A former long-serving president of Cornwall County Cricket Club, Francis Julian Williams CBE (Caerhays), passed away on 5th January 2019, aged 91 years.
Julian Williams was a great servant of the County Club having taken on the role of President in 1967 following the passing of the Rt Hon Viscount Clifden KCVO in July 1966. It was a post-Mr Williams was to hold for 40 years until retiring in March 2007 when Father Ken Rogers succeeded him.
He was not just a figurehead but involved whole-heartedly in the affairs of the club. Whether it be conducting the Annual Meeting, opening the beautiful gardens at Caerhays in aid of club funds or presenting the Caerhays Cup, awarded for the highest batting partnership annually.
He inherited Caerhays Castle, on the South Cornwall coast, in 1955 from his uncle Charles Williams, MP for Tavistock 1918-22 and Torquay 1924-1955. Charles had moved to the Caerhays Estate following his father’s death in 1939, from Greenway on the River Dart, which was then purchased by Agatha Christie as a Devon holiday home.
Robert Jobson, a family member, president of Veryan CC, a CCL Management Committee member & former Western Morning News journalist has paid this tribute.
Julian Williams, an ever-cheerful president of Cornwall County Cricket Club for 40 years while a leading light in Cornish public life and custodian of Caerhays Castle with its world-famous garden, has died peacefully at home aged 91.
Puffing his pipe and always looking on the bright side, he followed the Rudyard Kipling adage, treating the triumphs and disasters of the Cornish team just the same, as he quietly patrolled the boundary between 1967 and 2006.
His marathon spell began with the captaincies of Roger Hosen and Robin Harvey and culminated with those of Gary Thomas and Tom Sharp, four of Cornwall’s finest. A Gillette Cup encounter in 1977 against mighty Lancashire in front of 4,000 supporters at Truro was a favourite memory.
Born and brought up at Werrington Park, near Launceston, he was the younger son of former North Cornwall MP and Royal Navy Commander Alfred Williams and his wife Audrey. His cricket career began and ended as a youngster on a bowling green at Werrington where, as a batsman, he was subjected to torrid spells of fast bowling by his elder brother Robert. He did, however, become a useful scoreboard operator at Eton. Having also attended Cambridge, where he was president of the University’s Union, his ambition was to follow his father and his uncle, Torquay MP Charles Williams, into Parliament.
His first election battle was in a Labour stronghold at Birmingham, where he lost to Dennis Howell, later to become Sports Minister, before being chosen to defend a Conservative seat in Plymouth. But the death of Charles Williams in 1955, and Julian’s marriage to Delia Marshall of St Mawes in 1956 led to a change of course and him inheriting Caerhays Castle.
He was to spend the rest of his life at Caerhays, entrusted with a Grade One listed castle designed by the renowned John Nash, a spectacular 120-acre garden created by his grandfather JC Williams famed for its magnolias, camellias and rhododendrons, and a country estate. Backed by his wife and a loyal, long-serving team at Caerhays, he branched out into public life and enlivened Cornwall in many spheres, for which he was later awarded a CBE.
Standing as an Independent for the Grampound division, whose parishes included Caerhays, he served Cornwall County Council from 1967 to 1989, being returned unopposed throughout that period. He was elected council chairman for his last eight years.
Mr Williams was a former president and long-serving vice-president of the Royal Cornwall Agricultural Association, the Royal Institution of Cornwall and the Cornwall Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs. A Deputy Lieutenant and High Sheriff of Cornwall, he served on Prince Charles’ Duchy of Cornwall Council, the Prince’s Trust, as a Justice of the Peace at St Austell, president of Gorran Cricket Club and chairman of the Harbour Commission at Portloe.
Pre-deceased by Delia, to whom he was married for more than 50 years, he is survived by two sons, Charles, a driving force at Caerhays for many years, who has succeeded him as chairman of Gorran CC, and David, who works in London, five grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.
Mr Williams’ funeral service is to take place at St Michael’s Parish Church, Caerhays, on Saturday, January 19 at 11 am.