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the girls of Swanley Court School

May 16, 2018 11:18AM
this is a FYI post, which is a complete list of the girls past and present up to just after the end of Libby's Luck

The pupils of Swanley Court

Those pupils who have left are indicated in italics
Note; from 1812 if pupils are tagged as being from The Oxford School, this is the school Emma Spink attended for a while ‘renowned for discipline’ which was such an abusive establishment.

Abigail Meersham, b 1794
Sallow complexion but high colour on cheeks, soft brown hair. Greenish eyes.
Founder pupil leaves November 1810
Abigail has left the orphanage to marry
Orphaned at 14, when her parents drowned in a bathing accident at Brighton. Quiet, bookish, Shakespeare lover. Kind to the little ones, capable, sense of humour.

Margaret [Daisy] Ellis b1795
Perfect complexion, golden curls and blue eyes. Club foot.
Founder pupil. Leaves after Easter 1812
Daisy entered the school a sad and angry child, but found peace and contentment with the kindness of her preceptresses and doctor. Her parents were out in India as her father worked for the East India Company, and then ventured on his own account. They died out there of some disease. When Daisy’s grandfather died, her grandmother was not well, and was offered a home by her sister-in-law providing she did not bring That Child. Daisy had been highly educated by the local vicar who arranged her transfer to Swanley Court. Daisy, having been immobile for years, is something of a bluestocking. She also has a flair for business, as her father was said to have had before investing all his money in some mysterious venture that was not revealed before he died.

Marianne Seagall b. 1794
Blonde, pale complexion, grey eyes.
Arrives January 1810. Leaves to marry January 1811
Left orphaned by an improvident gambler father, whose care is taken on by a distant cousin called Cornelius Tempest, who pays for her to go to school to learn practical skills on condition that she writes to him once a month. Marianne has received almost no education beyond how to grace society, but she is a fine embroideress. She has a lively sense of the ridiculous and irony. One of her father’s gaming partners believes he won her in a game of cards and is a sinister figure in her background.

Anne Maplin b. 1795
Dark curls.
Arrives March 1810. Leaves orphanage Christmas 1811 as governess, and subsequently marries.
Anne is the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy gentleman, who reared her as his daughter, and adopted her legally when his commonlaw low-born wife died. However, he failed to make any proper provision for her in a will, and died intestate. By law, she has no rights of inheritance and has been treated very unkindly by the cousin who did inherit. Having expected to inherit a gracious house and substantial fortune, she came to school very resentful, and something of a whiner, though she tries not to complain too much. She is well-read and accomplished in all ladylike skills, and does not contemplate the life of a governess with joy. She is particularly skilled on harp, pianoforte and guitar.

Emma Spink b Feb 1796
Paying pupil, enters after Easter 1811
Emma leaves the orphanage at Christmas 1811.
Fashionably dark hair, full figure, developed early.
Rather spoilt, but trying to improve; accustomed to having her own way. Plays piano with verve and feeling, but her playing suffers for having skimped on practice.

Julia Spencer b 1796
From The Oxford School, comes summer 1812
Blonde, very pretty, hair on the frizzy side of curly, in a cloud.
Julia’s widowed mother remarried when Julia was about 12, and William Brace, her new stepfather, started interfering with Julia, finally visiting her nightly in her bed. When Mrs Brace caught her husband at it, she immediately blamed her daughter and sent her to the Oxford school, which as Julia was both good at lessons and pianoforte and had learned already to keep her head down she found preferable to home life. She befriended Emma Spink, as a result of which the Macfarlanes set plans in motion to put the Oxford school out of business and rescue the pupils. Julia loves learning and has ambitions to be a bluestocking, as well as branching out in more musical instruments than just the pianoforte.
William Brace, having made the mistake of visiting his stepdaughter and trying to interfere with Hermione Driscoll, is being sued for attempting to despoil a minor.

Penelope Belfield b1796
From The Oxford School, came summer 1812
Pale gold hair, pale complexion, very delicate suffering malnutrition even more extreme than the other pupils of that school.
Penelope has a stutter, which began when her parents died. Her aunt and uncle could not break her of it, so sent her to the Oxford school with instructions to beat it out of her so she would be able to be a governess and not be a drain on them. In addition the Oxford school withheld food if she could not ask for it in a complete sentence without hesitation. The aunt and uncle have signed her over to the Macfarlanes and washed their hands of her.

Lily Daventry b end 1796
Comes Michaelmas 1812.
Brown hair and eyes, the younger of the two daughters of Squire Daventry from Daisy’s village. Lily wants to get away from her sister, Rosalie, and grow up without her spiteful influence. She is a paying student.

