International Womens Day 2024 – marked with a rose

Each year we celebrate International Women’s Day and over the last few years we now put flowers on graves for some of the significant women in this old cemetery.

These are just a few of the many remarkable ladies in the cemetery and a note on why we remembered them this year.

Alice Hunt 1855 – 1933 magistrate, educationist, churchwoman, traveller, philanthropist

An impressive list of achievements from her obituary.

Her favourite cause, among many that she supported, appears to have been education for girls, having attended a private school in London herself. She made many visits to the schools where she was a governor, and was known as the friend of every girl in The County School. She gave books to their library, a fund to pay towards girls attending university, plants and flowers for the school grounds and many other gifts.

She was the youngest daughter of Sir Henry Hunt, a civil engineer and surveyor, who was involved in the planning and building for the Great Exhibition of 1851, among many projects. Maybe from him she acquired her love of travel. She was a fellow of The Royal Geographical Society, one of the few women members, and had travelled twice round the world, visiting most countries. She used the many photos she took on these journeys to illustrate talks to the County School girls and townsfolk.

One of the first women magistrates, she was appointed in Dec 1920 and served for 13 years, until she became ill. She was interested in the women and children who came up before the bench, and with Edith Ivy Weston would try to make sure there was a woman to hear their cases.

In between times she led a party of ladies who made a new altar cloth for St Mary and St. Eanswythe; had a large part in making a set of vestments and was responsible for the altar flowers for 45 years.

Mary Ann Taylor (Annie) – professional medical rubber 1842 – 1907

We were intrigued by the inscription on her stone, describing her as a professional medical rubber. Her profession was obviously something she, or her daughters, were proud of, to have recorded it on her stone. She married George in 1865 and they were running a bathing establishment together in the Lower Sandgate Road in 1871 and 81. On the 1871 census they had two daughters, Rose H, 4 and Minnie 2, also a servant. George died later in 1891, and Annie moved to 29 Foord Road. This is the first record of her being a professional medical rubber, which we assume was a masseuse. She possibly worked at the Turkish Baths in Ingles Road, where she may have had some training in massage.

Mary Challis – housekeeper 1834 – 1918

For over 60 years she was nurse, cook, housekeeper and friend to Mrs Lydia Hayne and then her daughter, Mrs Oliver. She is on the 1861 census with Henry Hayne, a timber merchant and his wife, Lydia and stayed with them until she moved to Folkestone to be the housekeeper for their daughter, another Lydia, now married, and living in Castle Hill Avenue. She never married and the Hayne children looked after her effects when she died. She had seen them all grow up and they must have been like her own children.

Mary Stokes – wife and mother 1841 – 1924

She was born in Hawkhurst and lived in Folkestone after her marriage to William in 1870. William was a Customs Officer, but her sons were running a greengrocer’s shop in Tontine Street. When the Gotha plane dropped its bomb, her son William and grandson Arthur were killed in the shop and another son, Frederick, died in 1918 of his wounds.

Ellen English – family carer 1841 – 1924

Ellen lived in New Town, Peterborough for a large part of her life. She was born in 1841, the first child and only girl of Edward, a banker’s clerk, and Sarah. By 1851 she had four younger brothers, George 8, Henry 6, Charles 3 and Robert 1. The house must have been full and as the only girl she was probably helping her mother to look after her brothers. Sadly, in the September Quarter of that year, Charles and Robert both died. As the deaths are in the same quarter, it was possibly from an infectious illness of some kind. When the census was taken on the 30th March, one wonders if the boys were running about, following their older siblings and getting into mischief, or were they already rather poorly? Ellen was 10, she had probably helped with nursing her brothers in their last days and must have been devastated by this double loss.

Early in 1853, another brother, Edward, was born, but in 1868 her mother died, aged 55. Ellen was 26 and took over the running of the household, where she remained until after her father died in 1891, aged 81, looking after him and any brothers there. Did she ever have a chance of marriage, and refused because of her duty to her father? Did she lose a sweetheart in one of the many wars that were going on, or was she happy as a spinster? The records don’t give us that information, all we know is that she never married.

