|Blanche (née Clough) Hudson (1844-1879)|
[Photo courtesy of Rosie Long]
|Coney Street, York|
|Clough of Newbald coat of arms|
Blanche's lineage was respectable, though fell short of dazzling: when it came down to it, the Cloughs were still a rising family, bankers who only recently had become landed gentry. In 1862, her eldest sister Rose married a junior officer in the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers who was the son of an admiral. The following year, her eldest brother William Clough, the heir to the banking partnership and the family estates, made a good marriage to the daughter of a long-established Lancashire gentry family. Harrington Hudson, whose proposal to marry Blanche was accepted, made a great first impression. Nine years Blanche's senior, he was the head of a well-connected Yorkshire family whose major sphere of influence was the coastal town of Bridlington, where the Hudsons' chief seat Bessingby Hall was located. Harrington had inherited the family estate aged only thirteen, his mother had remarried to a Hampshire clergyman, and he had spent some time as an officer in the Royal Navy. His father had eschewed any political or magisterial role within the East Riding, but the family reputation was assured by Harrington's uncle Sir James Hudson, who had been Britain's chief diplomat in Italy.
|St Michael-le-Belfry Church, York|
Blanche married Harrington Hudson on the 11th of January 1865 in the Clough family's church of St. Michael-le-Belfry inside the old city walls of York. Instead of a honeymoon though, the young couple was immediately plunged into mourning, for Blanche's father John Clough died the following day. His funeral was five days afterwards, and the newlywed couple were among the chief mourners, while Rev. Charles Rose, who had performed their wedding, was now performing the burial service. Blanche must have managed some time for intimacy with her new husband, for their first child, daughter Evelyn Hudson, was born practically nine months to the day after the nuptials, but the deep mourning that hung over the first week of Blanche's marriage was a foreboding of the disaster the marriage became.
|Scarborough, Yorkshire in the late 19th-century|
|One of the many newspaper|
articles on Blanche's
Over the weekend, Blanche's suicide was reported in newspapers throughout Britain, and reporters packed the coroner's inquest held on Monday, March 10th at the St Pancras Coroner's Court. Testimony was taken under oath from Harrington Hudson, Blanche's brother William Clough, her sister Mrs. Rose Barry, the on-duty physician who examined the body at the station, and by Mr. Brooks, the London attorney whom Blanche had consulted regarding a divorce. The timeline that emerges from the various testimony: Blanche left Scarborough on January 27th, apparently to her sister Rose Barry, the wife of the rector of Litchborough, Northamptonshire. Blanche had her collar bone out of its socket, but put it back in herself, without a doctor called. She was in fear of her life from her husband, and desperate to get possession of her children, back at the villa in Scarborough. On January 29th, Blanche first meets with Mr. Brooks about a divorce or separation. They meet "nearly every day" over the next few weeks, with Blanche apparently commuting into London from Litchborough. Both her sister and her attorney testify that Blanche was in possession of one of her husband's pistols, and was in great distress over the need to gain possession of her children. On Monday, March 4th, Blanche arrives at her birthplace Clifton House, now the home of her brother William Clough, and apparently makes him aware of what has transpired and of her plans for a divorce, for she writes to her sister Rose the following day, "I am advised to go back and live with him, as though nothing had happened," which could only refer to William's reaction. Blanche also wrote that the next day (Wednesday March 6th) she intended to go "to Mr. Wells, at Scarborough, but must not see my dear children. I fear H.H. [her husband] would find me out, and kill me. I am half dead, and don't know if I shall get through what is before me." The inquest didn't inquire as to whether or not Blanche made the trip to Scarborough on the 6th, but her brother William sees her in his drawing room the morning of Thursday, March 7th, where she states she is going to London "to see Mr. Brooks touching a matter with her husband" and "would return that evening." She never shows up for her 3PM meeting with Mr. Brooks, who waits in his office until 9PM. Blanche left a letter addressed to him "in which she said she could not thank him sufficiently for all he had done for her. She hoped her darling brothers and sisters would never have to go through her misery, and praying that God in his mercy would take care of her children. The letter concluded by making some allusion as to the disposal of her property."
