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Saturday, 23 November 2013

Butler's Secret Marriage to Heiress - Black Sheep Sunday

A "Downton Abbey" story if there ever was one! For it came to light that butler Haydon Lounds had secretly married heiress Miss Maud Ward Fox - the daughter of his employer, a wealthy widow.  

On her death in 1911 Mrs Eleanor Ward-Fox  left in her  will £13,000 to her daughter, Maud,  with a legacy of £200 to "my butler Lounds in my service at my death".

A Secret Marriage Ceremony in 1909:   However  not known at the time of Mrs Ward-Fox's death was the fact that butler Haydon Lounds, a good looking  and well educated man, according to a newspaper report, had been for three years the husband of Maud, following a secret marriage ceremony in Devon in 1909.   The online Index to marriages confirms this event.
Single in the Census of 1911:  But in the 1911 census Haydon was still describing   himself as single  - a 38 year old  bachelor,  still working as a butler for the Ward-Fox family - Mrs Eleanor Ward-Fox, her  older daughter Gertrude and Maud, 30, (also cited in the census as single) all living at Bramhope, Torquay in a household that included a footman, groom, cook, kitchen maid and two housemaids.  Mrs Ward Fox died later that year at the main family home in Bakewell, Derbyshire.
Change of Name: The wedding was kept a secret for three years and was first reported in the then "Morning Post" Feb 9th 1912 when Haydon changed his surname by deed poll to Haydon Stephen-Fox. 
No children were born to the marriage, with Maud dying 1945 and Haydon two years later. 
This story came to light when a cousin  asked me to help trace  information about  his maternal grandmother Sarah Haydon Lounds who married my great uncle John Danson (right in the only photograph I have of him) ).  
Sarah was born in Worksop, Nottinghamshire in 1884.  Sadly she  died at the young age of 21 in 1906, soon after the birth of their daughter Annie.  My cousin was keen to find out the background to Sarah's middle name - Haydon.  He knew little  other than of family connections with Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire and some kind of scandal with  a "black sheep" of the family who had been a servant in a large country house.
Using standard online resources,  I traced Sarah''s father to be George Haydon Lounds  and her brother Haydon Lounds (1873-1947) who was named after his grandfather  - another  Haydon Lounds, a coachbuilder in Grantham, Lincolnshire.  The Haydon name came from two  generation further back when  in 1814 a Thomas Lounds married a Sarah Haydon.  The name Haydon was passed down through many generations and branches of the family and I was grateful to an internet contact for filling me in with details  on this  "black sheep" of the family.  
The story of "Searching for Sarah" is for another post - so do watch this space!

Black Sheep Sunday is one of many daily prompts from www.geneabloggers.com
to encourage bloggers to record their family history.  


  1. Oh my, the secrets some keep, but I can well imagine they fell in love and had to keep it secret. You must have been really excited when you pieced it all together!

  2. Great story and excellent sleuthing Susan. Look forward to phase 2.

  3. Great story and excellent sleuthing Susan. Look forward to phase 2.


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