Welcome to Monmouth
Welcome to Monmouth

Charles Rolls

Charles Rolls

Link:  Wikipedia

The Honourable Charles Stewart Rolls (August 27, 1877 - July 12, 1910) was, together with Frederick Henry Royce, a co-founder of the Rolls-Royce car manufacturing firm.

He was born in Berkeley Square, London but retained a strong family connection with his ancestral home of The Hendre, near Monmouth, Monmouthshire, Wales.

He was a son of the 1st Baron Llangattock.

Rolls was educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge, and from his youth was interested in engines.

He owned his first car at 18 - one of the very first three cars owned in Wales.

Rolls was a big man. He stood about 6'5".

Rolls started one of Britain's first car dealerships when he started importing and selling French made vehicles.

He teamed up with Frederick Henry Royce to found the manufacturing company in 1906, Royce providing the technical expertise to go with Rolls's financial backing and business acumen. They were winning awards for the engineering reliability of their cars by 1907.

Rolls was also a pioneer aviator and initially, balloonist. He made over 170 balloon ascents. He was a founding member of the Royal Aero Club in 1903 and was the second person in Britain to be licensed to fly by them.

In 1903 he also won the Gordon Bennet Gold Medal for the longest single flight time. On June 2, 1910, he became the first man to make a non-stop double crossing of the English Channel by plane, taking 95 minutes - faster than Bleriot.

In the same year, he was killed in an air crash at Bournemouth when the tail of his Wright Flyer broke off, making him the first Briton to be killed in an aeronautical accident, and the eleventh internationally.

A statue in his memory, in which he is seen holding a biplane model, was erected in Agincourt Square, Monmouth.

His grave lies in a little known corner of Monmouthshire at the now disused church of Llangattock Vibon Avel, where many of the Rolls family lie buried in various family tombs. His grave is just below Llangattock Manor and bears the inscription 'Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God'.

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