Her parents John and Hannah.
For information on the lives of Emily and her five sisters read "The Six Brides of Dilston" by A.R.C. Bolton, who is the Rollo to be found on the Bolton family tree below left.
Emily was the 10th and last child of John and Hannah and the only one to be born at Dilston.
Emily's "RECOLLECTIONS " can be read below:

Emily Georgina Grey

"Emily Georgina Grey born at Dilston May 27 1836 and baptised at Corbridge Church by the Rev H Gibbs July 1 1836"


1. William De Pledge

2. Jasper Bolton

3. F. W. Thomas

Died 2 January 1922 in Clapham.




It has been suggested by my friends in consequence of the letter of which a copy is given that I should jot down some recollections of my early days.  I have held back as I think in the busy advanced life of the present day, one’s children care very little of what happened before they were born, or before they remember – but when I  am gone and they are growing older they may possibly turn to it with more interest.

My childhood was a very happy one. Although the youngest of 9 children – 8 of whom were living, I was, being several years junior, very much alone. My earliest recollections are of, when a tiny child of three, sleeping with my father in a large four post bed – which seemed to me an extensive playground – in which I could form railways and puff from one side to the other, myself an imaginary engine – until I was captured and carried off to the nursery to be dressed by a very tall and austere female, Margaret Bambling – but who was always good to me. I remember also my sister Fanny falling with me in her arms – then a blank – but I think in consequence of this an illness and horrid cold slippery leeches on each temple and then being carried – it seemed to me hours – high above the surrounding objects – to and fro in Margaret’s arms soothed with ease and drowsiness. (1)

My brother C. used to call her “Babylon the Great” and once laid a trap for her to tumble over at his door, and shouted “Babylon is fallen” with rejoicing

Then came on the scene a very opposite – little Jane Batson who wore a high dress always – hardly taller than a child, as my nursery governess, to order my goings generally in my mother’s frequent absences with the elder sisters. At first did not take to Jane, and I thought I, even I a child of 5, could overpower her but she gave me a lesson – she calmly put on her bonnet and walked out and down the path leading to the Railway Station – I thought she was really leaving and I was in a frenzy of fear and penitence – flew out of the house to one I knew would sympathise and act – our old

(1)It would seem curious now to see, as I remember, housemaids wearing print dresses cut low across the shoulders and short sleeves a little above the elbows – with these they wore, generally, a folded kerchief of thick white muslin across the chest. Also young ladies wore every evening low dresses, not as now but square across the shoulders – when I was about 18 or 20 I think some began to wear high or “transparent” bodices over low “slips” – unless in full dress. I believe we were a hardier race then. One did not hear of so many chest and throat complaints as in the younger generation who wrap up in flannels and wear so much fur around the throat.

faithful groom James, whose wife had been nurse to the elder ones and whose children kept pace with us. I entreated him to be quick and go and bring Jane back before the train took her, which he did very speedily, she not being much beyond the old ruined castle, and she returned – with the result of being our dear helper and friend of the family generally until her death in the year ’96. Thus ended my rebellion.

I was a very sensitive and timid child - terrified to be left alone at night especially in the dark. What agonies children endure! I do not recollect ever having been frightened by any one. My eldest brother-in-law, Dr Morrison (at whose marriage I believe I was handed round with the wedding cake, a babe in long clothes) ordered that I should be indulged in this respect for as a baby I had been subject to continued and violent convulsions. (I might add here that I had a call after I was married and “Regy” was born, from a perfect stranger who told me she had been my early nurse and having seen the birth in the paper she felt she must see “Miss Emmie’s baby” – a marvel as I was “such a poor little thing, and she had brought me through the eye of a needle”). Dr. Morrison also told my mother that I must not be forced to learn - “Let her run as wild as she likes, you must see that you have a strong box before you pack it with valuables”. I fear this “running wild” has lasted more or less all my life and that when I grew stronger the “valuables” never got packed. Referring to my timidity one of my earliest mind pictures is, of a wee unhappy child - before Jane Batson’s advent – hesitating to pass from night to day nursery in her nightdress lest mice should pop out to nibble her toes in broad daylight – and of a sturdy little fellow her nephew of about 10 months coming to lead her by the hand protectingly. (This was John Grey Morrison who died soon after).

Except for easy reading with Jane and “pot hooks” and a little later when I recollect Josie being at home practising long on the piano in the Drawing-room - first having given me a page or two to read out of a green shiny book called “Rollo learning to read” and how she would stop and call me to her, from the footstool by the fire (the same black framed ones I have now) to read – and long words which I had not mastered she would mark with a pencil for me to learn. I think I hated “Rollo” for wanting to learn to read because I did not – and realized no need for it, later on I felt ashamed and used to pray hard at night to be able to read in the morning – and felt angry because it was still such uphill work.

A great event stands out clearly – being very carefully and warmly dressed very early one morning for a drive of about 50 miles in our large family carriage, many of us being packed into it – and with luggage behind and my Father driving – he hardly ever let any other hands hold the reins of his two valuable horses. After a time I was hoisted up over the front onto the high driving seat – a wee thing with short legs sticking straight out in front and a wide strap holding me on beside my Father who looked such a magnificent powerful man towering above me and the two lovely strong horses trotting along so freely and Father bending over to talk to me or pointing with his whip to clusters of rabbits which scuttled off with a flash of their white tails as we drew near and hid in great rocks – only to give place to more and more. This drive and the scene and my proud position had a great impression on me. This part was Rothbury – no longer a bleak wild rocky place but a beautiful “health resort”. I remember nothing of arriving at Milfield Hill until a terrifying sound startled me. It was the drums of a band – beginning to perform in the hall below. I was carried down by someone reassuringly and held aloft to see all the farm servants and neighbours dancing in a long, cleaned and decorated barn, and great merriment. It was the evening of my brother George’s wedding day. Milfield Hill was my Father’s birthplace and old home and given to my brother when Father came to Dilston, where I, the only one of the family, was born. Milfield is beautifully situated under the Cheviots on the bank of the “Till” – and “Flodden Field” is on the property. My brother was a famous rider and always had splendid hunters. It was the delight of his sisters to visit him and get good mounts. On one occasion when Josie and Hattie – both together were heading the field – (it was one of George’s stipulations that his sisters should keep alongside of him always first and not slacken off so as to get amongst the “riff-raff” in the rear) an old Scotchman – greatly shocked – enquired “Who are those ladies?”. The reply was “The sisters of Mr. Grey”. On which he remarked as quite sufficient excuse for daring riding – “Oh then it’s in the blood, they can’t help it”.

I did not visit him so much as the elder pair – yet remember some enjoyable “mounts” there, when a schoolgirl in my teens. Also of a very early morning dogcart drive to Scremerston near Berwick – breakfast – and then, mounted on a strange horse out of the stables there – directed to go so much by road and then turn aside onto the long smooth sands and gallop fast to reach Holy Island before the tide came up – to join a large picnic party. I was also warned to avoid “quicksands” – not knowing what these were like, I simply risked them in speed and arrived safely as the party were going to lunch with a smoking and panting steed. The large party riding and driving home in the evening – with the sunset glow over the wet sands was enjoyable, as well as had been seeing the ruins and tracing the history from “Marmion” which I knew and liked in those days!

I remember also a drive with George over the border and passing through Yetholm the then known village and gathering place of real gypsies – and his pointing out to me an old woman their “Queen” who had been very lovely and whose husband would not allow her to wash her face lest her loveliness should attract others.

As I said my early childhood was without much companionship – except at intervals – I suppose it was in Hatty’s holidays – I recall our rides together and pleasant days in the hayfields. Before machinery was used after the scythe cut the hay, many workers with rakes put it into “cocks” in lines. After a time these cocks were drawn together in the following manner – a long strong rope was fastened to 2 horses which, starting at one end, trotted up each side of the cocks gathering them up as they went. This was called a “sweep” and I believe it required a little ability to make the rope catch the first cock and when it came to each one it had to be kept down by the strong feet of 2 men. Our delight was to jump onto the sweep as soon as a little hay collected and as each cock was added to prevent ourselves being tumbled over between them and covered – as we neared the next cock, a sort of spring and scrawl was necessary to keep our position at the top. It was delightful and exciting and a thing of the past – never enjoyed by children now.

