Death by dangerous driving of a stagecoach

From the early 1800s, coach design was much improved and, in part, so were roads. By the 1820s coaches could travel at about 12 miles an hour with four horses rather than six as had been used previously. Coach drivers also were much smarter in their appearance and the government legislated that the names of the coach proprietors were to be painted on the doors of the coaches, with the exception of mail coaches.

There were strict rules about how many passengers could travel, both inside and out and the maximum weight of luggage. The law stated that stagecoaches were not to carry more than six passengers on the roof  and no more than two on the box in addition to the coachman. For every passenger in excess, the coachman was liable to a penalty of 40 shillings, and if he was the owner or part owner this penalty was raised to £4.

The penalty for carrying excess passengers was severe and ingeniously contrived in order to totally suppress the practice. It was 5 shillings for every supernumerary passenger, to be paid to the toll-keeper at every turn pike gate. This was a sure fire way of making sure that an excess number would be instantly spotted by the toll-keeper who would be keen to have a chance to enhance their income.

Cordrey, John. The London to Dartford Stage Coach. Museum of London

The guard of a stagecoach who fired his pistol unnecessarily, or for anything other than defensive purposes, on the road or in any town, forfeited 20 shillings, a penalty which was increased to £5 in 1811.

The height to which luggage might be piled on the roof was also carefully set. From 1 March 1811, it became unlawful for any driver, owner or proprietor to permit luggage, or indeed any person, on the roof of a coach, the top of which was more than 8 feet 9 inches from the ground, or whose gauge was less than 4 feet 6 inches.

Turnpike keepers and others were given powers to have luggage measured and driver’s refusing such measurements to be taken were to be fined, on conviction, of 50 shillings.

Intoxicated coachmen came in for a maximum of £10 penalty, or the alternative, a term of imprisonment not less than three months or not exceeding six, so being drunk in charge of a coach was not a great idea!

The Piccadilly Nuisance. British Museum

With the instigation of so many rules and regulations to be followed, a new breed of people a appeared on the scene ‘the professional informer’. These people were akin to a modern day ‘ambulance chaser’. They would pursue coaches checking that the coachman wasn’t breaking any rules and if they were, they would be reported to the appropriate authorities, for which these informers would receive a very handsome fee – nice work if you could get it.

Today’s story is about a less than careful coach driver. In July 1827 John Maule, the driver of the stagecoach, Celerity, that was travelling to Exeter was charged at the Coroner’s Inquest to appear before Chief Justice Best, with the manslaughter of Thomas Strange at Bulford on 18 June 1827.

Unknown artist; William Draper Best, Lord Wynford (1767-1845); Wadham College, University of Oxford

The events surrounding this charge were, that there were two coaches, the Celerity and the Defiance, running from Exeter, on this day they were travelling in opposite directions. The Defiance on its way to Exeter from Andover, Hampshire. The Defiance had been operating for about three years and the Celerity, just one.

On the night in question, the Defiance was at the foot of a hill near Exeter, where the accident happened. The Defiance was going very slowly and it was just at that time that the coachman of the Defiance spotted the Celerity about 200 yards away, at the top of the hill and approaching him very quickly.

The coachman of the Defiance pulled off the road as much as he safely could to avoid the rapidly approaching Celerity, but it was too late, the near wheels of the Defiance found its two near wheels on the turf (the whole road from bank to bank being about 86 feet wide), when the stagecoach overturned and was entirely on the grass, closely followed by the Celerity, which threw some of its passengers.

In court the jury were told that there was strong proof of the side on which the accident really originated, this being that no-one was seriously injured when the Defiance toppled over, whilst several people in the Celerity were injured and others severely bruised, a gentleman, Thomas Strange died at the scene.

Cordrey, John. ‘The Wellington Coach’ (The Newcastle-York-London Mail). Ferens Art Gallery

A Thomas Bradley Naylor, a student of Magdalen Hall, Oxford was examined by Mr Halcomb, and confirmed that he was seated on the box of the Defiance. He confirmed coach was about three miles from Exeter when he saw that another coach approaching as it was not especially dark, and the Defiance had its lamps lit.

The coachman of the Defiance shouted to slow the horse down, but it was too late, the carriage tipped onto its side. Naylor asserted that the Celerity also had its lights on and could therefore have clearly seen the Defiance, but that it was being driven too fast. He said his coach was going quite slowly, not more than six or seven miles an hour and that there was enough room on the road for the Celerity to safely pass, were he been going more slowly.

Joseph Cannon, guard of the Defiance, also confirmed how slowly they were travelling, although he estimated it to be at the rate of about four or five miles an hour. So, both the coachman, witnesses and his guard providing very similar accounts of the event.

Another witness, James Bridge, also a passenger on the Defiance was called to provide his account of events. Bridge was sitting on the back just behind the coachman when he saw the Celerity about 150 yards away. He estimated that it was travelling at about 11 or 12 miles an hour with a heavy load on it. In his opinion the horses hadn’t heard the command of the coachman.  William Bound Rondle, another passenger who was inside the coach also supported that he had heard the coachman shout to the horses, but by that time it was too late, the accident had occurred.

The Celerity was laying across the road with its roof close to the bank, the luggage rack fell off and broke and the horses became detached from the coach. He stated that he helped to extricate two ladies who were underneath the coach, one of whom was later to die from her injuries. The coachman was called to give evidence and again said he’d called to his horses, but it was too late.

After lengthy deliberation by the jury and with help from the judge it was decided that the coachman, John Maule was not guilty, as he was not the regular coachman, and that it was an unfortunate accident.

The judge, however, gave notice that if another case of the same kind should come before him, and a conviction ensue, he would transport the prisoner for life; for it was absolutely necessary to put some check on this system of furious and negligent driving.

This of course, was not the only accident and many coachman drove furiously and had a reputation for liking a tipple or two whilst enroute.

Sources

Sun, 30 Jul 1827

Harper. Charles G Stagecoach and mail in the days of yore: a history of the coaching age

The Meaning of the term ‘Molly’

I’m delighted to welcome back a now familiar guest to All Things Georgian, erAto who is going to tell us more about a term rarely used today – ‘Molly’.

Tho’ Briton’s, tis said, were not Mollies of old,

Were for dealing of blows, and were manly and bold

And if out-number’d to fear they were strangers,

No councils of war restrain’d them from dangers.

from The Mock Expedition, or; The Woman in Breeches, ca. 1695

The word molly appears in many Georgian era historical fictions as, more or less, a synonym for the modern terms “gay” or “homosexual.” The popular reference book by Francis Grose, 1811’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, includes it with the definition: A Miss Molly; an effeminate fellow, a sodomite. It seems of course, that this should point to it as a word appropriate to the 1810s. However, it must be noted that this book was a reprint of a title originally released in 1785, and that even in the first edition, many of the slang terms were outdated in common language. (Take the entries of Oliver’s Skull and Olli-Compolli, which both seem to be sourced from a 1699 Dictionary of the Canting Crew.)

While even today we have some slang terms that have lasted 90 years or more, such as “the bee’s knees” (ca. 1923) or “bimbo” (floozie sense, ca. 1920) these are, at the same time, not indicative of words used in fashionable speech or slang. They should be employed with caution by an inexperienced English speaker, since they can easily make one sound strange or childish.

Yale Center for British Art

Molly was one of these words that had been in use for quite a long time by the Regency era. The Woman in Breeches Broadsheet of circa 1695, quoted above, is the oldest certain use of it I have been able to locate. The term is most probably an alteration of the Latin word mollis, which would have been a word known to educated men through its use in Livy, Cicero and other classical writers. Literally meaning “soft” the term mollis designated a certain type of man who was very effeminate and thus implied homosexual. It also appeared in the Latin vulgate version of the Bible to translate certain passages about fornicators and homosexuals, and it is probably through this that it entered the underworld slang. (Do not doubt, a quick look through those old slang dictionaries will show a good deal of Biblical and Ecclesiastical references.) The words popularity was probably enhanced by its coincidental similarity to the name Molly, which was often used as a generic name for a floozy type of girl in songs and poems.

A text of 1709 by one Ned Ward, reporting on a “Mollies Club” in London, defines a molly for readers unfamiliar with the term:

“Sodomitical Wretches […] so far degenerated from all masculine Deportment, or manly Exercises, that they rather fancy themselves Women, imitating all the little Vanities that Custom has reconcil’d to the Female Sex, affecting to Speak, Walk, Tattle, Cursy, Cry, Scold, and to mimick all Manner of Effeminacy, that ever has fallen within their several Observations; not omitting the Indecencies of Lewd Women, that they may tempt one another by such immodest Freedoms to commit those odious Bestialities [i.e. behaviours unbecoming mankind], that ought for ever to be without a Name.”

In addition to a noun, it seems to molly was also employed as a verb. From a 1726 court case we have:

“they look’d a-skew upon Mark Partridge, and call’d him a treacherous, blowing-up Mollying Bitch.”

In another case of 1744 we have:

“James Ruggles, who had followed them at a Distance, and waited only till he saw them closely engaged, came up to them, and seizing upon the Gentleman, cry’d, D – n your Blood you Dog, what are you a Mollying one another? Give me what you have this Minute, or I will carry your directly to the Guard-Room. The Gentleman, confounded and frightened almost out of his Wits, made answer, […] but C – soon silenced him, by crying out, indeed he seduced me hither to Molly me.”

The subject not being a topic often discussed in polite literature, much of the information we have about the use of the word molly comes from old court cases. To judge from the records, the term peaked in the 1720s through 1740s, then is seen less and less through the 18th century until disappearing almost entirely after the 1770s. In fact, the only post-1770 use of the term in its homosexual sense which I have seen as of this writing is, you guessed it, Francis Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

So, what wiped out the word ‘molly‘? To some extent the rival term madge seems it may have supplanted it in slang. Nevertheless, an increased prudishness about sexual talk through the 18th century may be also a culprit. (A personal story on this: I once was editing an edition of Farquhar’s The Recruiting Officer, initially using a first edition text; but finding some missing page or such issue that required checking another copy, I looked to an edition from 1800. The 1800 edition had needed to cut a lot of sexual references in the dialogue to make it acceptable for public performance. It was quite heavily trimmed compared to the original.) By the early 19th century, a term “mollycoddle” meaning a weak or effete man is able to appear in print with perfect respectability, indicating the sexual suggestion in the word was lost — compare the term “weakling” which too originally had a sexual implication.

The term molly does seem to have a more effeminate connotation about it than the modern term gay, but that might simply be due to gay culture in a modern understanding, not yet existing. Words like sissy or faggot might better replicate the abusiveness of the term.

Dido Elizabeth Belle

The Descendants of Dido Elizabeth Belle

A question that is frequently asked is, ‘are any of Dido Elizabeth Belle’s descendants still alive?’ The answer in short is no. Today, I thought it worth providing a somewhat lengthy, but nevertheless potted genealogy, to explain how her family line died out. Be prepared, it’s not always an easy read in parts. At the end is a family tree for reference.

We begin with the birth of her 3 boys. In 1795, Dido, by then simply known as Elizabeth, gave birth to twins, John and Charles Daviniere. Nothing is really known of what became of John, although it would appear that he died when relatively young, although exactly when remains unknown. It is now known that he was still alive after Dido’s death in 1804, but for how long we have no idea.

Their third child, William Thomas Daviniere, was baptised on 26 January 1800 at St George’s Hanover Square, London. His date of birth is less clear from the parish register, it was either 17 December 1799 or 17 January 1800*.

City of Westminster Archives Centre; London, England; Westminster Church of England Parish Registers; Reference: CCDS/PR/3/4

William Thomas and his family appear to have simply melted into history leaving little trace of their existence, with many places simply noting that William Thomas:

joined the East India Company, married a widow, Fanny Graham, and had a daughter, Emily. Emily died unmarried in 1870, several years after the death of her parents.

Was that the entirety of a life, just a couple of sentences to cover the lives of three people?  Surely, there had to be a little more to the lives of Dido’s boys.

It is probably quite safe to assume that William would have undertaken his education with his older brother, Charles, at a school for young gentlemen in Pimlico, where they studied, amongst other subjects, mathematics. That would have William in good stead for his future employment. However, whilst evidence survives for Charles, no similar account has survived for William Thomas, but it’s unlikely that one son attended school and the other didn’t.

In 1811, Charles joined the East India Company and was sent to India as an ensign in the army. William Thomas would have been still living at the family home, 31 Edgware Road, London, with his father John, Jane Holland (his father’s new partner, as they didn’t marry until 1819), and his two half siblings, Edward and Lavinia.

Whilst still in India, in 1817, Charles achieved promotion to lieutenant, but it would be a further 10 years before he achieved further advancement. Unlike his grandfather, Sir John Lindsay, Charles didn’t achieve rapid promotion.  It was the same year in which Lady Anne Murray, niece to Lord Mansfield died, leaving £50 to each of Dido’s boys.

East India House, Leadenhall Street

On 16 December 1818, the day before his 19th birthday, William Thomas was appointed to the post of a writer, in the Bengal warehouse of the East India Company, in London. He remained in this post for just two years before transferring to the Tea warehouse on 5 January 1821.

In 1823, Thomas was also a beneficiary in another will. This time he was joint beneficiary with a George Bremner, the godson of a Mrs Susan Douse, nee Awood. Susan’s late husband was Thomas Douse, who had worked for Lord Mansfield at Kenwood House for a number of years.

Kenwood House. Courtesy of Visit London.com

Susan appears to have had little to leave, but what she did have was split between the two young men. William Thomas also received her books and a miniature portrait of the late Earl of Mansfield, who had died a few years prior to Williams’ birth, but Susan must have thought it important enough to leave it to him, perhaps as a reminder of his late mother and her connection to Lord Mansfield. 

What this will tells us is that despite Dido’s death, at least one servant’s wife retained contact with one of Dido’s boys, but it’s curious that Susan left nothing for Charles. Perhaps this was either because he was in India and she didn’t think given how little she had, that it was not worthwhile, or maybe she was just closer to Dido’s youngest child. It has always struck me as curious that Dido wasn’t mentioned in either her father’s will or that of his wife, Lady Mary nor the will of 2nd Lord Mansfield, so it’s lovely to see that someone close to the family remembered her.

Three years later, on 20 August 1824, William Thomas progressed in his career and was appointed as an extra clerk in the auditor’s office. Then, just one year later, he applied for and achieved the vacant post of established clerk in the Accountant General’s Office. He took up this post on 10 August 1825, his skills having been assessed by an accountant, Daniel MacLaurin, as can be seen below. He clearly demonstrated that he was the ideal candidate.

83 Lombard Street

10 August 1825

These are to certify that I have carefully examined Mr W.T Daviniere as to his knowledge of book-keeping by double entry and have found him fully competent to explain and properly to state any question put to him upon that subject.

Daniel MacLaurin

The company was owned by Duncan MacLaurin until his demise in December 1823, at which time his brother, Daniel, took the reins. There’s no explanation offered as to why MacLaurin made the assessment though.

In 1834 Charles returned from India for two years, perhaps on leave or possibly for health reasons. As to where he stayed in England remains unknown, but presumably at the family home.

There is an interesting baptismal entry for a William Charles Graham, on 25 July 1834 stating that his parents are William Thomas (gent.) and Fanny Matilda Graham of Regent Street. More about this curious entry later.

Baptism for William Charles Graham. Parents named William Thomas and Fanny Matilda Graham, Regent Street

It was in 1836 that, whilst in England, Charles married Miss Hannah Nash, a young woman some 20 years his junior. The couple were married by licence at St Mary Abbot’s church, Kensington. Whilst it’s not been possible to ascertain anything further about Hannah’s background, her father, John Nash who was named on the marriage certificate, lived at 119 Crawford Street. Hannah appears to have been the youngest of 10 children.

The wedding was very much a family affair with Hannah’s brother Rev. George Edward Nash conducting ceremony, and, along with others, William Thomas was present. Following the marriage, the newlyweds returned to India, where Charles resumed his army post. Just over a year later, Charles and Hannah’s first child, Ada Hannah was born, but tragically she only survived for five months.

In September of 1837, William married Miss Fanny Graham, the daughter of the late William Graham of Portsmouth, about whom nothing seems to be known as yet. William Thomas’ half-brother, Edward, returned from Ducey, France, where the family were now living, to witness the marriage, along with Elizabeth Graham, one of Fanny’s’ sisters.

London Evening Standard 11 September 1837

In 1838, Charles and Hannah had their second child, another girl, Lavinia Hannah, again, born in India, and the following year they produced a son, Charles George, both of whom we will return to later.

It would be a just a few months later, on 17 January 1840, whilst living at 25 North Bank, London that William and Fanny had their one and only acknowledged child, Emily Helen perhaps taking her middle name Helen, as a nod to her maternal aunt.

Their little family appeared together on the 1841 census. Living with them, apart from their daughter Emily, was another child, the William Charles Graham, previously mentioned. Sadly the 1841 census was fairly basic and provided little information about family relationships, so no clues there, annoyingly.

By the end of 1841, Charles, still in India, had eventually been promoted to Major, but was subsequently reported to have been an invalid and no longer on active duty. In 1845 he retired on health grounds from the army. The family returned to England and set up home at 2 Lansdowne Villas, Kensington, before moving around 1851 to number 5 and eventually settling at number 10 Lansdowne Road. It would appear that poor health had been an issue for much of his career.

By the 1851 census, there was no sign of the William Graham living with William and Fanny, so it has to be assumed that he had been sent off to school somewhere. Later that year, William Thomas applied for a passport, so presumably he was he planning a trip over to Ducey, France, to sort out the estate of his late step mother, Jane née Holland, who had died in March. His father, John Daviniere having died several years previously.

The following year a report was published by the Select Committee on Indian Territories which showed that William Thomas was earning a good salary in his role in the Accounts Branch. His annual salary was noted as being £600, which equates to around £50,000 in today’s money.

In April 1860 Charles’ son, Charles George, aged 20, had joined the Civil Service as a temporary clerk. It seems clear that he would follow in his uncle’s footsteps rather than joining the army as his father had done.

According to the 1861 census William Charles Graham had reappeared back at the home of William Thomas, as their nephew and was working as a commercial clerk. If William Charles was their nephew, then who and where were his parents? Fanny had two siblings, Elizabeth and Helen Graham, neither of whom married. Could one of them have been his mother, but was presented for baptism by Charles and Fanny using Fanny’s maiden name? A mystery which may well never be solved.

That year, William Thomas’ published salary, having worked for 41 years, had risen to £900 per annum with an associated pension of £800 per annum. This would have left William Thomas and his family quite comfortably off. It was during that year that William Thomas retired. They were living at 18 Blomfield Road, Paddington, along with their daughter, Emily and William Charles Graham. The family had two employees, Anne Hoare, their cook/domestic servant and Jemima Lock, housemaid.

In May 1862 William Thomas was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society. Perhaps on retirement he had found a very enjoyable pastime. From the very helpful RHS Library staff we now know that:

Members, or Fellows as they were officially known from 1809, had to be proposed by three or more Fellows, and elected by ballot; the membership fee on admission was five guineas, with annual supplements of two guineas (raised to three in 1818). A Fellow could make a single payment of twenty guineas (raised to thirty in 1818), thereby becoming a Life Fellow. Such fees could only be afforded by the well-to-do.

Sadly, they hold no further information about his membership, so whether he only remained a member for the one year, or until his death, the records don’t tell us.

In addition to his work and hobbies, this he was also the company secretary of the Hendre DDU Slate and Slab Quarry Company in Wales.

We know very little about William Thomas’s family’s social life apart from one small mention in the Brighton Gazette, 6 April 1865, which refers to fashionable arrivals. This would indicate that Fanny, Emily and William Charles Graham went off to Brighton without William Thomas. They stayed at the Cavendish Mansion, a boarding house on Cavendish Place run by divorcee Mrs Mary Ann Wrench and her partner Julia Hely.

William Thomas died on 10 September 1867. His death certificate gave cause of death as paralysis for 5 years, 2nd attack, 2 years and final attack 3 hours.  The term paralysis could well have meant that he had suffered several strokes leading ultimately to his death. Present at his death and informant was not his wife, but William Charles Graham who was still living with the family at that time.

His death was followed just 18 months later by the death of his beloved wife, Fanny, the cause of death being attributed to ‘general decay commencing 5 years ago’ – a euphemism for old age, Fanny was 69. It sounds as if the couple suffered from poor health for the final years of their lives with no chance to enjoy their retirement.

William Thomas left a will in which he ensured that both his wife and daughter were provided for. Their ‘nephew’ William Charles Graham was provided for separately.

Tragically, their daughter Emily Helen, who inherited from her parents, was not to live much longer either and at the tender age of 30 died on 2 March 1870, whilst living at 13 Montpelier Road, Brighton where she was being cared for. The cause of death was given as a disease of the brain and extreme prostration. As Emily died intestate, her estate was administered by her uncle, Charles Daviniere.

Their nephew, if that’s what his relationship was to the family, William Charles Graham, a clerk, died a few weeks after Emily, on 10 September 1870 at the Middlesex hospital, exactly 3 years to the day after William Thomas died. Although not clear when he left the family home, he was living at 4 Upper Westbourne Terrace, Middlesex, until his demise. An inquest carried out by Edwin Lankster, determined the cause of death as being due to pneumonia, following an injury to his throat caused by a razor. His death was deemed to have been suicide, so it is highly unlikely that his true relationship to William Thomas Daviniere will never be known.

It makes you wonder what drove him to such an action. Was it that the rest of his family were dead, or had he found out that William and Fanny were his parents? Guesswork here, of course.

Clearly his demise was planned, as the day before his death he wrote his will, leaving it in part to his friend, Charles Davinier junior and also the Charles’ sister, Lavinia, along with the family servant, Anne Hoare, who had worked for Daviniere’s for a number of years and to his aunt Elizabeth who was living at 27 Thayer Street, Manchester Square, with her sister Helen, of whom he made no mention. Elizabeth died the following year and her sister Helen, was beneficiary of her will.

Therefore, within a three year period an entire branch of the Daviniere family was gone.  That left just Dido’s son Charles, his wife Hannah and their 2 children, Charles George and Lavinia Hannah.

In the midst of all this grief, Charles’ son, Charles George Daviniere, married Helen Marion Parkinson on 30 August 1870. Helen was the daughter of dental surgeon, James Parkinson who hailed from a long line of dentist/surgeons of Racquet Court, Fleet Street. Helen joined him at his home, 22 Addison Road, Kensington. A little under a year later, the first of their children, Charles Lindsay Frederick was born, followed a year later by their first daughter, Marion Julia.

Homeward Mail from India, China and the East 10 September 1870

In January 1873, Dido’s eldest son, Charles died after a long suffered illness affecting his lungs, leaving his widow, Hannah to survive on an army pension of just £196 per annum along with Charles’ estate, as sole beneficiary, apart from a few small items such as his watch which went to his son.

In June 1874, Charles George and Helen had another daughter, Eva.

On 4 May 1875, Charles senior’s daughter, Lavinia Hannah married Dr James Dickson Steele, the prison doctor at HMP Woking. It’s lovely to note that his brother, William Johnstone Steele and wife, Catherine gave birth to a son about the same time, who they named James Dickson Daviniere Steele, an acknowledgement of his brother and soon to be sister-in-law. However, this joy was to have been very short lived as their son only survived just four months, dying on 22 August 1875.

In January 1876, Charles George and Helen produced another daughter, Maud Florence Mary. More tragedy was just around the corner for the family, when Charles George’s sister, Lavinia Hannah died on 20 February 1876 aged just 37 from myeloma and purpura. Her death took place just ten days before after her mother, Hannah, wrote her will, appointing her son, Charles George Daviniere and her nephew, Francis Charles Bescoby, the son of her sister, Charlotte, as her trustees. She couldn’t possibly have been aware of what was to come, but she never amended her will after the death of her daughter, so the estate went to her son in its entirety when she died on 14 November 1883.  

In 1877, Charles George and Helen had a second son, Herbert Lionel, closely followed on 20 August 1878 by another son, Percy Angus. Sadly, shortly after his birth Herbert Lionel died. 

In 1880, the couple had another daughter, Maud Florence Mary. By the 1881 census this ever growing family moved to possibly a larger property at 15 Norland Square, Kensington. Three years later another child was born, Glady Annette Louis. The name Louis was perhaps a nod to her great grandfather, Dido’s husband, John Louis Daviniere.

Their final child, yet another Charles, this one being Charles Crawford, was born on 19 October 1886.

In 1895, their eldest son, Charles Lindsay Fredrick, always referred to, at least by his siblings, as Lindsay, set sail for South Africa as a sergeant in the army. Whilst there, in 1911 he met and married Lilian Raddrock and the couple had Harold Charles Bertrand Daviniere in 1913 who was to become Dido’s last surviving descendant.

Charles George Daviniere died on 16 January 1899, aged 59 at 54 Lansdowne Road, formerly of Addison Road. His estate was left solely to his wife Hannah. Hannah then moved to 15 Ladbrooke Square, Kensington.

What became of Charles George and Helen’s other children?

Percy Angus attended St Paul’s School, London until 1892 and died unmarried in 1904, just before his 26th birthday, and almost 100 years after the death of Dido Elizabeth Belle.  His death was registered by his mother, in London. The cause of death being phthisis (tuberculosis) and his estate such as it would have been, given his age, was left to his mother.

There is an entry for Percy Kelly’s Trade Directory 1904, the year he died, at Duxford, Cambridgeshire as what appears to be, the joint licensee of The Red Lion, Whittlesford Bridge, along with a Helmuth von Bühler, son of a captain of the German army. Despite this entry for The Red Lion, Percy was employed as a clerk in the Union Bank of Scotland, so it has to be assumed that he was in Cambridge briefly, perhaps somewhere to escape the smog of the city or perhaps he and Helmuth were business partners, since Helmut lived in nearby Norland Square.

In 1932, Charles George’s wife, Helen died.  Their second daughter, Eva never married. Itt would appear that she had been a language teacher, but by 1939 she was a patient in St Bernard’s’ hospital, Southall, a psychiatric hospital, where she remained until her death in 1946, aged 72.

Marion Julia, their first daughter, never married. In her 40’s she became involved with the Church League for Women’s Suffrage. She died on 29 February 1940, aged 67 and left her estate to her siblings Maud, Gladys and Lindsay and also in trust for Lindsay’s son, Harold Charles.

It is known that Charles Crawford attended the Sir John Gresham Grammar School at Holt, Norfolk for a couple of years from 1901-1903. As to what occupation he followed after leaving school is still to be uncovered. He died, unmarried, in 1937. He had been living at 9 Inkerman Terrace, Kensington with his sister Marion Julia.

He left £50 to be split equally between his brother Charles Lindsay, but should he be dead prior to this it should go directly to his wife Lillian and their son Harold, split equally. To Harold he left and additional £50. To his sister, Florence, he left her 2 shares in Army and Navy Stores, plus his gold cufflinks and is small signet ring.  To Marion, his large signet ring and pearl pin. To Maud his amethyst tie pin and onyx studs and buttons. To Gladys £100 a pair of cuff links and a small French clock.  To her husband Charles Pletts £10 and his silver wine taster and silver wine strainer. Apart from a few gifts to friends, the remainder of his estate was to be sold and the money split between his siblings, with the exception of Eva. Her share was to be used by the trustees for her benefit, so we can only assume this was because she was deemed mentally incapacitated by this time.

Gladys Annette married an army officer, Charles Menham Pletts and died in 1958, but the couple had no children, so her line died out with her.

In 1911, Maud was working as a school matron at the South Acton Day Nursery which had opened in 1908 in the poorest part of Acton. The post of matron was funded by Norland who have very kindly confirmed that Maud began her training there in December 1895 and awarded the Norland Institute certificate on 9 December 1896, so they would have had a hand in appointing Maud to this post. By 1939 she was described as being a retired welfare worker and again, unmarried. Maud died in 1970 at Smiles Home for Invalid Ladies, Maybury Hill, Woking. Her will made provision for her nephew, Harold Charles and several cousins, who appear to be to have been related to her sister, Gladys’s husband side of the family.

Charles Lindsay’s son, Harold Charles Bertram Daviniere was in the army as a private, during WWII, and was a prisoner of war in Stalag 342, Lamsdorf, Poland from 1942.

After the war he returned to South Africa and married an Elma Beeton in 1949, in South Africa, where he worked as a motor mechanic and lived at 1 Doreen Court, 68 Garden Street, Rosettenville, Johannesburg. He left an estate worth 4,750 rand, which, at the time of writing this equates to about £250. He and his wife had no children. Elma died shortly after her husband.

Therefore, the story of Dido Elizabeth Belle began with her mother Maria Belle, a slave and ended on 17 February 1975 in South Africa, with Dido’s great-great-grandson a former prisoner of war.