The Goyder Twins b. 1797
Founder pupils
Red-gold hair. Orphaned by a rather feckless father whom they hardly knew, who shot himself over his debts. They are more bereaved by the death not long before of their beloved governess, Miss Philpot, or ‘Fippy’, whose death shortly preceded that of first their mother, who faded away, and then their father’s suicide. They are naturally mischievous and have dealt with their bereavement with different bad behaviour.

Felicity Goyder
Felicity subsumed her grief into being a vain and selfish little madam. However, she has responded well to compassion, and if inclined to vanity, is a normal, mischievous child, no more thoughtless than any other. She is claustrophobic. Felicity has ambitions to be a modiste and is an enthusiastic dress designer.

Philippa Goyder
Philippa has a passion for rescuing animals in need, which has been known to extend to human children. Her compassion is infinite but not always wise. She is a bit of a chatterbox when not being quiet to help her current waifs.

Frances Partridge b. 1797
Comes end June, 1810
Family ruined by debt, father went mad and shot his son and wife and himself, but forgot Frances who was kept out of the way. Frances has a mental age of about three, but can be trained to simple tasks.
She is beautiful, with rich golden hair and big blue eyes, but nobody at home behind them.

Hermione Driscoll b. 1797
Comes end of July, 1810
The child of the vicarage, Hermione’s father had more conscience regarding his parishioners than regarding his own family, since his sick-visiting led to him bringing Typhus into his own home. Hermione lost her parents, and her siblings Electra, Iphigenia and Orestes. Her older brother Nicostratus is a year older than she, and has been sent to sea as a ‘captain’s servant’ to train as a midshipman.
Very pretty, very blonde and pale. Seems insipid until she is speaking with animation when she is a pale flame. Witty, fine needlewoman, clever, reads Greek and Latin. No very great imagination however.

Kitty Walker b. 1797
Comes November 1810
Flaxen hair and rich brown eyes, pretty.
Kitty is the oldest of 4 children. Her father, Thomas Walker, was a foreman on the canals who died while making sure his underlings were safe. Her mother was the daughter of a naval lieutenant. Her mother, Catherine, after whom Kitty is named, did not survive the birth of a baby after her father’s death, and nor did the baby. She has two brothers, Tom, b 1800 [flaxen hair, green eyes] who is horse mad, and Harry, b. 1802 [darker gold hair, hazel eyes with gold flecks] who wants to be an engineer. They are in the care of Renfield Chister, Baron Chisterley. Kitty also has a little sister Amelia, qv.

Hannah Loring b. 1798
Founder pupil.
Pale, rather lank brown hair, both complexion and hair improve with country living.
The daughter of a vicar who died whilst trying to prevent a riot. Hannah, whose mother had died when she was little, resented his death while being with other people not her, and was the most obnoxious pi brat at first. Once able to deal with her grief, she rapidly settled down and because a much nicer child.

Rachel Cohen b. 1798
Sort of a founder pupil
Solemn, piquant little face, dark curls.
Rachel is not an orphan, she is the sister of Rabbi Simon Cohen who helped out with Phoebe [see below]. She is an obedient and quiet child who takes her duties as Phoebe’s surrogate sister very seriously. She likes having a younger sister-figure, being the youngest in her family.

Barbara Ainsworth b1798
From The Oxford School, came summer 1812
Mousey hair but does not care much about her appearance. Startlingly blue eyes.
Horse mad and also very wild and undisciplined motherless girl. The last straw for her father was when she rode a horse she was forbidden to ride, and stayed on by a miracle but almost ruined its mouth. Mr. Ainsworth is entirely indifferent to how harshly Barbara has been treated but is happy for her to be at Swanley Court so long as she learns to behave. Barbara is also a surprisingly competent needlewoman. It reminds her of her mother.

Eliza Bradbury b 1798
Joins orphanage Summer 1812
Daughter of the schoolmaster at Queen’s Hasely and educated as a boy; a tomboy and accustomed to dress as a boy until taught to be a girl by the new viscountess, Grace Hasely. Fond of Emma Hasely.

Alice Dewell b 1798
Comes late summer 1812
Brown hair and eyes
Daughter of an author of history books, who died of complications following getting wet in investigating some local earthwork. The cottage where they lived was copyhold nor freehold, and the bailiff suggested some most inappropriate rent. She ran away with her horse, Bucephalous, and tried to win a race at Newmarket where she was rescued by Marcus Belvoir and escorted to the school.

