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In the burial ground of the tiny church in Pendomer near Yeovil a prominent monument reads “In loving memory of Cadwallader James Tetley of Buenos Ayres who departed this life November 9th 1913 aged 59”.  As the hundredth anniversary of his death approaches villagers are wondering why his remains were interred in a remote Somerset village where he appears never to have lived nor had any family connections.

Cadwallader Tetley was born in North Yorkshire in March 1854. Soon after his birth his father Joseph emigrated to New Zealand where he built up a sheep farm of some 94,000 acres, but he fell into serious financial trouble when the wool market collapsed and fled to Uruguay where he eventually died.  Cadwallader was also a traveller and in 1892 he sailed for Argentina with his friend Clare (“Clara”) Carew Smith where they purchased 15,000 acres of land in a remote area north west of Buenos Aires.  There they set up a cattle ranch that they called “La Chacra” (“The Farm”). In June 1896 the couple returned briefly to England and were married in Bedford before returning to Argentina where their only son, Frank Cadwallader Tetley, was born at Buenos Aires in July 1897.

“Diego”, as he styled himself in Argentina, is still regarded as a pioneer there, particularly in the town of Ameghino (originally called Halsey), which he founded.  He and Clara settled in an area where only “Creoles and Mestizos” lived and, unlike other foreign settlers at that time, set out to get to know them and to build up mutual trust.  La Chacra prospered and when the railway reached the ranch in 1896 Diego donated land for the building of a station.  This formed the nucleus of a town that under his guidance became the “educated, industrious and progressive population centre” that he and Clara had envisioned.  

The family visited England from time to time and in due course Clara settled at Lodge Hill, Farnham in 1909. He himself returned to Farnham for the last time in 1911 and then after a brief illness he died at a London nursing home on 9 November 1913.  He was cremated at Golders Green and his ashes were, inexplicably, subsequently buried in Pendomer.  

We would be delighted to hear from anyone who can throw any light on this mystery.  Please contact us by email at .