Wetton, Mildred Cooper Elisabeth, 1863-1917 (schoolmistress)
Mildred Cooper Elizabeth Wetton was born in Greenwich, London in July 1863, the ninth child and seventh daughter of Champion Wetton (1821-1870), a gentleman and bookseller, and Elizabeth Bradshaw Wetton (1822-1916). Champion had ambitions as an entrepreneur, and during the gold rush he and his family moved to America. His property investments were destroyed in the San Francisco fire of 1851 and the Wettons returned to England. A few years later, in the midst of the Australian gold rush, they moved to Sydney, where Wetton set up a shipping line from England to Australia via Panama. After Wetton's shipping venture collapsed, the family sailed back and settled in 'Joldwynds' on the family estate in Holmbury St Mary, Surrey. In 1870 Champion died and Elizabeth sold their Surrey home to the surgeon William Bowman who commissioned the architect Philip Webb to build a new Arts and Crafts house, also called 'Joldwynds', which was completed in 1874. Elizabeth and her daughters settled in Croydon where the girls were educated. On 6 July 1887 Mildred’s sister, Marian Sydney Wetton (1858-1888), a governess, married the Trinity College fellow FJH Jenkinson (University Librarian 1889-1923). After Marian's sudden death in January 1888, Mildred, who worked as a schoolmistress in London, kept in contact with Jenkinson. In the winter of 1891-92 they briefly considered becoming engaged to be married, but until the Deceased Wife's Sister's Marriage Act of 1907 there were considerable legal difficulties with such a marriage, and the idea was dropped. By 1901 Mildred was the headmistress of her own school at 100 Church Street, Kensington, where she lived with her mother and her sister Phillis, a lady superintendent. After their 94-year-old mother's death in January 1916 Mildred moved to Winchester, Hampshire, where she died on 6 May 1917, aged 53.
Found in 1 Collection or Record:
Single letter from Mildred Wetton to Ida Darwin dated 24 January 1892 in which she thanks Ida for writing to her sister, Jennie Stanford. It is thought the subject of the letter was the difficulties surrounding a proposed marriage between Francis Jenkinson and Mildred Wetton, the sister of Jenkinson's late wife Marian Wetton. Marriage between a man and his dead wife's sister was then forbidden until the passing of The Deceased Wife's Sister's Marriage Act in 1907.