Caroline Dora de Blaquière (always called Dora) was initiated into the Golden Dawn at its Isis-Urania temple in London, choosing the Latin motto ‘Spero meliora’. She was one of the GD’s earliest members, joining in 1888, but was not especially active. In 1889 she was even judged to have let her membership lapse, though in fact she was abroad, visiting North America, and may just have forgotten to pay her yearly subscription. The GD’s archive at the Freemasons’ Library suggests that she may have been a member of the GD’s Edinburgh group, the Amen-Ra temple, at some stage; though she left England for good in 1900.
UPDATE FEBRUARY 2020
Correcting the names of Dora’s grandparents on the Bettridge side. Information sent by a family historian who I don’t have permission to name.
UPDATE AUGUST 2018. Another update is needed following emails from Robert Coleman, who contributes to the comprehensive and detailed family history website at //fayewest.ca/colemanjones. Thanks are due to Robert for alerting me to two articles in The Girl’s Own Paper written by Dora’s sister Julia Lawrason. Dora was a regular contributor to GOP – see below for how regular. When I started to follow up Robert’s email I soon discovered that the website I had used for articles published in The Girl’s Own Paper was no longer online. I’ve found two more recent websites, one of which has links to the actual articles.
UPDATE MARCH 2014. A big update to Dora’s file has been required! In February, Martin Atkinson of Calgary in Canada contacted me to tell me of a friendship Dora had with someone I’d never heard of before: the poet, writer on theology and expert on embroidery, Sophia Frances Anne Caulfeild. As a result of Martin’s tip-off, I also discovered another previously unknown friendship for Dora - the family of GD member Mary Briggs. So many, many thanks to Martin - I don’t often get ‘light-bulb’ moments like I the one I had about Dora and the Briggs’s. He also located a photograph of Dora’s gravestone for me. Martin is a descendant of Sophia Caulfeild’s sister Louisa Lavinia (1828-96) who married Rev Hans Atkinson.
June 2014 brings another update to my file on Dora - a correction and some amplification to the section on her family. This second revision is the result of my being contacted by Sally Thomson, who has worked out that she’s Dora’s fourth cousin, three times removed - Dora was Sally T’s great-grandmother’s fourth cousin. A historian and writer, Sally T has traced her Bettridge ancestors back to late 17th-century Gloucestershire and Warwickshire, using local history and family history sources.
THE BETTRIDGE FAMILY
Dora’s Bettridge ancestors were living in the Cotswolds by the end of the 17th century; though how long they had been there is unknown. By the end of the 18th century some members of the family were beginning to rise above their background as farm labourers and husbandmen: both Dora’s grandparents were literate, her grandmother signing her name on her marriage lines in a practised, academic hand. She was also able to leave Dora’s father a small amount of land when she died in 1829. However, he had left England years before, for an extraordinary working life that illustrates in miniature the expansion of the British empire during the early and mid-19th century.
WILLIAM CRADDOCK BETTRIDGE (originally Betteridge) was baptised in Warwick and almost certainly born there, the son of William Betteridge of Wyck Rissington, and his wife Ann Craddock of Northleach.
Original email from Betteridge, sent to Roger 31 Jan 2020:
I have read with great interest your article on Dora earlier today.
It needs a correction made in relation to the parentage of William Craddock Betteridge (Bettridge).
William Craddock Betteridge (so spelled in the record) was baptised at St Mary Warwick and was a son of William Betteridge (thus spelled, but incorrectly transcribed from his baptism record) 1764-1792 of Wyck Rissington and Ann Craddock 1759-1829 of Northleach. Hence the Craddock in his name.
The fact that the parents were living in Warwick is intriguing. Ann's signature on the marriage record is of a practised and academic hand. That recognised, it surely follows that William too had an academic leaning. The Warwick connection could indicate that he had either won a scholarship or had been funded to attend the prestigious Warwick School and afterwards, having married, to have taught there.. Their son William Craddock, clearly a man of great learning, would have derived his inspiration from his parents.
I offer these thoughts as a possible basis for further research.
End email of 31 Jan 2020
He joined the British army in April 1813, fighting through the tail-end of the Peninsular War, being promoted to Major and commanding the garrison at Brussels while Waterloo was being fought in the countryside nearby. He could have stayed in the army and ended up (if he had lived that long) as a general. Instead, he retired on half-pay and spent several years working and studying in Europe. Almost nothing is known about his life in those years but they were obviously a key period in his thinking. He worked as a mercenary, but also studied and in the end, was moved to give up soldiering for the church. His marriage to Mary Hounsfield, in 1823, may have helped him make up his mind to this big and surprising change of career. He was ordained as a Church of England priest in 1825. For the next few years he worked as minister at one or possibly two churches in Southampton: he was appointed to All Saints Proprietory Chapel in 1828; and was minister at St Paul’s Chapel in 1834 (they may be the same church, renamed - I’m not clear on that point). However, the restless, adventure-seeking nature that had caused him to join the army in time of war hadn’t quite left William Craddock Bettridge. In 1834 he took the offer of a job with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and went with a group of ex-military colonists to the town of Woodstock in what is now Ontario, but was then known as Upper Canada. Mary and their family went with him.
