v 6.40.00
19 Dec 2022
updated 21 Dec 2022

The Douglas-Dufresne Connection

The Dufresne family are very possibly descended from Charles du Fresne1,  2, Sieur du Cange, polymathic scholar of immense repute, linguist, and compiler of a greatly respected Dictionary of Middle and Low Latin (Glossarium ad Scriptores Mediae et Infimae Latinitatis, 1678), only just (Dec 2013) superseded (in English anyway) by a 17 volume OUP publication, 100 years in the making by successive teams of dedicated researchers.

How long might they take with a successor to his Dictionary of Middle and Low Greek (Glossarium ad Scriptores Mediae et Infimae Graecitatis, 1688)? We mustn't hold our breath.

Our focus however, is Erik Douglas-Dufresne, natural son of Madeleine Dufresne, though I don't myself know a great deal about him, and would welcome any further details.

He and Ron Kaulback met at the University of Cambridge in the late 1920's and were the firmest of friends ever after. Indeed his wife Elsa related that Erik had said to her "I want you to meet my great friend Ronald Kaulback, I'm sure you'll like him, but if you don't, I'll have to stop going out with you!" Fortunately, Elsa took to Ron at once, and so Erik and she were duly married in 1931.

After the war, Erik became Estate Manager at Keir, Scotland, for the almost unbelievable David Stirling (a latter-day Bulldog Drummond, founder of the world's first and best – predominantly Scottish of course – special forces regiment.) But at the age of only 49, in 1958, Erik died of a quite horrible illness, pemphigo vulgaris, an autoimmune inflammation of the epithelial linings (which form the inner surfaces of all our internal spaces and organs).

Elsa, his devastated widow, moved, with her faithful Morris Minor estate car LES, to an oast-house in Sussex (where I was first introduced to her), which was convenient for Worth Abbey, thereafter to be the pivotal feature of her life. Father Victor, first Prior and then Abbot of Worth, became her friend and spiritual mentor. And all her numerous grandsons were to be educated at Worth School, adjacent to the Abbey.

The (Hunt’s Barn) Oasthouse seen from Piccadilly Lane, Mayfield

No access for cars – we always had to park close to the hedge outside!
#IndividualSpouse / PartnerFamily
?Charles du Fresne,
Sieur du Cange
(18 Dec 1610 –
23 Oct 1688)
Catherine Dubois
(m Jul 1638)

‑7Pierre Dufresne Madeleine Lelièvre Pierre Dufresne
(23 Sep 1724 –
29 Nov 1791)
‑6Pierre Dufresne
(23 Sep 1724 –
29 Nov 1791)
Catherine Torquet de Beaumont
(15 Mar 1734 –
10 Sep 1791)
(m 13 Oct 1755)
Charles Dominique Grégoire Dufresne
(4 Mar 1764 –
9 Oct 1848)
‑5Charles Dominique Grégoire Dufresne
(4 Mar 1764 –
9 Oct 1848)
Thérèse Emilie Pinel
(1780 –
(m 25 Nov 1805)
Marie Emilie Dufresne
(b 1807)

Jean Baptiste (Charles) Dufresne
(1811 –
29 Apr 1881)
‑4Jean Baptiste (Charles) Dufresne
(1811 –
29 Apr 1881)
Juliette (Camille) Berard de Champgiraud
(28 Apr 1818 –
9 Oct 1873)
(m 13 Jul 1841)
Charles Etienne (Robert) Dufresne
(31 Oct 1842 –
1 Aug 1920)
‑3Charles Etienne (Robert) Dufresne
(31 Oct 1842 –
1 Aug 1920)
Marguerite de Bousquet
(5 Jan 1849 –
2 Sep 1918)
(m 15 Apr 1872)
Marie Thérèse Camille Dufresne
(1 Sep 1874 –
24 Dec 1954)

Jean Dufresne
(1876 –

Augustin Henri Jean Marie Dufresne
(16 May 1878 –
4 May 1934)

Bernard Marie Maurice Dufresne
(30 Mar 1880 –
31 Dec 1948)

Madeleine Marguerite Marie (Maddie) Dufresne
(10 Jul 1882 –
5 Feb 1978)
‑2Marie Thérèse Camille Dufresne
(1 Sep 1874 –
24 Dec 1954)
Austen Charles Meade
(2 Jan 1872 –
22 Apr 1934)
(m 6 Apr 1899)
Robert François Marie Meade
(8 Jan 1900 –
16 Jan 1972)