If this piece whetted your appetite to find out more about Dido, you will find more articles here on All Things Georgian by clicking on this highlighted link.

This will be the last post until September as I’m taking a summer break, but I’ll return early September with more stories from the 18th century. Enjoy the summer everyone and stay safe.

Sources

City of Westminster Archives Centre; London, England; Westminster Church of England Parish Registers; Reference: CCDS/PR/3/4

University of London; London, England; The East India Register and Directory for 1826 Mason, A.W. and Brown, G.H.; Reference Number: Rb1696511 1826

 Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Series PROB 11; Class: PROB 11; Piece: 1665

London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; London Church of England Parish Registers; Reference Number: P89/MRY1/035

London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; London Church of England Parish Registers; Reference Number: P89/CTC/064

London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; London Church of England Parish Registers; Reference Number: P89/MRY1/101

London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; London Church of England Parish Registers; Reference Number: P89/CTC/049

Class: HO107; Piece: 678; Book: 2; Civil Parish: St Marylebone; County: Middlesex; Enumeration District: 2; Folio: 12; Page: 18; Line: 12; GSU roll: 438794

Class: HO107; Piece: 1491; Folio: 546; Page: 29; GSU roll: 87819-87820

Class: HO107; Piece: 1468; Folio: 791; Page: 53; GSU roll: 87790-87791

Class: RG 9; Piece: 14; Folio: 156; Page: 22; GSU roll: 542556

Class: RG 9; Piece: 5; Folio: 66; Page: 7; GSU roll: 542554

London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; Reference Number: DL/T/041/038

London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; Reference Number: DL/T/041/035

1871 England Census; Class: RG10; Piece: 38; Folio: 46; Page: 5; GSU roll: 838761

London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; Reference Number: DL/T/041/037

Deceased Online; United Kingdom; Deceased Online Burial Indexes (Emily Helen Daviniere)

London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; Reference Number: DL/T/041/038

* Etienne Daly is of the opinion that William Thomas was born on 17 December 1800 as noted on his grave and that the baptism record of 26 January 1800 must therefore be incorrect, this would mean that William Thomas couldn’t have been baptised in January 1800 and that the date of birth on his gravestone must be the correct one. His death certificate, however, confirms his age at death as 67 i.e. born either at the end of 1799 or the beginning of 1800. He also notes that William Thomas was baptised on 26 January 1802, although there is no supporting evidence for this in the baptism registers. The census returns give his estimated age as – 40 in 1841, 50 in 1851 and 60 in 1861, so it leave a slight mystery as to which information was correct.

Guest post by Alice McVeigh ‘Susan: A Jane Austen Prequel’

This week I am delighted to welcome another guest to All Things Georgian. Today’s guest is Alice McVeigh, a London ghost writer and professional cellist, who has spent over fifteen years performing with orchestras including the BBC Symphony and the Royal Philharmonic.

Her first two novels were published to acclaim by Orion, marketed as ‘The secret life of a symphony orchestra’. Her latest book, Susan: A Jane Austen Prequel, was released just a couple of weeks ago and has already been rated 10 stars out of 10 by Publishers Weekly’s BookLife Prize.

With that introduction, I’ll hand over to Alice to tell you more about her new book and the music in the era of Jane Austen.

As Lady Catherine de Bourgh decrees in my own new novel:

‘In my opinion, every gentlewoman should be able to ride, to embroider, and to play tolerably on the pianoforte. To play too well on the pianoforte, however, might be considered vulgar.’

Music features in all Jane Austen’s works – one recalls Mary Crawford’s entrancing harp, Marianne Dashwood’s ‘magnificent concerto’ – the one enabling Elinor and Lucy Steele to speak without being overheard – not to mention Jane Fairfax’s effortlessly superior performances in Emma

On a less-exalted level, everyone remembers the Pride and Prejudice scene in which Elizabeth Bennet’s sister Mary tests the patience of the company to exhaustion-point. While Austen’s Lady Susan wrote of her daughter:

‘I want her to play and sing with some portion of taste and a good deal of assurance, as she has my hand and arm and a tolerable voice. I was so much indulged in my infant years that I was never obliged to attend to anything, and consequently am without the accomplishments which are now necessary to finish a pretty woman.’ 

Music, drawing etc. – even foreign languages, to some degree – were often regarded in such a manner: not as a means of personal enjoyment or as an artistic end in themselves, but as props deployed to display the daughters of the house to greatest advantage. Brides apparently often abandoned music upon marriage – it’s impossible not to imagine with some level of relief.  (As Mrs Elton observed sententiously to Emma Woodhouse, “… for married women, you know–there is a sad story against them, in general. They are but too apt to give up music.”)

As for the London music masters, most were barely scraping a living. It’s hard not to feel sorry for them. And yet, without teaching young ladies (more occasionally, young gentlemen) these music masters’ finances would have been rocky indeed. Beethoven himself was obliged to teach young Hungarian countesses, with whom he was – being Beethoven – occasionally presumptuous enough to fall in love… (One such instance was explored in Jessica Duchen’s novel Immortal, based on Beethoven’s famous letter to his “Immortal beloved…”)

In my own Jane Austen prequel,there is the following exchange between the sharp-elbowed Susan and her erstwhile music master.

Still accompanying another young lady, he said, very softly, without troubling to look up, ‘And so, Miss Smithson, we were betrayed.’

‘I did nothing wrong, yet it was I who was sent away.’

He glanced up then, with that strangely attractive smile – the smile that had first persuaded her that he was not, in fact, so very plain. As his fingers moved over the ivory keys, he asked, ‘And do you regret your expulsion, Miss Smithson?’

‘I do not.’

‘Of course not, for you were no more allowed to be your true self in that place than Mrs Ansruther’s spaniel… I presume that you do not wish to exhibit?’

‘Not in the least.’

‘Then I will shield you. But I beg, once you come into your kingdom, that you remember me.’

Flustered, Susan longed to say that she was in no need of shielding, but she did not dare. As for remembering him ‘once she came into her kingdom,’ she understood the implied compliment – that she might become a person of influence. She understood too the sadness in his tone, though only moments later he was light-heartedly castigating another of his charges. (‘My dear Miss Drayton, be so good as to count your rests!’) But he was true to his word, and, when the cry went up for more young lady performers and ‘Miss Smithson’ was named, Mr Maggini said, ‘Nay, for she has injured her finger. Miss Clara, perhaps you might charm us with an air?’

British Museum

In terms of instruments, the pianoforte and voice were most often preferred, but the harp was considered ladylike, and there were isolated cases of the violin being chosen – though the instrument possessed connotations of devilishness, and its shape seemed too suggestive for some.

Another alternative was the newly designed harp-lute, whose inventor, Edward Light, taught it to Princess Charlotte, and paid for its production. There was quite a vogue for the harp-lute during the Regency period. These apparently sounded rather harp-like (and, presumably, lute-ish) but were delicate, decorative and small enough to hold on one’s lap.

And then there was the repertoire.

Unpretentious little tunes – such as ‘Robin Adair’ – the song Frank Churchill teased Miss Fairfax about in Emma – were generally favoured over more earnest and difficult works. In Susan, I have Miss Caroline Johnson – a good-natured young heiress – struggling woefully with a sonata by Dussek:

Thus, Susan was at least partly prepared, after supper, to find Frank Churchill proposing that they stroll to her favourite spot, as Caroline was rashly embarking on her Dussek sonata.

They left, pursued by the sound of fingers falling with dogged persistence on ivory keys. Once outside, he added, ‘I am grateful. Otherwise, the Dussek might have been the death of me!’

‘I’m sure I should play it no better. Rather worse if anything.’

‘You would have the very good sense not to play it at all.’

‘I suppose it to be rather a compliment – Were the Cuthbert’s here, Miss Johnson would have confined herself to her well-trodden songs and airs.’

‘If so, it is a compliment I could willingly dispense with. I would rather hear young Miss Laura at her scales!’ They paused, to admire the scudding clouds in the half-light, then he said, ‘Miss Smithson, I asked you a question yesterday that you were denied the chance to answer. I asked whether you might one day like me better than “well enough”.’

Susan laughed. ‘Oh, that must be evident to everybody! Why, at this very moment, we are probably the talk of the place!’

Susan, however, used music to her own advantage – particularly when Lady Catherine requests that she read to her:

Now Susan had a low, pretty voice and natural discretion in the use of it. Lady Catherine had only once to object that she spoke too low for her to discover the pace and pitch most grateful to her ear. Of course, the book was wearisome, and the room overheated, but she read until she noticed her ladyship nodding off – at which she could not wonder – then she scraped the heel of her boot upon the floor.

Lady Catherine started, saying, ‘Nay, I was not asleep. You should take care not to sink your tone at the end of a section, Miss Smithson. Now, be so good as to play to me upon the pianoforte.’

Susan seated herself at the instrument, recalling an early work by Corri, which she had recently memorised. Lady Catherine beat time with her forefinger throughout and at its conclusion announced that she had always been devoted to Haydn. But when Susan enquired whether she might like another air, she said, ‘No. You may go, Miss Smithson – but come tomorrow at half-past two, to read to me again.’

Susan, hiding her dancing eyes, promised to attend her with the greatest pleasure…

As a professional cellist myself, I grieve that the cello was considered insufficiently decorous for a lady in the early 1800s. Worse, women were not allowed to perform in orchestras, whichever instrument they chose, though Austen does hint in Emma that Jane Fairfax’s unusual musical brilliance might have made her even more employable as a governess…

It’s a terrible thought: the elegant Miss Fairfax toiling over Miss Sophia’s pianoforte studies and Miss Maria’s vocal scales…

What a good thing it is that it never happened!

John O’Keeffe (1747-1833), the blind playwright

I love introducing new guests to All Things Georgian and I’m excited to welcome Lynda O’Keeffe, researcher, writer and storyteller, today to tell us about John O’Keeffe (1747-1833), the blind playwright.

As her name denotes, she is a descendant of John O’Keeffe. Lynda has spent over eight years researching the life and works of this extraordinary man and with that she can safely say that she knows this man, everything from his favourite meal to the ribbons in his hair. The object of her research is that his story must be told, his life and experiences are as relevant today as in the 18th century. 

Lynda has worked as a literary and creative arts agent – representing actors, musicians and writers. With a passion for theatre, obviously in the blood, the writing of The Blind Playwright is her first major foray into writing – an experience she says could be likened to an assault course! Finding herself on the other side of the fence, she sought out a writer that she both respects and admires, attended his workshops and now states firmly and unabashedly that without the encouragement and expertise of Niall Williams (author of This is HappinessFour Letters of Love, etc.), she would not have had the confidence to embark on The Blind Playwright.  Her writing has enabled her to escape the uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic to dash through the streets of 18th-century London, privy to O’Keeffe’s many amusing anecdotes and cavorting with some of his famous friends including R.B. Sheridan, Charles Macklin, Elizabeth Inchbald and Dorothea Jordan. 

With her confidence bolstered, Lynda’s labours have now come to fruition with the completion of a historical novel based on his life, a play script of O’Keeffe’s life, the reworking of one of his previously unperformed plays and the transformation of several of his comedic poems into a story and play script. Her research has also earned her the support of academic institutions around the world including Trinity College Dublin and London Metropolitan University and national institutions include National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery Dublin and the Fitzwilliam Museum. 

You can join Lynda on her Instagram page and find out more about her ancestor there: the_blind_playwright

National Portrait Gallery

18th century London was never going to be an easy place for a blind Irish playwright to prosper and thrive …

Introducing John O’Keeffe, a man who in his own time needed no introduction at all – the most prolific and significant playwright of the 18th century. With works including operas, comedic farces and poetry, he could be called the Andrew Lloyd Webber of Georgian theatre.  John O’Keeffe’s story is one of survival and success in the face of adversity. He was born in Abbey Street, Dublin on 24th June 1747 into an affluent Catholic family; his father held an office of Prerogative and was a descendant of the Kings of Ireland.  Being born into a life of privilege ensured a fine education, so John attended school in Dublin and soon became a Classics scholar proficient in four languages. Upon his parents’ own desire for their sons to become artists, John and his brother Daniel were sent to the Royal Academy of Art in the city. John’s skill with a paintbrush led to numerous commissions in both portraiture and landscape, but little did he foresee that the observational skills he learnt at the RAA would in the future be his treasured and most invaluable tools. 

National Gallery Ireland, Dublin. Item Number 1810

In 1761, John visited London and upon seeing David Garrick perform was mightily impressed. Unbeknown to the fourteen-year-old John, this was to be the catalyst behind his life choices. He went on to study at Trinity College Dublin, a bright young man with a character described as forever merry and good hearted. He was the life and soul of the party with a fine singing voice, a quick humour and a kindly disposition, and he was considered a man of principles. By this time he was already a published writer, flooding the newspaper editors’ desks with his poetry and amusing stories, forever using the pseudonyms of his classical heroes – Democritus was a favourite.  

After completing his education, John decided upon a career change and became an actor, a strolling player travelling the length and breadth of Ireland. However, after a raucous night out with friends in Dublin, the twenty-two-year old thespian fell into the River Liffey, a watery accident that resulted in a rapid deterioration of his sight, with complete blindness setting in some eight years later. 

THE SHE GALLANT by John O’Keeffe published 1767 for Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin. Credit: Collection of L.A. O’KEEFFE  Photo Credit: L.A. O’KEEFFE

With his acting career now thwarted, the indefatigable John turned his skills to playwrighting. His first play, The She Gallant, became a roaring success in Dublin, and he and his young family decamped to London to find fame and fortune. 

London soon recognised John’s brilliance and he became one of the most prolific and significant playwrights of the 18th century, writing for the Theatre Royals of Covent Garden and the Haymarket. His portfolio totalled above seventy-nine pieces, and between 1778 and 1798 fifty-seven of his plays, amounting to over two thousand performances, were performed on the London stages. 

He was the epitome of celebrity, enjoying royal patronage from King George III and the royal family, and lauded and praised by his illustrious friends and peers, including Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Sarah Siddons, Charles Macklin, Elizabeth Inchbald, Kane O’Hara, William Shield and Oliver Goldsmith. The finest actors, actresses and musicians of the 18th century performed in his works, with Dorothea Jordan, William Lewis, Ann Catley, Michael Leoni and Mrs Powell to be found on the cast lists. He was adored and courted by both society and the public. 

Theatre Royal Covent Garden. Photo by L.A. O’KEEFFE. Print exhibited at The Queens Gallery, George IV Art and Spectacle 2019

But while John’s career was rising to exalted heights, his personal life was crashing down around him. His professional and private lives were on a collision course, and despite reaching the pinnacle of success as a writer, he was ravaged by tragedy and loss. If losing his sight at age thirty was not enough, his first child Gerald died in infancy, his marriage to Mary (née Heaphy) failed, he lost another son Henry at age ten years, and his brother Daniel died in 1787. The final nail in this ‘mental crucifixion’ was the death of his eldest son, the Reverend John Tottenham, at the age of 28 years.  

Throughout all these tragedies, with his daughter Adelaide as scribe, John continued in his work, turning out operas, farces and poetry to enchant and amuse his audiences – even whilst his own heart had been blown wide open. A quote from his memoirs, Recollections of the Life of John O’Keeffe, displays his actions behind his broken human heart: 

The effort to be envied, rather than pitied, often proves a successful stimulus to the greatest actions of human life.’

Portrait of Mrs John O’ Keefe, Wife of the Artist. National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin

John’s blindness was a major contributing factor to many of his personality traits, influencing how he reacted to the events that befell him. His character could change in the blink of an eye; from being introverted and often reclusive, he would almost instantly become exuberant and flamboyant. He suffered with bouts of depression, anxiety and vulnerability, yet demonstrated confidence and enthusiasm when putting pen to paper and creating his theatrical masterpieces. The theatre was his Utopia. And even while beset with his own tragedies, this man of principles maintained a strong social conscience. He was a champion and advocate for gender equality, female authorship and the abolition of slavery – and he never missed an opportunity to express his own thoughts through his work. His example in and commitment to socio-political issues remain as relevant to modern times and resonate loudly with current equality movements and issues of modern slavery and human trafficking, immigration and world poverty. From the many pieces John wrote, the most famous over time has been Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp. In 1788 (pre-dating Disney by over 230 years) John dramatised the story of Aladdin as a harlequinade, with its first performance on the stage of the Theatre Royal Covent Garden – it having had resounding worldwide success since. 

Zoe Wanamaker in the RSC’s production of ‘Wild Oats’
Photo credit:www.zoewanamaker.com photo by Reg Wilson

John’s play Wild Oats, first performed in 1791, remains a popular choice with modern theatre companies: hugely successful productions were staged in 1976 by the Royal Shakespeare Company, with a cast including Zoë Wanamaker, in 1997 by the National Theatre, and in 2012 by the Bristol Old Vic. 

Credit: Collection of L.A. O’KEEFFE. Photo Credit: L.A. O’KEEFFE

On this note, I will end John’s story with a review of the RSC production by Bernard Levin: 

‘With ”Wild Oats” the RSC have struck gold and oil at once, and rubies and diamonds to the utmost profusion, mingled with vintage champagne, lightly chilled, caviar is there…A farce by an altogether forgotten Irish born man of the theatre.’ 

John O’Keeffe died in Southampton on 4th February 1833 in poverty, with only four people attending his funeral, somewhat forgotten too at the end of his own life after so many years feted in the spotlight. Remember him next time you see the posters going up for a Christmas production of Aladdin.

Monsieur Garnerin and his maiden balloon flight in England

I came across a story to share with you from the Star, 29 June 1802 which described Monsieur Garnerin’s first flight in England ,although I had read that his first flight didn’t take place until 21 September 1802, but perhaps it was, that on that occasion he made the first parachute jump.

800px-André-Jacques_Garnerin_by_Edward_Hawke_Locker_1802

A group of people/party-goers known as the Pic Nics made the news on a regular basis around this time. The group included the likes of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, Duchesses of Manchester and Gordon, Leeds amongst many others, all carefully named by the newspaper, in order of their social status.

Weather-wise, June would usually be regarded as an ideal time to meet up and enjoy an outdoor party and so at about two o’clock in the afternoon, the Regatta began with about forty of them began their party along the Thames from Whitehall stairs in large pleasure barges sailing to Ranelagh pleasure gardens. Accompanying the party goers was another boat with a very large band of wind instruments and other pleasure barges filled with ‘people of distinction’.

The Pic-Nic Orchestra Gillray MetMuseum

The Pic-Nic Orchestra Gillray. MetMuseum

Sadly, the weather was not quite as good as it could have been, but poor weather wasn’t going to spoil their fun. They reached Ranelagh stairs about an hour later, after encountering a very strong ebb tide and a very strong breeze from the South West and  were saluted on landing, with a volley from the soldiers on duty in the gardens.

The Interior of the Rotunda, Ranelagh, London; Canaletto
The Interior of the Rotunda, Ranelagh, London; Canaletto; Compton Verney

The breakfast, as it was described, consisted of all the delicacies of the season. The wines were not only abundant but of the best quality. Those who came with guinea tickets were admitted to the gallery of the rotunda below, at tables equally well supplied. But the principal attraction was the ascension of Monsieur Jacques Garnerin in his small balloon. This was to be his first flight in this country, and he later went on to make several more during his visit.

About four o’clock the company left the breakfast tables and retired to the garden to watch the event. The Pic Nics contracted Garnerin to take to the air by paying him 500 guineas. Captain Snowden, a member of the group, agreed to accompany him and it was said that he had a wager with someone of 200 guineas to take part in this. Sadly, the article omits to tell us who the other party was.

André Jacques Garnerin descending from a balloon by parachute in a field near St Pancras Church British Museum

A later image of André Jacques Garnerin descending from a balloon by parachute in a field near St Pancras Church British Museum

This proved to be quite a spectacle. The figure and proportions of the balloon was described as:

grand and beautiful, it’s colours were alternate sections of dark green and yellow, The vessel that contained the materials from which the gas was generated the tubes by which it was conveyed to the balloon, the most minute part of the instruments, and the process were examined with the most particular attention that wonder and curiosity could excite.  

Whilst the audience were waiting in the garden for the ascent, they were entertained with several excellent pieces of music by the band who had attended on the river. The balloon had been filling since about nine in the morning, and a few minutes before five it was deemed sufficiently filled and ready to ascend. Monsieur Garnerin stepped into the car under the balloon. A lady of the party tried to persuade Captain Snowden not to go, but her please fell on deaf ears. After a brief period making final adjustments, the balloon was ready. Initially, it wouldn’t lift as Garnerin had hope, so he threw out some of the extra ballast, which immediately solved the problem.

Three signal guns were fired for his ascent and just as the balloon was rising Captain Snowden sat down, but Garnerin insisted he stood otherwise it could prove fatal. The balloon ascended in the most majestic manner, amidst the onlookers numbering by now about a thousand who were assembled in the garden. The car was richly decorated with flags of different nations in honour of the Peace of Amiens.

Immense crowds were assembled in Battersea fields, the upper part of Millbank, Tothill Fields, Chelsea and Pimlico; every window, every house top, every tree was filled. Chelsea gardens were crowded, the river was covered with boats, while on the banks on both side, an every avenue from town towards Ranelagh were thronged. The great road from Buckingham gate was absolutely impassable, or at least the carriages which formed an unbroken chain from the Turnpike to Ranelagh door, could only advance so slowly that many preferred to get out and struggle through the amassed crowd.

The newspaper assured its readers that:

No balloon that ever before went up, took a course so directly over London from West to East. It passed over the Five Fields, part of the Park, Pall-Mall, Charing Cross, the Strand, Fleet Street, Ludgate Hill, St Paul’s churchyard and could be distinctly seen above every street.

Every shop was totally deserted as everyone had taken to the streets to watch. Monsieur Garnerin could be distinctly seen waving the flags, and at one time he came down very low and threw out yet more ballast, rapidly ascended and disappeared behind a cloud. Soon after this it began to rain, but this did not deter Garnerin and his fellow passenger and thy travelled on to Colchester, Essex, 51 miles from London, in just a few hours, where they landed without any accident.

Those left at Ranelagh were refreshed with tea, coffee and an excellent cold meal, most leaving Ranelagh sometime around seven in the evening. A large party of the light horse and foot guards were stationed in all directions leading to Ranelagh to keep the peace and watch out for pickpockets.

Joanna Southcott (1750-1814), religious prophetess

Joanna was born in 1750 and presented for baptism at the local parish church, Ottery St Mary, Devon, by parents William and Hannah on 6th June 1750. If you look to the left of the entry in the baptismal register, you’ll see a faint, handwritten notation which was added at some time. Someone has written the words ‘The Fanatic’.

If you’ve never come across Joanna before, she held very strong religious convictions and in her early 40’s began to experience apocalyptic dreams and visitations. She believed that she possessed supernatural gifts and wrote prophecies in rhyme. She claimed to be the Woman of the Apocalypse referenced in a prophetic passage of the book of Revelations, Chapter 12, verses 1-6 and that she was destined to have a son who would be the new Messiah or Shiloh (Genesis, Chapter 49, verse 10).

Over time, Joanna acquired a large following who believed in her prophecies, so much so that she began selling paper ‘seals of the Lord’ at prices varying from twelve shillings to a guinea. The seals were supposed to ensure the owners of such would receive eternal life. Joanna became so popular that she was persuaded to leave her home in Devon and move to London.

British Museum
British Museum

At the age of 64, Joanna announced that she was pregnant, and it was an immaculate conception. The child was to be born on 19 October 1814 and needless to sy there was a media frenzy awaiting the birth of this child, but of course much of her prophecies were viewed with a degree of scepticism.

19 October 1814 came and went, but Joanna was growing ever larger, so people believed that the birth of the child was imminent.

The Statesman of 28 November 1814 reported that her state of health had changed:

On Thursday night, she complained of great oppression insomuch, that she could not lay down on her bed, nor be in one posture, but a very short time together during the night. On Friday morning, she got some sleep, but wakened frequently, with the oppression and pain. Towards the evening she became restless again, had a very bad night and this day (Saturday is so much exhausted, that she cannot keep her head off the pillow. She complains of a giddiness in her head, and extreme faintness all over her and general pains all over. This is the state she is in at present, some change must soon take place, according to all human understanding, as she continues without taking nourishment, except the wine, which does not remain long on her stomach.

Her condition deteriorated and still no sign of the child until about 27 December 1814, when she died, with her Chief Priest Tozer and her close friend, Ann Underwood along with two or three unnamed people at her bedside.

Spirits at work- Joanna conceiving- ie- blowingup Shiloh. British Museum
Spirits at work- Joanna conceiving- i.e.- blowing up Shiloh. British Museum

The Examiner 8 January 1815 carried a detailed report titled Death and Dissection of the Prophetess. Just prior to her death it was said that she became insensible, but her supporters continued to believe that he wasn’t dying, but that it was merely a precursor to giving birth. A surgeon, Mr Want, of Tottenham Court Road was made aware of Joanna’s condition some seven weeks prior to her demise. He stated that the symptoms she displayed should be examined independent of the question of reputed pregnancy. He concluded from his examination that there was no pregnancy, but that she would die from her illness, but that he could give her medication to help ease her suffering and to ‘relieve the flatulency of which she was oppressed’. In order to ensure that Joanna’s carer, Ann Underwood was under no illusion that her friend would recover or that she was pregnant, the doctor wisely put his view to Ann in writing, urging her to ensure that Joanna took the medicine he had prescribed. He also noted that Joanna declined any medicine unless The Lord told her she should take it.

Joanna’s supporters believed that Joanna would appear as dead for a period of four days, she would then be revived, and the boy would be born, so her body was not allowed to be moved for burial during this period. They simply believed that she was ‘gone for a while’ and wrapped her body in blankets, put bottles of hot water around her feet and kept the room warm.

Crowds of her supporters gathered in Manchester Street to await her resurrection, all constantly asking for news. Far from waking up after the four-day period, decomposition rapidly began, aided by the heat.

Two surgeons carried out the dissection and as they anticipated, no unborn child was found, her uterine organs were healthy, however, her intestines were distended and flatulent which they believed to be the cause of her appearing pregnant. The cause of death was recorded as ‘natural’.

Joanna Southcott. British Museum
Joanna Southcott. British Museum

Before Joanna died, she advised Ann Underwood that if the child wasn’t born, that all the gifts given by her followers, for the use of the Shiloh, including a crib were to be returned to them. Joanna left a will, in which she left small financial gifts along with her wearing apparel to named followers, her will contains over two full pages of names in a list along with the item to be given to them.

Following her death there was a media frenzy, describing her as a ‘wicked woman’ taking money from people under false pretences. She was also described as a scandalous  and deluded.

The Caledonian Mercury, 31 December 1814, contained a letter which confirmed that Joanna had died at four o’clock in the morning, 27 December 1814 and was buried on 2nd January 1815 at St Marylebone.

Joanna was also said to have a left a chest containing prophecies which was only to be opened at a time of national crisis or danger and in the presence of all the Bishops of the Church of England.

Quite where this box is now I’m not quite sure, and there appears to be no mention of such an item in her will. I have read that it was at some time been deposited at the British Museum, but that it has now been lost. It’s also said to be with a member of the family and but perhaps the most likely place being that in 1957 it was presented to the Panacea Society that it remains with them, in a house which is now a museum in Bedford.

Featured Image

The Imposter, or Obstetric Dispute. British Museum

18th Century Song, guest post by erAto

It’s always lovely to welcome guests to All Things Georgian and today I’m welcoming back the author, erAto who writes historic 18th century fiction, who will share with us information about 18th century songs.

My Exenchester Series is a dark and lurid take on the Georgian Era. In a world inspired by Old Bailey transcripts and by unusual authors like Thomas de Quincey, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and the Marquis de Sade, sex, crime and death are lurking everywhere.

 The series consists of two novels and a short story. Within their haunting plotlines there is also a connection to another topic of 18th century interest: popular music. Some might think that this is an odd combination — gritty gothic noir and Georgian era songs — but let us take a look at the music of the Exenchester series and see how this all aligns.

STEPS OF THE MALEFACTOR & DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN

Gothic horror meets splatterpunk in Steps of the Malefactor. Giving the backstory of Francis Exenchester via his relationship with footman William Roxby, these two young men find themselves caught up in a “knot” of sex offenders. During what is likely the story’s most brutal scene, one character, Blore, spontaneously bursts into song: Down Among the Dead Men.

Here’s a health to the King and a lasting peace

To faction an end, to wealth increase.

Come, let us drink it while we have breath,

For there’s no drinking after death.

And he that will this health deny,

Down among the dead men, down among the dead men,

Down, down, down, down;

Down among the dead men let him lie!

Let charming beauty’s health go round,

With whom celestial joys are found.

And may confusion yet pursue,

That selfish woman-hating crew.

And he who’d woman’s health deny,

Down among the dead men, down among the dead men,

Down, down, down, down;

Down among the dead men let him lie!

