H as in HENDER
Mary Hender was born in Warbstow, Cornwall in 1805 to Joseph Hender, a cordwainer (shoemaker) and Philadelphia Lander.
The HENDER surname is a regional surname found mostly in Cornwall and some parts of Devon.
This is the only photograph we have of Mary HENDER. She was the lover and then wife of Hugh Macdonald IV of Boisdale. He moved to Plymouth in the late 1820s and met her there. I know that her father was working in Plymouth at the time and that her mother was deceased by then. She would have only been between 15-20 years old when she met him but he was at least 42 years old! Together they had 11 children of whom only 3 survived to age 30 and only 4 left issue. During the time of this portrait they still had money and lived in a nice home with servants. 10 years later they were living with their son in a poorer part of town.
Mary’s father was jailed for stealing a fowl when she was about 10. He served 4 months hard labour. Mary herself was well known in the courts in Liverpool where she lived from about 1844 till her death in 1881. There are several newspaper articles written about her escapades.
I wonder how a gentleman who’s family had a title and money ended up with a young girl who was illiterate and who’s family had an unsavoury history. She signed her marriage record with an X.
I always think their relationship and his life story would make a great novel or movie!
The HENDER name itself is very old.
The HENDER family first arrived in Cornwall from Wales when David de Hendower, son of Madog de Hendours of Wales married Isabella de Cornwall in 1343. The “Cornwall” family were connected to royalty and so were the Hendours. Their daughter married the founder of the Tudor line, Grono ab Tudor.
Another Hender, John Hender Esquire became the notable John Hender of Boscastle whose four daughters split the Hender inheritance between them and their four husbands Molsworth, Heale, Cotton, and Roberts or Robarts. It is through Frances Hender’s marriage to Richard Robarts that the Hender family once again becomes ancestors of Royalty, this time via Lady Diana Frances Spencer and her sons Prince William and Prince Harry.*
(* source http://www.hunterscastle.com/cornwall.htm)
Unfortunately for “our” HENDER family the name was the only thing noble as they had no wealth and it seemed were quite the characters too!