The People of Gibraltar
1866 - Lady Herbert - A Detestably Mongrel Character

Sir William and Lady Codrington - General Don, Bishop Scandella and Mateos

A young Elizabeth Herbert Ashe à Court-Repington (Unknown )

In the introduction to her Impressions of Spain in 1866 Lady Mary Elizabeth Herbert - née Ashe à Court-Repington, Baroness Herbert of Lea - wrote the following in the opening chapter of the book:
. . . a widow lady and her children, with a doctor and two other friends, started off in the winter of 186-, in spite of ominous warnings of revolutions, and grim stories of brigands, for that comparatively unvisited country called Spain . . . .
In other words the book is written in the third person. However a quick review of Lady Herbert's life - she married the 11th Earl of Pembroke in 1846, became a widow in 1861, had several children and became a committed Catholic  - leads me to believe that she was writing about her own experiences. Whatever the case the following is what she had to say about Gibraltar.

Of all places in Spain, Gibraltar is the least interesting, except from the British and national point of view. Its houses, its people, its streets, its language, all are of a detestably mongrel character. 
The weather, too, during our travellers’ stay, was essentially British, incessant pouring rain and fog alternating with gales so tremendous that twenty vessels went ashore in one day. Nothing was to be seen from the windows of the Club-House Hotel (see LINK) but mist and spray, or heard but the boom of the distress gun from the wrecking ships, answered by the more cheering cannon of the port. 
But there is a bright side to every picture: and one of the bright sides of Gibraltar is to be found in its kind and hospitable governor and his wife, who, nobly laying aside all indulgence in the life-long sorrow which family events have caused, devote themselves morning, noon, and night to the welfare and enjoyment of everyone around them.
An obsession with racial purity was very much uppermost in the minds of the British upper class traveller of the 19th century. A variety of visitors to Gibraltar - William George Clark in 1849 (see LINK), that past master of the outright insult, Richard Ford in 1855 (see LINK), Frederick Whymper in 1877 (see LINK), and Henry Martyn Field in 1887 (see LINK), all use the word mongrel to describe Gibraltar's cosmopolitan population. Perhaps by way of revenge it would be good to remind oneself that Lady Herbert's husband came from a long line of Welshmen - many of them bastard sons, some of them known murderers.

The Governor and his wife must have been Sir William Codrington and his wife Mary Ames. The "life-long sorrow" might refer to the fact that two of their children died young.
Their hospitality is natural to their duties and position; but the kind consideration which ever anticipates the wishes of their guests, whether residents or, as our travellers were, birds of passage, here to-day and gone to-morrow, springs from a rarer and a purer source.

This photograph may belong to a genre in which groups of people pose for the camera to suggest a particular event - They were known as a tableaux vivants -  This one was taken in the gardens of the Convent - an unlikely place to set up this type of photograph. Another possibility is that the people in the photograph are simply Convent residents posing for a group photograph - If so then the older gentleman with white whiskers and stovepipe hat might be Sir William and the lady on the far left his wife.
Another object of interest to some of our party was the charitable institutions of the place. The white ‘cornettes ’ of the sisters of charity are not seen as yet; but the sisters of the ‘ Bon Secours ’ have supplied their place in nursing the sick and tending all the serious cases of every class in the garrison. Their value only became fully known at the late fearful outbreak of cholera, to which two of them fell victims: but they seemed rather encouraged than deterred by this fact. 
They live in a house half-way up the hill on the Way to Europa Point, which contains a certain number of old and incurable people and a few orphan children. They visit also the sick poor in their homes, and in the Civil Hospital, which is divided, drolly enough, not into surgical and medical wards, but according to the religion of the patients! One half being Catholic, the other Protestant, and small wards being reserved likewise for Jews and Moors. It is admirably managed, the patients are supplied with every necessary, and well cared for by the kind-hearted superintendent, Dr. G———. 
The ‘ Dames de Lorette’ have a convent towards the Europa Point, where they board and educate between twenty and thirty young ladies. They have also a large day-school in the town for rich and poor, the latter being below and the former above. The children seem well taught, and the poorer ones were remarkable for great neatness and cleanliness.
The Civilian Hospital with its three divisions for Jews, Catholics and Protestants was paid for and maintained by the locals. It was inaugurated in 1820 by the then Governor, General Don. The Dames de Lorette were the Loreto Nuns who had only recently arrived on the Rock. (See LINK)

The Civilian Hospital a few decades later now known as the Colonial Hospital
The excellent and charming Catholic bishop, Dr. Scandella, Vicar Apostolic of Gibraltar, has built a college for boys on the ground adjoining his palace, above the convent, from whence the view is glorious: the gardens are very extensive. This college, which was immensely needed in Gibraltar, is rapidly filling with students, and is about to be affiliated to the London University.
In point of fact, Dr. Scandella was by no means the paragon of virtue depicted by the author. Throughout the 1870s, for example, he went out of his way to refer to legitimate Maltese immigrants as 'the scum of that people', 'the dregs of society, 'habituated to vice', 'a public disgrace', as well as 'worthless' and 'filthy' - and this even though research by local police magistrates at the time proved again and again that the Maltese were by no means any worse than anybody else.  Unfortunately Scandella's persistent propaganda was eventually regarded as gospel truth by a large number of the local population.

