Birth: 1888 - June Quarter

Place or Registered Place of Birth: Shardlow, Derbyshire

Baptism: 11 June 1888

Place of Baptism: Ockbrook, Derbyshire

Death: 24 January 1980

Place or Registered Place of Death: Castillo Cap Roig, Palafrugall, Gerona, Spain

Father: Godfrey Seymour William Webster

Mother: Ada Mary Paget

Spouse(s): Lt.-Col. Ian Onslow Dennistoun

Date of Marriage: 22 November 1910

Place or Registered Place of Marriage: Guards' Chapel, Wellington Barracks, Westminster, Middlesex

Children: N/A



The Argus - Melbourne - Thursday 19 March 1925
Case of Mrs. Dennistoun.
London, March 17
Lieut.-Colonel Ian Onslow Dennistoun was prevented from attending Court today by an attack of sciatica. Mrs. Dennistoun is suing Lieut.-Colonel Dennistoun, her former husband, who is now married to Almina, widow of Lord Carnarvon, for £1,089, representing loans borrowed on his behalf for the settlement of debts. In the absence of defendant, other evidence was interposed............

Time - Monday March 23, 1925
Foreign News: Scandal

Before Mr. Justice McCardie in the King's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice went one of those periodic scandals that causes the various strata of British society to experience the gamut of emotions.

The dramatis personae of the trial:

Lieutenant Colonel Ian Onslow Dennistoun, defendant.
Dorothy Muriel Dennistoun, plaintiff, divorced wife of the above.
Almina, Dowager Countess of Carnarvon, second wife of Colonel Dennistoun.
The late General Sir John Cowans, Quartermaster General of the British Expeditionary Force during the War, held to be "the best quartermaster since Moses."
Sir Ellis Hume Williams, counsel for the plaintiff.
Sir Edward Marshall Hall, counsel for the defendant.

The story, as revealed during the trial, showed that Mrs. Dennistoun lived as the mistress of Sir John Cowans with her husband's consent (denied by defendant, but supported by evidence) and, as Sir Ellis Hume Williams puts it, enabled her husband to live on her immoral earnings. It was alleged by plaintiff, denied by defendant, that several important Army positions had been secured by Mrs. Dennistoun for her husband through the General.

In May, 1921, the Dennistouns were divorced and an arrangement was agreed upon whereby Colonel Dennistoun would support the divorcée when he 'was in a financial position to do so, provided that she would not press for a court order for alimony. In 1923, a few months after the death of the fifth Earl of Carnarvon of Tutankhamen fame, Colonel Dennistoun married Almina, the Dowager Countess.

Mrs. Dennistoun, however, brought suit to recover £952, which she declared she had at various times lent Colonel Dennistoun. She charged that, in 1923, Dennistoun was living in a luxurious flat in Sackville Street and could afford to pay her. Counsel for defence denied that Colonel Dennistoun had any money from which plaintiff could collect, called the case attempted blackmail of Lady Carnarvon, said that defence had been entered because Mrs. Dennistoun would have continued to demand money if her claim had been paid.

The case, which was expected to cost $100,000, was continuing.

Prescott Evening Courier
Wednesday April 1, 1925
Lois Meredith Sues Col. Dennistoun
London, April 1. - Lois Meredith, film actress, is the American woman suing Lieut. Col. Ian Onslow Dennistoun for breach of promise, it was revealed here. The identity of the woman referred to as "beautiful and prominent" by her attorney, Dudley Field Malone, New York lawyer, has been the subject of much speculation.

Malone made an announcement in Paris, explaining that the new suit against the chief figure in the sensational suit that recently startled London would be filed here through a British colleague.

He said that his client, who is now in the United States, would appear in London, when the hearings in the case were begun.

"I have studied carefully the evidence in the matter which consists of some hundred letters written by Dennistoun in his own hand," Malone declared.

"They cover a considerable period of time which corroborates the claim that he made promises of marriage to my client after his divorce from his former wife and before his marriage to the Dowager Countess of Carnarvon, widow of the Egyptologist."

Time - April 6. 1925
The case of Dennistoun v. Dennistoun (TIME, Mar. 23) came to an end. The jury awarded Mrs. Dennistoun $30,000 damages against her divorced husband, since married to Almina, Dowager Countess of Carnarvon. The question of costs was still under consideration. Immediately after the case, a firm of solicitors in London announced that a "young, unmarried and beautiful" client intended to bring a suit against Colonel Dennistoun for breach of promise. The lady was said to be an American, alleged to be Lois Meredith, cinema star, who, interrogated in Manhattan, did not deny that she was the "young, unmarried and beautiful" woman referred to, but declined to make any positive statement.