Harrington testified that he didn't know where Blanche was, as she hadn't told him where she was going on January 27th. She "had not left him. His wife was at liberty to leave him, and go to any of her friends. She wrote to her children, which letters were shown to him," which was how he had learned she had been at Litchborough Rectory. "She was in good health when she left me...I think that the act was committed by herself, but I think she must have been in an unsound state of mind." When asked whether Blanche had left him on good terms or bad terms, Harrington answered that they "did not part on bad terms, but on good terms. They had been living on good terms, such as people generally do." William Clough testified that "his sister was in a nervous state, and had been in that state for some years...His opinion was that his sister was not accountable for her actions." Under cross-examination, her Rose Barry testified "that her sister had many years ago a severe attack of Paris typhoid fever. She was often in an excitable state." It took the jury only twenty minutes of deliberation to return a verdict: "That the deceased came by her death by shooting herself with a pistol whilst labouring under temporary insanity, and the jury are of opinion that this state of mind was influenced by the unhappy relation existing between herself and her husband. The jury further wish to say that they are not at all satisfied at the way in which the husband gave his evidence."
|St Pancras Railway Station c.1880-85|
The jury's verdict was just in my opinion. It was indeed Blanche herself who pulled the trigger, and I also agree with the finger pointed at Harrington Hudson. If his testimony is to be believed, he comes across as completely oblivious to his wife's distress, while if Blanche is to be believed, his brutality was the primary cause of it. The attorney Mr. Brooks consulted one Dr. Tristram regarding Blanche's situation, and testified that there was "ample grounds for a separation." Her sister Rose certainly believed that Blanche was in fear of her life from her husband. Blanche wrote to her sister just two days before her death, "All you say I shall try to do, and go on with the case." This was after brother William had encouraged her to return to her husband. I'm not willing to let William Clough off the hook here, but his indifference to his sister's plight likely was due to the heavy matter weighing on his own shoulders: the nearly-hundred-year-old bank of Swann, Clough & Co. had failed. The first notice to the bank's creditors hit the newspapers on May 15th, 1879, a mere eight weeks after the St Pancras inquest. The bank's failure had a devastating financial impact on the Clough family. Divorce was an expensive business in the Victorian era, available only to the wealthy. Was the family's inability to pay for Blanche's divorce a factor in William encouraging her to return to a husband she feared? Was she made aware that the family bank had failed? Did she go to Scarborough the next day and was spotted? The London attorney Mr. Brooks testified "he thought that deceased was in a perfect state of mind, but was in great distress on account of her children. She said she would never go back to her husband, and went in bodily fear of him." What occurred in the 48 hours between Blanche's letter to her sister and her taking her life at the St Pancras Railway? What made her feel that the only way out for herself was death when just two days before she was willing to pursue her case for divorce: "It will be tried in September, they say," she had written. Too often in the Victorian era, and sadly even today, women were easily dismissed as hysterical when they attempted to speak of or act on uncomfortable truths. Yes, the responsibility for ending her own life falls squarely on Blanche's shoulders, but the responsibility for her feeling that it was her only option also falls on those of her husband and her brother. The two men not only failed financially, they completely failed a woman whom they were expected to love and protect.
|The Lodge, Banstead, Surrey|
William Clough's later life will be explored in the next blogpost. Harrington Hudson retreated to a quiet country life in Surrey with his children. He purchased The Lodge, a nice-sized house in Banstead (though hardly on the level of Bessingby Hall), where he spent the remaining seventeen years of his life with his two daughters, Evelyn and Blanche. He never remarried. The ghost of Blanche has never appeared to any of her descendants, not even the three young Walls sisters in San Francisco when they were trying to by scary. Perhaps because the lady herself is a figure far more tragic than frightening. If any spirit of Blanche lingers amongst her descendants today, hopefully it pleases her that several of the females among them were able, when things became intolerable on the domestic front, to end their marriages and not their lives. Domestic violence is far from being wiped out, but at least steps toward progress have been made since that fatal night in 1879 at St Pancras Railway Station.
[*1] Family legend has it that the necklace Blanche Hudson is wearing in her portrait miniature was one of the items of jewelry she was wearing when she killed herself at St Pancras Station. The necklace is today in the possession of sisters Nanette Walls and Rosie Long.
