Wednesday, 2 May 2018

The Marriage of Esmé Borlase Schiff

The tension between the two branches of the Schiff family, the Lowndes Squares and the Brook Streets, is well known and still remembered. It reflects the very real differences in personality and lifestyle between the brothers Charles and Alfred Schiff, and their descendants, and the hurt that was caused by Sidney Schiff's books. This is reflected also in the account entitled 'The Family Gathering' that was written by Esmé Schiff, Alfred's granddaughter.

Yesterday I obtained a copy of Esmé Schiff's marriage certificate, which is worthy of close scrutiny, as it indicates that the two branches of the family were still 'friends', so to speak, though 'The Family Gathering' was probably written four years after Esmé's wedding. It is the names of the witnesses to Esmé's wedding that are interesting.
Firstly is Douglas Arden, who may possibly be identified as the Douglas Arden (1844–1930) who inherited East Burnham House in Buckinghamshire.

Arden, Douglas (1844-1930) of East Burnham House (Bucks). Second son of Richard Edward Arden (1804-94) and his second wife, Mary, daughter of John Douglas Finney, born 8 August and baptised 24 November 1844. Educated at Harrow, 1859-61, Pembroke College, Oxford (matriculated 1862) and the Inner Temple (admitted 1864; called to bar 1867). Barrister-at-law on south-eastern circuit; JP for Buckinghamshire. He married, 23 April 1872 at Halton Holgate (Lincs), Emily Margaret (1846-1903), daughter of Rev. Robert Drummond Burrell Rawnsley of Halton Holgate and sister of Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley, one of the founders of the National Trust, and had issue:(1) Ana Margaret Arden (b. & d. 1873), baptised at Burnham, 23 January 1873 and buried there, 25 January 1873;(2) Dorothy Catherine Mary Arden (1874-1949), born 10 June and baptised at St Peter, Cranley Gardens, Kensington (Middx), 28 July 1874; married, Oct-Dec. 1918, Edward Awdry Short (1874-1946) but had no issue; died 4 September 1949; will proved 25 November 1949 (estate £177,399);(3) Edward Franklin Douglas Arden (1876-1908), baptised at Burnham, 1 May 1876; married 1st, 1898, Virginia Constance (d. 1901), daughter of Hon. Sir James Martin of Sydney (Australia) and had issue two sons and one daughter; married 2nd, 1903, Joan Mary Ursula S. (b. c.1882), daughter of Lt-Col. George A. Cox of The Close, Salisbury; staying at a nursing home in Chelsea, 1901; sailed (alone) to Sydney, 1906 and died there, 11 June 1908; will proved 14 January 1909 (estate in England £112).He inherited East Burnham House from his father in 1894. He inherited Pontfaen jointly with two of his sisters from his elder brother in 1909, and also Sunbury Park.He died 18 January 1930; will proved 7 July 1931 (estate £112,795); his wife died 16 February 1903; administration of her goods was granted 16 March 1903 (estate £2,659).

I cannot so far discover the reason for any connection to Douglas Arden, though it seems likely he was godfather or best man to the groom.

The second witness was Rosa Cooke, the bridegroom's elderly mother. Born in 1852, as Sarah Rosa Mackenzie, she died just six months after the wedding.

The next two witness were E. C. Schiff and Mary B. Schiff, the first being the widow of Alfred's son Ernest Wilton Schiff. She was born Emma Clementine Borlase in New Zealand. Mary Birch Schiff was the widow of Charles Schiff. We know that Emma Schiff remained close to the 'Lowndes Squares', being in sympathy with their lifestyle and mores. One member of the Lowndes Squares wrote in 2004 about Emma that "She married young to a Col. Cooke, to get away from her impossible mother, who was cold, selfish, and lesbian: for years she had a 'companion' called Mollie Naylor, who was equally unpleasant." The penny has just dropped for me that this Mollie was no other than Mary Gilliat Naylor, the fifth witness on the certificate, about whom there is considerable information below. Emma was born in 1871 and Mary in 1889. Emma died in 1959 and Mary in 1962.

Emma Clementine Schiff née Borlase

Believed to be Esmé Schiff

The next witness is indeed interesting; she is Mary Gilliat Naylor, an American who was naturalised as British on 13th July 1925 and whose address was given as being 15, Sloane Court. This was also Emma and her daughter Esmé's address at the time of her marriage.

Mary Gilliat Naylor
 Engaged to the wealthy Louis Ream, she was jilted by him, and did not subsequently marry.

