Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Evelyn Medows and Clara Hayward, 1776 in Town & Country Magazine

Evelyn Philip Medows (1736 to 1826) was featured in a satirical article in Town & Country Magazine in 1776. The series, called "History of the Tête-à-tête", mocked some of the illicit or scandalous love affairs of the day. Each article was accompanied by an engraved portrait of the man and woman involved, in an oval frame, presented facing each other. Many of these portraits have found their way to the British Museum's collection, though currently I can't find this particular set (Numbers IV and V) in the catalogue.

There are a few things I'd like to pass along about this satire.

The reference for the actual article is "History of the Tête-à-tête annexed: or, Memoirs of P_____ M______, Esq; and Miss Clara H_____d. (No. 4, 5)" in The Town and Country Magazine of February 1776, at page 65, with the engravings on the page between 64 and 65. The page with the engravings shows a date of March 1, 1776, but the online version of the magazine is quite clearly the February 1776 issue. It caused me a little confusion when I found the article referred to as being in the March edition, so, don't do what I did and go looking in March. The thing you want is in February.

It's a bit confusing that the man is identified (cryptically but not impenetrably) as Philip Meadows, Deputy Ranger of Richmond Park. Philip Meadows, whose name often uses the Meadows spelling, unlike most other family members, who show as Medows, was the father of Evelyn Philip Medows. Philip Meadows Esquire was born in 1708 and died in 1781. His wife, Lady Frances Pierrepont, lived from 1713 to 1795. While it is entirely possible that Philip had a mistress or two in his day (I've seen nothing either way on this), Philip was probably more than 40 years older than Clara Hayward, and at the time of these portraits in 1776, would have been 63 years old. I'm thinking that such a gap in age, had it existed, would have been remarked upon in the satire, and also that this picture looks like a younger man.

Evelyn Philip Medows, on the other hand, lived from 1736 to 1826, making him about 14 years older than Clara and aged 40 during the heyday of their romance. Some records say that Evelyn married Margaret Cramond, and in one of the Duchess of Kingston's letters, she mentions his wife. However, when this marriage occurred and how long it lasted, I don't know. I haven't seen records of any surviving children.

I don't know why Town and Country identified him as Philip Meadows, nor do I know whether Evelyn Medows ever held the position of Deputy Ranger of Richmond Park. It is quite possible that he did: his father had that role, as did his uncle Sidney Medows (from whom Evelyn eventually did inherit a substantial fortune, including his house in Charles Street). John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, was Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1762-1763, and Ranger of Richmond Park from 1761 (whether until his death in 1792 or some earlier date, I don't know, but he occupied White Lodge in the park during this whole time, apparently).

The Earl of Bute was connected by marriage to the Pierrepont family (notably to Evelyn Pierrepont, Duke of Kingston, brother to Lady Frances Medows nee Pierrepont) and thus to the Medows. Evelyn Medows was the eldest son of Lady Frances, and the eldest nephew of the childless Duke, making him the heir apparent of the Pierreponts. It wouldn't surprise me if the Earl favoured him with a home at Richmond Park. However, I have no proof at all that Evelyn was ever the Deputy Ranger. I'm casting about for an explanation as to why Town and Country gave the description they did.

At any rate, the satire tells of how the young man was a favourite hunting companion of the King of Prussia and had visited Voltaire in France. Disappointed in love in England, he took a three-month tour of the country, eventually settling into his post at Richmond Park. He saw the lady on the stage and was smitten; took her to Richmond and there they lived in rural contentment.

There is no question about the Town and Country lady's identity. She is Clara Hayward, an actress about whom I've only found snippets on the Web. In the satire, her story is one of rags to riches, or at least from rags to comfort at the expense of a series of men, including a lawyer and a dashing officer. She appears as a supporting character in a variety of books about the life and times of women in the 18th century and I believe there is much more known about her than I have found in my Web surfing. Here are a few quotes about Clara.

Early training

From an excerpt of the scanned version of England's mistress: the infamous life of Emma Hamilton, by Kate Williams, published by Hutchinson, 2006; excerpt in scanned version viewed courtesy Google Books:

Aspiring actresses competed for a place at Kelly's for many stars of the eighteenth-century London stage, including Mrs Abington and Clara Hayward, had learnt posture and dance at Arlington Street.