(BELLE) BLANCHE CLOUGH, b. 9 June 1844 Clifton House, York, bap. 4 July 1844 St Michael-le-Belfry, York; d. (suicide) 6 Mar. 1879 St Pancras Railway Station, London, 3rd dau. of John Clough of Clifton House, banker (1803-1865, descended from Edward III - see Generation 18 below) and Rosina Cumberland (1811-1869, descended from Edward I); m. 11 Jan. 1865 St Michael-le-Belfry Church, York, HARRINGTON HUDSON of Bessingby Hall, Yorkshire, b. there 7 Oct. 1835, bap. 13 Oct. 1835 St Magnus Church, Bessingby; d. 9 Feb. 1896 The Lodge, Banstead, Surrey, bur. 13 Feb. 1896 All Saints Churchyard, Banstead, est son of Harrington George Frederick Hudson of Bessingby Hall (1798-1848, descended from Edward IV) and Charlotte Watt (1814-1891), and had issue, two sons and two daughters.
|St Magnus Church, Bessingby, Yorkshire|
Issue of Blanche (Clough) and Harrington Hudson:
1) EVELYN HUDSON, b. 14 Oct. 1865 Bessingby Hall, bap. 15 Nov. 1865 St Magnus Church, Bessingby; d.s.p. 16 Oct. 1951 Dorset County Hospital, Dorchester; m. 1st 1898, as his 2nd wife, HARRY HEPWORTH POWIS, b. Oct. 1867 Slough, Buckinghamshire, bap. 12 June 1874 St Matthias Church, Earls Court, London; d.s.p. 1901, son of Lt. Charles William Powis of Putney (1836-1919) and Isabella Harrison Napper (b. 1844); m. 2nd 28 June 1911 St Saviour Church, Chelsea, London, as his 2nd wife, JAMES ASHTON RADCLIFFE of Tolpuddle, Dorset, Master of the South Dorset Hounds 1901-29, b. Grove Cottage, Rochdale, Lancashire, bap. 21 Nov. 1849 St Chad Church, Rochdale; d.s.p. 3 Sept. 1929 Tolpuddle, son of James Radcliffe of Grove Cottage (b. 1821) and Mary Butterworth (b. c.1830).
2) HARRINGTON HUDSON of Southgate, Bournemouth, Dorset, with the British India Steam Navigation Company, b. 7 Mar. 1867 Bossall Hall, Yorkshire, bap. 9 Apr. 1867 St Botolph Church, Bossall; d. unm. 6 Feb. 1898 Southgate, Bournemouth[*2].
|Blanche (née Hudson) Bond|
3) JAMES HUDSON, b. 7 July 1869 Bossall Hall, bap. 30 July 1869 St Botolph Church, Bossall; d. after 1881[*3].
4) BLANCHE HUDSON, b. 2 Aug. 1872 Scarborough, Yorkshire, bap. 31 Oct. 1872 St Mary Church, Scarborough; d. 22 July 1946 Portrush, co. Antrim, Ireland; m. 3 Nov. 1896 St James Church, Westminster, (JOHN LINCOLN) FLEETWOOD BOND of West Parley House, Dorset, b. 15 Dec. 1869 Belgravia, London, bap. 26 Apr. 1874 St Peter Church, Freston, Suffolk; d. by 1922, yst. son of Rev. Alfred Bond, Rector of Freston 1853-80 (1827-1912) and his 1st wife Georgiana Eliza Tharp (1829-1878), and had issue, two sons and three daughters.
[*2] On the death without issue of Harrington Hudson in 1898, senior representation of the line of Lady Anne (Townshend) Hudson, and of the Hudsons of Bessingby Hall, fell to his elder sister Evelyn (Hudson) (Powis) Radcliffe. On her death without issue in 1951, senior representation fell to Hazel Elizabeth (Bond) Littledale (1924-2005), granddaughter of Evelyn's younger sister Blanche (Hudson) Bond.
[*3] James Hudson appears with his parents and elder brother in Scarborough in the 1871 England Census (sister Evelyn was a visitor in a Great Malvern, Worcestershire household). In the 1881 England Census, he is listed as "deaf from birth" in a school for the deaf in Willesden, Middlesex. There's no apparent match for James in the 1891 England Census, so presumably he had died by then.
