William Edward Kenelm, the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe (October 9, 1873—February 10, 1965)

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In the early part of the 20th century, Edgcumbe was internationally known for his contributions in electrical engineering. It was after World War II that he would have significant impact with the preservation and promotion of British history, impact that specifically regarded Sir Francis Drake.

Following World War II, when Britain—like so many other nations—was reeling from devastating destruction, the value of art and history in re-building became a cherished idea, and people like the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe became a vital part of that effort. Buckland Abbey, due to a fire in 1938, was in much disrepair and required restoration. In 1947, the Buckland Abbey Committee held its first meeting on November 7 with the Earl at its helm. Under Edgcumbe’s leadership as Chair, the Committee produced plans and surveys while preliminary work was begun on the restoration of Drake’s home. This interest in Drake eventually led to Edgcumbe’s review of the Guild’s work, association with the DNG, and his inclusion as an Honorary Member.