Alice Mary Wilder
This information and photos have been supplied by Richard Hemery (Alice Mary's father was his great
grandfather's brother) and by Rowan Shann
Alice Mary Hemery was wife of Charles Gosselin McMahon Wilder, who was Rector at Great Bradley from 1870 - 1881. She was born in1852 in Grouville Jersey Channel Islands, to a family descended from French Huguenots who emigrated to Jersey in 1685.
Her great grandfather Clement Hemery born 1747 had fought the French at the rank of Captain in the Battle of Jersey in1781. In a famous picture of the battle by the American artist John
Singleton Copley, Alice's great grandfather can be seen. He is in the centre of the picture, with the flagpole apparently coming out of his head: Copley
sketched many of the soldiers in the painting from life. To view the picture click
Her grandfather Clement, born 1776, had been a successful merchant trading from Jersey.
Alice's father Peter Hemery born in 1813, was also a merchant, and became a Colonel in the Jersey Militia. He fought a duel in Jersey in 1840 with a Lieutenant Herbert 'over a lady'. There were no casualties. Five years later he married Frances Hunt, also known as Fanny. She was 10 years younger than him and born in Ireland. It is not recorded if she was the lady over which the duel was fought. They had five children, Clement William, born in 1848, Emily born 1849, Alice Mary born 1852, Adela Frances born 1856,and Alexandra Violet born in 1863. In the 1861 Census the family's address is Lansdown House St. Lawrence, Jersey.
To see the family tree click here
The photos below are circa 1866 and taken by the renown photographer Henry Mullins
of Jersey (link).
She would be 14, so just three years before her marriage.
I don't know where Alice met Charles Wilder, but they were married on the 23rd November 1869 in Charlton Kings, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. (Link) She was only 17. He was born on the 19th April 1842, so was 27.
He was Rector of Great Bradley from 1870-1881. The couple are recorded in the 1871 Census as living with four servants, Hannah Bullett, born 1844 Haddingham Norfolk, Anne Chidlow born 1856 Paytons Shropshire, Thomas Hazlewood born 1845 in Great Bradley, and Jane Raby born 1852Huntingdouch (Huntingdon?).
This photo was taken in 1895, so she would be about 43.
The couple had three children, the first,
Mabel Frances, born July 11th 1870 lived only 15 days. (see below for the
Unfortunately Charles died when in Cheltenham on 20th July1880 aged 38. The Census returns from 1881 and 1891 show the family staying with relatives in different parts of the country,. The 1901 Census shows that Alice was staying in Bristol with her sisters family, Evelyn in Birkenhead, and Ethel with her aunt in the Hemery family home Colomberie, St. Helier, Jersey. As far as we know neither daughter married.
Alice died in December 1927, when she was 76, outliving her husband by some 47 years. A plaque dedicated the memory of her and Charles Wilder and can be found on the north wall of the Chancel inside the church of St Mary in Great Bradley. It is one of four similar plaques to honour the four Wilder brothers who served as Rectors of the Parish.
As an interesting footnote, Alice's brother Clement William emigrated to Australia, where he started a family. One of his great grandsons was David Hemery who won Great Britain's only athletics gold medal at the Mexico Olympics in 1968.
The family group from which the individual pictures above are taken. in about 1895.
It was taken at Colomberie House, St Hellier in Jersey.
Designed by Sir John Soane for Clement Hemery in 1810,it was demolished in 1997/8 for redevelopment.
Ethel and Evelyn Wilder (by Rowan Shann, February20th, 2010)
The two daughters of the Rev. Charles Wilder and Alice Hemery had
a difficult time when they grew up. Their
father had died when Ethel was seven, Evelyn five (my mother told me he was a
sporting parson, and broke his neck on the hunting field, but I do not know
whether that is correct). Evelyn
could not remember her father, but Ethel could. Alice was left with very little money. She made her home with her sister Emily (known as Minnie in the
family), who had married Mr. Bentley and had a very nice house in Cheltenham. She also had been widowed young, but unlike Alice was left
very comfortably off. The Bentleys
had one daughter, who was delicate. Mr. Bentley
drank, and this was believed to be the cause of his problem his daughter had.
