Florence Louisa Barclay (née Charlesworth)

Daughter of Rev. Samuel Charlesworth and Maria Beddome
Mother of Claudia Packe (née Barclay)

Husband and children
See also:
Punch articles mentioning Florence Barclay
The Huguenot Cross
Photos of Florence Barclay's children
Cyril Barclay's wedding
The Cresta Run
Census records connected with Beddomes
Wikipedia article on Florence L. Barclay
Wikipedia article on Vera Barclay
The Life of Florence L. Barclay by one of her daughters
Books by Florence L. Barclay, on Project Gutenberg


1862Florence Charlesworth born in Jersey
1881Maria Amelia Charlesworth diesmother
1881Marries Rev. Charles Barclayhusband
1882Magdalen Florence Barclay borndaughter
1883Muriel Alice Barclay borndaughter
1884Cyril Charles Barclay bornson
1885Ursula Margaret Barclay borndaughter
1886Guy Charlesworth Barclay bornson
1893Vera Charlesworth Barclay borndaughter
1894Claudia Lilian Barclay borndaughter
1900Angela Barclay borndaughter
1900Rev. Samuel Charlesworth diesfather
1921Florence Barclay (née Charlesworth) dies
Florence Barclay (née Charlesworth)


As a child, Florence Charlesworth used to stay with her grandfather Richard Beddome - see census records connected with Beddomes.

Florence Barclay was a popular novelist. See Books by Florence L. Barclay, on Project Gutenberg. The most popular book was "The Rosary".

See The Barclay Voice for a comment about an inherited family trait!

An aunt of hers, Maria Louisa Charlesworth was also a novelist. Two of her daughters were writers as well, one wrote a biography of Florence Barclay, and Vera Barclay wrote children's books. Florence's father also wrote a life of her mother, and other books.

Forence Barclay was close to her sister, Maud Ballington Booth (née Charlesworth), who was also a writer. See Maud's page for an account of her turbulent life. Florence visited her sister in 1909, where she went on a Chautauqua tour with her.

The "Life of Florence L. Barclay" by one of her daughters mentions that Florence Barlcay enjoyed it when Punch wrote articles about her.Here are two Punch articles mentioning Florence Barclay.

The Books of Florence L. Barclay

Date pub.Title and online versionDedication
1891Guy Mervyn vol 1, vol 2, vol 3
(written as Brandon Roy)
1908The Wheels of TimeOne woman who said "I go not"; but afterwards repented and went[?]
1909The RosaryAngela[Angela Mary Stella Barclay]
1910The Mistress of ShenstoneC.W.B[Rev. Charles Wright Barclay]
1911The Following of the StarMy son in the ministry C. C. B.[Cyril Charles Barclay]
1911Through the Postern GateMy mother[Maria Amelia Charlesworth]
1912The Upas TreeV.C.B.[Vera Charlesworth Barclay]
1913The Broken HaloOne who is absent, yet ever near. M.A.B.[Muriel Alice Barclay]
1914The Wall of PartitionClaudia[Claudia Lilian Barclay]
1914The Golden Censer (non-fiction)
1914My Heart's Right There
1915In Hoc Vince (non-fiction)
1917The White Ladies of WorcesterFaithful hearts all the world over
1920Returned EmptyCatherine[?]
1923Shorter Works

I have given the dedications because my mother Celia Dibblee, the grand-daughter of Florence Barclay, told me that the books were dedicated to the children of Florence. This seems to be only partially true. There are no books dedicated to Magdalen, Ursula or Guy. I cannot guarantee the rest of the names or initials are right, but they seem to fit.

Florence has also dedicated a book to her mother, who died long before she started writing, but not to her father, who died in 1900. She also did not obviously dedicate a book to her sister, Maud, although the two sisters were close, and Florence visited Maud in America in 1909. Perhaps "One woman who said "I go not"; but afterwards repented and went" is a reference to her. I have no idea who Catherine is.

Husband and Children

Husband: In 1881, she married Rev. Charles Wright Barclay (1853-1926).

Magdalen Florence (Mag)24 Feb 1882, in Little Amwell, Hertford1916 Geoff Rogers1961 North Walsham, Norfolk
Muriel Alice (Mu)22 Mar 1883, in Little Amwell, Hertford1910 Dalgairus Arundel Barker1968 North Walsham, Norfolk
Cyril Charles11 Mar 1884, in Little Amwell, Hertford1931 Rose E Pryme1967 Chichester
Ursula Margaret (Ula)2 Apr 1885, in Little Amwell, HertfordValentine Thomas1961 Surrey
Guy Charlesworth29 Oct 1886, in Little Amwell, Hertford1912 Marjorie I Harrison1940 Hammersmith, London
Vera Charlesworth (Bay)10 Nov 1893, in Little Amwell, Hertford1989 North Walsham, Norfolk
Claudia Lilian13 Dec 1894, in Little Amwell, Hertford1919 Maj. Edward Alexander Packe (1894-1962)1973 Isle of Wight
Angela Mary Stella (Angel)1900, in Hertfordshire1925 Col. Arthur Cyril Whitcombe1988 Isle of Wight

The names in brackets are the family nicknames.