From and early age I was passionately fond of my bother Charles – and they were gala days when he returned from school and college. His pet name for me was “Bottle”the origin of which no one knew – as children were “spoon-fed” then as babes – but a jolly boyish voice was constantly heard in the house calling for “Bottle”  to give “pretend” help. Before I used the personal pronoun I used to call myself “Ummy” and I was a terrible little fidget about my clothes, bed etc. I believed I would never sleep unless I had a wee down pillow – like a dolls cradle one – under my ear and I  called it “Pote”, tradition carried on a “Pote” in the family till Rhoda was a child and she had her special “Pote” and has it, I believe, to this day. Jane has told me also that when I was sat on my chair for meals I never would remain until my clothes were smoothed out perfectly flat under me – if not, I wriggled and “O Dane Ummy’s bumflay – Ummy must get down” – what a little nuisance I must have been!

I have a dim recollection of my Mother at rather long family prayers one Sunday evening sitting at her knees on a footstool and generally falling asleep while Father read a commentary.  Once I remember, having been perhaps particularly tiresome (not a Sunday night) and my Mother to get rid of me said “Go and tell Jane to let you tidy her work-basket, it would be a praiseworthy action”.  I thought that such a grand heroic thing and went along the hall and and long passage and up the stairs to the schoolroom saying all the time aloud – not to forget it “Paise worty ackson”.

I cannot tell when brother John came on the scene of my life – but I remember he was ill and walked on crutches for a long time and was an object of reverence and devotion to me. He was tall and dark and very handsome and so kind – when able to get about the garden or wood he always called me to go too, and we used to sit down and he cut me whistles – big and little, a family of whistles out of bits of branches. If allowed to go into his room when he was resting or asleep, I would remain sitting close to his sofa as quiet as possible.

My Father – one day in Newcastle – saw a large drove of Highland ponies going to work in the pits. Always with a ready eye for horse flesh, he noticed a beautifully formed animal – snow white – and thought what a pity to condemn it to a life of labour and darkness amidst coal. So he stopped the driver and negotiated with someone with the result that the pony arrived at Dilston – admired by all – especially I believe as a gift to draw a low phaeton with Mother and an elder sister who was delicate – but though used and valued for its sagacity in this way, it soon became the pet and playmate of Hatty and myself. When at home together we used to practice circus exercises. Kneeling and standing on her bare back with only a broad band around her. One queer thing was that “Apple” as she was named could open any gate about the place – and often, to the annoyance of the men, would think well to do so in the night and conduct the workhorses a long wander up to the woods. On one occasion she was driven by my mother and sister to Shotley, about 15 miles off, ordered to be put in a field near the hotel at night and directions given to have the gate securely tied with rope. In morning - the rope was there but no Apple! Next morning - after much anxiety and search – came a letter from my father saying when he went out for his early morning walk before breakfast he saw Apple serenely grazing in the “Home Field”. What course she took remains a mystery for in those days there were several “toll bar” gates on the road – shut all night – much too high for her to jump.

I was quite a small girl when Apple came, in fact, I do not think I remember her arrival – except by hearsay but she became my constant companion when not otherwise required. We spent whole days together. Apple without any saddle – and sometimes only a rope halter – I with brown holland “waggoner” like a miniature “smock frock” and a tam o’shanter cap (was very often mistaken for a boy as long as my hair was short) and some refreshment in my pocket, we would go off regardless of time and meals and dream at our own sweet will about the lanes and woods – sometimes stopping to let Apple graze whilst I would explore some steep path or look for birds’ nests – climbing trees pretty much as any boy might. On one occasion great praise was due to Apple. I had been in a large hayfield – many workers – with whom “Miss Emmy” was always a favourite – sitting with then during their 4 o’clock – (not tea) a break of half an hour when they rested on the sweet fresh cut hay or under the shade of a tree eating their bread and cheese – they had run short of something – and I offered to ride to the farm to ask for it to be sent out. To do so I had to pass through a very large grass field – in which, unknown to the workpeople, or they would not have let me go, were 2 remarkably vicious large carriage horses – half trained and whose delight it was to rush and kick and bite any person or animal they saw. When a little way across I saw them and was certainly afraid of a meeting. I spoke to Apple to gallop fast – hoping to escape – but their long legs soon overtook her shorter ones – and as they flourished round her she let out in as vigorous kicks as she was able. I, having no saddle or even belt, came over her head, and in all probability would have been trodden to death had she left me – but dear wise beast – she planted her forefeet across me and did her utmost by turning round as on a pivot to keep them away by kicking. Luckily this was seen from the windows of the bailiff’s house across the field and a man at once ran across to our rescue with a heavy whip in his hand. I think Apple’s and my companionship tended to make me more independent, healthy and less timid than anything.

This is hardly a place to bring in religious impressions - but it may be well to do so – for how little grown-up people realise what small things tend to turn the mind of a child – and yet it may be so as in my case as with many – and never made manifest. Someone had given me a wee book, which I liked at first for its pretty shiny red leather binding – called “Sermons for Children”. I could not read beyond the very shortest and simplest words, and all I remember about it is that the “Sermons” were in three or four short pages each. One was called “God is love”, another “Thou God seest me”. I don’t know that I ever got farther than these – but I quite well remember pulling the little book out of my pocket and reading them often sitting on Apple’s back as she wandered slowly along nibbling dainty bits of green stuff by the way side. My first realization was that God was not fearful and terrible, but that He was a loving father, and the other words – taken sometimes, I believe, in a sort of dread, like that terrible story of an ever watchful eye looking through a small opening into a prisoner’s cell until it drove him insane – the words to me conveyed the idea of a father always watching, understanding, guarding and caring for – a father very near and kind, and seemed to be quite a new comfort to any sensitive and timid nature. Those impressions remained with me more or less strongly during all the years I went wandering on “trying to be good” and failing and not understanding God’s way of salvation – until after long years of sometimes utter indifference and sometimes groping after something fuller and better – it was revealed to me (the full clear gospel) as if written in letters of gold on the evening sky over the Atlantic, when I was staying at Kilkee, County Clare, in ‘63 or ‘64.

Apple remained beloved by all the family until nearly the age of 28; she became too fat to lie down or get up and was speedily and mercifully shot by the side of a ready made grave in a spot in the beech wood near the house. My father, after giving directions to a trustworthy man, could not bear to be within hearing of the fatal sound, and mounted his well known grey horse “Shaftoe” and rode away. A tombstone was put up – “In Memoriam Apple” age and date.

I never remember Apple playing me false but once. I was returning across the home field in which was the avenue of large Chestnut trees such as you seldom see – with the lower branches hanging low – Apple heard a friendly “nicker” (neigh) of welcome from a horse in the stable yard and unexpectedly started off, under one of the trees, which I had no time to avoid. My hair was then very long hanging loose, and flying out behind caught, Absalom-like in lower branches leaving me there while Apple galloped triumphantly into the yard. Seeing her alone the groom came running out and soon released me, unhurt as the straw hat I wore tied on with strings had also bits of branch through big rents in its wide brim and this helped to take the weight. It was often a laugh against me being Absalomized.

My first climbing was as a very small child. There was an apple tree which had blown down in the great gale ‘39 which used to grow in Lord Derwentwater’s garden beyond the old chapel not entirely uprooted, it bore fruit every second year. Its branches spread upwards and formed different “rooms” while its thick old trunk formed a nice path up to them. Had I been fond of dolls it would have been a delicious playhouse but dolls I detested – I once had a beauty given to me when waxen faces and flaxen hair were first made – I called it Victoria – but gave it to the old coachman’s daughter Kitty. I had one of the old sort thick wooden stump with wooden jointed legs and ugly face – I liked it as it sat steadily on the wall opposite the nursery window which divided “Darling’s yard” from the stable and provided a nice “Aunt Sally” (though the name was not known then) for me to shy chestnuts at it. Darling was a lovely red retriever – faithful and true but very savage with strangers. He was a son of the dog who accompanied “Grace Darling” to rescue the ship-wrecked sailors and was given as a great favour to my father when he visited the island. Darling went with me to the river – or we would take a siesta together in the hay loft – but my father thought he was often called upon to pay half crowns for people’s torn clothes when perhaps Darling had never been guilty.

I remember having scarlet fever in the big bed in Mother’s room and John used to sit by me, cut me out paper figures and teach me to play dominoes. I think this was before his accident. At this time I learned to know the clock – as one of the old fashioned ones hung opposite my feet (a square box with two long chains and weights and exposed pendulum). The country people called these clocks – “Wag at the wa’” (wall).