Later, during a run-in between the authorities and the local merchants on the former's intention to impose a tax on tobacco to reduce smuggling Scandella unwisely decided to intervene. During his self-appointed visits to London in order to lobby the appropriate MPS he managed to antagonise the merchants - as well as a large number of the local population.

Bishop John Baptist Scandella - the first Gibraltarian to be appointed Bishop of Gibraltar
In the garden above, a chapel is being built to receive the Virgin of ‘Europa,’ whose image, broken and despoiled by the English in 1704, (see LINK) was carried over to Algeciras, and there concealed in the hermitage; but has now been given back by Don Eugenio Romero to the bishop, to be placed in this new and beautiful little sanctuary overlooking the Straits, where it will soon be once more exposed to the veneration of the faithful.
The "little sanctuary" was anything but new. Known to the Spaniards as the Hermita de Nuestra Señora de Europa it was originally a mosque and was probably built by Gibraltar's then Moorish masters in the 14th century. (See LINK). Nor was it above any sort of garden.

Nuestra Señora de Europa - ( 1567 - Wyngaerde ) (See LINK)
The bishop has lately built another little church below the convent, dedicated to St. Joseph, but which, from some defect in the materials, has been a very expensive undertaking. It was very pleasant to see the simple, hearty, manly devotion of the large body of Catholic soldiers in the garrison, among whom his influence has had the happiest effect in checking every kind of dissatisfaction and drunkenness.
In 1863 St Joseph's Parish Church was built in a southern area of the Rock known as Rosia. (See LINK) This may have been the "little church" referred to although it wasn't that tiny. Ironically it was financed by a Maltese merchant. He was called Mateos.

St Joseph's Parish Church ( 1902 )
His personal influence has doubtless been greatly enhanced by his conduct during the cholera, when he devoted himself, with his clergy, to the sick and dying, taking regular turns with them in the administration of the Last Sacraments, and only claiming as his privilege that of being the one always called up in the night, so that the others might get some rest.  He has two little rooms adjoining the church, where he remains during the day, and receives anyone who needs his fatherly care. 
The Protestant bishop of Gibraltar, a very kind and benevolent man, resides at Malta, and has a cathedral near the governor’s house, lately beautified by convict labour, and said to be well attended. It is the only Protestant church in Spain.

The Protestant Cathedral of the Holy Trinity - The first Protestant church in Spain was founded in Cadiz by William H. Rule (see LINK) in 1838,
Of the sights of Gibraltar it is needless to speak. Our travellers, in spite of the weather, which rarely condescended to smile upon them, visited almost everything: the North Fort, (North Front?) Spanish Lines, and Catalan Bay, (see LINK) one day: Europa Point, with the cool summer residence of the governor (sadly in need of government repair), and St Michael’s Cave, on the next; and last, not least, the galleries (see LINK) and heights.

Catalan Bay  ( G.E Gerrett )
From the Signal Tower the view is unrivalled; and the aloes, prickly pear, and geranium, springing out of every cleft in the rock, up which the road is beautifully and skilfully engineered, add to the enjoyment of the ride. The gentlemen of the party hunted in the cork woods (see LINK) when the weather would allow of it; and the only ‘lion’ unseen by them were the monkeys, who resolutely kept in their caves or on the African side of the water during their stay at Gibraltar. 
The garden of the governor’s palace is very enjoyable, and contains one of those wonderful dragon-trees of which the bark is said to bleed when an incision is made. The white arums grow like a weed in this country, and form most beautiful bouquets when mixed with scarlet geranium and edged by their large bright shining green leaves. 
The time of our travellers was, however, limited, especially as they wished to spend the Holy Week in Seville. So, after a ten days’ stay, reluctantly giving up the kind offer of the Port Admiral to take them across to Africa, and contenting themselves with buying a few Tetuan pots from the Moors at Gibraltar, they took their passages on board the ‘London’ steamer for Cadiz. 
By permission of the governor, they were allowed to pass through the gates after gun-fire, and got to the mole; but there, from some mistake, no boat could be found to take them off to their vessel, and they had the pleasure of seeing it steam away out of the harbour without them, although their passages had been paid for, and, as they thought, secured. In despair, shut out of the town, where a state of siege, for fear of a surprise, is always rigorously maintained by the English garrison, they at last bribed a little boat to take them to a Spanish vessel, the ‘Allegri,’ likewise bound for Cadiz, and which was advertised to start an hour later. In getting on board of her, however, they found she was a wretched tub  . . . .There was, however, no alternative . . .

An older Lady Herbert - Could she be writing her book on Spain?

The majority of women who visited Gibraltar as tourists did so with their husbands. And if anybody was going to put pen to paper and write of their experiences during their visit to the Rock it was the men who were by far the most likely to do so.  Lady Herbert's book is therefore the exception to the general rule. Unfortunately it is sadly lacking in any kind of depth and there is very little in her account that is either new or particularly informative. Mostly I tend to think that I have learned more about her - if indeed she was the person who was visiting - than about Gibraltar. Pity.