Geraldine McQuillan is a volunteer Tour Guide at Ardgillan Castle with a interest in local history. Below is the first of a series of blogs she aims to write on Ardgillan and the Taylors.
Louisa was born to Hugh Francis and Matilda Tollemache in 1833. She has the distinct privilege of being both baptised (16 Jun 1833) and married (13 Nov 1862) by her father, who was Rector of Harrington, Northamptonshire. Her father was no simple vicar, but son of Lord Huntingtower, and Louisa’s grandmother was Countess of Dysart, so we can imagine she and her nine siblings lived in a degree of comfort.
How Thomas Taylor met Louisa is not clear, but he was 51 when they married, she being 22 years younger. We know that Thomas’ family and friends had been urging him for some time to take a wife. In 1858, his brother Richard wrote “you have proved yourself a good son and a good brother; you really ought to show how you can be a good husband and father. You see I am as bad as the rest of them and will bully you on this subject”!
Thomas wrote to Disraeli from Ardgillan Castle on 15th October, 1862 to tell him of the marriage and received a reply on 20th October to say ‘ If an union with an honourable and intelligent man, with a kind disposition and a thorough knowledge of the world be a good foundation for happiness I think Miss Tollemache is much to be congratulated… I have little doubt she will bring to the alliance every other quality necessary to complete the domestic spell, I will venture to congratulate Colonel Taylor with all my heart’. They appear to have set up home in London, as would be necessary for an MP. Their five children, Edward Richard (1863), Basil Reginald (1865), twins Cecil Cornelia Marianne St. Leger and Beatrix Virginia Louisa Tollemache (1866) and Wilfred Doneraile Stanhope (1868) were born there.
A measure of their comfort and prominence is seen in the entry for the family in the 1871 Census of England. They are living at 99 Eaton Square, in Belgravia and besides the family, there are a governess, a housekeeper, a kitchen maid, a head nurse, a schoolroom maid, a nursery maid, an upper house maid, an under house maid, a butler, a lady’s maid and two footman. All these servants were born in England. (In 2013 this house was sold for £3.7m and a current (2016) value is approx. £4.66m.)
How much time Louisa and the family spent in Ardgillan is not clear, although they are missing from the 1881 Census of England. Only Thomas is at 99 Eaton Square, with a domestic servant and a footman. We can presume Louisa is at Ardgillan Castle. A poster for the Theatre Loyal, the family name for their home dramatics at Ardgillan, dated January 1882 shows that the parts in “King Alfred” were played by Mr. E. Taylor, and William the Wood cutter is Mrs. Taylor. Thomas was ill from 1881 onwards and in January 1883 he travelled to his sister Eliza’s house, in Fitzwilliam Place, where he died in February. Maybe Louisa was in the London home at the time.
In 1891 Louisa is living in London at 82 Cadogan Place, Belgravia. (Current rental price for apartments in this area is £2,695 per week). She is registered as a widow, aged 58, living on her own means. Living with her is Cecil C., her daughter, aged 26 and there is a cook, a housemaid, a kitchen maid and a page boy.
By 1901, she has moved to Wargrave, in Berkshire. She is again registered as a widow, aged 68, living on her own means. With her is a cook, a kitchen maid, a butler and a footman. Her butler is Myles McCarthy, from Dublin, Ireland (I have been unable to find any records of him in Ireland)
Finally in 1911, she is still in Wargrave, now aged 78. She has a cook, an upper house maid, an under housemaid, a kitchen maid, a footman and Myles McCarthy, her Irish butler.
Louisa died on 9 Apr 1928. She is recorded as leaving £30,065.12.6d.