Wednesday, 9 January 2013



... On Tuesday the 12th July 1881, the Baldocks proudly announced to the world from No 8 Grosvenor Square, that a girl had been born into the family. Turning out to be their only surviving child, Sarah Frances Constance Lillian Baldock would be the only heir to the family's vast fortune and when she was just four years of age she became a resident of Melton Mowbray when the family moved in to the Lodge. It is fascinating to see in the census for 1891, the 20+ domestic staff who were employed to ministrate to the three of them. The 1901 Census later indicates that young Sarah had achieved her rite of passage in reaching her 18th anniversary; allegedly a wilful child, she also comes across as both handsome and spirited in a positive sense, but her salad days would soon be be entering a devastating and destructive period both for her and her parents when, against the spirit and practices of her socially aware upbringing, she began to court the man of her dreams and the Baldocks' hereditary aspirations were to crumble into dust and ignominy....  


E. F. Duvall and Co. Engravers.

For many years there existed in Northumberland Street in the Strand, central London, amongst a great multitude of divers other small businesses, a small workshop which was owned and being operated by a 'Duvall' family who seem to have arrived in England about the time that the persecuted Huguenots began their immigration. John Duvall (1770-1836) a noted and respected engraver, might have established or inherited the business there, together with his wife Martha. The art of engraving was a very important one at this time and good artisans and practitioners were highly respected and usually remunerated handsomely for their patient skills which would have been utilised for illuminating books and documents, personalising glass or metal, or producing fine seals for use on official documents, not to mention many other aspects of the trade which are today covered by the use of computers. At the time, the French and Italians were looked upon as leaders in the field.

An Engraver at Work
John and Martha Duvall had just one child, John Charles Adrian, who was born in 1798 and by the 1830's he was satisfactorily  trained and probably sufficiently capable of carrying on his father's business with the assistance  of an  expanding number of skilled employees. Around 1820 he  married Elizabeth Badham and by 1837 three girls and two boys were born, but sadly, on 23 November, 1839, Elizabeth was to die quite unexpectedly at a very young age.

Trade Directories at the turn of the century show the firm as 'E.F. Duvall and Co., Engravers, No. 3 Northumberland, Strand, London' but I was to search for a long while before discovering the relevance of the initials 'E.F.' in the title, as these related to none of the existing family. The answer might lie in the fact that almost exactly one year after the death of his beloved wife Elizabeth and just four years following that of his father in 1936, John junior would marry Eleanor Frances, the daughter of Daniel O'Hara. This marriage took place on the 26 November 1840 at All Soul's Church, St Marylebone, but there were no further children added to the family from this second union. By now, as the incumbent proprietor of the firm, might John Duvall have re-named it after his new wife?

Enter The Bishop Family.

Elizabeth Mary Duvall was John Duvall's eldest daughter of his seven children; she was born in 1820 and following her time spent at school and what other higher education was considered necessary or affordable, she probably took an apprenticeship after which she too was to acquire a knowledge of the skilled art of engraving and would eventually take up a place at her father's benches in the Strand workshop. Elizabeth was probably working there when her stepmother Eleanor O'Hara arrived on the scene. Also working at Duvalls around the same time was a young artisan from Gloucestershire; now living in the capital city, William Thomas Bishop was born in Cirencester in1817 and in the January of 1840, he would marry Elizabeth and thus become a part of the Company which was by now trading as E.F. Duvall and Company, Engravers.

The first born child to William and Elizabeth Bishop, was William John; he was born on the 30th May 1841 in London, Their next child was Elizabeth who was born in 1846, but by this time the family were resident in Ireland where also, Mary 1848, Henry 1850, Thomas 1856 and Charles Edward 1858, were born. I have not discovered the reason for their sojourn across the Irish sea though it might possibly have been for business purposes. In 1862, Clara Charlotte was born in Bermondsey and she would be their last making a total of 7 in all and by this time the family seem to have returned home to London. Father William was to die on the 18th July 1882 when the family were living apparently quite comfortably in Kensington and Elizabeth passed away on 17th January 1893 in St James, Westminster.

The above mentioned William John Bishop, married in his middle twenties but the certificate cannot be located to date. His bride was a Clara Miller who was born around 1839 but once again, her actual date of birth is only to be estimated as no official record is at hand. Their first born child was named Arthur Duvall Bishop, with the middle name an obvious connection with his grandmother. Arthur was born on the 26th July 1866 in Brixton, London, followed two years later by his sister Bertha in 1868 and finally Evelyn in 1969. By this time the family was living in the Strand, possibly at or close to, the workshop. But before any more children were born, tragedy seems to have arrived in the form of Clara's untimely death in the Spring of 1871 at the young age of about 32 years.

