sketch out, with Robinson, the plot of a sensational story about a Devonshire family accursed by a ghost-hound which should prove to be flesh and blood.
It is the only tale, long or short, in which the story dominates Holmes rather than Holmes dominating the story; what captures its reader is less the Victorian detective than the Gothic romance."
from John Dickson Carr's The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
 
9th Aug 1902
Title
Knighted by King Edward VII at Buckingham Palace
Brian Pugh
 
"It was an open secret that the Coronation Honours List would contain the name of Dr. Conan Doyle if he cared to accept a knighthood. … The trouble was that Conan Doyle did not want to accept a knighthood, and had made up his mind to refuse one. … The Ma'am, who seriously believed that the figurative spurs of knighthood meant what they had meant five centuries before, was incredulous and horrified. She could not understand this. She thought her son must be losing his mind. … She bombarded him with letters. … The Ma'am, who meant to accomplish her end if she accomplished nothing else in life, left off anger for the coolness of inspiration. She knew her son. She knew how she had brought him up.
'Has it not occurred to you,' she inquired, 'that to refuse a knighthood would be an insult to the king?' This checked him in mid-flight. … The more he worried, the more he wondered.
'I tell you, Ma'am, I can't do it! As a matter of principle!'
'If you wish to show your principles by an insult to the king, no doubt you can't.'

On August 9th … he emerged into the sunshine, still a little rebelliously, as Sir Arthur ConanDoyle."
from John Dickson Carr's The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
 
1903
Published
Play - A Duet. A Duologue
Brian Pugh
 
7th Mar 1905
Published
Sherlock Holmes Short Stories - The Return of Sherlock Holmes
Brian Pugh
 
1906
Published
Play - Brigadier Gerard
Brian Pugh
 
1907
Published
Play - The Story of Waterloo
Brian Pugh
 
18th Sep 1907
Married
Jean Leckie
Brian Pugh
 
c Oct 1907
Home
At Windlesham; Conan Doyle and his second wife Jean Leckie moved to Windlesham, Crowborough
Brian Pugh
 

"Windlesham, set in the then lonely open country which stretched from Crowborough Beacon to the Sussex Downs, had been greatly changed and enlarged from the modest country-house he bought before his marriage. … From far away you could see Windlesham, with its five gables, its grey-painted shingles and white window-frames, its red roof-tiles and red chimney stacks …
Above all in their minds at Windlesham, then as afterwards, was the great billiard-room which came to be filled with so many memories. This billiard-room ran the full breadth of the house, east to west, with a wall of windows at each end. A hundred and fifty couples could dance there when the rugs were cleared away. Conan Doyle had it built into the house as their living-room, the centre of their lives. At one end, amid palms, stood Jean's grand piano and the harp. At the other end was his billiard-table, under the muffled green canopy of the table-lights … Over one fireplace hung the Van Dyck … over the other was a stag's head he had brought back from the Boer War. Round the walls, blue-papered, ran a frieze of Napoleonic weapons. His own portrait, by Sidney Paget, hung among them."

from John Dickson Carr's The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

 
1908
Published
Play - A Pot of Caviare
Brian Pugh
 
1909
Published
Play - The Fires of Fate
Brian Pugh
 
17th Mar 1909
Birth of a son
Denis Percy Stewart Conan in the Parish of Crowborough, Sussex
Brian Pugh
 
1910
Published
Play - The Speckled Band
Brian Pugh
 
1910
Published
Play - The House of Temperley
Brian Pugh
 
19th Nov 1910
Birth of a son
Adrian Malcolm Conan in the Parish of Crowborough, Sussex
Brian Pugh
 
1910 to 1911
At Crowborough Beacon Golf Club
Brian Pugh
 
15th Oct 1912
Published
The 1st Professor Challenger Story - The Lost World
Brian Pugh
 
21st Dec 1912
Birth of a daughter
Jean Lena Annette Conan in the Parish of Crowborough, Sussex
Brian Pugh
 
13th Aug 1913
Published
Professor Challenger Story - The Poison Belt
Brian Pugh
 
6th Aug 1914
Biography
At Crowborough; Formed a Civilian National Reserve at Crowborough
Brian Pugh
 
3rd Jun 1915
Published
Sherlock Holmes Novel - The Valley of Fear
Brian Pugh
 
21st Jul 1916
Information
Enrolled as a Private in the 5th Volunteer Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment
Brian Pugh
 
21st Oct 1916
Biography
Conan Doyle's belief in communication with the dead
 
"Conan Doyle's family drew still more closely together. The Ma'am at long last feeling lonely and frightened and very old, left Yorkshire to be near her son. … Kingsley, though weak, was convalescent and talked cheerfully of returning to the front. Mary was voluntarily assisting at Peel House where troops bound for the active fronts were served with comforts on their departure. Dated October 21st, 1916, there appeared in the psychic magazine 'Light' Conan Doyle's article announcing his belief in communication with the dead. … So, in 1917, began those psychic lectures which were to last for the rest of his life. … He would lose most of his friends. … They were entitled to their views, as he was entitled to his. But it was not a matter of viewing or deciding or theorizing. He knew.
'Knowing that,' he said to Jean, 'we must be prepared to accept what they say. Does it matter to you?'
'Nothing matters at all, if you believe you must do it.'
'I cannot do anything else. All my life has led up to this. It is the greatest thing in the world.'
And the old champion, loved by so many but supported by so few, girded on his sword for the last great fight of all."
from John Dickson Carr's The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
 
