The Copestake Legacy

Do you know anything about the Copestake Legacy and the Octagonal Hide at College Lakes Nature Reserve? If so, the benefactor’s namesake Moz Copestake, who provided us with this fascinating article, would like to hear from you.

When visiting College Lakes Nature Reserve soon after moving to Tring at the end of 2016, I went to their Octagonal Hide and noticed this plaque. The thing that fascinated me was that unusual surname … my surname, so I checked at reception, sent them a couple of emails as suggested and contacted the Bucks Bird Club. There was a flurry of activity with no one knowing anything about the plaque or the Copestake Legacy but they would ask members. A few more emails circulated to a wider group but all drew a blank, until the Bucks Bird Club published an article earlier this year in their magazine and got the following resonse.

‘I am enjoying the latest edition of the Newsletter and noticed the query about the Copestake Legacy. This goes back to the far-off days when I was Chairman. One of the members was a solicitor in Wycombe and had a client, a Mrs. Copestake with an interest in wildlife, who was seeking a good cause to leave some money to in her will. The Bird Club was suggested and the legacy duly arrived. I forget exactly how much, but several thousand pounds. In addition to the hide I think some of it was used towards funding the first edition of Birds of Buckinghamshire.’

Tantalising, but a great leap forward. I had dates when this gentleman was their chair. I do a bit of genealogy so set to and I have a likely benefactor, Mrs Marjorie Ivy Copestake (1912-1992) neé Butler married in 1933 to Harry C Copestake (1905-1977). They both were born, lived and died in High Wycombe, the only Copestakes I could find there, and I could find no children. It would be nice to know more about this lady if anyone knows anything. It is a shame that her legacy has brought her such little recognition and left her ignominiously forgotten. Photos would be brilliant.

I’m told that her solicitor and member of Bucks Bird Group was a man called Jerry Cook. I did a little sleuthing but to no avail. It was suggested I might discover more through wills and probate but that’s way out of my league. So the questions remain unaswered for the time being …. unless anyone out there can provide a little more information?

Do have any information that could help Moz? If so, please email her at