Early fame (1760s)

From an excerpt of the scanned version of Ladies fair and frail: sketches of the demi-monde during the eighteenth century, by Horace Bleackley, published by Dodd, Mead and Company, 1926; excerpt in scanned version viewed courtesy Google Books.

This [the 1760s] was the time when giddy Nan Catley was at her zenith, when spendthrift Baddeley had reached the height of her fame, when the youthful Clara Hayward had begun to conquer all hearts with her dainty ways. Nevertheless, from the year 1769 till the year 1773 Miss Kennedy remained as great a favourite with the bucks and bloods as any of these pretty actresses.


1770 theatrical debut

From an excerpt of the scanned version of The Letters of David Garrick, by George Morrow Kahrl, published by Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1963; excerpt in scanned version viewed courtesy Google Books.

Clara Hayward made her debut at Drury Lane on Oct. 27, 1770; she appeared in a number of roles, with varying success, and after March 1772 her name no longer appears on the Drury Lane playbills (Theatrical Biography, 1772, I, 20-23 …


1772 with Evelyn Medows

From A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Volume 7, Habgood to Houbert: Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers, and Other Stage Personnel in London, 1660-1800,  by Philip H. Highfill, Kalman A. Burnim, Edward A. Langhans, SIU Press, 1982; excerpt in scanned version viewed courtesy Google Books:

Clara Hayward (fl. 1770—1772) actress. The 1772 edition of Theatrical Biography reported that Miss Clara Hayward came from an obscure and humble background (her mother dealt in oysters, said the Town and Country Magazine in February 1776).  

She attracted the attention of a young guards officer who initially wished only "temporary gratification," but, charmed with her mind as well as her person, he taught her to read. When he left her, she "fled to her books as an asylum, which she occasionally relieved with a lover." Her reading attracted her to tragedy and to the stage, and through a friend who knew Samuel Foote, she was introduced to theatrical circles. Sheridan "voluntarily became her instructor in the histrionic mysteries," and on 9 July 1770 she made her first appearance on any stage at the Haymarket Theatre playing Calista in The Fair Penitent.

[I am assuming from the context that this part of the quote from the Theatrical Biography (1772) describes her relationship with Evelyn Medows:] She accepted the heart of a young gentleman in the guards, as remarkable for the oddity of his taste in dress, as the delicacy of his person; which last is so remarkable that he has often gone into keeping himself when his finances have run short. Such is her present connexion.


1774 party girl (perhaps earlier)

Memoirs of William Hickey (1749 - 1830) Volume 1 mentions Clara Hayward three times, from around 1774.

He refers to her as one of his favourites (among 20 or so) who was, to paraphrase, warmer in bed than one Emily, to whom he is drawing a comparison. (All 20-plus are warmer than Emily.) The timing here seems confusing as in 1772 and 1776, the publications of the day have Clara linked to Evelyn Medows.

In planning a very expensive party to be held at Richmond-upon-Thames, Hickey lists the beautiful ladies he will invite, Clara among them, " … each of whom could with composure carry off her three bottles [of wine]."

1776 with Evelyn Medows

From an excerpt of the scanned version of Ladies fair and frail: sketches of the demi-monde during the eighteenth century, by Horace Bleackley, published by Dodd, Mead and Company, 1926; excerpt in scanned version viewed courtesy Google Books.

In the Morning Post of the 27th of January 1776 there appeared a description of one of the numerous masquerades at the Pantheon in Oxford Street, and as usual the "free and easy" portion of the company was mentioned in the report. Among these were several handsome women, whose names were familiar to everyone. The "laughter-loving" Clara Hayward, as the newspapers were fond of styling her, had risen to fame half-a-dozen years before, when she appeared as Calista in "The Fair Penitent " at Foote's Theatre in the Haymarket, where she had shown sufficient ability to secure an engagement at Drury Lane ; and now having left the stage she had become a more or less inconstant mistress of Evelyn Meadows, the favourite nephew and presumptive heir of the eccentric Duchess of Kingston. The graceful Harriet Powell, equally frail and famous, whose winsome face was portrayed in many a mezzotint, had spent her early youth as an inmate of Mrs Hayes's disreputable establishment in King's Place, but now at last she had become faithful to one man, and was keeping house with Lord Seaforth, the creator of a famous regiment.


That she [Grace Dalrymple Eliot] should have been regarded as a formidable rival to Clara Hayward and Charlotte Spencer indicates to what depths she had sunk.