The two daughters of the Rev. Charles Wilder and Alice Hemery had a difficult time when they grew up. Their father had died when Ethel was seven, Evelyn five (my mother told me he was a sporting parson, and broke his neck on the hunting field, but I do not know whether that is correct). Evelyn could not remember her father, but Ethel could. Alice was left with very little money. She made her home with her sister Emily (known as Minnie in the family), who had married Mr. Bentley and had a very nice house in Cheltenham. She also had been widowed young, but unlike Alice was left very comfortably off. The Bentleys had one daughter, who was delicate. Mr. Bentley drank, and this was believed to be the cause of his problem his daughter had.
When Aunt Julia Hemery became a little vague and the family collectively felt someone ought to be with her to keep an eye on things at Colombrie, the Hemery family home in Jersey, Cousin Alice went over for six months of the year. My grandmother, Caroline Lindon, the widow of Edward Lindon, a nephew of Aunt Julia, went for three months. Aunt Julia Hodges, a widowed sister of Edward Lindon, went for three months.
Ethel and Evelyn had to find employment. For an impoverished young lady there were only two respectable possibilities, be either a companion or a governess. Ethel found a situation, I think with the Philipps of Picton in Wales, where she became a very respected and loved member of the household. Evelyn was resolved to be neither a companion nor a governess. She did various jobs. I think the one she liked best was managing the needlework school attached to a convent in Sicily. There were many English and American visitors to Sicily, and Evelyn received people who came to see the needlework and managed all the business side of the school. She did this for several years. Uncle Edward Hemery, he was great uncle to Ethel and Evelyn, left the Wilders money, and Ethel and Evelyn were able to give up work. They built themselves a villa in St. Moritz, the Villa Rozelle (pronounced Rutzel locally!)
Anyone building a house has problems. Ethel had to straighten out their architect. He said, rather condescendingly: By the time this house is finished I will have made you a good architect. Ethel said tartly : No I will have made you a good architect! My mother and a younger cousin (shortly to be killed in the 1914 war) had a lovely holiday with them in 1913.
When the war came Evelyn returned to England and got a job in munitions. She worked at some kind of government ordinance depot. Wrecked British guns were brought back from France to this depot. One of her jobs was to go round and photograph them. She noticed that so many of them had badly damaged barrels. They were peeled back like a banana skin. Evelyn was able to prove by her photographs that these damaged barrels were being blown to bits by faulty British ammunition rather than by German action. She took the matter to the man who was running the depot. He was not prepared to do anything. Evelyn was not accepting that. She took as many photos as possible, made enlargements of pictures of the barrels, wrote a report to go with the pictures and sent the lot direct to Lloyd-George.
The work of Evelyn was important enough for her photographs to be displayed for a meeting of the Cabinet called on this subject. Far stricter controls were then brought in for armament manufacturers. Lloyd-George wrote and thanked Evelyn, and asked her to name the day when he himself would have a meeting with the armaments manufacturers. Being intensely practical, Evelyn nominated the earliest possible date. I said to her that she should have had a medal or recognition of some kind for this, but she laughed and said that the supervisor never forgave her for going over his head. But that did not worry her in the least. She had done her bit to save the lives of British gunners , and that was what was important. Evelyn said what a wonderful day it was when the Armistice was declared. She covered her bicycle with little Union Jacks in celebration and rode proudly to work next morning.
Ethel and Evelyn went back to St.Moritz after the war. I think some time in the twenties the Villa Rozelle was sold and Evelyn came back to England. She settled in Cheltenham. I do not know when Ethel died, but I think it was between the wars.
My mother was fond of both sisters. After I grew up my mother and I went to stay with Cousin Evelyn, and she came to stay with us. She enjoyed telling me about the Hemery family, and she was happy to talk about some of the things she had done. This note is based on my memories of what she told me.
Evelyn was a very faithful member of the Church of England and, as she told us, worshipped at the church where she had worshipped for over 70 years. She was a friend of Miss Lillian Faithfull who early on saw the need for homes for retired elderly people and, in the late forties, started the Faithful Home in Cheltenham. I believe Evelyn was on the board for a number of years. She was also keenly interested in cricket and would descend on Cheltenham College when a cricket match was on, armed with her knitting, and would settle herself in the stand. The College authorities called her The Squatter in Perpetuity. This amused her very much. She died early in1962, aged 87. Following the Hemery tradition of looking after less affluent family members in their will, she left her estate to a Kernaghan cousin in Australia.
Great Bradley Church, Suffolk: Grave Number 147
Mabel Frances Wilder
Child’s Grave with Stone Cross. Mabel died at 15 days old. She was the eldest child of McMahon Charles G Wilder, Rector of Great Bradley and his wife Alice.
Sacred to the memory of