In smiling Bacchus’ joys I’ll roll,

Deny no pleasure to my soul.

Let Bacchus’ health round briskly move,

For Bacchus is a friend to Love;

And they that would this health deny,

Down among the dead men, down among the dead men,

Down, down, down, down;

Down among the dead men let him lie!

May love and wine their rights maintain,

And their united pleasures reign.

While Bacchus’ treasure crowns the board,

We’ll sing the joy that both afford.

And they that won’t with us comply,

Down among the dead men, down among the dead men,

Down, down, down, down;

Down among the dead men let them lie!

Charles Mackay, in his collection of English folk songs, notes that this song’s composition is attributed to a “Mr. Dyer” (posited by some to be John Dyer) and said to have been first performed at the theatre at Lincoln’s-Inn-Fields.

The first publication is said to be from 1728 in a book called The Dancing Master, though it also appears in a slightly different, crasser form, in Scottish author Allan Ramsay’s Tea-Table Miscellany around the same time.

A circa 1740 broadside has yet another variant, and even crasser than Ramsay’s. The nature of folk songs means the tunes and lyrics are a bit unstable, for there was a time when one couldn’t rely on a recording to play the song back identically ad infinitum.

These old folk tunes tended to be communicated orally; and the transmission relies on the memory of the performer and on said performer’s own artistic take on the song. So it was that popular songs lived and mutated as they were passed along.

Best known as a drinking song, ‘Down Among the Dead Men’ has an implication in its lyrics of a person who is “dead drunk” — and this sometimes guessed to be the meaning of the “dead men” in the song.

Nevertheless, the patriotic note to the lyrics does suggest real animosity may be intended towards those who won’t drink to the King and Queen. It actually has a feel of the 17th century “Rump Songs” about it, and if it was already being collected by Ramsay as a folk song in the 1720s, the John Dyer attribution seems unlikely (or at least, it was not by the famous John Dyer who was born in 1699).

The appearance of this song in Steps of the Malefactor was actually my own tribute to David Lynch and his disturbing use of popular songs in the movie Blue Velvet. Certain verses in particular seemed appropriate to the characters in the story, and to their evil intentions, particularly when removed from context.

MOLLY BRAZEN & YOUTH’S THE SEASON MADE FOR JOYS

In the mirthful drama Molly Brazen, Annabelle the sex worker is baffled by the behavior and appearance of her young client, who seems to not actually want to have any sex; and as she interrogates him to discover his reasons why, his answers just get weirder and weirder.

The story was written as a promo piece for The Virgin and the Bull, but hints at many events from the then-to-be-written Steps of the Malefactor.

Technically, Molly Brazen contains no songs. However, the title of the story is reference to a sex worker character from The Beggar’s Opera, as well as a play on the old word for a homosexual (strictly speaking, molly is the 18th century equivalent of sissy).

In The Beggar’s Opera, there is only one song in which Molly Brazen would have participated: Youth’s the Season Made for Joys.

Youth’s the season made for joys,

Love is then our duty;

She alone who that employs,

Well deserves her beauty.

Let’s be gay,

While we may,

Beauty’s a flower despis’d in decay.

Let us drink and sport to-day,

Ours is not tomorrow.

Love with youth flies swift away,

Age is nought but sorrow.

Dance and sing,

Time’s on the wing,

Life never knows the return of spring.

As with all songs from The Beggar’s Opera, author John Gay wrote the lyrics himself, but set them to an existing melody. In this case the song used was merely called “cotillion” — perhaps just an instrumental dance piece for which he created words. In the surrounding dialogue it’s referred to as a “French tune.”

The setting for this performance in The Beggar’s Opera is in a whorehouse, as is too the entire story Molly Brazen. There is consequently a bit of irony in its verses on fleeting love and hurrying to “drink and sport” as, like waiters at a restaurant table, the whores surely want to move along to their next client. 

THE VIRGIN AND THE BULL & SWEET WILLIAM

Though a man of science, hero Charles Macgregor shows a great interest in poetry and literature, which proves to be what binds him to the gorgeous but troublesome Constance Fawkes. The tragic noir romance of The Virgin and the Bull opens with Macgregor’s suicide note, in which he quotes some lines from a song that is stuck in his head as he prepares himself for death.

Macgregor’s tune is a version of a song known variously as Sweet William, Sweet William’s Ghost, Lady Margaret, My Willie-O, Lament of the Border Widow, or simply nowadays as Child Ballad 77.

Francis James Child has seven versions of Sweet William in his original collection of popular ballads (of which it is the 77th entry). Some versions of this song are more or less cheerful in content, some have a more or less Scottish dialect to them, some are longer or shorter, some particular details get changed, but there is typically something consistent enough to make it a recognizable version of a single song. The Sweet William songs involve a woman (often called Margaret) receiving a visit from the ghost of her lover (usually called William or Willie) who has died while away from her. William’s promise to marry Margaret has gone unfulfilled, and he either wishes to fulfil the promise or be freed from it, so he may rest in peace.

Child’s oldest version of the ballad dates to 1740, via a later edition of Allan Ramsay’s Tea Table Miscellany.

However, in Child’s introduction he speculates it’s a variant of a song he can trace to 17th century in Scandinavian sources. The Virgin and the Bull’s Charles Macgregor uses a version similar to that found in Jamieson’s Popular Ballads of 1806 (though in which version the tragic hero is named “Clerk Saunders”).

When seven years were come and gane,

Lady Margaret she thought lang;

And she is up to the hichest tower,

By the lee licht o the moon.

She was lookin oer her castle high,

To see what she might fa,

And there she saw a grieved ghost,

Comin waukin oer the wa.

‘O are ye a man of mean,’ she says,

‘Seekin ony o my meat?

Or are you a rank robber,

Come in my bower to break?’

‘O I’m Clerk Saunders, your true-love,

Behold, Margaret, and see,

And mind, for a’ your meikle pride,

Sae will become of thee.’

‘Gin ye be Clerk Saunders, my true-love,

This meikle marvels me;

O wherein is your bonny arms,

That wont to embrace me?’

‘By worms they’re eaten, in mools they’re rotten,

Behold, Margaret, and see,

And mind, for a’ your mickle pride,

Sae will become o thee.’

‘O, bonny, bonny sang the bird,

Sat on the coil o hay;

But dowie, dowie was the maid

That followd the corpse o clay.

‘Is there ony room at your head, Saunders?

Is there ony room at your feet?

Is there ony room at your twa sides,

For a lady to lie and sleep?’

‘There is nae room at my head, Margaret,

As little at my feet;

There is nae room at my twa sides,

For a lady to lie and sleep.

‘But gae hame, gae hame now, May Margaret,

Gae hame and sew your seam;

For if ye were laid in your weel made bed,

Your days will nae be lang.’

In my book, Macgregor, of course, is feeling many of the song’s visions of graves and rotting corpses as he quotes from it; and surely, he’s also experiencing his own shock and betrayal at a broken promise of marriage, leading to this chilling tune churning amongst his final thoughts.

In Steps of the Malefactor, the character of Garcifer also makes a verbal reference to this song, addressing William Roxby as “Sweet William” while threatening to torture him (implying that he’s already marked for death).

These are all popular tunes of the 18th century (as opposed to art songs, such as the operatic tunes of Handel, Arne and others that are intended for a trained voice and large orchestra) and would have probably been known and heard comparably to modern multi-decade standards like Tubthumping, Holiday and Major Tom. It is nevertheless interesting to note the preoccupation with death and mortality in these songs, even in the cheerful one. In a sense, these songs reflect the darkness that existed within the Enlightenment, which was also rather the goal of the Exenchester series.

Lady Godiva and Peeping Tom

It has largely been accepted that the story of Lady Godiva riding through the streets of Coventry was a myth. The legend dates back to around the 13th century when she was reputed to have ridden around Coventry naked, with just her long blonde hair covering her modesty. Her reason for doing this was said to have been in protest against her husband Leofric who was planning to impose higher taxes on his tenants.

Gee, David; Lammas Day, Coventry; Herbert Art Gallery & Museum

The name ‘Peeping Tom’ was said to originate from someone who, rather than politely looking away when she rode through the town, watched her and was said to have been struck blind, other legends say he was struck dead. Either way both Lady Godiva and Peeping Tom entered folklore, with her parade being re-enacted every 3 years initially. This eventually became incorporated into the Coventry’s annual fair.

Jones, George; Godiva Preparing to Ride through Coventry; Tate

Today we’ll take a glimpse into how this story continued to be remembered and re-enacted into the Georgian Era.  In 1713, according to ‘British curiosities in nature and art’ which described notable objects and buildings in Coventry it made specific reference to both Lady Godiva and although not named, Peeping Tom:

The figure of a man, who was very miraculously punished for his brutal curiosity, in looking out at a window, when the Lady Godiva (wife of Leofric, the first Lord of this place) road naked thro’ the streets, to purchase a mitigation of taxes, and other privileges for the city.

From the beginning of June 1788, the city of Coventry held a week long fair, known as the Trinity Fair, also known as a Shew or Show Fair, and it was at this that it was agreed that the pagan tradition of Lady Godiva parading through the streets on horseback was reinstated after many years.

On Friday in consequence of the revival of that ancient and singular ceremony, which has for some years discontinued, the procession of Lady Godiva through the streets of Coventry. A great concourse of people were assembled at the fair in that place, from all parts of the country, than has ever been known upon a former similar occasion and the fight with which the spectators were gratified fully answered their expectations, great preparations having been made to render it is most showy and splendid. After divine service had been performed at Trinity Church, the procession began, and her ladyship, attired only in white linen, closely fitted to her body, and decorated with bows of red ribbon, paraded on horseback, through the principal streets of the city. The Mayor, Sheriffs, Aldermen, Council and Companies of the city, attended by their proper officers, and music, were in the procession. The banners of each were newly painted and the streamers and flags finely ornamented with a variety of curious emblematic devices, added greatly to the beauty of the scene. Peeping Tom, a principal personage in the show, was entirely new clothed, and appeared with becoming dignity.

Clearly the weather was good for the 1789 event as ‘Lady Godiva, not only made a most majestic appearance, but conducted herself throughout the whole in a manner becoming her exalted station’.

In 1818, according to the Taunton Courier and Western Advertiser:

The ancient city pageant at Coventry, which has been suspended for some years, is about to be revived with additional splendour; for which cavalcade the several trading companies are preparing. Lady Godiva is once more to pass mounted on her milk white palfry, and Peeping Tom again to appear in all his glory.

In 1827, Lady Godiva did not make an appearance at the annual show, which was much to the disappointment of visitors, according to this piece:

Our annual Great Fair commenced this morning and will continue for eight days. The occasion has brought a considerable influx of strangers to the city, but in consequence of the lowering aspect of the morning, together with the omission this year of the Procession of Lady Godiva, many of our annual gay country visitors will probably defer their visit to a future occasion. An unusual number of exhibitions have arrived, which, if the weather permits, we doubt not will in great measure make up for the absence of the pageant of our good Lady.

Gee, David; The Lady Godiva Procession of 1829, Coventry; Herbert Art Gallery & Museum

Finally, in this period, the Oxford Journal, 30 May 1829, tells us that citizens of Coventry were expecting a splendid fair this year with the procession of Lady Godiva being revived and here was a portrait of the young woman portraying Lady Godiva in that year. She takes centre stage on her horse, fully clothed and a brunette, rather than the traditional image of a fair haired Lady Godiva. She is being handed a bouquet of flowers.

On the right of the image, although a little blurred, you can see the coat of arms for Coventry on the banner.

I did come across a couple of amusing anecdotes which referenced Lady Godiva to share with you:

The first comes to us courtesy of the Cambridge Intelligencer, 20 April 1800:

Masked Ball – At one of the great Parisian grand masked balls, a mask appeared whose whole outward dress was composed of macaroons; the lovers of sweets pursued him from every quarter of the room, and in a short period his clothing was so completely devoured that he was nearly in the state of Lady Godiva at Coventry Fair.

From the Morning Post 14 September 1801, it appears that the term Peeping Tom had by then acquired an unwelcome meaning, one which is still used even to this day:

The indiscriminate mixing of the bathers at Ramsgate is much complained of by some of the visitors, as there are many ‘Peeping Toms’, and some, who, it is supposed, wish to be Lady Godivas.

The first details about Peeping Tom were said to have been recorded in the city of Coventry accounts of 1773, however, I have come across a description of him dating back to 1762 in a book, ‘England and Wales described in a series of letters’, by William Toldervy in which he tells readers that

In one street, against the wall of a house, is the figure of a man, in a blue doublet, with a black cap on his head. This figure call Peeping Tom, being the representation of a Taylor, who (as the vulgar believe) having more curiosity than the rest, popped out his head as the lady rode along, but on the instant, was struck blind.

Sources

Leeds Intelligencer 3 June 1788

Oxford Journal 20 June 1789

Coventry Herald 15 June 1827

Featured Image

Ellis; Lady Godiva; St Mary’s Guildhall

The Pious Mary Anne Deane (1718-1807)

Mary  Anne Deane was born about 1718 and was believed to be the daughter of John Deane, Governor of India, who died about 1752. Sadly, it’s proving difficult to find anything about this lady’s early life.

Teapot with Lid and Cup Inscribed with the Crest of John Deane (d. 1751), Governor of Bengal. LCMA
Teapot with Lid and Cup Inscribed with the Crest of John Deane (d. 1751), Governor of Bengal. LCMA

She came to my attention when I was asked for help in finding out more about her for the television programme, A House Through Time, but, as their plans changed I decided that for now it was worth including the little we do know about her, here on All Things Georgian.

Romney, George; John Wesley (1703-1791); Christ Church, University of Oxford

Mary Anne was a deeply religious woman and friend of John Wesley, the evangelist and lived at The Manor House, Whitkirk, near Leeds, until her death on 4 February 1807, when she was buried at the parish church, aged 88 years, according to the parish register.  The burial register entry also stated:

Her life was pious, her death triumphant

William Dawson described as ‘an eloquent preacher’ gave the sermon at Mary Anne’s funeral which took place the week following her demise. The York Herald 14 February 1807 also paid tribute to her, describing her as, ‘a lady universally respected’.

Mary Anne had moved to Whitkirk about 1768, but it’s not clear whether that it was then that she moved into The Manor House.

Russell, John; The Right Honourable Selina, Countess of Huntingdon (1707-1791), Foundress and Benefactress; Westminster College, Cambridge

Apart from being well known to the Selina Hastings, the Countess of Huntington, the religious leader who played a prominent part in the religious revival of the 18th century and the Methodist movement in England and Wales, Mary Anne was also reputed to be related to the Frances, Viscountess Irwin, but so far it hasn’t been possible to establish whether the connection was to the Countess or her husband.

Viscountess Frances Irwin (Irving) was the illegitimate daughter of Shepheard, but was also known as Gibson, her mother’s name. Her father Samuel Shepheard’s will of 1748, made that clear ‘my daughter Frances Gibson, commonly called Frances Shepheard’.

Frances, Viscountess Irwin (1734–1807), née Frances Gibson Shepheard, after Joshua Reynolds) and Charles Ingram (1727–1778), 9th Viscount Irwin by Benjamin Wilson. Temple Newsam House, Leeds Museums and Galleries
Frances, Viscountess Irwin (1734–1807), née Frances Gibson Shepheard, after Joshua Reynolds) and Charles Ingram (1727–1778), 9th Viscount Irwin by Benjamin Wilson. Temple Newsam House, Leeds Museums and Galleries

In her will, May Anne stipulated that she should be buried at Whitkirk parish church, with a gravestone just showing her name and age.  She made provision for a Louisa Deane, daughter of her late uncle Lewis Deane, the interest on £1,000 stock, so long as Louisa paid £10 per annum to her brother John. This was all to be left in trust granted to Viscountess Irwin.

She also made reference to bank annuities from 1747, but provided no explanation as to exactly what consisted of. She left £1,000 to a Mary Greenwood, wife of John Greenwood, of Whitkirk, but again, sadly no explanation as to who this was, or whether  John and Mary were connected to her, and also to a Christopher Wainwright she left, 10 guineas.

She also made provision for her employees – household linen and wearing apparel to her chambermaid, Deborah and money to Catherine Houseman, her cook. Not only her wages, to Catherine, but also her ‘Mr Wesley’s unbound magazines‘, which she clearly felt Catherine would really appreciate.

She also mentioned Miss Gordon and Miss Alice Scott, to whom she bequeathed a miniature of Lady Irwin. Her will was proven 5 May 1807.

There was an account in the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine of 1840 about a Mrs Bywater, who had died in 1837. Mrs Bywater being nee Houseman (Catherine) which made reference to Mary Anne and provided a small glimpse into her later life:

In the year 1797, following, as she believed, the leadings of divine providence, she engaged in the service of that venerable saint, the late Mrs Deane of Whitkirk. Her fellow servant was also a deeply pious young woman, and they both enjoyed peculiar privileges while dwelling under that favoured roof. Mrs Dean was so infirm that, though the church was not far distant, it was very difficult to get her there; and, as her hearing was far from good, she could not hear much of the service; and though she could join in the prayers, yet the sermon was lost to her. The servants were induced to propose to her to have preaching on Sunday evenings in the front kitchen; and to this she readily consented, attending as long as she was able, and fining the service very profitable.

In The Sword and The Trowel: A Record of Combat with Sin and of Labour for the Lord, edited by C.H Spurgeon, written in 1873, Spurgeon was writing about the Yorkshire farmer and preacher, William Dawson, who had given the sermon at Mary Anne’s funeral. It was said that Mary Anne was very attached to Dawson and was in the habit of designating him, ‘My Willy’.

In The Life and Times of Selina, Countess of Huntington we have another glimpse into who Mary Anne was:

The late Mrs Deane who resided at that time at Whitkirk near Leeds, was considered as ranking among the higher circles. She had occasionally heard Mr Ingram and Mr Edwards, who had withdrawn himself from Mr Wesley, and had built himself a place of worship, known by the name of ‘White Chapel’, at Leeds, where he continued to dispense the Word of Life for more than thirty years.

Mr Edwards mentioned Mrs Dean to Lady Huntingdon, who observing the mark of a penitent in her, invited her to her house, and there she became acquainted with those bright stars that shone in England, and now shine in heaven. Messrs Whitefield, the Wesley’s, Venn, Ingram, Romain and other clergymen who found a welcome in that honourable house. She had frequent opportunities of conversing with Lady Huntingdon and enjoying those spiritual pleasures which would naturally result from communication with one so well qualified as that excellent lady, to direct and comfort the Christian in his road to glory.

Mrs Dean was a woman of rank, of superior education and accomplishments, ad her letters and meditations afford strong proofs that if there be any happiness separate from union and communication with God by faith in Jesus Christ.

Mrs Deane was nearly allied to the noble family of Charles, Viscount Irvine, of Temple Newson. His Lordship, who had succeeded to the title in 1763, had married Miss Shepheard, a lady possessed of a very great fortune. Mrs Deane’s attachment to and affection for Lady Irvine and every member of that honourable family were remarkable, and always appeared so vigorous that they were constantly breaking forth in the most aren’t prayers for their eternal welfare. She soon brought her Ladyship acquainted with Lady Huntingdon, and never failed to invite Lord and Lady Irvine to her house whenever the Countess was at Leeds, or at Ledstone Hall.

The account goes on to say that Lady Irvine outlived her ‘old friend and relative’ and that Mary Anne died at the age of 88 years and nine months. Hopefully in due course more information can be found about Mary Anne’s earlier life.

Featured Image

The Manor House Whitkirk

18th century buttons

I’m delighted to welcome a new guest to All Things Georgian, Robin C. Larner. She is a retired attorney, legal writer, editor, and life-time member of the National Button Society. Robin offers antique buttons for sale and the end of the post is a link to her website. Robin is going to tell us 18th century painted buttons, which are fabulous, so I’ll hand over to Robin to tell you more about these beauties:

In the 18th century, the gross disparity between land-owning classes and impoverished citizens unable to feed their families was the fuse to a powder keg of violence that weakened monarchy across Europe. The Industrial Revolution and the excessive display of wealth by the aristocracy and a new merchant class forever changed the face of society.

One of the many extravagances of the time was the sartorial splendour of gentlemen of the first and second estates in France and the peerage of Great Britain. The men of the 18th century were the peacocks in society, often as bright, colourful, and sparkling as the ladies. Gentlemen proudly wore clothing buttons as sumptuous as jewels, among them, miniature scenes of their estates. Women also indulged this fancy.

The Duke and Duchess of Osuna and their Children. Museo Del Prada

Antique buttons of every category are highly collectible and prized by collectors today, but the appeal of historic scenes, persons, and properties today on buttons is the tangible record of the past. From the storming of the Bastille in Paris on July 14, 1789 to the death of Queen Victoria on January 22, 1901, people, places, and popular culture were captured in fashion on buttons. Sporting, literature, theatre, coiffure, hat, and clothing style, as well as portraiture and mourning, were represented on buttons.

Courtesy of Robin C. Larner

One area of interest is the miniature painting under glass of great estates and their landscape parks. These illustrated moats, zoos, orangeries, grottoes, fountains, and follies but most appreciated are the architectural scenes of great French chateaux and English country houses. The Chateau of Raincy was embellished in the 18th century with an orangerie. This was an entire building designed for the winter comfort of potted orange trees from the garden. Many notable estates had an orangerie raised in the 18th century.

Half the fun of finding one of these little scenes is the search online to find the property today. Not all the subjects of 18th century buttons are extant. For example, the huge orangerie of the Chateau of Raincy today is a small block house, all that remains of the original building. It still shows the lovely orange brick and window trim.

Image courtesy of Houri-Architecte, France

The paintings of Chateau du Raincy on 18th century buttons have been attributed to Louis Carrogis, called Carmontelle (1717 to 1806). I do not know whether buttons were available to tourists, but they were probably painted for Louis Philippe Joseph, Duke of Orleans or his son in 17893.

Each button has a gouche painting under glass mounted in gold-plated copper measuring 1 and 5/8 inches. These large buttons were not fasteners, or utilitarian buttons, but ornaments amplifying them. Even though the opposite side of the coat front had exquisite hand sewn button holes, gentlemen’s coats were never buttoned. Up to twenty-four of them might amplify silk embroidery. Lucky collectors may find an 18th century boxed set.

One view of the Chateau park shows the delightful orange and white coloration of the stone. Was it orange for the obvious reason? A farm woman is visible herding fowl; a hay wagon is in the background.

Courtesy of Robin C. Larner
Courtesy of Robin C. Larner

Another fascinating view of the Chateau park grounds is of a man-made grotto. Among the 18th century aristocracy, a grotto was as de rigueur as an orangerie. The farm is in the rear behind trees. I was unsure whether this artifice was part of Raincy because I acquired the button without information. The same style was a good indication. Notice that one of the grotto caves has a window and door, as well as a shower.

Courtesy of Robin C. Larner

I was delighted to find an 18th century painting of the Raincy estate landscape that included “my” grotto. Many images may be found of aristocratic grottoes in England and France. This painting is in the Musee Marmottan in France and was also painted Carmontelle.

Musee Marmottan, Paris, France

Other 18th century garden or estate park scenes can be found in an even rarer medium on buttons, such as enamel on copper. The following hand-painted scenes are not identified but illustrate in an almost primitive style other man-made follies of the 18th century.

Courtesy of Robin C. Larner
Courtesy of Robin C. Larner
Courtesy of Robin C. Larner
Courtesy of Robin C. Larner

To find out more about Robin’s online shop and 18th century buttons, click on this link to access it Ruby Lane.

Mary Edwards a single minded woman (1705-1743)

On 12 July 1704, at Christ Church, Newgate Street, London, Francis Edwards married Anna Margaretta Vernatti and almost nine months to the day their daughter, Mary was born.  On 25 May 1705, Francis and Anna presented their daughter, Mary to be baptised at St Ann’s Soho.

Anna Margaretta was the daughter of Constantine Vernatti of Hackney, who died a year before she married.

Constantine Vernatti Courtesy of Geni com
Constantine Vernatti Courtesy of Geni com

In Constantine’s will he stated that if  his daughter married with her mother’s consent, that she would receive £10,000, which is over one million pounds in today’s money.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

The remainder of Constantine’s vast estate including lands in Dartford, Kent and Hackney was left to his wife and so as you can see, the Vernatti family were extremely wealthy landowners, as were Francis Edwards’ family, so this was a union of two very wealthy families.

In 1729 Francis Edwards died, leaving one of his estates in Ireland, directly to his daughter, Mary, thereby making her an extremely wealthy heiress, not to mention all the land he also owned in England in including properties in Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Middlesex, Northamptonshire and Welford, Leicestershire and shares in the New River water Company.

Upon her father’s death, Mary arranged for this memorial below, to be erected in his honour at Welham church.

Monument to Francis Edwards from Mary at Welham church. Courtesy of Leicestershire Churches.co.uk
Monument to Francis Edwards from Mary at Welham church. Courtesy of Leicestershire Churches.co.uk

The London Gazette, August 1729 carried the following notice:

Francis Edwards estate The London Gazette Issue 6801. Click to enlarge
Francis Edwards estate The London Gazette Issue 6801. Click to enlarge

The Daily Advertiser, 17 June 1731 announced that Mary was due to marry:

between the right honourable the Lord Anne Hamilton, brother to his Grace the Duke of that name, and Miss Edwards of Pall Mall, a young lady of distinguishing great virtues, and possessed of a plentiful estate, which according to her innate propensity to the poor, enables her to exert herself in the most extensive charities and acts of humanity towards the distressed part of her fellow creatures.

On 8 July 1731, Mary granted property in Leicestershire to Lord Anne, so had they married? This was followed by an article in the Caledonian Mercury, dated 2 August 1731, which reported that:

on Sunday the Lord Anne Hamilton was married to Miss Edwards of Pall Mall, a rich heiress’,

However, it was soon updated on 24 August:

A marriage is actually concluded, and will soon by consummated, between the Right Honourable Lord Anne Hamilton, and Miss Mary Edwards, of Cambden House, Kensington, a very rich heiress.

(Lord Anne Hamilton took his first name from his godmother, Queen Anne. Born 12 October 1709).

So, when and where did they marry? Articles I have read state that there’s no evidence of their marriage having taken place, others that they married at Fleet prison, so a clandestine marriage. If that were the case, why did the newspaper provide coverage of it and what did her mother, who was still alive, make of it? This seems unlikely, she was a wealthy young woman and someone who the press would have taken great interest in.

It wasn’t until 8 November 1731 that more information became visible about their possible marriage, courtesy of the Daily Advertiser:

On Monday last, and not before, the Right Hon. The Lord Anne Hamilton, brother to his Grace the Duke of Hamilton, was married at Kensington Church, to Miss Edwards, the great heiress of Pall Mall, a lady of upwards of £100,000 fortune (about 12 million in today’s money).

If that figure is even vaguely correct, then Mary was exceptionally wealthy when she married her spendthrift husband. The newspapers also tell us that he had something of a penchant for the horses, presumably both owning and gambling on them, so had he married her and if so, was it purely for her money?

Either way, after two years of marriage, they saw the joyous arrival of a son and heir. The Stamford Mercury 15 March 1733 reported that

On Thursday last the Lady of the Lord Anne Hamilton (Brother to his Grace the Duke of Hamilton), was safely delivered of a son, at his house in Pall Mall, to the great joy of that family.  

After the birth of their son, it was to be Mary alone, who presented the child for baptism on 28 March 1733, at St Mary Abbots, Kensington, the church where is seems likely Mary and Lord Anne had married.

Hogarth, William. Gerard Anne Edwards Hamilton (1732-1773), in His Cradle; National Trust, Upton House

The child, a boy, was born 4 March 1733 and baptised as Gerard Anne Edwards, son of Mary Edwards, Singlewoman.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

By having giving her status as single, it raises several questions – were she and Lord Anne legally married? If they were, then wouldn’t it be highly likely that the same vicar who presided over their marriage would have also officiated at the baptism of their son and would surely have questions Mary’s actions? Did this act imply that, if they had been married, then by this time Mary no longer regarded herself as such? Or was the son really Lord Anne’s child? The latter seems unlikely, given that she named with child with Anne’s name. This baptism raises more questions than it answers, unfortunately.

It was only a few weeks after the birth of their son, that Lord Anne resigned from his post from the First Regiment of Foot, presumably to spend  more of his time on his passion of horse racing, after all, having married a wealthy heiress, money would not have been in short supply and in 1734 he stood as a candidate for Lanarkshire and became Knight of the Shire of Lanark in early 1735.

According to the ODNB

Mary also used her maiden name on 2 July 1733, when signing a grant at the College of Arms, extending the use of her coat and crest to Lord Anne, who briefly assumed Edwards as his middle name.

