Notes for Eleanor Maud HILLIER
Known as Maudie. At the time of her father's death, Maudie was living with her parents in Bangkok. She had charmed the King of Siam, King Mongkut, an enlightened if despotic ruler, had sat on his knee and been presented with the gold knot from his sword, an heirloom which is still in the family.
For her father's funeral, the sailors on the American ship on which he died made her a dress and cap from their black scarves.
When Maudie returned to England in 1857, she was almost four.
The family first lived with Maudie's uncle, Revd Edward Hillier, Vicar of Cardington, Bedford. It was during that time she met her future husband, George Cawley Swindells, although it is unclear how he came to be in Bedford. It was love at first sight and the family memoir records that they became engaged when he was sixteen and she was 12! Whether or not that is true, they were married on 5th June 1873 at Cardington Church, she at the age of 20.
Like two of her brothers, Maudie was afflicted with glaucoma and was blind for the last years of her life.
Family notes for Eleanor Maud HILLIER and George Cawley SWINDELLS
George and Maudie both converted to Catholicism causing a considerable rift in the family which on Charles's side (Maudie's father) was strong Church of England and on Eliza's side (her mother), evangelical, dissenting.