William Bettridge’s job in Upper Canada was to set up a parish based on Woodstock. This he did, fighting the Church of England and colonial authorities to ensure the parish a secure income, and getting the town’s residents to fund the building of a church, St Paul’s Woodstock. The church still exists, built in deep red brick; you can see it at Woodstock’s website at www.city.woodstock.on.ca.; there’s also a good account of it on wikipedia. William Bettridge became the new church’s first rector, a post he held until his death in 1873. He also started a number of businesses in the town, including a shop. As the Church of England’s grip on Upper Canada expanded, he became a rural dean of the diocese of Huron.
Caroline Dora Bettridge was the last-but-one (I think - she was certainly one of the youngest) of William and Mary Bettridge’s family, born in Woodstock in 1840. I haven’t been able to find out anything about her life in Woodstock as a child and young woman. As her parents were not well off and Dora was only the latest of several daughters, I would suppose there was no money to send her away to school, even if there had been a school to send her to, this early in Canada’s history. I think she learned whatever she did learn, in Woodstock. From her later writings I would deduce that she had an education based on reading, writing, the bible, and domestic tasks. The impossibility of finding (let alone keeping) servants was a perennial middle-class complaint in the colonies in the 19th century, and in her later life Dora displayed a knowledge of laundry, mending and cooking on a tight budget that suggests she knew how to do all of those, the sort of tasks the servants would do in a vicar’s household in England.
Although, as one of the rector’s daughters, Dora would have known Woodstock’s best families, that would have been a rather limited number of people, so that the number of suitable husbands known to her - or rather, to her parents - was probably small. It seems from the family gravestone that only two of William Bettridge’s daughters married – Dora, and Julia. On 10 April 1865 Dora married one of her father’s church wardens, Charles de Blaquière. He was about twice her age, and a widower with three young children.
THE DE BLAQUIÈRES
In 1851 Charles de Blaquière was working as Woodstock’s post-master, and he probably still was at the time of his marriage to Dora. However, his family was a grander one than that implies. Dora was marrying somebody who, if he lived long enough, would become the 6th Baron de Blaquière of Ardkill in county Derry. The de Blaquières were descended from French Protestants who had fled to northern Ireland to escape religious persecution in their homeland. In 1800, Charles’ grandfather had been made the first baron de Blaquière. Charles was the son of the first baron’s younger son, Peter Boyle de Blaquière who, after a career in the British navy, went to Canada and settled in Woodstock in 1837. He bought property in the town and became an influential supporter of the Church of England’s efforts to establish itself in the district - an important ally of Dora’s father. In 1841 was appointed a member of the legislative council of the Province of Canada, which advised the governor-general. He later became the first chancellor of the University of Toronto. He died, in Toronto, in 1860.
I don’t know anything about Dora’s married life except that she seems to have stayed in Canada, probably in Woodstock where her husband was probably still the post-master. She certainly knew her three step-children before she married their father - Peter, born in 1849; Louisa, born in 1850; and William, born 1856 - as the whole de Blaquière family were members of her father’s congregation. Perhaps she had taught the three children at Sunday school and established a rapport with them. She doesn’t seem to have given birth to any children of her own, so all her motherly instincts would have been focused on them. How long they were in her care, though, I wouldn’t know. They did have other relatives and Dora’s marriage was a short one. Her husband didn’t live long enough to inherit the barony and catapult Dora into the British peerage. He died in 1869.
The period of Dora’s life that is the biggest blank, is what happened to her in the years immediately after her husband’s death. Where was she living? Did she go home to her parents? What was she living on? What about her step-children? They were all still under-age when their father died. What arrangements were made for them? Did they stay with Dora? Or did they go to their grandmother (Peter Boyle de Blaquière’s second wife, who died in 1881) or to other relatives? I have no idea.
A snippet I found on Googlebooks seemed to be suggesting that Dora was living in Paris by 1880 and was writing regular articles called ‘What to Wear’ for the English journal Cassell’s Family Magazine, not under her own name but as “Our Paris Correspondent”. Another snippet went further, suggesting Dora had been Cassell’s “Our Paris Correspondent” since 1876. When I tried to follow up the snippets at the British Library, though, I couldn’t find Dora mentioned by name as an author in the volumes for 1880 or 1876. However, the 1870s were a time when many magazine and newspaper articles were printed without any clue as to the name of the writer. So I’m not dismissing Googlebooks’ suggestion; but on the other hand I think I’ll just say it’s possible it may be right but I wish I could see some more evidence. The column Dora’s alleged to have been writing continued in the magazine in the same format until 1885, before being revamped a couple of times and finally reappearing with a named author, who wasn’t Dora, in 1893. I’m assuming that Dora wrote the column, certainly around 1880 and possibly from 1876 to 1885 despite moving to London during that time. At this early point in her career, she also wrote a short book on an ill-fated attempt by Irish landowners to establish a silk-worm farming industry in Ireland.