Sotheby’s, The Edwards Hamilton Family on a Terrace, 1734, William Hogarth, Oil on canvas, 68.5 x 86 cm. Private Collection. Digital image courtesy of Patrick Goetelen. Paul Mellon Center
Sotheby’s, The Edwards Hamilton Family on a Terrace, 1734, William Hogarth, Oil on canvas, 68.5 x 86 cm. Private Collection. Digital image courtesy of Patrick Goetelen. Paul Mellon Center

The couple continued to live together for a while and this conversation piece above depicts the couple together, although from the painting it appears quite obvious that there is little love lost between them by this stage and young Gerard is playing alone on the left of the painting, on the terrace of Mary’s house in Kensington.

Shortly after this, the couple went their separate ways, with Mary clearly having had enough of her husbands spending and stating that he had taken some of her money without her consent, to value of a little under £2,000. Mary continued to live alone until her death in 1744.

Portrait of Gerard Anne Edwards in a brown coat and a red and gold waistcoat with a pamphlet extolling education , 1743–1743 John Shakleton Artnet
Portrait of Gerard Anne Edwards in a brown coat and a red and gold waistcoat with a pamphlet extolling education , 1743–1743 John Shakleton Artnet

Two years prior to her death, Mary wrote her fourteen page will, on 13 April 1742, written in the name of Mary Edwards, complete with full details of her estate and that it should be left to Gerard, in trust until he reached 21 and that her executors be appointed his guardians until then, given that he was only eleven when she died. She stressed the importance of him continuing with his education which was being provided at that time by Rev Cox, in Kensington. She made a somewhat unusual stipulation that her son should not be sent away to public school or university, nor should he be permitted to travel abroad. Mary arranged for him to continue with his education with Rev Cox in Kensington, she was very clear about how important his education was to her.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

She also set aside money to ensure that the monument erected for her father at Welham be maintained and repaired as and when necessary. She also took the unusual step of confirming in her will, when and where her son had been baptised, and that he to be known as Gerard Anne Edwards, the implication being that no connection to his father should be mentioned. Mary also ensured that her mother, who was still living should be provided for too.

Mary Edwards by William Hogarth. The Frick Collection
Mary Edwards by William Hogarth. The Frick Collection

Once Mary and Lord Anne had separated, Lord Anne found love again or maybe just another source of money, as it was reported in the Caledonian Mercury 20 December 1742, that he had married again, at Bath, so only months after Mary had written her will, with absolutely no mention of him in it.

Was he really free to marry or was it a bigamous marriage? His bride being a Miss Anna Charlotta Maria Powell, described as a beautiful young lady, with a fortune of £30,000.

Mary died at Kensington on 23 August 1743, aged thirty-eight and was buried at the same church as her father, Welham, Leicestershire.

Lord Anne was reported to have died on 1 January 1749 in either Bath after a long illness, or in Paris, it’s unclear as to which was correct. Whichever it was his burial did not take place until 7 July 1749 at St James, Piccadilly.

When Mary’s mother, Anna Margaretta sat down to write her will in 1762, her daughter, Mary had been dead for several years as Anna made specific mention to in her will. With no-one else to inherit her not unsubstantial will, she left everything to her grandson when she died in 1765, Gerard Anne Edwards.

She referred to her late daughter, Mary Edwards, indicating that either her daughter never married or was no longer married to Lord Anne Hamilton and had resumed the use of her maiden name.  Anna owned property and land in Clapton, Somerstown and Barking. Anna was buried on 19 March 1765 in St. John-at-Hackney Churchyard.

Sources

Fenland notes and Queries

The Herald and Genealogist – Volume 5. 1870

The Scots Peerage. Volume 4. p385

ODNB

Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Series PROB 11; Class: PROB 11; Piece: 736

Find out what John Spilsbury was famous for inventing

Although John Spilsbury lived for a mere 30 years, his legacy to the world is one that will be remembered by many, as he was the inventor of what we know today as, the jigsaw puzzle. What do we know about his short life?

John was one of three boys born to Thomas and Mary Spilsbury, a block maker (a person who engraved or set up the clocks used in block printing). Another son Jonathon became a renowned engraver in London, whilst Thomas, who appears to have been the youngest son, became an outstanding printer, said to be able to print French accurately.

Today though, we’re going to take a glimpse into the life of the John. In 1753 John began a seven year apprenticeship to Thomas Jefferys (1719-1771), Geographer to King George III.

John's Apprenticeship

John’s Apprenticeship

It would appear that John left London after completing his apprenticeship and travelled to Suffolk where he met Sarah, the daughter of John May with the couple marrying at Newmarket on 30 July 1761.

Just over a year after they married Sarah gave birth to an infant whose life was to be short lived, as was so common at that time, a daughter, Mary, however, two years later a second child, Sarah was born whilst the couple lived in Newmarket, Suffolk.

At some stage after this they moved back to London where John set up his own business using the skills learnt from Jefferys, but John was to take a slightly different route to his master, and created what would become known at the time as, ‘dissected maps’.

In the early 1760’s John decided to paste an engraved map onto a thin sheet of mahogany, cut it up along the country or county borders, jumbled the pieces together and advertised them for sale in a box, to be reassembled. With that the jigsaw began its life being sold from his print shop in Russell Court, London.

His trade card apparently listed some 30 different dissected maps on sale at his print shop, with prices ranging from 7 shilling and sixpence to £1 1 shilling. Such prices made them quite expensive, but this was due to the price of the wood use and the box used to house it. The puzzles were educational, to teach people about the known countries of the world, but as they were expensive, they were limited to only those with plenty of money to spare.

This cabinet belonged to Lady Charlotte Finch, Royal Governess to the children of George III. She had it commissioned to hold several dissected map puzzles, which she had created for the royal children. V&A

This cabinet belonged to Lady Charlotte Finch, Royal Governess to the children of George III. She had it commissioned to hold several dissected map puzzles, which she had created for the royal children. V&A

This diversion from his main print business wasn’t to last for very long as John died on 3 April 1769. Only six days after John’s death, newly widowed Sarah took their newborn son, also named John, to be baptised at St Martin in the Fields parish church, young John being born the previous day.

In December 1767 John wrote his will, in it he left his estate, including his business stock to his wife Sarah, plus £100 to his daughter, Sarah who was, by this time working in the family firm. The money was held in trust until she reached the full age of twenty one. He also left £20 to ‘each of my brothers and sisters’.  His will was proven 10 April 1769.

London Packet 5 April 1771

Sarah wasted little time in marrying for a second time, her new husband was Henry Ashby (1744-1818), who coincidently, had also worked with Thomas Jefferys with the couple marrying in November 1769.

Trade Card. British Museum

You can just see the Ashby name on this trade card, in tiny writing in the middle, at the bottom of the card.

Although Sarah took over her husband’s business of jigsaw making, it eventually merged into Henry’s engraving business, but it’s good to see Mrs Spilsbury’s name in print, this text appears just beneath the header image, as well as in the advert for the dissected maps, above.

Despite the businesses change of direction, the concept of jigsaw puzzles survived and here we have it referenced in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, when Fanny Price was derided by her cousin because she

cannot put the map of Europe together or my cousin cannot tell the principal rivers in Russia, or, she never heard of Asia Minor, or she does not know the or she does not know the difference between water-colours and crayons! How strange! Did you ever hear anything so stupid?’

Martin Van Butchell and his crowded marriage

It is likely that Martin born in 1736 and was the son of John Butchell of Flanders origin, who was believed to have been tapestry maker to King George II. Quite how accurate any of that is remains unknown as to date, as I have found nothing to confirm it.

Martin Van Butchell. Wellcome Collection
Martin Van Butchell. Wellcome Collection

Martin it appears had no wish to join his father’s trade and inadvertently, due to a broken tooth, decided to become a dentist and studied under the celebrated Dr Hunter after whom The Hunterian Museum is named. It would seem that Martin had a natural talent for this kind of work and acquired many clients due to his skill.

Real or Artificial Teeth from one to an entire set, with superlative gold pivots or springs, also gums, sockets and palate formed, fitted, finished and fixed without drawing stumps, or causing pain.

He then began to expand his skills and proved that he was proficient in making trusses for people suffering from hernia’s, so much so that his skills were actively sought ought and his fame stretched as far as Holland, with an eminent Dutch physician travelling to London to be treated by him. In return, the physician taught Martin how to cure fistulas.

Wellcome Collection
Wellcome Collection

Martin married in 1767, at the age of 31 Martin, his bride being Mary Billion, a widow, at St George’s, Hanover Square and we can only assume that they had a happy marriage until her death in 1775.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

When Martin’s wife died, he found fame again, but this time for something more macabre than dentistry. Martin loved his wife so much that he couldn’t bear to have her buried, but it is also said that there was a clause in their marriage certificate which provided income for Martin as long as Mary was ‘above ground’. Whichever story you believe, Martin did not have her buried, instead, he had her embalmed and dressed her in her wedding dress:

Mr Van Butchell a celebrated dentist, had the misfortune about five months ago to lose his wife, for whom he had the greatest regard. He sent for Dr Hunter, and his assistant Mr Crookshanks, and desired they would embalm Mrs Van Butchell, the lady deceased, which they did after an entire new method, invented by Dr Hunter, and made use of for embalming the late Lady Holland. The bowels were first taken out. The vessels were afterwards emptied as perfectly as possible, of the blood which they contained, and injected with the oil of turpentine. After the body was well impregnated with that powerful preservative, a large quantity of red waxy injection was thrown into the vessels, which entering their minute cavities and distending them, gave to the face and other parts of the body a most striking appearance of life.

The cavity of the body was filled with various aromatic ingredients, and she was decently laid in a handsome box, and under her there is some powder of the plaster of Paris to absorb any moisture which might drain from the embalmed boy. In the lids of the box are glasses over her face and legs. A physician, with whom I am intimately acquainted, saw her the other day, and informed me that the face of Mrs Butchell is not in the least shrunk; that it is not quite so fair as it was, but that the redness from the injection is very striking, and that the legs appear as perfectly natural as the first. Mr Van Butchell keeps her constant in the parlour where he sits, shows her to all his friends when they visit him, and says that it is the only consolation he had since her death.

On 29 Jun 1780 Martin married for a second time, his new wife being Elizabeth Sanders. He gave his first wife a choice in the colour of her clothing, either black or white, she chose black, so Elizabeth chose  the opposite, deciding on white.

As his first wife was still in the house, understandably, having three people in this relationship, albeit only two alive, wasn’t going to work for Elizabeth, and at some stage it was decided that his first wife, Mary, could no longer remain in their home and her body was removed to a museum, ultimately it ended up in the Royal College of Surgeon’s Museum where it remained until the museum was bombed in 1941.

Wellcome Collection
Wellcome Collection

The couple then settled down to have a very large family, four boys and five girls. Their eldest child being Edwin Martin was born in 1781, followed by Jacob John who died in infancy, Isaac, who tragically died in a boating accident in 1806, leaving Martin distraught, Sidney Job born 1789 and finally Daniel David, born 1795. Of the girls it appears only one survived into adulthood, Augusta Elizabeth, born 1784. The other girls who may or may not have survived infancy were not mentioned in his will, these being, Emma Lydy, born 1791, Celia Ann, 1793, Maria Susan, 1797 and Clara Flora 1799, making Martin 63 when the last child was born. Another of his idiosyncrasies was to summon his children by whistling rather than calling them.

 Le derniere ressource;-or- Van Buchells garters. British Museum
Le derniere ressource;-or- Van Buchells garters. British Museum

Martin continued to work until elderly, but trained up his two son, Edwin and Sidney to follow in his footsteps, with both coming surgeons.

Martin also owned a pony which he would often ride around Hyde Park, usually on Sundays. Sometimes he would paint the pony all purple, sometimes with purple spots, other times with black spots and with streaks and circles upon his face and hind parts and of the various colours, Martin told people that each spot cost him a guinea – so more money than sense.

The Morning Post 4 November 1814 carried the following notification:

Died, on Sunday evening, at his house in Mount Street, Grosvenor Square, in the 80th year of his age, Martin Van Butchell, well known for his numerous eccentricities, particularly for wearing a beard of twenty year’s growth.

On 11 March 1814, Martin sat down to write his will at his home 56, Mount Street, Grosvenor Square, London, which, as you would perhaps expect, the majority of it was to be left to his eldest son, Edwin Martin who was living at 24 Broad Street, Golden Square on the proviso that he provided for and supported his mother, Elizabeth. To his surviving two children Augusta Elizabeth, by then Mrs Jacobs and Sidney Job, who received £50 each.  What is slightly curious is that his will was witnessed by a Daniel David Van Butchell, was this his youngest son who was born in 1795, in which case he wasn’t provided for within the will?

Sources

Life and character of the celebrated Mr. Martin Van Butchell, surgeon dentist and fistula curer, of Mount-street, Berkeley-square. 1803

Derby Mercury – Friday 12 May 1775

Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Series PROB 11; Class: PROB 11; Piece: 1567

Featured Image

Number 11 (centre left) – Martin Van Butchell. British Museum

The ventriloquist who made dead fish ‘speak’

Let me introduce you to James Burns, better known to all as ‘Squeaking Tommy’.

So, what do we know about this character?

We can see from the picture of Tommy that he carried around with him a doll with a broad face, wrapped in a piece of linen cloth which he exhibited at pubs on race days, at fairs, such as the famous Nottingham Goose Fair. He would use the doll as his assistant and projected his voice through it.

It is reported that in June 1789, at Week Day Cross in Nottingham, he used the doll to project his voice and it was so convincing that a child watching believed that the doll was actually talking to her. The child apparently became hysterical and caused her to have fits. The authorities were not impressed by this and Tommy was sent off for a spell in the House of Correction.

Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1775–1851, British, Newark - upon - Trent, ca. 1796. Yale Center for British Art
Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1775–1851, British, Newark – upon – Trent, ca. 1796. Yale Center for British Art

Undeterred however, Tommy continued to use his ventriloquists skill around the county.

In early 1790, Tommy called at Mr Barton’s grocers shop just outside Nottingham city centre. He purchased an ounce of tobacco, nothing odd about that, except, as he was leaving, he spotted a young employee with his hand in a large cannister on the opposite side of the shop. The young man was getting tea out of it and putting it into a smaller cannister. Tommy immediately threw a sound into the bottom of the container, imitating the sounds of a dying animal.

So, as you expect, the young man and Mr Barton stood aghast at the noise and were just about to start rummaging around in the container to find the source. Eventually, Tommy confessed that he was the real cause of the sound but not before enjoying this spectacle.

Wheatley, Francis; The Hay Cart; Government Art Collection

Another of his pranks is said to have taken place in August 1792. Tommy was travelling with a John Badderly, who was at the time servant to farmer from Car Colston, just outside Nottingham. John was driving a waggon which was full to the brim with hay. Tommy was so skilled at imitating the cry of a child that he was able to project his voice into the middle of the hay waggon causing John to stop several times between Bingham and Newark.

John was so convinced he could hear this sound in the hay that eventually he stopped and began to examine the hay more closely to find out where the sound was coming from and enlisted Tommy’s help to unload the waggon as he could bear this child’s crying no longer.  But as you can imagine, there was no child, leaving poor John to reassemble the contents of his waggon, much to Tommy’s amusement and John’s annoyance at being deceived.

Another prank took place in the house of a Mr Hogg, who kept the Milton’s Head Inn, Cow Lane, Nottingham, and who knew nothing of Tommy. A servant girl in the kitchen was about to dress some dead fish, not long having been caught in the river Trent, but obviously dead. Tommy, at the moment she laid the life knife on the fish’s neck, uttered ‘don’t cut my head off’. The girl as you can imagine was extremely startled and quickly removed the knife from the fish and just stood there in shock.

She eventually managed to compose herself, and as the fish didn’t move, she plucked up courage to continue with her work and remove the fish’s head. Tommy uttered rather sharply, but mournfully, ‘what, you will cut of my head?’ The girl was now terrified and threw down the knife and refused to dress the fish.

Kidd, William; The Fish Stall; Museum of London

Tommy eventually settled in Shelford, Nottingham, where, despite being extremely reluctant to settle, found himself a wife and married Elizabeth Munks, on Boxing Day 1794 at the parish church. According to his marriage entry, he was said to have been from King’s County, now County Offaly in Ireland. As to how accurate that is we will probably never know.

But marriage didn’t settle him too much and his travels continued, albeit quite locally, along with his pranks and the final one I have details of, took place in September 1795.

Tommy visited a fish stall in Sheffield and asked the price of a tench. The fish woman gave him the price of the tench, at which point he picked it up in his hand, crammed a finger into its gills and opened its mouth, at the same time asking whether it was fresh, to which the fish woman replied it certainly was, it was in the water yesterday.

Tommy immediately threw his voice into the fish’s mouth and it said,

it’s a damned lie, I have not been in the water this week, and you know that very well’

The woman, now aware that she hadn’t exactly been telling the truth, was aghast by this outburst, but she struggled to dispute it. She was said to have been much more careful in the future about the freshness of her fish – just in case!

I’m sure there must have been many more, similar tales, but they don’t seem to have survived into history.

Sadly, Tommy’s marriage was to be short lived as he died just two years later on 7 January 1796 and was buried in the parish church where the couple had recently married.

Sources

Stamford Mercury – Friday 22 January 1796

Kirkby’s Wonderful and Scientific Museum

Featured Image

Goodacre, William, 1803-1883; Nottingham Market Place

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu – a ‘bad mother’

I am delighted to welcome fellow author,  the lovely Jo Willet, to tell us about her book ‘The Pioneering Life of Mary Wortley Montagu: Scientist and Feminist‘ which has just been published by Pen and Sword Books.

Jo has been an award-winning TV drama and comedy producer all her working life. Her credits range from the recent ‘Manhunt‘, starring Martin Clunes, to ‘Birds of a Feather’ and has now ventured in writing. This is her first book and she’s now busy working on her second – also a historical biography. Jo is married with a daughter, a son and a step-son. She lives in London and Dorset. You can find out more about Jo by clicking on the link at the end.

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu - wikimedia commons. Artist: Jonathan Richardson
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu – Wikimedia commons. Artist: Jonathan Richardson

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and her husband Edward had two children – confusingly called Edward and Mary. Lady Mary’s two children had starkly contrasting lives and their mother’s relationship with both of them, though loving, was often stormy. Even in her lifetime she was sensitive to criticism that she was that dreaded thing: a bad mother.

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu with her son, Edward Wortley Montagu, and attendants. attributed to Jean Baptiste Vanmour. NPG
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu with her son, Edward Wortley Montagu, and attendants. attributed to Jean Baptiste Vanmour. NPG

Lady Mary is most famous for her contribution to the fight against smallpox.  Both her children were involved.  She inoculated her son Edward, aged nearly 5,  while the family were living in Turkey in 1718.  But this was common practice in Turkey at the time and Lady Mary was simply following in the footsteps of another Englishman, Sir Robert Sutton.

Lady Mary’s daughter, Countess of Bute - wikimedia commons. Artist - after Joshua Reynolds.
Lady Mary’s daughter, Countess of Bute – Wikimedia commons. Artist – after Joshua Reynolds.

Her ground-breaking decision was to inoculate her only daughter, young Mary, aged 3, once the family were back in England.  So young Mary became the first person in the west to be given protection against the smallpox. Young Mary was educated at home.  She enjoyed putting on theatrical productions.  Her mother, rather disloyally, described her as plain.

Lady Mary and Wortley set about finding a suitable husband for young Mary, once she reached the age of 18, as was the custom.  They themselves had eloped, but they clearly wanted something more respectable for their daughter.  Young Mary met a Scottish nobleman, John Stuart, Earl of Bute, in 1735, who also liked acting. The two fell in love but her parents were unhappy with the match.  Lady Mary made the mistake of telling her daughter what she thought of Bute.  He was honest, she said, but hot-tempered.  She would prefer young Mary to remain single. Needless to say, this did not go down well. The marriage nevertheless went ahead but without a formal wedding reception.

Lady Mary’s son-in-law, John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute - wikimedia commons. Artist Joshua Reynolds.
Lady Mary’s son-in-law, John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute – Wikimedia commons. Artist Joshua Reynolds.

The couple were exceptionally happy together and had eleven children. They initially lived at Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute, where Young Mary grew lonely and depressed.  Her mother – who was herself living far away by now, in France and Italy – worried about her. The two had quarrelled – we don’t know why – at the point when Lady Mary decided to leave her husband and live abroad.  Very gradually their letters trace an improved relationship.  Eventually, nearly 20 years later, Lady Mary was at a concert in Venice when someone told her how beautifully her daughter sang, and she burst into uncontrollable tears.

The Butes had meanwhile moved to London. Here, Bute became great friends with Frederick, Prince of Wales, and when the Prince died his widow, Princess Augusta, made him tutor to their oldest son. When this son then inherited the throne as George III he manoeuvred to have his former tutor made Prime Minister.  Unfounded rumours abounded that Bute was having an affair with Princess Augusta.  When the elderly Lady Mary arrived back in London at the time of Bute’s premiership, her daughter and son-in-law found her an eccentric embarrassment. On her death, they buried her quickly, to avoid controversy.

Lady Mary’s only son, Edward Wortley Montagu, showing his love of the East - wikimedia common. Artist Matthew William Peters
Lady Mary’s only son, Edward Wortley Montagu, showing his love of the East – Wikimedia common. Artist Matthew William Peters

Lady Mary’s only son, Edward Wortley Montagu, could not have been more different from his goody goody sister.  He caused his parents heart-ache from the start.  He accompanied his parents in their carriage all the way from London to Constantinople, and a love of the East remained with him all his life.  Back home in England, though, he was sent to Westminster School, which he hated.  He ran away, swapping clothes with an urchin in Whitechapel and getting a job as a cabin boy on a ship bound for Gibraltar.  He was missing for five months and his mother wrote that: ‘Nothing that ever happened to me has touched me so much.’  My own instinct – although there is no evidence to support this – is that Edward was probably abused around this time.

His parents, unsure what to do with him, gave Edward a series of tutors and sent him off to the West Indies.  When he returned, aged 17, he provoked controversy by marrying a washerwoman and then immediately abandoning her.  He was sent abroad again, with a new tutor, where he went through a period of religious fanaticism and began drinking heavily. His father avoided having any direct contact with him, but Edward did have a stormy meeting with his mother in London, where he demanded more money.  He was already heavily in debt.

In 1741 Lady Mary – now living in France –  received a letter from her son, asking for her help in dissolving his marriage so he could find an heiress to marry instead.  Mary was sceptical but Wortley pressurised her to meet him.  Eventually the two did spend a couple of days together in a village near Avignon.  Edward, aged 29, had lost his looks and put on weight, Mary wrote to his father and ‘He has a flattering, insinuating manner which naturally prejudices strangers’. Things went relatively well until Edward broached the difficult subject of whether Wortley would leave his by now vast fortune to Edward as their only son. He indicated he would ensure Mary were taken care of, were that to be the case.  This attitude infuriated her and so they parted.

Family connections procured an army commission for Edward, and he even served in battle at Fontenoy in France.  Mary had to wait a month before hearing that he had survived.  He was a prisoner of war for a time but then returned to England.

Again, Wortley exerted family pressure to ensure he was given a safe parliamentary seat, so as to escape prosecution. But Edward fell into bad company again, forging a friendship with a notorious highwayman, James McLean, who was then sent to the gallows.  He made a bigamous marriage with a friend of McLean’s, Miss Elizabeth Ashe, and embarked with her on a career of swindling, gambling, extortion and physical violence. He was thrown into the Châtelet prison in Paris, but released on bail and sent back to England.  As Mary wrote to Wortley:

The only way to avoid disappointment is never to Indulge any Hope on his Account.

Having not seen either of her children for many years, Mary’s death brought them back into her life. Wortley died in 1761 and  defied convention by leaving his fortune to their daughter not their son. Inevitably Edward challenged this.  Mary, who by now had breast cancer, made the long journey across Europe to London to be reunited with her daughter’s family and fight Edward’s lawsuit. She admitted that Edward had broken her heart. But relations with the Butes were not easy either.  Whether or not she was indeed a Bad Mother, Mary’s relationships with her children ultimately brought her precious little happiness.

You can find out much more about Mary Wortley Montagu and her family in Jo’s book and check out her website  here.

Dr James Barlow and the caesarean section

Giving birth by caesarean section was carried out during the Georgian era, however, it was rarely successful and certainly far less glamorous than the header image would imply.

Having a read through the newspapers, many confirm just how life threatening this procedure was, especially given the lack of skill of the surgeon and the distinct lack of any form of effective anaesthetic. As this was such a dangerous procedure it was often one which was carried immediately following the  death of the woman, in a last-ditch attempt to save the unborn child.

I was searching for something completely different when I stumbled across a reference to one such successful caesarean in the Lancashire Gazette which tells us that this baby was born on 24 July 1817:

On the 24th ult. The caesarean operation was performed on the wife of Edmund Hacking, of Blackburn, in this county, by Mr Barlow, surgeon of this town. The woman is at present apparently doing well. The child is a fine healthy boy, and was baptised the following day, by the Rev J Price, and named Julius Caesar. This gentleman performed a similar operation at Blackrod, in this county, more than twenty years since, and the woman is now living.

We learn from an account written by Mr James Barlow, in 1822, that Ann was aged 42 and this was to be her third child. Her two older children were born with little difficulty; however, she did suffer from a prolapse as a result of the birth of the first child which limited Ann’s ability to walk and she spent much time bedbound. Over the years she became lame and walked with a crutch to assist her. A natural birth was not possible for baby Julius, given Ann’s physical health, so Mr Barlow opted for a method he had used before, a caesarean section. The procedure went well, but sadly however, on checking the burial register Julius Caesar survived for just 13 months.

The Lancaster Gazette 21 April 1821 reported another instance of this man’s work:

The caesarean operation was performed on the wife of George Ridgedale, of Blackburn, by J Barlow, Esq. in the presence of J Chew M.D and Mr Dugdale, surgeon. The child is a fine boy, and likely for life, but the mother had long laboured under great disease, and only survived the operation 52 hours.

Like Ann Hacking, this lady was also 42 years old and had had several child previously, but again like Ann, she was struggling with walk difficulties and constant pain. Due to her physical difficulties Barlow decided that the only way to safely deliver this child was by the caesarean procedure, saving the child, but not the mother, on this occasion.

I began to wonder who this Mr Barlow was and whether anything else was known about him and sure enough there was, so let me introduce you to Dr James Barlow (1767-1839) and here we have his portrait. I had assumed he was a local surgeon in Lancashire, but there was more to him than that.

unknown artist; Dr James Barlow (1767-1815); Bolton Library & Museum Services, Bolton Council

James Barlow first began practising as a surgeon in Chorley, Lancashire where he ran a large and highly successful practise in Blackburn, which eventually grew so large that he built his own premises, known as Spring Mount.

He was the first surgeon know to successfully perform a caesarean operation in the United Kingdom. Back in 1793 he first performed the procedure on a Jane Foster, aged 40, of Blackrod, Lancashire. Jane had had a fall from her cart, which had caused damage to her pelvis and on this occasion when she became pregnant it meant that she was unable to give birth naturally and this is where James stepped in to deliver the child by caesarean with the assistance of a local doctor, who unfortunately fainted, so James had to rely on a female assistant to help him.  Jane survived, but sadly the child didn’t.

Wellcome Collection
Wellcome Collection

In 1829, James had worked his magic again and Mr Edmund Forrest’s wife was delivered of a child, both mother and child were said to be doing well. This was apparently the fourth successful surgery performed by Mr Barlow.

The Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser, 27 August 1839 reported

Died on 20 August, at his residence, Spring Mount, near Blackburn, aged 73, James Barlow, a celebrated and talented surgeon.

The Blackburn Standard, 28 August 1839, reported

The funeral of James Barlow Esq. The remains of this lamented gentleman were interred yesterday, in a vault recently made in the parish churchyard. His funeral was attended by a numerous concourse of those who had respected him during his life. Twelve carriages accompanied the hearse in is mournful course to its final resting place, which was thronged by thousands, many of whom no doubt benefitted by the gratuitous exercise of the skill of the deceased.

Sources

Essays on Surgery & Midwifery: With Practical Observations, and Select Cases By James Barlow (1822)

Featured Image

Wellcome Collection

Tibby Tinkler, bookseller of Richmond, Yorkshire

What an amazing aquatint of a woman I would love to have met. It was produced after her death, but it’s full of such character, but who was she?  Her name was Isabella, known to all as Tibby Tinkler.

Isabella Tinkler bookseller Richmond North Yorkshire
Isabella Tinkler bookseller Richmond North Yorkshire

The image itself does provide a few clues about her. We know that she was a bookseller in the town of Richmond, North Yorkshire and possibly the very first in Richmond and that the image above by George Cuitt, of Richmond, tells us that it was produced after her death in 1794 when she was aged 92.

