May Downing

May Downing was born with her younger twin sister Daisy on 11 May 1880, the eldest children of William Edmund Downing and his wife Hannah Pitt Showell. She was initially brought up in Handsworth before the family moved to Elm Lodge, Hagley in about 1895.

We have a number of photos of her as a child mostly taken by her younger sister Mary. May married Thomas Llewellyn Williams on 4 June 1906 and they had one child Edmund Glyn Williams born on 17 Jul 1909. Rev Thomas Williams was the Rector of Machynlleth in Wales but he died on 18 April 1910 shortly after Glyn’s birth. Machynlleth is about twelve miles from Llanbrynmair, where we know the Downings were frequent visitors to the Lodge there from 1904 to 1910.

Thomas Llewellyn Williams was considerably older than his wife, born in 1865 and a graduate of Peterhouse, Cambridge. Crockfords records that he was Vicar of Brithdir, 1897-1900, and of Llanfacreth, 1900-1902. The picture below is among the photos taken by Ida Downing at the wedding, dated 4 Jun 1906.

Rev T. L. Williams and May Downing wedding, 4 Jun 1906. Taken by Auntie Ida

Rev T. L. Williams and May Downing wedding, 4 Jun 1906. Taken by Auntie Ida

There exists an indignant letter written by a teenage Noel Downing from Harrow School protesting about his elder sister’s intention to marry such a Welshman.

May Williams remarried John MacKay Pringle in 1919 but died in middle age from cancer on 23 Mar 1931. She had no further children although John Pringle remarried himself in 1936 and did have one son, David H. J. M. Pringle.

Last updated on 5 November 2021 by JJ Morgan