There’s no doubt, however, about Dora’s main source of income from 1880 onwards, because from that year on, the articles she was writing were published with her name on them. From 1880 and for the next 20 years, she was one of a group of women who wrote regularly for Girl’s Own Paper - the most widely read magazine for young women of its time, with about 250,000 readers in the years before World War I, of all ages and living all over the world. Great Grandmama’s Weekly: A Celebration of Girl’s Own Paper, by Wendy Forrester, is my source for Dora’s work for GOP. On p21 of Forrester’s book there’s a small picture of Dora, rather heavy-chinned and looking as though she’s wearing mourning - a dark or black dress with a high neck and a narrow ruffle just under her ears. And I rather think that the way she appears in the picture gets to the heart of why Dora became one of GOP’s regular writers. GOP was started up as an equivalent to the Boy’s Own Paper by BOP’s publisher, the Religious Tract Society, a Church of England missionary society very surprised to find itself a successful publisher but delighted with the revenue, which rapidly became the financial bedrock on which their missionary activities depended. For its girls’ paper, the Society wanted articles which reflected their view of the proper life for young Christian women: based on hearth and home, emphasising domestic skills and practical usefulness; nothing too challenging, and no politics. As a vicar’s daughter, now in her forties, the widow of a man with aristocratic connections, but no better off financially than most of the GOP’s readers were, Dora was exactly the kind of woman writer the Society was after.
The Girl’s Own Paper is well-covered on the web, with lists of contributors and links to the actual articles they wrote (see the Sources section for the websites in question). The lists by year show Dora writing more than almost any other contributor and give a good idea of the range of subjects she could write about. In 1882-83, for example, under the excruciating overall heading The Fairy of the Family, Dora wrote a series of articles on housekeeping skills; including one on how to take care of the household linen; and another, Spots and Stains, that was so useful I started noting down the details to try them on my own stubborn stains. She wrote ‘how to make’-type articles, for example on winter clothes, summer drinks, Christmas decorations and others. In 1881-82 her article Samplers Past and Present was typical of another side of her work. In it, she mentions a variety of books from the Bible to Book II of Philip Sidney’s Arcadia as containing references to samplers; and uses Randal Holme’s Academy of Armory Book III, published in 1688, to describe the different stitches that were used in the sampler work of Holme’s day. The use of a 17th century source-book suggests Dora was a regular visitor to the British Library; I can’t imagine where else she might have got a copy. Dora’s inspiration for the article had been a visit to the previous year’s Exhibition of Ancient Needlework at the Royal School of Art Needlework, in which the earliest exhibit was sewn in 1666.
As well as the magazine, the Religious Tract Society also issued annuals, and several books containing articles on one subject by its usual GOP writers, including How to be Happy and Married, in 1888 (it was still selling in 1892); and How to Make Common Things: A Handy Book for Girls, in 1890. Dora contributed to both of those volumes and her contribution to the second one is the only work by her listed in the British Library catalogue.
Although most of Dora’s work in the 1880s and 1890s appeared in GOP, she did write for other magazines: Frank Leslie’s Popular Monthly; the Church of England Temperance Chronicle; the Argosy, owned and edited by the author Mrs Henry Wood; Murray’s Magazine; the Journal of Education; the Contemporary Review; and the Review of Reviews, owned and edited by W T Stead. These were articles of a rather different type, looking at dress items (fans for example) as art objects or collectors’ items; and considering jewellery as display and noting changes in taste. And two articles published by Dora in the magazine Leisure Hour looked at the social implications of what women wore, discussing the arguments being put forward by the Rational Dress movement: Modern Dress Reformers, and How Should We Dress? New German Theories of Clothing, both published in 1884.