Now, firstly, was she really 92 when she died? well yes, for a change we know that this to have been accurate.

She was born Isabel, rather than Isabella Foster, and her baptism tells us that she was baptised on 15 June 1702 in Richmond, North Yorkshire, her father being named as Francis, so perhaps she simply preferred the extended name, so we’ll continue to use that.

Isabella was the middle of five children, her siblings being Mary, Ann, Elizabeth and Menhill. On 30 July 1732 she married Robert Tinkler and the couple lived in Richmond for the rest of their lives, although Robert originated from Darlington, North Yorkshire.

For how many years they owned and ran the bookshop is unclear, but Isabella was definitely trading under her own name, in August 1769, according to the Newcastle Courant, which was quite unusual for a woman of that period and her name stands out here, as the only woman listed.

We know that Isabella was widowed April 1782 and that her husband Robert was buried in the parish church which would have meant that Isabella was left to continue running the book shop alone, as they had no children to help her.

In Harry Speight’s book, Romantic Richmondshire, written in 1897, Isabella was described as being:

Quite a character in her way. Her real name was Isabella Tinkler, but she was always known as ‘Tibby’ and few in her trade knew more of books, their histories, mysteries, prices current etc. George Cuitt, the artist etched her portrait in a characteristic attitude in her shop.

On 29 April 1791, Isabella sat down and dictated her last will and testament. She was clearly unable to write as she marked it with a X, the standard way to sign your name if unable to write it, which begs the question as to whether she could read – an interesting thought in light of her occupation or maybe her inability to write her name was simply down to her age.

Isabella made provision for what appears to be quite a number of friends, so she was obviously a popular woman.  She named some 14 people in her will leaving them a variety of sums of money, from one guinea to ten guineas each and named an Isabella Brough, who lived with her, as her executrix and to Isabella she left the remainder of her goods and effects, but no explanation as to who she was, a servant, nurse or simply a friend.

Another indication that she was well known being that the Newcastle Courant of 11 October 1794, published news of her demise.

After her death, the bookshop was taken over by Mr John Bell, who was father to the well known George Bell of the well known London publishers.

If anyone knows anything more about her, I would love to hear from you.

Sources

Yorkshire Notes and Queries Vol 1-2. 1888

Featured Image

Easby Hall and Easby Abbey with Richmond, Yorkshire in the Background by George Cuitt (1743-1818)

Portrait of Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay and her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray, c.1778. Formerly attributed to Johann Zoffany.

Lady Elizabeth Mary Murray

To date, I have written quite a few articles about Dido Elizabeth Belle, along with guest posts by Etienne Daly, but suddenly realised that I have largely ignored the co-sitter in the famous portrait, her cousin, Lady Elizabeth Mary Murray, so it’s time to rectify this, but of course it wouldn’t be complete without a snippet of new information about Dido, so do read on!

If we think today’s families are complicated, this might give you a clue that little has really changed since the 1700s.

Lady Elizabeth Mary’s father was David, the 7th Viscount Stormont, later to become the 2nd Earl of Mansfield. It was whilst he was ambassador to the Elector of Saxony that he met his first wife, Henrietta Frederica, the daughter of Henry Graf Bunau. By the time they met, Henrietta was a  widow, her husband Frederik de Berregaard, having died two years previously.

The couple married on 16 August 1759 and almost nine months to the day, on 18 May 1760, Lady Elizabeth Mary was born in Warsaw, Poland.  The couple went on to have another daughter, Henrietta, born 16 October 1763, but sadly, she died  in Vienna, whilst an infant, closely followed by Henrietta herself, who died on 16 March 1766 also in Vienna, aged just 29.

Henrietta was interred at the Protestant churchyard in Vienna, with minimal fuss and ceremony, but her heart was removed, embalmed and taken to Scone at the request of her husband.

Henrietta daughter of Henry Graf Bunau. Painted by Marcello Bacciarelli in Warsaw in 1759. Countrylife June 10, 2013
Henrietta daughter of Henry Graf Bunau. Painted by Marcello Bacciarelli in Warsaw in 1759. Country Life June 10, 2013

This left David with a daughter to raise alone, a situation which would be almost impossible, so he did what he thought was for the best and brought Lady Elizabeth Mary  back to England in May 1766, and took her to Lord and Lady Mansfield at Kenwood House, who were able to give her a more stable upbringing, something that would have been extremely difficult given her father’s ambassadorial post.

Caenwood House 1786 European Magazine Volume 9 - January-June
Caenwood House 1786 European Magazine Volume 9 – January-June

On 6 May 1776 at St George’s Hanover Square, David married for a second time. His second wife being the Honourable Louisa Cathcart (1758-1843), thirty years his junior and just two years older than his daughter, Lady Elizabeth Mary who would have been just sixteen at this time.

They went on to have a further five children –David (1777-1840), George (1780-1848), Charles (1781-1859), Henry (1784-1860) and lastly, Caroline (1789-1867).

Their eldest son, David, Elizabeth Mary’s half-brother, would, in due course, become the 3rd Earl of Mansfield.

In September 1796, David, 2nd Earl of Mansfield, died suddenly in September 1796, whilst at Brighton, from a stomach spasm.

When the 2nd Earl of Mansfield was buried at Westminster Abbey, he specifically requested that his heart should be removed, embalmed and take to Scone to be reunited with that of his first wife. There is a memorial to both the earl and Henrietta at Scone. I do wonder how his second wife must have felt about that!

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

From the Hampshire Chronicle 17 September 1796 account it would appear that the 2nd Earl’s funeral didn’t go quite as planned. His remains were brought from Brighton where he died, to his residence in Portland Place and from there to Westminster Abbey with all the pomp and ceremony you would expect for such an eminent person.

Crowds of people gathered jostling to get a better view of the proceedings outside the abbey. The hearse door was opened, two of the bearers drew out the coffin, and had got it on their shoulders, but through the indecency of the multitude who pressed forward to teat off the ornaments, the horses took fright, and ran off before the other men were ready, consequently the corpse fell to the ground, and the coffin was shattered so much so that the foot part bulged, and a number of the nails and ornaments were forced out.

The concussion must have broken the leaden receptacle, as a large amount of water poured from it. It was all repaired as quickly as possible and his body was interred in the family vault. The former lord and his lady were the only two, beside his Lordship, who were buried in the tomb contiguous to the Earl of Chatham’s monument, on the north-west side of the chancel.

Louisa survived her husband by 47 years and didn’t waste much time in marrying again. On 19 October 1797, her second husband became Robert Fulke Greville (1751-1824), the son of Francis Greville, 1st Earl of Warwick. Robert was known to have been a favourite at court, initially an equerry to King George III, later becoming Groom of the Bedchamber.

Abbott, Lemuel Francis; The Honourable Robert Fulke Greville (1751-1797); National Trust, Calke Abbey

Louisa and Robert went on to have a further three children – Lady Georgiana (1798-1871), Lady Louisa (1800-1883) and finally, the Honourable Robert (1800-1867).

Returning to Lady Elizabeth Mary, she married into another long-established family, the Finch-Hattons. On 15 December 1785, at Lord Mansfield’s town house she married George Finch-Hatton by special licence, her fortune upon marriage was said to be £17,000 – £10,000 from Lord Mansfield plus £7,000 from her father (about 1.5 million pounds in today’s money).

Lady Elizabeth Murray marriage entry in parish register of St Gile's in the Fields, Holborn, confirming that they married in the home of Lord Mansfield
Lady Elizabeth Murray marriage entry in parish register of St Gile’s in the Fields, Holborn, confirming that they married at the home of Lord Mansfield

Following the service performed by the Archbishop of York, the couple set off for celebrations at Kenwood House. There is no indication as to whether Dido Elizabeth Belle would have attended the wedding itself, but she would almost certainly have been present for the celebrations at Kenwood.

Richardson the elder, Jonathan; Daniel Finch, 2nd Earl of Nottingham and 7th Earl of Winchilsea; National Portrait Gallery, London

Whether this marriage was a love match or arguably, more about ‘keeping it in the family’ who knows, as Lady Elizabeth’s husband George, was the son of Edward Finch-Hatton, who was the son of Daniel Finch, 2nd Earl of Nottingham and 7th Earl of Winchilsea. Daniel’s youngest daughter was, co-incidentally, also the father of Elizabeth Finch, wife of Lord Mansfield.

Most places seem to show that Elizabeth Mary and George had just three children, so let’s set this record straight – they had seven.

Their first child was a daughter, Louisa, who was born 12 November 1786. Louisa married the Honourable Charles Hope (1768-1828), the son of John Hope, 2nd Earl of Hopetoun (1704-1781) and his third wife, Lady Elizabeth Leslie. The couple married on 30 April 1807 at the church at St. Marylebone, although their marriage was also registered at Aberlady, Scotland.

27 October 1788 at Gretton, Northamptonshire, their second child, Anna Maria was born. Anna Maria never married and died on 2 December 1837 and was buried a few days later at All Saints, Leamington Priors, Warwickshire.

Most records seem to have written Anna Maria out of history, and yet she was mentioned by the author Jane Austen in somewhat less than flattering terms, in a letter to her sister Cassandra on 6 November 1813:

Lady Eliz. Hatton and Annamaria called here this morning. Yes, they called; but I do not think I can say anything more about them. They came, and they sat, and they went.

It would be two years after the birth of Anna Maria, that their third child was born, Elizabeth Henrietta, who was born on 19 January 1790. Elizabeth never married and died at the age of 30, in 1820. Elizabeth helpfully left a will, in which she left bequests for all her siblings.

George Finch Hatton 10th Earl. National Portrait Gallery
George Finch Hatton 10th Earl. National Portrait Gallery

Their fourth child was their son and heir, George, who was born on 19 May 1791. He attended Westminster school, then Cambridge university. He then went on to have a military career, before becoming a politician and became well known for a duel with the then Prime Minister, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington.

The field of Battersea. Duke of Wellington as a lobster. British Museum
The field of Battersea. Duke of Wellington as a lobster. British Museum

George married three times, his first wife being Georgiana Charlotte Graham (1791-1835), his second wife being Emily Georgiana Bagot, who died in 1848 and finally Fanny Margaretta Rice, who outlived George who died in 1858. George and his first two wives died at Haverholme Priory, near Sleaford, Lincolnshire.

Haverholme Priory in an 1826 sketch in The Gentleman's Magazine
Haverholme Priory in an 1826 sketch in The Gentleman’s Magazine, now a ruin

Today, in the neighbouring village of Ewerby, is a village pub named after the family, The Finch Hatton Arms, which was apparently used by the family as a hunting lodge.

Their fifth child and second son was Edward Frederick, who was baptised at Eastwell, Kent on 16 January 1793. Edward Frederick’s life was cut short, when he died at the age of just 20, and was buried 8 September 1813 at Eastwell. No cause of death was provided for Frederick, but the Kentish Gazette, 7 September 1813, reported that he was a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy and was much lamented by his family and friends.

Their sixth child and third son was Daniel Heneage, who was born at the family home, Eastwell, Kent on 5 May 1795. Daniel went into the church and eventually married on 15 December 1825 at St George’s, Hanover Square and kept his marriage ‘in the family’ so to speak. As noted earlier, Daniel’s maternal step grandmother was Louisa, 2nd Lady Mansfield. On the death of Lady Elizabeth’s father, she married again. Her second husband being Robert Fulke Greville. Together they had three children. Daniel Heneage married the middle child, Lady Louisa Greville. Daniel died in 1866 at Weldon, Northamptonshire.

Emily was their seventh and youngest child and, who, like several of the others, appears to have been all but written out of history. Emily was born 12 Oct 1797 and baptised at Eastwell. In 18126, she married a vicar, Alfred Charnley Lawrence, who was the rector of Sandhurst, Kent.  The couple had three children and Emily died in 1868.

Lady Elizabeth Finch Hatton calling card British Museum
Lady Elizabeth Finch Hatton’s calling card British Museum

From the newspapers of the day you get the impression that Elizabeth Mary was something of a social butterfly, frequently paying visits to people within in her social circle, being seen in all the ‘right places’, attending and hosting balls, one of which that warrants mention, held for her three younger daughters:

Saint James Chronicle 10 May 1817

Lady Finch Hatton’s Ball – this elegant Lady opened Mansfield House, in Portland Place, on Thursday evening, with a ball and supper. It was a juvenile party, for the express purpose of introducing the three accomplished Misses Hatton into the fashionable world.

We must also remember that when Lady Anne Murray, Lady Elizabeth’s paternal aunt, died on 3 July 1817 at her Brighton home, leaving many bequests to faithful servants, she left the bulk of her estate to Lady Elizabeth Mary’s husband, George, along with bequests for all of their children.

Samuel Hieronymus Grimm’s 1787 depiction of Marlborough House, Brighton. Illustration: courtesy of the British Library. Previously owned, until his death by W G Hamilton MP (1729-1796)
Samuel Hieronymus Grimm’s 1787 depiction of Marlborough House, Brighton. Illustration: courtesy of the British Library. Previously owned, until his death by W G Hamilton MP (1729-1796) Shortly after it was purchased by Lady Anne Murray.

Lady Anne also left £50 to each of Dido Elizabeth’s 3 boys. This implies that in late 1804, when she wrote her will, that Dido’s son John, believed to have died in infancy was in fact still alive at that time. Lady Anne must have kept in touch with Dido’s family, as she knew Dido had died, but what became of her son John remains unsolved.

Lady Anne’s sister, Lady Margery, who died in 1799, was also clearly very fond of Dido as she too left her £100 in her will.

To the late Mrs Daviniere's three boys fifty pounds each
Click to enlarge. ‘To the late Mrs Daviniere’s three boys fifty pounds each’

George Finch Hatton died in 1823 and Lady Elizabeth Mary, just two years later in Edinburgh.

Old Parish Registers Deaths 685/1 1000 17 Edinburgh
Old Parish Registers Deaths 685/1 1000 17 Edinburgh

She left a very detailed will, ensuring that all her surviving children were well provided for. In her will, there is a lovely mention of her late mother, Henrietta when she specifically left Anna Maria a miniature portrait of her, a memory of her mother kept safe for almost 60 years.

Extract from Elizabeth's will re miniature of her mother for Anna Maria. Click to enlarge
Extract from Elizabeth’s will re miniature of her mother for Anna Maria. Click to enlarge

One final snippet of information, Lady Elizabeth Mary’s great grandson, Denys Finch Hatton (1887-1931) the son of Henry Stormont Finch-Hatton, 13th Earl of Winchilsea and 8th Earl of Nottingham (1852 – 1927), had a relationship with Karen Blixen, who wrote her autobiography – Out of Africa. The film of the same name was loosely based on her book.

As well

Sources

Paul. Sir James Balfour. The Scots peerage; founded on Wood’s edition of Sir Robert Douglas’s peerage of Scotland; containing an historical and genealogical account of the nobility of that kingdom. Volume 8. Page 208-209

Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Series PROB 11; Class: PROB 11; Piece: 1280

The Scots Magazine 7 November 1763

Caledonian Mercury 14 April 1766

Oxford Journal 31 May 1766

Dublin Evening Post – Tuesday 27 December 1785

Hereford Journal – Thursday 22 December 1785

Bolton Chronicle 9 December 1837

Edinburgh Sheriff Court Inventories SC70/1/33

Feltham, John. A Guide to all the watering and sea bathing places 1813. p87

The portrait of Lady Brisco (1755-1822) by Gainsborough

This portrait caught my eye recently whilst looking at portraits by Gainsborough and I was curious to know a little more about her, especially as she was sporting the high hair fashion of the day.

Gainsborough, Thomas; Lady Brisco; English Heritage, Kenwood

The extravaganza, or, The mountain head dress of 1776. Lewis Walpole Library

She was Carolina (not Caroline as noted in many places) Alicia Fleming, born in 1755 to parents Gilbert Fane Fleming and Camilla Bennet. It’s worth mentioning that Carolina’s maternal grandparents were Charles, Bennet, 2nd Earl of Tankerville (1697-1753) and Camilla Colville (1698 -1775). Camilla being a Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Caroline and afterwards to the Princess Augusta.

In July 1776 Carolina married the baronet, John Brisco (1739-1805).  It was just one year after their marriage that Carolina’s father died, and in his will he made provision for Carolina’s husband to take over ownership of his two plantations on the island of St Christopher, Westhope in St Peters Basseterre and Salt Ponds in St Geo. Basseterre.

Of course, along with the plantations were slaves, in this case the couple inherited a considerable number to work on the plantations. So far as I can tell the couple spent no time at their plantations, presumably preferring to leave them to be managed on their behalf and simply reaping the rewards from the crops. The couple owned several properties around the country including their country estate, Crofton Hall in Cumbria and a house on Wimpole Street in London.

The couple had seven known children, although most sources imply that there were just three. The seven being, Camilla born 1777, their son and heir Wastel in 1778, Caroline the following year, Fleming John in 1781, Augusta in 1783, Emma the next year, followed by Frederick in 1790 and finally, Henry in 1796.

In 1804 just prior to his death, Sir John Briscoe also purchased Alexander Pope’s house at Twickenham, which Lady Briscoe retained for just a couple of years after his death before selling it in 1807 to Baroness Howe of Langar, who, having already demolished Langar Hall, went on to demolish Pope’s house too.

Scott, Samuel; Pope’s Villa, Twickenham; Yale Center for British Art

After the death of Sir John, his son and heir, Wastel, inherited all the estates and in November 1806 he married Sarah Lester, daughter of a Mr Ladbrook. Now, despite producing three children including a son and heir, this marriage that proved to be something of a disaster. It is from this point onwards that Lady Carolina’s story has, I’m afraid, been hijacked by that of her son, Wastel. Please be aware, it does not make for pleasant reading from this point onwards.

By 1813, Lady Sarah had had more than enough of her husband and took him to court for cruelty and adultery. This was to prove to be an incredibly lengthy affair lasting for over ten years. Lady Sarah remained at their home in London, whilst her erstwhile husband went to live in their country estate in Cumbria.

As well as the issue of adultery the tricky subject of money reared its ugly head and how much money each of them had and how much they believed they should have as a result of a possible divorce.

Lady Sarah made quite a few purchases for items she needed, not least clothes, as it would appear that during their dispute, Sir Wastel burnt most of her clothes which were valued at in excess of £200 (which is about £10,000 in today’s money).

Sir Wastel however, disputed, not the burning, but the value of the said clothing, and according to him they were worth a mere £10 or £500 in today’s money. Lady Sarah stressed that she not only required new clothes, but that she needed sufficient money from him to live in the lifestyle she was accustomed to and to ensure that his children were well provided for.

Eventually the court allocated Lady Sarah £200 a year, plus £200 a year pin money, but the battles over money continued for years, with Lady Sarah claiming that her husband had been having a relationship with a servant at their home in London, one Sarah Stow of Norfolk. He in turn, accused her of adultery.

Image courtesy of Crofton Hall estate. Just behind the stairs can be seen the portrait of Lady Brisco
Image courtesy of Crofton Hall estate. Just behind the stairs can be seen the portrait of Lady Brisco

Sir Wastel moving out of the marital home and set up home with his mistress, eventually moving to their country residence in Cumbria, where Sarah Stow continued to live as his ‘housekeeper’. Sarah Stow by this time also used the surname Stageman.

The couple, once free of Lady Sarah, although not legally, went on to have at least eleven children, all baptised with just Sarah Stow’s name, no father was named, but you would have thought everyone in the local area would have easily put two and two together to work out who the father was.

It isn’t until you look at her will, which was proven 1853, that you notice that she referred to herself as Sarah Stageman, otherwise Stow. There’s no explanation as to why she used the name Stageman, but  it’s you take a look at the slavery register for 1827-1828 for slaves owned by Sir Wastel, that a familiar name appears, in the form of his attorney – a James Stageman. It’s such an unusual surname that he must surely, in some way be connected to Sarah, but to date I’ve no idea how.

St Christopher Slave Register 1827-1828. click to enlarge
St Christopher Slave Register 1827-1828. click to enlarge

Sir Wastel died 1 October 1862 at his country home, at which time his son and heir inherited the title and estate, but what became of  his wife, Lady Sarah?

After several years spent intermittently living apart, Sir Wastel stopped paying alimony and found himself back in court, well he would have, had he bothered to appear, instead found himself in contempt of court.

Doctors' Commons in the early 19th century. Thomas Rowlandson
Doctors’ Commons in the early 19th century. Thomas Rowlandson

It was in June 1826, that Lady Sarah found herself accused of adultery with the Sir John Winnington, by his wife. In this instance Lady Winnington was granted her divorce as the evidence was clear, he was guilty of adultery with Lady Sarah.

Lady Sarah’s battle with her husband, as they were still not divorced, continued to rage, so much so that he took out the following advertisement in the local newspaper.

Carlisle Patriot 20 September 1828
Carlisle Patriot 20 September 1828

Yet again, in 1830, Sir Wastel found himself in court this time, it was a case against him for non-payment of accounts due to a Mr David,  that had been accrued by Lady Sarah. On this occasion a number of witnesses were called who testified about the nature of Lady Sarah’s relationship with her husband.

One witness said she had seen him in a compromising position with another woman, another witness, that she had seen Lady Sarah coming downstairs with blood pouring from her mouth and how cruelly she was treated by her husband. Another that she often had cuts and bruises on her body, had her hair pulled  out in handfuls, and had been locked in her room with no food or water, the list went on and made for shocking reading.  In a nutshell he said that he would persecute her for as long as she lived, which seemingly he did. The judge found in favour of Sir Wastel and that he was not liable for Lady Sarah’s debts.

Life just even worse for Lady Sarah when in 1833 she found herself spending two months in the house of correction at Coldbath Fields, for libel. A few years later she found herself in court once more, again for libel. Lady Sarah died in 1840 and had spent the majority of her life living in fear of her husband and being pursued by him to the end.

Sources

Legacy of British Slave-Ownership

The Annual Register 1817

Office of Registry of Colonial Slaves and Slave Compensation Commission: Records; Class: T 71; Piece Number: 258

Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Series PROB 11; Class: PROB 11; Piece: 2173

Saint James’s Chronicle 23 April 1825

British Press 24 June 1826

Evening Mail 13 December 1830

Featured Image

Carlisle Cathedral and Deanery above Old Caldew Bridge. Matthew Ellis Nutter (1795–1862) (attributed to). Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery

 

Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire’s travels in exile

Georgiana had three legitimate children with William, 5th Duke of Devonshire, Georgiana, known as ‘Little G’ born 1783, followed by Harriet, known affectionately as ‘Harryo’, born 1785 and finally, a son and heir William, who was born in May 1790, whilst the couple were in Paris and who would later become 6th Duke of Devonshire. The 5th Duke also had an illegitimate daughter, Charlotte Williams, about whom I have written previously (see highlighted link)..

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

The couple waited until 20 May 1791 to have their son baptised at St George’s Hanover Square and the following month attended court to celebrate King George III’s birthday. It would have been around this time that Georgiana found herself pregnant again, this child however, was the result of her affair with Charles Grey.

Lawrence, Thomas; Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey; National Portrait Gallery, London

The child, named Elizabeth Courtney, was said to have been born on 20 February 1792, at Aix de Provence, France. She was then taken back to England to be raised by Charles Grey’s parents, as his sibling, rather than his daughter. Eliza, as she was known, although seeing her mother, was unaware of the familial connection until after the death of Georgiana.

The disgraced, Georgiana was given a choice by her husband, either a divorce which would give him the ability to remarry, or to go into exile. In order to protect her children, she chose the latter.

Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire after 1778. Royal Collection Trust
Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire after 1778. Royal Collection Trust

In October 1791 she left England for Paris, accompanied by Lord and Lady Duncannon, probably better known as Bessborough, Georgiana’s sister and brother-in-law, which would have been an interesting journey, given that Lord Bessborough had begun divorce proceeding against Henrietta the previous year. By this time Georgiana would have been about five months pregnant.

Her poem, The Passage of the Mountain of Saint Gothard, was based on her passage of the Saint Gotthard Pass in August 1793 on her return to England.

The Hampshire Chronicle, 6 January 1800, along with other newspapers printed the poem in full accompanied by a brief extract about her travels. This was just over one year after the birth of Elizabeth Courtney.

The extract gives us a fleeting glimpse into where she visited and who she travelled with, although it’s not entirely clear who all her companions were. The newspaper article began with an advisory, that publication was delayed for the following reason:

We have, through the length of the French Constitution, and other important, but temporary matter, deferred till now inserting the above elegant piece of composition; confident that its merits would render it acceptable to our readers at any time. Her Grace has adopted the measure, and justice compels us to add, caught the spirit of Gray’s Elegy. There are many passage, which in sublimity, beauty and classic allusion, divide approbation even with that celebrated performance.

In 1799 her most famous poem was published, not only in book form but also in the newspaper and can be read in full by following this link.

The published extract from her journal which gives us a very brief glimpse into what her journey would have been like at that time:

We quitted Italy in August 1793 and passed into Switzerland over the mountain of St Gothard. The third crop of corn was already standing in Lombardy.

We left Lady Spencer and Lady Bessborough at the Baths of Lucca, intending to pass the winter at Naples.

The contrast between Switzerland and the Milanese appeared very striking. The Milanese were infested with a band of robbers that caused us some alarm and obliged us to use some precautions; but from the moment we entered the mountains of Switzerland, we travelled without fear, and felt perfectly secure. Death is the punishment of robbers; this punishment, however, very rarely occurs. At Lausanne there had been but one execution in fifteen years.

On the 9th we embarked upon Lago Maggiore, at the little town of Sisto, situated where the Tesino runs out of the lake. In the course of two days navigation, we particularly admired the striking and colossal statue of St. Charles Borromeo (with its pedestal two feet from the ground). The beautiful Borromean Islands, and the shores of the lake, are interspersed with towns and wood, and crowned with the distant view of the Alps.

On the evening of the 10th, we landed at Magadino, one of the three Cisalpine Baliages belonging to Switzerland; and as the air was too noxious for us to venture to sleep there, we sent for horses to conduct us to Belinzona, a pretty town in the midst of high mountains, under the jurisdiction of three of the Swiss Cantons, Switz, Underald and Uri. From hence (after having prepared horses, chairs and guides, and having our carriages taken in pieces) we set out on the evening of the 12th to enter the mountain and ascended gradually by a road that nearly followed the course of the Tesino.  The Tesino takes its rise not far from the summit of St. Gothard and joins the Po near Pavia.

St Gothard itself arises from the top of several other high mountains. Some have given 17,600 fee of perpendicular height from the level of the sea; but General Plyffer, who completed the celebrated model of that part of Switzerland surrounding Lucerne, makes it only 9,075 feet about the Mediterranean.

There is a small convent at the top of the mountain, where two monks reside and who are obliged to receive and entertain the poor traveller that passes that way. Padre Lorenzo had lived there for twenty years and seemed a sensible and benevolent man. They have a large dairy and make excellent cheese. Five small lakes which are at the top of the mountain supply them with fish. The monks are Capuchins and belong to a convent at Milan.

Although Georgiana returned in 1793, her mother and sister remained in Europe for a further year, with Georgiana meeting them at Harwich.

Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (1757-1806) c. 1774 Jeremiah Meyer. Royal Collection Trust
Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (1757-1806) c. 1774 Jeremiah Meyer. Royal Collection Trust

Following this enforced exile, Georgiana returned to England to continue caring for her children, living in a ménage à trois and playing out the role of the dutiful wife, until her death in March 1806.

Sources

The Passage of the Mountain of Saint Gothard: A Poem; by Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire

Sketch of a descriptive journey through Switzerland to which is added a poem by her Grace the Duchess of Devonshire. Attributed to Rowley Lascelles 1816

Derby Mercury 9 June 1791

The World 24 November 1791

True Briton 11 August 1794

Featured Image

Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, with her daughter Georgiana, later Countess of Carlisle 1807-08 by William Etty. Royal Collection Trust

Bold Bling, Romantic Posies and Star-Set Jewels, Georgian Jewellery That Would Even Make Even the Cast of Bridgerton Jealous!

Today I’m thrilled to welcome a new guest to All Things Georgian,  Molly Chatterton of Lillicoco, antique and vintage jewellers, to talk about a subject close to my heart – 18th century jewellery, so without any further ado I’ll hand you straight over to Molly:

The explosion of Bridgerton on our screens late last year has brought a renewed interest to the Regency era. And whilst we were glued to our screens waiting for Daphne and Simon to just profess their undying love and devotion for one another, we couldn’t help but also be dazzled by the array of glittering jewellery.

Isabel de Farnesio. Museo del Prado
Isabel de Farnesio. Museo del Prado

Whilst some jewellery historians have already said that the jewellery within this TV series has taken the artistic licence quite liberally, it does make us wonder what kind of jewellery was worn in this period, and specifically, the types of jewellery worn to debutante balls and important occasions.

