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Mr. Joshua Ingham and Mrs. Mary Ingham
(nee Cunliffe-Lister)

In April 1839, at the age of nineteen, Anne acquired her first employment, becoming a governess to the Ingham family at Blake Hall, Mirfield. This was only about 2 miles from Roe Head School - the establishment she had attended a few years earlier. The Inghams were well known to Miss Wooler, and also had connections with the Nussey family, and it was probably through one of these avenues that Anne attained the post. As it transpired, the Ingham children were spoilt and wild, and persistently disobeyed, defied, teased and tormented her. She was not empowered to inflict any punishment, and consequently experienced great difficulty in controlling them, and had almost no success in instilling any education. On leaving for her Christmas holidays in December of that year, she was told her services would no longer be required.59n The Inghams had decided they needed to find some other mode of care and tuition for their offspring. The whole episode was so traumatic for Anne, she reproduced it in almost perfect detail in her later novel, Agnes Grey; where Blake Hall became 'Wellwood House' (though the name was almost certainly taken from Mirfield's Wellhouse Chapel: where the Moravian minister, James La Trobe, came from when he visited her at Roe Head School - detailed above), and the Inghams were authentically depicted under the guise of 'the Bloomfield family'.
Joshua Ingham is reputed to have been a tyrannical father - ruling his children by fear. He, himself, had a Puritan and patriarchal upbringing where 'women were thought of as wholly subordinate' (he probably wouldn't go down too well in today's 'women's lib' circles!). His wife, Mary Ingham (nee. Cunliffe), while giving no support to Anne in the controlling and disciplining of their horrendous children, was otherwise, very kind to her.
Joshua Ingham died on 16 May 1866 at the age of 64; his wife, Mary, reached the ripe old age of 88, dying on 17 September 1899.
Blake Hall
© Митрофанова Екатерина Борисовна, 2009 |