I’ve tried to discover whether Dora actually belonged to the Rational Dress Society, or its more radical off-shoot the Rational Dress Association; but I haven’t had any luck finding lists of members. I imagine she was, but I can’t prove it. I know the names of two women who were definitely members of the Rational Dress Society: Mary Eliza Haweis, who wrote books about interior design and dress; and Constance Wilde, who held popular ‘at homes’ during the late 1880s and 1890s and promoted the idea of rational dress at these social occasions and through magazine articles. Both Mary Eliza and Constance were initiated into the GD. Dora must at least have known of Mary Eliza Haweis’ work, even if they hadn’t met; writing on similar topics. But there’s clear evidence that Dora knew Constance Wilde, and probably her husband as well, by 1889. In 1890, Dora had a series of articles published in the magazine Woman’s World, which had been edited by Oscar Wilde for the last two years. Oscar Wilde will have commissioned Dora’s articles. Three of them were on topics that by this time she was well-known for covering: Modern Jewellery, Geneva and its Jewellery, and Foreign and English Housekeeping. The fourth one was a bit of departure, however. Inspired by the writings of the American poet Joachim Miller, whose log-cabin near Washington DC she had visited, Dora decided that she too would find somewhere to escape to when the city got her down. In A Cottage in the Country she describes her search for the perfect setting - she eventually picked a Sussex labourer’s cottage with a view of Chanctonbury Rings - and how she did up her cottage, with the help of one handy-man (who had to make good rather a lot of neglect) for a total budget of £50. The article resonates with the pleasure it gave Dora to do the kind of housekeeping she wrote about for GOP: choosing the material and then sewing her own curtains, painting the rooms Egyptian blue, seeding the lawn and slinging a hammock between the trees. She ended the article by urging her readers to live as near to nature as they could, happy in the simple life.
In 1882 Dora’s sister Julia Lawrason had two articles published in Girl’s Own Paper: Hints for Amateur Paperhangers; and Summer in Muskoka, the Free Grant District of Canada. A snippet on google suggested that Julia also had an article published in GOP’s Annual in 1884. I imagine Julia wrote her two articles at Dora’s instigation but if Dora was hoping that her sister would earn money this way regularly, she must have been disappointed: those were the only pieces of writing Julia had in GOP.
Dora moved to London at around the time she began contributing to Girl’s Own Paper and her first home in the city was a rented a house at 7 Osnaburgh Terrace. She wasn’t at home on the day of the 1881 census, however; she and her friend Sophia Caulfeild (of whom more below) were in north-west England visiting George Clayton and his wife Caroline. George Clayton owned and ran a brewery and lived with his wife and family in the wealthy district of Broughton Park near Salford. While Dora was staying with them she and Sophia probably met their neighbours, Thomas Briggs and his wife Emily. Thomas Briggs had taken over the management of the twine, tarpaulin and oil cloth-making business founded by his father. His half-sister Mary Briggs became a member of the GD, perhaps through friendships she made by knowing Dora; though she and Dora were not in the GD at the same time.
I don’t know when Dora met Sophia Frances Anne Caulfeild, but it was almost inevitable that they should be introduced at some stage because they had so much in common. Sophia was related to the Irish earls of Charlemont but her father was an officer in the navy. It was the kind of family background that Dora had married into: the not-especially-wealthy younger sons of younger sons of the upper classes.
Sophia had established herself as a writer in 1870, with two volumes of poetry. A work that’s either a novel or a travelogue followed, but the magnum opus that made Sophia’s name was The Dictionary of Needlework, on which she worked with Blanche Saward, contributing most of the entries on domestic needlework and stitch types herself, while Blanche did the entries on church embroidery. A group of women described as “various ladies” had also made contributions to the work; Dora must surely be one of that anonymous group. The Dictionary was first published in monthly instalments in the magazine The Bazaar and probably developed from individual articles on sewing that Sophia wrote for that magazine. The Dictionary was then issued in book form in 1881. Another edition was needed in 1882, several more have followed since and the book is still in print. As well as writing for The Bazaar, Sophia also wrote for Girl’s Own paper, The Queen, Cassell’s Domestic Dictionary and other similar journals - the sort of magazines Dora wrote for, and the type of subject-matter that Dora also covered. However, Sophia also published books on theology, a subject Dora didn’t venture to write on; and didn’t write on clothes and accessories as fashion or collectables.
Dora also knew Sophia’s sisters and their children. Martin Atkinson tells me that he had an aunt named Enid Dora Caulfeild Atkinson; and a cousin called Helen Clarice de Blaquière Northcott. Two compliments to Dora in the Caulfeild family.
Dora and Sophia were close, so close that in 1884, when Hyde Park Mansions was finished (it was the latest of the big blocks of flats being built on Marylebone Road) they both moved into it. I haven’t been able to establish whether they were actually sharing a flat - the evidence isn’t clear on the point - but they were living on the same staircase from 1884 to about 1900. They may have travelled abroad together on the sort of journeys that made their way into Dora’s articles on trends in jewellery and clothes; for example, neither of them appear on the 1891 census. However, Sophia did not share Dora’s esoteric interests and was never a member of the GD; her publications suggest that she had the more orthodox approach of the two of them, to matters religious and spiritual. And though I’m sure Sophia visited Dora’s rural hideaway, Dora does seem to have used it mostly as a place to go to when she wanted time on her own.
