Later Years of the Ladies of Llangollen

Steps in Plas Newydd groundsA Plas Newydd Timeline continues with the last years that sees Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby together, through the year of 1828.

Both Ladies are in frail health, though — as we see in the Walter Scott extracts, still seeking the visits of the famous, especially a writer of Scott’s renown.

What strikes me most in this group of entries are the visits by people unknown to them, who never actually get to meet them; travellers like Eliza Spurrett and Ann Atherton.

Atherton’s entry is exceptionally interesting — not the least for its illegible words at crucial moments! Here is a woman who sought permission, as she tells readers straightaway; yet it is the gardener who showed Atherton and her companion around the Plas Newydd gardens. Adding: “the Ladies are very liberal in allowing you to pass close to all their windows,” Atherton allows present-day readers the opportunity to glimpse over her shoulders as she walks and gawks.

Entries then beg the question that if the likes of Lady Crewe could only visit the exterior, who was little Eleanor Bagot (aged 12) that she should breakfast with the Ladies?! A true slice of life.

By 1827, as Judith Beecroft informs, the Ladies were declining to “see strangers”.


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