Sunday, 15 November 2015

A Society Wedding

A couple of week’s ago I wrote a post about the Rev. Henry Fearon, which included some very brief reports of marriage ceremonies he performed, and which included some well-known Loughborough names. This week, I thought I’d expand on that a bit and share with you a report of a society wedding from 1864.

Although this wedding took place in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, the bridegroom, Edward William Craddock Middleton, was an important figure in Victorian Loughborough, being a banker and the youngest child and only son of Edward Chatterton Middleton and his wife, Anna Maria (1). Edward Chatterton Middleton was one owner of the “Loughborough Bank”, which had its premises in Loughborough Market Place.

Mr Middleton’s bride, Augusta Sophia Vavasour, from Ashby-de-la-Zouch, was the daughter of the Rev. Marmaduke Vavasour and his wife Mary Ann St John. Marmaduke Vavasour was vicar of Ashby, honorary canon of Peterborough Cathedral, and son of Thomas Hippon Vavasor, a merchant from Rochdale.

During their married life Edward William Craddock and Augusta Sophia lived at Shelthorpe Cottage (see below for a picture). This house is now The Cedars Hotel on Cedars Road. After the death of her husband, Augusta Sophia moved to the White House, so called because it was originally built in about 1823 for the White family who were owners in the hosiery company Paget and White. This house is now Fairfield House and is part of Fairfield School (pic below).

There are a number of people mentioned in this report. Rather than try and explain who they were by inserting the info in square brackets, I’ve included a list towards the bottom of the report. 

So, who exactly are we talking about?
“Marriage of E.W.C. Middleton, Esq.. 
On Tuesday last [7 June 1864], the pleasant town of Ashby-de-la-Zouch was the scene of unusual animation and gaiety, form early dawn till evening, the day being appointed for the marriage of Edward William Craddock Middleton, Esq., junior partner in the well-known banking establishment of Middleton, Cradock & Middleton, Loughborough, with Miss Augusta Sophia Vavasour, youngest daughter of the Rev. Marmaduke Vavasour, the esteemed Vicar of Ashby, and honorary canon of Peterborough.”
What report would be complete without comments about the weather?
“The morning was a most charming one for the occasion; the sun shone forth brilliantly, and everything seemed to wear a joyous aspect.
Two archways, composed of evergreens, and were tastefully ornamented with flowers and banners, were erected in the churchyard.”
This really was one society wedding because:
“By ten o’clock a singularly animated and cheerful appearance presented itself, from the large number of persons who had congregated in the churchyard. It was literally lined with the inhabitants of the town, and almost every pew in the sacred edifice was occupied by a most respectable and well conducted congregation, while hundreds had to content themselves with remaining outside, and others in order to catch a glimpse of the fair bride ascended to the lower roof of the church.”
And what of the bride?
“The bride, on reaching the avenue leading to the church, followed by the long line of bridesmaids, had her path strewed with flowers by the school children who were stationed in the following order:- On the right hand were the boys of the Blue and Green Coat Schools and on the left the girls of the National School, all of whom held a bunch of flowers in their hands.
The bridal party reached St Helen’s church at a quarter past eleven o’clock. The lovely bride entered leaning on the arm of her father, and the bridegroom and his party advanced from the vestry to meet them at the altar.
The bride was dressed in white moirĂ© antique, wearing a wreath of lilies of the valley and range blossoms, with long tulle veil. She also held a splendid bouquet in her hand, and as she passed up the church to the communion she was observed of all the observers.”
Sounds like the bridesmaids were out in force too!
“There were eight bridesmaids, each being dressed in white glace silk, the bodies being trimmed in pale blue. Their bonnets were of tulle, trimmed with bouquets of blue flowers both inside and out, and long tulle veils reaching to the end of the dress behind. Each of them held a beautiful bouquet. The following are the names of the young ladies who officiated on the occasion:- Miss Vavasour (sister of the bride) (2), Miss Monk, Miss Louisa St John, Miss Fanny St John (cousins of the bride) (3), Miss Louisa Echalaz, Miss Beatrice Echalaz, and Miss Smith.”
And the guests?
“The following gentlemen attended:- John Cradock, Esq. (groomsman), William Paget, Esq., Walter Paget, Esq. (4), R.P Laurie, Esq., Bruce Campbell, Esq., Rev C. Anderson, Arthur Douglas, Esq., and Dr Eddowes (5).
Amongst the bridal party were Mrs Vavasour, E.C. Middleton, Esq., and Mrs Middleton, Captain and Mrs Hunter (6), Mr and Mrs Vavasour (7), Mr and Mrs St John (8), Mr and Mrs Denton (9), Mr Balguy, Mr St Aubin, etc..”
The ceremony:
“The nuptial ceremony was performed by he Rev. J.F.S. Vavasour (10), brother of the bride, curate of Sconby assisted by the Rev. J.M.Gresley (11), brother-in-law of the bride, and her esteemed father gave her away in marriage.
At the conclusion of the impressive ceremony the newly-married couple and nearest friends adjourned to the vestry, where the customary registration took place.”
Everyone loves a good wedding, not least the children!
“A very novel but pretty scene was then witnessed. Two little girls, Miss Webster and Miss Denton (12), and two little boys, Master Gresley and Master Denton (13), who, during the ceremony at the altar remained in the rear one of each bearing a basket of rosettes, now followed the bridal party into the vestry and distributed the contents of the baskets amongst them. The bridal party then retired and the organ, which upon their entering the church had given out some chants suitable to the occasion, now played a well-known wedding march; Mr W.Adlington, of Derby (and formerly of Loughborough), most ably presiding at the organ.”
And the sound of church bells -
“The bells of St Helen’s also rang forth one of their merriest peals, and the cheers of the people greeted the bridal party as they returned to the vicarage.”
Sounds like a good feast was had by all:
“The wedding breakfast took place in a spacious marquee on the lawn, in front of which the whole of the school children had been previously regaled with cakes and wine, their happy countenances testifying their share of the happy day’s joy.
A very rich and splendid repast was served out in the most sumptuous manner, to which above fifty sat down; the bride cake, a conspicuous object on all such occasions, being placed in the centre of the table. The healths of the happy bride and bridegroom were cordially proposed and most feelingly responded to.”
And afterwards:
“The bride’s presents, which were very numerous and costly, were displayed in the library, and formed, indeed a most beautiful sight.
After breakfast the happy pair proceeded to Derby, in chaise and four greys, with postillion en route to The Lakes, on their wedding tour.
The day’s festivities were brought to a close by a ball in the National School-room, which was nicely decorated, and at which there was a numerous and brilliant assembly. The band of the Hastings Rifle Corps were in attendance, and enlivened the company until the early dawn.
At Loughborough, too, the fine-toned bells of All Saints Church rang out a merry peal, and continued ringing at intervals during the whole day, and we are sure their music was only an expression of the congratulation of the entire inhabitants of the native town of the bridegroom, - a town which delights to do honour to the name Middleton, thus carrying out the good old principle “honour to whom honour is due”, with all good wishes for the newly married pair.”
From: Nottinghamshire Guardian, Friday 10 June 1864, p.3, issue 960