22nd Oct 1917
Published
Sherlock Holmes Short Stories - His Last Bow
Brian Pugh
 
"Sherlock Holmes, disguised as the Irish-American spy, takes off his mask when he hands Von Bork his little book, Practical Handbook of Bee-Culture, and then grips and chloroforms the Prussian. … Then follows the magnificent scene when Von Bork, bound and writhing, glares at his captor from the sofa. Von Bork is speaking: 'Then who are you?'
'It is really immaterial who I am, but since the matter seems to interest you … my name is probably familiar to you.'
'I would wish to know it,' said the Prussian grimly.
'It was I who brought about the separation between Irene Adler and the late King of Bohemia when your cousin Heinrich was the Imperial Envoy. It was I also who saved from murder, by the Nihilist Klopman, Count Von und Zu Grafenstein, who was your mother's elder brother. It was I -'
Van Bork sat up in amazement. 'There is only one man,' he cried.
And so speaks the world. It is the last thrill, the final drumbeat, the apothesis of Sherlock Holmes."
from John Dickson Carr's The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
 
19th Mar 1925
Published
Professor Challenger Story - The Land of Mist
Brian Pugh
 
16th Jun 1927
Published
Sherlock Holmes Short Stories - The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes
Brian Pugh
 
1928
Published
Sherlock Holmes Short Stories - The Complete Sherlock Holmes Short Stories
Brian Pugh
 
Oct to Dec 1929
Diagnosed with
Angina Pectoris
Brian Pugh
 
29th Jul 1929
Published
Professor Challenger Story - The Disintegration Machine
Brian Pugh
 
29th Jul 1929
Published
Professor Challenger Stories - When The World Screamed
Brian Pugh
 
13th May 1930
Probate
London; Effects: £63,491 3s 1d
Probate Registry of England and Wales
 
24th Jun 1930
Published
Last book - The Edge of the Unknown
Brian Pugh
 
7th Jul 1930
Died
At Windlesham in the Parish of Crowborough, Sussex
Brian Pugh
 
11th Jul 1930
Buried
At Windlesham in the Parish of Crowborough, Sussex
Brian Pugh
 
"It was a scene more like a quiet garden party than a funeral service when his mortal remains were buried near the garden-hut, which he had so often used as a study, in the grounds at Windlesham. Jean Conan Doyle wore a flowered summer dress. Word had spread that they did not wish mourning; there was little sign of it in the vast crowd who attended on that sunlit day of July 11th, 1930.
But they missed him. And the world missed him. People at home, people in far places, saw pictures and remembered dreams when they heard he was gone. When the telegrams arrived, and the special train to carry the flowers, it seemed that all on earth remembered him.
So he was buried near the garden-hut; and the flowers that had been sent in his memory covered the whole field as though a fanciful Dutch garden had grown as high as a man's head. On the headstone over his grave Jean told them to inscribe only his name, the date of his birth, and four words - Steel true, blade straight. The headstone was of British oak.
What more can be said, after that ?
Nearly all else must be in the minds of those who remember. Ageing men and women who remember the pleasure his stories gave; ageing men and women who remember how he championed the helpless and the broken; those, older still, who catch an echo of 'The Bow was made in England', and remember how all his life he served England well.
These must speak in full of him, not those of us who toil in his wake and only try to understand. For the cause of psychic religion he gave his heart, his worldly possessions, and finally his life. And, whether it be said in the spiritual sense or only the earthly influence he has left behind among us, one word may be added. Let no man write his epitaph. He is not dead."
from John Dickson Carr's The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
 
Jul 1955
Biography
At Windlesham; Sir Arthur and Lady Conan Dolyle are exhumed from Windlesham and reinterned at Minstead Church in the New Forest
Brian Pugh

Ancestor's report
Descendent's report
Doyle, Doyley individual records
The ancestral pedigree of Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle
  
 Richard Doylem: c 1750Mrs 
 b: c 1730  b: c 1730
  
  
 James 
 b: c 1755
d: after 1845
 
    
Great-Great-
Grandfather record
   
   
   
 James Doylem: c 1790Catherine Tynan 
 b: c 1755
d: after 1845
  b: c 1760
  
       
 Catherine James John (HB) William Anna Maria Michael 
 b: c 1794
d: 3rd May 1827
 b: August 1795
d: 21st Nov 1824
 b: April 1797 Dublin, Ireland
d: 2nd Jan 1868 Clifton Gardens, Maida Hill, London, aged 70 years
bur: 8th Jan 1868 Norwood Cemetery, Norwood Road, Lambeth, London
 b: 1799 b: 6th Aug 1801
ch: 4th Jan 1804
d: 11th Sep 1866
 b: 1803 
              