DORA AND THE OCCULT
The simple life might have been a welcome change from the social life Dora had in London. I’ve already suggested that Dora knew Constance Wilde by 1889. They could have known each other several years before that, however, as they were both members of the Theosophical Society. As, indeed, was William Wynne Westcott and Dora must have known him too. In his memoir of his life in occult social circles, Shadows of Life and Thought, A E Waite describes Dora as a member of the TS and a personal friend of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky - that was how it looked to Waite, when he joined the TS in the mid-1880s. He noted that when Dora was there, Blavatsky “never exhibited or mentioned supposed miraculous gifts”. I’m not quite sure what Waite means by that, but I suppose he’s suggesting that Blavatsky was restrained by Dora’s presence, perhaps even intimidated, by a certain scepticism on Dora’s part. Waite says that at these TS meetings he had several chats with Dora; but she doesn’t figure again in his book, so there was certainly no meeting of minds; perhaps he too found Dora’s attitude an uncomfortable thing to live with.
I’m suggesting that Dora was sceptical of Blavatsky’s wilder flights of fancy, because in 1884 she joined the Society for Psychical Research, recently founded by a group of Cambridge academics to investigate exactly the sort of miraculous gifts Blavatsky and others were claiming to possess, with a view to proving - or disproving - them scientifically. Blavatsky and other senior personnel at the Theosophical Society hated the whole idea. However, Dora was still a member of the Society for Psychical Research in 1895 although her membership had lapsed by 1900. If Dora doubted whether people’s occult powers were genuine it might explain why she never followed up her initiation into the GD. However, there might be other reasons for that: she was from a Christian background, and that anyone should claim occult powers may have seemed irreligious to her.
Dora continued to live very near or with Sophia Caulfeild, to write for Girl’s Own Paper and other outlets, and to slip away to solitude at her cottage, through the 1890s; but the last article I can find that she wrote for GOP was published in 1901. It was called Luggage up to Date and was in the nature of a farewell: in 1900 or early 1901 Dora had returned to Canada and moved into 45 Cornwell Street in Sarnia. She died at Sarnia, in Lambton County Ontario on 6 May 1901. Her death registration gives her occupation as “journalist”. She was buried in the family plot at Strathroy Cemetery, Middlesex county. Her gravestone has been photographed as part of the Canada Gen Web’s Cemetery Project and you can see it via their website: a surprisingly austere block of polished red granite with a simple inscription rather than the more usual Victorian sentimentality. Who commissioned it? Perhaps it was the youngest of Dora’s step-children, William (1856-1920) who by 1901 had succeeded as the 6th Baron de Blaquière. Or perhaps it was Sophia Caulfeild.
Sophia Caulfeild was Dora’s elder by several years, but survived her. She was not in England on the day of the 1901 census but by 1911 she had moved out of Hyde Park Mansions; perhaps she had left the Mansions when Dora went back to Canada. On the day of the 1911 census Sophia was living at 75 Abingdon Road Kensington, a lodging-house run by Sarah Ann Rudd. One of the other lodgers, a woman called Mary Ann Clark, described her occupation as “companion”. Sophia was in her late 80s by this time and perhaps not very mobile. She was paying Mary Ann Clark to help her, perhaps physically, but perhaps as a secretary, as Sophia had kept working - her last books had been published as late as 1909. Sophia Caulfeild died at 75 Abingdon Road in November 1911. In her Will she asked that her nieces Louisa Mary Northcott and Lucia Caulfeild Surridge be buried with her; and that inscriptions should be written on the grave’s headstone to honour three friends - her two nieces, and Dora de Blaquière.
BASIC SOURCES I USED for all Golden Dawn members.
Membership of the Golden Dawn: The Golden Dawn Companion by R A Gilbert. Northampton: The Aquarian Press 1986. Between pages 125 and 175, Gilbert lists the names, initiation dates and addresses of all those people who became members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn or its many daughter Orders between 1888 and 1914. The list is based on the Golden Dawn’s administrative records and its Members’ Roll - the large piece of parchment on which all new members signed their name at their initiation. All this information had been inherited by Gilbert but it’s now in the Freemasons’ Library at the United Grand Lodge of England building on Great Queen Street Covent Garden.
Family history: freebmd; ancestry.co.uk (census and probate); findmypast.co.uk; familysearch; Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage; Burke’s Landed Gentry; Armorial Families; thepeerage.com; and a wide variety of family trees on the web.
Famous-people sources: mostly about men, of course, but very useful even for the female members of GD. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Who Was Who. Times Digital Archive.
Catalogues: British Library; Freemasons’ Library.
Wikipedia; Google; Google Books - my three best resources. I also used other web pages, but with some caution, as - from the historian’s point of view - they vary in quality a great deal.
SOURCES FOR DORA
THE BETTRIDGE FAMILY
My data on the Bettridges of the Cotswolds is from two family historians: Sally M Thomson of Codford, Wiltshire, and a more recent contact that I don’t have permission to name. Both have used contemporary documents to compile family trees. The information was sent to me by Sally in a series of emails 29 May 2014 to 25 June 2014; and by the other historian in two emails in February 2020. Sally worked out that the ancestors common to both her and Dora are Richard Bettridge and his wife Mary (née Minchin) of Lower Swell. Dora was descended from Joseph, their fourth son; Sally Thomson is descended from Stephen, their eighth son.
