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Marjorie Williams

(1880-1961) – Evacuee

Marjorie Williams was a talented artist who spent most of the war years at Lamledra, her family’s holiday home, with her growing family. She spent her days growing food and painting without the usual wartime restrictions. In the meantime, over 100 men went to war from St Goran parish.

Credit: St Goran Parish History Society and Cassandra Phillips

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Over 100 men went to war from St Goran parish and 16 of these men lost their lives.  The war had a fundamental impact on the parish with some families losing many young men.

The war also brought unexpected arrivals, including Marjorie Williams who evacuated herself and her young daughters to St Goran to escape the air raids in London.  Lamledra House was built by the family in 1911 from local Pentewan quarry stone and stands above Vault Beach near Gorran Haven (Port Just).  Marjorie and the girls stayed at Lamledra for long periods of the war, painting and writing fascinating letters to her husband in London, as well as diary entries.   John (Jack) Fischer Williams was a barrister and ten years older than Marjorie, so too old to enlist.  He worked in the aliens’ department of the Home Office.

The accounts of village life, fishing, farming and the impact of war outline St Goran parish movingly and beautifully.  These are edited extracts from her granddaughter Cassandra Phillips’ book Letters from Lamledra:

21 April 1914

‘today was the most glorious day.  The great excitement was a huge whale which is lurching about in the bay.  When he rises the sun catches his back and he shines like a great looking glass.’

29 June 1917

‘The entire village was on the beach watching a boat (torpedoed of course) that had been found drifting between the Dodman and Hemmick.  She was being towed out to take her to Plymouth.’

9 and 12 Oct 1918

‘the glorious news … It is a fine thought that when next the Dodman and I greet each other, the world will be at peace again, anyhow no more killing, please God. [The German army had requested an armistice on 6 October.]’

After the war, the family went to Paris where Jack was a legal adviser on the War Reparations Commission.  Lamledra remained the family’s summer home, and main home for both Jack and Marjorie during the Second World War.  After Jack’s death in 1947, Marjorie had more time for painting and travelled widely until her death aged 80 in 1961.  Some of Marjorie Williams watercolour paintings are in Falmouth Art Gallery’s permanent collection. 

Credit: St Goran Parish History Society and Cassandra Phillips