The Water Gypsy

Just over 250 years ago a real-life Cinderella story played out in the villages along our very own Golden Ridge when the daughter of a local fishing family married a viscount.

The Ridge family was all over this area like a rash; parish registers all along the river Thames from Buckland through Longworth and Northmoor to Appleton, Cumnor and beyond show hundreds of Ridges. But one branch of the family got lucky. Eighteen-year-old Betty Ridge (the clue’s in the name) was serving in her father’s riverside inn at Northmoor when in 1763 she met William Flower, 2nd Viscount Ashbrook, who was on a day out from his college at Christ Church. William fell madly in love with the beautiful Betty and, against his guardians’ wishes, he married Betty in 1766.

So far, so extraordinary. But what happened next was even more astonishing. Do come along to hear the full story courtesy of the Longworth and District History Society at Southmoor Village Hall on Thursday 18th January 2018 at 7.30pm, when local historian Julie Ann Godson brings the story home to the Golden Ridge in a talk entitled “The Water Gypsy: how a Thames fishergirl became a viscountess”. Julie Ann will be signing copies of her book of the same name at the discounted price of £10 (£11.49 on Amazon.co.uk). For further details, contact kathyfletcher540@gmail.com.


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