From Diamond sprays to stomachers and sevignes, there were an array of high Georgian jewellery that was pinned, clasped and sewn into a young woman’s eveningwear. Here, we focus specifically on three different types of sparkling Georgian jewellery that was front and centre at fashionable 18th century European balls.

Foiled Jewellery

If there was something that the Georgians specifically wanted from their jewellery, it was luminosity, vibrance and colour, and this was achieved through the ancient art of foiling.

V&A Museum
V&A Museum

18th and early 19th-century lapidaries could only do a few certain kinds of gemstone cuts. These included rose cut, table cut, and flat cut. Unlike more modern gemstone cuts, these gemstone cuts did not reveal the natural innate fire of certain gemstones. That being said, they certainly possessed their own romantic character and allure. To increase the gemstones vibrancy, and to add more colour and depth, the Georgians placed foils in the backs of the gemstone settings. These foils could be the same colour as the gemstone or they could be a different but complementary colour entirely.

Lillicoco - Georgian Portuguese Black Dot Foiled Paste Brooch and Georgian Foiled Garnet Paste Brooch
Lillicoco – Georgian Portuguese Black Dot Foiled Paste Brooch and Georgian Foiled Garnet Paste Brooch

The foils were designed to increase the refraction of light, creating an intense flash of colour and draw the eye to the centre. Some of our favourite foiled jewellery pieces in our collection have included pink-foiled Amethyst and Paste, peachy-foiled Diamonds and Paste, and sumptuous foiled Garnets.

Lillicoco - Georgian Foiled Paste Earrings with 18ct Gold Hooks
Lillicoco – Georgian Foiled Paste Earrings with 18ct Gold Hooks

Foiled pieces were highly fashionable and sought after for 18th and 19th-century balls, this is because the foils would literally come alive in candlelit rooms. 18th century and early 19th century fashions lowered the decollete of ballgowns, which, of course, led to more flesh on display. With this in mind, foiling was commonly used with earrings, riviere necklaces and pendants. So, if you wanted to attract a certain suitor, then this style of jewellery would literally catch their eye and draw their gaze towards your face and neck.

Lillicoco - Georgian 18ct Gold Perpignan Garnet Foiled Riviere
Lillicoco – Georgian 18ct Gold Perpignan Garnet Foiled Riviere

Celestial Jewellery

It is no secret that beautiful bejewelled jewellery and the night sky certainly have a stylistic affinity with one another. You can find a myriad of celestial fashion jewellery today but did you know that astrological themed jewellery was in vogue during the 18th and 19th century?

V&A Museum
V&A Museum

This rise in Georgian celestial jewellery coincided with the Age of Enlightenment (1650-1780). Just a century before, there were spectacular scientific discoveries made by Galileo about outer space. This clearly held huge weight within Georgian society, as the whole world was not only bedazzled by the universe, but also what part they played within it. With this in mind, the interest in astrology boomed, and it wasn’t long for the fascination with the heavens to pass through the minds of astronomers to the fingertips of jewellers.

Lillicoco - Georgian Green Paste Roundel Brooch, Georgian 18ct Gold Pearl Ring
Lillicoco – Georgian Green Paste Roundel Brooch, Georgian 18ct Gold Pearl Ring

One of the two most sought after pieces of Georgian celestial jewellery were Bagues Au Firmament and Halley’s Comet. Bagues Au Firmament were a fashionable ring trend first emerging in France, and were even worn by the Queen Marie Antoinette herself! Bagues Au Firmament dreamily translates to “Ring of the Heavens”, and they were a poetic rendition of the night sky. These rings were often a sea of blue Enamel or blue glass, and were speckled with Diamonds or Paste gems. Certainly a statement piece, these rings were a must-have for any regency ball. As not only did it show that you were learned in the art of the universe, but also that you had the taste of Parisian and French fashions at your fingertips.

Lillicoco - Bagues Au Firmament Ring
Lillicoco – Bagues Au Firmament Ring

The second type of Celestial jewellery that was a must for regency balls were Halley’s Comet jewellery. If you weren’t already aware, Halley’s Comet is one of the world’s most famous comets, circling the sun every 75-76 years. The comet was named after Sir Edmund Halley, a royal astronomer who accurately predicted all of the comet’s sightings. In 1759 and 1835, the comet made its regular appearance in a scheduled and timely manner. What resulted was an explosion of commemorative jewellery, from Diamond shooting stars, Paste-encrusted sunbursts and meticulously carved intaglio’s of Halley’s face. We can just imagine the numerous balls and parties that were thrown to celebrate the comet’s arrival, the long-awaited special VIP guest of the night!

Just like the Bagues Au Firmament, it was paramount to have these quintessentially romantic jewels at regency balls, especially if you wanted to have the gossip periodicals discussing your etoile-encrusted ensemble the next day!

Lillicoco - Georgian Black Dot Paste Star Pendant
Lillicoco – Georgian Black Dot Paste Star Pendant

Giardinetti Jewellery

Giardinetti jewellery is beautiful and captivating. Throughout the 18th and especially in the 19th century Flowers were a fashionable and symbolic bejewelled choice, especially when it comes to the art and ardours of love. So much so that this culminated in the Victorian language of flowers.

V&A Museum
V&A Museum

Giardinetti jewellery actually first became popular in Italy, with “Giardinetti” translating to “Little Garden”.

Lillicoco - Georgian Emerald Diamond Floral Brooch, Georgian Garnet Foiled Pansy Earrings
Lillicoco – Georgian Emerald Diamond Floral Brooch, Georgian Garnet Foiled Pansy Earrings

These were mainly rings and brooches that were speckled with tiny blossoms of Rubies, Emeralds, Diamonds and coloured Paste gems protruding from Silver and Gold flowerpots. This style of jewellery reflected the delicate and elegantly composed fashions of the Rococo period, as well as in keeping with the floral embroidered gowns that were in vogue from the 1740s to 1780s.

Giardinetti jewellery was a literal breath of fresh air in the world of 18th century fashion, adding an innocent soupçon of sparkle to a pastel silk gown. Giardinetti gems were also exchanged between lovers and friends, perhaps Simon would have given Daphne a Giardinetti ring or brooch to show the other suitors just what they were missing!

From Left to Right, Lillicoco - Rare 18ct Gold Georgian Turquoise Ring, Georgian 12ct Gold Forget Me Not Ring, Late Georgian 18ct Gold Turquoise Pearl Mourning Ring
From Left to Right, Lillicoco – Rare 18ct Gold Georgian Turquoise Ring, Georgian 12ct Gold Forget Me Not Ring, Late Georgian 18ct Gold Turquoise Pearl Mourning Ring

We hope you have enjoyed reading all about fabulous glittering Georgian jewellery, you can see the current Lillicoco Georgian jewellery collection here!

Dr Joshua Ward, the ‘Friar’s Balsam’ man

I recently came across an advert in the Newcastle Courant, 24 November 1744 for a product I recalled from childhood, ‘Friar’s Balsam’. I have a vague recollection of adding it to hot water to inhale to ease the symptoms of a cold.

No individual claimed ownership of the product in the advert, but simply stated that the original recipe had come from a Father Gervase Cartwright and was approved and recommended by several eminent physicians as the best family medicine in the world.

Fryar’s Balsam, as it was written at that time, was capable for curing a whole host of ailments – bruises – if applied immediately it would remove the blackness of the bruise. It helped to heal cuts and green wounds, but only if applied with a feather or bit of lint. ‘tis good medicine for coughs, colds or consumption, asthma, gout and rheumatics. For the intestines it could aid colic, flux, piles, pains in the bowels or stomach. It instantly healed chapped hands, soreness of the breasts or nipples and on the face, it would remove scabs caused by small pox. It was conveniently packaged so could be carried in the pocket when travelling.

Twenty or thirty drops taken in the morning on a lump of sugar, will fortify the stomach against the inclemency of the weather, and is far better than a dram. ‘Tis likewise used with equal success on horses, dogs and other creatures: a few drops will cure a horse’s back when gall’d, a broken knee, or any wound in the foot, whether occasioned by a nail or otherwise. Price One shilling each bottle, with proper direction for its use in each distemper.

The advert gave no indication where the product could be purchased from, leaving a potential buyer deprived of any clue as to where to obtain this amazing product!

It is said that Isaac Newton used it as early as 1660 when working in the apothecary shop in Grantham.

The first reference however, I have come across appeared in an essay, ‘The Physician’s Pulse Watch’ Volume 2 by the physician, John Floyer, dated 1710.

Joshua Ward. Wellcome Collection
Joshua Ward. Wellcome Collection

Whoever ‘invented’ it, Dr Joshua Ward appears to have been given credit for it, but my initial searches reveal that it wasn’t attributed to him until around 1760, which was some 50 years after it was referenced by Floyer. So, did he invent it, or did he simply sell it? We may never truly know the answer to that, but one thing we do know is that it still exists today, which perhaps shows how effective it has been to survive for over 300 years, still bearing its original name.

Who was Joshua Ward, or Dr Joshua Ward, as he was better known?

Joshua was the son of William and his wife, Mary, of Guisborough, Yorkshire, with William being the owner of an alum works. The couple had at least four other children, Margaret, Ann, William and the MP John Ward, who had a something of a reputation for being an unscrupulous businessman, but that’s another story. Joshua was presented for baptism at the parish church on 22 July 1686.

Little is known of Joshua’s early life, but The London Gazette, 25 January 1715, confirms that he was elected as the MP for Marlborough, Wiltshire, but following a petition, he was declared not to have been elected in 1717 at which time, he was said to have fled to France, where he remained under the radar until about 1730.

According to the ODNB, it was whilst in France, Joshua was said to have invented the medicines, known as Ward’s Pill and Ward’s Drop.

Dr Misaubin and Dr Ward c1730
Dr Misaubin and Dr Ward c1730

The next reference to Joshua was about 1730 as can be seen in this portrait above in the Royal Collection.

In 1734, his name appeared in the Grub Street Journal as ‘dispenser of the famous pill and powder’, but still it made no mention of the balsam. The following year Joshua purchased a piece of land near to Buckingham House to erect a hospital for the poor.  Joshua raised funds from the nobility to fund this, including the likes of the Duke of Devonshire.

He then spent the money on the building and according to the General Evening Post, 10 July 1735, plus upwards of £200 on beds alone as part of fitting it out.

Joshua Ward by Agostini Carlini, c 1760, Victoria and Albert Museum
Joshua Ward by Agostini Carlini, c 1760, Victoria and Albert Museum

It was the following year that his name became known at the court of King George II, when he was sent for to cure a woman said to be suffering from a bladder stone. He gave her one of his pills and she was immediately cured. He seems to have been able to cure most ailments known to man at that time, with newspapers providing witness testimonies to his skill. His success in this instance enhanced his reputation no end.

Of course, Joshua would have his critics, describing his cures as ‘quackery’, with accusations that he hired patients for half a crown a week and taught them how to simulate symptoms of a disease which he would immediately cure. Others, however, were fervent supporters of his work including the likes of Horace Walpole who was impressed by Joshua’s ability to cure a headache by using his ointment.

Joshua continued to work as a physician until his death on 21 November 1761, bequeathing the secret of his pills, to his friend and admirer, John Page, MP for Chichester. His body was removed from his house in Whitehall and taken to Westminster Abbey to be interred in the choir, as per his request in his will.

An announcement of Joshua’s death appeared in The Annual Register, 1761 including a brief obituary:

Joshua Ward, Esq, so well-known by the name Doctor Ward, died, at Whitehall, aged 76. This gentleman was formerly a member of the House of Commons; but on account of a particular affair, was obliged to go abroad, where he remained some years; but at last received his late majesty’s pardon. He then came to England, where, soon after his arrival, he purchase three houses at Pimlico, near St James’s park, which he converted into an hospital for his poor patients and very soon became so eminent in his profession by all ranks and degrees of people. Meeting with great success in his practice, and the poor from all parts flocking to him for relief, he took part of a house in Threadneedle Street, for the better distribution of his medicines to the poor, which he gave generously to all who asked his advice, that, as well as his house in Whitehall, was every day crowded with objects of charity, to who he always gave, with the greatest humanity, his medicines, and advice gratis, and often relieve them with money. Of late years he was particularly applied to by the nobility and gentry, even after they had been given over by regular physicians, upon which account he used facetiously to call himself the scanger of the faculty. And it was well known that many who have been pronounced dead have been restored to life by his medicines. So that all allow he richly merited the great fortune he died possessed of.

In Joshua’s will, he specified that he wished to be buried in Westminster Abbey, a wish that was carried out. He made provision for his sisters, Margaret and Ann £500 each; his servants each received between £50 and £100 each. His nephews Ralph and Thomas Ward who were also the executors received £1,000 each, but the lions share went to his great niece Rebecca Ward –£ 2,000, her father, Knox Ward having already died, as had Knox’s father, the MP John Ward.

The London Chronicle 25 February 1762 reported that a monument would be erected in Westminster Abbey, next to John Dryden, on which would be a fine bust of Joshua which was already in his possession.

According to the Caledonian Mercury, 17 November 1762:

It is said his majesty has offered £10,000 to the executors of the late Dr Joshua Ward, as a gratuity for their publishing the several receipts for making his medicines.

Sources

Horace Walpole’s Correspondence

Westminster Abbey website

Featured Image 

Joshua Ward Receiving Money from Britannia (and Bestowing it as Charity on the Needy) Thomas Bardwell (1704–1767) Hunterian Museum

The Persistent Legend of Princess Elizabeth (1770-1840) and the mysterious George Ramus

Well, this certainly was not a proverbial rabbit hole I expected to find myself down when this beautiful portrait caught my eye. I simply wanted to know more about the young lady whose beauty had been captured by George Romney. The portrait is of ‘Elizabeth Ramus (1751-1848), the daughter of Nicholas Ramus and subsequently wife of Baron de Nougal’.

Portrait of Elizabeth Ramus (1751-1848), daughter of Nicholas Ramus and subsequently wife of Baron de Nougal, half-length, in a pink dress with gold trim and a green shawl, her hair tied with a gold-embroidered white muslin scarf by George Romney. Courtesy of Christie's auctioneers
Portrait of Elizabeth Ramus (1751-1848), daughter of Nicholas Ramus and subsequently wife of Baron de Nougal, half-length, in a pink dress with gold trim and a green shawl, her hair tied with a gold-embroidered white muslin scarf by George Romney. Courtesy of Christie’s auctioneers

Instead the research took something of a curious turn that I really could not have foreseen, and led to an ongoing piece of potentially ‘fake news’ regarding the young Princess Elizabeth (1770-1840), the third daughter of King George III.

Princess Elizabeth by Henry Edridge. Signed and dated 1804 Royal Collection Trust
Princess Elizabeth by Henry Edridge. Signed and dated 1804 Royal Collection Trust

This story has been around for well over a century, but no-one knows from quite  where it originated. The story goes like this – when in her teens, Princess Elizabeth had unlawfully married the mysterious George Ramus who worked in the royal household and in 1788 they had a child, Elizabeth Louisa, who was taken to India by her uncle, Henry Ramus of the East India Company where she was raised as his daughter.

The Royal Archives had checked their records and there was no sign of a George Ramus being employed in the Royal Household, so did George Ramus ever exist?  Arthur Crisp in his, Visitation of England and Wales in 1896 also referenced the marriage of the princess to George Ramus, but never cited his source for this snippet of this information and therefore history has continued to repeat it as fact.

The story may have been true, but where was the supporting evidence. Despite Crisp being renowned for his accuracy I noted an error in that specific entry which has never been picked up, which for me, throws doubt upon the rest of it, but more about that later.

The story has continued to be retold in books and online, right up to this day, with most people, dismissing it as fiction, but with little supporting evidence either way and if it were fiction then why bother retelling it, or does it simply provide a salacious piece of Georgian gossip, with no substance?

When young, Princess Elizabeth was known to have issues with her health and especially her weight and was, according to the newspapers frequently ‘indisposed’ and regularly suffered from ‘fainting fits’ and ‘corpulency’ as the press referred to her weight gain. Could someone simply have been making mischief by saying that she looked pregnant and from there the Chinese whispers began?

At first sight I wondered if there could be even a grain of truth in the story, after all the child did exist, and she was born in 1788 and lived until 1869, so let’s see how this works out.

Henry Charles Ramus (1752-1822) was one of the sons of Nicholas Ramus (c1709-1779), a native of Switzerland and his wife Benedict nee Covert (? -1796).

Henry’s father, Nicholas, was employed in the Royal Household from 1748 as ‘page of the backstairs’ to King George III whilst he was still Prince of Wales, and then from 1756-1760, he became ‘page of the bedchamber’. On his death his obituary confirmed that he had worked for the royal family for nearly 40 years.

Apart from his father, several members of the Ramus family were also employed in a variety of positions within the royal household, his uncle Louis was the purveyor of cheese, butter, eggs, oatmeal and dried pease and his other uncle, Charles appears to have been employed in the household of Augusta, Princess (later Princess Dowager) of Wales 1736-1772 as Clerk to the Vice Chamberlain.

Henry’s cousin, Joseph (1747-1818), son of his uncle Charles, ultimately became Gentleman of the royal wine cellar and his brother William (1751-1792), was first page to his majesty until being dismissed in 1789 during the King’s illness for offensive curiosity about ‘His majesty’s looks and gestures’.

William, who apparently had no idea what he done wrong packed his bags and set off for the East Indies, but not  before taking with him a glowing reference from the Prince of Wales, of whom he was a favoured courtier.

Rather than joining the Royal Household, Henry left England having joined the East India Company. He left behind several siblings – George (1747-1808), who was, by 1785 one of the Chief Clerks to the Treasury and it was he that was reputedly the ‘husband’ of Princess Elizabeth; Benedette (c1752-1811) who we see below, (also painted by Romney, sadly the original of  her portrait was destroyed in a fire) who married Sir John Day in 1777, and Elizabeth, who was the original protagonist of this story until it was hijacked. Elizabeth married Baron Pierre Augustin De Nougal de la Loyne in 1797.

Miss Benedetta Ramus by George Romney from the book 'Romney' by Charles Lewis Hind
Miss Benedetta Ramus by George Romney from the book ‘Romney’ by Charles Lewis Hind

Once in India Henry Charles Ramus met and married, Miss Joanna Vernet daughter of the Honourable George Vernet, who ultimately became Governor and Director of Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, more commonly known as the Dutch East India Company.

Henry and Joanna spent much of their married life in India, where they had four legitimate daughters, Marian, Louisa, Harriot and their youngest daughter, born 1791, Isabella and one son, John Henry. In addition to these, Henry  also fathered an illegitimate daughter, Maria.

All of their children were born in India, so where did this other daughter, Elizabeth Louisa materialise from? If they spent all their lives in India, then how did they acquire her? I was beginning to think there was some truth in the story after all.

Did they really make the long journey to England after Princess Elizabeth had given birth and take the child to India with them or did someone take her out to India? Records tells us that Elizabeth Louisa was certainly raised in India and married her husband James Money in Bengal in 1804.

Drawing of The Seahorse, renamed in 1784, The Ravensworth
Drawing of The Seahorse, renamed in 1784, The Ravensworth

This really wasn’t adding up. However, trawling through the newspapers an interesting article came to light. No, they didn’t stay in India permanently, in fact in 1787 they made a trip to England. According to the Calcutta Gazette 15 November 1787:

At three o’clock yesterday morning, the Honourable Company’s Ship the Ravensworth, Captain Roddam, weighed anchor and left the roads for Europe. Henry Ramus Esq and Lady; Thomas Henchman Esq. and Messrs Dent and Yonge, are passengers.

The Derby Mercury 27 March 1788 also provided the route for the Ravensworth

Arrived in England on 23 March 1788. She left Bengal on 7 October 1787, then at Fort St George on 23 October 1787, sailing on to arrive in St Helena on 29 January 1788, then left on 3 February 1788. The ship eventually arrived in Dover 23 March 1788.

So how was Princess Elizabeth spending her time around this period? I’ve decided to try to trace her public engagements to see whether being pregnant she had been taken away to a secret location out of the public gaze.

Another newspaper article 5 June 1788 provides a glimpse of Prince Elizabeth attending a party for her father’s 51st birthday at which the whole family were in attendance along with other aristocrats. Princess Elizabeth was described as:

wearing body and train laylock and white, the petticoat richly embroidered, with a sash of crape fastened on one side with a plume of white feathers, green spangles and bunches of roses.

If the myth had any grain of truth in it, then by the King’s birthday, Elizabeth would have been about 6 months pregnant – I rather think this would have been highly visible for all to see.

Other later newspaper articles confirms that in between bouts of illness Princess Elizabeth was publicly visible during this reputed pregnancy, attending the theatre, meeting with members of the nobility, taking a trip along with most of the other royals to Cheltenham in July. She was also present in August to celebrate her brother, the Prince of Wales birthday.

Given that Elizabeth Louisa was born on 12 September 1788, she must, assuming she was carried full term, have been conceived around Christmas 1787. This would place Henry and Joanna at sea enroute from Fort St George and St Helena.

Baptism of Elizabeth Louisa daughter of Henry and Joana Ramus born 12 September baptised 17 Oct 1788 St George's Hanover Square
Baptism of Elizabeth Louisa daughter of Henry and Joana Ramus born 12 September baptised 17 Oct 1788 St George’s Hanover Square

Henry and Joanna presented the child, theirs or otherwise, for baptism at St George’s Hanover Square on 17 October 1788 before returning to India. Would they really have presented a child for baptism that wasn’t theirs? To me, that seems somewhat unlikely, unless the Ramus family would do anything to protect the royal family’s reputation.

Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth November 1788 by William James Ward Senior. Royal Collection Trust
Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth November 1788 by William James Ward Senior. Royal Collection Trust

With a little stretching of the imagination, it’s just about plausible that the child was Princess Elizabeth’s and that royal family and the entire household and employees including the likes of Frances Burney, Keeper of the Robes to Queen Charlotte and Mrs Papendiek, Queen Charlotte’s lady-in-waiting, were all aware of it and sworn to secrecy, and that the Ramus’s collected the child after she was born and that their being in England at the right time was simply extremely fortuitous, as they had set off from India prior to the child’s conception, but sorry, no, I simply don’t buy into the story. In my opinion the child was Henry and Joanna’s.

Mrs Burney & Mrs Papendiek
Mrs Burney & Mrs Papendiek

I would also question the likelihood of Princess Elizabeth having had any kind of relationship with a Treasury Clerk who was almost double her age as I’m struggling to see any way in which their paths could have crossed.

Hopefully, this has provided a little more padding on the bare bones of this story, but there still remains no conclusive answer either way, but perhaps a little more evidence for readers to make their own judgement.

Just one final observation, when Henry Charles Ramus died, he left a legacy for his wife Joanna, and his sister, Elizabeth who I began this story with.

Other beneficiaries included his illegitimate daughter, Maria, now married to William Bertram, Marian Helen who was married Edward Stopford and Isabella who had married Robert Keate and finally his son John Henry. We know that Elizabeth was still very much alive, why was she ignored in his will, because she wasn’t actually his daughter perhaps or perhaps there was some other unexplained reason that hasn’t come into view yet.

I did say I would come back to the entry by Crisp about Princess Elizabeth’s reputed daughter, the error was in the naming of Elizabeth Louisa’s daughter, he referenced her as Marian Martha Money, she was actually Marian Patty (1805-1869), and there was another daughter, Charlotte Eliza Money (1807-1886).

Sources

Kentish Gazette 28 September 1792

London Chronicle 9 February 1779

Morning Post 24 March 1789

The World 20 August 1788

Burney Fanny. The Court Journals and Letters of Frances Burney: Volume II

Burney, Fanny. The early diary of Frances Burney, 1768-1778

Childe-Pemberton, William. The Romance of Princess Amelia, daughter of George III (1783-1810) including extracts from private and unpublished papers

Papendiek, Charlotte. Court and Private Life in the Time of Queen Charlotte: Being the Journals of Mrs. Papendiek

Stuart, Dorothy Margaret. The Daughters of George III

Jackson, Joseph. Harris George William. Crisp, Frederick Arthur. Visitation of England and Wales Volume 5. 1897

Header Image

The Royal Family of England in the year 1787 Royal Collection Trust. Princess Elizabeth is on the right of the painting

 

Edward Beetham, washing machine inventor

Having previously taken a look at clothes washing in the 18th century in ‘Washday Blues‘, I thought it was worth taking a closer look at Edward Beetham, who invented a washing machine.

Washing machines have, in one form or another been around for some considerable time. The Salisbury and Hampshire Journal, 16 October 1752, carried the following advert for a machine capable of washing clothes:

JAMES MOULTON, Cooper and Turner

The corner of Church Row, without Aldgate, London

The most useful machine or Washing Engine of various sizes, made after the completest manner, both for dispatch and strength, ease in the operation, and safety to the finest linen, being adjudged by far superior to any former projections, by the repeated experience of thousands, who are pleased to given them that character, being capable of washing more linen in twenty minutes than can be done without in two hours, being determined to spare no expenses to maintain the character they have so justly acquired, which by some unskilful makers has been prejudiced in the use of so valuable a machine. Printed directions is given with all I sell how to use them, for the benefit of the public in general, and preventing imposition my name and place of abode, which is stamped as under the top.

Captains of ships may be supplied with any quantity on giving timely notice.

N.B. They are made from 14 shillings to 24.

The same year, The Gentleman’s Magazine also provided detailed information about the ‘Yorkshire Maiden‘ which was, presumably a similar machine, even though James Moulton, claimed his invention to be the best – well he would wouldn’t he, great marketing!

However, it was Edward Beetham’s invention that appears to have regarded as the first in Britain.

Edward was born Edward Beatham and baptised 29 March 1743 and from a very well to do Westmorland family, but apparently when he met his wife to be Isabella Robinson, from a Roman Catholic, Jacobite family, he made a minor change to his surname from Beatham to Beetham, to save both families from embarrassment. The couple were believed to have eloped and married at Trimdon near Durham on 13 June 1774.

Being financially ostracised from both families the couple set off for London. Edward wanted to work in the theatre and got work at the Haymarket and Sadler’s Wells theatres, but his creative talent lay in inventions.

Isabella, on the other hand, was a talented artist and studied under the miniature portraitist John Smart. Her forte lay in the creation of painted silhouettes to be framed or miniatures that were made for jewellery. Despite working long hours, the couple also had a large family of five children to raise and of course support financially. The couple lived at 27 Fleet Street, opposite St Dunstan’s Church, where Edward would, in due course be buried. For those of you familiar with my article you will know that I am extremely fond of trade cards, especially for women and look what I’ve found:

Trade card for Isabella Beetham. British Museum
Trade card for Isabella Beetham. British Museum

Beetham discovered that he was good at inventing things, but prior to his invention  he had a variety of jobs including, according to the Hampshire Chronicle of October 1785, he was a bookseller.

Today though, we’ll look at his most famous invention – the washing machine, or, as it was known a washing mill. As you can imagine, having such a large family meant washing was plentiful.

Lewis Walpole Library. Washing Mill
Lewis Walpole Library. Washing Mill

The Northampton Mercury 7 July 1787 carried an account of a new machine for washing clothes, invented by a Mr Todd who had spent years creating a machine which could jointly wash and iron clothes much faster and better than could be one by hand. He had in fact patented the machine on 16 June 1787. The patent which can be found using this link provides the technical specification for the machine invented by Todd, but there is no sign of Beetham’s machine having been patented. Beetham’s name does however appear in the Catalogue of the Library of the Patent Office – Patent number 1744, dated 1791, so after Todd’s invention.

On 20 September 1787, the Derby Mercury advised us of Beetham’s new patented invention – the washing machine. His advert below tells us that he was in partnership with a Mr Thomas Todd, an organ builder, of St Peter’s Square, Leeds and that they had commissioned a Mr W Lomas a joiner, to manufacture the product on their behalf. It is not exactly clear from the advert though as to whether it was Beetham’s invention, joint or, given the earlier advert, actually the invention of Thomas Todd.

Derby Mercury 20 September 1787
Derby Mercury 20 September 1787

The machine could wash the finest and coarsest of items, it would reduce the workload by two thirds and reduce the amount of soap used by one third and could save the trouble of using boiling water.

It’s always interesting to know how much items cost at that time and Beetham very helpfully tells us:

One and a half feet in length £2, seven shillings

3 feet would cost £3, three shillings

3 and half feet, £3, thirteen shillings and six pence

4 feet at £4, four shillings

With a machine that was two feet in length you could wash eight shirts at once.

He even offered potential customers the facility of viewing an example of the working machine, at their convenience, of course, at the house of Mr Lomas.

In the same newspaper was an advert exactly the same as above, but viewable at Mr Saxtons house, also a joiner, in Alfreton, Derbyshire. The following week, an advert for a manufacturer in Leek, Staffordshire.