Cleopatra [Cleo] Ashley b. 1799
Joins orphanage shortly after it opens
Blonde hair, pale complexion, light blue eyes, skinny like a piece of chewed string but muscles like whipcord.
The daughter of the school nursery nurse, Cleo was born right after the Battle of the Nile, at which her mother was a decorated nurse, for having been working on the orlop deck with the surgeon right up until she gave birth. Cleo grew up on board ship, until her father’s death in battle at Trafalgar. He was a Gunner, so Mrs. Ashley had a reasonable pension once she had fought for it. Cleo loves words and is something of a poet. She and her mother also support the Chartist movement and are quite radical. Cleo is not a lady, but she loves learning, and the preceptresses do not see why she should not learn.

Augusta Crookshank b 1799
From The Oxford School, comes summer 1812
Dark brown hair.
Augusta is a poet with a lot of potential, but her ambition outstrips her ability. When she sneaked out and tried to sell her works to a publisher. The publisher took her back to her father who sent her to school with the intent that she be stopped from becoming ‘an affected little ninnyhammer.’ Mr. Crookshank however was horrified to find his daughter had untreated broken fingers from having her knuckles beaten if suspected of writing poetry as well as by the cruel music master for failing to play accurately with her already broken fingers. He is happy to let Swanley Court help his daughter.

Anne ‘Nancy’ Baswin b 1799
From The Oxford School, comes summer 1812
Auburn hair
Oldest of three sisters, see also Amelia and Amanda.
Nancy is a good natured girl, who loves her sisters dearly and has tried to shield them, taking punishments for them. She is well-read and a bluestocking. The Baswin girls were sent to the Oxford school by their new stepmother who considered three bluestocking red-haired stepdaughters only a few years younger than she is to be unmarriageable, and a threat to her dominance over their father, as the servants refer her orders to Nancy. Mr. Baswin has lost his daughters in letting his wife declare that their sufferings have been exaggerated and they may as well transfer to this other school.

Amelia ‘Mimi’ Baswin b 1800
From The Oxford School, comes summer 1812
Red hair
Amelia is the tallest of the Baswin sisters, and is currently gawky and clumsy. She is well-read, though less of a bluestocking than Nancy. She tried to keep her head down at the Oxford school, but hating injustice often got herself into trouble for speaking out of turn. Like her sisters she loves reading and is warm natured.

Georgiana Throgmorton b 1800
From The Oxford School, comes summer 1812
Golden curls, very pretty. She is also musical.
Georgiana is the child of a wealthy manufacturer who has become involved with the canals. He has spoilt his little girl, impressed that her mother was the child of an impoverished peer, whose estates Mr. Throgmorton saved in return for a gently-bred wife. His wife died in childbed, and Mr. Throgmorton spoiled his daughter, and regretted it when he could no longer control her self-willed behaviour. The final straw was when Georgiana had a temper tantrum in front of a potential business partner, ruining a deal, and Mr. Throgmorton lost his own temper. Georgiana is also hot tempered and found herself in the Oxford school for her excesses. Mr. Throgmorton was another father horrified to find out how his daughter has been ill-treated, but having been put in touch with the Spinks by the Macfarlanes has agreed to pay for his daughter to do a few terms in Swanley Court to subsidise other orphans.

Phoebe Goldstone b. 1801
Founder pupil.
Dark brown hair, peachy complexion
Phoebe’s parents died when their coach overturned, as they moved to a smaller house, her father having lost all his money on the ‘change. Phoebe was thrown clear. She was taken in by a kindly Stage-coachman, though he thought it ‘not right’ for a little lady to be reared by lowly folk such as himself and his wife, and gladly passed her into Philippa Goyder’s care as the twins were on their way to the school. It transpired that Phoebe is nominally Jewish, which has led to the school’s association with a Rabbi and his family.

Mary Foley b. 1801
Comes just before Christmas 1809
Dumpy, flat face without much expression, mousy hair
Mary is a very clever girl, though not much shows on her face. She is also horse-mad. Her mother died in childbed, and her father died in a hunting accident, after which it was found that his finances were in a real mess.

Harriet Palmer b 1801
Comes summer 1812
Dark hair, green eyes, freckles, not pretty but interesting face
Orphaned daughter of a sergeant who died in the ‘flying artillery’. Harriet has been living with the officers’ wives who have been treating her as a skivvy. Harriet is quiet and withdrawn, but clever.

Sarah Ryland b. 1802
Comes New Year 1810
Auburn hair, talks with her hands a lot.
A quicksilver child, who is a talented artist, and has a visiting teacher to develop her talent. She had lived with a horrible aunt and uncle who were glad to get rid of her to a charity school. Sarah is a chatterbox and has a witty tongue, though she does not like written work.

Emma/Emmie Hasely, from end 1811, once Emmuska Kovacs aka Emma [Emmie] Smith b 1802
Comes June 15th 1810
Dark curls and rosebud mouth.
Daughter of Viscount Anthony Hasely and his mistress, Piroska Kovacs. Piroska died and Emma’s father’s wife refused succour to his daughter.
She is quiet and shy, and admires and adores her father, a distant figure until he was able to take her into his household when his wife died. He has always been a rock for her. He rescued her from her uncle, Attila Kovacs, who had planned to turn his niece into an expensive whore like his sister, on whom he was living. Indeed Kovacs intended her to dance naked even at her tender years.
Emma is graceful and dances very well. She is of average intelligence but a hard worker. She loves her three half brothers, Chris, b 1793, Cecil, b 1796, and Aubrey, b1799, and her half-sisters Cecily,b February 1812 and Priscilla, b Jan 1813, named as the English version of Piroska.

Amanda Baswin b 1803
From The Oxford School, comes summer 1812
Strawberry blonde.
The youngest of the Baswin girls, qv, Anne [Nancy] and Amelia. Like her sisters she loves books and reading, and is naturally kind and outgoing but has been much traumatised by the Oxford school and is very withdrawn.

Lucy Regina Lamming [Sanderville] b 1803
Founder pupil
Lucy has left the orphanage
Chestnut curls
Lucy was born out of wedlock to a vicar’s daughter by a soldier, whose full name and regiment her grandparents did not know, so were unable to contact him when Lucy’s mother, Amabel, died in childbed. When Lucy’s grandfather died, the new vicar would have turned the ‘bastard child’ and her sick grandmother out onto the street had not the village folk cried shame on him. As soon as her grandmother died, he drove straight to Swanley Court to dump her [though it may be said he also hoped to court the supposedly dying heiress who founded it.]
Lucy’s father did not know of all this, and when he arrived home, crippled, he set off in search of her. )

Eva O’Toole b 1804
Comes April 1812
Dark hair, blue eyes
Second daughter of the family, but too much for her newlywed older sister Fenella; the younger boys, Brian, b 1800, Patrick, b1803, Maurice and Martin, b 1805, and Fergus, b1807 are at Viscount Chisterley’s school for orphaned gentlemen with the Walker boys. Eva is a moderately capable child, having had to bear much of the care of her younger siblings. She is happy to be a child again.

Jane Tissot b 1804
Comes end July 1812 with new governess, Miss Tissot.
Light brown hair, green eyes.
Jane is the daughter of Matthew Tissot, a captain in the Rifle Brigade. His pregnant wife brought her daughter with her to his mother in 1809, as the pregnancy was causing her problems, only to find that the older Mrs. Tissot was dying, under the care of Miss Tissot. Jane’s mother and brother both died in childbed, and Jane has been in the care of Miss Tissot ever since.

Amelia Walker b. 1806
Comes November 1810
Golden hair, green eyes
Baby sister of Kitty Walker, qv. Prefers to be with her sister over having a governess. The school baby until the little O’Tooles arrive.

The O’Toole Twins b 1808
Come April 1812. Both dark with blue eyes like all their siblings
Kathleen O’Toole

Deirdre O’Toole


Arthurina (Rina) Renfrew b Jan. 1810
In orphanage from birth, being the daughter of the tapster’s eldest girl and Arthur Renfrew, Lord Milverton.

Elizabeth Macfarlane b May 1810
In orphanage from birth
Daughter of orphanage founder, Elinor Macfarlane, née Fairbrother and her husband, Dr. Graeme Macfarlane

Brigid O’Toole b summer 1810
Comes April 1812. Will grow up bereft of the Irish accent of her siblings in all probability.

Will Thicknesse, b May 1812 of seduced servant girl Nellie Clarke

Ruth and Naomi Knollys b May 1812 of raped servant girl Nancy Cartland, b with cleft palates, saved initially by Daisy Ellis

Fairbrother Thomas [Tom] Macfarlane b June 1812
In orphanage from birth.
Second son of Dr. and Mrs. Macfarlane.

the girls of Swanley Court School

Sarah WaldockMay 16, 2018 11:18AM

Re: the girls of Swanley Court School

LisaWMay 16, 2018 03:35PM

Re: glad it is helpful! (nfm)

Sarah WaldockMay 16, 2018 05:21PM


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