The recent khaki contracts case involving Messrs. Langworthy Bros and Co., a company that was sued for commission charges related to the War Office’s khaki cloth orders, reminds us of a dramatic and tragic story with connections to the Limerick aristocracy. The Langworthy name was entangled in a series of controversies in the 19th century, capturing the attention of the public through a high-profile marriage involving a member of the Limerick aristocracy.
Mr Edward Martin Langworthy, who came from a family of prominent cotton spinners, inherited a fortune of around £150,000 from his father, Mr George Langworthy. His first marriage to Lady Alice Hewitt connected him to the Limerick nobility, as she was the daughter of the second Earl of Limerick. Unfortunately, Lady Alice Hewitt passed away in 1876, leading to Mr Langworthy’s second marriage to Mildred Long.
This second marriage, however, was the source of one of the most sensational legal cases of the 19th century. The marriage resulted in the repudiation of Edward Langworthy, alleging it to be invalid. This dispute caught the attention of the media, with Mr Stead’s “Pall Mall Gazette” providing extensive coverage that turned the case into a national sensation.
Through Mr Stead’s journalism, Mildred Long became a symbol for those who sought to challenge societal norms, and the case quickly became a litmus test of the values of the time. Eventually, the courts declared the marriage valid, ordering Mr Langworthy to grant his wife an alimony of £1,200 per year.
The dramatic story which unfolded from this significant Limerick connection, linking royalty with scandal, held the nation’s attention as the case developed. However, the tragic conclusion of the scandal was Mr Langworthy’s eventual suicide at the Grand Paris in 1898, followed not long after by Mildred Long’s death.
This gripping and sensational tale, entrenched within the Limerick aristocracy, became an iconic story of marriage, fortune, and scandal. The case of Messrs. Langworthy Bros and Co. serves as a reminder of this epic tragedy that once held the nation’s attention, as well as its close ties to one of Ireland’s prominent aristocratic families.
In an age where dramatic stories such as the Langworthy case are becoming increasingly rare, the public’s fascination with the Limerick connection proves that the power of scandal and aristocracy still captivates the imagination. As time goes by, it becomes more vital to preserve and remember these stories and their connection to the historical fabric of Limerick.
Manchester Evening News – Wednesday 19 June 1901