Another twist in the tale of homegrown spy Max

Mystery Figure: Maxwell Naesmyth Wilcock
Mystery Figure: Maxwell Naesmyth Wilcock
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The mystery surrounding a Preston man suspected of being a spy has deepened after it was revealed some people knew him to be a ‘Count’.

Mysterious Max, whose real name was Maxwell Naesmyth Wilcock, was a 6ft 10ins giant with size 19 feet.

He lived in Fishwick Parade and Deepdale Road in Preston in the 1930s and 1940s and worked in a Preston private nursery on Watling Street Road as a PE teacher, before embarking on a life of intrigue, travelling to far flung places and never telling anyone what he did.

His cousin and joint heir Robin Maudsley, 61, of Meadow Street, Deepdale, started to research his life after Max died of pneumonia in a London hospital, leaving a fiancee in San Francisco that no-one knew about, and £13,000 cash stuffed in his pyjamas.

He is trying to contact a woman in Middlesex who revealed she was introduced to Max as ‘Count William Wilcock’ through an aquaintance.

He said: “I have obtained certificates from the Knights Templar organisation showing he was given the titles of Viscount and Count as well as baron Marquis and Grand Duke.

“It is all very intriguing and I want to look further into it.

On an internet site, the woman says: “Other than Dracula and Monte Cristo I don’t know of too many other counts so even though our meeting must have been 15 years ago that made him stand out.

“He was an old-fashioned gent and incredibly polite.

“From what I remember of our brief meeting I know that he had spent most of his life travelling and claimed to have visited every country in the world.

“He was a lover of London Museums and Art Galleries – particularly The British Museum – and visited these often.”

Mr Wilcock, who was also known as Dr Fenshaw, Mr Fetherstonehaugh, and Mr Wilcox, amongst other variations of his name, spoke eight languages, and had nine degrees.

He listed various professions on professional documents including a barrister (though he was never called to the Bar), a hunter, and an antiques dealer.

Mr Maudsley stunned to be contacted by a team of heir hunters in December 2011 to tell him his cousin had died in hospital with £13,000 in his pyjamas.

Mr Maudsley said: “I have been delving deeper in to his mysterious life - where one door opens you find two more.”

Max was 61 when he married his 73-year-old bride Moira Fetherstonehaugh, who has since passed away.

Despite his remarkable life, he spent the final months of his life in a humble, dingy London flat.