(1) Edward Chatterton Middleton and his wife, Anna Maria Stanbrough were married in 1834, and had three children: Clara Maria, Louisa Elizabeth and Edward William Craddock. Clara married Robert Hunter, a Captain in the army, whiles Louisa married Edmund Eddowes, a clergyman, son of John Henry Eddowes a doctor in Loughborough. 

(2) Miss Vavasour (sister of the bride) could be Louisa Jane

(3) Miss Louisa St John, Miss Fanny St John (cousins of the bride) would be children of Augusta’s mother’s brother(s).

(4) William Paget, Esq., Walter Paget, Esq., If these were friends of the bridgegroom, then they are likely to be William Byerley Paget and Frederick Walter Paget, sons of William Paget, descendants of the owners of the hosiery firm Paget and White. William Byerley went on to become the owner of Southfield House and later of Nanpantan Hall.  

(5) Dr Eddowes would probably be Dr John Henry Eddowes.

(6) Captain Robert Hunter and Clara, nee Middleton.

(7) This was probably Maramduke Walter and his wife Sybil Catherine, nee Holdsworth

(8) Mr and Mrs St John would be the parents of Louisa and Fanny in (3) above, and brother of May Ann St John, Augusta’s mother.

(9) Mr and Mrs Denton are John Denton who was married to Augusta’s sister Mary Ann Elizabeth.

(10) The Rev. John Francis St John Stukeley, the bride’s brother

(11) Rev. John Morewood Gresley was married to Augusta’s sister Penelope.

(12) Miss Webster was daughter of Frances Barbara, Augusta’s sister and her husband Montagu, so could have been either Louisa (8), or Mary Ann (4), and Miss Denton was either Mary C.P., or Alice Louisa, daughter of Mary Ann Elizabeth, Augusta’s sister, and her husband John Denton.

(13) Master Gresley could have been any of the four boys born to Augusta’s sister Penelope and her husband John Morewood Gresley, so either Nigel (14), Geoffrey (12), William (11), Roger (9) or Lawrence (8) and Master Denton was either Henry St Aubyn, or John Henry St Aubyn, son of Ann Elizabeth and John.

The photos!
St Helen’s Church, Ashby-de-la-Zouch
The grave of John Denton

St Helen's Church

The sundial

Inside the church

Another view inside the church

The pulpit

The Lord Hastings

The memorial to Mary Ann Elizabeth Denton (nee Vavasour)

The White House

The Grove, the Middleton family home

The memorial stone for ECM, EWCM & ASM

The gravestone of the Rev. Henry Fearon

Another view of the White House

The Cedars, formerly Shelthorpe Cottage

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If you have found this post interesting or have any questions about any of the information in it do please leave a comment below. I might not be able to answer immediately, but I will reply as soon as possible. Thanks for reading the blog.