Amelia Rogers Griffiths, the Queen of Seaweed
Who was she, and why did none of us in Pilton know anything about a woman who made such important contributions to science, who was born here, brought up in Longstone House and attended St. Mary's Church?
We first heard about the Queen of Seaweed last summer, by chance, and then discovered Philip Strange's Blog, which was reproduced in our printed Booklet for the Exhibition. Please do click on the above link and read the enthralling story of Amelia's life as described by Philip Strange.
We hadn't heard of her at all before, yet it is likely that back in the 1800s she would have been very famous locally. Some Pilton villagers may even have discovered her former servant Mary Wyatt's books and joined in with the craze for collecting and pressing seaweeds.
still researching her life here in Pilton, and the
connections she retained following her move
away. We have found out more details (see
below) and we hope to discover more
information, especially once the Museum reopens.
Just one interesting fact is that she owned land on
both sides of the Church Path, the lane that leads
from the steps below Pilton Church up to Bellaire.
Following her death, the land on the side including
Fig Tree Cottage was sold to the famous artist F
R Lee, father of Sarah
Hibbert, and great grandfather of Henry
Williamson's wife, Loetitia Hibbert.
Henry and Loetitia were the parents of another
naturalist, Richard Williamson, who sent a
contribution to the Exhibition.
More about Amelia:
from the Longstone, July 2019.
This house was home to the Rogers family when Amelia was born in 1768. Although not visible in this photograph, you can see the Taw Estuary from the Longstone here, and also the cliffs of Bideford Bay, so that Amelia would have been very aware of the sea as she was growing up.
This plaque, high up on the wall in St.
Mary's Church, gives more information about the
Rogers family, including the fact that Amelia was
born on 14th January 1768. Her sister
Mary is buried in Pilton Churchyard.