As we know from the lawsuit in which Evelyn Medows (the usual spelling) effectively accused the Duchess of Kingston of bigamy in order to undo the will of the late Duke, who had disinherited him, Evelyn was hardly the favourite nephew and presumptive heir of the Duchess at all times. However, her attitude toward him was far less negative than might be thought, and she did indeed seem to favour him in the years after the trial, up to her death. (I think they were kindred spirits.)

In addition to the Morning Post item mentioned, the Town and Country Magazine profile of Clara and Evelyn appeared in February 1776.

Regarding Charlotte Hayes and her establishment, Jan Toms has presented a few interesting facts in her short article, "The 18th Century Brothel – How Some Girls Won Fame and Fortune".


1778 or possibly earlier, painted by Gainsborough

From an excerpt of the scanned version of Thomas Gainsborough: his life and work, by Mary Woodall, published by Phoenix House, 1949; excerpt in scanned version viewed courtesy Google Books.

…'In the following year [appears to refer to 1778], eleven portraits and two landscapes were sent to the Academy from Schomberg House. He has, it is plain, been visited by Miss Dalrymple, Clara Hayward and another well-known character of the same stamp.'(1) The portraits were considered to be remarkably strong likenesses, although the real faces of the 'painted ladies' had not been seen for many years.

 As a side note, Clara Hayward appears as a character in a play of the early 1950s by Cecil Beaton, about Gainsborough and his family, The Gainsborough Girls, later re-presented as Landscape with Figures


Friday, September 2, 2011

Charles Dickens et al in Bentley's Miscellany, on the Trial of the Duchess of Kingston

The full story of the Duchess of Kingston is well-recorded elsewhere. My main interest is in what her story reveals of the character of her persecutor, Mr. Evelyn Medows.

Evelyn was the heir apparent of the Duke of Kingston, and stood to inherit considerable wealth and estates, but the Duke left everything to his floozy (some would say) wife for life, and then to Evelyn's younger brother. This outrageous snub is credited as the cause of the law suits brought to prove the Duchess a bigamist, and therefore not the lawful wife of the Duke, and to set aside the will.

The trial of bigamy ended with the Duchess being found guilty, but her first marriage – the one she had denied in the course of the trial – saved her. She was a peeress, being married first to the Earl of Bristol. And so she claimed the privilege of a peer, and was left to walk away with a warning that her punishment for a further offence would be death.

One report of the trial comes almost 80 years later, though it claims to be from an eye witness. As with all accounts, it must be taken with a grain of salt and compared to other versions. However, the comments about Evelyn Medows are interesting, and that's what I have selected here, after a description from the beginning of the piece telling us its origin.

Bentley's miscellany, Volume 33 (Google eBook)
Charles Dickens, William Harrison Ainsworth, Albert Smith

Richard Bentley, 1853 - Literary Criticism

Front CoverAt page 562, the account begins.

In her defence, the Duchess told of why the Duke so hated his eldest nephew, Evelyn Medows (sometimes spelled Meadows, as here). The Duchess was alleged to have caused the rift between the Duke and Evelyn, but she said the opposite was true: she had tried to reconcile them.

I haven't found out who "Miss Bishop" is.

The description the writer gave:

"the vile man; … of all those on whom the name of man is prostituted, he is doubtless the vilest; … I am sure the devil has marked him for his own"

leaves no doubt what she thought of Mr. Medows!

And yet, the Duchess didn't turn her back on him. They had a long-standing attachment of a bizarre kind. Enemies they may have been, but sometimes the emotional bonds between enemies are stronger than between friends. I even wonder if they had a romantic history, given their reported respective licentious natures.

The Duchess escaped to the Continent and eventually died in France, near Paris. Evelyn immediately removed some of her jewels and valuables from her apartment!

Earlier on, the Duchess rescued him when he was arrested or about to be, for non-payment of debts. She paid him an allowance to live on.

When she died, the Duchess left a bizarre and (I believe) invalid last will and testament. I have a copy (readily available from the National Archives for a small fee). It is written to tantalize and tease, with the bulk of her wealth purportedly going to "A", more to "B", and so on, but these alphabetic creatures are never named. It was the worst kind of estate planning, even worse than a granny changing the masking tape on the family silver after every unsatisfying Christmas dinner with the kiddies.

It appears that Evelyn wasn't totally shut out after her death, though. His brother Charles, who became the next Duke of Kingston, paid him an allowance.

I'm going to look next at more of Evelyn's reputation as a "vile man" etc.