Geoffrey Meade
(b 8 Mar 1902)

Sylvia Meade
(b 23 Aug 1904)

Gerald Charles Alan Meade
(b 9 Aug 1905)
‑2Madeleine Marguerite Marie (Maddie) Dufresne
(10 Jul 1882 –
5 Feb 1978)

For the benefit of our two children, she did a marvellous impersonation, with full sound effects, of a restless mosquito, which took two swats with a rolled-up newspaper, first on one child's head and then, more successfully, on the other child's head, which delighted them!
The Dufresne family fable, as promoted by Za, was that a baby boy (whom Maddie subsequently adopted) was the only survivor of a nearby car-crash involving a young Scottish couple by the name of Douglas. Erik Douglas-Dufresne
(4 Aug 1908 –
17 May 1958)
‑1Geoffrey Meade
(b 8 Mar 1902)
Elisabeth Ord Scott
(b 1902)
(m 7 Dec 1929)
three daughters
‑1Sylvia Meade
(b 23 Aug 1904)
Clement Rayne-Davis
(b 27 May 1905)
(m 24 Jul 1934)
‑1Gerald Charles Alan Meade
(b 9 Aug 1905)
Beatrix François-Marie Audibert
(b 11 Oct 1913)
(m 5 Sep 1936)
‑1Erik Douglas-Dufresne
(4 Aug 1908 –
17 May 1958)
Elsa (Za) Sylvia Mary Henrietta Audibert
(18 Jan 1912 –
2 Oct 1995)
(m 1 Dec 1931)
Alan H Douglas-Dufresne

Elise K Douglas-Dufresne
(d 17 Jan 2023, aged 88)
0Alan Douglas-Dufresne

Shirley Allen
(m 1959)

daughter of Dennis Allen
not necessarily in this order:


(31 Jul 1962 –
7 Jul 2014)
0Elise Douglas-Dufresne
(d 17 Jan 2023, aged 88)
Richard Francis Hobbs
(29 Nov 1933 –
30 Mar 1993)
(m 1958)

elder brother of Major General Sir Michael Frederick Hobbs
(b 28 Feb 1937)
Erik Francis
(b 1959)

Peter V
(b 1960)

Christopher M
(b 1962)

David A
(b 1964)

Andrew R
(b 1965)

Timothy Benedict
(b 1969)
1Simon Douglas- Dufresne
(31 Jul 1962 Kenya –
7 Jul 2014 Lima)
Carolyn Roumeguère Peia

Ileana Alfonso

Erik's patrilineal ancestry in the table above is extracted from a very fine family tree, which should be consulted for further information, particularly the matrilineal sides of it, of course.

An interesting coincidence it reveals about his Aunt Marie Thérèse Camille is that her youngest son Gérald Charles Alan Meade (b 9 Aug 1905) married one Beatrix François-Marie Audibert (b 11 Oct 1913) on 5 Sep 1936. Beatrix would very plausibly have been Elsa's younger sister, and so two cousins (Gérald and Erik) married two sisters (Beatrix and Elsa).

Elsa never mentioned this pleasant symmetry, but indeed she rarely spoke about her early life pre-Erik. One thing she did say was that one of her parents (presumably mother) had been American, and the other was that she (Elsa) had been examined in Mathematics for her baccalauréat by a Prince. "Gosh!" I said dutifully, "What was his name?".

"Louis de Broglie," she replied. "Strewth!" I exclaimed. "He was one of the founders of modern quantum mechanics! He won the Nobel Prize for physics! He was really, really famous!"

"That I didn't know," she replied with a slight shrug, "But he was certainly a Prince!"

Strikingly good-looking and unselfconsciously elegant, she must have caused quite a stir, and quickened many a monkish pulse, when well into her sixties Elsa arrived at a remote monastery in the Peruvian Andes to take charge of the catering there. This had quite possibly been arranged via Father Victor, but I don't know how it had been inspired. It all worked wonderfully well, and during her eighteen months' tour of duty, Elsa instituted a number of radical changes to the culinary practices there. One was that all pans and other cooking vessels should be thoroughly scrubbed both inside and out after use, and another was the introduction of things that were simply nice to eat rather than merely nutritious or sustaining. And one item in particular was an outstanding success; as Elsa later recounted to us, "Monks love cake!".

And ever since, we've used this as the gold standard of unexpected but unassailable veracity.