Clement-Jones family - Person Sheet
Clement-Jones family - Person Sheet
NameNorah ROYDS , 13392
Birth1859
Death1923
FatherRev Francis Coulman ROYDS , 7110 (1825-1913)
MotherCornelia Frances BLOMFIELD , 7111 (1830-1919)
Spouses
Birth1846
Death1927
Marriage1881, Chester
ChildrenPhyllis , 13394 (1882-)
 Norah Le Grand , 13395
 Vivian Massie , 13396
 Philip Le Grand , 13397
 Leslie Grace , 13398
 Julian Royds , 13399
Notes for Norah ROYDS
English, artistically inclined and beautiful, Norah Gribble died in 1923 — but she lives on in this portrait by John Singer Sargent at the Taubman Museum of Art.


Norah Gribble apparently was painted in England around 1888, when she was in her mid-20s. She was a poet and artist herself, with many literary friends; her son Philip later recalled her “intensity … She was a marvelously beautiful woman, blessed with divinely golden red hair and immense, almost violet, blue eyes varying in depth with her moods.”

Norah (6), born 5 April 1859, married on 27 July 1881 George James Gribble, of Hans Place, London. She had six children:

i. Phyllis
ii. Norah le Grand
iii. Lesley
iv. Barbara
v. Philip le Grand 1891-
vi. Julian Royds, VC 1897-19

Phyllis (i) married Wolverly Fordham and died childless, and Norah le Grand died unmarried.

Julian (vi), born in 1897, was educated at Eton "where he was a good all-rounder with endless friends, left there in 1916 and joined the 10th battalion Warwickshire Regiment. In March 1918 he showed exceptional gallantry in covering the withdrawal of his own brigade, and also the garrison of Harnes and three batteries of Field Artillery from the Beaumetz to Harmies Ridge. He was left for dead, apparently shot through the head, and was awarded what was thought to be a posthumous Victoria Cross."

The citation to the VC in the London Gazette of 28 June 1918 runs:

Lieutenant (T/Captain) Julian Royds Gribble, Royal Warks. Regt.

For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. Captain Gribble was in command of the right company of the battalion when the enemy attacked and his orders were to hold on to the last. His company was eventually entirely isolated, although he could easily have withdrawn them at one period when the rest of the battalion on his left were driven back to a secondary position.

His right flank was in the air, owing to the withdrawal of all troops of a neighbouring division. By means of a runner to a company on his left he intimated his determination to hold on until other orders were received from Battalion HQ and this he inspired his company to accomplish. His company was eventually surrounded by the enemy at close range, and he was seen fighting to the last. His subsequent fate is unknown.

By his splendid example of grit Captain Gribble was materially instrumental in preventing for some hours the enemy obtaining a complete mastery of the ridge, and by his magnificent self-sacrifice he enabled the remainder of his own brigade to be withdrawn as well as another garrison and three batteries of Field Artillery.

"Subsequently", Philip continues, "it was discovered that his wound was a scalp wound which had only stunned him, and afterwards he was a prisoner of war in Mainz, and, to my mother’s everlasting grief, he died there on Armistice Day, a victim of Spanish Influenza then sweeping Europe. Many millions died, and their deaths far exceeded the total casualties of the whole war. My mother was broken hearted. She went into a spiritual decline and never recovered a balanced view of life. The early death of my sister Lesley after a few years of marriage had much affected my mother. She believed that Lesley’s death was due to carelessness and she brooded over this loss. Julian’s death, again, as she thought, due to neglect, seemed to break down her final defences. She was the victim of regret and mourning throughout the remainder of her not very long life.

"I took my mother to Germany to view my brother’s grave early in 1919. We stayed in Cologne and then in Mainz. It was bitter weather. The ground was covered in snow when we arrived at the cemetery, and my poor mother kneeled at the grave and wept. She scraped away the snow with her bare hands and kissed the ground, gathering earth and leaves in her fingers as if these were part of her son. I stood beside her. I was inexperienced in the depths of emotional abandon and of utter soul-destroying misery; that was what I looked down on, and, I am ashamed to say, thought it an uncontrolled reaction. Visited by the same sense of loss no so many years later, I came to understand and respect my mother’s uninhibited demonstration of grief."

Before her own death in 1923 Norah produced The Book of Julian, a biography of her VC son, including all the letters he wrote to her, from his prep school days up to the time when he was a prisoner of war.

