Elizabeth Narcissa Marie (Betty) Paynter
1907 - 1980

 Relationship to me: 4th Cousin once removed Gen -1
Born: 1907
Died: 1980
Age 73  
Father:      Col. Camborne Haweis Paynter 1864 - 1949
Mother: Ethel Nina Patience Venning c1880 - 1933
Siblings: none  
Married:  (1) Olaf Poulsen . 1937 d. 1942
  (2) Paull Jewell Hill   
Children: Diana Sonya Fleur Poulsen
m. Menzies
1940 - 1998

Outline her Life: Read Chapter 10 of Boskenna and the Paynters by Jim Hosking. And for a more robust account, read "Wild Mary" by Patrick Marnham (Chatto and Windus 2006), a fascinating biography of the novelist Mary Wesley. Here is an extract that gives a hint of Betty's character (but better to read the book):

Mary became a close friend of Betty's before and during the war, and for a time their lives followed a similar course. Both women eventually converted to Catholicism, both knew wealth and extreme poverty, both were to marry slightly marginal men who were haunted by suicide. Betty's husband eventually shot one of her lovers and was tried for murder. But despite these similar destinies and their many shared adventures, the friendship remained, on Mary's side at least, a guarded one. She quickly noticed that Betty had been brought up to hunt for a wealthy husband; her first question when a possible new man was under discussion was always `Is he rich, darling?' rather than is he beautiful, or clever, or good in bed? Betty was not beautiful but she had a fine slim figure, huge dark eyes, thick black hair and a large nose that she had broken while out fox hunting. She also possessed an inexhaustible sexual energy that made her very attractive to men.

Mary never drew a full portrait of Betty, probably because she was so fond of Betty's daughter, Sonya, but in A Sensible Life there is a minor character called Joyce who sounds familiar. Joyce was `a very agile girl'. She flitted from flower to flower and brightened people's lives, or, to put it another way, fucked with `all and sundry'. Joyce was fun; there was no lasting malice in Joyce. She thought of Joyce rather in terms of a necessary sexual assault course to he surmounted by young men such as Hubert and Cosmo, just as, when boys, they had manoeuvred through the scholarship or common entrance to their school.' Betty's father, their house and her boyfriends were to appear repeatedly in the world created by Mary Wesley fifty years on.

Post scriipt: A delightful programme on BBC Radio 4 called “The Wedding Detectives” (part 1) relates some of Betty’s stories, and is well worth listening to. As at May 2021 it was still available on BBC Sounds at https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000nl79.

Last updated 11 May 2021 - link to BBC programme added.
Updated 20 Oct 2006