When John was ordered a long sea voyage as the last hope of getting strong (he had had an accident and I believe broken and crushed ribs had injured his lungs). Mother, Jane and I went with him to Liverpool. It was my first long journey - train to Carlisle  - then canal boat to – I think – Maryport – then steamboat to Liverpool. I was not seasick and thought it delightful. I believe we all went to the Garstons – near Liverpool – and it was shortly after their marriage - and John went in a sailing vessel bound for China, but though he rallied for a time he got worse and died about halfway. I did not know much about it then, but quite remember a general gloom and sadness over everyone and that when I was building a “Tower of Babel” with my bricks, not little toy box of bricks like one sees now, but great solid ones made by a carpenter and as many as filled a large hair trunk – horse or cow skin with the hair on – in the schoolroom. Father came in looking very grave and took me in his arms and said “Your brother John is dead” and carried me to the drawing room where all were sitting in a sad circle round the fire – talking now and again in low tones. I remember a long time afterwards seeing his sea-chest come home and watching my Mother and Jane unpacking and hanging up all his clothes and among them one of my little holland smocks and I was told that it had been packed in by mistake and that the kind mate who waited on him and wrote all that he could about his last days – said he was so amused and smiled when one day he pulled out “his little sister’s garment”. I believe it was a dreadful blow for the parents and it seemed like a shadow for a long time.


It is curious that although I was called my Mother’s spoilt child, I have hardly any recollection of her in my early days – every recollection centres round my father and Jane. The latter I lived with except when I was sent down to bid my father good night – and he would take me on his knee and sing “Duncan Grey” or “Brian O’Linn” or some funny song – riding me on his foot holding my hands as he sang. Then he would often mount me on his shoulder and walk up and down the dining room – each time we got to the end, where was placed high up one of those old fashioned convex mirrors with a gilt eagle on top holding gilt balls, he stopped to let me set the balls waggling, and see my face reflected distortedly. A little later, I used to be allowed, as a treat, when he was engaged at his office desk, a large one wide one with the “kneehole” opening all through, to sit on a sheepskin mat at his feet and play quietly. The rent days were wonderful occasions - when men of all sorts came pouring in through the outer office accompanied by the clerk and paid rent and how I used to peep out and see two large plates filling up – one with a yellow and the other with a silver pile – and as I understood a little more, how it puzzled me why the Bank of England notes were burnt – I afterwards learnt that the strange gentleman present was from the Branch Bank of England in Newcastle ready to take the money back – but that the Bank does not re-issue its own notes, so that he simply took the numbers and sum and that was enough (perhaps everyone does not know this). As I grew, I was called down at times to dine with my father if he was dining at one o’clock. When about 8 years old I was mounted on “Kitty”, a grey mare, on a sidesaddle and taken rides with him. Sometimes I got very tired – it was not the same easy freedom as riding on Apple barebacked – and we used to go far – and he was often a long time talking to tenants about repairs and buildings which I thought very uninteresting – but sometimes I got off and the “gude wife” took me into her best parlour and gave me milk and cake.

It must have been before I was six years old that Edgar Garston visited us – the future husband of Tully. I never remember to have seen anyone smoking before. My father never did in his life. It was a great and new  delight to me to play beside this fine looking big man as he sat in the arbour with a large cigar (cigarettes were not used then) and to watch the white ash growing longer and to have a little cup ready to catch his “asses” as I called them, and when very quiet a robin used to come and sit on the toe of his boot. I think he made rather a pet of “little Emmie” and was always till the end a kind genial brother-in-law – one it was a pleasure to visit in girlhood and listen to his rather rare but well-told tales of his early days as Queen’s Messenger during the trial of poor Queen Caroline – and his fighting adventures as an Albanian volunteer in the Greek War of Independence. He looked so splendid in his Greek dress which he put on sometimes for a fancy ball – he had a lady’s entire Greek dress too and I wore it at a dance at Dilston on the evening of Josie’s wedding – with my then very thick long hair in 2 plaits hanging down.

I was first time brides-maid at Tully’s and Edgar’s wedding – aged 6 -  I do not remember much about it but I remember well a long drive next day sitting up in a very high dog-cart between my brother-in-law, Dr Morrison, and Jane, from Dilston to Pelaw, his home in County Durham. I remember how wonderful it was passing under high timber things – cranes and machinery about some of the pit mouths – and the grimy black roads at parts and I recall all William’s kindness while I stayed there, and how I got to be quite his little companion in his medical rounds amongst the pit villages and while his wife was in with the little new-born Edith, and how he used sometimes to have the materials into the study and make a saucepan of toffee himself on the fire and put it out to cool and then how we used to take up some to Eliza’s room. One drive stands out – he took me to Lambton Castle – Lord Durham’s, who was absent and a nice motherly fat housekeeper gave me such a good tea and “ned cake” in her room after taking me by the hand to see the fine rooms, and then put me to sleep on a couch. I remember nothing more till I awoke rolled up in a big shawl in the dog-cart, leaning against William’s arm and opening my eyes up to an indigo sky studded with brilliant stars, which I lay looking at until thoroughly awake to find we were yet driving through the park and nearing the gate where Lord Durham kept live bears which I was a little in awe of.

William had a tall case in his surgery with what was said to be a very beautiful female skeleton but Hatty (who joined me there) used to take its arms or leg loose from the wires to rattle the loose bones to hunt the ducks to bed in the evening. I remember some years later having another and very delightful visit to William and Eliza at Penrith. Then there were two children and a little carriage drawn by a Newfoundland called “Niger” and 2 ponies – lovely brown and bay – called Bobby and Edie – and we still “made toffee” and I rode one of the ponies. When the Morrisons all went to Hong Kong the ponies came to Dilston and were partners in many adventures – both very spirited – not bearing a whip in double harness – only needing to be spoken to. Once we drove to the private Dilston station hoping to meet our brother Charlie in his return from Norway – instead of him a gentleman got out, who paid Hatty attention and whom she wanted to put aside without letting it come to a proposal – we could not but offer him a drive up – he, seated beside her, I behind. She gave the signal and the ponies flourished off at what seemed to him dangerous speed around the 2 sharp turnings in the zigzag road. He held on nervously – almost breathless and lost his gold headed walking stick out of the phaeton – so altogether the proposal was put off for that day. Bobby and Edie lasted together until after Hatty’s marriage. Edie died first and in Bob’s old age he used to sedately take a light cart round the same road undriven or guided with visitors’ luggage to and from the station. The queer character  “Old Joe” a railway pensioner whom we had as our station master receiving him or loading up. Joe had a wooden leg which in later times used to terrify Claud very much as a child, but I think it was Stanley who, when small, asked “Why has old Joe a candle stick on his leg?” meaning a wide circular plate at the end of the stump. The same gentleman of the stick episode was greatly despised by Joe who was allowed to comment on visitors, especially suitors for his beloved “young ladies”. This gentleman once gave Hatty a little shivering Persian dog, very tiny and thin, with huge goggle eyes – she asked Joe what he thought of “Faruza” – he considered a moment and dryly remarked “she sare pinched for ees” (eyes).

As I said I seem to associate my Mother very little with my earliest years. I remember sitting with Jane in the evenings sometimes and writing short letters to her in a large childish hand and bad spelling. When I was perhaps 8 or 9 I remember her more at home -  and can picture her “pottering” about the pretty enclosed flower garden with its artistic beds and high rose hedge to the south, which was called “Mother’s garden” and directing alterations. Two things especially I recall – the building of a long arbour with fir boards and bark and thatched with heather with a wide seat all round and a table – in which we afterwards had many a “teaparty”. When the man, who was a sort of “woodman” overseer “George March” – was making this place Father said ‘What a folly it was!’ so it was always called “The Folly” – behind it was the triangle of ground planted with currant trees – and at the point of the triangle – which adjoined the other arbour, clad in honey-suckle and clematis, were some bee-hives. Once my Mother suggested the bees being removed into a more sunny spot close to her flower garden to which old “March” remarked “Bless you M’am! Bees is things as flees” (flies). I had my own little garden – a nice square – backed by a tall wall to the east up which a cherry tree was trained – and my Mother often gave me plants and encouraged and approved. Adjoining my garden was a large railed yard in which I kept my rabbits, - lots of families of them and the old father rabbits were generally named after my heroes or political characters – a very big one was “Bob Lowe” who was an albino M.P. – white hair and pink eyes.

I had a beautiful owl brought to me from Cambridge, which I called “Lord Eldon”. He got perfectly tame being so young when taken – and would sit on his perch by my side or on my gauntlet glove when I took him out for a walk, much to the amusement of people at Tynemouth when there. He particularly attracted the notice of a young gentleman named Surtees (the family name of Lord Eldon who was a Newcastle man) and when I spoke of the difficulty of getting little birds or mice for him I received little packets from time to time of dead mice addressed “With Mr Surtees’ compliments to his relative Lord Eldon”. His Lordship’s larder was a large flower pot in which his meat was buried in sawdust or bran till required.

Still later in life when living near Gloucester I had two ferrets – Whisky and Gin. When required by the men outside to hunt rats in the outhouses they always had to send in and ask “the Mistress” to put the ferrets in the bag for them – as to any person but myself they were quite savage, but I used to take them into a room sometimes for a good run and they were so graceful and pretty scampering about leaping over each other and even running up my dress onto my head and round my neck as gently as possible.

I never read newspapers myself but used to pick up scraps of passing politics from my Father – I always being near him as he sat in the evening reading his daily paper, till sometimes after hours of riding in the day his paper would flutter unsteadily and his eyes would close – until the rustling of the paper as it fell from his hands roused him again. Dear old man, I think I can see him now – his fine head and iron grey hair and powerful but kind face. At 10 years old I was sent to a boarding school where 4 sisters had been before me. I was to be six months there before Hatty left. I did not dislike it after once getting over the horrid feeling of the front door shutting me in for weeks away from home. I was very backward and felt rather shy and ashamed and very pugnacious. I used to fight with any girl on the least provocation and as I generally got the victory I became a dangerous character and the head mistress spoke to my Mother seriously about taking me away. My Mother’s reply was “Wait awhile – when she sees the necessity of learning her combative qualities will be turned to her books not her companions” and her advice was followed and presently I tamed down.

They were joyful days when my Mother, coming to Newcastle for a day’s shopping, would call and take me with her, and send me back in the evening with a lot of nice things or when Charlie passing to and fro from Durham University called and was ready with outstretched arms for “Bottle’s” spring into them and hug. Once I was expecting him and when called from evening preparation class to go to a gentleman who had called to see me, I rushed as usual (I was fifteen then) and stopped short astonished to see a young gentleman whom I had met sometimes at Saturday afternoon teas and small evening parties at our doctor’s house, but thought nothing of and still more astonished to find that his call meant a proposal! I got rid of him as soon as I could, very glad of the governess’s entrance and then I told her all about it – and she laughed heartily. The only thing I liked about him was his rather romantic sounding name “Everett G.”




Schooldays were, on the whole, very happy ones. When I went I shared a bed, in a double bedded room, with Hatty. In the room was Hatty Blakie – a golden haired scotch girl, who often used to sing to her guitar after I was in bed. She had a lovely voice and sang such songs as “Jock O’Hazeldean” and “Bonnie Dundee” with spirit and feeling. She and Hatty were fast friends  and she was very kind to me, on leaving she gave me a silver pencil-case in the form of a thick ornamental pistol. I treasured it for years – as it was a great grief to us to learn that she was (as the wife of an officer) killed in the Indian Mutiny. Sometime after Hatty left I was promoted to a little room of 1 bed next to Miss Tidy’s and had charge of my little niece Janey Grey (afterwards Lady St. Paul) who came as a small child. Although I never attained to the cleverness of Miss Tidy’s boasted dozen – in which were Fanny and Josie – I was rather a favourite of hers and she always trusted me if there was a suspicion of any wrong going on and we often had little talks together of social things when she called me to stay 5 or 10 minutes behind the others after supper. I was an intense dunce at sums and generally managed to shirk the arithmetic class as I also disliked the teacher, Mr Hay, by securing one of the pianos and as I was rather more gifted in music my zeal for practising caused the other to be overlooked.

Such manoevring could not be done in these days of High School systems. I was also always at the bottom of the poetry class, which was my horror – I never learned a verse in my life – except latterly 2 or 3 hymns disjointedly – but I was often top in history of which I was very fond. We had a large attic in which we kept our boxes and if one or other had “goodies” sent from home we used to invite our special friends to go up and sit round on the boxes and share our cake etc. I also imported – or rather had sent to me by train from Hatty at home – in a basket marked “Glass with care” – a live hedge-hog. I made him a nest of soil and grass in the attic and he used to walk and roll down the 3 storeys of stairs nightly to the hall and kitchen to feast on black beetles. We had a dear kind old cook-housekeeper and being rather delicate I was allowed to go down before study first thing in the morning to her and have a little basin of “Crowdy”. I think of it now with delight – never has proper porridge tasted so delicious since. “Crowdy” was simply fine oatmeal stirred quickly while boiling water was poured on it – not cooked, and with it she gave me a half pint mug of milk which had been set up over night and had a top of thick cream. Oh, “goloptious”!

I was very much surprised and not a little excited to receive a sudden summons to pack up and be ready to join Hatty to go to London where Mamma and several of the family already were – for the great exhibition of ’51. They had not meant us to go, but could not resist sending for us to share the sight. Just as porridge has never come up to my crowdy, no exhibition since, not even the Crystal Palace, (which was the outcome of the first) has come up to “Prince Albert’s” exhibition. What days of endless wonder and delight we spent in it! We had rooms in Manchester Square and when the rest used to scatter to other sites, Charlie used to be so in good at taking “Bottle” to places. It was delightful going about with a nice looking kind brother. He took me to see “Lablache” – the renowned actor and singer, the size of a good dinner table, but so active and such a voice, rolling out in the “Barber of Seville” also “Henry IV”, when I quite fell in love with “Prince Hal”. I wish I remembered whom it was who acted his part. Lablache as Falstaff was most amusing in the battle being killed and coming alive again. It didn’t seem such a clanking tin battle as fighting now on the stage sounds. I also saw Miss Bateman as “Leah” and cried of course. These were my first theatre experiences, except when I was about 10 – I went with Mamma in Newcastle to see “Norma” – was there ever such a lovely opera? and such actors as Grisi and Mario? I have never seen such a splendid man as he since – not only was he perfectly fascinating on the stage but I saw him in the train as we travelled down. It was delightful to learn in later years how perfect was the domestic life of Mario and Grisi (married people) and to see their 3 lovely little girls with them. I was pleased lately to come upon a little biographical sketch of them from which the following is quoted:- “Musgave House, Fulham was for a time their home. The  strangers that came were numberless – of all nationalities and classes – some wealthy and claiming the right of placing Musgrove House on their visiting list, others were poor and sought relief there which they failed to find elsewhere – and of these latter a deserving case never went from the door empty-handed. The amount thus disbursed by Mario and Grisi must have been immense – in donations varying from one to a hundred pounds – but always with the understanding that their names should not be published. Mario’s chief home occupation was modelling in clay – he also read deeply and especially in antiquarian lore. Away from the theatre they led a most tranquil life. They were never happier than during a home evening – after dinner – Guilia Grisi would take some knitting in hand and Mario would walk up and down with his cigar, listening to his daughters playing on the piano some of Strauss’ valses and now and again telling them the appropriate expression to be given to the different melodies – or choose for them some of Mozart’s music while he amused himself with a game of “Patience” and beating time with his foot. This was the only game of cards he ever played.

Mario was temperate to abstemiousness, but smoked perpetually – first thing in the morning and last thing at night in his bed.

In contravention to the law he smoked in the streets of St. Petersburg. Meeting him one day and pretending not to see that he held a lighted cigar up his sleeve, the Emperor Nicholas occupied him in conversation until Mario’s sleeve took fire – “Vous brulez Monsieur Mario!” exclaimed the Czar. Then much amused by the incident gave him leave to smoke when and where he pleased.

Grisi was a little over five feet and Mario five feet nine, they both looked taller, holding themselves erect, Grisi almost haughty in her movements with a stately way of walking which suited her queenly head. Her features were small and Grecian, with a soft pale complexion. When on the stage she used only powder – never any paint. Her eyes were blue with raven hair and eyelashes. Her greatest beauty was, however, in her smile and expression and gentle look. Her love for her children was beyond all words to convey. She had six little girls and lost three – and this grief was so great she almost succumbed. Mario was equally attached to his children and seemed to have no pleasures apart from his family and he hated going into society. He dressed most plainly – a slouch hat, loose shirt and necktie and shooting jacket. He was nevertheless one of the most picturesque figures you ever saw – his skin was tawny with the sun – long dark eyelashes, black pointed beard and exceptionally handsome features forming an ensemble as effective as any painter could dream of for a subject”. I give these quotations – showing the simplicity and purity of life so seldom known now in theatrical great people and because the description is so exactly what my first impression was of my first great hero and heroine!