Philip Gribble (v), born 6 May 1891, tells us quite a lot about his home and his mother in the early part of his Off the Cuff:

"I was born at 17 Hans Place, in a house built by my father. My environment was that of the more prosperous Victorian families. Just before my birth my father bought Henlow Grange, six miles from Hitchin. It was derelict and he and my mother restored the place, a rather lovely early Georgian or Queen Anne house in a park of 120 acres, with surrounding farms of another 1,400 acres. What made it particularly glorious for a boy was the seven miles of fishing in three rivers, the Ivel, the Hit and the mile and a half of artificial water known as the Broadwater, which included a massive waterfall below which, in rough water, rainbow trout could be pulled out be the dozens on a wet fly. The shooting too was good, and in many Septembers my father and I, as I grew older, bagged fifteen to twenty brace of partridges, walking round with two or three beaters and a keeper, and, later in the autumn, some well-placed woods and spinneys held all the wild and hand-reared pheasants necessary to give five or six guns a good day’s sport.

When work at Henlow was completed there was a formal arrival. My parents often told me how they were met at the station Arlesey station, about a mile and a half from the house, by a crowd of Henlow people and how the horses were untraced and the carriage. a huge sociable, was drawn by men with ropes all the way home, as a mark of appreciation of the employment my father had given to over sixty men all the previous winter, cleaning out the Broadwater.

The Grange was a roomy sort of house with about 24 bedrooms, and I and my four sisters, all older than myself, occupied the top floor. Then there was the usual big household, three in the nursery, a lady’s maid, three housemaids, four manservants, three in the kitchen in addition to the housekeeper, three laundrymaids, three in the stables, an estate carpenter, two keepers and nine gardeners and also, much of the time, a French or German governess and a tutor.

Father always owned or chartered a lovely yacht, and every summer he insisted on taking his whole family sailing round the French coast, all, that is, except my mother, who very seldom faced the sea as she was an incurably bad sailor.

My mother in her lighter moments was capable of charming flashes of frivolity, but her normal reaction to life was one of intensity. She was a marvellously beautiful woman, blessed with divinely golden-red hair, and immense, almost violet eyes, varying in depth with her moods; her full, sensitive mouth, firm chin and small but magnificently carved head were a delight. She was proud of her legs, and often pulled her skirts to her knees to allow us children to admire their symmetry.

She had very advanced views, was self-centred, artistic, intellectual and convinced that her family were beyond reproach, an outlook that made her intolerant of even minor faults, and encouraged her to exaggerate their importance to a point at which she found an excuse for melodrama. Much as we all loved her, my mother’s presence was usually accompanied by a sense of strain, and it was only when she left the house that the family could relax.

She took an active part in local government, mainly from a sense of duty I think, but it was religion and its trappings that dominated her life. There were weeks when, day after day, she would lock herself in her studio and sit rapt in meditation while pondering over the manuscript of one of the several books she wrote on religious subjects, among them The Way Out, published by a close friend, John Murray; or at other times she might be writing poetry or be lost in painting some canvases. Her poetry was moving and was an outlet from frustration and a form of release.

My mother was a rather frightening and utterly lasting influence on the characters of all her six children. Not only was she a thinker and a writer, but also a creative artist, and in her early or orthodox phase she was a competent portrait painter; she had studied at the Slade as a girl and taken her work very seriously. In later life she despised representational art and emotive fragments, and concentrated on her search for new means of expression and the use of new media. Several rooms at Henlow were covered with her murals, executed in tempera.

One and all we had to learn silence because Mother’s moments of inspiration must never be spoiled by slamming doors, noisy footsteps or the yelling and shouting of the average large family. The rage and genuine agony that were the reaction to any such interruptions had to be seen to be believed. Our behaviour had been an outrage, the extent of which we soon grasped and the importance of which we never forgot; so now I am a good guest and have often been told by my hosts that they would hardly know that I was in the house.

My mother was always boasting about "our family", by which she meant HER family, the royal family of Royds, who claimed descent from Edward III, and not to be confused with the Royds of Brereton."

In fact, of course, Norah’s father Frank was a son of the Brereton family, but the royal descents came through the Massies. His father, Philip goes on to say,

"was not an appropriate husband for my supremely intelligent, highly-strung mother, and, naturally, there were many and constant disagreements and the home atmosphere was more often than not electric. There is not the least doubt that, had the marriage been contracted sixty years later, it would have ended in the divorce courts, but it lived on to a ripeness and mutual understanding in the final years."
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