Harriet Frances Lloyd (1827, Corwen, Merionethshire, Wales – 12 May 1892, 183 King’s Road, St Pancras district)

The altar for the side-chapel was already ready in August 1894, two months ahead of the side-chapel’s opening. It was therefore used in the hall of the Mission Buildings in August and September that year whilst the nave and chancel were closed for finishing touches. It was in memory of the Anglican nun Harriet Frances Lloyd. She had been christened at Llansantffraid, Glyndyfrdwy, Merionethshire on 17 December 1829 and was one of seventeen children of Edward Lloyd (1779, Ruthin, Denbighshire) and his wife Frances. Perhaps her birthplace links her to William Pares, who retired to Corwen between 1868 and 1870 and was married to the sister of Agnes Madeline Scott, later a close friend of Llloyd’s.

Edward was a prominent barrister and land owner in Wales and first definitively appears in a census in 1851, when he is living at Raggatt, Corwen with his Harriet, his son Edward Lloyd Junior (1812, Corwen) and seventeen servants, including grooms, gardeners, maids and kitchen staff. Oddly, he is stated to be married but his wife was absent on census night. Both Harriet’s parents had probably died by 1861, when she was unmarried and running her own household at Hengwrt, Nannan Is Afon, Dolgelly, Merionethshire. She was very well off, with thirty-five acres and nine servants, and her household also included her sister Eliza Blackburn Lloyd (1824-1905) and her two daughters. Eliza had married Meredith James Vibart (1822 or 1823-1861), who she had met when he was appointed one of the two orderly officers at the East India Company Military College in Addiscombe, Surrey in 1849.

He had first joined the East India Company as a 2nd Lieutenant in June 1840 and spent the next six years in India before going on a long leave, some of which he spent in South Africa at the Cape Colony with Augustus Fortunatus Bellasis (1822-72), East India Company civil servant, archaeologist and artist. The Vibart and Bellasis families were related through a couple of marriages; and the Bellasis family also knew the Forbes family of Bombay – Meredith James’ uncle John had married Anna Forbes. He then went to England on leave in 1848, prior to his appointment at Addiscombe.
He failed to find another post in England and took Eliza back to India with him in 1853, from which she wrote a set of letters still in the Centre for Maritime Historical Studies, Exeter University. There he was recorded in the 8th Bengal Native Artillery in 1854.

Llloyd originally entered the Clewer Community, also known as the Community of St John the Baptist, which had been founded in Clewer near Windsor in 1848. She was still there in 1871, shown in the census that year as “Head Sister in Charge” at St Andrew’s Hospital for Convalescents in Clewer, with seven sisters of mercy, one novice and twelve servants under her. The Hospital had 48 patients and was next door to a “House of Mercy” with a greater number of sisters, which housed women in poverty and prostitution being trained for domestic service, known by the census as “Inmates”. She left Clewer in 1873 and soon discovered a new project, the Diocesan House of Mercy for Fallen Women in the small Essex village of Great Maplestead.

The House had been founded in 1868 by the Diocese of Rochester, but it was transferred to the new Diocese of St Albans when the latter was formed by an Order in Council on 30 April 1877. The new Diocese’s first Bishop Thomas Legh Claughton (1808-1892) seems to have been in contact with Lloyd, since when he came to install a new Warden at the House at a service at midday on 4 December 1877 he also set up a new “Diocesan Sisterhood” to run the House at 10 am that morning. The Sisterhood was named the Community of the Saving Name and Lloyd was made its first head, with one of the House’s workers also becoming a Sister of the Community12

The Church Times report of the CSN’s foundation, 18773.

The Order seems to have quickly proliferated, since it is recorded as running a free hospital at 279 Park Road, Hackney4 and St Mary’s Training Home, Notting Hill5 during the 1880s. It also had bases in Poplar in east London, where in 1881 Harriet was living at 12 Teviot Street, as the head of household. Her occupation was given as “Sister of Mercy”. One visitor and two female servants were also resident. Nearby at 14 Teviot Street were two more Sisters of Mercy, Agnes Scott (20 August 1852 – 2 March 1935, 87 Burdett Avenue, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex) and Ellen Hill (1856, Welshpool, Montgomeryshire). They headed up a household which also included four scholars aged between thirteen and sixteen. At one end of the street was another St Michael’s Church, formed as a new mission parish in 1861 and home to a string of mission priests such as George Reginald Preston Preston [sic]6 A Booth Notebook of 1897 noted “Alloa, Spey and Teviot Streets all respectable, Teviot Street being the best of them”, but nearby streets in the parish were classified on the Booth Map as “Poor”7.

Lloyd’s death notice in the Church Times, 20 May 1892.

Lloyd was still alive on 5 April 1891, when she was “Living on Own Means” and heading a community at 183 King’s Road (now St Pancras Way) near Camden Town. The community only had two other nuns, Agnes and Ellen. Also resident were two “Paid Ladies” from Wiltshire, a cook from London and eight women between 11 and 16 all “Training For Domestic Service”. Her brief death notice in the Church Times states she also died at that address – it called her “Mother Superior of the C.S.N.”8. The 1923 History of St Michael’s records Mother Harriet and Sisters Agnes and Ellen as “among those who have gone to their rest to whom St Michael’s owes much” and that they all “did wonderful work in the early days”.

On her death in 1892, Harriet Lloyd made Agnes her executrix and left her most of her estate for the use of the “Community of the Saving Name” 9 Agnes Madeline Scott used her resources to support a mission church in the parish of St Alban the Martyr, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex in 1905 and thirty years later left her estate to set up the Sister Harriet Frances Lloyd Trust. The file containing Scott’s will at the Essex Record Office also contains a contemporary copy of Lloyd’s will, made 17 February 1891, calling her “of Dolgelly, North Wales and 183 King’s Road, Camden Town”10.

  1. Diocesan House of Mercy for Fallen Women, Great Maplestead
  2. Papers regarding the Diocesan House of Mercy, Great Maplestead
  3. Church Times, 14 December 1877, page 710.
  4. Susan Mumm, Stolen Daughters, Virgin Mothers: Anglican Sisterhoods in Victorian Britain, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2001, pages 117 and 213
  5. ‘In Memoriam – Amy Wood’, Church Times, 14 March 1902, page 334
  6. Vicar from 1904 to 1913; see his daughter’s autobiography – Eileen Baillie, The Shabby Paradise, 1959
  7. George H.Duckworth’s Notebook: Police Districts 11-13, 1897 (BOOTH/B/346), page 49
  8. Church Times, 20 May 1892, page 510
  9. Sally Mitchell, Frances Power Cobbe: Victorian Feminist, Journalist, Reformer, University of Virginia Press, 2004, pages 306 and 404
  10. Wills of Lloyd and Scott