We were not in the habit of theatre going as young people are now – so these actors and plays yet stand out clearly in my memory. I don’t think I ever saw a play again for 15 or 20 years – perhaps more. I must just mention another. It was called “King Charming”. Colonel Grey (then Equerry to Prince Albert, later Private Secretary) sent us tickets for the Royal Box and on our arrival, Charlie, Hatty and I, at the Queen’s entrance – a roll of wide red carpet shot across the pavement to the wheels of our poor cab! And liveried flunkies showed us along private passages to the royal box, in entering which many glasses were raised to see which of the Royalties we were. They put me in front – in fun saying being fair haired I might be taken for one of the Queen’s daughters – but all that was forgotten, I soon became so lost in Prince Charming – he was a charming lovely boy! And how Charlie teased me afterwards for my infatuation – for the part was taken by Madam Vestris, who was already about 50 and who used to go to Paris twice a year to be enamelled and was a wonder for taking youthful characters. She is remembered as a noted actress.

We were indebted to Colonel Grey’s kindness for giving us also an order to see through Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle – to the private rooms of the latter – even the servants’quarters – where we were told by the escort of the Queen’s kindness causing to be reported to her at once if any servant were ill and herself visiting them daily even to the humblest. My chief interest was and recollection is of the stables and horses. I may mention here a little incident told to us by Colonel Grey himself. In the earlier days of the Queen’s reign, she was in the habit of often taking a walk before breakfast with Prince Albert “incog.” – On one occasion – knowing that Col. and Mrs Grey (for whom they entertained a true friendship) were to arrive in town the day before, they walked across the park and called at the Grey’s house. An old and very north country butler who did not know them by sight answered the door and insisted upon it being too early to see “The Colonel or his Leddy”. The Queen was equally persistent that Mrs Grey would see her. At last the old man said somewhat impatiently “Well, if ye wull see them ye mun wait – sit ye doon there” pointing to the hall chairs, then asked “Wha’ mun I say has called?” “The Queen and Prince Albert” was the reply upon hearing which the poor man was almost paralysed with astonishment and fear!

It may not be without interest to younger generations to state that Col. Grey’s first son – acknowledged heir to the title was godchild to the Prince – but by his special desire named Charles as he said that was a family name and not Albert. The second son was named “Albert” after the Prince and the eldest having died in childhood after all Albert is now the Earl. I remember holding him in my arms as a baby while Mrs Grey talked to my Mother during a call from her while we lodged in Manchester Square in ’51.

The winter after that grand time in London, Josie was married, and the following spring Hatty went to stay with her at Oxford, and the parents were so lonely without a daughter that they took me from school. I was really too young to leave and at first a governess was tried, but we did not get on at all well. She was rather characterless though trying to do her duty and my Father privately sympathised with me, thinking her rather a “gowk” and he often used to open the schoolroom door a few inches and say “Emmie I should like you to ride with me, be ready at”  such an hour so very soon we dispensed with the governess as my Mother thought her a useless expense! And I said I would try and study alone – which I did – in the subjects I liked. I steadily read and made of notes of lots of histories and noted biographies and Mr S. Gibson and S. Butler, when they visited us, kindly advised and helped me by loans of books and correspondence. At that time I had delightful days with Father. I then had a splendid bright chestnut called “Undine” – very big and powerful, but so light and graceful of action. Sir George Grey came and fell in love with her as a weight carrying hunter and offered too good a sum to be refused. During the second season he hunted her she suddenly fell down dead and Sir George sat down by her and cried – he said he never loved an animal so much. Then my Father having bought Hatty a grey, called “Una” bought me one – a darker grey and a little stronger in build – I called him “Balliol” after the King of Scotland who owned Balliol or Bywell tower near Dilston. He was to me a delightful horse though he had tricks. He did not care for male riders. Once when Tell came to stay he used to ride him with Hatty – one day on his return Mother asked “What horse he rode?”, he replied “Belial”, she corrected him and said it was “Balliol”, (of a different kingdom), but he said “Oh, I thought it was Belial because he was so wicked”. I remember once we had him and Una put in double harness – Tell driving - all went well for a time, but coming down a very steep hill Balliol kicked -  then reared and broke a trace and Una lay down! We had great work to get them pacified, and to get safe home. This recalls a pair of carriage horses who used to do the same trick at starting – and the only remedy was found to be – to put some loose straw round the lying one and set fire to it – when he would jump up before much singed and he learned that it was better to trot away – but his companion was still restive and an Irish stable-man we then had suggested a bunch of carrots tied to the end of a stick to the pole, and then she would trot along always expecting to reach them.

Colonel Grey – then private Secretary to Prince Albert – wrote to Father from Balmoral asking if he could select and buy a young and pretty horse for the Princess Alice – well trained to moors and timber, so Father and I in our rides about kept our eyes open, at last we met with the very animal – a lovely creamy grey belonging to a paper manufacturer at Shotley. She was out at grass and untrained – but was bought and sent home. Our groom mounted her a few times and then I rode her daily. She was full of spirit and grace but sweet tempered and docile. I gave her lessons in surefootedness through the wild footpaths of the 600 acre wood and up and down rocky places and over lying timber. I knew every path of that lovely big fir wood as I often rode about it with Father seeing the woodmen under “George March” (who built the Folly) directing the work of “felling” (cutting down big trees) or “barking” (stripping off the big flakes and stacking up the bark). This was good practice for “Cream-laid” as I called the horse after the paper - and he was – to my regret in due time sent off to Balmoral and the Princess was delighted with him. Some time after Colonel wrote that “Creamlaid” was still the Princess Alice’s favourite horse for that country. I sometimes was called in fun the “Royal horse-breaker”. This wood I refer to “Deep dean”, was very confusing to strangers – being in part so thickly covered with undergrowth and the dark pines making it difficult to tell the direction you wanted and I was often called into requisition to guide or direct strayed members of the hunt – for when once the fox and hounds took to that wood it was generally a case of “each for himself” and “get out as best you can”. There was in one part a “swamp” a large place with stunted shrubs and even in dry weather dangerous to ride over here and there dotted with little bright green “tumps” the size of a small table or footstool and on hot summer days each of these would have an adder or more curled up asleep. These, if in the path of a horse, were not very pleasant.

To return to our greys, they became very docile. Father took Hatty and me (a groom sitting in with him) in our roomy 4 wheeled dogcart such a delicious tour through the Lake District in ’54. We drove to Alston where part of the property lay and Father was holding a big rent day – got there to hear some speeches and eat up some of the salmon and tarts that came out – slept at the old Inn kept by our faithful and then retired coachman, Cranston, and his wife. It was a bracing and pleasant change to go to Alston sometimes and we could go 1 or 2 at once as we liked and be sure of being well cared for and “mothered” by our kind old nurse, Mrs Cranston. The lead mines were always interesting. The process of smelting and the delight of seeing a great thick cake of silver skimmed off the cauldron of lead and the lumps of “black Jack” and then the neatly piled up heaps of Pig-iron ready to go off by rail. On the other hand the far stretching heathery moor where our friends sometimes had good sport. On one occasion I well remember the “two Georges” friends of each other and of mine going to shoot (my childhood’s and dear friend George Culley and “Georgie” Grey – son of Sir George Grey). This was before he entered the Guards - which his father would not sanction until the Crimean War broke out and then he gave him his way. He did not like “feather-bed soldiers”. Georgie went through the Crimean War – was afterwards equerry to the Prince of Wales on his tours – died before his father – and was the father of the present Sir Edward. On this particular shooting location they were such a happy pair, and having run short of gun wads (we had not breech loaders then) I gave them a pretty felt “wide awake”  hat of mine to cut into wads.