Great-
Grandfather record
   
   
   
 John (HB) Doylem: 13th Feb 1820Marianne Conan 
 b: April 1797 Dublin, Ireland
d: 2nd Jan 1868 Clifton Gardens, Maida Hill, London, aged 70 years
bur: 8th Jan 1868 Norwood Cemetery, Norwood Road, Lambeth, London
  b: c 1795
d: 11th Dec 1839 17 Cambridge Terrace, Edgeware Road, London, aged 43 years
bur: 16th Dec 1839 Norwood Cemetery, Norwood Road, Lambeth, London
  
        
 Ann Martha (Annette) James Edmund William Richard (Dicky) Henry Edward Francis (Frank) Adelaide Charles Altamont 
 b: January 1821
d: 17th Oct 1899
 b: October 1822
d: 3rd Dec 1892
 b: September 1824 London
d: 11th Dec 1883
 b: c 1827 Dublin, Ireland
d: 17th Feb 1892
 b: c 1829
d: c 1843 Cambridge Terrace, Edgeware Road, London, aged 14 years
bur: 15th Jun 1843 Norwood Cemetery, Norwood Road, Lambeth, London
 b: c 1831
d: 2nd Apr 1844 Cambridge Terrace, Edgeware Road, London, aged 13 years
bur: 6th Apr 1844 Norwood Cemetery, Norwood Road, Lambeth, London
 b: 25th Mar 1832
d: 10th Oct 1893 Epilepsy in a lunatic asylum
 
                
Grandfather record
   
   
    
 Charles Altamont Doylem: 31st Jul 1855 Edinburgh, ScotlandMary Josephine Foley 
 b: 25th Mar 1832
d: 10th Oct 1893 Epilepsy in a lunatic asylum
  b: 8th Jul 1837 Lismore, County Waterforf, Ireland
d: 30th Dec 1920 Bowshott Cottage, West Grinstead, Sussex
  
          
Ann Mary Conan (Annette)  Arthur Ignatius Conan Mary Helena Monica Caroline Mary Burton Constance Amelia Monica John Francis Innes Hay Jane Adelaide Rose (Ida) Bryan Mary Julia (Dodo) 
b: 22nd Jul 1856 Edinburgh, Scotland
d: 13th Jan 1890
  b: 22nd May 1859 11 Picardy Place, Edinburgh, Scotland
d: 7th Jul 1930 Windlesham, Crowborough, Sussex
bur: 11th Jul 1930 Windlesham, Crowborough, Sussex
 b: 4th May 1861 Edinburgh, Scotland
d: 3rd Jun 1863
 b: 15th Feb 1866 Edinburgh, Scotland
d: 3rd May 1941
 b: 4th Mar 1868 Edinburgh, Scotland
d: 8th Jun 1924
 b: 31st Mar 1873 Edinburgh, Scotland
d: 19th Feb 1919 Pneumonia
 b: 16th Mar 1875 Edinburgh, Scotland
d: 1st Jul 1937
 b: 2nd Mar 1877 Edinburgh, Scotland
d: 8th Feb 1927
 
  Catherine Amelia Angila                    
  b: 22nd Apr 1858 Edinburgh, Scotland
d: 20th Oct 1858
                    
                      
Parental record
   
   
    
1st marriage Arthur Ignatius Conan Doylem: 6th Aug 1885 LancashireLouise (Touie) Hawkins 
 b: 22nd May 1859 11 Picardy Place, Edinburgh, Scotland
d: 7th Jul 1930 Windlesham, Crowborough, Sussex
bur: 11th Jul 1930 Windlesham, Crowborough, Sussex
  b: 10th Apr 1857 Dixton, Monmouth, Wales
d: 4th Jul 1906
  
   
 Mary Louise Conan Alleyne Kingsley Conan 
 b: 28th Jan 1889 Southsea, Hampshire
d: 12th Jun 1976
 b: 15th Nov 1892 South Norwood, Croydon, Surrey
d: 28th Oct 1918 Influenza aggravated by war wounds
 
Family record
    
2nd marriage Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doylem: 18th Sep 1907Jean Leckie 
 b: 22nd May 1859 11 Picardy Place, Edinburgh, Scotland
d: 7th Jul 1930 Windlesham, Crowborough, Sussex
bur: 11th Jul 1930 Windlesham, Crowborough, Sussex
  b: 14th Mar 1874 Kidbrooke, Kent
d: 27th Jun 1940
bur: July 1940 Windlesham, Crowborough, Sussex
  
    
 Denis Percy Stewart Conan Adrian Malcolm Conan Jean Lena Annette Conan 
 b: 17th Mar 1909 Crowborough, Sussex
d: 9th Mar 1955
 b: 19th Nov 1910 Crowborough, Sussex
d: June 1970
 b: 21st Dec 1912 Crowborough, Sussex
d: 18th Nov 1997
 

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