The bigamous, scandalous, fiesty Duchess of Kingston, Countess of Bristol, Elizabeth Chudleigh as was

The intriguing life of Mr. Evelyn Medows, late of 51 Charles Street, Berkeley Square, London

A timeline and links for Harriet Maria Campbell, formerly Dickson, formerly Medows, nee Norie

Sir John Campbell's brother-in-law wrote the leading work on navigation: J.W. Norie

From the Royal kalendar, 1820, an interesting charity name

Monday, August 29, 2011

The bigamous, scandalous, fiesty Duchess of Kingston, Countess of Bristol, Elizabeth Chudleigh as was

Imagine a trial in 1776, so well-attended it was one of the hottest tickets in London, where the judges were over 100 members of the House of Lords. The woman being judged is the wife of the Earl of Bristol and the widow of the Duke of Kingston, known to history as the notorious, infamous, etc. so-called Duchess of Kingston, Elizabeth Chudleigh. She is accused of marrying the Duke while her first husband was still living. The penalty for bigamy is death.

A brief Web search for this lady's story will reveal all the details, and the various accounts are worth reading, for it's quite an extraordinary tale. What I have cobbled together here is an amalgam of several sources, and of course they don't all agree. For those wanting something more substantial and reliable, the most recent comprehensive work I am aware of is this book:

Elizabeth: The Scandalous Life of an Eighteenth Century Duchess, by Claire Gervat (2004, Arrow Books).

I rush to say I haven't read the book but in the course of doing the research for this article, I became so interested in the Duchess that I have just this minute purchased the book and will enjoy reading it as I sip iced tea and eat bonbons on the chaise longue. It was favourably reviewed in the UK paper The Telegraph, with Frances Wilson, the reviewer, commenting that the research is solid.

From the various accounts I have read, and in trying to put more weight on the first-hand and contemporary sources, I have got my own idea of the story, which goes like this.

Elizabeth Chudleigh was almost a simple country lass from a good family. Her widowed mother struggled to survive and to keep up appearances in London society. Fortunately, Elizabeth's good looks and wit got her a place as a Maid of Honour to Augusta, Princess of Wales.

Young Elizabeth, disappointed in love by the Duke of Hamilton and cajoled by a deceptive aunt to marry the second man in line to become the the Earl of Bristol, impulsively and secretly did marry him, Augustus John Hervey by name. They had very little time together, as he was off with the navy right away, but their union produced two things: a conviction in both that they were not all that good together, and a son, who died in infancy. The other thing this marriage produced was evidence: a marriage register, witnesses to the wedding, and a doctor who delivered the baby.

The marriage was secret from the start because a married woman could not be a Maid of Honour, and Elizabeth wanted to keep both the status and the income from the position. It would seem, at least at times in her life, and to certain observers, that she never really accepted the fact of her marriage. It was much more convenient to be a socialite and a climber as a single woman. However, she used the marriage when it suited her, and forgot it, even denied it, whenever it didn't fit her current scheme.

Read that Telegraph review if you want a colourful description of how Elizabeth was at once fascinating and vulgar.

One of her famous stunts was her appearance at a costume party, where King George II, among others, was present, and in fact the good King took quite a personal interest in Miss Chudleigh's original costume. She was semi-dressed as a maiden from Greek mythology, Iphigenia. Whether it was historical faithfulness or mere artistic license at work, readers will have to decide for themselves, but the costume Miss Chudleigh / Mrs. Hervey wore apparently began at the waist and worked its way diaphanously down her legs, declining to travel any distance at all in the northerly direction. Topless, in other words.

Another time she apparently brandished a pistol to make her point in an argument.

Who knows what exactly Elizabeth's amorous history was, but it does seem to have been the best of 18th century tabloid fodder.

Interestingly, Evelyn Medows was cut from not radically dissimilar cloth. Despite the fact that they were opponents in the notorious bigamy trial, and had a longstanding dispute over her inheritance, I think they each recognized in the other a bit of themselves.

The story will continue in another post.