(Lake Tour) We went from Alston to Penrith – then to Pooley Bridge – up Ullswater to Paterdale – over that beautiful 3 miles pull up Kirkside – winding along. I drove here and Hatty washed the horses noses with a wet hanky to refresh them – stayed a while at the “Travellers Rest” the highest house in England. Then the view of Windermere coming down is beautiful but less wild – stayed at Low-wood where we were joined by Edgar Garston our ever genial brother-in-law and a young Naples friend called Francis Sorvello – enjoyed some boating and walks together.The different views at different times of day – the rich foreground and the far “Pikes”, and Helvellyn were so lovely. Francis said “This does fill me full of poetry”, which he looked so unlike I felt inclined to laugh and say “veal pie” instead, of which he was particularly fond. Father and we went on to Keswick – roamed about the Lady’s Isle in Derwentwater not knowing Theodosia Marshall who would be a child then – but father knowing some of the Marshalls through having bought so much of Lord Derwentwater’s property. When I did know kind “Dosia” she was no longer the “Lady of the Lake” but was living exiled from her family in the South. After seeing around and being on the lake a good deal we went on up Borrowdale – so lovely – up a rough stony uprotected road, (in those days)  on the sides of a precipice – looking over to the great slate and “plumbago” quarries in the opposite hill sides. They all walked – being such rough driving – but I, being the lightest, drove – wonderfully entrusted with the 2 greys – good beasts picking their steps so carefully over the uneven ground and loose bits of rock and never thinking it worthwhile to look over the precipice on the left side unguarded by rail or wall. We came down on Buttermere – such a clear lake with such perfect reflections I never saw. At Buttermere there once live a “Mary” whom a poem was written on and there is a wee little church where shepherds used to take their sheep with them – and where 50 or 60 years before that the clergyman had “£5 a year income and two hempen sarks (shirts) and a whittle gang”. The latter word means leave to carry his knife and fork in his pocket and go into any parishioners house for his dinner! Stayed at a quiet Inn at Scale hill – in our walks about Father used to recite poetry to us – we visited “Lorton” a quiet village where Father was as a boy with a Tutor and sat in the old yew tree there 1,000 years old in which Father used sit and read Virgil and Homer – saw an old woman who remembered him and told us the tricks he used to play. We went home by Cockbridge to Carlisle and then visited Naworth and Lanercost Priory – beautiful ruins and very interesting to see the old rooms and wonderfully illuminated books of that learned but fierce old border chief “Belted Will” Howard. My Father’s ever ready store of historic knowledge of all these parts, and apt quotations made touring in this free and easy way with him most delightful. After Hatty married I had a border tour with him laden with recitations from Scott. It was lovely in all ways.




I  cannot do better in this Diamond Jubilee year than to begin with a quotation from an early school-girl letter of an account of seeing the Royal family.

I was staying with my sister Fanny whose husband held a living between Howick Hall – Earl Grey’s place – and Falloden – Sir George Grey’s – in Northumberland.

My letter in somewhat youthful style is written to my eldest sister.

The Queen had sent on the day before only to say she would stay at Earl Grey’s the night on her way from Balmoral which threw the homely Lady Grey into a fuss to prepare all of us as she would wish in such a short time – assisted by three sisters-in-law – Lady George – Lady Francis and Lady Frederick Grey. In after years when paying a visit to Dilston, Lady Grey told me all about it.

My letter:- “We left soon after breakfast. Mr Monson – the curate at Howick - had been staying the night and asked if he might drive me over in his phaeton which I liked better than being in the carriage with Mamma and Fanny. When we got to Howick there were lots of carriages by the road side – we waited more than an hour and got out to walk about. Mr Perigal – the Vicar – asked me to have a polka with him in the middle of the road to get warm. The others said it would be something for the Alnwick people to gossip about. He is exactly the same height as me and I am now 4 feet 9 – such a midget beside Mr Monson who is a lot over 6 feet. Some of the people were going down to to the Hall and we thought we would not for fear we missed the Royal party, but we saw quite as well as the Hall people. We heard that the Queen had driven with Lady Grey to the sea-shore in the pony phaeton – and it was thought she would come to the station in it – but she did not as the ponies were so frisky and might have been afraid of the band and cheering. Captain Grey rode up before them and stopped to shake hands with Mamma. Then the carriage came up with the Queen, Prince Albert, Prince of Wales, and the three other children. They all bowed or took off their hats and capes. I did not see the Queen’s face well then, but saw the children and the Prince. I was rather disappointed in Prince Albert – he is fair with a yellow moustache. The Queen had on a white silk bonnet (so had the girls) and plaid shawl and the boys had grey coats fastened down one side like they are in the “London News” and Glengarry caps. There were lots of carriages with the Grey’s and the Queen’s ladies and 2 omnibuses full of servants. As soon as they all passed we drove off following to Little Hills station – such crowds there. We were not allowed on the platform and I could not see – until Mr Monson took me up on his shoulder which was as good as getting on a steeple and I saw the Queen very well as she stood at the window of the railway carriage.

We then drove to Howick and after seeing the Church in which was a beautiful monument of old Earl Grey we began to walk through the grounds, but it began to rain fast and we sheltered in a conservatory and picked some flowers. When Lord Grey’s valet came and unlocked a door leading into the house and said we could go wherever we liked – we asked where the Queen and her children had breakfast and he took us into the Dining Room. The floor was still covered with their crumbs (they were only bread and butter crumbs) I gathered some up to take to the canaries at home – and I sat on all the chairs, to be sure I sat on the same one the Queen sat on. Lady Grey’s maid came to see if she could offer us anything and she told us that the dinner and everything went off so well and that Lady Grey said if the Queen were coming again she would not alter anything but get a new bed for her to sleep in. She stayed so long seeing her children beginning their tea that she had no time to dress - but went into the governess’s room to borrow her brush and tidy her hair – she came down to dinner in a grey mouslin de laine and apologised to Lady Grey for not dressing – of course the Ladies Grey were in full dress. Every one said they were such nice jolly children, ran about and played bo-peep with anyone they could find.”

My Father being an authority on agriculture as well as being mixed up in politics, during the time of Earl Grey’s ministry people of note often came to Dilston, but I do not remember many so early as that. In my teens I remember Augustus Hare being there and scrambling down through the wood to the riverside and someone remarking on it – Fanny’s reply “It is quite natural for hares to run about in Dilston woods”. Also a Napier – but whether he was an army man or what I don’t recollect, only the name inspired me to ask about battles – when Papa told me to take him a walk to the prettiest point and he told me nice stories about the Peninsular War, which the name Napier seems so connected with. He had a head and face reminding one of an eagle – but was quite kind – and we ended up by him killing an adder by the part we called “Killerbrankee”. I was much more shy of taking Mr Conybeare a walk (Conybeare and Howson) – he was so silent and learned – his name at Oxford was “the sick vulture”.

Sometimes noted foreigners came – whose names I forget, but I was really in a fright once when Papa called me into his office and said “You must prepare for a visit from Prince Napoleon – he is touring around in his yacht and proposes to stop at Newcastle and come up to get some information about land”. I suppose I was about 14 or so and had to act hostess alone. I was greatly relieved when a letter followed to say he had to go back to France – some rumpus perhaps – when I did see him he was Emperor. I was about 18 and had gone to Paris with my brother George and his wife. We were at Versailles one day – not in the least knowing of a Review, when 10,000 troops gathered in the big square. The number I remembered being the same as Xenophon’s famous expedition – a book I loved – numbers were more thought of in those old days. I was out of my mind with delight and determined I would try to get near enough to see him well. We heard he was to ride up the broad walk of the magnificent gardens – in the centre of the “Cent guides” – a body guard of gentlemen – pale blue trousers and snowy white tunics and all sorts of fine goldy things and fine horses. I purposely “lost” my people and waited and when they drew near coolly stepped forward so that I stood between the Emperor and his guards who rode a little apart on each side – no one hindered and as he passed I just touched his stirrup and said “Long live the Emperor”. He liked to hear an English voice and looked down at the impudent English lassie in a soft felt hat and sheeny green-black cock’s plumes (hats were uncommon then and just beginning to be worn) and smiled graciously and slightly raised his General’s hat. It was very nice of him and quite won my interest for ever. It was so vividly recalled by reading this description of him from Zola – as years after in sadness and misfortune he retreated in the Sedan:-

“Ah! that wretched Emperor, that miserable man, deposed from his throne, and stripped of his command, a stranger in his own Empire, whom they were conveying up and down like some piece of useless furniture, whose doom it was ever to drag behind him the irony of his imperial state, cent-gardes, horses, carriages, cooks and vans, sweeping, as it were, the blood and mire from the roads of his defeat with the magnificence of his court mantle, embroidered with the heraldic bees!”

I one day had a very good view of the beautiful Empress Eugenie – for she was the most lovely woman I ever saw – as she drove in an open carriage with her uncle-in-law Prince Jerome Bonaparte. I think it was at the height of her popularity either just before or just after the unlucky Prince Imperial was born.



