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Window Display July 2019




This  month's window display forms part of a creative research project carried out by the volunteers of Lostwithiel Museum as part of The Bright Sparks Project funded by FEAST and Cornwall Museums Partnership.

Over the past six months we have been researching the life of one of Lostwithiel’s most important historical figures – Miss Frances Margery Hext who wrote the book Memorials of Lostwithel and Restormel published in 1891, a copy of which is on display in the museum.

The assemblage box shown reflects important information gleaned about her life and the framed illustrations by the local artist Sally Atkins, show the numerous houses that she lived in.

More information on the project and the life of Miss Hext can be found within the museum


Information relating to the window display :

Frances Margery Hext was born in 1819, baptised on 25th May 1819 in the parish of Lanlivery and died on 10th January 1896 in Lostwithiel. She was buried 15th January 1896 and her grave is in Restormel Road Cemetry.

The assemblage box shows:

  • Portrait of herself (original in the museum collection)
  • Portraits of her father John Hext and her mother Elizabeth (nee Staniforth) – see the family tree for dates and details of her siblings and grandparents.
  • Picture of her dog “Cuffy” 1849 painted by John Barker (1811-1886)
  • Map showing the houses in Lostwithiel owned by the Hext family in 1834(CRO ME2399)
  • Image of her bookplate showing the coat of arms.
  • Details from her book Memorials of Lostwithiel and Restormel 1891 (original in the museum)
  • Details of the estate of Trenarren that was owned for many years by the Hext family. The old mansion was taken down and a new house built by Thomas Hext (John’s brother, Frances’s uncle).

 Illustrations and photographs of houses Frances lived in


Frances’s father John Hext lived at Restormel Manor until his death  on June 30th 1838. He moved there from the family home Trenarren just after he married in 1799. He leased the house from Earl of Mount Edgcumbe. In 1800 his father in law, Thomas Staniforth stayed there and wrote about it in his diaries The Staniforth Diaries (copy in the museum). Frances was born in 1819 and her family continued to live there until October 1838 when Mrs Hext moved with Frances to Lostwithiel.


 Now Lowenna House - This is the home that Frances and her mother moved to.


This is the home of her uncle Thomas Hext and in the 1871 census Frances is listed as living there.


The home that Frances lived in and in the 1891 census is listed as head of the house, living on her own means with three servants

Credit: All illustrations by Sally Atkins


Other relevant information –

Frances never married or had children. She was a philanthropist and important member of the community. In 1882 the head of a 14th century cross was discovered in a garden in Lostwithiel. Frances paid to have the cross restored to its former shaft in the churchyard of St Bartholomew’s Church (this can still be seen today).

She took an interest in unusual and ornamental trees as she made special reference in her book to those planted near Restormel Castle by William Masterman. In her garden in Queen Street it is thought she may have planted the wonderful tulip tree that flourished for so many years and which was felled in 1999 (a piece of which is in the museum).

She also took an interest in painting, sketching and needlework. In her book on Lostwithiel she embellished copies with her sketches and photographs. Her needlework has also formed part of a Berlin woolwork coverlet that is housed in Truro Museum.

Cornwall Museums Partnership