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The Frosts of County Clare, Ireland by Janet Frost

The Sons of Augustine Thomas Frost


This is a very brief resume of their lives.

Tom and Harry were born in Poona, India, the hill station for Bombay, where it was cooler in the very hot season in that part of India. In 1921, the family returned to the UK and lived in Bramham Gardens, South Kensington for a few years. Their father was working in Woolwich. Tom and Harry were sent to Hilltop Court preparatory school in Sussex. Tom could not recall any schooling prior to this, so must have gone when he was only about six. His father was posted to Egypt in 1925. Tom spent some holidays either with relatives or friends of his parents or he simply stayed at school. However, in the long holiday he went by sea to Alexandria, Egypt to be with the family. The school arranged for him to be baptised into the Church of England in the school chapel in 1925. He had not been baptised as a baby, possibly because there was no agreement as to whether he and his brother were to be Catholics or not! This decision to have the boys baptised into the Church of England caused a rift with the Catholic Frost family back in Co Clare!

Tom did occasionally visit Ireland when he was a child and the family was in the UK, but his mother was upset that Tom’s grandmother was so critical of the decision that the boys should not be Catholic that she stopped visiting. This may have been the reason that it was Austin’s younger brother William who inherited Beechlawn!

From Hilltop Court School the boys moved to Rossall School in Lancashire, for the next four years.

In 1936, when he was twenty, Tom was articled to an architect in Reading, C. Birdwood Wilcox. He had made some progress with his training when the war started. As he had been an officer in the Combined Cadet Force at school he went immediately to officer training. He was posted to Northern Ireland and from there he volunteered for India. He was in the Intelligence Corps. From India he moved to Burma. It was while Tom was in Burma in 1943, that he was informed that his brother Harry was killed in action, also in Burma. Harry had gone straight into the army from school. He had won an Open History scholarship to Pembroke College, Oxford, but could not take it up as he had to join up. As their cousin Patrick had been lost at sea in the war, this meant Tom was the only grandson of Dr Edmond Frost to carry the name. There was one other grandson, in New Zealand, but his mother Lolo Frost had married Gavin Hamilton, so Hamilton was his surname.

Tom was discharged from the army in 1947 and he and thousands of other men had to restart their lives. He had started architecture training before the war, so he decided to continue by going to Oxford Polytechnic. Nevertheless, it meant he was thirty five before he could earn a living and as he still had one exam to retake he was not a qualified architect when he started work at the Shire Hall in Gloucester. In February 1953 he was at last a registered architect.

He married Janet Godfrey in 1954 and they had three sons and a daughter. After Tom died in 1889, five grandchildren were born. The first grandson was given the name of Thomas. So the name of Thomas Frost continues after 350 years. The rest is another story!
Seal Tom inherited from his father

The owls

From his father Tom inherited a seal with the intaglio of an owl with the motto ‘Vigilantia nunquam prehensa’ - the vigilant shall not be caught unawares. When he met Sheila Lamb, his cousin, the daughter of Dr William Frost, she too had a similar seal which she had inherited from her father William.

In Fox Davies book ‘Armorial Families’ the name Frost occurs beside the description of arms issued from the Ulster office, and describing owls! Tom wrote to the genealogical office in Dublin to discover more. He was sent a copy of the arms that were granted in 1911 to a distant cousin of his father, Col. George Hewitt Frost from Co Clare, another army doctor. He too had the owl seal. He had asked the Ulster Office of Arms to give him a coat of arms using the owl symbol. Arms were granted to him by the King of Arms and Principal Herald of all Ireland. In his application he stated that the owl crest had been in use by his father and uncles as long as he could remember. The motto on the arms is ‘Si sit Vigilantia’ – similar to the motto on Tom’s seal.

A first cousin of Col. George Hewitt Frost was Dr Alfred James Frost. This latter had emigrated to Australia. He lived for some years in Western Australia and there married Gertrude Fuller who had come out from Cork. That was in 1905. The births of three daughters were recorded in the newspaper, the West Australian, but no sons were born and it is not known how long these girls lived. He later moved to Melbourne and there remarried. He was in Melbourne when Edmond Frost (the head of Xavier College and son of Dr Edmond Frost) died. Dr Alfred Frost attended the funeral. The press report states that Dr A J Frost, a cousin, was chief mourner at the obsequies in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne.

Col. George Hewitt Frost and Dr Alfred James Frost shared a grandfather, William Frost of Ballymorris. They also shared the owl! This is the reason we assume that William was a son of ‘our’ Thomas! Could the owl have been used because owls are thought to be wise and Solomon was also reputed to be wise? Maybe one of the Solomon Frosts had the first seal made.

The Frost Coat of Arm which was issued to Major George Hewitt Frost in 1910 from Dublin Castle Office of Arms. He was also a doctor and rose to the rank of colonel in the IMS.

The Frost Coat of Arm

The arms are described in Fox-Davies Armorial Families as

FROST (UO) Per chevron, azure and argent, three owls countercharged, each standing on a bezant. Mantling, gules and argent. Crest- on a wreath of the colours an owl azure, charged on the breast with a trefoil argent.

Motto ‘Si sit vigilantia’. Livery – dark green, white facings.

Sons of John Frost of Ballymorris Co Clare-
         James Robert Frost, gentleman Western Australia
         Lt Col George Hewitt Frost IMS
Sons of Patrick Frost of Castlebank
         William Ernest Frost Gentleman MB. Ch B Edinburgh
         Alfred Frost Gentleman (doctor) Perth Western Australia.

None of these seems to have had sons to inherit the Arms.

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