Military Misdemeanours: Corruption, Incompetence, Lust and Downright Stupidity - by Terry Crowdy - 2007


In 1923 Tutenkhamen's tomb was opened by Howard Carter and his backer, Lord Carnarvon, who went on to die two months later of the so-called 'Mummy's Curse'. A few months later his widow, Almina, the Dowager Countess Carnarvon, married a divorcee, Lieutenant Colonel Ian Onslow Dennistoun.

It's bad enough when your first husband dies of a 3,000-year-old Egyptian curse, but the Lady Carnarvon really picked a stinker in Dennistoun - for he had a very guilty secret that the world was about to share.

Dennistoun had divorced his wife Dorothy in Paris in May 1921 and had made an arrangement that he would support her when he was in a financial position to do so, providing she did not go to court to secure payments. However, by the time of his remarriage Dennistoun had not only neglected to pay anything to his ex-wife, he had actually borrowed money from her amounting to £952. While he enjoyed the high life, living it up in a luxurious apartment, Dorothy had yet to receive a penny. Such was her allegation when she took the matter to court in March 1925.

Lieutenant Colonel Dennistoun would have done well to make arrangements for his former wife, because she had an unbelievable story to tell, which she did while giving evidence. From before the war, perhaps since 1912, Dennistoun had come up with an unusual arrangement with his wife. In order for him to gain promotions and favour, Dennistoun effectively sold his wife to Sir John Stephen Cowans, Quartermaster General of the British Army. In return for his wife's favours, Dennistoun received a nice appointment as secretary to the Governor of Jamaica and then, during the war, choice appointments in Gibraltar, plus his promotion from captain to lieutenant colonel and his appointment as Cowans' deputy at Versailles. In court Dennison denied that he gave consent for his wife to be Cowans' mistress, but evidence was produced (including letters) which showed that the allegation was true.

It might seem inconceivable that such a respected figure as Cowans could be so base. The general was thought of as a genius, often referred to as 'the best quartermaster since Moses'. However, in addition to his. irregular arrangement with Mrs Dennistoun, it seems that Cowans had an involvement with a certain Mary Cornwallis West, the estranged wife of the Duke of Westminster and mistress to the prince of Wales. 'Patsy', as she was best known, was eager to promote the cause of her lover Patrick Barrett, a sergeant in the Royal Welch Fusiliers, and procured for him a commission. When this scandal broke in December 1916 Cowans was administered little more than a rap over the knuckles and allowed to continue in his post.

The Dennistoun trial lasted three mud-raking weeks and was headline news throughout. The jury awarded Dorothy Dennistoun a considerable sum against her former husband, reported at $30,000 by the American magazine Time. More importantly, changes to the law were introduced in Parliament to limit the reporting on divorce cases in an attempt to avoid the sort of obscene details exposed in the case of Dennistoun v. Dennistoun.

The Times - June 30, 1928
Forthcoming Marriages
A marriage has been arranged between Colonel Nicholas Woevodsky, son of Admiral Woevodsky, and Dorothy Muriel Dennistoun, daughter of the late Godfrey Webster.

The Times - December 18, 1928
Colonel N. Woevodsky and Mrs. Dorothy Dennistoun took place at St. Philip's Church yesterday.

Costa Brava - 100 Years
Centenary Music Nights
In 1927, Nicholas Woevodsky and his wife, Dorothy Webster, a pair of wandering aristocrats in search of their own piece of paradise, bought a property beside the sea in Calella de Palafrugell. The couple commissioned a small neo-Gothic castle to be built and they converted the steep terrain into a pleasant garden with exceptional views across the blue rock-filled sea. Cap Roig —or the ‘Russian House’, as the property was commonly known— marked the beginning of the presence of cultured and cosmopolitan foreigners in the Costa Brava, who fell in love with that rugged but enchanting land.

Nicholas or Nicolai, was an exiled Colonel from the army of Nicholas II of Russia. It was his interest in architecture and her interest in archaeology and gardening that resulted in the gardens at Jardi Botanic Cap Roig.

Nicholas became a naturalised British subject 15 June 1932, together with his daughter, Mary.

The Times - January 28, 1980
Woevodsky. - On 24 January, 1980, at her beloved garden, Castillo Cap Roig, Painfrugell, Gerona, Spain, Dorothy (nee Webster), wife of the late Colonel Nicholas Woevodsky, of Russia.

Dorothy Muriel Webster