Edward Reginald Pringle (1847 - 1914)
Edward was the sixth child and fourth son of John Pringle and Georgiana Ramsbottom, known to family and friends as "Reginald".
Reginald proved to be a bit of an elusive character from the start. All of his siblings were born in either France or London, and (as those are the two places where his parents always lived) it seemed logical that he should have been born in one of those two places. Well, he wasn't. Thankfully, instead of following the family tradition of military service, he decided to become a Civil Engineer, which required a submission of documents as proof of age to the Civil Service. This he submitted, proving that he was born and baptized in Devon. It is a total mystery to me as to why his parents were down at Torquay, but Reginald entered the world very near the stomping ground of his ancestors at Port Eliot!
The next glimpse to be had of young Reginald is on the 1851 census. He was three years old and living at his family's home at 13 Kensington-gardens in Paddington, London. Since all of the Pringle children were educated at home by private tutors, no school records exist to offer more clues about his childhood. The family spent as much time in France as they did England, so Reginald does not even appear on another census until thirty years later, when he was a Civil Engineer lodging in Westminster. He was now thirty-one years old and boarding beside a young Stock Broker named Robert Hulbert. (Incidentally, Reginald would marry Robert's older sister a few years later.)
Sometimes newspaper announcements can be most helpful and informative regarding weddings, parties or funerals, but sometimes they can also be misleading – as is the case with the wedding of Reginald Pringle and Agnes Mitchell-Innes, the young widow of Captain William Mitchell-Innes of the 13th Hussars. Reginald and Agnes were married in Hertfordshire at Ayot St. Lawrence in September of 1885, and their wedding announcement read as follows:
("Hertford Mercury and Reformer" 19 Sep 1885, page 3):
Pringle—Innes.— 16th inst., at Ayot St. Lawrence, Welwyn, by the Rev. R.T. Crawley, assisted by the Rev. H. Athill, Rector of Ayot, E. Reginald Pringle, youngest son of the late Col. J.H. Pringle, Coldstream Guards, to Agnes Mitchell Innes, widow of the late Capt. W. Mitchell Innes, 13th Hussars, of Millbank House, Ayton, N.B.*
This is the first time that the Pringle family would appear associated with Ayot, but Reginald's older brother would wed Agnes' widowed older sister, Inez Crawley, here the following year. Inez's daughter would later marry Rudolph Lambert, the son and heir of the Earl of Cavan, whose home was at Ayot St. Lawrence. Obviously, there was a long-standing relationship between the families, as this small town was already a regular gathering place for the family. Reginald's siblings and their families were scattered across the globe, but many of them traveled to Hertfordshire for the celebration. This fact would have been a complete mystery (given the short and uninformative nature of the newspaper coverage of the wedding) but for a really fabulous photo taken just after the wedding in front of Wheathampstead House, the home of the Earl of Cavan. Even Reginald's older sister, Eleanor Plaoutine and her family, came from their home in St. Petersburg, Russia! Although all of the people in the photo have not yet been identified, it is possible to see at least three of Reginald's siblings and a number of relatives of the bride.
With this marriage, Reginald was now the stepfather of the four surviving children of William and Agnes Mitchell-Innes (three daughters and one son ranging from the ages of eleven to eighteen). The son would eventually inherit the Mitchell-Innes family home, Ayton Castle in Scotland, and it appears that the new Pringle family spent a good deal of time there. (In fact, Reginald and Agnes' son was born there in 1887.) Soon after their marriage, Reginald and Agnes made their own home at Aston Hall in Derbyshire, until finally settling at Oakfield, a "beautiful country residence" in Hawkhurst, Kent, where their daughter was born in 1894.
Reginald had the honor of giving away two of his stepdaughters at large and beautiful weddings: one in the corridor of Ayton Castle, the other at Aston Church. Mystery surrounds the wedding of his third stepdaughter, however, as neither Reginald nor Agnes was present. A newspaper announcement was published prior to the wedding announcing that there would "be no reception afterwards . . . on account of private family affairs". So far, no clue has turned up as towhat those private family affairs were, but it must have been something serious for Agnes to miss the wedding of her daughter.
Reginald was an active member of his community in Hawkhurst for twenty years before his rather early death at the age of sixty-six. In 1914, just before the outbreak of the Great War, he was laid to rest in the local churchyard, and his funeral was quite a large one — including a great number of floral tributes!
His son lived to marry but did not have any children, so the name of Pringle ended in this line. His daughter, Alex, did marry and have children, and there are still descendants from her line living in England today, which makes them some of a very small number of living descendants of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham.
*"Hertford Mercury and Reformer" 19 Sep 1885, page 3
Account of Reginald Pringle's Funeral at St. Laurence, Hawkhurst
("Kent and Sussex Courier" 30 Jan 1914, page 10):
Obituary.— We regret to record the demise of Mr. Edward Reginald Pringle, which took place on Friday last at his residence, "Oakfield." Mr. Pringle had resided in Hawkhurst for about 20 years, and was always a generous contributor to the schemes brought forward for the benefit of the parish. The interment took place at St. Lawrence's Churchyard on Tuesday, amid many signs of respect. The Rev. F.W. Wallraad Evans and the Rev. G.S. Long officiated. The hymns were, "Peace, perfect peace," "On the Resurrection Morning," "now the labourer's task is o'er," and "Jesu, lover of my soul." The mourners were Mrs. Pringle (widow), Mr. V. Pringle (son), and Miss Alex Pringle (daughter), followed by other relatives. Amongst others present were Major Fothergill, J.P., Mr. Alfred Hardcastle, J.P., and Mrs. Hardcastle, the Misses Hardcastle, Mr. L.F. Loyd, J.P., Mr. Henry G. Lily, Mr. F. Ross Thomson, Mrs. Beauchamp Tower, Miss Maynard, Mr. C. Crabhara (Cranbrook), Mr. J.E.B. Wilson (Sandhurst), Mrs. H.M. Braybrooke, Dr. C. Clement Stead, Dr. E. Young, Mr. Eric Clarke, Mr. F. Heath, etc. The beautiful floral tributes were from the following:— Wife and Children; Minnie; Nora and Monte; George and Ernest; Henry and Ethel; Harold and Kate; Malcolm; Countess of Carcan; Lizzie Bootle Wilbraham; Maj. and Mrs. Henry Fothergill; Mrs. T.S. Grigson and Miss Grigson; Dr. and Mrs. C. Clement Stend; Captain and Mrs. William Sarel; Mrs. Edward Hardcastle and the Misses Hardcastle; Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Hardcastle and Mis Margaret Loyd; Mrs. L. de Teissier Prevost and Miss Prevost; Mr. and Mrs. Llewellyn Loyd; Mr. and Mrs. H.M. Braybrooke; Mr. and Mrs. Cleland; Mr. and Mrs. Close; Rev. and Mrs. Wallrand Evans; Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Gunther; Mr. and Mrs. Edward Tomlin and the Misses Tomlin; Mr. and Mrs. Courthope (Whiligh): Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Gubbins; Mr. and Mrs. H.G. Liley, D. Liley, and Miss Littleton; Mrs. Russell Riccard and Miss Riccard; Miss Loyd; E.R. Cole; Mrs. Springett and the Misses Springett; Mrs. R. Worsley; Mrs. Paget and Major and Mrs. G. Jasper Farmar; Major and Mrs. Pitt; Major and Mrs. T.M.S. Pitt; the Misses Pitt; Messrs. A. Oliver and Son; Indoor and Outdoor Servants; Tradesmen of Highgate.