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 Sir William Alexander Gordon Gordon-Cumming, 4th Baronet

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littlehand

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PostSubject: Sir William Alexander Gordon Gordon-Cumming, 4th Baronet    Sat Jul 31, 2010 7:18 pm

Sir William Alexander Gordon Gordon-Cumming, 4th Baronet (20 July 1848 - 20 May 1930) was a Scottish landowner, soldier and adventurer. A notorious womaniser, he is best known for being the central figure in the Royal Baccarat Scandal.

Born at Sanquhar House, near Forres, Morayshire, he was to become chief of the Clan Cumming and traced his descent from the fourth century, through Charlemagne. His parents were Alexander Penrose Gordon-Cumming and his wife Anne Pitcairn née Campbell (died 1888). Big-game hunter Roualeyn George Gordon-Cumming was his uncle and travel writer Constance Gordon-Cumming, his aunt. He was educated at Eton College and Wellington College.

Soldier and socialite
Though William suffered from asthma and was blind in one eye, he craved a life of adventure and in 1868 purchased a commission in the Scots Guards. He fought as a volunteer in the Third Carlist War, with distinction with his regiment at the Battle of Ulundi in the Anglo-Zulu War, at Battle of Tel el-Kebir in Egypt and the Battle of Abu Klea in the Sudan , rising to Lieutenant-Colonel.

He also found time for independent adventure, hunting in the Rocky Mountains and in India, and being shipwrecked off Cape Town. He cut something of a dash, having abandoned his Scots accent and displaying his proficiency at profanity in English and Hindustani.

Gordon-Cumming was insolent, brazen and arrogant, passing his time in gambling and womanising, including affairs with Lillie Langtry, Sarah Bernhardt, Lady Randolph Churchill, and Daisy Brooke. "All the married women try me" he once observed, but he did become engaged to Florence Garner, an American heiress with an annual income of $80,000. His lifestyle led him to the acquaintance of the Prince of Wales.

In September 1890, Gordon-Cumming was invited, along with the Prince of Wales, to a house party at Tranby Croft in Yorkshire. There he was accused of cheating at baccarat; Gordon-Cumming insisted they had been mistaken, but gave way to pressure to sign a statement undertaking never to play cards again in return for a pledge that no-one present would speak of the incident again. However, rumours of the incident did circulate and he found himself shunned by smart society. In an attempt to restore his honour, he sued some of those present at Tranby Croft for defamation, calling Prince Edward as a witness. Gordon-Cumming lost and Edward's wrath ensured his total social ostracism.

As a result of the scandal, Sir William was dismissed from the army the day after the trial and retired to his Scottish estate. He never re-entered high society and remained bitter about the incident until his death years later. However, Florence supported him throughout the scandal. The couple wed the day after the trial ended and went on to have four children. However, in 1905, Florence's fortune slumped and the couple were compelled to surrender the Scottish estates and to move to Bridge House, Dawlish, Devon with a reduced household of seven servants.

Gordon-Cumming managed to disguise his contempt for the middle class society to which he was now limited so that he could continue to indulge himself in golf, croquet, billiards, cricket, contract bridge and curling. He also enjoyed his own company, and that of his dogs and pet monkey, in riding, shooting and fishing. He hated Dawlish and felt his wife a "fat little frump", unapologetically engaging in chronic infidelity. Florence lost no opportunity to remind him who funded their life but eventually herself resorted to alcohol abuse.
Nothing like a bit of Scandal.


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1879graves

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PostSubject: Re: Sir William Alexander Gordon Gordon-Cumming, 4th Baronet    Sun Aug 01, 2010 3:08 pm

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Bridge House, Dawlish, as it is today

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PostSubject: Re: Sir William Alexander Gordon Gordon-Cumming, 4th Baronet    Sun Aug 01, 2010 5:40 pm

So what do give a man who had everything. Idea
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PostSubject: Re: Sir William Alexander Gordon Gordon-Cumming, 4th Baronet    Tue Jun 09, 2015 2:24 pm

Hi All,
Here is a sketch of Sir William Alexander Gordon Gordon-Cumming in the dock at the time of the  Royal Baccarat Scandal.
cheers
Richie
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PostSubject: Re: Sir William Alexander Gordon Gordon-Cumming, 4th Baronet    Tue Jun 16, 2015 11:38 am

Poor chap, reduced to such squalor after the scandal and trial !!! However did he manage?
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PostSubject: Re: Sir William Alexander Gordon Gordon-Cumming, 4th Baronet    Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:43 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Sir William Alexander Gordon Gordon-Cumming, 4th Baronet    Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:55 pm

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Dundee Courier - Wednesday 21 May 1930
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PostSubject: Re: Sir William Alexander Gordon Gordon-Cumming, 4th Baronet    Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:16 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Sir William Alexander Gordon Gordon-Cumming, 4th Baronet    Tue Jun 16, 2015 8:09 pm

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Dundee Courier 24 May 1930
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PostSubject: Re: Sir William Alexander Gordon Gordon-Cumming, 4th Baronet    Tue Jun 16, 2015 9:46 pm

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