An untold story at Mompesson House

THE 2019 exhibition at the National Trust’s beautiful 18th century Mompesson House in Salisbury Cathedral Close tells the untold story of a young woman who lived at the house in the mid-19th century.

Emma James, the visitor experience officer, says: “This year our exhibition is called ‘Standing by my darling’s side: A Victorian experience of life, love and loss.’ It tells the untold story of Jinny Townsend, resident of the house, who kept an almost daily diary from the age of 15 in 1859 until 1882, writing up to just a couple of months before her death.

“Jinny’s diaries provide a valuable description of the daily life of young ladies in Salisbury at that time, detailing everything from skating parties, sketching and afternoon walks around the Close, to Jinny’s romance with future husband Willie.”

The exhibition includes Jinny’s wedding dress and paintings and sketches of Jinny by her sister Barbara, a self-taught artist.

Robert Longmore, Jinny’s grandson, says: “I am so pleased that Mompesson House is to have an exhibition about my grandmother, Jane Hussey Hammick, née Townsend. One of three sisters, she was born in 1844 and lived all her life at Mompesson, including after her marriage in 1879 to Willie Hammick. Sadly, after having three children, she died only three years later in 1882.”

As well as the interior of the house, there is a hidden and tranquil garden with a tea-room offers light bites, teas, coffees and locally baked cakes, and a 1950s-inspired shop.

Pictured: Jinny Townsend, 1872, painted by her sister Barbara (Townsend) © National Trust/John Howes