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The Association was founded by William Broomhall in 1893 and initially was funded by his friend - the first ever CGA member - William More-Molyneux of Loseley Park in Surrey, Senior Clerk in the House of Commons. The CGA still occasionally holds seminars in the magnificent stately home that remains in the More-Molyneux family.
Briefly put, as described in its earliest publications, the CGA was founded as a 'society of landowners, land agents, farmers and others interested in the land, numbering many thousands, and residing in all parts of the kingdom'.
By the start of the 20th century the CGA was an active and expanding association, operating a Country Gentlemen's Club in London and putting out erudite publications of value to farmers and land-owners. A panel of experts provided advice to members on all aspects of estate management, and the CGA also managed small estates for its members if required.
Other services included the sale and letting of estates and farms; sales of livestock, timber and produce; keeping registers of agricultural situations vacant, and wanted; and acting as a bank with very favourable terms. One of the most popular services offered by the CGA, however, was a mail-order service: members could use catalogues to order 'all kinds of estate requisites for building, farming, gardening, water supply, fencing, etc.' This convenient service was offered country-wide, co-ordinated by a network of District Secretaries. Bulk buying enabled the CGA to offer goods at very reasonable rates.
Early copies of the CGA's Estate Magazine and annual Estate Book (now archived at the CGA offices in Wiltshire) make fascinating reading, providing a unique insight into the life of the landed gentry of the time, as well as historic agricultural practices and rural traditions. Almost from its inception the CGA provided advice to its members and early on began offering various financial services. These services continue to this day, but at heart the CGA remains the association of like-minded people who enjoy golf days, race days, and are privy to a range of benefits and privileges that make it easier to access some of the finer things in life.
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