At the time George Wise inherited Woodcote he was unmarried, and at the age of 53, already had another home in Surrey. He died in 1888 and the family estates passed to his cousin, Major General George Henry Waller. George Henry was the son of Sir Thomas Wathen Waller Baronet and Catherine Wise, a daughter of Henry.
George Henry had joined the army at the age of 17 to serve in the Crimean War. A number of personal letters about his experiences are in the Waller Collection, held at Warwickshire County Record Office. When George Henry died in 1892, Woodcote passed to his eldest surviving son, Francis Ernest, who was only 12. His mother, Beatrice, remained at the house with her young family.
As an adult, Sir Francis’ military career often kept him away from Warwickshire so he let Woodcote and lived at The Rock in Leek Wootton. He died in 1914 shortly after the start of World War I, aged 34. The estate then passed to his younger brother, Wathen Arthur.
A hospital in World War II
During World War II, Woodcote became a hospital and Sir Wathen and Lady Viola, his wife, moved to The Stone House in Leek Wootton. After the war Sir Wathen sold some of the estate and was preparing the house for their return when he died suddenly in 1947.
Lady Viola never returned to the house and in 1948 she sold Woodcote and land to Warwickshire County Council for use by the Police. She continued to live at The Stone House until she died in 1962. During this period, she offered the family archive to the Warwickshire County Record Office for safekeeping; this is now the Waller Collection.
The text for this article was originally published in the leaflet Explore Warwick and surrounding villages through the lives of the Wise & Waller Families, published by the Warwickshire County Record Office. A further page looks at the earlier years of the Wise and Waller families at Woodcote.