Edith Payne

Edith Payne was the governess of Henry Marten‘s children after the death of their mother Frances in 1862.

Edith Payne in about 1873

She was born in Colchester in 1847 and was first cousin to her wards. She was the daughter of Alfred Payne, a chemist, and his second wife Eliza Warmington Marten. Eliza was Henry’s elder sister, who lived at this time in nearby Ettingshall. By the time Edith was engaged by Henry the family had already moved out of Penn Hall and were living in Penn Fields but had not yet moved to the Birches in Codsall. We have three photographs of her in this period. This indicates that she was very much at the heart of this close knit family, each of the children with nicknames that survived into adulthood.

On Frances’s death in 1862 the widower Henry was left with a large very young family – Teddy (7), Harry (6), Nettie (5), Floss (4), Nelly (3), Tib (2) and Frank (a few weeks old). Henry was a well connected businessman and must have been making frequent trips to London. Even though the children’s grandparents were at hand, both grandmothers were resident in the household at some time, it seems obvious that the family needed additional help in the form of Edith.

Edith Payne in about 1874

Certainly the boys all went to private schools at early ages. They all attended Mill Hill School, the non conformist school in North London, whose headmaster was Henry’s brother in law. The eldest three all went on to University – Teddy and Henry to St John’s College Cambridge, where Henry’s brother Alfred was a fellow. They went on to become engineers in their father’s footsteps. The third son, Tib, studied medicine at University College London and Caius College Cambridge before emigrating to Australia.

Edith must therefore have been much more instrumental in the girls’ education and possibly also the youngest boy’s Frank.

One photo is of Edith with a boy called Charlie. This could be her brother Charles who was fourteen years younger than her.

Edith with Charlie in about 1870

From the photo books of Florence Evans (nee Marten) she is always referred to as Edith Payne, which would make one think that she never married. However, her life after her career as a governess is sadly short. She married Kenneth Macrea, a brewer, on 12 Jul 1876 but died a year or so later on 23 Nov 1877. It would appear that she did have a daughter Edith born in 1877.

Last updated on 31 March 2018 by JJ Morgan