Eda le Messurier

Eda was an only child, and born in Guernsey. Her father was the postmaster of Guernsey. She grew up speaking  Guernsey patois and english, but went somewhere in France to learn “Parisian France”. She also went to England, Rotherham, in Kent to learn to be a teacher, where she was a teacher in the 1911 census at the Municipal school at Rotherham. Then she returned to Guernsey and then eventually became the headmistress of a girls high school.

That’s how she met her husband, WIlliam Stringer, as he was the headmaster of the boys high school nearby, possibly across a road.

After they married, they had two children, Marguerite, known as Margot, and Desirée, known as Peter. She talked to her children in Parisian french (not the patois, because she was Upper Class, and though the patois was lower class) and they replied in English. When Margot was eight, they moved to England, as William had a job as a school inspector in the north of England, in Darlington.

They also lived in Hawarden, near Chester, and eventually retired to Exeter, partly because Margot went to university there.

She was a very good needlewoman, and made beautiful things for her grandchildren.

Eda is remembered by her grand daughters as a difficult person, but it is hard to pin down what made her difficult.

She wrote to Tiny (who was seven at the time) telling her that it was her fault that her great grandfather had died because although she had replied to the letter he sent, it hadn’t got there in time, so he died of disappointment. Tiny opened the letter and read it, before her mother got to it. Once Margot saw it, there was a ceremonial burning of the letter on the floor of the washhouse. Margot was very angry, and the ceremony made Tiny feel a lot better about it.

When Tiny thought she would be a nurse, Eda was thrilled, because that meant that Tiny could marry a doctor. The letter Tiny sent back didn’t go down very well.

She used to send Jean lots of information about Guernsey and family history to keep her in touch with her roots.

She very much treated Jean as her favourite (as Jean was an olympic gymnast, and came to visit) and left all her money to Jean (not any other grandchildren) when she died). When Jean came to visit in the 1960s she was paraded around the neighbourhood as my grand-daughter the olympian.

She used to write me (Jennifer, her great granddaughter) letters when I was little and sent the Beatrix Potter books to me as presents.

Eda Stringer



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *