Those who go before us

June 9, 2014

Langley House Trust has a 56 year history of supporting and caring for ex-offenders within the community.

So it was with interest when I read about the history of our first ever project – Elderfield in Hampshire. Langley House Trust started in 1958 and by 1959 Elderfield was our first project, it housed and supported men released from prison.

I now find that Elderfield has an interesting history, it was the home of a well-known literary writer Charlotte Yonge between 1858 -1901. Among the admirers of Charlotte’s work was George Eliot, Lewis Carroll and Virginia Wolf.

Charlotte Yonge (1823 – 1901)

Charlotte Yonge was born in 1823 and died in 1901 from pleurisy. She was a prolific writer, composing around 160 books. In 1858 Charlotte moved into Elderfield with her mother, to allow her older brother Julian who was recently married to move in to their larger family home.

Charlotte lived in Elderfield for many years mainly inhabiting a corner room on the first floor overlooking the road and church. Her mother died in 1868 and Charlotte then lived alone immersing herself in her writings.

Links between Langley House Trust and Charlotte Yonge

It is also interesting to consider some of the links between Langley House Trust and Charlotte Yonge. Charlotte was a Christian and her faith was extremely important to her. Her books reflected her Christian beliefs,

Langley House Trust is also a Christian organisation. Our Christian ethos is central to our work and it motivates us to reach out and see others live fulfilling lives and the reach their full potential. Although we ensure we do not discriminate as we support and care for those with any faith or none.

Interestingly enough one of her novels was called “Langley School”. Although Langley House Trust is not an educational establishment! We do believe in lifelong learning: not only for our service users but also for our staff (as I would hope none of us would consider ourselves finished articles). The desire to learn and positively grow is very much central to our ethos in Langley House Trust.

Charlotte’s generosity

It was evident in reading about Charlotte Yonge that she was generous in her giving to the Community and she died less wealthy than would be expected from such a successful author. Charlotte clearly wanted to see others benefit from her success. At Langley House Trust we also believe in giving and we encourage our service users to positively contribute to the communities in which they live, as it not only blesses the community but indeed grows something positive within them.

To this day Elderfield is still one of our projects and I would like to think the service users and staff there are inspired by the famous literary writer that inhabited their house many years ago.

This week’s blog is from Tracy Wild, CEO Langley House Trust – 30th May 2014