Sisters of St Helena
Ellen and Maude Boughton-Leigh
We have recently been contacted by Margaret O’Sullivan who was asking about these two sisters who lived in St Helena at the point. She did not know anything much about their life on Canvey or indeed when they came here. She gave us access to her research thus far and asked if we could help. We had not heard of the sisters and personally I had no idea where St Helena was. Thanks to Martin Lepley we now know when they arrived and where they lived.
The following is some of my own research in addition to Martins and Margarets.
St Helena was a three bedroomed bungalow built on or before 1923. The occupier at that time was A. J. Poulson, the owner Charles Meggs. The bungalow was in Van Diemens Pass on the south/west side at the junction with Springfield Road.
In 1924 Miss Ellen Leigh was noted as being the occupier. Ellen and her sister Maude lived there until their deaths in 1947 and 1945. They were not at the property in the 1939 register but it is highly likely because of the recent death of their brother (see newspaper clips below) and war on the horizon they may have retreated to the family home in Warwickshire. They are buried in St Katherine’s Churchyard. I understand from the notes I have that there is no stone. I know the whereabouts of the grave and will investigate when we are allowed to venture out.
Ellen Theodosia Ward Boughton-Leigh, known as Chloe, born 1868, was the first child of landowner, poet and antiquarian Edward Allesley Boughton Ward-Boughton-Leigh and his wife Ellen Caroline Butler. The family were from a long line of upper class families from the Midlands. Maude Mary Ward Boughton-Leigh, known as Grilda, was the second child born 1870. They were born at Euston Place, London and baptised at St George’s, Hanover Square. There were three other daughters Ada Rose, Edith Violet and Mabel Constance. The third child was a son and the heir to the estate, Henry Allesley Ward-Boughton-Leigh.
The main family home was Brownsover Hall near Rugby, Warwickshire.
They were locally known with the surname of Leigh. Unfortunately we do not know a lot about the sisters’ lives on Canvey. We have been told that many of their paintings and drawings including the painting by Gwen John above, were found in the bungalow, St Helena, after their death.
With grateful thanks to Margaret O’Sullivan for bring this to us and allowing us to publish some of her research.
Also thanks to Martin Lepley for helping with the property.