Female portrait placeholder image

Name: Frances Hope

Burial Number: 1921

Gender: Female

Occupation: Authoress

Born: 03/04/1880

Died: 17/09/1964

Buried: 24/09/1964


Frances Hope was born on 3 April 1880 at Monnington, Wye in Herfordshire where her father,     William Robins Smith, was Rector. On both  sides of her family  there were clergymen. Frances’ mother’s first name was Thermuthis, which , apparently, was the name the Greek’s gave to the Pharoah’s daughter who drew Moses out of the river and adopted him. Later, however, she appears to have changed this to Theodora. Frances’ full name was Frances Essex Theodora Smith. Her first home was the Rectory in Monnington but, unfortunately, the 1891 and 1901 England Censuses could not be found. By 1911 Frances, now known as Essex Smith, was lodging along with her sister, Flora, now known as Florence, in a lodging house in St. Mawes, Cornwall. Both had ‘private means’. Frances married William Hope, a clerk, at St, Andrew’s Church, Fulham on 27 December 1917. So far it seemed that her life had taken a course that was not out of the ordinary. However, in the 1939 Register she gave her occupation as “authoress”. The name Essex Smith was her pseudonym.  Further research revealed that Frances’ mother, Thermuthis Kilvert, was the sister of Rev Francis Kilvert, (1840-1879) whose diaries written during his years as a clergyman in Langley Burrell, Wiltshire, were published about 50 years after his death.    Frances is said to have inherited 29 volumes of  diaries from her mother  and in consultation with Kilvert’s wife helped to prepare them for publishing  before destroying all but three. Kilvert wrote emotionally, eloquently, in what might be considered to be ‘poetic prose’, about the natural world around him as he visited his parishioners. He also wrote about his own emotions, about his eye for pretty young girls. This would probably amount to nothing nowadays and he did not lose his position. Frances , as a writer, was also eloquent and emotional. One of her novels, ‘Shepherdless  Sheep’ is an intense, gloomy tale published in 1914, which tells the story of an oily character who founds the ‘League of Lonely Souls’, not out of sympathy but purely for profit.   After listening to a charismatic preacher the ‘congregation’ of unhappy people  paid well for a brief hope that their lives will get better.  Frances was widowed in 1929. It is not known if she had children . In 1939 she lived with her sister at 4, West Avenue, Worthing, but died at Fernbank, 25, Gratwicke Road, Worthing, on 17 September 1964, aged 84, leaving the large sum of £55,322.

Researcher: Angela Levy

The Grave

No headstone image available

Location in Cemetery

Area: WB Row: 1 Plot: 34

Exact Location (what3words): deals.soon.keen

Ashes or Urn: Unknown



No description of the headstone has been added.


William Hope beloved husband of Essex Hope born 31st December 1859 died 10th July 1929. Essex Hope born 3rd April 1880 died 17th September 1964

Further Information


Name: Frances Theodora Essex Hope

Gender: Female

Born: 03/04/1880

Town: Unknown

County: Herefordshire

Country: England


Maiden Name:Smith

Marriage Date: 27/12/1917

Spouse First Name: William

Spouse Last Name: Hope

Town of Marriage: Unknown

County of Marriage: London

Country of Marriage: England

Information at Death

Date of Death: 17/09/1964

Cause of death: Unknown

Address line 1: Fernbank

Address line 2: 25

Address line 3: Gratwicke Road

Town: Worthing

County: Sussex

Country: England


No obituary has been entered.

Personal Effects

Money left to others: £55322 s d

Current value of effects: Not calculated

Census Information


The Rectory, Monnington -on-Wye, Herefordshire

William R Smith, 50, Rector of Monnington; Theodora Mary Smith, 40, wife; Flora M Smith, 13, daughter; William H Smith, 8, son; Thomas P Smith, 6, son; Francis (sic) E Smith, 1, daughter; Francis (sic) M Martin, 30, governess;

plus 3 domestic servants


St Mawes, Cornwall

Charlotte Sprake, 65, widow, head, lodging-house keeper; Ondine Sprake, 31, daughter, Assisting in lodging house; Florence Mary Smith, 43, Lodger. private means; Essex Smith, 30, Lodger, private means;


4, West Avenue, Worthing

Florence M Smith, 72, unpaid domestic duties; Essex Smith, 59, authoress. Women’s Voluntary Service;

Miscellaneous Information

Rev. Francis Kilvert 1840-1879

Frances’ mother, Thermuthis Kilvert, was the sister of Rev Francis Kilvert, (1840-1879) whose diaries written during his years as a clergyman in Langley Burrell, Wiltshire, were published about 50 years after his death.

Francis Kilvert visited Worthing between 10th and 12th August 1874 to attend a wedding at Findon Church. He stayed at lodgings of Mrs Smallwood at 11, Church Terrace, Worthing.

Fernbank Residential Home, Gratwicke Road, Worting where Frances died.