Edward Beetham, bust in profile to right in an oval, with two caricature heads in small ovals in the upper corners. MetMuseum
Edward Beetham, bust in profile to right in an oval, with two caricature heads in small ovals in the upper corners. MetMuseum

In October of the same year, he had expanded his suppliers to Mr William Lumby of Lincoln. The advert was ostensibly the same, but it was now also being recommended for use of board ships too. William and his partner were clearly ‘thinking outside the box’ for ways to expand their sales.

Tracing the adverts month by month, it would appear that by June 1791, Messrs Todd and Beetham had gone their separate ways. The advert in February 1791 appears to give us some clues, it seems that there were in fact two machines and Beetham challenged Todd:

Todd finds himself again publicly called up by Mr Beetham to accept a challenge to try the utility of each invention; he will therefore take upon himself to wash Mr Bentham with a single machine at any time, to satisfy the public that his machines are not only equal, but absolutely superior.

Beetham was now advertising his ‘Portable Washing Mills’ which he told potential byers could be viewed either at his warehouse on Fleet Street or at a whole host of outlets all around the east of England such as Colchester, Yarmouth, Diss and Ipswich.

As they had gone their separate ways Mr Todd was advertising his washing machine alone in Leeds, but with no mention of Beetham.

Edward Beetham burial 1809
Edward Beetham burial 1809

Beetham continued to trade until his death in January 1809. He left a will which was extremely short, simple and to the point:

1st part to his wife

2nd to daughter Jane

3rd to son William

4th daughter Harriett

5th to be invested

6th and 7th in trust for the three children aged under 21 – Charles Cecilia and Alfred.

Isabella continued with her creative work and outlived her husband and died at the age of 70, at the home of her son in law, on Great Smith Street, Chelsea in early August 1825.

Isabella Beetham burial 1825
Isabella Beetham burial 1825

To conclude this piece, I came across this image that I thought I’d share with you from Yale Center for British Art. This was the property of Dr Graham’s Cold Earth, and Warm Mud Bathing, and was next door to Edward and Isabella. I wonder whether they did his laundry!

Inscribed in red ink, lower left: "LsD" collector's stamp; Verso: inscribed in brown ink, center: "Doctor Graham's, Cold Earth, and Warm Mud Bathing. | Dr. Graham having had the honour of Publickly exhibiting Earth Bathing, at Bath, and at Bristol, every Day for four Months, | last Winter and Spring, and explaining the nature of it to the Nobility and Gentry, and of radically Curing by it a great number | of Persons who were inaviable by Medicine and Surgery. Presented Lists of whom will, by permission, be given Gratis, in Fleet Street, | with himself God willing, with several Patients, be Buried up to his Chiin among fresh Country Earth, broght to No. 26 Fleet Street, next | Door to Mr. Beetham's, exactly opposite St. Dunstan's Church, on Monday next May the 7th and every Day next Week; from 11. till 3. | o'Clock, Admission to this New, Curious, and Salutary sight and to the Doctors explanation of it, only One Shilling. Books of Cures | Gratis.-----Very Poor Persons who are afllicted
Inscribed in red ink, lower left: “LsD” collector’s stamp; Verso: inscribed in brown ink, center: “Doctor Graham’s, Cold Earth, and Warm Mud Bathing. | Dr. Graham having had the honour of Publickly exhibiting Earth Bathing, at Bath, and at Bristol, every Day for four Months, | last Winter and Spring, and explaining the nature of it to the Nobility and Gentry, and of radically Curing by it a great number | of Persons who were inviable by Medicine and Surgery. Presented Lists of whom will, by permission, be given Gratis, in Fleet Street, | with himself God willing, with several Patients, be Buried up to his Chin among fresh Country Earth, brought to No. 26 Fleet Street, next | Door to Mr. Beetham’s, exactly opposite St. Dunstan’s Church, on Monday next May the 7th and every Day next Week; from 11. till 3. | o’Clock, Admission to this New, Curious, and Salutary sight and to the Doctors explanation of it, only One Shilling. Books of Cures | Gratis.—–Very Poor Persons who are afflicted

Sources 

Leeds Intelligencer 7 December 1790

Leeds Intelligencer 2 February 1791

Leeds Intelligencer 1 October 1792

Featured Image

DRAFT Advertisement for Edward Beetham’s Royal Patent Washing Mill. c.1790. British Museum

A Georgian tourist: the 1825 travel diary of Robert Humphrey Marten revealed

I am delighted to welcome my first guest of the year to All Things Georgian,  Elizabeth Larby, who, apart from being the archivist at Gresham’s School, Norfolk, has also come across a fascinating diary which she is going to tell us more about today.

The diary is safely stored at Norfolk Records Office, but Elizabeth has also transcribed it and added additional information.  I have added links at the end of this post if you’d like to find out more about this fascinating gentleman.

Intrepid Mr Marten set off with his wife Emma, daughter Sarah and servant from the Custom House steps in London aboard the ‘Hero’ steam packet on 7th September 1825 for a voyage to the depths of Norfolk of 24 days duration. The trip – intended for the ‘heath and pleasure’ of the family – took them initially by sea to Great Yarmouth, on to stays in Cromer and Norwich, and finally to a few days of Georgian country delights with friends.

Who was author of the 1825 diary?

Robert Humphrey Marten was born on 21st March 1763 in London, the second eldest in a typically large family for the period. His father Nathaniel was a Mile End pastry cook and his mother was Martha Clarkson.  The family attended local Congregationalist (Independent) meetings and family prayers and religious instruction were commonplace in the home.

After assuring himself of her ‘pious principle’ and sampling her sensible conversation, Robert married Mary Reeves in 1789 at Bethnal Green.

Sadly, their happiness was short-lived, and Mary was taken ill during the following year and died in June. By the end of the year, however, on the advice of his father, the young man was once again considering marriage.

Mrs Marten sitting on the steps of the cliff leading from Mr Gurney's house to the beach.
Mrs Marten sitting on the steps of the cliff leading from Mr Gurney’s house to the beach.

Having renewed his acquaintance with Miss Elizabeth Giles, Robert proposed and was accepted. He and Elizabeth were married on 12th July 1791 at Milton-next-Gravesend Church. Living on a small income, the couple had to practice economy in the home and no frivolous Sunday parties were allowed, instead they lived according the advice of their church, working and praying hard, remaining cheerful despite their straitened circumstances.

The first of Robert’s five children, Robert Giles, was born on 22nd June 1792.  Improving finances allowed a move to No. 64 Great Prescott Street in London, a comfortable house with a small garden. By this time Robert had become a partner with the maritime insurance company Smith St Barbe & Marten, marking a great step forward for the ambitious 30-year old. To the firm’s main business of insurance, Robert added the care and disposal of salvaged ships, a big money earner during the ensuing wars with France.

By 1805 Elizabeth’s health was declining and a change of air recommended, encouraging a move to Broadway House in the village of Plaistow and a daily commute by two-wheeled chaise for Robert. A gardener and various servants completed the now well-to-do household.

As more dissenting families moved into the area the need for a suitable place of worship became more pressing and Robert was one of the founders of the meeting house in 1807.  As well as being a leading light in the chapel, Robert was well known for his generosity and charity in the area and worked tirelessly in support of many causes.

View from the window of the New Inn, Cromer.
View from the window of the New Inn, Cromer.

On the death of his second wife Elizabeth in 1811 Robert wrote of twenty years of ‘mutual happiness’ with the mother of his five grown up children.

Another two years passed before a new bride was chosen for her very high character and approved by the children.  Emma Martin, who accompanied Robert on his 1825 tour, became his wife on 8th July 1813.

By 1825 the demands of business and philanthropy were taking their toll on Robert’s health in the form of headaches and nervous exhaustion, hence the need for a break at the seaside with its recently discovered benefits to the constitution.

Cromer from the end of the pier. Tucker’s hotel, where Mr Marten was staying, is the building obscuring the body of the church. The building at the top of the zig-zag path up the cliff on the right is Lord Suffield’s marine villa, which in 1830 was to become the Hotel de Paris. Mr Marten’s sketch included in his Journal.
Cromer from the end of the pier. Tucker’s hotel, where Mr Marten was staying, is the building obscuring the body of the church. The building at the top of the zig-zag path up the cliff on the right is Lord Suffield’s marine villa, which in 1830 was to become the Hotel de Paris. Mr Marten’s sketch included in his Journal.

The discovery of Robert’s journal and identify

In 1983 I was looking around for a new project, having completed ‘Poppyland in Pictures’, an illustrated guide to the history of tourism in Cromer whilst working as a volunteer at the local museum.  My college history tutor suggested I might see if the Norfolk Record Office had any interesting texts that I could edit and bring to the public’s attention and the little calf-skin diary came into my life. I was immediately struck by the charm of Robert’s writing and the strong element of social history as he described the sights and sounds of Georgian England on his travels.

I soon became fascinated with the diarist and keen to find out more about him than the little he reveals in the diary pages.  Robert was clearly a caring man, his benevolence well in evidence in the journal with small acts of kindness to local children and helping a distressed widow on board ship, as well as involvement in missionary work with Norwich worthies. Although a serious man, Robert clearly had a cheeky sense of humour, and there are several instances of his amusement at the canny Cromer locals and their efforts to profit from their visitors!

At this stage though I knew little more than his name so decided to try advertising in The Lady magazine in case he was known to one of their readers.  As luck would have it, a family friend of Robert’s great great grandson John W. King just happened to be browsing its pages and came across my plea for information.  John soon came up trumps with a family tree and autobiography of my diarist giving all the information I wished for and more.

Newly armed with material on Robert and his background, I set about researching the people and places mentioned on his travels in detail to help bring the tour to life and provide some context.

The diary’s charm and historical value

Robert’s diary is illustrated with contemporary engravings as well as his own careful pencil sketches and it was fascinating to compare the scenes he recorded in Cromer to that of today and find that some have actually changed very little.  Cromer was just emerging as a holiday destination for discerning visitors and still retains its charm as a seaside resort – walking on the pier and cliffs enjoying the views, picking up shells & fossils on the beach, enjoying the bracing sea air and tasty seafood are common to the Marten family’s experience and that of today’s tourists.

Friday 16th September 1825. The earlier part of this morning misty and unpromising—we all had a walk on the Jetty early and not without company. I sketch'd the easternmost part of the pf the Coast & while the Ladies my Ladies were preparing for walking did the same from the Pier of the western cliffs. Saw the boats launching to visit the Lobster Pots which had been left during the night." Cromer west cliffs from the end of the jetty.
Friday 16th September 1825. The earlier part of this morning misty and unpromising—we all had a walk on the Jetty early and not without company. I sketch’d the easternmost part of the pf the Coast & while the Ladies my Ladies were preparing for walking did the same from the Pier of the western cliffs. Saw the boats launching to visit the Lobster Pots which had been left during the night.” Cromer west cliffs from the end of the jetty.

Norwich still has plenty to interest the visitor, with its old buildings, cobbled streets, churches and markets, but we would perhaps not want to visit places on Robert’s itinerary such as the new prison buildings and factories, the evidence of a changing, industrial society. Yarmouth has probably changed the most with its mass tourism appeal, amusement arcades and funfairs, and is certainly less smelly than when the Martens visited when the town’s prosperity was based on its herring fisheries!

The later Georgian era was called the first great age of popular travel, when the activity was no longer restricted to business or necessity, and was starting to become a pleasure in itself and even associated with idea of an annual holiday. During the last quarter of the 18th century travel books were amongst the bestsellers, and, like the eagle-eyed antiquarian, Robert is always on the lookout for the picturesque view complete with crumbling ruins.  The tour ends with a stay in a country house where the family enjoy some typical Georgian delights including shooting, a musical evening, riding, and some fine dining.

Broadway House in Plaistow in the parish of West Ham and Charles Marten's home. It was then a village location a short distance outside London.
Broadway House in Plaistow in the parish of West Ham and Charles Marten’s home. It was then a village location a short distance outside London.

Robert Marten died of a coronary at his home in Plaistow, aged 76 on 11th December 1839.  In many ways he mirrored the changing society in which he lived and recorded in the pages of his Norfolk journal, sharing common roots in 18th century England, but showing symptoms of the great transformation afoot in the 19th century.

Sillett, James; Norwich Cathedral, Norfolk; Norfolk Museums Service

With his sense of order and tradition and preference in all things for the ‘solemn grandeur’ he admired in Norwich Cathedral, he was typical of the 18th century gentleman. Yet, with his interest in the inventions and industrial expansion of the day, the diarist was also very much a man of the 19th century.

For more Marten family history go to https://www.morganfourman.com/articles/robert-humphrey-marten/

East Anglian History Books

Mr Marten’s Travels in East Anglia 

Featured Image

British School; Bishops Gate and Bridge, Norwich

18th century gluttony

January is always associated with the making of New Year’s resolutions and one of these is often to go on a diet. With that in mind, in today’s post I’m taking a quick look through the Georgian newspapers in which I’ve come across a number of people who really wold have benefitted from dieting, after some serious cases of gross over-eating, so, here we go:

Yale University Library
Yale University Library

Caledonian Mercury, 20 November 1732

Joseph Barry mentioned in our last, besides the six pound weight of beef steaks, devoured a quarter loaf, drank two gallons of strong beer, and ate besides a pound of roast pork and two pounds of bread and cheese, between ten in the morning and one in the afternoon. Elate with this victory, he had accepted a challenge from the famous pudding eater at the Excise Office.

Yale University Library
Yale University Library

Northampton Mercury, 5 November 1785

Leeds Nov. 1 A few days ago one Mr Bull, a shoemaker, in Halifax, well known in the epicurean world, as well for the niceness of his taste as the keenness of his stomach, for a wager undertook to eat a nine pound goose, two penny oat cakes, and drink two quarts of ale, in the space of forty minutes. He performed this, to the astonishment of all present, in just thirty five and a half minutes, and afterwards spent the evening with the greatest cheerfulness, with those who were assembled to see this.

Yale University Library
Yale University Library

The Norfolk Chronicle, 28 November 1789 takes ‘eat all you can’ to a whole new level.

Francis Prigg, an underground collier, of Newton St. Loe, ate at a public house in the Bristol Road, a roasted shoulder of mutton weighing seven and half pounds, with half a peck of potatoes, half a pound of cheese, and four two-penny loaves, and drank six quarts of beer, all within the space of one hours.  After which he murmured, because he had not (as he said) about four pounds of pudding with it.

Yale University Library
Yale University Library

The Dublin Evening Post, 14 July 1796 begins with the simple heading ‘Gluttony’. It then described

A disgraceful wretch who devoured 12 penny loaves stepped in six pints of ale, as a public house in Mosborough, near Sheffield, in about twenty-eight minutes, which it transpired was a whole two minutes under the time allowed for the challenge. In the afternoon he offered to perform the same worse than beastly exploit in half the time.

The report doesn’t tell us whether or not he did indeed repeat the exercise – hopefully not!

Yale University Library
Yale University Library

Next, we have a report in the Hampshire Chronicle, 7 January 1797

A man of Cuckfield, Lewes, a flax-dresser by profession, has undertaken, for a trifling wager, to eat a square foot of plumb pudding in a fortnight. A foot of plumb pudding contains no less than 1738 cubic inches, and will weigh, if properly baked, forty-two pounds. The man began on Thursday last.

I wondered whether or not he achieved this and found the answer in the newspaper of 21 January 1797.

The plumb pudding eater at Lewes, has lost his wager. On the eight day, the gormandizer’s jaws refused to stir any longer in the service, and he consequently declined all further perseverance in his task.

Yale University Library
Yale University Library

According to the Bury and Norwich Post, 18 September 1816 we another pudding eater.

The daily feats of pedestrianism we hear of, however astonishing, cannot be deemed more, or yet half so ridiculously extraordinary, as the following fact: A person, well known by the appellation of ‘The Russian,’ has undertaken, for a considerable wager, to eat 1,000 puddings in 1,000 successive hours, each pudding to weight half a pound. The time is not yet fixed when he is to commence his repast, but it is expected it will be in the neighbourhood of Carlisle.

As to whether any of these were accurate stories we may never know, but I do wonder whether any of these gentlemen felt the urge to diet after their over indulgence.

All Things Georgian – A Year in Review

Just to let you know,  I’m taking a seasonal break now until Wednesday 13 January 2021, and  would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone seasons greetings and my sincerest wish for you all, that 2021 will be an improvement on the rollercoaster ride that 2020 has been.

The Mistletoe Bough by Francis Wheatley. Yale Center for British Art
The Mistletoe Bough by Francis Wheatley. Yale Center for British Art

This year, apart from my own articles I have been delighted to welcome several guests to All Things Georgian, who have shared some fascinating stories with us. So, whilst you try to relax over the festive period you might enjoy re-reading some or catching up on ones you missed the first time around.

No Coward Soul‘ by Kim Reeman

‘The Golden Rump‘ by Erato

General James Wolfe by Kim Reeman

Policing From Bow Street: Principal Officers, Runners and The Patroles by Peter Kennison

Who was Kitty Clive? by Dr Berta Joncus

Britain’s Black Past’ by Dr Gretchen Gerzina

Dido Elizabeth Belle: Questions and Answers by Etienne Daly

HMS Dido 1782 by Etienne Daly

Where were Dido Elizabeth Belle’s sons buried? by Etienne Daly

Who was Selina Cordelia St Charles? by Paul Martinovich

William Hogarth, The March of the Guards to Finchley by Jerry Bell

I have also looked at works of art, such as the portrait of ‘Black Charley of Norwich‘ and ‘Portrait of a Lady Holding an Orange Blossom‘; searched for people who have been lost to history such as Joseph Paul, the artist who married 5 times and was accused on several occasions of murder, not to mention The Complex Life of Teresia Constantia Phillips, who coincidently also managed to marry 5 times too.

I’ve met some really interesting characters from the Georgian Era including The Yorkshire Little Man  and Joseph Longchamp of the Jockey Club and  Elizabeth Woodcock who was buried in the snow in 1799, but survived.

On my return I will be delving further into the annuls of Georgian history and see who else’s story grabs my attention.

In the meantime, in case you weren’t aware, our latest book, is due to be published in the next few days: The History of the Dukes of Bolton. 

Last and by no means least, enjoy the festivities but Please Stay Safe.

Guest Post – William Hogarth’s ‘The March of the Guards to Finchley’

I am delighted to welcome guest author and blogger Jeremy Bell who is going to tell you more about a couple of hidden secrets , which he’s sure that many people will not have noticed before, within Hogarth’s painting.

The March to Finchley. Courtesy of The foundling Museum
The March to Finchley. Courtesy of The foundling Museum

Much has been written about the characters in William Hogarth’s painting The March of the Guards to Finchley (1751). However, there are two figures that the artist concealed within the painting, and this is the perfect year for them both to be exposed.

In this, the tricentennial anniversary of the birth of Charles Edward Stuart (1720-1788), the prince and his nemesis, the Duke of Cumberland (1721-1765) have been discovered, along with details of their face-off at Culloden.

Cumberland’s Charge
Cumberland’s Charge

Take a look at the central detail in which a grenadier marches in step with his pregnant wife. They are assaulted by a Catholic woman, identified by her cross and priest-like robes. She attacks the couple with some verbal abuse and a Jacobite newspaper!

Another soldier seems to charge at her from behind and drive her back with his halberd. Although he is standing several yards behind the woman, Hogarth uses a trick of perspective to make it seem like he is running her through.

On closer inspection, this soldier’s swarthy face is similar to a portrait of the Duke of Cumberland which the protestant woman carries in her basket. It is covered by a copy of ‘God Save the King’, a reference to rumours of the Duke’s aspirations to rule.

Hogarth often employed such visual tricks (trompe l’oeil) to tell his stories. Notice how the artists darkened the place where the rolled-up newspaper seems to make contact with the soldier’s shoulder.

The publication’s full title – ‘The Remembrancer or weekly Slap in the Face of the Ministry’ had attacked the Duke in the year of the painting, by criticising his proposal for army discipline. The scene of rowdy soldiers begs for this necessary reform.

This Catholic woman represents the Jacobite forces which were camped just 100 miles away from London. Her charge being repelled by the pikeman is a premonition of the imminent conflict. The other end of the halberd axe appears to threaten the mother and child in the cart (positioned many yards behind him). I believe that this trompe l’oeil refers to the alleged atrocities that took place after the battle of Culloden.

Although these details are obvious once it is pointed out, I do not believe that anyone has written about this example of Hogarth’s storytelling. The artist also included a depiction of the leader of the Jacobite forces. How wonderful to discover several hints that identify Charles Edward Stuart in the year of his 300th birthday.

You don’t have to search long to find a miniature portrait of the Stuart prince – he is the only one looking to the North. A first account description describes him as a tall, slender, upright man. It was noted that his neck was ‘long, but not ungracefully so, …. with a slender stock buckled behind.’ This conforms to Hogarth’s tiny depiction of him.

Charles Edward Stuart
Charles Edward Stuart

Hogarth has imagined that Charles has disguised himself as a British officer. He has come down from his camp in Derby to spy on the enemy’s position. He is actually being pointed out by his accomplice who crouches behind him. This man’s red hair identifies him as a Scotsman. The bayonet that overlaps his head is another trompe that hints at the Jacobite inevitable slaughter.

A Scotsman behind Charles Edward Stuart
A Scotsman behind Charles Edward Stuart

Hogarth obfuscates the Scotsman’s finger-pointing by painting him in the act of stealing some alcohol from a barrel (that is a gimlet in his mouth). His finger-to-the-nose sign was always reported as ‘quiet don’t tell anyone.’ In this new context, he is actually telling us not to give the prince away.

Hogarth presents us with a whole line of thieves. One man steals milk from a maid, while another ‘steals’ a kiss. A third soldier points all this out to a pieman, and then steals from him in the process.

Hogarth was famous for including clever word games within his art. I wonder if he continued this line of thievery to the Scotsman (who is stealing from the barrel), and the prince who is ‘stealing away’. Commentators focus on the painter’s disrespect of the troops. However, Hogarth’s intention might have been to create this visual pun.

He who would be Charles III, is riding away from the Charles II tavern sign. In the distance we can see that Charles Edward is headed towards a barren tree – a symbol of the impending disaster that awaits the House of Stuart. It compares to a healthy tree on the other side.

Charles Edward Stuart rides towards his death
Charles Edward Stuart rides towards his death

While we, the viewer, can see this tree from our position, the branches lie just out of the prince’s sight. The symbol of his imminent defeat lies ‘just around the corner’. (My red arrow shows the prince’s sight line with the dead tree coloured in red). At this particular moment in time, Charles was still confident that he would win the day. However, the painter knows the full story. With a clever addition, Hogarth has given away the ending with a forewarning of the atrocities that will follow.

Ending on a less depressing note, I think it a wonderful coincidence that the Scottish spy who accompanies the Young Pretender looks like a character from Outlander – Jamie Fraser (played by Sam Heughan). The series, based on the wildly popular books by Diane Gabaldon, concerns time travel to the Jacobite times – here is your proof in oil!

The figure looks like Jamie Fraser from Outlander
The figure looks like Jamie Fraser from Outlander

Jeremy Bell’s book William Hogarth – A Freemason’s Harlot (2017) was written to coincide with the 300th anniversary of formation of the United Grand Lodge of England.

Over 300 illustrations show how Hogarth actually hid previously unnoticed portraits of himself within his work, along with the signs, passwords and ‘secret knocks’ of the Freemasons. It explains how Jacobite Freemasonry (which is the true original Scottish form), was used to infiltrate London gentry, and suggests that the Duke of Burlington built Chiswick Villa as a stage to welcome the return of a restored Stuart king. Indeed, the ‘failed’ waterfall at Chiswick was actually a cleverly constructed ‘carriage splash’ that would welcome ‘The King Over the Water’.

The book can be ordered via Jeremy’s website , he can also be contacted at Brotherhogarth@gmail.com

The Complex Life of Teresia Constantia Phillips Part Two

Today, we pick up where we left off last week with the story of Con’s life.

It was about 1737 that she became involved with a gentleman she simply referred in her ‘Apology’ as Mr Worthy, his identity eventually his name came into the public domain – he was Henry Nedham. She provided at least two clues in her Apology, which helped to identify him, firstly, she referred to him being the son of a wealthy plantation owner in Jamaica and the second clue, which confirmed it was that his cousin was named Hampson (Volume 3. Page 124).

With these two clues it became possible to trace the Nedham or Needham (there seems no explanation as to the slight surname change though), family tree back and with it the connection, between not only Henry and his cousin Hampson, but also to them both being related to Henrietta Crofts, daughter of Eleanor Nedham. So, was Con telling the truth about Henrietta being her godmother? It certainly seems much more feasible than originally thought, and that the handsome, Oxford educated, Henry appeared in her orbit via her godmother, by then the dowager, Duchess of Bolton, Henrietta (the 2nd Duke having died in 1722).

Harbour Street, Kingston, Jamaica. Hakewill, James, 1778-1843, A picturesque tour of the island of Jamaica, from drawings made in the years 1820 and 1821
Harbour Street, Kingston, Jamaica. Hakewill, James, 1778-1843, A picturesque tour of the island of Jamaica, from drawings made in the years 1820 and 1821

It was around 1739 that Henry had to return to Jamaica to sort out an issue on the plantation pertaining to his father, and Con was determined to follow him out there. After two failed attempts to get to Jamaica and then Boston where he had gone to, she gave up on the relationship and in 1740 returned to England.

This, she admitted, was an error, as she fell ill with a fever and by then was again in debt with creditors chasing her. On her return she stayed with a friend, an unnamed surgeon, but the following morning the bailiff appeared at the door for her, but somehow she managed to avoid him by climbing out of the kitchen window and making her escape, but the bailiff was wise to her plan and set up a watch outside the rear of the premises, but Con escaped by using a ladder to climb into next door’s garden, that being the home of the Duchess of Marlborough.

Con eventually gave herself up and paid off her debts. But life was not improving for her, as she met up with an old friend, Colonel Vassall, a merchant who she knew from Boston. He was ill and broke, so Con made him a loan to help him out, but he died before being able to pay her back.

She was now penniless and sometime between 1742 and 1744 she was arrested for debt. She made been living well beyond her means and also had debts mounting for the legal action against Muilman.  With that she fled to France for several months.  Eventually on her return to England she wrote her ‘Apology’, which was going to act as a tool for blackmail, a ‘name and shame if you don’t pay me’, type document. Quite who, if anyone actually paid up we will never know, but presumably very few and it was late 1750 that according to Read’s Weekly Journal, News from Jamaica

Mrs Con Phillips was arrived there from England

So Con had returned once again to Jamaica, perhaps hoping for a better life there.

The Ipswich Journal 13 April 1751, tells us a little about of Con’s fiery personality when she was obliged to appear before a magistrate to give security and keep the peace.

A complaint had been made by an unnamed gentleman, that Con arrived at his home and without saying a word, rushed up to his bedchamber where this poor man was lying in bed, unable to move as he was suffering from gout. When she realised that he was ill her demeanour changed and she calmed down toward him, however in a fit of jealous upon seeing his black handmaid in the room, Con took her by the ear and began to slap her. The maid retaliated but was cuffed again five or six times by Con at which time she became delirious.

Con was fined one hundred pounds for this seemingly unprovoked attack on the maid and fifty pounds surety.

The same day, Con place a notice in the newspaper that she was going to have to delay the opening of her Boarding School for the Education of Young Ladies, for which purpose she had taken a large house and white women to wait on the ladies. Presumably as she had to sort out the court action.

According to an anonymous article in the Gentleman’s Magazine (1766), she:

made three further, bigamous marriages, to ‘Mr M.’, an Irish land surveyor, then to ‘Mr S. C.’, a Scotsman and commissary for French prisoners of war in Jamaica, and finally to a Frenchman named Lanteniac.

Further research does confirm that there were in fact a further three husbands, but, as Con hadn’t obtained a divorce from husband number one, they would all be classed as bigamous.

Her first of these, i.e. husband number three, was a wealthy, Irish land surveyor, Hugh Montgomery. This marriage was reputed to have taken place towards the end of 1752, as, on 4 Jan 1753, the London Evening Post said:

‘Tis said a Letter from Spanish Town in Jamaica gives an Account, that the noted Con Phillips is married there, and keeps the most considerable Publick House in that Town. Spanish Town St Catherine’s parish.

Sadly, checking the parish registers for 1752 and 1753 there seems to be no surviving record of exactly when it took place. However, Con wrote a letter in 1755 from Jamaica, to Mr Rose Fuller, MP who had recently left Jamaica, in which she titled herself Constance Montgomery and saying:

from an abandoned woman whose understanding deserved far more of a reasonable creature than ever her beauty did;… you and only you I have to curse for the cruel exile I suffer in this damned country, for which I will thank you in the 4 volume of my life which I have almost completed; adieu.