WILLIAM CRADDOCK BETTRIDGE
Online Dictionary of Canadian Biography has an entry for him though it doesn’t mention his family.
The Clergy Reserves: their History and Present Position... by Charles Lindsey and John Rolph 1851 p29-30 is an Order in Council issued January 1836 giving grants of land (and therefore income) to the clergy of Canada, including “29 acres in the Town of Woodstock” to the Rev William Betteridge.
Journals of the Legislative Council of the Province of Canada volume 23 1864 p42 mentions William Bettridge as now being a rural dean. Charles de Blaquière is one of his church wardens.
Ontario Library Review vols 16-20 1931.
Mémoires de la Société Royale du Canada published by Royal Society of Canada 1938; good on his Peninsular War career.
Tavern in the Town: Early Inns and Taverns of Ontario by Margaret McBurney and Mary Byers. Univ of Toronto Press 1987 p180.
Some records found via familysearch but see also the fayewest family history website, which records birth, marriage and death registrations:
Dora’s own page is at //fayewest.ca/colemanjones/p6396.htm though even Robert Coleman has not been able to find a birth record for her.
Marriage record: Mary Hounsfield to William Bettridge on 24 Dec 1823 at St James Westminster.
Marriage of Charles de Blaquière to Caroline Dora Bettridge at St Paul’s Woodstock 10 April 1865: Oxford County Marriage Register, Church of England Marriages 1865: MS248 reel 12 volume 50 p22. Main witness was Edward Ambrose, manager of the town’s Gore Bank – in terms of Victorian expectations for young women, Dora was making a very respectable marriage.
Dora’s death registration 014439-01 town of Sarnia Lambton County; sent by email by Robert Coleman.
Via www.woodstockmuseum.ca, details of its Accession Number 2007.06.40b: the gravestone on the Bettridge grave, which is in Woodstock. William Craddock Bettridge born 30 August 1791 died 21 November 1873. At freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com there’s a photo of the gravestone from which I just about made out the details of the other people buried in the grave:
- Mary Hounsfield Bettridge born 24 February 1800 died 13 April 1878
- daughters of William and Mary Bettridge:
Mary Eleanor born 1826; couldn’t see her date of death on the right of the photo, because of the light
Emily born 1826 died 1866
Grace Elizabeth (I presume she’s a daughter not a grand-daughter) born 1845 couldn’t see what her date of death was
- Charles de Blaquière.
None of Dora’s step-children are buried in the grave. Dora herself is buried with her brother William Bettridge and his family, in Strathroy. Information on where Dora is buried sent by email by Robert Coleman 10 August 2018.
THE DE BLAQUIÈRE FAMILY
Wikipedia on the barony which is Baron de Blaquière of Ardkill in co Derry, created in 1800. The 6th baron (that’s Dora’s step-son William) succeeded a distant cousin in 1889.
Peerage and Baronetage of Great Britain and Ireland issue of 1837 P277 on the family’s early history: family had emigrated from France following the Edict of Nantes. The hon Peter Boyle de Blaquière was born in April 1783, a younger son of the first baron. He was married twice:
1 = Eliza daughter of Dennis O’Brien. Their children were: Peter; George; Eliza; Anne Maria; and Elinor. Eliza died in 1814 and Peter married again:
2 = 1818 Eliza, daughter of William Roper of Rathfarnham Castle county Dublin. Their children were: Charles (Dora’s husband), born 7 November 1819; and another son, not named in this book, born 1832.
Plantagenet Roll of the Blood Royal seen via the web and I couldn’t see which volume it was (there are several) but p410 says Peter Boyle de Blaquière died in 1860. His second wife, Eliza Roper, must have returned to Britain because she died 18 February 1881 in Bath Somerset.
Peter Boyle de Blaquière is in the online Dictionary of Canadian Biography. His entry also gives a feel for what Woodstock was like when he was living there - more English country town than new colonial settlement.
Eliza O’Brien de Blaquière knew the Irish political radical Daniel O’Connell: The Correspondence of Daniel O’Connell 1775-1845; volumes 1-8. Irish Manuscripts Commission, for the Irish University Press 2010. P390 has at least one letter either from or to O’Connell from Eliza de Blaquière née O’Brien.
DORA’S HUSBAND Charles de Blaquière
The Baronetage and Knightage of the British Empire for 1882 by Joseph Foster, published 1882 p78 says that Charles de Blaquière was married twice:
1 = September 1848, to Agnes widow of W Lawson. Agnes died in 1864, leaving 3 children.
2 = 18 April 1865 to Caroline Dora youngest daughter of W C Bettridge. They had no children.