Sometime between 1901 and 1911 she moved to Folkestone, living at 27 Radnor Park Crescent, probably to be nearer her unmarried brother, George. It is good to know that she remained active and relatively healthy in her later years. She had a niece living with her from 1903 and so she had company and help in her old age. In 1924 she was watering plants in her conservatory, so perhaps had a life-long love of plants. She had a fall in the conservatory and died two weeks later after a life spent mostly in caring for the family.

Sarah Markham – nurse 1851 – 1900

Not a lot is known about her, she was born in Hornchurch, Essex, to William, a coachman and Emma. In 1861 she manages to be on two census records, one with her family and one at a little school in Brighton. She became a nurse and her stone has the badge of the precursor to the General Nursing Council. This would have entailed three years of training as laid down by Florence Nightingale. She was at the fever hospital in Homerton in 1871 and the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading in 1881. She never married and died at 24 Clifton Gardens, Folkestone, having spent her life caring for others. The inscription on her stone says: She died on duty. St. Luke’s Day 1900 aged 49 years.

Maude Nye – draper 1869 – 1934

She was born in St Pancras, London in 1869, her father was a draper’s assistant at the time. He worked his way up, becoming a buyer and manager and finally moving to Folkestone. He must have worked hard and was probably ambitious. Most of the family seemed to work in the draper’s at some time. Two brothers got jobs as warehouse man and traveller, Maude and her sisters were saleswomen. When she married Charles in 1908, he joined the firm. His father was in the millinery business and he had worked as an assistant in a draper’s, so he would have brought useful skills with him.

Maud’s parents moved to Folkestone before 1911, with Maud, her husband and one of her sisters, Bertha. Her father started his own business at 20 & 22 Tontine Street. On the 1911 census they are all involved in the shop and running quite a large draper’s and milliner’s store, with four assistants, three apprentices and two servants. Possibly Charles was in charge of the millinery as this seems to have been his forte.

They had a daughter, Lilian in 1911, who became a teacher and a son, Charles in 1912. He went to the Harvey school, where he played for the school cricket XI.

Charles senior died in 1927, aged 56; his obit says he was genial and a keen businessman who did a lot of good by stealth. So Maud was now in charge of the business, her father having retired.

Charles junior went to Goldsmith’s college, where sadly, his health ‘failed’ and he came home, dying in 1933, aged 20. These must have been difficult years for Maud, now over 60, and with a large shop to run and only her sister, Bertha, to help her.

When she retired in 1934, her sister Bertha ran the shop.

Katherine Brown – matron 1860 – 1913

She was born into a moderately well-off family. Her father owned a hosiery factory in Leicestershire, which employed 700 men and 300 women in 1881. Katherine left this comfortable home and for 23 years she was the Lady Superintendent of the Convalescent Home of the London Medical Mission in Netley Cottage, Claremont Road, Folkestone. It was a convalescent home for the missionaries who had been working for the Mission in London, possibly also occasionally the sick poor that they had been working with.

Ellen Moody – Servant to wife 1862 – 1957

Ellen has a rags to riches story, having been born to an agricultural labourer, Samuel, and his wife, Emma, in Saxmundham, Suffolk. By the 1881 census, aged around 19, she was a servant for Henry Monro Moody, a builder, and his wife, Harriet at 98 Cheriton Road. She was their only servant, and must have worked very hard as there were 6 children in the house too.

Sadly, later in 1881, Harriet died. The oldest boy was 18, but the youngest, Herbert, was only 3. Harriet must have brought up these children, as well as the two boys she and Henry had in 1884 and 1885. She married him in 1887. When she died she left over £8,000, not bad for the daughter of an ag. lab. They are buried together, with quite an ornate stone.

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