The Zulu Queen

CovSoc member Peter James tells us the story of a Coventry heroine of the Salvation Army.

Charles Fardon was born in Coventry in 1863 the son of Charles and Charlotte Fardon. The 1881 Census showed Charles aged 18 living with his parents in King William Street. He and his father were both described as shoeing smiths. Charles married Hannah Haddon from Foleshill in the autumn of 1885, she was the daughter of a silk weaver. In 1896 he joined the Salvation Army and became an agent for the Salvation Army Assurance Society. In the following year he began work as an officer in Coventry. Charles had a number of postings including London, Worcester and Luton. After reaching the rank of Commandant he retired and returned home to Coventry with Hannah in 1927. During 1929 while living in Harefield Road he was taken ill and died on 30th September aged 66 in Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital.

Charles funeral was conducted by a Salvation Army Brigadier but probably the most interesting person who paid tribute to him was his cousin. She was Staff Captain Marianne Pawson nee Faulconbridge.

Charles & Hannah Fardon
   with daughter Hettie and grandchild

Marianne Faulconbridge was born in Long Compton Warwickshire on 2nd September 1859 the daughter of William and Anne. Her father was a police constable who left home and went abroad when Marianne was just two years old. Her mother struggled to bring her up on a very low income in Coventry. Anne was a devout Christian who attended a Baptist Chapel and also held prayer meetings in her own home for the old and infirmed. Marianne had a vision when she was aged 14 which her mother insisted was a message from God. A few years later when Marianne was 17 her mother Anne passed away.

On her way to a Baptist Church in Coventry one Sunday she passed the Theatre Royal and was approached by members of the Christian Mission. Although initially not impressed she later joined. On 17th February 1878 the Christian Mission became the Salvation Army and held its first meeting in Coventry.

William Booth the founder was there and invited Marianne and some other young women to join him for tea. Later that year in October, Marianne was appointed No. 2 Evangelist in Manchester, moving to Seaham Harbour just 4 months later having been promoted to No. 1 Evangelist. Not long after General Booth visited unannounced and told her he was transferring her to Salisbury along with an assistant.

Marianne Faulconbridge

Their success annoyed many publicans who saw a sharp decline in their customer numbers so they offered free drinks to people who could disrupt the meetings. At one meeting Marianne was dragged away from her followers and assaulted, only being rescued by the intervention of a policeman armed with a truncheon. This wasn’t an isolated incident, there were further attacks but the meetings continued.

In a court case in Salisbury the Salvationists were described as “worse than Zulus” by a prosecuting counsel. Pointing to Marianne he added that “there stands the Queen of the Zulus”.

So Marianne became the “ZULU QUEEN” a title bestowed upon her by the editor of War Cry in an article entitled “Salute to the Brave.” Following a number of attacks which left her severely injured Marianne was transferred to Ebbw Vale for a year.

Salvation Army under attack

By 1882 she had taken up an assignment in Chester where the army were faced with even more violent opposition. It was here one day when Marianne was struck on the head by a large sharp stone. She was seriously ill for 6 weeks. At one time her wound became infected and a doctor gave her only 24 hours to live.

After a posting in Rock Ferry she moved to Stockport where she met Staff Captain Thomas Pawson an auditor with the Salvation Army. They married there in October 1888. Shortly afterwards they settled in Buxton Derbyshire and had two sons Frederick and Ernest. Thomas retired and they moved to Weston Super Mare. Marianne lived there for over 40 years. During this time she was widowed and passed away on 15th January 1943 aged 83 years.

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