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Edith Mary ORCHARD (née IDIENS) (1887-1981)

Biographical Details

Edith Mary Orchard, née Idiens (1887-1981), was a member of the Idiens family who lived at Wickhamford Manor for around seven years at the turn of the 20th century and were friends of the Sladden family.

Edith was born at Evesham in 1887, the fourth of seven children of John Idiens and his wife, Alice (née South).  Edith spent her early years at their home in High Street, Evesham.  Around 1899, her parents took on the tenancy of Wickhamford Manor, where they were living at the time of the 1901 census (although Edith was staying with her aunt, Mary South, in Wolverhampton).  They quickly became involved with the local community. 

By 1911, the Idiens family had left Wickhamford and moved to Poole, and Edith was living with them.  On 2nd April 1913, following in the wake of her siblings, Daisy, Bert, Cyril and Stanley, Edith, together with her parents and sister, Doris, emigrated to Canada.  They set sail from Bristol with Canadian Northern Steamships Ltd on “Royal Edward”, bound for Halifax, New Brunswick.

Edith married Major Albert John Orchard (1881-1963), of the Indian Army at Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria, British Columbia, on 4th July 1914.  It is likely that Edith had first met Albert when she lived at Wickhamford Manor.  Whilst Albert himself never lived in the area, his widowed mother and two sisters, Pansy and Flora, lived in Badsey from about 1905-1910 and were friends of the Sladdens.

Major Orchard was stationed at Jubbulpore as a captain in the 8th Rajputs.  On their wedding day, the couple left on the 3 o'clock boat for Vancouver on their way to England, where they were to stay for three weeks and then proceed back to India.  However, with the outbreak of the Great War, it is unlikely that Edith ever went to India.  She was staying with her mother at Marlow, Buckinghamshire, in 1915, when her first child, John Stuart Orchard, was born, and she remained in England for much of the war.  Mela Brown Constable refers to the birth in a letter of 20th April 1915.  In 1917, when Mela’s mother rented a house in Marlow for a time, Mela had the opportunity to see more of the Orchards.  By this time Edith had rented a cottage in Marlow close to her mother’s place.  A letter of 24th July 1917 indicated that Edith was going to leave the Marlow area and go to her mother’s people in Wolverhampton.  She then decided to return to Canada, arriving in Halifax on 14th November 1917.

Later, Edith was able to join her husband in India where a daughter, Alice Mary, was born in India in 1919.  Edith and her two children returned to Canada in February 1920 and Albert arrived back in August 1920.  At the time of the 1921 census they lived at 2625 Roseberry Avenue, Victoria, British Columbia, just a few houses away from Edith’s sister, Daisy Bradford.  A son, Derek Hamilton, was born a year or two later. 

In 1949 they lived at Blogg Road, Nanaimo.  By 1953 they lived at 3329 Linwood Avenue, Esquimalt-Saanich. Albert Orchard died at Saanich in 1963.  Edith Orchard lived to be 95 and died in December 1981.

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