With a living to pursue and with the sole responsibility for three young children now under his care, William was soon to meet Elizabeth Clayforth, a Yorkshire lass who was born near to Leeds. In the Spring of 1871 Elizabeth was living in nearby Wombwell at the residence of her brother Henry Clayforth who was then the Rector of that town. How they met or whether she had moved to London at the time is not made clear, but on the 20th June 1972 the couple tied the marital knot at her local church in Tadcaster and in the process was to create five more step-siblings to make a grand total of eight. The first three of Elizabeth's children all received the inclusion of her family name; Hugh Clayforth Bishop was born in 1874, Cecil Clayforth in 1877 and Hilda Clayforth in 1878. Penultimate child Reginald Bishop seemed to have escaped this pattern in 1881 and oddly, in December 1883, the final addition was a boy, christened Cyril Duvall Bishop, whom we can only assume was named as an obvious re-connection with his grandmother. All of this second batch of Duvall siblings were born in Sidcup in Kent.

Cyril Duval Bishop

So the majority of the Bishop siblings tended to become absorbed into London life and some inevitably moved away to pastures new, but it is with the young Cyril, the last born, that my preoccupation is now to be concentrated as he grew into a man in the busy streets of South London. It is recorded that he was an extremely handsome and engaging youth who pursued the usual boyhood interests of the day, in particular he was to develop a fascination into the workings of the newly emerging petrol driven motor-cars which were rapidly taking the place of the horse-propelled variety. Then, at some time around 1899 when Cyril was just about sixteen years of age he met 17 years old Annie Matilda Hallows whose family was then living in Lewisham High Road in South London, Her father, Thomas Hallows, was piano teacher and her Mother was formerly Matilda Pitt. Employed as an assistant in a milliners shop, Annie shared her home with a sister, Olive Helen Hallows, who was five years younger. Sometime during that year of their meeting, there was no doubt that a great passage of angst would have existed within the domestic comings and goings of number 19, Lewisham High Road, when Annie was to inform her parents that as a result of her liaison with young Cyril she was pregnant. In the true course of nature, on Sunday, 11th March 1900, a boy was duly born to Annie. According to the official Certificate, the birth was not registered until the 9th May that year and the father's particulars were not recorded but the child is clearly named as Cyril Mervyn Bishop. In 1900, becoming an unmarried mother would have been pretty catastrophic for all parties involved and due to the parents being adolescents, marriage not only would have been out of the question, but would probably not have been legal, so one could be sure to believe that much trepidation and hand-wringing was abroad in the Hallow's household in those early months of 1890. I am informed on good authority that a decision was eventually made by Annie's parents to 'adopt' Cyril and to bring him up ostensibly as part of their existing family. In the 1901 Census he is shown as Mervyn C.B. Hallows - 'grandson' and in 1911 as 'adopted son'. Mervyn's putative parents, Cyril and Annie never did marry and the names 'Cyril and Bishop' were to remain reduced to 'C.B.' .

Cupid calls again.

By the time he had reached 18 years of age, the handsome and apparently debonair young Cyril Duvall Bishop remained a bachelor and indeed, already had eyes for another when he was to meet and fall in love with the aforementioned Miss Sarah Frances Constance Lillian Baldock, only daughter of Colonel E.H. Baldock and his wife, the former Agnes Jessie Bibby heiress to a share of the famous shipping empire of the name. It is sad to say though, that this 'Romeo and Juliet' affair would very soon gain the stature of a festering sore and a mounting problem to the very wealthy and highly regarded Baldocks and has already been mentioned, their societal existence and hereditary aspirations were threatened with disintegrating into public ignominy. High Society has long been plagued with tales of derring-do and dipping below their station by potentially wealthy Heiresses - especially those of American business magnates who came to England in large numbers seeking a title - or even an entrance in to the world of Royalty - to match their wealth. Nothing is more up-to-date than the fictional storyline of ..... and .... in the T.V. series, 'Downton Abbey' and of course we all remember the meanderings of Grace Kelly in the iconic film of 'High Society'.

