Mabel Virginia Anna <I>Hall-Dare</I> Bent

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Mabel Virginia Anna Hall-Dare Bent

Yellow Furze, County Meath, Ireland
Death 3 Jul 1929 (aged 82)
Marble Arch, City of Westminster, Greater London, England
Burial Theydon Bois, Epping Forest District, Essex, England
Memorial ID 196689942 · View Source
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Mabel Virginia Anna Bent (née Hall-Dare) was born at Beauparc House, Co. Meath (near Yellow Furze) in Ireland on January 28th, 1847. The daughter of Robert Westley Hall-Dare and Frances Catherine Anna Lambart, she was descended from a line of Anglo-Irish aristocracy with strong, historic ties to the county of Essex, just outside London (the majority of her relatives and ancestors are buried close to her at St Mary’s, Theydon Bois). Mabel’s father had relocated to Ireland from Essex sometime before Mabel’s birth and had established the family seat at Newtownbarry House in Co. Wexford, after a stay at Temple House estate, Co. Sligo. Mabel is described as being ‘Five feet eight inches tall, a green-eyed, sturdy redhead – striking in her photographs – her flaming, plaited hair was often the subject of native wonder. Outgoing and confident, she was as happy taking fences at full gallop in her native Wexford as she was dining with British ambassadors in Cairo or Constantinople.’ Theodore and Mabel married on August 2nd 1877. Both of independent financial means, they soon embarked upon their travels and each winter they would leave their home in London for extended tours abroad. Their first trips were to Italy and in 1879 Theodore published a book on the republic of San Marino entitled ‘A Freak of Freedom: Or, the Republic of San Marino’. In 1880 Bent published ‘Genoa: How the Republic Rose and Fell’, followed in 1882 by ‘The Life of Giuseppe Garibaldi’. The couple’s journeys around the Cyclades followed between 1883 and 1885 and the very successful book ‘The Cyclades or Life Among the Insular Greeks’ was published in 1885. In the succeeding years they continued exploring the more easterly islands of the Aegean Sea, as well as along the Turkish coast. 1889 saw them exploring the Bahrain islands of the Persian Gulf. Their trip in 1891 to Africa was the basis for Theodore’s next best-seller, ‘The Ruined Cities of Mashonaland’, published in 1892. Ethiopia followed with the resulting book, ‘The Sacred City of the Ethiopians’, being published in 1893. During their final years of travel, Theodore and Mabel concentrated on the southern Arabian Peninsula and the African coast of the Red Sea. In early 1897 on the island of Socotra, in the Gulf of Aden, and shortly after in the region east of Aden, Theodore fell dangerously ill with the malaria that was to bring about his premature death only weeks later. They managed to get back home to London, but Theodore died on May 5th 1897 at the age of just 45. Mabel never really recovered from the loss of her constant partner and travel companion. She made a few more journeys abroad after Theodore’s death, but the trip she made to Egypt the year after being made a widow she found ‘lonely’ and ‘useless’. With great strength she completed the book that Theodore had started, recounting their final journeys; the classic ‘Southern Arabia’ was published in 1900. The preface of ‘Southern Arabia’ paints a poignant picture of Mabel’s deep grief and sadness: “If my fellow-traveller had lived, he intended to have put together in book form such information as we had gathered about Southern Arabia. Now, as he died four days after our return from our last journey there, I have had to undertake the task myself. It has been very sad to me, but I have been helped by knowing that, however imperfect this book may be, what is written here will surely be a help to those who, by following in our footsteps, will be able to get beyond them, and to whom I so heartily wish success and a Happy Home-coming, the best wish a traveller may have.” Mabel died at the age of 82 on July 3rd 1929, and was buried with Theodore at Theydon Bois (the gravestone has been moved to a side fence following the construction of a side access to the church). She and Theodore never had children and she never remarried. She spent the last 32 years of her life alone, perhaps living up to the motto on the Hall-Dare coat-of-arms – ‘Loyauté sans tache’ – ‘Unsullied loyalty’.


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  • Created by: The Bent Archive
  • Added: 7 Feb 2019
  • Find a Grave Memorial 196689942
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Mabel Virginia Anna Hall-Dare Bent (28 Jan 1847–3 Jul 1929), Find a Grave Memorial no. 196689942, citing St. Mary the Virgin Churchyard, Theydon Bois, Epping Forest District, Essex, England ; Maintained by The Bent Archive (contributor 49862625) .