To go back to when I was 15 - I had been very ill for many weeks from bad vaccination (I’ve hated vaccination ever since) and when recovering was ordered change. I went for the whole summer term to Oxford to George and Josephine. She was very delicate and after doing what I could to help her I was left pretty much to my own devices as George was then  examiner and engaged all day in “the schools” (he took me twice and I sat behind him and listened to what I did not understand and pitied the men – some looked careless and indifferent – but most very anxious).It fell out naturally that I was very much with and escorted about by Arthur Butler, George’s younger brother, then an undergraduate at University College, and from the first like a real brother to me. I just went to his rooms when I liked and waited for him to be ready and thus got introduced to a good many. The then Proctor, Mr Lake, took quite a fancy to me and gave me his beautiful red Irish setter as a companion in my walks – “Rotha” which means red – she was soon attached to me – but if she saw her master in the distance would try to bound off and as it was incorrect for a Proctor on duty to have his dog I had to cling round her neck, kneeling on the pavement perhaps until he was out of sight. Once Arthur took me to tea with his great friend in lovely Oriental furnished rooms in Oriel – a big clumsy rather shy young man – whom I thought at first rather stupid – as he had no sporting or country tastes. Then I heard how everyone asked each other if he was going to speak on such a night in the Debating Theatre – as not only themselves but Dons went to hear this eloquent big booby who became quite transformed – with the eager impressiveness of the subject he took up – sometimes (he didn’t speak then as if he had walnuts in his mouth!) queer ones. I remember one was advocating women should be like Dicken’s “Dora” and all their reading a bible and cookery books and of course “this child” ran opposition and made herself appear all the wilder and more independent when meeting him again. However he became my devoted slave and follower on every occasion and was known as “Miss Grey’s pet undergraduate”. This was G. Joachim Goschen. He came boating - riding and even to a dance which astonished many. It was thus, a married man with a few young children was always trying to take his degree – and always failing – as for the 4th or 5th time when I was there – his little boy ran home with the news “Mamma, Pa is plucked again”. So to celebrate this final plucking he came to me to plot and arrange a dance at his house with his wife’s full approval – it was to be Miss Grey’s Ball and he and I went about personally inviting all I selected. It was great fun – such a mixture – Dons, such as Max Muller, Theodore Waldron, Professor Maskelyne of Chemistry when I used to go and pick frogs and lizards in his laboratory, poor hard working sedate Mr Thompson (afterwards Archbishop of York) with several undergrads and others. It was a capital evening – all good naturedly combining to join in the freak of an indulged wild country girl – old enough to enjoy society but young enough not to have “come out” and to be a “girl”. “Zoe” (half Greek) who by that time I was very friendly with was, of course, the belle – she was quite a contrast – a quiet serene almost saintly manner. She and I used to take morning walks and get eggs at farms. She and her mother were rather poor and she used to tell me about some “tufts” at Christchurch who made love to her and how it would help her mother if she married well – but she did not love any of them, though they nearly fought about her. She quietly liked “old Thompson” best though at first she thought him rather slow and he was so poor they didn’t know if they could marry for a long time. Presently he was ordained and got the curacy of Regent Street Church and they married. About five years after I was passing through town and went by chance to that church – surprised to see Mr Thompson in the pulpit and more still when he hurried down the aisle quite unconventionally to catch me – having recognised me in the crowded church and laying his hand on my shoulder said “Come home with me and see Zoe” which I did. She was not well. Little we thought then of his quick promotion to York via Gloucester and the wide social gulf between us. People say during her Archbishopess reign she got spoiled but meeting her after her widowhood accidentally at Wimbledon she remembered me and was very sweet and cordial. One memorable picnic to Woodstock and Wychwood forest – riding and driving party – I rode there and got Mr Goschen to ride. He was not exactly familiar with horses and not graceful – but good fun. In the forest I took the reins of a dogcart and had the pleasure of driving dear Mr Jowett about who held on with fear and trembling and thought he would not be of much use if we came to grief. He had such soft baby hands! His rooms in Balliol I also had liberty to go to and did so – often to play tricks – once I dressed up a plaster owl – about six inches high in a neat cap and gown to represent him and left it on the chimney piece. He was much amused. I don’t wonder at his pupils and young friends adoring him. He had such a gentle sympathetic way of entering into younger people’s tastes and ideas – and such an innocent soft owly wise face.

From that picnic I elected to drive a jolly spanking horse in a dogcart, back – letting Emily Butler who had then come to stay at Oxford have my riding horse. I managed with plain turban cap and short hair and riding habit to look rather like a boy – and for mischief drove in and out of streets before going straight home, hoping to meet the Proctor or his “bull dogs” and be taken for an undergrad and “gated” for being late but no such luck – so next day after one of Professor Vaughan’s delightful history lectures, Mr Waldron (my companion the night before) stayed behind and chaffed the Proctor on his bull dogs’ neglect and telling him of a dogcart coming in late etc. till he got quite in a state and said how he must call them to order and attention to duty (he was very strict). So after tormenting a while we told him our plot. Professor Vaughan was so friendly to me and used to pat me and call me his “little Mabel” – he gave me credit for being more “amiable” than I was and this came from  “amiable” being the origin of “Mabel” (one of the early Norman Princesses).

George and Josephine used to have Don’s tea-parties and musical evenings – and it was nice to sit quietly and hear the wise men talk – only  “Arthur P. Stanley” (godfather afterwards to Stanley Butler) always sneaked off when music began – he hated it and said he only liked a “big drum”and Jenny Lind’s voice. It was said he was deeply in love with her and the undergrads had an idea that he had a silver tablet let into the floor of his room where her feet rested when she lunched with him – but I did not see it! How I enjoyed the College gardens – especially St. John’s College – sitting in the morning with a book and also going to the chapel to hear the music. Also the rowing and barge picnics up the river and watching the practice for the races and the great avenue in Christ Church meadow -  who does not like Oxford I wonder? I went at the end of my visit there to join my Mother who was lodging in Margaret Street to be under medical treatment – during that time Montague Butler then Captain of Harrow School took me to the prize giving day – and lunch with Lord Palmerston and lots of “swells”. He was quite the hero of the day (Monte I man) and it was jolly being with him and seeing the enthusiasm about him.

When leaving London Mr Goschen came to our lodging and escorted Mother and me to our cab to Euston to go to Liverpool. We somehow made a mistake about the train and had 2 hours wait – after seeing Mother settled with pillows, lying down we wandered about all the time mostly back and forward amongst the goods waggon sheds – talking about his future and ambitions and how he expected his Father would send him to South America. This was the last time we met – but we corresponded as friends with Mother’s sanction – till he wrote his farewell one – since that he is only known to me in public life but has kept a kindly remembrance of early days as this quotation from a letter replying to one of mine shows


                              “Admiralty House 31/5/97

There was no reason why you should not have written to me about your younger son who has gone to Chili. Our “youthful friendship” as you call it, conducted uner the chaperonage of Arthur Butler, was quite enough to justify it” – very good of him writing thus with his own hand when so occupied with all the arrangements and responsibility of the coming Jubilee Naval Review.




Thanks to John Thompson for the above "Recollections"
Emily Grey with her second husband Jasper Bolton. Thanks to Jane Jordan for this picture reproduced in her book on Josephine Butler.



When people write of the past, those among us who have reached a certain age are sometimes apt to forget that it is because so much of it still exists in our lives that it is so dear to us. And there is often a great deal more of the past in the future than there was in the past itself at the time. We go back to meet our old selves, more tolerant, forgiving our own mistakes, understanding it all better, appreciating its simple joys and realities.

      There are compensations for the loss of youth and fresh impressions; and one learns little by little that a thing is not over because it is not happening with noise and shape and outward sign: “Its roots are in our hearts, and every now and then they send forth a shoot which blossoms and bears fruit still”.

From Ann Thackeray Ritchie

Mrs E.G.Thomas to Miss Bragg


September 19

What a lovely letter of your sister …. about Dilston. I read it aloud with a running commentary on the different spots. How amused she would have been had she known certain incidents at certain spots, perhaps horrified at my bloodthirsty disposition when I record a desperate fight with a weasel on the “green humps” near Corbridge bridge, but I conquered the fierce animal and carried him home to our old woodman to be stuffed: or just above the Devil’s Water how wading one day I suddenly found my boots with stockings tucked inside, floating away and had a helter skelter rush over the rough bank only in time to see them swiftly swept away with the strong current into the broad bosom of the Tyne and sail calmly away!  How as a small girl in my lonely wanderings I used to visit the flour mill, more interested how the nice crisp corn got into flour and made such all over white men, than in the Roman remains, and how sometimes one of the men would take me by the hand and up ladders and places to the top storey to see the wheels and hear the noise. How on my tenth birthday we made a “feast” on the stones in the bed of the river at the bend just below the Devil’s bridge (where poor Lord Derwentwater turned back when a flash of lightning frightened his horse and he took it as an ill omen and when he went into his castle Lady Derwentwater threw her fan at him and called him a coward, telling him to take it and give her his sword and he turned and went to his doom) and how Fanny – then a spritely girl – made a “bower” of hawthorne and flowers for me as the “Queen of the May”.

How later I bathed in or skated on the deeper pools below the bridge and once shot a fine big trout stranded in a pool with a pistol – got a scolding for getting so wet and took measles the next day! In early days how I had a swing in the chestnut tree – there was a seat all round its trunk, and I had a colony of guinea-pig boxes, very pretty, and the little creatures increased so that I let them run wild and visitors used to be amused to see the little bonnie tailless swine all about the woods, even near the river.

How I used to climb up and have a “parlour” in a tall poplar farther up and no one find me when the dinner bell rang – and how my dear old tame owl used to fly out onto the sloping old Scotch firs (are they there on the bank side like old warriors in goldenbronze armour in the setting sun yet? And call “Kee-wee” for his shy wife to come and get a share of his supper, bits of raw meat, which he always let her have first and then seated himself on the kitchen table to have his own, she would never venture nearer than those Scotch firs. As a variety his supper and “Romeo’s and Juliet’s” (two less tame owls) was sometimes of dead birds shot by a son of the farmer by the path at the right of the river, young Benson. Once he supplied a dead hen in such a “high” state that Hatty and I dragged it at the end of a long string up that path and it was always a joke against us, “Benson’s hen”. The son of that same Benson is now a prosperous gentleman in Le**ars.

I wonder if “Aunt Meggie”went down a zigzag path along the side of the wood or along through a pretty beech tree glade on the top. The first original path, a narrow one, was made by Charlie as a “surprise” we girls helping him and the seat was that shape and we called it “the omnibus” for we said workmen always put up lover’s seats (for two) and we wanted it big enough for a great many facing the haugh – farther on was an oak tree where our old woodsman put a rustic bench round because he said “Miss Jessie was fond of the yeck” (Josie) so it was called “Jessie’s yeck” where I daresay a lot of her since matured ideas of doing good to fellow creatures budded under her study of good and wise books and ‘thinkings’ alone with nature.

How I used to keep “heaps” of rabbits in the belfry tower of the old chapel and all about the old broken stairs, and how later I used to sit perched in an old empty window of the hall of the ruin reading Kenilworth, Ivanhoe, etc., and how I used to ride round those embankments along the Tyne after a “flood” with my Father, sometimes our horses splash – splashing water up to my stirrup nearly, to see what damage was done. Once the flood extended to Corbridge station, before he managed to make the “banks” so well to turn off the flow of water.

Did she see an enclosed little square garden beyond the chestnut tree “Mother’s garden”, it used to be so prettily laid out and a blaze of beauty, and an arbour all clematis and honeysuckle and a rose hedge eight feet high to the north. I expect it is very much altered, more expensively laid out to suit the £10,00 a year bride, but to my idea rather spoilt it might be.

Had I known Miss bragg was going I should have liked to ask her to look at my father’s and mother’s grave in the quiet churchyard at Corbridge. I wonder if she thought of the six “Grey girls” who were all married there in unbroken succession.

The “gardener’s cottage”next the chapel used to be so pretty and cosy and we kept it as a sort of overflow house at weddings etc. and once a governess lived there and Mrs Morrison’s children went over to her for “school”.

Emily's first marriage was to William De Pledge, a glass manufacturer in Tynemouth. He died at the early age of 30 on 23 February 1860.
One year later she married Jasper Bolton who was probably a relative through both the Grey and Vardy families. Jasper's sister Emily Mary Bolton had married Charles Grey in 1853. Jasper succeeded Charles as agent to Lord Derby's Irish estates. At the time of his marriage he was living at Sandymount near Ballykisteen. When Charles vacated Ballykisteen House the couple moved there.
Ballykisteen House with inset photographs of Emily and Jasper. Emily's three children from William and her five with Jasper lived here. The original house no longer exists. Thanks to Tom Bolton for this photo.
Jasper died in 1871 at the age of 30 and Emily wrote a book about him, but it only deals with his religious life in the years just before his death.
Jasper Bolton's bookplate with the Bolton crest. A "rebus" or pun on the name: a cross bow bolt piercing a barrell or tun. Thanks to Tom Bolton for this picture.
The Bolton children: Arthur, Thomas, Constance and Ruth. This may have been when they were living with their step father in Gloucester.
Constance, Emily and Thomas. Thanks to Tom Bolton for this photograph and the one below.
Their son Thomas Bolton moved to Australia.
Above right: Jasper Bolton in 1863 at the age of 22. Thanks to David Thompson for this photo.
Thomas married Emma Fysh seen here with Thomas and their children: Jasper, Geoffrey, Carina and Emma. Thanks to Tom Bolton for these two photos.
Emily Bolton nee Grey now 37 then married Frederick William Thomas in the register office at Bristol on 7 June 1873. Their marriage certificate was later filed with their divorce papers. They lived on Old Tram Road, Barnwood, Gloucestershire in 1881. She had four more children with Frederick, two of them twins. He was listed as a gentleman on their marriage certificate and farmer on the census of 1881, farming 202 acres and employing 25 men, 15 women and 2 boys. Constance, Arthur and Ruth Bolton were listed as scholars. Only two of their own children are listed, Frederick aged 5 and Benjamin 4. By 1891 they were living at 24, Rectory Grove, Clapham, with children Emily and Benjamin. Frederick was a manager of a Coal Dept. Emily aged 17 was working as a clerk "Typewriter", Benjamin aged 14 was an "Accountants Clerk". Both the children were born in Gloucester. In 1901 Emily lived at 5 Cautley Avenue, Clapham. She was 64 and living on her own means. Her daughter Emily aged 24 was a typist, working at home. (It was recorded here that she was born at Horfield, Bristol.) They had one servant. Frederick is not listed at this address on the census. She divorced Frederick for adultery in 1906. In 1911 her address was 16 Abbeyville Road, Clapham Park, she was a widow living with her servant Susan Allum. She died at Abbeyville Road on 2 January 1922 leaving £103 0s 4d , the probate was granted to her youngest son Benjamin Thomas, hop merchant.
Emily Georgina Grey. Thanks to Tom Bolton for above photo and to David Thompson for the photo below.
Emily in 1898 wearing a widow's cap. She outlived three husbands.

Emily cited desertion for upwards of two years and adultery in the divorce papers. Frederick a coal dealer resided at 103, Union Road, Clapham at the time while Emily was at 162, Grove Road, Clapham. The addresses they had lived at during their married lives were listed as: Horfield Terrace, Horfield near Bristol, Elm Bridge Field Farm near Gloucester, other places and finally at 5 Caultley Avenue, Clapham. She says that on 7th day of June 1893 at 25 Auckland Street, Vauxhall her husband committed adultery with Ellen Esther Butler as well as from 10 June 1893 to July 1894, and he was also with an unknown woman at the Wilton Hotel, Belgravia on 28 of October 1905. From England and Wales Civil Divorce records on ancestry.

Left: A merchant navy second mate certificate issued in Gloucester for William Henry Grey de Pledge, born Tynemouth, dated 21 January 1879. Source ancestry.
On the 1851 census Emily, aged 14 was at the school of Catherine Tidy at 5 Saville Row, Newcastle with 13 other pupils, including Jane Grey, her niece, daughter of George Annett Grey.
In 1861 Emily was living with her children Claude 4, Amy 2 and Will aged 1, with her sister Mary Ann Garston, Edgar Garston and their two children Ethel and Edgar at The Mount, Elmswood Road, Wavertree, Lancs.
In 1871 Emily and Jasper Bolton were visiting Mary L. Mackay at " Medina" Middle ?Waverley, Tormoham in Torquay, Devon. Perhaps this was a holiday so that Jasper would recover his health?
Harry and Aimee De Pledge brought up their children in the U.S. Harry and his wife Jane had four children: Ruth Grey born 17.8.1891, Cedric Grey, 16.5.1893, Cuthbert Crockett, 6.5.1896, and Desmond Gerald,16.5.1899. Aimee De Pledge married Monty Chapman. They lived at Home Croft, Pullman, Washington. They had four children: Stamford Grey, born 14.10.1882, Ronald Eric, 22.5.1886, Aimee Meryl, 27.5.1896 and Janet 8.3.1903. She married a Mr. Swanson in Seattle.
There is a record of an Emmie Thomas marrying a Leonard Taylor in Canada. Below: Emily's signature on her marriage certificate and her divorce papers in 1906.
"For more on the Bolton family: "The Bolton Family from Northumberland and its Connections. A record of Kinship", by A. R. C. Bolton dated 28th February 1971 is stored at the Society of Genealogists in London. A typed manuscript of 24 pages, (reference number : Family History Tracts Vol 112)