Eleanor’s Pursuit: The Marital Misadventure of 1911 That Triggered ...

By H. Thomas Howell

Mary Gilliat Naylor 
Born 2 Jan 1889 in München, Oberbayern, Bavaria, GermanyDaughter of George Prentice Naylor and Sarah (Duncan) Naylor 
BiographyBirthdate and birthplace from her father's passport application.She lived in Germany from her birth until July 1889.[1] She lived in France, Switzerland, Germany from July 1889 to 1897, at which point she returned to the USA.[1] She lived in Germany 1904 to 1906.[1]On 14 Apr 1910, The New York Times published a notice of her engagement to Louis Marshall Ream, the playboy son of Norman B. Ream one of the 25 richest men in the USA.[2] The Chicago Tribune followed with a similar announcement 10 days later. [3] The marriage didn't take place, and Louis eloped with actress Eleanor Pendleton the following year.She lived in England from 1912, with one trip to visit the USA in 1915.[1]In 1924, she wrote in her passport application, "I was born in Germany, where my father was American Vice-Consul. Later I attended school in Switzerland, Italy and Germany. Since 1912, I have been residing in England with my guardian, who is a British subject."[4]On 13 Jul 1925 she swore an Oath of Allegiance to Great Britain and was naturalized as a British citizen.[5]She was "a spinster" when she died 14 Dec 1962 at Barnwood House Hospital in Barnwood, Gloucester, England.[6][7] 
Sources1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3, "U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925", Emergency Passport Applications, Argentina thru Venezuela, 1906-1925, 1921-1922, Volume 176: Great Britain, passport application with the American consulate in London, issued 30 Jun 1922. 
2. Engagement notice "Miss Naylor to Wed L.M. Ream" in The New York Times (New York, New York), 14 Apr 1910, Page 11. 
3. Engagement announcement of Mary Gilliat Naylor & Louis Marshall Ream in Chicago Tribune(Chicago, Illinois), 24 Apr 1910, Page 21. 
4., "U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925" Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925, 1924, Roll 2609 - Certificates: 461850-462349, 23 Jul 1924-24 Jul 1924, passport applicationwith the American consulate in London, issued 17 Jun 1924. 
5. The London Gazette, number 33073, published 7 Aug 1925, page 5280   
6. Howell, H. Thomas, Eleanor’s Pursuit: The Marital Misadventure of 1911 That Triggered Sensational Headlines and a High-Stakes Courtroom Battle Bloomington, Indiana: Archway, 2014. Footnote 117.
7. "England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007," database, FamilySearch ( : 4 September 2014), Mary G Naylor, 1962; from "England & Wales Deaths, 1837-2006," database, findmypast ( : 2012); citing Death, Gloucester Rural, Gloucestershire, England, General Register Office, Southport, England.

"United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 21 July 2017), Mary G Naylor in household of Sara D Naylor, Manhattan Ward 21, New York, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 1266, sheet 4B, family 110, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1037; FHL microfilm 1,375,050. 
"United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 4 September 2015), Mary Gilliat Naylor, 1920; citing Passport Application, England, source certificate #75072, Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925, 1316, NARA microfilm publications M1490 and M1372 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,639,367. 
"United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 4 September 2015), Mary Gilliat Naylor, 1922; citing Passport Application, , source certificate #191890, Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925, 2029, NARA microfilm publications M1490 and M1372 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,705,456.


A donation to The English-speaking World in 1923


Mollie Naylor was obviously active during the Second World War in Lymington, for which you received the British Empire Medal in 1946.

A hundred years later the relationship between Emma and Mollie can be seen in a more kindly light. Emma had a difficult relationship with her husband, a notorious philanderer and bankrupt, from whom she was divorced not long before his brutal death in 1919. Mollie, although of good family, was not only jilted by her fiancé, she was also trapped by the colossal shortage of men following the heavy losses of men's lives in the First World War. That they found friendship and companionship is to be lauded. Esmé's marriage to her much older husband was no doubt the consequence of her considerable fortune. It was not the most successful of marriages, and Monty and Esmé lived mostly apart as their three daughters grew up.

The sixth witness is a Mackenzie, presumably a maternal cousin or uncle of the groom, but I cannot distinguish the forename. Is it Frederick?

The seventh witness is Bertram H. Cooke, who I believe to be Major Bertram H. H. Cooke, the bridegroom's brother.

Finally, there is Roderick Mackenzie. Presumably he was another cousin but so far I have not been able to identify him more accurately.

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