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Isabel Waters and Robert Scott-Kerr #52ancestors

October 23, 2020

Professional genealogist and podcaster Amy Johnson Crow has put out the challenge to genealogists and family historians, to write stories about 52 of their ancestors in 52 weeks. I am happily taking up the challenge, and look forward to writing stories, that will collate many years of research results. In most cases, the research for my ancestors is not complete, and possibly never will be complete, but I’m hoping to build a story of the lives they lived with the information I have to hand.

I hope to compile the posts published for the 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge into a book

Isabel Waters

Isabel Margaret WATERS is my 1st cousin 3 times removed, my great great grandfather, Thomas WATERS’ niece. Isabella was the daughter of a farm labourer, who was descended from a long line of agricultural labourers. Her parents are William WATERS and Sarah WHITAMORE of Dunton, Bedfordshire, England.

On all documents that I have seen, Isabel gives her birthplace as Welwyn, Hertfordshire. She was christened where her parents lived at Dunton, Bedfordshire. Dunton is about 20 kilometers from Welwyn. Isabel was christened five weeks after her birth, at Dunton.

The photos of Isabella WATERS, below, were given to me by Graham Reville, Waters family researcher in England. They are photocopies including identifying notations.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is waters-isabel-photo.jpg

Isabel was born on 22 July 1860. Her father was a farm labourer, working on his father’s farm. Isabel went on to live a life of privilege, after she married Robert SCOTT-KERR, who’s family was connected to the Royal Family. They mixed in the circles of high society, which is shown in the many newspaper reports of their outings. I would love to hear the story of how Isabel, a country girl, came to meet and marry the very highly connected, Robert SCOTT-KERR.


Isabel married Robert SCOTT-KERR on 29 March 1887 at the church of St. Michael & All Angels, Ladbroke Grove, Kensington. At the time of their marriage, they were both residing at St. Michaels Parish

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is scott-kerr-robert-waters-isabella-marriage.png

Isabella and Robert did not have any children. Unlike her husband, there is little known about Isabella. There are occasional society reports in the newspaper of her attendance at royal events and weddings, but that’s about all I’ve been able to find.

St. Michaels and All Angels, Ladbroke Grove, Kensington
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is scott-kerr-robert-grenadiers-image.jpg

The 1891 census shows Isabel and Robert living at 47 Picadilly (chambers), St. George Hanover Square, Mayfair, London. Living with them was Edward Trask, valet and domestic servant.

In the 1911 census, Robert and Elizabeth were living at 14 Hans Road, Kensington. Robert’s sister, Francis Edith SCOTT-KERR was also there, but it’s not clear whether she was a resident or a visitor. Five servants were resident at the house, four females and one male. There was one domestic cook, one housemaid, two tablemaids – one older and one younger, and one male chauffeur/valet/domestic servant.

English Buildings: Hans Road, London
14 Hans Street, Kensington, today


I’ve done no research into Robert Scott-Kerr, but following is his Wikipedia entry:

Brigadier Robert Scott-Kerr CB, CMG, DSO, MVO, (2 November 1859 – 25 November 1942) was a British Army Officer officer. After being educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, he was commissioned in the 24th Regiment of Foot in 1879, transferring shortly thereafter to the Grenadier Guards. He saw service in the Zulu War in 1879, where he fought at the Battle of Ulundi. Promotion to lieutenant followed on 1 July 1881, and in 1885 he fought in the Sudan Campaign. He was promoted to Captain on 16 December 1890, and to Major on 19 September 1896. Following the outbreak of the Second Boer War in 1899, Scott-Kerr served with his regiment in South Africa. He took part in the operations in the Orange Free State April to May 1900, and in the Orange River Colony May to November 1900, including the actions at Biddulphsberg (May 1900) and Wittebergen (July 1900), where he was mentioned in despatches and for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. After peace was declared in May 1902, he left South Africa on board the SS Bavarian and arrived in the United Kingdom the following month.
On his return from South Africa, he was in July 1902 appointed second in command of the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards,[5] and from 1904 to 1908 he commanded the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. He was made a Member of the Royal Victorian Order in 1908 and a Companion of the Order of the Bath in the 1914 Birthday Honours.
On the outbreak of the First World War, he took command of the 4th (Guards) Brigade in the British Expeditionary Force. He was wounded on 1 September, commanding 4th Brigade in a rearguard action during the Retreat from Mons, and returned to England. The injuries proved so severe that he never again held a field command; he commanded a brigade in the Home Forces for the remainder of the war, before retiring in 1919.
He was appointed a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George in the 1919 New Year Honours. – Wikipedia