|James Hudson "deaf from birth" in the 1881 England Census|
Edward III had a second surviving son,
1) Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence (1338-1368) m. 1) Lady Elizabeth de Burgh (1332-1363, descended from Edward I), and had
|3rd Duke of York - see|
3) Roger Mortimer, 4th Earl of March (1374-1398) m. Lady Alianore Holland (1370-1405, descended from Edward I), and had
4) Lady Anne Mortimer (1388-1411) m. Richard of York, 3rd Earl of Cambridge (1385-1415, descended from Edward III), and had
5) Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York (1411-1460) m. Lady Cecily Neville (1415-1495, descended from Edward III), and had
6) Anne Plantagenet, Duchess of Exeter (1439-1476) m. 2) Sir Thomas St Leger (by 1438-1483), and had
7) Lady Anne St Leger (1475-1526) m. George Manners, 11th Lord Ros (1470-1513, descended from Edward I), and had
8) Thomas Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland (c.1497-1543) m. 2) Eleanor Paston (c.1505-1551, descended from Edward I), and had
9) Sir John Manners of Haddon Hall (c.1533-1611) m. Dorothy Vernon (c.1545-1584, descended from Edward III), and had
|8th Earl of Rutland -|
see Generation 11
11) John Manners, 8th Earl of Rutland (1604-1679) m. Hon. Frances Montagu (1613-1671, descended from Edward I), and had
12) Lady MARGARET MANNERS, bap. 2 June 1647 St Clement Danes, London; d. Aug. 1682 Paris, France; m. (lic. 25 Sept.) 1661, JAMES CECIL, 3rd Earl of Salisbury, b. 1646; d. 24 May 1683 Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, bur. St Etheldreda Church, Hatfield, son of Charles Cecil, Viscount Cranborne (1619-1660, descended from Edward III) and Lady Diana Maxwell (c.1623-1675), and had
13) Lady MARY CECIL, b. c.1668 (“Fifteen years or thereabouts” at marriage, per bond); d. 29 Mar. 1740; m. 23 May 1684 St James Duke's Place, London, Sir WILLIAM FORESTER of Dothill Park, Wellington, Shropshire, M.P. Much Wenlock 1679-1713, b. 10 Dec. 1655 Dothill Park, bap. All Saints Church, Wellington; bur. there 22 Feb. 1718, son of Francis Forester of Wellington (1623-1684, descended from Edward I) and Hon. Mary Newport (1617-1661, descended from Edward I), and had
|Forester of Dothill coat of arms|
15) MARY FORESTER, b. 20 Dec. 1717 Dothill Park, bap. 9 Jan. 1718 All Saints Church, Wellington; d. 26 Sept. 1779, bur. 27 Sept. 1779 St Ludowanus Church, Ludgvan, Cornwall; m. 1st 21 May 1738 John's Square, Clerkenwell, London, Sir BRYAN BROUGHTON DELVES, 4th Baronet of Broughton, b. 6 Jan. 1718 Broughton Hall, Eccleshall, Staffordshire, bap. 15 Jan. 1718 St Peter Church, Broughton; d. 11 Aug. 1744, bur. St Peter Church, Broughton, son of Sir Bryan Broughton, 3rd Baronet of Broughton (1677-1724, descended from Edward III) and Elizabeth Delves (1678-1746, descended from Edward III), and had
16) Sir THOMAS BROUGHTON, 6th Baronet of Broughton, b. (posthumous) 2 May 1745 London, bap. 15 May 1745 St George Hanover Square; d. 23 July 1813 Doddington Hall, Cheshire, bur. 30 July 1813 St Peter Church, Broughton; m. 1st 1 Aug. 1766 St Marylebone Parish Church, London, MARY WICKER, b. 2 Mar. 1748 London, bap. 23 Mar. 1748 St James Church, Westminster; d. 7 June 1785 Broughton Hall, bur. 16 June 1785 St Peter Church, Broughton, dau. of John Wicker of Horsham (1711-1767) and Charlotte Colebrooke (1725-1795), and had
|Sir Thomas Broughton, 6th Bt|
- see Generation 16
18) JOHN CLOUGH of Clifton House, York, banker, b. 28 Jan. 1803 Bramham, Yorkshire, bap. 8 Feb. 1803 All Saints Church, Bramham; d. 12 Jan. 1865 Clifton House, bur. 17 Jan. 1865 York Cemetery; m. 23 July 1833 Cheltenham Minster, Gloucestershire, ROSINA CUMBERLAND, b. 16 Dec. 1811 Norwich, Norfolk, bap. 28 Jan. 1812 St John de Sepulchre Church, Norwich; d. 7 July 1869 Marylebone, London, bur. 12 July 1869 Kensal Green Cemetery, London, yst dau. of RAdm. William Cumberland of Cheltenham (1765-1832, descended from Edward I) and Elizabeth Pym Burt (1779-1840), and had
19) (BELLE) BLANCHE CLOUGH (1844-1879-see details above)
The next blogpost will look at the other children and remaining Edward III descents for Blanche's father John Clough.