General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 28 Feb 2021/5 Monkey
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The Mexican eagle engraved on a wall at Worth Abbey

Worth Abbey, West Sussex

Who would expect to find the Mexican national emblem proudly engraved high up on a tower at a leading independent school near Crawley in Sussex?

Lord Cowdray
Lord Cowdray

The answer touches a sensitive aspect of Mexican history: the resentment many Mexicans feel at the vast amount of riches that foreigners (Spanish, French, Austrian, North American and English ...) have reaped from their country since the arrival of the Conquistadores in 1519. Before Worth Abbey (now also a school) became a Benedictine Monastery in 1933 it was called Paddockhurst, and was one of the splendid homes of Viscount (Lord) Cowdray, a Yorkshire businessman (born Weetman Pearson) and MP who became the sixth richest man in Britain out of the huge wealth he made from exploiting Mexico’s first oil production under the dictator Porfirio Diaz.

The Cowdray Arms featuring a Mexican man
The Cowdray Arms featuring a Mexican man

His extensive interests in Mexico, from construction of railways, dams, harbours and tunnels to mining and manufacturing, from rural estates (on the eve of the Mexican Revolution in 1910 Pearson’s Mexican Estates Company controlled well over a million acres of land) to his ownership of the ‘El Aguila’ oil company, meant that he was so often absent from the House of Commons that he earned the nickname ‘The Member for Mexico’. In recognition of the source of so much of his wealth, Pearson not only added the Mexican eagle emblem to one of his homes but also included a Mexican ‘peon’ (labourer) in the Cowdray coat of arms on becoming a peer.

Worth Abbey today
Worth Abbey today

(From our own personal research and that of Professor Paul Garner, Cowdray Professor of of Spanish, University of Leeds)
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Here's what others have said:

Mexicolore replies: Thanks for this info, Ted. Would be great to track down an image of one of these...
Mexicolore replies: We were kindly supplied with a copy by the Cowdray Estate Office, Cowdray Park, Midhurst, West Sussex GU29 0AQ;,