See also Photos of Florence Barclay's children.

Five oldest children
Rev. Charles Barclay and Florence Barclay, with their five oldest children, Magdalen, Muriel, Cyril, Ursula and Guy - 1886
Three youngest children
Florence Barclay, with the three youngest children, Vera, Claudia and Angela - 1901

One of Florence's daughters wrote "A Life of Florence Barclay" and in it, she says "We were, I suppose, what is called 'naughty' children: and inclined to be rebellious against grown-up authority."

Dedication in The Mystery of Mortimer's Wood

These children were my great aunts and great uncles (apart from my grand-mother, Claudia, of course). As a very young child, I seemed to have an excessive number of great aunts and uncles, and could never work out who was who. Two do stand out, though. Vera Barclay was known to me as Aunt Bay. 'Bay' stood for Baby. That seems odd as several children were younger than her. But if you look at the birth dates, you can see that Florence Barclay was producing babies at the rate of one a year. Then there was a gap between Guy (born in 1886) and Vera (born in 1893), so when she was born, she would have been, indeed, the baby of the family. (There is a family story that after Guy was born, the family doctor gave strict instructions to the father, Rev. Charles Barclay, that there were to be no more babies for a while, for the sake of Florence's health.) I remember my great aunt Bay, and I enjoyed reading some of the books she wrote, especially "They Met a Wizard", which had a lot about strange natural history in it. Vera also wrote "The Mystery of Mortimer's Wood" under the name Margaret Beech, and this is dedicated to my mother, Celia Dibblee (née Packe) and her brother Anthony (see right). She also wrote a short story about the Cresta Run, which she knew well, as the family spent holidays at St. Moritz.

I also have fond memories of my great uncle Cyril. He was a vicar, but had a hobby of conjuring tricks, which made him a favourite relative for a small child. He showed me a wonderful trick of how to make a sixpenny disappear (a small silver coin in those days - see my website on Pre-decimal Sterling). It involved hiding it under a thruppent bit, a slightly bigger coin, which had been hollowed out, so the sixpence fitted inside it. After showing me the trick, he then gave me the special thruppeny bit as a present, which was so kind of him (see below). He also carefully taught me the correct way to play "Find the Lady" - a card trick where two cards are held in one hand and one in the other. One is a queen. The trickster lays down the cards quickly, face down, and the punter must guess which is the queen. There is another story that Uncle Cyril would travel by train to Newmarket, to go to the races. Sometimes he would meet card sharps on the train, who summed him up as a harmless vicar - a possible victim. But they would find, unaccountably, that at the end they were the losers rather than Cyril!

Cyril's coins Cyril's coins Cyril's coins Right way up,
showing sixpence disappearing
under thruppence
Cyril's coins Cyril's coins Cyril's coins Upside down,
showing how sixpence fits inside
hollowed out thrupppence

I was unaware that Cyril Barclay had been to Australia, or that his wedding seemed have caused some interest there. See accounts of Cyril's wedding.

Geoffrey Rogers' grandson tells me about the marriage of Magdalen Barclay and Geoff Rogers: "The 'pedigree of Lt Col TWL Hughes' (prep by Gwynedd achives) a cousin of my grandfather Geoffrey swarbreck Rogers records the date of their marriage as 30/3/1916 in India. He talked a lot about a hill station called Landsdowne which was a summer base for the Indian regiment he was part of (39th Garhwal Regt.) and they were married there. (St Mary's) Madge was a 'fishing fleet' bride and older than Geoff. I think she had an uncle who was a civil officer in India. I am a little confused about the date as the Garhwal regiments were in France from 1914 and I know he was seriously wounded in 1915. I vaguely remember him telling me how he was involved with raising additional regiments so I guess he returned to do this and got married too. The Garhwalis were initially a part of the Gurkas and were also recruited in Nepal. They remained in India and he fought in Afganistan amongst other places. Both children were born in India but they sold up and left in the 1920's and went to Finland looking for a cure for Meg's polio before settling in Norfolk."

FLorence Barclay gave a Huguenot Cross to her youngest daughter, Angel Whitcombe. Florence claimed that she was descended from Huguenots, and this had been passed down through the family, mother to daughter. I have my doubts! See here for photo of the cross, and a discussion of this.


Probate of Florence Barclay Probate of Rev. Charles Wright Barclay