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News > St Swithun's History > Who was Miss Le Roy?

Who was Miss Le Roy?

Find out why our junior house is named 'Le Roy'
Miss Bramston and Miss Le Roy
Miss Bramston and Miss Le Roy
An Old Girl recently asked us what was the history behind the Junior Boarding House being named Le Roy. So we scuttled to the archives to find out more about the character behind the name.

The house was named after Miss Amelie Claire Le Roy, who was in adulthood the lifelong friend and companion of Miss Anna Bramston, the principal founder and driving force behind what was to become St Swithun's School.

Born of French parents in Paris in 1851, Miss Le Roy was brought to England at the age of 5 and remained for the rest of her life. According to The Church Times* much of her childhood was spent in the episcopal palace of the Isle of Man in the company of the children of Bishop Powys.

Miss Le Roy appears to have been multi-talented. She was an artist in watercolours, exhibited in art galleries in both London and Paris, and was also a prolific author,  writing 'two or three historical volumes dealing with Winchester' under her own name, whilst more well-known in literary circles as Esmé Stuart, under which name she published '60 novels and stories'. 

St Swithun’s School Winchester 1884-1934, a collection of memories celebrating the school's 50th anniversary goes on to record that Miss Le Roy "began her literary caeer on the Monthly Packet, the editor of which was Miss Charlotte Yonge. Miss Younge’s friendship and advice proved of the greatest service to the young authoress." With Anna Bramston, Aimée Le Roy became part of a circle whose main object was to improve their minds, and  Charlotte Younge formed a went on to be closely involved with the school whilst

 "with the late Miss Anna Bramston, her friend and colleague in good works for fifty years, [Miss Le Roy] helped to found the Winchester High School for Girls, now known as St Swithun’s School, and one of the foremost schools in the country. Miss Le Roy was one of the original members of the Council of the school, and continued a member until her death”

Sadly Anna Bramston died before the school moved to its current premises in Alresford Road, and on her death in 1931 it was Miss Le Roy who donated to the new school a bust of Anna Bramston, which stands in the Bramston Library to this day. Aimée Le Roy was able to see their mutual hopes and dreams come to fruition. In her commentary on Miss Le Roy's contribution to the school, the author notes:

"It is probably true to say that most members of the school find it impossible to think of her without Miss Bramston. Knit together as they were by common interests, and life-long affection, life in its real meaning ended for Miss Le Roy with Miss Bramston’s death. …It will always be a pleasure to remember that Miss Le Roy was able to be in School when Bishop Woods of Winchester blessed the buildings…she remained interested in the school and its doings to the last."

* The Church Times March 23rd 1934 (an obituary on her death in Winchester aged 82)
** St Swithun’s School Winchester 1884-1934 a collection of memories with Preface by Miss Finlay published in 1934

 

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