A Real Life Fairy Story - Betty Rudge
Betty Rudge was born to the weir keeper of Harts Weir, near Appleton. The remains of the house and mill are this side of the river by Rainbow Bridge. In 1763, a young man, William Flower, out fishing on the river, met her and fell head over heels in love with her – both were 18.
But – there were issues; William was a prosperous, educated student at Christ Church, Oxford University; Betty was a poor illiterate servant girl; William wasn’t just any ordinary student - he was Viscount Ashbrook and Baron of Castle Durrow in Ireland. But he was determined - that Betty was going to be his wife. Betty spent two years with an honourable local family learning what a Viscountess needed to know.
When William was 21, and Betty 20, they married on the 20 th March 1766 at Northmoor Church. They settled in Shellingford Manor, ten miles SW of Appleton and had six children. Sadly William died aged 36. Ten years later Betty married John Jones DD, a Fellow of St John’s College, and he settled as the Rector of Shipston-on-Stour where Viscountess Betty was now simply Mrs Jones.
When she died, age 61, she was buried with her first love William at Shellingford.