Edith Sophia Jacob (1836-1918)
Description contributor to MP (1867)
Biography Daughter of the Venerable Canon Philip Jacob (1802/3-1884), rector from 1831 of Crawley with Hunton, north-west of Winchester, and canon and (from 1860) Archdeacon of Winchester, and his wife, Anna Sophia (1807?-1857), eldest daughter of the Hon. Gerard Thomas Noel, canon of Winchester. The parents were married in 1832. Edith, according to her brother Edgar 'was left in February, 1857, by the death of her mother . . . the eldest daughter of seven surviving children.'1 There were four sons and three daughters of the marriage; a son who went into the army; another son, who went into the navy, either one of whom may have been Eustace Wilberforce Jacob (b.?1834-9 July 1871), SPG missionary in South Africa; Isabel Margaret (b. 1840/1); Edgar (1844-1920); and Ernest Henry (1849-1894), MRCS. Their father had been brought up partly in Guernsey, and his father John Jacob (1765-1840) had published a history of the island. The family also had many connections with India. Edith lived at home, but became seriously ill early in 1868; her disease was described as 'congestion of the spine' and she spent most of the rest of her life in varying degrees of invalidism. During this first attack, according to her brother, she reflected on the contribution which invalids could make to the life of the Church. The result of this was a paper 'Thoughts on invalid life' published at the suggestion of CMY and reviewed by her in the Church Quarterly Review. This resulted in the foundation of the 'Society of Watchers and Workers', an organisation to which Edith Jacob devoted her energies for the rest of her life, and of whose privately printed journal, the Watchword, she was editor. This periodical ran 1880-1972; the BL has only odd volumes, but there is a complete run in Lambeth Palace Library. The BL's copies are bound with interesting rolls of members of the society; CMY is listed as a member of the executive committee. The activities of the society, which included support for homebound 'invalids of the cultured classes', enabling them to direct their energies in prayer and fundraising for charitable objects, are described in more detail in Kathleen Alice Orr, Letters (1907, 1909), a privately printed memoir of a deceased watcher with a memoir by Edith Jacob. The Watchers were especially keen on missions.