Helen Matilda Chaplin 10,54
- Born: 1845, Ryhall, Rutland
- Marriage: William Pleydell Bouverie, 5th Earl of Radnor in 1866
- Died: 11 September 1929, Armitage Hill, Sunninghill, Berkshire aged 84
Found in The Times, September 12, 1929
Helen Countess of Radnor died soon after midnight yesterday, in her
84th year, at Armitage Hill, Sunninghill, near Ascot, where she had
lived since 1913. She wsa for long a notable figure in society, where
her musical gifts especially made her a welcom guest. She formed and
conducted a famous amateur orchestra which was know by her name.
The only daughter of the Rev. Henry Chaplin, vicar of Ryhall, Rutland,
by his marriage to Caroline, daughter of William Ellice, M.P., and
niece of "Bear" Ellice, she was the sister of the Squire of Blankney,
who was created first Viscount Chaplin. She met her future husband,
William Pleydell Bouverie, when she was a child, and was married to
him in 1866. He became Viscount Folkestone in 1869, when his father
succeeded to the earldom, and he himself succeeded as fifth Earl of
Radnor in 1889. He was a member of the House of Commons for 15 years,
and was twice Treasurer of the Household. His wife led the same happy
life, hunting and dancing, which she had led before her marriage, but
she found her greatest pleasure in music and in gardening.
Her orchestra, known at first as Lady Folkestone's and then as Lady
Radnor's Band, was a string band composed of young ladies of birth who
were made to take their duties very seriously. Lady Folkestone had
done much to help in the foundation of the Royal College of Music, and
her band gave its first concert in aid of the college at Stafford
House in 1881, when £1,000 was obtained. Fifteen annual concerts were
given by the band under her conductorship at the old St. James's Hall
and elsewhere in London, and also in the provinces, much to the
benefit of various good causes, particularly the People's
Entertainment Society, in which she took a keen interest. It was,
indeed, so successful that Barnum wanted to transport it bodily to
America, to play in his circus. At the last concert she gave, the
Duke of Saxe-Coburg Gotha (Duke of Edinburgh) conferred on her the
highest grade of the Order for "Kunst und Wissenschaft". Lady Radnor
published several songs, and edited an order of service for children
and a carol service.
After the death of her husband in 1900, she lived chiefly in Venice,
where for a number of years her garden was the admiration of her
friends and of many connoisseurs. There, too, she was fond of
entertaining musical and literary guests. She had also a property at
Cookham, on the Thames. Many years ago she became convinced that the
British people are descended from the Lost Tribes, and had ever since
been a strong supporter of the British-Iraelites.
Last year Lady Radnor published a book of recollections, "From a
Great-Grandmother's Armchair", which, though primarily intended to
interest her descendants, was appreciated by many other readers.
Lady Radnor leaves two sons, the present Earl of Radnor, and Colonel
the Hon. Stuart Pleydell Bouverie, D.S.O. Her only daughter, Lady
Wilma, married first the late Earl of Lathom, and secondly
Lieutenant-General Sir H. M. Lawson.
The funeral will take place at Britford, near Salisbury, probably on
Saturday, following cremation at Woking.
Noted events in her life were:
1. She appeared on the census in 1881 in 8 Ennismore Gardens, Westminster, London.
2. Census UK 1911: 1911, 12 Upper Brook Street, London.
3. Her funeral was held on 14 September 1929 in Britford, Wiltshire.
Helen married William Pleydell Bouverie, 5th Earl of Radnor, son of Jacob Pleydell Bouverie, 4th Earl of Radnor and Maria Eleanor Hulse, in 1866. (William Pleydell Bouverie, 5th Earl of Radnor was born on 19 June 1841 in London and died on 3 June 1900.)