The contents of a Dorchester country house that once belonged to an ancient family, one of whom was allegedly the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s fictional spy James Bond, are to go under the hammer this week.
The ancestral home of the Bond family, Moigne Combe House is to be sold by Duke’s auctioneers, and includes numerous centuries-old items, including furniture, pictures and porcelains.
It’s been suggested that one Bond family ancestor, John Bond, was rumoured to be an Elizabethan spy, and may have inspired the titular character of Ian Fleming’s famous books. The Bond family motto is ‘non sufficit orbis’, which translates as “the world is not enough”. This is James Bond’s fictional family motto in The World Is Not Enough. Fleming attended Durnford Preparatory School in Langton Matravers, Dorset, close to the Bond family home.
The globe-trotting Bond family’s home was designed by Henry Pomeroy Bond and completed in 1900. Both the Bond family and Moigne Combe hold a prominent place in Dorset and national history. The Bonds were displaced from Tyneham House, their home for over 250 years, in 1943. They made this sacrifice to enable the expansion of Lulworth tank ranges in preparation for the D-Day landings. The Bond family moved permanently to Moigne Combe after they were informed Tyneham would not be returned to the family, a devastating realisation.
The late Major General Mark Bond was the last member of the Bond family to live at Moigne Combe. General Bond had an illustrious military career; he enlisted as a rifleman in 1940 following the Blitz of London.
Major-General Bond served at the Battle of El-Alamein and the capture of Tunis. In 1943, he was taken as a POW but managed to pull off a daring escape from his transport train. He was only recaptured after trying to steal supplies from the Germans.
Major-General Bond also served as aide de camp to Field Marshal Montgomery, NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander in Europe 1950. A letter from Field Marshal Montgomery thanking him for his service is present at Moigne Combe. During his fascinating life he had a distinguished military career, held prestigious Dorset offices and maintained an active approach to conservation (planting over 60,000 trees on his estate).
Major-General Bond’s elder sister and resident of Stable House, Elizabeth, Lady Williams, also supported the war effort. She volunteered in the Auxiliary Territorial Service and First Aid Nursing Yeomanry. Lady Williams led a similarly remarkable life that included being the first woman in Dorset appointed to High Sheriff. Duke’s will also be auctioning the contents of Stable House.