Partner Mary Louisa Gordon
St Collen’s church, Regent St, Llangollen LL20 8HL
Ada Violet "Vi" Labouchere (1880-1940) was an English sculptor. Dr Mary Louisa Gordon, the British prison reformer publicized the story of the ‘Ladies of Llangollen’ (Eleanor Charlotte Butler and Sarah Ponsonby), the two young women who ran away together in 1778 and set up home for half a century in a Welsh valley. The twosome was actually a threesome: the ladies are buried together in the graveyard of St Collen’s Church in Llangollen together with their servant, Mary Carryl. The sculpted marble relief of the two ladies that sits there is reputedly modelled on Gordon herself and the sculptor, Ada Violet Labouchere, who was Gordon’s own lover.
Dr. Mary Gordon was a feminist and one of the first women doctors in England, she had a distinguished career working as medical officer at Holloway, and had written a treatise on prison discipline.In the early 1930s, aged 73 years, Mary returned to Plas Newydd, Llangollen, fifty-six years after a childhood visit. It had taken a dream, while staying at Carl Jung's house in Switzerland, to bring her back to visit Plas Newydd. In the book she wrote about her experiences, Mary describes an immediate overpowering feeling of the presence of Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby as soon as she entered the cottage. Her book The Chase of the Wild Goose was published by Leonard and Virginia Woolf at Hogarth Press in 1936 receiving a better review in the Times Literary Supplement than a contemporary book, The Well of Loneliness. Her walks in the footsteps of the Ladies across the Llangollen hillside, conversing with their spirits, left her with a determination to celebrate their lives and in 1937 Dr. Mary Gordon donated the relief sculpture to the local church St Collen, dedicated to the memory of the Ladies of Llangollen.
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