Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2019

Treasure Trove in Books: Emmeline and Frederick Pethick-Lawrence

I’ve recently started reading Vera Brittain’s biography of Frederick Pethick-Lawrence, Pethick-Lawrence: A Portrait. It’s part of the research for the biography of Millicent Price (née Browne) I’m writing. Millicent had fond memories of the Pethick-Lawrences. It was Frederick who gave her the nickname “Militant Browne”.    Imagine my surprise on opening the book to discover a veritable treasure trove! First of all, the book has a dedication by Esther Knowles. Esther Knowles was one of Frederick Pethick-Lawrence’s two secretaries. As Vera Brittain mentions, Esther first came into contact with the Pethick-Lawrences when she went to stay in the holiday home they had provided for poor London children near their home in Holmwood, Surrey. During the militant campaign, Esther worked at WSPU headquarters. She was the youngest worker there and later said that she found it all quite exciting. During one police raid, she prevented the seizure of WSPU funds by hiding the co

"Madder than ever": The Tollemache Family of Batheaston

In 1894 Reverend Clement Reginald Tollemache (1835–1895) moved to The Villa, Batheaston with his wife, Frances Josephine, and three daughters, Mary, Grace and Aethel. The family had been living in Brighton, where the Reverend Tollemache had settled after ministering in India for some years. His daughters were all born in India. In Batheaston, Reverend Tollemache gave ministerial assistance at St John’s and St Catherine’s churches. However, he did not enjoy his new home for long, and died in November 1895.   In 1903 the eldest of the three sisters, Mary, married Bernard Charles Spencer Everett, a canon at St George’s Chapel, Windsor. Grace (1871–1952) and Aethel (1874–1955) remained in Batheaston. Here their lives took an arguably much more exciting turn than that of their sister in the quiet precincts of The Cloisters at Windsor Castle. In 1907 Aethel Tollemache and her friend and neighbour Mary Blathwayt of Eagle House, Batheaston went to a meeting in the Victoria Room