Gilbert, Charles, the Vicar and His Daughters

Arthur Cooper

Arthur Cooper

Arthur H Cooper (b 1854 in Great Yarmouth) was my Great Great Grandfather. He was the vicar of Haile in Cumbria and would have a been a close neighbour of other relatives of mine the Shankses (read some more here) living in Egremont just up the road. That these two parts of the family should merge through the marriage, many years, later of my Parents down in Sussex is quite interesting. There is no suggestion that the families actually knew each other until then, although I find it hard to believe that they never met in Cumbria.

Anyhow that is not what this post is about. Arthur (the Vicar remember) had three daughters, Ethel, Hilda, and Violet (my Great Grandmother). Despite their upbringing it seems that they might have been quite a handful when it came to men.

Violet (b 1888) married my Great Grandfather Charles Cecil Homewood (b 1884), Hilda (b 1885)  married his brother Gilbert Stephen Homewood (b 1886). However it seems that they both conceived their first child before they  were actually married. There is no record of what Arthur thought of this, though I suspect he wouldn’t have been happy. A cousin of mine told a story of Violets eldest daughter (her mother) being conceived out of wedlock, however they only worked this out on her 80th birthday.

To be fair to Violet and Hilda their mother, Louisa (nee Lott) had died in 1893 when they were both quite young and Arthur had remarried. He may have neglected them somewhat and it was maybe understandable they went off the rails a little bit. The picture below of Charles and Gilbert maybe offers some insight into how they may have been led astray.

Charles left and Gilbert right

Charles left and Gilbert right

They do look like a couple of “dandies” that would lead a couple of young girls astray. Both Violet and Hilda had a least three children each. Violet married and divorced at least three times  and lived long enough to meet me as a toddler, living until 1969. I don’t know that much about Gilbert and Hilda, Gilbert died in 1930, but Hilda lived almost as long her sister and died in 1968. Charles was part of the Labour Corp in World War 1, and I have a copy of his field commission papers being promoted to Second Lieutenant in 1918. Charles died like his brother relatively young in 1937.

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