At www.halhed.com, the Halhed Genealogy and Family Trees quotes Edmund’s The Peerage of the British Empire 1848 as giving a DOB of 7 November 1819 for Charles.
Via the web, a Directory of Woodstock and other Canadian towns, undated but post-1851, lists Charles de Blaquière as postmaster for Woodstock and church warden of St Paul’s Woodstock.
Burke’s Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage Baronetage and Knightage; uncertain of the date of edition but post-1869: P581 Dora’s husband Charles de Blaquière died on 16 July 1869.
Charles de Blaquière’s children details from website www.thepeerage.com has:
- Peter Henry 1849-1887; unmarried
- Louisa Agnes born 1850 married 1875 John Matheson who died 1878; he was a barrister based in Woodstock
- William born 1856; succeeds as the 6TH baron de Blaquière in 1889 and moves to England. He marries Lucienne Desbarats at Christchurch Cathedral Montreal in January 1888. They have 3 child:
John born 1889 killed in action March 1915
Kathleen born 1891
Alan born 1895, joined the Royal Navy, lost at sea in the wreck of the HMS Laurentic January 1917.
At William’s death, in 1920, the barony went extinct. William’s wife Lucienne is a French-Canadian Catholic: The Catholic Who’s Who and Yearbook volume 34 1941 p117 in what is probably a death notice, has Lucienne as widow of the 6th Baron de Blaquière and eldest daughter of George Desbarats of Montreal.
DORA’S DEATH: via the web to Ontario Death Registrations 1869-1937: she died on 6 May 1901 at Sarnia, Lambton Ontario.
DORA IN EUROPE, AS A JOURNALIST
Scoop! Database of 19th and 20th century journalists, held at BL, did not have an entry for Dora. However, the database seems to be based on the records of the Society of Journalists, and not every reporter was a member. I found that quite a few other GD members whom I knew to have done work as journalists, were not in it.
DORA AND THE GIRL’S OWN PAPER
Update August 2018: I got my list of Dora’s articles in GOP from this website several years ago now:
When I went to find it in August 2018 it was gone so try these two websites instead for further information on Dora’s writing career, and that of her friend Sophia Caulfield; and her sister Julia Lawrason:
Dora’s list of articles for GOP is one of the longest of any contributor and included
vol 2 1881 Occupations for invalids
5 1884 Turkish and Bulgarian needlework ((done by yng girls))
11 1890 On the Purchase of Outfits for India and the colonies
13 1892 Magazine and Book Clubs and how to manage them
14 1893 Amateur Upholstery
16 1895 Crazy china: what it is and how to make it
Fashion in girls’ christian names
Reminiscences of Norway
17 1896 The names of houses
Popular quotations from the poets
18 1897 Autographs and their use
19 1898 After School Clubs in America
Two-acre estates, or villa farms
Apotheosis of the pocket-handkerchief
20 1899 Books before travel
22 1901 Luggage up to date
NB volume 1of GOP was published in 1880.
The set of four articles Dora wrote for The Woman’s World. Published London Paris Melbourne: Cassell and Co Ltd 1890. The editor’s name is not mentioned in the volume. During 1888-89 Oscar Wilde had been editor. I think he might have been replaced by 1890 but I’m sure it must have been him who suggested Dora write her articles.
The Silk Industry in Ireland and England published 1880. The British Library doesn’t have a copy of this; I found a reference to it online at //openagricola, the USDA National Agricultural Library, so I guess they have a copy.
MODERN SOURCES WHICH MENTION DORA’S WORK
Magazine Phaedrus volumes 8-9 1982 p61 has an article on Girl’s Own Paper. Dora is mentioned as a regular contributor to the magazine, among many women well-known in their lifetimes but forgotten now.
Great-Grandmama’s Weekly: A Celebration of The Girl’s Own Paper 1880-1901 by Wendy Forrester. Guildford and London: Lutterworth Press 1980 . P13 the first ever issue of GOP was published 3 January 1880. GOP’s publisher was the Religious Tract Society but GOP was in marked contrast to RTS’s other publications, which included Leisure Hour and Sunday at Home.
Reforming Women’s Fashion 1850-1920: Politics, Health and Art by Patricia A Cunningham, published Kent State University Press 2003. The book is good on the Rational Dress Movement. On p67 Bloomers were born in 1851! But there was no organised dress reform movement until 1881 when the Rational Dress Society was founded by Viscountess Harberton and Mrs E M King. The RDS’s objectives were to promote clothes which:
- gave the wearer freedom of movement
- put no pressure on any part of the body
- weighed only as much as was necessary for warmth
- were comfortable and convenient to wear, as well as graceful and beautiful
- BUT didn’t depart too obviously from current fashions.
DORA AND THE OCCULT
Shadows of Life and Thought: A Retrospective Review in the Form of Memoirs by Arthur Edward Waite. London: Selwyn & Blount of Paternoster House EC4 1938 p87 and a footnote on that page.
Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research Volume II 1884. London: Trübner and Co of Ludgate Hill. P317 begins the list of the Society’s members at December 1884: p318 Mrs Charles de Blaquière of 1 Hyde Park Mansions London SW.
Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research volume XI 1895 has a full list of current members. On p606 Dora is still a member, and still living at 1 Hyde Park Mansions. However Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research volume XV 1900-01 does NOT have her on the list of members.
MORE ON DORA’S ADDRESSES IN LONDON
Post Office Directory of London 1880 in the court directory section p2077 Mrs de Blaquière is at 7 Osnaburgh Terrace.
Debrett’s Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage and Companionage edition of 1884 p199 gives Dora de Blaquière’s current address as “now of 1 Hyde Park Mansions NW”.
Details of Dora’s time as a resident from Post Office Directories 1880-99 though the street directory sections have no entry for Hyde Park Mansions until 1885; its address when it does appear is Marylebone Road but it was in that section of the road that’s now called OLD Marylebone Road. The entry for Hyde Park Mansions in Post Office Directory of London 1885 street directory section p486 Hyde Park Mansions, Marylebone Road, with the lists of residents organised by doorways/staircases. The residents of 1 Hyde Park Mansions are: Miss Sophia Caulfeild; Edmund Lane; Mrs de Blaquière; John Richardson; Miss Bass; Alexander Johnson MD; William Weldon; Edward Arthur Carpenter; Miss Worsley - which is not quite enough residents for the number of modern flats (which go from a to m). Perhaps the flats on staircase 1 were not all occupied as yet. If the list of names is that of those people who are paying the rent, Sophia Caulfeild and Dora are occupying separate flats on that staircase.
It’s in Section G of Strathroy Cemetery, Middlesex Ontario. See it via www.geneofun.on.ca, the Canada Gen Web’s Cemetery Project site; using the index which is by surname.
Family history details: series of emails sent February and March 2014 by Dr Martin Atkinson of Calgary.
DORA’S 1890 TRIP TO NORTH AMERICA
Information from findmypast and I accept that it may not refer to Dora: the officers on the ship hadn’t filled out the forms completely, and even the woman’s initials are not given, let alone date of birth or anything else decisive.
1890: a woman named de Blaquière sailing from Southampton to New York.
List of publications in the British Library.
1870 Avenele and Other Poems. London: Longmans and Co.
1870 Desmond and Other Poems. London: Longmans and Co.
1880 By Land and Sea. London: Cassell and Co; in the same binding as a work by another author.
1881 The Dictionary of Needlework. London: L Upcott Gill. Caulfeild is the main author but a section on church embroidery was contributed by Blanche C Saward.
1882 another copy of The Dictionary of Needlework; perhaps a 2nd edition.
1885 Sick Nursing at Home. London: The Bazaar office.
1886 A Directory of Girls’ Societies, Clubs and Unions, Conducted on Unprofessional Principles. London: Griffith Farran and Co.
1887 The Lives of the Apostles. London: Hatchards.
1888 True Philosophy; a reply to certain statements made in Scientific Religion by Laurence Oliphant. London: Hatchards.
1888 Restful Work for Youthful Hands. London: Griffith Farran and Co.
1890 The Dictionary of Needlework, author details as 1881 but publisher now London: A W Cowan and A Bradley.
1902 House Mottoes and Inscriptions: Old and New. London: Elliot Stock.
1903 The Home Nurse, which is a reprint and 3rd ed of Sick Nursing at Home. London: Elliot Stock.
1905 The Voice of the Fathers. London: S C Brown and Co.
1909 The Dawn of Christianity in Continental Europe. London: Elliot Stock.
1909 The Prisoners of Hope; apparently a series of 26 lectures. London: Marshall Brothers.
1972 The Dictionary of Needlework. London: Hamlyn.
LOOKING FOR DORA IN WORKS BY SOPHIA
The Dictionary of Needlework London: L Upcott Gill of 170 Strand 1882. Endpapers which were covers of the original issues of The Bazaar. Sophia Caulfeild does the entries on plain sewing, textiles, dress-making, appliances and terms. Publication I refer to as ‘the bazaar’ is fully The Bazaar Exchange and Mart, and Journal of the Household. Published Mon, Wed, Fri; 2d or by subscription.
Restful Work for Youthful Hands by Sophia F A Caulfeild. London and Sydney NSW: Griffith, Farran, Okeden and Welsh 1888.
SOPHIA CAULFEILD: status of Mary Ann Clark, headstone inscriptions and request for nieces to be buried with her: Sophia Caulfeild’s Will; details sent by email by Dr Martin Atkinson March 2014.
Copyright SALLY DAVIS
12 February 2020
Find the web pages of Roger Wright and Sally Davis, including my list of people initiated into the Order of the Golden Dawn between 1888 and 1901, at: