For our April meeting we were delighted to
welcome James Lomax, Curator of Fine Arts at Temple Newsam House, to deliver
an illustrated talk about Lady Emily Charlotte Meynell Ingram. James has
recently retired from his post at Temple Newsam after a 29 year career
there. He is still however involved with the house and is currently putting
together an exhibition about John Smeaton, the famous Leeds engineer.
During his long career, James has written many articles and books and
this is something he hopes to continue to do during his retirement. James
began his talk by explaining that during her lifetime Lady Meynell Ingram
was a prolific letter writer and diarist, as well as being an accomplished
sketcher and water colourist, and as a result of all this information
a great deal is known about her.
was born in 1840 to Sir Charles Wood and Lady Mary Wood, formerly Grey,
the second eldest of six children. She spent an idyllic childhood at Hickleton,
near Doncaster, and was particularly close to her eldest brother Charles.
As a child she was often summoned to Buckingham Palace to play with Princesses
Victoria, Helena and Louise. She met her future husband, Hugo Francis
Meynell Ingram whist staying as a house guest at Chiswick, the home of
Lady Harcourt. He was the eldest son of Hugo Charles Meynell Ingram and
was eighteen years older than Emily. The politics of the two families
were different, the Woods being Whigs and the Meynells Tory.
Hugo and Emily married in 1863 and so began her association with Temple
Newsam, although at that time the family only used the house as a Hunting
Lodge. The couple were extremely happy, but owing to a riding accident
Emily was unable to have children. On the death of his father, Hugo Francis
inherited the properties at Hoar Cross and Temple Newsam. Emily spent
most of her married life at Hoar Cross in Staffordshire where the couple
demolished the old Hall and rebuilt it in a style more reminiscent of
Temple Newsam. She was devastated by Hugo's untimely death as a result
of a hunting accident in 1871, and as a memorial to him, she commissioned
the building of a church near to Hoar Cross Hall. Following the death
of her husband Emily inherited the extensive estates with considerable
wealth, and began to spend more time at Temple Newsam House.
One of Emily's favourite recreations was yachting. Until the mid 1880s
she had been content to charter yachts but about that time bought her
own yacht called the 'Ariadne'. She would leave Temple Newsam or Hoar
Cross after the New Year and take the train to the South of France where
she and her party would cruise the Mediterranean until about Easter.
In December 1904 Emily died at Temple Newsam House and her funeral and
interment took place at Hoar Cross.
During the talk, James showed many interesting photographs
of the family and a selection of sketches done by Emily and her brother
Charles, which provided a delightful background for an interesting and
informative talk. As always James' enthusiasm for his subject shone through
which was welcomed by an appreciative audience. He will be sadly missed
at Temple Newsam and we wish him a long and happy retirement.
The next meeting on Monday 27th June will be a talk by Canon Ann Hemsworth
about Florence Nightingale.