Gold Stick

Field-Marshall Lord Grenfell will be Gold Stick in Waiting on the King, during May, said Lieutenant-Colonel E.B.Cook, 1st Life Guards, Silver Stick. Colonel R. Scott-Kerr, Grenadier Guards, will be Field Officer in Brigade Waiting.

*Note: Gold Stick and Silver Stick are Bodyguard positions in the Royal household, personal attendants to the Sovereign on ceremonial occasions. -Wikipedia
Robert SCOTT -KERR went on to serve as Gold Stick to the King on many of his tours.

This photo was taken was taken in 1912 one of these Grenadier Guards is Robert Scott-Kerr.


Sunlaws House, near Kelso, Roxburghshire, is Robert Scott-Kerr’s family home. It was built for the family in 1810 but was destroyed by fire in 1885. The Scott-Kerr owned the house at the time of the fire and quickly had it rebuilt. Isabella and Robert had their usual home in Kensington but they spent much of their time at Sunlaws.

German developer snaps up golf hotel
Photo shows Sunlaws House today. It is now a hotel known as The Roxburghe Hotel and Golf Course.

Both Isabella and Robert are buried at Kelso, near Sunlaws.


Isabel SCOTT-KERR died at the age of 66, on 16 April 1927, at the family home, Sunlaws, Kelso, Roxburghshire. I have been told that Isabel is buried on the grounds of Sunlaws, but have not been able to find anything to confirm this.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is scott-kerr-waters-isabella-wills-and-admin.png


Robert Scott Kerr died on 25 November 1942, at Sunlaws House. He is buried a short distance from the house on a high bank overlooking the Teviot River. It is marked by a simple stone set upright.


This stained glass window, a memorial to Brigadier General Robert Scott-Kerr is in St. Andrews Church, Forestfield, Kelso, Roxburghshire, Scotland
Inscription Left : To the beloved Memory of Brigadier/DSO MVO Grenadier Guards.
Inscription Right: Glory of God/General Robert Scott Kerr CB CMG/Chatto and Sunlaws 1859 – 1942

“England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975”, database, FamilySearch ( : 21 March 2020), Isabel Margaret Waters, 1860.
The Newcastle Weekly Courant (Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, England) · 23 Jan 1885, Fri · Page 5
Waters family history researcher, Graham Reville.
The National Archives of the UK (TNA); Kew, Surrey, England; Census Returns of England and Wales, 1891; Class: RG12; Piece: 68; Folio: 56; Page: 10; GSU roll: 6095178. 1891 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005. 1911 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Census Returns of England and Wales, 1911. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA) Series RG14, 1911. Newcastle Weekly Courant, Friday 23 January 1885, page 5
Waters family Researcher, Graham Reville

*Isabel Waters used many variations of spelling for her name: Isabella, Isabel, Isobelle, Isobel

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From → family history

  1. This is a very comprehensive and interesting account of the lives of Robert and Isabel. Congratulations on adding substantially to the research I did back in the late 1970s! Graham Revill (Note: there is no ‘e’ at the end of my surname!)

    • Hello Graham I’m so pleased you have made contact again. Sorry about the incorrect spelling of your name. I will correct it. Your original research was a great starting point for me.

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