Jones family history

Emily Edith Constance Jones (1848-1922) (great aunt)

The eldest of Dr John's 10 children, born on 19 February 1848, Constance went to school at the Miss Robinsons', Alston Court, Cheltenham, the year after coming back from the Cape.   She already had “a good grasp of two foreign languages, a little knowledge and a great love of literature – English, French, and German – and some elementary appreciation of good music.” i   She was at Alston Court just over a year and then spent some years at home before moving to live with her eldest paternal aunt at Newton Lodge, Mary Jane Collins (1809-1884), who had no children of her own and who eventually financed Constance's studies at Girton College, Cambridge.

Constance went up to Girton in the October Term 1875 and after her first exams chose to read for the Moral Sciences Tripos (philosophy), which included Moral and Political Philosophy, Mental Philosophy (Psychology and Metaphysics), Logic and Political Economy (Economics).   Her lecturers were distinguished: Henry Sidgwick, James Ward and (for Logic) Mr J. N. Keynes.   She graduated with a First Class degree (one of the first two Girton students to do so).

She spent the next three years staying with her aunt in Herefordshire where, at the invitation of Messrs Ward and Sidgwick, she translated the second half of Hermann Lotze's Mikrokosmus and revised the translation of the first half by Elizabeth Hamilton of Edinburgh, who had died before she could complete it.   The two volumes were well received and already in their Fourth Edition by 1922.   Her youngest sister, Parnell (still living at Langstone according to the 1881 census) also moved to Newton Lodge.

After Jane Collins died in 1884, Constance was invited back to Girton, where she spent the next 32 years as Lecturer, Librarian (1890-93), Vice-Mistress (1896-1903) and, for the last 13 years, Mistress of the College, retiring in 1916.   Her other academic publications include Elements of Logic (T. & T. Clark, 1890) and A New Law of Thought as well as numerous articles and reviews for Mind (New Series), the International Journal of Ethics, Cambridge Review etc.   She also wrote Girton College (Adam & Charles Black, 1913) in the Beautiful Britain series.   She is included in a recent dictionary of Herefordshire biography. ii

With my interest in Bach I have to include this.   Constance records that at Cambridge “there was much good music – organ recitals and musical services in Trinity and King's, and excellent concerts.   During the time that I was at Cambridge there was a great deal of Bach and Schumann to be heard, for which every music lover was grateful.   Dr. Allen, now at New College, Oxford, was for some years organist at Christ's College, Cambridge, and used to arrange the most attractive performances of Bach music in his College Chapel”. iii   The violinist Joachim also visited regularly to perform with the University Musical Society to great acclaim.

As I Remember ends with a sad note by Parnell: “At this point my sister's narrative breaks off.   Only the first chapter was finally revised by her, and the fourth is printed from her rough draft.   She wrote the last words on April 8, was taken ill with congestion of the lungs on April 9, and died on April 17. - P. J.”

She was buried at Weston super Mare on 20 April 1922.   The inscription on her tombstone reads: “Her life was illuminated by her love of truth and of justice, by her sympathy and kindness and her zeal for knowledge.   In Thy light shall we see light.”

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     i     Jones, E.E.C., As I Remember, A. & C. Black Ltd, London, 1922, page 35   (return to text)
     ii    Weaver, P., A Dictionary of Herefordshire Biography, Logaston Press, 2015, page 230  (return to text)
     iii   Jones, 1922, page 80   (return to text)