Lady St.Helier

A brief background of Lady St Helier

By Zoe Roberts

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Lady St.Helier' page

Helping others 

Lady St.Helier was well known as a society leader in London and also as a frequent contributor to magazines and an organiser of charitable projects.  In a letter to a newspaper editor regarding the charitable work that Lady St. Helier was involved in, one reader suggested that all London children should follow the wise example of their Scottish cousins and discard shoes and socks altogether. "They will come to school with sound and healthy soles."

* Extracts taken from The Times online 1910*

She hosted many dinner parties and they became legendary. As the hostess, she enjoyed bringing people together, encouraging people to talk freely. Lady St Helier's guests included: Thomas Hardy, Russell Lowell, Matthew Arnold, Robert Browning, Oscar Wilde, Joseph Chamberlain, Mary Ward, Mona Caird, Pearl Craigie and Jennie Churchill.

Along with her sister Julia, Marchioness of Tweeddale, she had a great need to help others. They both worked together and were involved in the following causes:pure food and health, National Blind Relief Society, Charing Cross Hospital, the unemployed, The Robin dinners, the Suffrage movement, London Animal Hospital and women's work in the Victorian era.

She helped organise thousands of hot meals for needy Londoners in the winter months, a holiday fund for poor children and a rescue home. She became a London County Council alderman in 1910 with an interest in the garden city movement. London County Council developed the St. Helier Estate between 1928 and 1936. Its purpose was to rehouse people from overcrowded and decaying areas. Sadly, Lady St. Helier passed away before the Estate was completed.

Lady St. Helier had a heart of gold. She took very little part in public debate. She had a store of sound sense and true wisdom and a need to do good. Her nature, like a fine violin, vibrated to every call upon it, and she truly suffered with those who poured their woes into her sympathetic ears. A lover of art and music, she greeted no less heartily those less fortunate or less gifted.

*Extracts taken from the New York Times and Times online 1910*

Lady St Helier's Scottish roots

She was the daughter of Keith William Stewart-Mackenzie (Officer in the 90th Regiment and Colonel Commander of the Rosshire Volunteers) and Hannah Charlotte Hope-Vere of the Seaforth family of Lewis and Brahan Castle. They had three children:

(I) Susan Mary Elizabeth Stewart-Mackenzie, died 25th January 1931.
She married on 15th August 1871, her married name being Stanley. On her second marriage on 17th August 1881, her married name became Jeune. As a result of her marriages, Susan Mary Elizabeth Stewart-Mackenzie was styled as Baroness St. Helier on 23rd February 1905. She was invested as a Commander, Order of the British Empire (C.B.E.) in 1920 and as a Dame Commander, Order of the British Empire (D.B.E.) in 1925.

(II) Julia Charlotte Sophia Stewart-Mackenzie, born 21st Jun 1846, died 17th May 1937. She became Lady Julia Tweeddale after marrying Arthur Hay, 9th Marquess of Tweeddale. He was born 9th November 1824  and was the son of George Hay, 8th Marquess of Tweeddale and Lady Susan Montagu. He died on 29th December 1878 at the age 54.

(III) James Alexander Francis Humberston Stewart-Mackenzie, 1st and last Baron Seaforth

Lady St Helier's Family

First husband

Her first husband was Colonel Hon. John Constantine Stanley, son of Edward John Stanley, 2nd Baron Stanley of Alderley and Hon. Henrietta Maria Dillon-Lee. They had two children:

(I) Madeline Cecilia Carlyle Stanley born on 2nd July 1876.
(II) Osma Mary Dorothy Stanley born in 1877

Second husband

On 15th August 1881 she married,  Francis Henry Jeune ,Q.C., President of the Probate Divorce and Admiralty Division of the High Court of Justice.  He was the
son of Rt. Rev. Francis Jeune and Margaret Dyne Symons. Francis Henry Jeune, was the 1st and last Baron St. Helier.

They had one child, Lieutenant Christian Francis Seaforth Jeune, born 10th August 1882,who sadly passed away on 19th August 1904 aged 22. He was unmarried and gained the rank of Lieutenant in the service of the Grenadier Guards.

The Times online 1910; New York Times

This page was added by Zoe Roberts on 19/06/2010.
Comments about this page

This states the children of her first marriage were born 1876 and 1877, but that she married her second husband in 1871. Maybe that should read 1881 as her next child was born in 1882.

By Nicola Buitrago
On 19/09/2010

Thank you Nicola for pointing out that the year should have been 1881 and not 1871. This has now been amended.

By Beverley Walker
On 19/09/2010

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