Monthly Archives: January 2017

The Weddalls of Pocklington, Yorkshire

Edward Weddall was born in March 1844 to Eliza and Charles Weddall of Pocklington, Yorkshire. His was from a farming background, not unlike Emily on her paternal side. The Weddall’s like the Burkes, owned a significant amount of land and prospered from it.

19 December 1846 – Yorkshire Gazette – York, North Yorkshire, England

An early drawing of Pocklington Church by William Watson around 1844 (The year Edward was Baptized) Note the position of the church clock* (reproduced by kind permission of Wm. Brown), Courtesy of

Charles Weddall and Eliza Scaife were married on 5th September 1832, in Pocklington Church, Charles was 27 and Eliza had just turned 21. The couple went on to have at least six children, Edward was about their fourth, although they could have had more who did not survive, not unusual for the time.

Charles Weddall, let his some of his land to tenant farmers, and was also a coal merchant. The Weddalls were by the standard of the times quite well off. Young Edward and his siblings would have had enjoyed a relatively comfortable childhood. As well as being financially secure, they were respected members of the community, Charles sat on the North Yorkshire Grand Jury.

02 July 1842 – York Herald – York, North Yorkshire, England


02 July 1842 – York Herald – York, North Yorkshire, England
19 December 1846 – Yorkshire Gazette – York, North Yorkshire, England


Special thanks to Andrew Sefton, Archivist
Image of Pocklington Church 1844 courtesy of


The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

April 1896 was the time and Hotel Splendid was the place when Emily first met her husband to be Edward Weddall. It is only a guess, because there is no true way to tell. The odds are more than average, that she first encountered the sea captain, who may have been staying on the French Riviera, to improve his health. Emily had just qualified as a nurse and may have been on one of her first jobs. Private nurses or nursemaids were high in demand by families and individuals traveling through on staying on on the area. In his book. Wintering in the Riviera, William Miller explains the appeal of Mentone for the ailing and indeed the healthy.

“We stayed but one night at Nice, although we went several times afterwards from Mentone to spend the day there. I do not therefore pretend to know it well. It is the most expensive town in the Riviera, but is alluring to those who go in good health for pure enjoyment. For promotion of enjoyment and gaiety, it is, I presume, everything[163] that can be desired; but although the climate is better than that of some other places, being, it is said, equal or similar to the climate of Florence, it wants the shelter which is so necessary to invalids.”

Edward Weddall was newly widowed at that time only loosing his wife a year or so before. He may have been there on for his health, Emily on the other hand, who enjoyed good health all her life could have been those “who go in good health for pure enjoyment” but, she was most likely there as a nurse. Either way she found the time to collect for the families of the Kingstown Lifeboat Disaster of 1895. Helping those less fortunate than herself was a character trait, which may possibly have attracted the sea captain to her. Kindness was only one of her attributes, she also had an attractive and vibrant personality. Captain Weddall made an ostentatious contribution to Emily’s fund raising.  That may just have been the beginning of a beautiful friendship.


The Irish Times – Page 5, Saturday 18 April 1896

The Advantage of a Foreign Language

Emily a fluent French speaker had an added advantage when seeking work abroad. She could translate freely between employer and the locals when required. The below taken from Wintering in the Riviera, by William Miller describes the advantage of speaking the local language had.

The first great stumbling-block in the way of going abroad is to many, especially elderly persons, the want of knowledge of the language of the country to which they wish to direct their steps, or the want of power to converse in it freely.

There can be no doubt that it is of great consequence to have an acquaintance with the language of the country in which one desires to travel or reside for a time. People are saved much inconvenience and often money when they can talk it with fluency, and can comprehend what the natives say—usually the more difficult operation. At the same time, in all frequented parts of France, Italy, and Switzerland, either English or French will carry any one through.

Although Emily had a command of the French language, she would have got by without it in the South of France. Most hotels had at least one English speaker, and some even to Emily’s delight had an Irish representative.

At the hotels, unless they be what I have called English hotels, one usually meets with people of all countries. In one hotel in France, I was informed we had representatives of eight different nations, counting English, Scotch, and Irish as one. It has struck me, however, that although the French language is so generally spoken, the French themselves, while found travelling in every part of their own land, are very seldom seen in other countries.

Lost in translation

In his book Wintering in the Riviera, William Miller explains the sometimes disadvantages of speaking the language of the visited country. In his and Emily’s time they did not have the advantages of television or the internet, although there were plenty travel guides, but few ways of experiencing another country before visiting it. It was common to experience some kind of culture shock. William Miller gave the following advice for those who might partied with the locals;

There is nothing so difficult as to get merry with those who speak another language, into which everything has mentally and slowly to be translated, and the flashes of merriment often will neither brook translation nor abide deliberative meditation.

How Emily fared in the situation is hard to say now but always sociable she seemed to have fitted in easily. During her stay at Hotel Splendid in Mentone she seemed to be on friendly enough terms with the other guests to ask them to contribute to Kingstown Lifeboat disaster fund of 1895.

The Irish Times – Page 5 Saturday 18 April 1896

Hotel Splendid, Mentone

People in the present day travel sometimes for pleasure and to obtain acquaintance with what cannot be seen at home, and sometimes for the sake of health…

The above is taken from Wintering in the Riviera, with Notes of Travel in Italy and France, and Practical hints to Travelers, written by William Miller, S.S.C. in the age that travel to the South of France became fashionable. The quote could apply to Emily Weddall, as she had just qualified as a nurse and was also according to her biographer, Iosold ni Dheirg.

As a fluent French speaker the South of France was a perfect place for her to find employment as a private nurse. The Riviera became a new health spa, since Queen Victoria made the area popular a few years earlier. Qualified nurses would have been in high demand to provide round the clock care for health tourists.

As proximity to the sea air, or to be within hearing of the monotonous noise of the waves, does not suit some persons, while the proximity may benefit others, and as the temperature of the east and west bays differs considerably, it is not inadvisable for those in delicate health to consult a medical man, who should decide which part of Mentone is best suited to the particular case. There are about twenty doctors practising in Mentone. Of these, the English doctors are, I believe, the following:—In the west bay, Drs. Siordet, Marriott, Gent, and Sparks; and in the east bay, Dr. Bennett. It is also well to know that the fees of the resident English medical men are high, and are paid at each visit. If the visit be to two persons of the same party, two fees, I have been told, are charged or expected. The fees of the French medical men are greatly less. It would seem, on some points,[174] the doctors of the two countries differ,—as, for example, English doctors advocate sitting in the sun, and foreign doctors, sitting in the shade; and knowing how foreigners abhor their friend the sun, I can well believe they do.

PROMENADE DU MIDI, MENTONE at the time Emily visited

An advert for Splendide, at Menetone from the 1890’s


Ní Dheirg, Íosold. Emily M. Weddall: Bunaitheoir Scoil Acla. Baile Atha Cliath: Coisceim, 1995