The Lees family – the 1800’s and 1900’s

The Lees: early history

In 1890 Baronet and MP Sir Elliott Lees bought land in Dorset and moved into South Lytchett Manor (now Lytchett Minster School).

His second son, John, inherited the title after the death of the eldest son. Much of the Holton land was requisitioned by the Royal Navy for a cordite factory in World War 1 but the family retained East Holton Farm (later to become Holton Lee). The Manor was requisitioned in WW2 and later sold, and Sir John and Lady Madeline moved to Post Green House, Lytchett Minster.

The 1900s

Making movies


Bible College


Lady Madeline Lees is remembered for making films for ITV on biblical themes, starring the whole village – and once, a borrowed camel! The couple’s Christian faith was tested when their eldest son was killed, but after the war Lady Lees discovered the killer’s identity, forgave him and invited him to the family home. Their second son Thomas, married to Faith, inherited the home in 1955.

In the mid-1960s, Tom and Faith started a small Bible study group which, with the arrival of evangelist Jean Darnall, grew to 300 people. With their four children, Tom and Faith took their responsibilities seriously both in the local community and in offering hospitality to people in need, accommodating up to 25 people at a time in their home and later expanding this community support using local homes they owned, to form the Post Green Community.

Protecting Holton for charitable use


Sir Tom, realising how precious the land at Holton was, turned down a multi-million pound offer from a developer and designated it for charitable use as the East Holton Charity, renamed Holton Lee in 1992, had charitable trust status to develop an environmental and arts centre for disabled people.

Sir Tom married Christine Kelleway, a Community member since 1983, in 1998. Tom’s son Christopher succeeded him after his death in 2016.

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