The WILLIAMS family – Captain WILLIAMS, Montagu William (1859-1924) and VAD WILLIAMS, Gladys Marie (1889-1956)

Henry Denton Montagu Williams (c1827-1914) and Mary Elizabeth Beane (c1836-1919) who had children: Montagu William (1859-1924); Ella Mary (1860-1925); Claude (1861-1862); Edith (1863-1916); Constance (1864-1903); Isabella Mary (1866-1870); Ethel Maude (1869-1941); Catherine (1870-); Francis Beane (1872-1954); Ada Penelope (1874-1932).

Montagu William Williams was baptised at Saham Toney, Norfolk, on 15th May 1859.  Montagu and his family lived at Saham Toney until around 1868, when the family moved to Tunbridge Wells.  Father Henry was a coal, corn, seed and ‘artificial manure’ merchant in a series of short lived partnerships.  He later became a schoolmaster, following bankruptcy in 1888.

After school Montagu went up to Exeter College Oxford.  He began training for the medical profession at Middlesex Hospital, in Windmill Street, London, passing his primary examination in anatomy in 1880.  He became a licensed apothecary in London in 1882 and achieved his medical registration in February 1885.

Exeter College Oxford
Exeter College, Oxford

On 21 July 1886 Montagu married Ida Maria Nichols (1857-1946), daughter of an architect, at St Pancras Parish Church.  Montagu and Ida moved to 61½ High Cross Street, Leicester. Their only son Montagu Denton Cubitt (1887-1888) was born in Leicester the following year and baptised in Camden.  He died soon after.  Three daughters followed – Gladys Marie (1889-1956), Enid Maude (1890-1974) and Doreen Ida Mary (1897-1994), all of whom were baptised at St Martin’s.  Montagu and his family attended St Martin’s from at least 1887.  Montagu was sidesman from 1889 to 1896 and churchwarden for the years 1908-1910.  He was a member of the PCC and a deputy churchwarden from 1921 until his death.  He was the medical attendant of the Reverend Dr David James Vaughan, vicar of St Martin’s until 1893, until his death in 1905.

By 1891 the family had settled at 45 London Road, where Montagu also ran his medical practice.  In 1900 the practice extended to number 43 London Road.  They remained at 43-45 London Road until 1920.  As well as his general practice, Montagu served on various local medical committees, including that of the Leicester Maternity Hospital.  He supported improvements for the care of women and also of children.  As well as medical charity, Montagu also contributed financially to the new Vaughan Working Mens College which opened in 1906.  In 1905 Montagu’s sister Catherine appeared in scandalous newspaper reports of her divorce and illegitimate child, which may have caused him some embarrassment. He hunted with the Fernie Hunt in 1913.

Montagu became a Captain in the RAMC on 5th July 1915 and worked at the 5th Northern General Hospital (Leicester).  In June 1918 Montagu became very ill and spent time as a patient at the base hospital (now the Fielding Johnson buildings, University of Leicester).  This was the last of both his war and civilian work.

5th Northern Hospital
5th Northern General Hospital Ward A2 (Verandah)

In 1920 Montagu and Ida purchased “Glenholm” on the corner of West Walk and New Walk, described as “a very handsome and attractive family residence, exceedingly well fitted up and heated throughout, erected a few years ago in the soundest manner.”  They lived at Glenholm for just four years, until Montagu’s death on 7th August 1924.  He was buried at Welford Road Cemetery.  Amongst other legacies, Montagu left his Italian cabinet to daughter Doreen.  Ida Maria died in 1946 and was buried with her husband at Welford Road.

Gladys Marie Williams was born on 6th April 1889 and baptised at St Martin’s on 3rd June 1889.  There are no surviving records to show which school she attended and she doesn’t appear to have had a job.  Between April 1917 and August 1918 she was a full-time Red Cross VAD, with expenses paid, at Cottesbrooke Auxilliary Hospital, Northamptonshire.  Cottesbrooke Hall had been converted to a hospital in 1914 by the owner Mrs Brassey who took personal charge of fifty beds and was one of many hospitals where soldiers were often less seriously wounded and were mainly in need of convalescence.  Isabel Brightland was also there between June and August 1917.

Cottesbrooke Hall
Cottesbrooke Hall

On 19th July 1922 Gladys married Noel Arthur Johnston Ewen (1896-1952) at St Martins giving 5 St Martins East as her address.  Noel was six years her junior and lived in Oadby.  He had served as a second lieutenant in the Leicestershire Regiment, joining the 8th Battalion in September 1914.  Noel’s father, Arthur John Ewen, owned Ewen & Son Ltd, yarn merchant and agents at 2-3 de Montfort Chambers, 6 Horsefair Street. He was sidesman at St Martin’s in 1915.  Noel worked for his father and later took on the business.

Gladys and Noel moved to Ashover, 86 Knighton Road.  They had children Guy Montagu Johnston Ewen (1923-2010) and Rosamond M (1926-), but it was not a successful marriage.  Gladys divorced Noel in 1936 due to his adultery with Joyce Ella Abell, a married woman who lived in Oadby.  Noel and Joyce married in 1937.

Gladys lived on with the children at Knighton Road.  During the second world war she worked in a canteen supporting civil defence as part of the WVS (later WRVS).  She died at Leicester Royal Infirmary on 26th February 1956 aged 67.

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