Elizabeth Hobill Gains

Joseph and Elizabeth’s eldest daughter, also Elizabeth Hobill, married William Woodley Mason (1831-1896), a surveyor and valuer, on 5th June, 1860 at All Saints with Holy Trinity Church, Loughborough[1]. William Woodley ran a business initially with George Eugene Mason[2], under the name of G.W.W. Mason and Sons, Brewing Agents, Auctioneers, and Appraisers, at No. 61, King William Street, London.

Following their marriage, they moved to No. 5, Limes Villa in Lewisham, where they lived with William’s sister, Ann Matilda Mason[3]. By 1881[4] they were living in Everleigh, Kingswood Road, Dulwich. By 1897, they also had a flat at Queen Anne’s Mansions, St. James’ Park, London[5].

The couple had at least four children, Harry Woodley (1860-1883), Francis Woodley (1871-1939), Alfred Edward Woodley (1865-1948) and Mabel Elizabeth Hobill (1870-1939).

William Woodley Mason died suddenly on 2nd, September 1897, at the Hotel Schweizerhof, Lucerne, Switzerland. His funeral was held on 9th September at Norwood Cemetery, London. He left a personal estate valued at £79,471 15s. 6d. and his will was proven on 30th September, by his executors, Elizabeth, his widow, Francis, his son and John Nance, bank manager, of Newcastle-under-Lyme. In his will[6], he left £200 to John Nance, bank manager. £200, along with his consumables stores, to his wife. His billiard table to one of his sons. His grand piano to his daughter. The remainder of his furniture and household effects to his wife, together with the use of the home in Dulwich Road during her lifetime. An annuity of £200 to his son Alfred Edward and the same to his daughter Mabel Elizabeth. £30 a year to each of his sisters, Rachel, Ada and Emma. The remainder of the estate was to be put into trust and the income forthcoming to be used to help his wife during her lifetime: following which one fifth was to go his son, Francis Woodley; two fifths to his son, Alfred Edward; the remaining two fifths to his daughter Mabel Elizabeth. The trustees had numerous restrictions placed upon them regarding how they could invest the remainder of the estate. They were not allowed to invest in real estate in Ireland; in England they were limited to investing in real estate, Government Securities, Municipal Loans and Railway Securities; however, they were not permitted to invest in securities in brewery companies in England. Due to litigation action between William Mason and his partners, his son Francis and his nephew Reginald restrictions were placed on some of the clauses in their articles of partnership; he also revoked his gifts in the will instead leaving his son Francis the balance due to his father from the partnership account.

Elizabeth and William’s eldest son Harry Woodley Mason died “in the execution of his duty” in Calcutta on 2nd August 1883 as a result of an accident on-board ship[7].

Their youngest son, Francis Woodley Mason married Edith Fanny Gibson (1864-1934), the daughter of John Rowland Gibson[8], in 1899. Edith died at her home, No. 68, Campden Hill Court, London, on 8th December 1934 and was buried in Norwood Cemetery[9]. Francis died a year later on 15th December 1939 also at home, No. 68, Campden Hill Court, London[10].

Elizabeth and William’s only daughter Mabel Elizabeth Hobill Mason married Henry Bedford Pim (1863-1933), the son of Admiral Bedford Clapperton Trevelyan Pim[11] and Susanna Locock, at Camberwell, London in 1893. Henry Bedford Pim was ordained in 1886, the same year he graduated from Merton College, Oxford. He then became curate of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Oxford. Between 1899 and 1919, he was priest and lecturer for the Central Church Committee for Defence and Instruction. From 1919 until 1922, he was secretary to the Rochester Diocesan Board of Education[12]. In 1901[13], they were living at No. 7, Spencer Road, Bromley, Kent and still there in 1911, when the property was known as Leanside[14]. By 1923, they had relocated to No. 173, Oakwood Court, London. Six years later, they had moved again, this time to Forest House, Keston, Kent, where they were living when Henry died on 5th July 1933 at a nursing home[15]. It appears that following his death his widow, Mabel, moved to No. 27, Wynnstay Gardens, just off Kensington High Street, London, where she died on 3rd October 1939, aged 70. Her estate amounted to £12,414 gross and in her will[16] she left £1,000 to the Bromley and District Hospital, to be used to endow a bed in memory of her son; £50 to the Evelina Hospital for Sick Children, Southwark Bridge Road, London; £50 to Queen’s Hospital for Children, Hackney Road, London. They had at least two children, Edward Woodley Bedford (1894-1818) and Sylvia Mabel (1895-1963). Edward Woodley was severely wounded several times during the First World War. On the last occasion, he lost his left arm and having been discharged from hospital-developed pneumonia and died a week later on 5th July 1918[17]. His sister, Sylvia, remained unmarried and died on 18th June 1963, at the old family home, No. 27, Wynnstay Gardens. Her estate was valued at £204,941 gross and in her will, left £5,000 each to the British Red Cross, Society, Church of England Children’s Society, and the Poor Clergy Relief Corporation[18].

