Col John Gammell
John Holmes Houston Gammell was the 4th son of James Gammell of Ardiffery and his wife Sydney Holmes. He was born at Beech Hill Donoughmore, Co. Down on 12 September 1830, and like his brothers went to Edinburgh Academy for his education, where he attended from 1841 to 1846 in Classes 1-5.
Like so many of the Gammells of that time, he also chose the Army as a career, and was gazetted in 1847. The following is a record of his service taken from the Public Record Office in London:
1847 76th Foot Ensign (by purchase)
1850 22nd Foot Lieutenant (by purchase)
1855 63rd Foot Captain (by purchase)
1856 9th Foot Captain (by purchase)
1871 54th Foot (West Norfolks) Major (by purchase)
1877 54th Foot (West Norfolks) Lt Colonel (by brevet)
1877 retired Honorary Colonel
In 1883, he inherited under deed of entail the estates of Lethendy and Whitewell in Perthshire from his uncle Andrew Gammell of Drumtochty. As there was no house to live in on the estate, he built a substantial residence in the Scottish baronial style, which he called 'The Tower of Lethendy', and there he resided until his death in 1902, by which time he had become a local J.P. and a member of the Perthshire County Council.
John, who was almost universally known as 'The Colonel', led a typical bachelor life at Lethendy, surrounded by dogs, and enjoying the usual country pursuits. He kept a good table, and was a generous host. He was a frequent visitor to Drumtochty and particularly enjoyed the shooting parties that took place there.
During the last years of his life, he did not enjoy good health, and it was at Droitwich, where he had gone to take the waters, that he died on 3 February 1902. At his specific request his body was taken back to Lethendy, and he was buried in the churchyard there. The will contained the following instructions for his funeral:
'A simple funeral at Lethendy Churchyard, no flowers and a good lunch for all who attended, in The Tower.'
The estate of Lethendy and Whitewell, he left to his nephew Sydney James Gammell - he had broken the entail left by his uncle, in 1889. The contents of his house he also left to Sydney James. All his silver and plate went to his nephews Hector and Kensington, sons of his brother Harcourt, and the residue including all shares and investments to Sydney Albert Wharton Gammell, only son of his youngest brother Albert. Sydney Albert was also appointed his sole executor.
Col John Gammell