Octavius Edward Bulwer Marsh and his high-society daughter…

Continuing with stories of my friend, Heidi Mellings’ ancestors….

Octavius was born in 1852 and was an older brother of Mary Marsh, Heidi’s great-great-grandmother, and sibling of “Tap” Marsh who I wrote about recently. Like his brother, Octavius studied medicine but rather than go into the army as his brother did, he became a doctor in Newport, Monmouthshire, describing himself on the censuses as a “General Practitioner in Medicine and Surgery”.

In 1881 he married Clara Gething, daughter of the Newport harbour master and together they were to have five children, Violet, Godfrey, Octavius, Dorothy and Mary. Octavius, continued as a doctor in Newport throughout his working life and then retired to the countryside, buying Bryngwyn Manor, Raglan.

So far, so ordinary… but here’s where it gets a bit more interesting. We’ll talk a little bit about the eldest daughter, Violet Antoinette Marsh, born on 26th Feb 1882.

I haven’t been able to trace how she met her future husband but on 29th January 1913, aged 28, she married Elidor Ronald Campbell (Elidor!?!?…) in a fancy society wedding at Holy Trinity Brompton, in Knightsbridge, London.

By 1913, Elidor’s father was deceased but his name was recorded on their wedding certificate, Frederick Archibald Vaughan Campbell, with his “Rank or Profession” stated as “Peer of the Realm”.

Elidor was the second son of the 22nd Thane and 3rd Earl of Cawdor, an ancient Scottish family seat (and sounding like something from “Lord of the Rings” at the same time).

The 3rd Earl had been a politician representing a constituency in Carmarthenshire in Wales where his family owned large estates.

The enormous medieval mansion Golden Grove, just outside Llandeilo, was their principal Welsh home and I could imagine it might have been possible for a prominent doctor in south Wales to have been introduced to Cawdor at some political or social event.

Golden Grove

Elidor, being the “spare” rather than the “heir” was trained in a profession and was a lawyer and barrister.

The couple had a son in 1916, Elidor again….(!), incidentally, in the same year that Elidor’s cousin, Lt.-Col. John Vaughan Campbell of the Coldstream Guards won the Victoria Cross during the Battle of the Somme.

Then, in 1918, the couple moved to America where Elidor had a position attached to the British Embassy in Washington, although their census records of 1920 and 1925 had them living in New York (perhaps that was a more exciting place to live than with the politicos in DC). The couple remained in the US for nearly ten years before moving back to England when Violet had their second child, Fiona, in 1925.

It would seem that the couple lived the full “Tatler” high society lifestyle, Violet appearing in society magazines of the period like this one here.

Violet lived to the age of 93, passing away in 1975.

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