Elizabeth and William’s second eldest son Alfred Edward Woodley Mason became a well-known novelist. He attended Dulwich College and graduated from Trinity College, Oxford, in 1888, where he was President of the Union, obtaining an honours degree in Literae Humaniores (Classics). In 1906, he stood for Parliament as a Liberal, winning the seat for Coventry, but did not seek re-election in 1910. He was in the British Army in World War One, initially serving with Manchester Regiment, then the Royal Marine Light Infantry where he rose to the rank of Major. He finished the war as a naval intelligence officer setting-up counter-espionage networks in Spain and Mexico. He wrote around 30 novels[19], including five in the Inspector Hanaud series and four collections of short stories. In addition, he wrote three non-fiction books, including one on the life of Francis Drake. He was working on a book on Admiral Robert Blake, when he died aged 83, in his sleep at his home, No. 51 South Street, Mayfair, London, on 22nd November 1948 and had been ill for the previous year[20]. He apparently refused a knighthood since ‘such honours mean nothing to a childless man[21]. His funeral took place at Golders Green Crematorium, on 26th November and the mourners included Miss Sylvia Mabel Pim (Niece), Lady Juliet Duff[22], Lady Aberconway, Major-General John Hay Beith[23] and Mr. John Attenborough (representing the chairman and directors of Hodder and Stoughton)[24]. He left an estate was valued at £70,646 9s. 7d.


  1. The Nottinghamshire Guardian, 7th June 1860.
  2. The London Gazette, 14th May 1858.
  3. 1861 Census.
  4. 1881 Census.
  5. The Times, 6th September 1897.
  6. The Morning Post, 8th October 1897.
  7. The Times, 11th September 1883.
  8. (1815-1896), F.R.C.S.; Superintendent Surgeon of prisons.
  9. The Times, 10th December 1934.
  10. The Times, 20th December 1939.
  11. (1826-1886). He was a Royal Navy officer, arctic explorer, barrister, and author. He was also a major landowner in Central America and the Caribbean.
  12. The Times, 8th July 1933.
  13. 1901 Census.
  14. 1911 Census.
  15. The Times, 8th July 1933.
  16. The Times, 2nd December 1939.
  17. The Times, 8th July 1918.
  18. The Times, 21st September 1963.
  19. List of Alfred Edward Woodley Mason’s publications:
    1895: A Romance of Wastdale
    1896: The Courtship of Morrice Buckler
    1897: The Philanderers
    1897: Lawrence Clavering
    1899: Parson Kelly (with Mr. Andrew Lang)
    1899: Miranda of the Balcony
    1899: The Watchers
    1901: Ensign Knightley
    1901: Clementina
    1902: The Four Feathers
    1904: The Truants
    1907: Running Water
    1907: The Broken Road
    1909: Col Smith (Comedy)
    1910: At the Villa Rose
    1911: The Witness for the Defence (Play)
    1912: The Turnstile
    1913: Open Windows (Play)
    1917: The Four Corners of the World (Stories)
    1920: The Summons
    1921: At The Villa Rose (Play)
    1922: Running Water (Play)
    1923: The Winding Stair
    1924: The House of the Arrow
    1927: No Other Tiger
    1929: The Prisoner in the Opal
    1930: The Dean’s Elbow
    1932: The Three Gentlemen
    1933: The Sapphire
    1933: A Present from Margate (with Ian Hay—Play)
    1934: Dilemmas
    1935: The Wouldn’t be Chessmen
    1936: Fire Over England
    1937: The Drum (film)
    1938: Königsmark
    1941: The Life of Francis Drake
    1942: Musk and Amber
    1946: The House in Lordship Lane
  20. The Times, 23rd November 1948.
  21. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  22. The daughter of the fourth Earl of Lonsdale who married Sir Robert Duff, a well-known English socialite.
  23. He was a novelist and playwright, writing under the pen name of Ian Hay.
  24. The Times, 27th November 1948.