Welsh Journals

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Lady Barham in Gower DIANA, BARONESS BARHAM (1763-1823). TWELVE MONTHS before the battle of Waterloo, The Cambrian newspaper stated that the three places of fashionable resort in South Wales were Swansea, Tenby and Aberystwyth. The French wars had made the Grand Tours of Europe impossible, and the remoter parts of the Isle of Britain had drawn the attention of those in search of the picturesque." In the edition of June 24, 1814, can be seen Our fashionable season has commenced, and we have arrivals almost daily of visitors from various parts of the Kingdom. Amongst the most recent are Lady Barham, etc. etc. She had been to Swansea in the previous year (The Cambrian, August 28, 1813), and this time at the age of 51, she was to take up permanent residence at the mansion of Fairy Hill, near Burry Green. Diana, Baroness Barham, was the daughter of Admiral Sir Charles Middleton, afterwards Baron Barham, of Barham Court and Teston in Kent, First Lord of the Admiralty in Pitt's ministry, antecedent to and at the date of the battle of Trafalgar. Her parents were close friends of Wilberforce, Hannah More and others of the religious philanthropic societies of the day. The Countess of Huntingdon and George Whitefield were in their circle, and patterned the family's Calvinistic Methodism. Diana married, at the age of 17, in 1780, Gerard Noel Edwards, nephew and heir of the 6th Earl of Gains- borough, by whom she had 22 children. It is believed that Sir Gerard Noel Noel (name was changed from Edwards) behaved badly to his wife. She came to Gower in 1813, eight weeks after her father died. Sir Gerard remarried 22 days after the death of his wife. Let William Hammerton, her secretary, describe the circum- stances of her coming to Wales (" The Evangelical Magazine," February, 1835): The means by which she was led to Gower beautifully illustrate the providence of God. Lady Barham was on her way to Poundisford Park to spend some time with her daughter, the Honourable Mrs. Welman. On her arrival at Bristol, a letter awaited her saying that Mrs. Welman could not receive her for a fortnight. Her Ladyship, not knowing how to employ her time, asked for a map, and her attention was directed to Gower and Swansea. Thither she determined to go, accompanied by the Rev. Mr. Lake and Mr. Hammerton. Whilst there she became acquainted with the Rev. William Kemp, with whom she went into Gower, and being much concerned to see the darkness of the place, and the spiritual destruction of its people, was anxious to know what she could do to improve the condition. With these feelings, her Ladyship left Swansea for Poundisford Park, and from thence went to Brighton, where she continued to make it a subject of earnest prayer. Feelino convinced that she could do more