The intriguing life of Mr. Evelyn Medows, late of 51 Charles Street, Berkeley Square, London

A timeline and links for Harriet Maria Campbell, formerly Dickson, formerly Medows, nee Norie

Sir John Campbell's brother-in-law wrote the leading work on navigation: J.W. Norie

From the Royal kalendar, 1820, an interesting charity name

How could Sir John Campbell, K.C.T.S., afford to live on Charles Street, Berkeley Square?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The intriguing life of Mr. Evelyn Medows, late of 51 Charles Street, Berkeley Square, London

Evelyn Medows was born in about December 1736. By the time he married his second wife, Harriet Maria Norie in 1811, he was already 74 years old and had lived a colourful life. In 1776, four years before Harriet was born, Evelyn was a key player in one of the most famous British court cases: the trial of the Duchess of Kingston for bigamy. The Duchess remains a noted, or perhaps notorious historical figure, but of Mr. Medows, we don't hear quite so much. Here's what I have pieced together.

The first-born son of Lady Frances Pierrepont and Philip Medows, Deputy Ranger of Richmond Park, Evelyn would at first blush appear to have the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth. Not quite.

Lady Frances and her only sibling, Evelyn Pierrepont, later the Duke of Kingston upon Hull, became orphans when she was a minor. An eligible young woman, she could have become very wealthy through a well-orchestrated marriage. The Duchess of Marlborough would have seen to this, but Lady Frances on the day of her 21st birthday went to the opera and stepped out at intermission for an elopement with Philip. Tsk, tsk, said her aunt, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, nee Pierrepont, in a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. Lady Mary's own elopement is legendary.

So, no great fortune on either side of Evelyn's family, but enough social standing to get by on and enough money to live comfortably, it seems.

Young Evelyn at the age of 14, in 1751, became a page to the Duke of Cumberland.

Clip from The London Magazine and daily chronologer for 1751, courtesy Google Books

In 1755 (age 18), Evelyn Medows Esq. became an Ensign in the First Regiment of Foot Guards.

Clip from The London Magazine, or, Gentleman's monthly intelligencer, Vol. 24, 1755, courtesy Google Books

Somewhere in the next 20 years, young Evelyn seems to have lost his taste for the military life. There are references to him here and there as an "adventurer" who seems to have been as at home in France as in England. He may have been living it up secure in the knowledge that as the eldest nephew of the childless Duke of Kingston, he would inherit a great estate. After all, who wouldn't?

Even so, in 1760 Evelyn married Margaret Cramond, according to some sources but I have not verified this. In fact, I know very little about this marriage, but there is no mention anywhere of children, and Evelyn outlived Margaret, perhaps by many years. Or, she was just a tolerant wife. The way Evelyn is described in writing from the 1770s makes him sound very much the bachelor.

While Evelyn Medows was enjoying life, his uncle Evelyn Pierrepont was doing the same. We will next enter the stormy waters churned up by the so-called Duchess of Kingston.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A timeline and links for Harriet Maria Campbell, formerly Dickson, formerly Medows, nee Norie

A woman with three husbands, each prominent and notable, but for three quite different reasons. Here is an overview of Harriet Maria Norie's life in timeline form.The books at the end relate to a famous case of bigamy among the upper class.


  • Born, probably at home, 39 Burr Street, London, fifth of nine known children.
  • November 5: Baptised at St Botolph Aldgate.


  • May 25: Married Evelyn Philip MEDOWS, Esq.

  • December 18: Married Major General Sir Alexander DICKSON, G.C.B., K.C.H.

  •  June 6: Charles Street, Berkeley Square with sister Isabel NORIE and 4 servants.
  • July 12: Married Sir John CAMPBELL, K.C.T.S.

  • March 30:  51 Charles Street, Berkeley Square with husband Sir John CAMPBELL and 4 servants.

  • April 7: 51 Charles Street, Berkeley Square with husband Sir John CAMPBELL and 4 servants.
  • November 25: Died at Richmond, Surrey.
  • November 30: Buried at Kensal Green All Souls.
  • February 13: Letters of Administration to Sir John CAMPBELL, Henry Hay NORIE, nephew, and Rowland BENNETT.

In 1776, Harriet Maria's first husband caused his uncle's wife, the so-called Duchess of Kingston, to be tried for bigamy. I hear they sold tickets to the trial. This was a huge event, all before Harriet Maria was born, and 35 years before she and Evelyn Philip Medows were married.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sir John Campbell's brother-in-law wrote the leading work on navigation: J.W. Norie

Did Sir John Campbell own the house he lived in during the mid-1800s, on Charles Street, Berkeley Square, or did his second wife bring it into their marriage? She was married three times, to three different men: one famous for losing a court case, one an early 19th century military hero, and one a one-time leader of the losing side in the Portuguese civil war between two brothers.

