If Only She Could Talk...

Statue of Caroline SteohensThis is a project primarily designed to provide an information pack for Oatlands School, based around the life and times of Caroline Stephens whose statue stands in the school grounds, close to the staff car park.

Caroline came to Oatlands when she married her first husband Richard Mathews. Both she and Richard were reasonably wealthy in their own rights and when Richard died in 1865, Caroline became the fifth largest landholder in the village.

When Caroline married William Stephens in 1882 they took up residence at Kensington Lodge in St.Mary's Road. Caroline died in 1894 and William unveiled the statue to her the following year.

Caroline had been a quiet and unassuming woman but gave both her time and her money to those she considered either needy or worthy of support. Her funeral was extremely well attended, not only by the wealthier members of village society, but by a large number of the 'ordinary folk' who mourned the passing of a very compassionate lady.

William had also been married prior to Caroline but had produced only daughters. On William's death in 1900 it was a condition of his grandson inheriting the estate that he change his surname to Stephens - thus William Cornish became William Stephens and the next owner of Kensington Lodge and a lot of other property both within the village and elsewhere.

The Stephens family remained in Kensington Lodge until it was compulsorily purchased by Surrey County Council to be demolished and provide the site for the current school.

Caroline was laid to rest in the churchyard at St.Mary's Walton and William joined her when his time came.

The once magnificent tomb they occupy which had 3-inch thick white marble sides and a 'domus' roof has been vandalised in recent years and now resembles little more than a brick dog-kennel. We hope to be able to get this tomb reinstated one day as befits the occupants and their contribution to the village of Oatlands.