It seems that a great passion of Colonel Baldock's life, especially during his residence at Melton,  and aside of his great love of sport, was the ubiquitous motor-car and it was for sure that this affection was to throw together his daughter and the young motor mechanic, but he would never have dreamed of the outcome. In 1903, on the occasion of her birthday, Sarah received a motor-car as a gift from her parents, but who was to drive her around or in fact, teach her how to drive it? Well, an enthusiastic young man had recently set up a small garage and chauffeur business in her little market town and he fitted the bill perfectly. The resulting story of this liaison of two unlikely and totally unmatched young people is perhaps one of joy to some and perhaps more, to many others, a tale of great tragedy. Against massive odds and against all the wise thinking of those around them, the couple would marry and take a leap into the unknown. The wedding was not covered by the 'better' newspapers, but the populars ones carried varying romantic accounts of the big day. My favourite version, which was picked up from the 'Chronicle' in England, was re-reported on the far side of the world in the New Zealand, 'Auckland Star'. On page 9 of its edition of Saturday, 10th June, 1905, readers would have been attracted by the byline;


   Three years ago Colonel Edward Holmes Baldock, the wealthy commander of the 3rd County of London Imperial Yeomanry and a Leicestershire County magnate [magistrate?], gave his daughter Miss Sarah Frances Constance Lilian (who is a niece of the Countess of Kilmorey) a motor car as a birthday present. The chauffeur he selected to initiate his daughter into the mysteries of motoring was a very good-looking young man bearing the by no means plebeian name of Cyril Duvall Bishop. Miss Baldock knew nothing about motoring to start with, but very soon became an enthusiast. Day after day, accompanied by the chauffeur, he would indulge in long country drives and golf, tennis, hunting, in their seasons, lost all attractions for the young lady. Not one of her family or friends suspected that the delight of swiftly rushing through the country lanes were not the only attractions the car provided for Miss Baldock until about a year ago. Then it suddenly dawned upon the Colonel that his daughter had fallen violently in love with the chauffeur and his eyes being opened, he very soon discovered that not only had the couple plighted their troth, but had made all arrangements for an early marriage. The Colonel was furious, and, with one exception, the feminine element in the Baldock family, set to work to try to cure Miss Baldock of her infatuation. The chauffeur was approached, and a very considerable sum of money was dangled before his eyes as an inducement to to take himself out of Miss Baldock's life. But Bishop refused firmly to anything of the kind, and all the family's efforts to bring Sarah to her senses were alike fruitless. She wanted her chauffeur for her husband and she meant to have him. However, at that time she was not of age, and the fortune to which she was heiress was not under her control. The family, therefore, decided to see what a separation of the lovers would effect, and sent Miss Baldock first to France and then to Ceylon in the hope that she would forget her lowly lover.  When they imagined a cure had been effected Miss Baldock was allowed to come home again, having meanwhile, 'come of age.' Being a free agent, Miss Baldock at once sought her lover, and without loss of time the pair arranged for an immediate marriage at St Peter's, Eaton Square and on Thursday, April 28th, Miss Baldock, society belle and heiress, became Mrs Bishop. The family's oppositon being as great as ever, Miss Baldock took precautions to prevent any interference with her nuptials. Solicitors representing the bride and bridegroom were present, and police officers were stationed both inside and outside the church, to prevent any attempt at the abduction of Miss Baldock, should such a desperate measure be resorted to by her incensed relatives.
   But no one appeared to even challenge the Church's right to make the heiress the chauffeur's wife. So, unattended by bridesmaids and with only an aunt to represent her family, and her solicitor to give her away, Miss Baldock, simply clad in a dark blue travelling costume, was married to the man of her choice. The happy pair are now spending their honeymoon at Bournemouth.

The Special License applied for by Cyril Bishop at the cost of 2 shillings and sixpence

Interestingly, again on the far side of the world, in the new land of Australia, a much more formal account of the wedding was reported in 'The Barrier Miner', a newspaper based at Broken Hill. I will quote from this one too, as a lot more detailed information is to be gleaned. In their edition of Tuesday June 20th the paper reported;



An Heiress Marries a Chauffeur.

