Mary Kathleen Freer was born on July 6, 1886. Her parents were Fredrick Hubert Freer (1848 – 1897) and Mary Caroline Dawkins (1863 – 1897). She grew up at Kitebrook near Moreton-in-Marsh with two brothers, Geoffrey (born 1887) and Reginald (born 1889). Her parents died when she was 11 years old and she was subsequently raised by her mother’s sister, Frances Dawkins (1856 – 1934). She attended Farlington House. She was fond of sports, especially lawn tennis, and was a keen hunter.
Robin Holford Stubbs was born on June 6, 1882. His parents were Thomas Walker Stubbs (1857 – 1899) and Evelyn Mary Risley (1858 – 1887). He and his older brother Thomas (1879 – 1944) grew up at Quar Wood near Stow-on-the-Wold. Robin’s father remarried in 1890 to a widow named Mrs. Kathleen Moon and their daughter Daphne was born that same year. After Thomas’ death when Robin was 17 years old the household lived at nearby South Hill Cottage. Robin attended Haileybury School and Oxford University but did not take a degree. At the age of 22 he began spending part of each year in Canada, exploring the country with a view to emigration. Eventually he settled in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley and acquired a property in the district of Benvoulin near Kelowna.
Robin proposed to Kathleen during the Ladies’ Ball at Stow on February 4, 1908. Kathleen’s guardians opposed the match and insisted that the two young people keep apart from one another for an entire year in the hopes that they would come to their senses and call off the engagement. Robin returned to Kelowna on March 20 and throughout the next twelve months he and Kathleen exchanged letters every week or so.
Robin returned to Stow in April 1909. He and Kathleen were married on July 21 and settled on a fruit ranch in Okanagan Mission. They had four children and died within a few months of each other in 1957.
Their correspondence is presented here in five chapters. The Prologue consists of excerpts from the letters which Kathleen wrote to Robin between 1903 and 1908. Engaged contains their correspondence from the time that Robin proposed to the time he returned to Canada. Robin contains the letters which Robin sent from Canada while Kathleen contains the letters which Kathleen sent from England (as well as France and Switzerland). Together contains their correspondence from the time Robin returned to Stow until their wedding.