Lady Emily Foley, the widow of Squire Foley, lived at Stoke Edith and was a great benefactor to the Malvern Community. She had a significant influence in town affairs between her husband's death in 1846 and her own death in 1900 which coincided with the hydrotherepy boom years.
Lady Emily Foley owned the majority of the land around Malvern. When Malvern became known for the water cure from 1842, it also became a popular place to live and land for building houses was much sought after. Lady Emily insisted that land bought from her to build a house must be at least an acre per house and that a large number of trees be planted around the houses. This has left Malvern a legacy of beautiful trees throughout the town.
The railway already reached Malvern Link, where a station was already established. However, as the popularity of Malvern increased, plans for the railway line to extend through to Hereford were made. Much of the land needed for the railway tracks was owned by Lady Emily Foley and she insisted that cuttings be dug so the train could not be seen. A station soley for the Foley family was built at their Stoke Edith estate and the train had to stop there on request whenever the Foleys, or their guests, wanted to use travel.
Lady Emily was a key sponsor of the building of Great Malvern Station. She was not keen on traveling through the tunnel from one side of the Hills to the other. If she was travelling to Hereford this was not a problem and she used the station at Stoke Edith but if she was traveling to London, as she often did, she would be driven in a coach and horses all the way to Great Malvern. She had a beautiful waiting room made for her exclusive use at Great Malvern Station (now Lady Foley's Tea Room) where she would wait for her train without having to mix with other members of the public.
Lady Emily Foley gave land for the building of two churches; Holy Trinity Church and Christ Church. This generous act may well have been to provide alternative worship venues for the growing number of lower classes in Malvern and keep the Priory free for the use of the gentry.
Lady Emily sponsored many other projects in Malvern in her time, including the building of a well house at St Ann's Well as well as making numerous contributions to schools, including the Lyttelton School (Now the Lyttelton Rooms next to the Priory on Church Street).
An interesting note is that Lady Emily Foley, as the daughter of a Duke but not the wife of a peer, has the correct title of "Lady Emily Foley" and should never be referred to as just "Lady Foley".