I first wrote about Ethelind Emily Fearon several years ago; she was a talented woman who wrote about a variety of subjects and I first came across her with a little cookery book, ‘Jams, Jellies and Preserves’ she wrote which I bought in Colerain, County Antrim, have by her. Intrigued by her unusual name, and the way she wrote, I tried to find out more about here, and discovered the basics:
She was born in 1898, was passionate about gardening and worked in H.G.Wells Garden; she wrote a number of books, and I will be on a look out for them! She also wrote gardening books, cookery books, books for children, and in her spare time restored old houses and ran a tea shop! Her published work includes ‘Flower Growing For Ungardeners’, ‘The Reluctant Hostess’, ‘Home-Made Sweets, Candies and Fudge – How to Make Them’ . She sounds a most unusual and interesting person, but I can find out very little about her… I don’t know if Fearon is her maiden or married name but judging by the comments and articles about her, she was a real ‘character’!
She was gardener to H.G Wells at one time, and also ran a tea house – what I suppose now we would call a tea room. She also apparently restored fourteenth-century houses. She had children and wrote a book, How To Keep Pace With Your Daughter, one edition of which (I don’t know if it was the first) was published in 1958.
I couldn’t find any substantial biographical information about her, except a birth date on her death certificate of 18th December, 1898. She lived in Thaxted in Essex, but I couldn’t find anyone of her name and guessed Fearon was her married name. I first tried to find out more about her about four years ago, and in trying to do so came across other people who were also intrigued and interested by Ethelind, and not just because of her name, but because of her delightful cookery books!
Yesterday I set to again, and this time I tried in a different way; I knew she was born in or near Colchester and so looked at everyone born in December 1898 with the unusual first name of Ethelind – other Ethelinds were born elsewhere in the country but her second name was Emily so I hoped that would narrow the field. In fact there was a short cut I could have used which only occurred to me after I found her. I could have just put ‘Ethelind’ into a genealogical site search engine!! I took a long way round but I found her born Ethelind Emily Ratcliff, daughter and eldest child of of Jane Ellen and Percy Howard Ratcliff of Thaxted in Essex. He was a master builder, and they had two other children, Florence Jane who was two years younger, and Henry John Raven who was born in 1904. Ethelind’s mother’s maiden name was Raven, hence Henry’s middle name. Ethelind married Cecil Fearon in 1922, and they had a daughter Bridget, but I don’t know if there were any other children.
Old fashioned names are coming back into fashion, and there are little girls now names Ethel, I wonder if there are any Ethelinds? Such a pretty name!