Sunday, May 8, 2016

An Elopement in High Life

One February morning in 1852, the London society papers reported "with much regret" that the youngest daughter of the Marquis of Londonderry, had eloped from her London home and been privately married to the family's domestic chaplain. The Rev. Frederick Henry Law was newly ordained, a Cambridge graduate, and 24. Lady Adelaide Vane-Tempest was 22. The Londonderry's great fortune was in the coal mines to the north. In London, their splendid seat was Holderness House in Park Lane. Lady Adelaide gave her maid the slip and she and the young clergyman dashed for the registry office in Hanover Square. The elopement in High Life generated unparalleled excitement; the Marchioness was reportedly "humbled to the dust" by her daughter's rashness. The young Rev. Mr. Law was merely a schoolmaster's son, thought to be plain looking and "uppish" in his manner. While the marriage was a done thing, the couple could not remain in London. The Marquis found a series of places for his unsought son-in-law to minister to the miners on the distant family estates. The Laws were married thirty years; Adelaide died in Genoa in 1882, “cast off by her family & excluded from aristocratic society.”* The Rev. Law finished his days at a parish in Lewisham, near London.
For more romances of the Victorian clergy, see Clerical Errors, A Victorian Series, Vol 1.

*K.D. Reynolds, Aristocratic Women and Political Society in Victorian Britain
Photo of Londonderry House (aka Holderness House) from Pinterest

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