The History of The Round House - Chitterne

Alice Mary Langford

Alice Langford's story is rather sad.

Her mother Mary Ann, who was baptised at Chitterne in 1834, was the eldest child of William and Mary Wallis (nee White) of the Manor, Chitterne St Mary. In 1855, at Chitterne, Mary Ann married George Langford, a grocer from East Ilsley, Berkshire, and their first child Alice Mary was born in 1857 at Ilsley.

Mary Ann, George and young Alice Mary emigrated to Canada where another daughter, Louisa, was born in 1859. The family moved again to Tuscola, Michigan, USA, where they farmed.

Mary Ann died 14 July 1862 after giving birth to a third daughter, Lucy, who died soon after her mother on the 27 July. Mother and child were buried at Tuscola cemetery. Their tombstones are pictured here. Lucy's is almost illegible. Alice and Louisa were aged 5 and 3 years at the time and subsequently George took them back to England to live with their grandparents at the Manor in Chitterne, himself returning to the USA.

George remarried in the USA and started a second family. The descendants of this second family have in their possession letters written by Alice Mary and Louisa to their father asking when they were to meet their new mother and baby brother, but it appears that they never did.

Alice Mary, and perhaps Louisa too, was sent to the Sambourne Ladies Boarding School, in nearby Warminster, to be educated. The school was run by the Misses Haskew and Cruse, in a large red-brick house on the outskirts of the town, where Alice Mary, aged 14, was listed among the boarders in the 1871 British Census.

By 1881, Alice, now 24 years old, was living back with her grandparents at the Manor in Chitterne and her occupation is noted as governess. Her grandparents had 13 children so Alice was probably kept fully occupied teaching within the Wallis family. In fact in 1891 she was living with, and probably tutoring, her nephew, ten-year-old William Cary Coles, while caring for her widowed grandmother, Mary Wallis, at a farmhouse next door to the Manor rented by the Wallis family from the church. Mary Wallis died later that year on 23 August, aged 80 years.

In 1897, at age 40, Alice purchased the Round House, Chitterne from Walter Long, for the sum of 70. The 1901 and 1911 censuses show her living there alone on her own means, for it seems that she never married, unlike Louisa, who married farmer Cary Coles in 1878 and went to live at Brixton Deverill and then Winterbourne Stoke. Alice sold The Round House to George and William Poolman on 24 March 1917.

We now know the end of Alice's story. She died on 19th October 1917, a little over 6 months after she sold the house in Chitterne. At the time of her death she was living at Shefford House, Northbrook Street, Newbury in Berkshire. She left 352 18s 8d in her will, which mentioned her uncle Frederick Buckeridge Wallis. I am grateful to Maxine Curtis for this information.

George Langford's second family:

After George Langford returned to Michigan he was married to the daughter of his next-door-neighbour, a Rachel Mary Stewart on July 3, 1861 (this date from Rachel's obituary in an Iowa newspaper is surely wrong given that Mary Ann died on the 14 July 1862?) in Michigan. She was born June 28, 1850 Bath, Steuben county, New York and died abt. August 26, 1920. She was the daughter of Harvey Stewart and Margaret Aber. George Langford was born April 2, 1825 England and died in Milford, Iowa aged 83 years in 1909.

They had the following children according to the 1880 Tipton, Hardin county, Iowa census.

John Langford born 1866 Michigan

George Langford Jr. born 1868 Michigan

William Langford born 1870 Michigan

Dora Langford born 1871 Michigan

Charles Langford born 1873 Iowa

Henry Langford born 1877 Iowa

Nelly Langford born 1880 Iowa (was 6 months old at the time the census was taken).

Thanks to A.L Newman for the photographs.

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