Quite what her fit of pique toward Fuller was all about we will never know and whether he responded to her letter is equally a mystery.  The author Nick Hibbert Steele mentioned Con in his book about Hibbert House, Kingston saying that :

it was built in 1755 by Thomas Hibbert, as a result of a bet with 3 other merchants in Kingston, to see who could build the finest house. The prize was the hand in marriage of Teresia Constantia Phillips a notorious courtesan. Thomas Hibbert won the bet but declined to marry Con. Phillips recognising her as a gold-digger.

This seems a curious story if Con was already married to Montgomery by then, but perhaps all was not what it appeared to be in paradise.

In their early years together everything went well, but it was becoming clear that Hugh was unwell, his physicians were very concerned at his rapid weight loss and put it down to Cons carryings-on.

He eventually became so weak that he decided that he should write his will, which he duly did. As Hugh and his physicians felt that a trip to the country might be of benefit, fresher air and a chance to relax and recuperate, but, as Con was busy with her appointment as Mistress of Revels for the island and was too busy to accompany him, he would go alone. Con was appointed to this post by the Governor of Jamaica, Henry Moore (1713-1769).

It was only when it was time for him to leave that Con became emotional, fearing this would be the last time she saw him alive. She immediately asked him whether he had made a will and whether he had left her provided for. ‘Yes of course’, he replied – this was not quite the truth.

He had made a will, which unknown to him, Con had read and it was hidden in her her pocket, so she knew at this point that despite his words, she was not provided for. So before allowing him to leave she had him dragged back into the house, where he was made to re-write it, dictated by her and witnessed by three people, who she had on standby. No way was he leaving her without her ensuring that she was provided for.

Everything was left to her, his ‘his death and beloved wife’. The will was made on 14 January 1760. After sorting this, he was free to leave and Con watched him set off and sure enough she didn’t see him again. Hugh’s body was returned to Kingston and buried on 8 May 1760.

28 May 1760 - Kingston Jamaica - burial of Hugh Montgomery
28 May 1760 – Kingston Jamaica – burial of Hugh Montgomery

In 1760, Con, penned from her home in Jamaica, what appears to be her last piece of correspondence that has survived, perhaps reflecting on the imminent closure of her own life, to someone whom she regarded as a friend, The Right Honourable, the Earl of Chesterfield. This letter appears to be her reflecting on her life and how it turned out and was in the form of advice for young women on how not to live if they wished to be happy.

For my part, my life has been one continued scene of error, mistake, and unhappiness. I was by my ill fate, left mistress of myself, before the time I ought to have forsaken the nursery.

Within the letter she talked about her life and loves, her time in Jamaica and about her niece who was aged fifteen at the time and how she was teaching her how to live a better life than she had. Whilst it isn’t clear from the letter, Con appears to know her niece well, so it can only be assumed that she was living along with her mother, in Jamaica. The reason for writing to him was, that according to Con he had written a booklet entitled ‘The Whole Duty of a Man’.

However, Con was not in danger of imminent death, instead she was to walk up the aisle yet again, when she married yet again, husband number four. This marriage was to a young Scotsman, Samuel Callendar, Commissary for the French prisoners of war brought to the island. Quite where on the island they married is unknown, but it certainly wasn’t recorded in the records for Kingston.

He was said to have been from a good family, well respected and held a prominent position in the social life of Jamaica – until he married Con, that was.

Shortly after they married, he seemed to vanish from the social circle and was reputed to have only left his home three times during the two years of their marriage.

Before the end of their second year together, he too was dead. Although there’s no sign of their marriage, we know that it was short lived as Callendar was buried on 2 Jan 1762, again at Kingston.

2 Jan 1762 - Kingston Jamaica - burial of Samuel Callendar
2 Jan 1762 – Kingston Jamaica – burial of Samuel Callendar

Just 3 months later, on 24 April 1762, Kingston, Con married for what would be her fifth and final husband, as the widow Teresia Constantia Callendar.

24 April 1762, Kingston – Con married as widow Teresia Constantia Callendar
24 April 1762, Kingston – Con married as widow Teresia Constantia Callendar

Her final husband was Monsieur Adhamar de Lantagnac who had only recently arrived on the island as part of a batch of French prisoners over whom Con’s late husband had control over. This final husband was said to have grown up amongst the Canadian Indians whose customs he had adopted such as tattoos on his body, arms and legs. His appearance, if nothing else, caused him to be a great hit amongst Cons social circle.

The problem with this husband being that he enjoyed spending money, or to be more precise, Con’s money that she had accumulated from both previous husbands. Callendar had died without leaving a will, but Con took it upon herself as his wife, to take control of his assets including a cargo worth about £2,000 (about a quarter of a million in today’s money), which she had landed and promptly sold, netting Con a decent amount of money to live on for the rest of her life, or so she thought, but her new husband saw to it that this would not be the case. He ran through her money very rapidly on clothes, food and drink and with that Con told him to pack his bags and leave before she was completely destitute.

As was so often the case, money was in short supply again for her, her friends rallied round and help her out, but when this occurred for a second time friends were suddenly found to be in short supply.

As the curtain went down on her final show at the Kingston Theatre, Con saw her own life now coming to an end, with no husband for comfort and precious little money, she wondered how it had all gone so wrong.

As she lay on her death bed, she was terrified that her corpse might be arrested to pay off her debts on its way to the grave, as was the custom at that time.

Her wish was to die on a Saturday night so that being buried on a Sunday her body would be safe in the ground. She got her wish and was buried in Kingston graveyard on Sunday 20 January 1765, as Teresia Constantia, wife of Adhamar Delantagniac, with not even the apothecary to mourn her passing. In life, known as the Mistress of Revels and the Pride of England, her body went unnoticed to its nameless grave.

The burial of Teresia Constantia Phillips. 20 January 1765. St Catherine's, Jamaica
The burial of Teresia Constantia Phillips. 20 January 1765. St Catherine’s, Jamaica

There was no-one present at her burial, not even her niece who lived on the island. For someone who knew everyone in Jamaica, and everyone knew her, she died very much alone, but the name Teresia Constantia would live on, as I noted several children baptised with those names in the Jamaican baptism registers.

Sources

The Real Duty of a Woman, in the Education of a Daughter: A Letter Humbly addressed to the Right Honourable, The Earl of Chesterfield. 1760

The Gentleman’s and London Magazine. Volume XXXI. 1766

Morris. John. The Troubles of Our Catholic Forefathers Related by Themselves, Volume 1

Stone. Lawrence. Uncertain unions : marriage in England, 1660-1753

Black. Clinton V. Tales of Old Jamaica

East Sussex Records Office SAS-RF/21/18

Familysearch Jamaica BMD’s.

The Complex Life of Teresia Constantia Phillips Part One

Teresia Constantia Phillips, courtesan, bigamist and author of her autobiography, first appeared on the radar whilst researching the duchesses of Bolton, for our upcoming book, The History of the Dukes of Bolton which is due to be published very shortly by Pen and Sword Books.

Teresia, better known as Con, claimed that the Duchess of Bolton was her godmother, in her ‘Apology for the Conduct of Mrs T C Phillips’, written in three parts, the first of which was published in 1748, from her home at Craig’s court, Charing Cross, near Whitehall.

This appeared to be quite a claim with little to substantiate it. Of course, it became necessary to know more about Con and to establish how much of her story was true, especially the connection with the Duchess of Bolton.

Certain sources claim that the reference was to the 4th Duke of Bolton’s wife, Catherine Parry, this could not be feasible – the dates simply didn’t work, Catherine didn’t become the Duchess until 1754, long after Con published her Apology, so it had to be have been Henrietta, the 2nd Duchess of Bolton, wife of Charles Powlett.

In order to establish whether the snippet of information Con provided about the Duchess of Bolton had any truth to it, it’s necessary to take a brief look at Henrietta, Duchess of Bolton’s ancestry, which will make sense later in the story.

Born Henrietta Crofts, she was the illegitimate daughter of Eleanor Needham or Nedham (the spelling seems to vary becoming Nedham when part of the family moved to Jamaica) and James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth (1649-1685). Henrietta was given the surname Crofts as it was the name adopted by her father when he was in the care of the Crofts baronets.

Riley, John; James Scott (1649-1685), 1st Duke of Monmouth; Museums Sheffield

Her maternal grandfather being Sir Robert Needham of Lambeth, one of the sons of Thomas Needham of Pool Park, Denbighshire and his wife Eleanor Bagenal and her aunt was Jane Myddleton nee Needham, one of the Petworth Beauties’.

Jane Needham, Mrs Myddleton. Royal Collection Trust
Jane Needham, Mrs Myddleton. Royal Collection Trust

Sir Robert married twice, Eleanor being his daughter by his first wife, Jane Cockayne. She had several siblings, but after the death of Jane, Sir Robert married a second time, his new wife being a Mary Hartopp, with whom he had at least a further two sons, Robert and George.

Of these two sons Colonel George, is the significant one in this story. Colonel George Nedham left England for the Caribbean in 1680 and married Mary Byam, the daughter of William Byam, Governor of Antigua and his wife Dorothy Knollys, from an extremely distinguished family.

George and Mary had several children, but it’s the eldest child, Robert (1672-1738) that we’re interested in right now.

Robert married Elizabeth Shirley and again had several children, but the one who is important in this story is Henry. Remember that name as it will crop up in Con’s story, but in the meantime, here is the family tree to help.

Click to enlarge image
Click to enlarge image

So, let’s return to the beginning of Teresia Constantia’s complicated life; a life which she recounted in her ‘Apology’ which we know ran to three volumes, although she claimed there was a fourth, which, if it existed, hasn’t been discovered.

According to her ‘Apology’ she was born January 2, 1708/9 at somewhere she referred to as West Chester, now this could have meant west of the city of Chester, or somewhere completely different, whichever it was there is no sign of her baptism, assuming she was ever baptised.

Con claimed that she was the daughter of Thomas Phillips, the younger brother of the Phillips of Picton Castle in Wales. Her paternal grandfather, she claimed, married an heiress of the Powlett family, if that were the case, evidence is sadly lacking.

Her maternal grandfather was said to have been the younger brother of Sir Henry Goodrick of Yorkshire and her maternal grandmother was of the Deans of Wiltshire. Her parents married 1707/8 when her father was Captain of Grenadiers in Lord Slane’s regiment, afterwards Lord Longford. Colonel Thomas Phillips possibly married Frances, niece of Sir Henry Goodricke, but that too remains speculation, so all very well connected.

Henrietta Duchess of Bolton with her husband Charles, 2nd Duke of Bolton
Henrietta Duchess of Bolton with her husband Charles, 2nd Duke of Bolton

It was around 1717 that her father, Thomas left the army and was in poor circumstances so took his wife and children to London. The family at this point was split up with the eldest son being sent to Barbados and Con’s godmother, the one she claimed was the Duchess of Bolton arranging for Con to attend Mrs Filler’s (Filer’s) prestigious boarding school in Prince’s Court Westminster. There she learnt the skills which she would later rely on as one of the most well-known courtesans of the day.

Rates return for Filler’s school, Prince’s Court
Rates return for Filler’s school, Prince’s Court

This arrangement didn’t last very long as about 1720 her mother died, and Con was promptly withdrawn from the school. According to Con, her father quickly remarried, his choice of bride being the family’s servant, someone that Con didn’t get along with very well.

It was when she was just thirteen, according to her Apology, that she was seduced and raped by someone she only ever referred to as Thomas Grimes, possibly because she never knew his name, although it has often been thought this to be Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, but this has now been revised and it is now believed to have been Thomas Lumley-Saunderson, 3rd Earl of Scarborough.

Knapton, George; Philip Dormer Stanhope (1694-1773), 4th Earl of Chesterfield; National Trust, Beningbrough Hall

Irrespective of which one of them it was, Con found herself in desperate straits and by 1721 aged under thirteen, she was in need of money as she was facing arrest for debt. Desperate to rid herself of her debts and thus avoid prison, Con paid ten guineas to a Mr William Morrell of Durham Yard to procure a potential husband for her. The idea of this being that the man would marry her and that way her debts became his, allowing her to avoid debtors prison. At that time the legal age for marriage was 14 for the groom, but just 12 for the bride, this remained to situation until the Marriage Act 1753, which is part came about as a result of Con’s marriages.

Rates Return 1723 for William Morrell, Durham Yard
Rates Return 1723 for William Morrell, Durham Yard

With that thought in mind, a willing participant was found, to become husband number one, in the shape of a Francis Devall. Apparently, William Morrell got him drunk, presumably so that he couldn’t identify her later, and once somewhat inebriated, the sham marriage took place at Saint Benet Paul’s Wharf, to a Francis Delafield, a man she had never seen before and with whom she had never exchanged a word. Clandestine marriages were often performed by needy chaplains without banns or a licence and on the day that Con married Francis Devall, a further three marriages took place which must have kept the chaplain busy.

Marriage of Francis Devall to Teresia Constantia Phillips
Marriage of Francis Devall to Teresia Constantia Phillips

After the ceremony Con suddenly became a respectable married woman, Mrs Devall and with it, came the freedom from debt, at which point, she rapidly packed her bags and left for Rouen, France, where she remained for a few months before returning to England. She offered no explanation for this sudden sojourn, but presumably it was somewhere to lay low until the dust settled with her debts all cleared, and to allow enough time so that Devall couldn’t identify her.

What of course Con perhaps didn’t know at that time, was that her new husband was already married and his wife, still very much alive. He had married Magdalen Youn of St Andrews, Holborn on 17 September 1718, using the name Francis Delafield, so as to which was his real name we will never know.

Marriage of Francis Delefield to Magdalen Youn
Marriage of Francis Delefield to Magdalen Youn

Very soon after this escapade Con found herself being courted by a wealthy Dutch merchant named Henry Muilman (c1700-1772), who quickly succumbed to her charms and whilst her expectations being that she would be his mistress, he wanted to make her his wife, so it appears that without divorcing her first husband, she married husband number two, Henry on 9 February, 1723.

Marriage of Henry Muilman to Teresia Constantia Phillips
Marriage of Henry Muilman to Teresia Constantia Phillips

But this marriage was a big mistake as they did not get along with each other and his family utterly disapproved of her. According to Con he was violent and abusive toward her and that having married her he was able to use her as he pleased – she was after all his wife, and behaviour like that was often regarded as acceptable at the time.

From her Apology, Volume 1, Con wrote of Henry

What! (he would say) not sleep with you? Are not you my wife! my dearest wife? Have I not made you so, at the price of my ruin? Yes, I will have you, and not all the powers in Heaven or in Earth shall keep you from me; and would sit sometimes on a chair whole nights by her bedside: at others, he would come to her, and half a dozen of these strange fellows with him, and beat, and abuse her in the most barbarous manner; and, if he found her in bed, strip the cloaths from off her, and expose her, to them, naked, as she lay; or drag her, by the hair of her head, out of bed.

Eventually, in order to escape from this marriage and to rid himself of her, according to the Daily Post, 3 March 1725, Henry obtained a ‘nullity of marriage with the daughter of Captain Thomas Phillips, on account of her prior marriage with an attorney’s clerk’. This annulment however, cost him a generous annuity of £200, but Muilman refused to pay up and a lengthy dispute between them began.

In 1728 Henry married for a second time, his new wife and mother to his two children being Ann Darnell, the daughter of Sir John Darnell, Sergeant at Law and Judge of the Palace Court.

Con had relationships with numerous men including the mysterious Mr B., whom she said she had known from childhood, but his identify still appears to be well hidden. Although never named, she said he was the son of a General, who would ultimately inherit a substantial fortune. The pair travelled around Europe, proclaiming to be married, living the high life and spending money like water. However, in 1728 they had a major argument and Con took herself off to a convent in Ghent where she remained for around 18 months, the couple eventually agreeing to go their separate ways.

When this relationship ended, she became moved on to have a relationship with to Sir Herbert Pakington, a wealthy baronet, who was married to Elizabeth Conyers at the time. This was to be yet another relationship which ended badly as he proved to be a jealous lover and became so jealous that he attempted to take his own life on at least two occasions, once by use of his sword at the dinner-table. On the second occasion, enough was enough for Con and she ended that relationship and disappeared to her convent in France.

However, Pakington didn’t give up easily and regularly wrote to her pleading for her to return, despite the newspapers apparently having accused her of attempted murder. The London Evening Post, 25 February 1731, however, noted that he was ‘in a fair way of recovery’. So clearly there not too much harm done.

Pakington travelled over to France to meet her but appeared to be jealous of anyone she spoke to and attempted to take his life again. That was the final straw and Con left him once back in England and placed herself under the care of Lord Falkland at his home in Hertfordshire.

However, on 16 Apr 1734, Lucius Charles Cary, 7th Viscount Falkland married the widow Jane Butler and made Con a payment for agreeing to release him from their arrangement, thereby making him free to marry some more suitable, an heiress.

Quite what became of Con for the next few years appears somewhat vague. During the time she spent with B she accumulated quite a bit of money, plus the money from Lord Falkland, so began spending it on litigation over her marriage to Muilman.

Whilst these relationships had be going on, she involved herself with someone simply named as ‘Tartuffe’ the French word for imposter or hypocrite. It has been widely acknowledged now that it was Philip Southcote, son of Sir Edward Southcote. With Tartuffe she had a child, which lived until it was aged just eleven, so until the early 1740’s, and which Tartuffe failed to support. She did not confirm the gender of this child, so it seems we will never know more about it apart from that Tartuffe only saw the child on less than a dozen occasions. There was a curious entry on 15 Jul 1740 in the General Evening Post:

By Letters from Jamaica we hear that the celebrated Con Phillips died there in April last, after a short illness

Given that we know Con hadn’t died, could this have misinterpreted and that it was her child who died, speculation of course.

The only other piece of information we know about Tartuffe being that he was married at the time. It was clearly a volatile relationship as Con spent most of the second volume of her ‘Apology’ telling readers how dreadfully he had behaved toward her.

Part 2 can be found by clicking the highlighted link here.

Art Detectives: Anne Birch by George Romney

The portrait of Anne Birch is housed at the Phoenix Art Museum and is described by them as

George Romney’s depiction of Anne Birch reveals why his portraits were so in demand. Elegantly dressed, seated languidly on a bench in a dark glade that opens tantalizingly to a distant, sunlit view, Anne holds a flute in one hand while resting her head gently on the other.

But who was Anne Birch?

Anne Birch Phoenix Art Museum
Anne Birch Phoenix Art Museum

The portrait by George Romney came to my attention recently on social media and apart from her name, the artist and the approximate year it was painted, 1777, little if anything, seems to be known about the sitter, so it was time to do a spot of investigating to see what, if anything, I could find out. Given the instruments in the painting it would appear that she was perhaps a talented musician, but so far nothing has come to light to support this. Music would have been a subject that young ladies like her would have been instructed in, so maybe she excelled in this area.

The portrait is believed to be that of Anne Birch nee Clowes, the daughter and only child, therefore heir apparent, to William Clowes Esq, of Huntsbank, Manchester and his wife Elizabeth, nee Neild, who were married in 1738. Anne was baptised 18 October 1743 in Manchester, making her about 34 when the portrait was painted, although in my opinion the sitter looks much younger, which makes me question whether it could have been painted slightly later and be of her eldest daughter, also named Anne.

So far it hasn’t been possible to establish exactly who William Clowes was, but he was described as being ‘the fourth brother of the House of Clowes, who afterwards settled in Broughton‘.  I have however, managed to establish is that William died 15 February 1772, aged 68 and was buried in Manchester Cathedral.

Manchester Cathedral courtesy of http://www.speel.me.uk/index.htm
Manchester Cathedral courtesy of http://www.speel.me.uk/index.htm

William was clearly affluent, as when his only daughter married on 18 October 1764 the newspapers reported the marriage:

The Leeds Intelligencer Tuesday 30 October 1764
The Leeds Intelligencer Tuesday 30 October 1764.

So, we now not only have a family for Anne, but also a husband, John Peploe Birch, Esquire. According to this newspaper we know that Anne was not only beautiful, but also very wealthy, making her, at that time, an ideal candidate for marriage. It appears that the two families knew each other though, so could this have been the marriage of two houses possibly?

Anne’s father William, appears to have had some familial connection with the manor of Broughton Old Hall, Manchester, could this have been where his money came from, but what about her husband, who was he?

John Peploe Birch was born 1742 and was the son of Rev Samuel Peploe, Chancellor of Chester and Warden of Manchester and his first wife, Elizabeth Birch.

John was later to benefit from the demise of his uncle Samuel in 1752, at which time he inherited the estate of Garnstone, Weobley, Herefordshire, which was left  in trust for him until he reached the age of twenty-one, to be granted to him if he adopted the surname Birch, which he duly did, retaining Peploe as a middle name.

A series of picturesque views of seats of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland. With descriptive and historical letterpress by Morris, F. O. (Francis Orpen), 1810-1893; Fawcett, Benjamin; Lydon, A. F. (Alexander Francis)
A series of picturesque views of seats of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland. With descriptive and historical letterpress by Morris, F. O. (Francis Orpen), 1810-1893; Fawcett, Benjamin; Lydon, A. F. (Alexander Francis)

John and Anne moved to Barnstone which was where they spent the rest of their lives, but whilst in London they also had another home on Curzon Street, Mayfair. During their marriage they had three known children, Anne (1765-1846), Mary (1769-1830) and Samuel (1774-1845).

In 1767 John was appointed High Sherriff of Herefordshire, but as to whether he had an occupation seems unclear or was he simply landed gentry spending his time managing his estate?

John lived until 1805, leaving his estate to his beloved wife Anne, who lived until the age of 76. Both John and Anne was buried at Weobley, Herefordshire.

Anne left a will in which she provided for her three children, Anne who was by that time married to a Daniel Webb, Mary who remained unmarried and Samuel who had married the daughter of Sir George Cornewall, but she described her legacy as being ‘what little I have’. What little she had amounted to about £6,000 (about £300,000 in today’s money), but this is probably far less than she had hope to leave.

Although still little remains known of their life together, this at least sheds a little more light on this beautiful portrait.

Sources

The Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure … Volumes 12-13. Page 126

The Episcopal See of Manchester by Samuel Hibbert

Memorials of St. Ann’s church, Manchester, in the last century by Charles Wareing E. Bardsley

Manchester, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1573-1812 (Cathedral)

Joseph Paul – An Unscrupulous Norfolk Artist – Part 3

Welcome back to this, the concluding part of the rollercoaster which has been the story of Joseph Paul’s life. If you missed the first two parts here are the links for you – Part 1  Part 2

To date we have had the deaths of three wives, at least two, being under suspicious circumstances, an attempted poisoning followed by the sudden death of his godmother, plus an assault and possible relationship with an underage girl.

Life really was proving complicated for Joseph and at the end of January 1845, his son Louis, a mere five-years-old died, following an adverse reaction to a vaccination, but, given the suspicious deaths of the others I simply had to double-check the death certificate, just in case!

Joseph finally left Norwich, but not the county as instructed and towards the end of 1845, at St Andrew’s church at Sprowston & Beeston Norfolk, Joseph, a widower, now married for the fourth time. Wife number four, being Sarah Ann Nickalls,[i] daughter of William and his wife, Mary who were silk weavers; with his daughter, Pauline Emma, standing witness to this union. Rather unusually and decidedly annoyingly, the space in the register where Joseph father was to be named the space was crossed through, leaving his origins still no clearer.

The following year, for a change, Joseph found himself in court yet again, this time it was at his instigation, he was suing a gentleman from Lakenham, a Mr Alfred Massey, over the payment for a horse, but the case was dismissed as there was insufficient evidence.

In 1847 Joseph and his fourth wife, still living in Norfolk, produced a son, John Louis (1847- 1904), who they later had baptised in 1855 in London where they had eventually returned to. Curiously, it was John Louis who went on to become a landscape artist and remained in London until the end of his life.

As to where Joseph and the family had disappeared to around the 1851 census, remains a mystery, they simply vanished from the radar. Around Christmas of 1851, Joseph’s eldest daughter, Eliza was married in Norwich, so she obviously remained there after her father and stepmother had moved back to London.  His daughter, Pauline, had by 1853 married[ii] a military surgeon in Liverpool, having described her father on the marriage entry simply as an artist.

In the Stable Harnessed attributed to a John Paul 1804-1887. (Invaluable.com)
In the Stable Harnessed attributed to a John Paul 1804-1887. (Invaluable.com). The dates are a match for Joseph, so was this really one of Joseph’s animal paintings?

Joseph Meek Paul was living in Suffolk in 1851[iii] and the following year he sold all the furniture from a reasonably substantial property at Halesworth, Suffolk which he had inherited from Mr James Meek, who had, with his wife Elizabeth, raised him. In 1855 he was to join the army as a lieutenant, eventually married and went out to India, not returning until the late 1880s accompanied by his family. Caroline also married in Liverpool in 1856[iv] and again confirmed her father to be Joseph, an artist, so Joseph clearly worked as an artist his entire life.

Joseph then reappeared some ten years later on the 1861 census,[v] living a relatively quiet life, as an animal painter, in Rugby, Warwickshire, still with his fourth wife, Sarah Ann and their youngest son, John Louis.

They must have moved there sometime before 1859 as Messrs. Cooke & Son were advertising his animal paintings for sale in nearby Leamington Spa that year.[vi]

His son, Napoleon[vii] remained in Norfolk working as a plumber, glazier and ornamental painter, but he had suffered from a lung disease for several years which could well have been caused by working with lead, when he died in September 1861, aged just thirty.

Paul, Joseph; Moonlight with Shipping and Mill; Norfolk Museums Service
Paul, Joseph; Moonlight with Shipping and Mill; Norfolk Museums Service

There was no sign of Joseph for a further ten years until he appeared on the census return for 1871.[viii] By this time he had returned to London where he continued as an animal painter along with his youngest child, John Louis, now a landscape artist, who went on to marry three years later, confirming on the marriage entry that his father’s occupation as that of an artist.

The 1881 census[ix] confirmed that Joseph was still living at Ebury Street, London, with Sarah Ann, who said she was from Norwich and that he was from West Wickham, Hampshire, however, there appears to be no such place as West Wickham in Hampshire, so it begs the question as to whether he was trying to avoid detection or was simply mistaken.

1881 Census - John Louis Paul - Landscape artist. Click image to enlarge
1881 Census – John Louis Paul – Landscape artist. Click image to enlarge

Also on the 1881 census was Joseph’s son, John Louis[x] – but he was describing himself as a landscape artist, a term never used by Joseph to describe himself. Joseph’s other son, Charles, didn’t follow his father into the art world, but became a fishmonger and publican and died in Norwich in 1882.[xi]

In 1884, Joseph’s fourth wife of almost forty years, Sarah died,[xii] leaving a will with a small estate worth ninety pounds, which is about six thousand in today’s money, their son, John Louis was named executor and sole beneficiary but not until Joseph had died.

A year later, on 25 March 1885[xiii] a marriage entry appears in the parish register for Heigham, near Norwich for Joseph Paul, widowed, aged seventy-one, an artist, to a Miss Emma Cattermole, who was only twenty-five.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Joseph obviously returned to his native Norfolk to marry for a fifth and final time. Although, on this occasion, it has to be said, Joseph Paul was as economical about his true age as he had been about where he was born, he was in reality, much closer to eighty which seems slightly late in life to be contemplating yet another marriage, especially to such a young woman, begging the question, did he have something of a predilection for young women all along or did he marry her as someone to care for him in his old age?

This marriage was only to last a couple of years, as in May 1887 Joseph Paul died. The newspaper headlines described him as ‘An artist with five wives’.

An inquest was held at St Pancras regarding his death, aged eighty-three, lately residing at 53, William Street, St Pancras. Hannah Paul, a young woman of thirty-five, although she was really only twenty-seven, said that she had been married to the deceased for two years and was his fifth wife. The press got her first name wrong as it was actually Emma and she went on to marry again a few years later.[xiv]

‘He used to earn a great deal of money, but since she had been married to him, he was in rather reduced circumstances, but too independent to appeal to his children for help. They, however, occasionally, voluntarily assisted him. He had said that if he got much poorer, he should take some chloral and put an end to his life; but she did not think he had done so. He suffered from chronic gout. He expired suddenly in bed early one morning. Dr Maddison, who was called in, and who had since made a post-mortem examination, stated that death resulted from syncope when the deceased was suffering from enlargement and weakness of the heart. The jury returned a verdict accordingly’.

Joseph was described by his wife, Emma, as an animal painter and someone who was extremely fond of his art. The one thing that remained consistent throughout Joseph’s long life was that he painted both people and animals, but there is no indication of having ever painted landscapes which is the main subject matter that he had been known for and most of the artwork I have included in the article have been paintings of landsca