Constance Agar-Robartes

(1890 -1936) - Aristocratic nurse

The Hon. Constance Agar-Robartes became a nurse shortly after the onset of the First World War. Nursing became her passion and, when the war ended, she set up the Grosvenor Nursing Home in Wimbledon and remained in the profession for the rest of her life.

Credit: Lanhydrock House

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The Hon Constance Agar-Robartes was the youngest daughter of Lord and Lady Robartes from Lanhydrock. Before the onset of the First World War she lived a high-society life, attending balls and fetes and supporting her family in their charity work.

When war broke out the whole family became involved. Four brothers, Thomas Charles (Tommy), Victor, Cecil and Alexander, fought at the Front. Constance’s parents carried out fundraising to support wounded soldiers and Tommy’s twin, Everilda, set up the War Hospital Supply Depot at Bodmin.

Always something of a maverick, Constance undertook training to become a nurse. She was stationed at the South Devon and East Cornwall Hospital in Plymouth and later at a hospital in Hammersmith.

The war was hard on the Agar-Robartes family. Tommy, a local MP and heir to the estate, was killed at the Battle of Loos in September 1915, and Victor and Alexander were both wounded. Alexander suffered from poor nerves following the war and took his own life in 1930; Cecil died young from ill health exacerbated by his wartime experiences. It is not surprising that, once the war was over, Constance felt she could not return to her old life.

She continued in her chosen profession, setting up the Grosvenor Nursing Home in Wimbledon, where she worked until her death in 1936.  Despite having a mild disability - a crooked back - Constance achieved a lot in her short life. 

Key words: women, nursing

Credit: Lanhydrock House (National Trust)