   A romantic wedding took place late in April at St. Peter's, Eaton Square, London. The parties were Miss Sarah Constance Lilian Baldock (23), the only child of Colonel E.H. Baldock, of 8 Grosvenor -place, S.W., and Mr Cyril Duvall Bishop (22), of Beachcroft-avenue, Southall, formerly chauffeur in the service of the bride's father.
   Mr. Duerdin Dutton, solicitor for the bridegroom, was present in the church, as also were several police officers, some opposition to the wedding having been threatened on the part of the bride's relatives, but everything passed off lightly.
   The bride was most simply attired in a brown travelling costume. Her black hat was trimmed with green velvet, and she wore a large boa. She was accompanied by a Miss Bibby, her aunt of Charles-street, Mayfair. She was received by her solicitor  Mr. Rider, of 8 New-square, Lincoln-inn-fields, who gave her away. The bridegroom's best man was Mr. Arthur Bishop, his brother. All told, not more than a dozen persons were present during the ceremony. After the marriage, which was by special license, the happy pair drove off in a pair brougham to Waterloo for Bournemouth.
   The bride is a tall, athletic young woman and an enthusiastic devotee of outdoor pursuits - an expert motorist, a capital driver of horses and a good shot. At different times she may have been seen managing a four-in-hand in Hyde-park and at Melton Mowbray, or deer-stalking over her father's Scotch moor at Kirriemuir. A Niece of Mr. Frank Bibby, of Liverpool, the owner of Kirkland, the winner of the Grand National, she is a granddaughter of the founder of the firm of steamship owners on the Mersey, and it is understood inherits considerable wealth.
   Mr Bishop is the fourth son of the late Mr. W. J. Bishop of Messrs.  E. F. Duval and Co., a firm of engravers who have been established in the neighbourhood of the Strand for upwards of a century, and whose business is now carried on for his widowed mother. He was educated at Aske's school at Hatcham, the governers of which are the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers. Leaving there he was bound to a firm of motor-car manufacturers in the City, and afterwards started off in his own account as a maker of motor-car parts.
   When Colonel Baldock advertised for a chauffeur to teach his daughter at his place in Melton Mowbray, Bishop obtained the post, and at the same time started a business of his own. He and Miss Baldock were thrown much together, and on one occasion there was an accident, the motor-car colliding with a gate and being badly damaged. The chauffeur managed to save his pupil from injury. A strong affinity grew up between them, which eventually came to the notice of the young lady's father.
   He is said to have offered Bishop £10,000 to go away. The offer was declined but the chauffeur threw up his post and returned to London. Her family did all they could to induce Miss Baldock to think no more of her lover, but to no purpose, and at last her health broke down and her parents sent her on a long tour to the east with her aunt. She returned with her mind made up to marry Mr. Bishop. On her way home, Bishop tried to secure a meeting with the young lady at Paris, but Colonel Baldock intervened, and the attempt failed.
   It is understood that she will will have in her own right, under two settlements, the sum of £300, 000 on the death of her parents. She has at the present time an allowance of £1,000. Through her solicitor she has made an arrangement whereby her husband's future prosperity will be well secured in the event of her death.

J.J.'s Bequest

James Jenkinson Bibby - Shipping Magnate
Of interest to existing members of the family (who are scrutinising me closely!) is the mention of a 'Miss Bibby' who seems to have taken Sarah under her wing during her stressful ordeal and probably acted as a governess when she was banished to Europe. She also crops up when mentioned as being present at the wedding, ostensibly representing the Baldock/Bibby family. I can only surmise that this person was most likely to have been her auntie Sarah (Bibby), the only one of the four sisters to have not married. I really could not imagine that her other three aunties would have been able to put themselves into such a situation. So the die was cast. The determined young lovers were now free to set up home and to become a happily - legal - married couple. This vision of the future seemed to be all the sweeter because, as a legatee of her Grandfather's will in May 1897, she was, upon the death of her mother, destined to receive a huge windfall, as J.J. Bibby's will had deposed; "... for his daughter, Agnes Jessie Baldock and her issue £125,000 ..." [worth £12,643,750 today!]. But, sad to say, life was not to be sweet for long for either of the participants of the contentious union. Whether Mrs Sarah Bishop was aware at the time of their nuptials of her brand new husband's very recent excursion into fatherhood is not known, but it is not rocket science to suggest that it would have been almost impossible to have kept it a secret. If she was not aware - ?????? !!!!!!!

Sad to say, but there is a poignant denouement to this initially happy story of rags and riches, unrequited love and unwelcome angst, which could well have been the timeless plot of a work of fiction and I am not sure that it might have sparked off just that effect over the years, but to the cast of players involved I'm not sure that there would have been a great rush to read it .

No no! That's the hand brake.

I hope to complete this article in Part III, to come as soon as I find the time!

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