Henrietta Frances Marten

Henrietta Frances Anne Marten was born on 26 Apr 1857 in Penn hall, Staffordshire, the eldest daughter of Henry John Marten. She was known by the name Nettie. Her mother died when she was only five.

She married William Howard Lewis on 8 Oct 1878 and had one son Henry Howard Lewis, known as Hal, born on 25 Oct 1888. William Howard Lewis apparently enrolled as an undergraduate aged 25 at St John’s College Cambridge in Michaelmas 1879, one year after the marriage. Later he seems to have joined his father’s business and is recorded as being a Boiler Tube Manufacturer.

Everything would indicate that it was not a particularly settled or happy marriage, culminating in a divorce under a wife’s petition filed on 29 Nov 1897 and finalised on 12 Jan 1898. This must have been somewhat of a scandal. William Howard Lewis was cited as a co-respondent in the divorce of Thomas Edward Mattocks in early 1898 as his wife Henrietta Sarah Mattocks had ‘habitually committed adultery’ with him from August to December 1897. The court papers reveal that Henrietta Sarah Mattocks was eventually reconciled to her husband and the decree nisi on the Mattocks marriage was not granted. William Howard Lewis therefore lost both Henriettas and died in Malta on 29 Oct 1898. Henrietta Mattocks was granted probate in his will of Jan 1898.

Hal Lewis and his mother had therefore all the more reason to keep close to the family of Nettie’s sister Florence Evans in Hagley. Hal is featured in a number of photos with his cousins Molly and Wilmot Evans.

Stoke House, Stoke by Clare, c. 1925. Netty's dogs feature on this Ling's Series postcard

Stoke House, Stoke by Clare, c. 1925. Netty’s dogs feature on this Ling’s Series postcard

After her husband’s death Nettie moved to Cheltenham to live with her bachelor brother Teddy Marten. After Teddy died in 1917, some time in the early twenties Nettie moved to Stoke House, Stoke-by-Clare in Suffolk. She eventually died in a nursing home in Cambridge on 11 Aug 1927.

Phyllis Evans, Florence Evans’s youngest daughter was a close companion of Nettie at Stoke and moved to Cheltenham clearly influenced by these family connections. Details of Nettie’s life and friends are recounted in Phyllis’s diaries of 1925 and 1926.

Last updated on 4 March 2021 by JJ Morgan