Ralph Vaughan Williams was born in 1872 into a well connected familiy with many notable relatives. His father was the third son of Sir Edward Vaughan Williams, a lawyer and judge, whilst his mother, Margaret, was one of three daughters of Josiah Wedgewood 3rd and Caroline Darwin. This meant that Ralph had two notable great great grandfathers on his mothers side, Josiah Wedgewood, who founded the pottery, and Erasmus Darwin, the physician, poet and grandfather of Charles Darwin.
Although living in Surrey at Leith Hill Place, (where Charles Darwin was a frequent visitor), Ralph was educated at the same preparatory school as his brother, Field House School in Rottingdean, where he arrived in 1883. He later became a pupil at Charterhouse, Trinity College Cambridge and The Royal College of Music.
By 1896 he had met and become engaged to Adeline Fisher, a talented cellist and pianist. She was a first cousin to Virginia Woolf and they were married at All Saints church, Hove, on October 9th 1897. The service was conducted by the Canon Spooner, he of Spoonerism fame, and perhaps best known for his spoonerism, “The Lord is a shoving leopard”.
Vaughan Williams and Adeline Fisher’s marriage certificate: