Lady Blanche Elizabeth Mary Annunciata Noel was born 25 March 1845 at Exton Hall in England, daughter of Charles George Noel, 2nd Earl of Gainsborough and Lady Ida Harriet Augusta Hay, and godchild of Queen Victoria. She died 21 March 1881. She married 6 March 1870 to Thomas P. Murphy. Although one source says he was “an Irishman,” Thomas Murphy was probably born about 1847 in England and died 11 Oct 1890 (the census states his parents were also born in England).
As the story goes… Lady Blanche fell in love with a “commoner,” Thomas Murphy, the organist for the church on her father’s estate. One story states her father did not approve, but allowed the marriage to take place in their house. A second source states she eloped with him.
At any rate, they did marry, and moved to the United States, settling in a “cottage” in Bartlett, New Hampshire. This cottage is located on the east side of West Road, about three miles north of its intersection with Route 203 (in Conway NH), and one half mile north of the Conway-Bartlett town line.
He taught music at the Kearsarge School for Boys, nearby in North Conway. (Another source states he was an organist in a local church. Perhaps he did both). Lady Blanche was a writer who contributed short stories, many of them travel logs, to various publications including “Harper’s,” “The Atlantic Monthly,” “The Galaxy,” and “Catholic World.” Reportedly she also furnished sketches of her travels to “Lippincott’s Magazine.” They did not appear to have any children.
Apparently either this love story between a grand lady and a commoner, or Lady Blanche’s unique writing ability (or both) was sufficient for the location of their “cottage” in Bartlett New Hampshire to gain a New Hampshire “historic” marker (number 109).
–Lady Blanche Murphy (from the Bartlett Historical Society web site) – basically they copied my story without my permission
–Lady Blanche Murphy Stories – Cornell University Library
–Dick Goff and the Lady Blanche House (current owner presentation)
-GoogleBooks: The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography–Blanche Elizabeth Mary Annunciata Noel Murphy–
1880 UNITED STATES CENSUS
1880 United States Federal Census > New Hampshire > Carroll > Conway > District 16
Murphy, Thomas P. W M 33 Music Teacher England England England [b abt 1847]
Murphy, Blanche W F 32 wife Keeping House England England England