Harriet Maria Norie, the second wife of both Sir Alexander Dickson and Sir John Campbell

In 1842, over 20 years after the death of his first wife, Sir John became the third husband of Harriet Maria Dickson, nee Norie.

Harriet Maria's father, James Norie, was not a wealthy man, at least, there are no hints suggesting he was, which is about as definite a statement as I can make. He came from Morayshire, Scotland, established a school in London after moving down from Scotland. Harriet Maria's mother, Dorothy Mary (nee Fletcher), was the daughter of a merchant, Jacob Fletcher, who was, it appears, a London man. Again, I haven't seen anything to suggest he was a particularly notable or rich merchant. My impression is that this was a happy and creative family of teachers, writers, and painters, who perhaps had more intangible wealth than money.

One brother, John William Norie, 1772 to 1843, became a leading writer on navigation, with Epitome of Practical Navigation (1805) being one of the most frequently-mentioned of his books. There is a portrait of J.W. Norie in the National Portrait Gallery. It's from the entry for J. W. Norie in the Dictionary of National Biography that we get the information about his and Harriet Maria's parents.

"NORIE, JOHN WILLIAM (1772–1843), writer on navigation, born in Burr Street, London, on 3 July 1772, was son of James Norie (1737–1793), a native of Morayshire, who, after being trained for the presbyterian church, migrated to London in 1756, and kept a flourishing school in Burr Street, Wapping. Norie's mother was Dorothy Mary Fletcher (1753–1840), daughter of a merchant in East Smithfield.

The son, John William, resided, according to the ‘London Directory’ for 1803, at the ‘Naval Academy, 157 Leadenhall Street.’ At the same address William Heather carried on business as a publisher of naval books and dealer in charts and nautical instruments at the ‘Navigation Warehouse.’ Heather's name disappears in 1815, and the business was henceforth conducted by Norie with a partner, Charles Wilson, under the style of Norie & Wilson.

The ‘Navigation Warehouse’ has been immortalised by Charles Dickens in ‘Dombey and Son’ as the shop kept by Sol Gills (cf. J. Ashby-Sterry's article ‘The Wooden Midshipman’ in All the Year Round, 29 Oct. 1881, p. 173). Norie retired about 1830, but the business was carried on in the same place until 1880, when the premises were taken down and the firm removed to 156 Minories, where the figure of the little midshipman which decorated Norie's house of business still exists.

Norie, who is variously described as ‘teacher of navigation and nautical astronomy,’ and ‘hydrographer,’ died at No. 3 Coates Crescent, Edinburgh, on 24 Dec. 1843, and was buried in St. John's episcopal church."

The entry is from an old edition of the Dictionary. Since then, the properties where Norie's business was have both been redeveloped. Norie's firm survives as Imray. A detailed, illustrated short history of the firm is found on Cruising World's website.

The little wooden midshipman is on permanent loan from Imray to The Charles Dickens Museum at 48 Doughty Street, London.

So, we know there was at least one famous Norie, but I still don't think they were wealthy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

From the Royal kalendar, 1820, an interesting charity name

City of London Truss-Society,
for the Relief of the Ruptured Poor

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How could Sir John Campbell, K.C.T.S., afford to live on Charles Street, Berkeley Square?

As I've been looking at records of the life and career of Sir John Campbell (1780 to 1863), many times I've wondered about money. I first found him because I've been looking at  Charles Street, Berkeley Square in London, a prestigious address with many poobahs as neighbours, and that's where he lived in the last decades of his life. My lingering question was, how could he afford it?

Sir John's father, William Campbell, was a Commissioner of the Navy, a high-ranking civil servant, but not necessarily a wealthy man once the benefits of his office (notably, a house) were removed.

Sir John's two sisters married two brothers of the Onslow family, who themselves have an illustrious pedigree. However, any Onslow family wealth and land would have bypassed Elizabeth and Marianna Onslow nee Campbell and passed to the male heirs.

Sir John did enjoy some hospitality from his sister Elizabeth and her husband, Reverend George Onslow. In the 1841 census, we find Sir John and "Elise", whom I assume to be Sir John's daughter Elizabeth, with the Onslows at their family home, Dunsborough House in Send, Surrey. I've taken this to be either  the normal reciprocal visiting among family members or a temporary residence for Sir John and Elizabeth. At some point during or after 1834, Sir John returned from his stay as a prisoner of war in Portugal. During his absence, his only child Elizabeth may have been sent to stay with the Onslows, and perhaps Sir John joined her there.

Website for The Wey Valley, with a picture of Dunsborough House and interesting history about the villages of Send and Ripley

So, I've ruled out inherited wealth, but I should look for the will of Sir John's father and also of Sir John's siblings, just in case there is a pot of gold somewhere. It's unlikely any siblings transferred any wealth to him. I think each had a family of his or her own to care for.

Sir John's first wife, the young Portuguese lady Dona Maria Brigida de Faria e Lacerda has a noble-sounding name and it wouldn't surprise me if her family had a prominent position in Portugual. However, she married out of her society and went to England, where she died young. Sir John was persona non grata in Portugal after supporting the losing side in the War of the Two Brothers (and being a noted prisoner of war following it). Also, I have always had the impression that being an army officer in his day was not usually a way to get rich. I suppose perhaps there were occasional opportunities for plunder, but he hardly seems to have been in the right place and time for that, at least not at the latter stage of his Army career.

Having written off these various sources, I took a closer look at who owned 51 Charles Street and how Sir John came to live there at all.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The descendants of Sir John Campbell, KCTS

This is part of my ongoing exploration of Charles Street, mainly in the 1871 census, though as it happens Sir John died in 1863.

I became curious about Sir John's wealth (or lack of it) and where it went after his death. One avenue I explored was the obvious one: his descendants.

Sir John's Portuguese wife and young son died when the boy was young, leaving only a daughter, Elizabeth Campbell (1818 - 1883). During Elizabeth's childhood, Sir John was away fighting on what ended up being the losing side of a revolution in Portugal. He then spent some more time there as a prisoner of war, while the British government washed their hands of him.

My suspicion is that Elizabeth may have been raised during his absence by one of Sir John's two sisters, Elizabeth. (His other sister, Marianna, died in 1810.) The two sisters had married two brothers from a very good family. Elizabeth married Reverend George Walton Onslow (1768 - 1844) and had at least 11 children.

One clue to the connection between this Elizabeth and Sir John that helped me find her and then figure out she was his sister, was that one of the children's name was Pitcairn Onslow. Sir John's mother was Annie Pitcairn and the name is a handy finding aid, especially when wallowing in a soup of Campbells.

Marianna Campbell married Reverend Arthur Onslow (1773 - 1851), and had at least three children. One, William Campbell Onslow, has the name of his grandfather (William Campbell) embedded in his own name.

In 1844, at the age of 26, Elizabeth (Sir John's daughter) married Edmond Sexten Pery Calvert (1797 - 1866), who would have been 46 or 47 by then. As far as I know, she was his first wife. The Calvert family has a lot of interesting connections, but I will try my hardest not to tell you about each and every one.

The Family Life of Elizabeth and Edmond Sexten Pery Calvert

It is hard for me to prove this next bit with absolute certainty, but my interpretation of the evidence suggests that E&E's first child was actually not one child, but twins. Felix Calvert was born in the spring of 1845 and died very soon thereafter. It looks like Felix had a twin sister, Frances Elise Calvert, who also died very soon after birth.

The next year, a daughter was born and survived. Her name was Frances Elizabeth Calvert, born on August 9, 1846. Her birth was noted in the magazine The Patrician.

A little brother, also called Felix, arrived on September 12, 1847. One source of confusion in researching family history is that names were recycled within the same generation, as this branch of the Calvert family demonstrates. In fact, from one generation to the next, the name "Felix" is very common in the Calverts and also in their relatives, the Ladbrokes.

The last child of Elizabeth Campbell Calvert of whom I'm aware of was Walter, born on September 4, 1849 at Charles Street. I would be on solid ground in suggesting this event happened at the home of Sir John Campbell and his second wife, Harriet Maria (nee Norie), at 51 Charles Street.

Frances Elise died before she was 10 years old, in the spring of 1856.

Her two brothers, however, did live quite long lives. Their father, Edmond Sexten Pery Calvert, died in 1866 at 68. Felix was 19, Walter 17 and their mother, Elizabeth 48 when that happened. She did not remarry.

For much of her life, Elizabeth lived with her son Felix. She died at 65 in late December of 1883. Felix lived on, farming the Calvert estate at Furneux Pelham in Hertfordshire until his death, unmarried, at age 62. He was a Justice of the Peace.

The youngest, Walter Campbell Calvert, went into the military and reached the rank of Captain in the 5th Dragoon Guards. He died in 1932, having had the longest life of them all, at 82. He too appears to have been unmarried and as far as I know, left no children.

And thus the line of Sir John Campbell, KCTS, expired. There are many collateral descendants – nephews, nieces, cousins, and so on – but no one who traces back to Sir John directly.

What happened to the family fortune?

The question to ask before that one is, "Was there a family fortune?" I have looked into this and the answers were surprising. That's for another day, though.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Why you should keep on digging when researching family history

I had the birth, marriage, and death information for Sir John Campbell, KCTS some time ago. Why keep going?

There are a few reasons, but here is one of them: to learn what kind of man he was.

I've made inferences, which is really all I can do, given the lack of direct evidence about the man. However, there are a few eyewitnesses who described him as a soldier (Sir Arthur Wellesley, later the Duke of Wellington, commended him in his reports of battles in Portugal), as a prisoner of war in Portugal, and even in the House of Lords, he was a topic of conversation, albeit perhaps as more of a political football than as an individual.

None of this shed light on his home life, which is what I hoped to find out about as I continued the research.

Through a lot of persistent searching for anything about him, I thought I had found pretty much all I could in terms of books or articles mentioning him specifically, to the extent that these appear online. That will change with time, and there's a lesson: go back in a year, and then in another year, and another, until you are satisfied. More information becomes available all the time. Never close the door.

I also learned the value of tracking relatives beyond the immediate family. Well, "learned" isn't really the right word. "Proved" might be closer.

The best nugget came from searching his name in conjunction with the name of a house, Hunsdon House. How did I know to do that search? Because I traced Sir John's daughter, Elizabeth, his only surviving child. She married into the Calvert family, and lived for a time at their property, Hunsdon House.

Pushing further into the Calverts revealed two interesting sources: the published memoirs of Elizabeth's mother-in-law, Lady Frances Calvert (nee Pery), and the fact that one of Elizabeth's nephews became a very well-known public figure. He was Edmond Warre (1837 to 1920) who is remembered as a famous oarsman for Oxford and a long-time master and then Headmaster (1880 to 1909) of Eton College.

Edmond Warre, "The Head".
In Vanity Fair magazine, June 20, 1885. 
In Edmond Warre, D.D., C.B., C.V.O.: Sometime Headmaster and Provost of Eton College, by Charles Robert Leslie Fletcher (J. Murray, 1922), the Google Books copy, I found this passage.

"… Sir John Campbell (a Peninsular veteran who had married a Portuguese lady); he was not such a favourite with the children as Uncle Felix".

Because I don't have the actual book, just snippets, I can't easily see the whole page. I'm working on digging up interesting bits from the book for my next post.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A wonderful newspaper clipping from 1835

This comes from the The Court Journal: Court circular and fashionable gazette of July 1835, page 503.


(It says: "A meeting took place on Wednesday evening at Battersea fields between R. J. Mackintosh Esq., attended by Major General Sir John Campbell and William Wallace, Esq. attended by Dr Richard Burke. The word having been given, Mr Mackintosh's pistol missed fire, and Mr Wallace fired in the air. A second fire took place without effect, and the parties, after a mutual explanation, shook hands.")

Summoned by loyalty, a soldier returns to the field, but for the wrong side

In 1824, Sir John Campbell found himself, at the age of 44, a widower with a 6-year-old daughter, and in mourning for his 3-year-old son. Before the year was out, he had resigned from the army, where he had distinguished himself in fighting in Portugal during the Peninsular Wars of the early 19th century. He and young Elizabeth were apparently living quietly in London. Then everything changed, again.

Sir John's late wife, Dona Maria Brigida do Faria e Lacerda, was Portuguese and I suspect from a good family. Sir John himself was friends with the royal family, or at least, part of it. By the late 1820s, Portugal was in a crisis over succession, which was a fight between one brother (Dom Pedro) favouring a constitutional monarchy and reform, and the other (Dom Miguel) wanting to stay with an absolute monarchy. It turned into a civil war.

The story of the Portuguese War of the Two Brothers is complicated. The highlights, for my purposes are simple enough, though.

British soldiers fought on both sides! Their leaders were officers who had been brothers in arms in the earlier Peninsular Wars. Men on both sides held knighthoods in both England and Portugal. All of them were at least notionally fighting illegally, according to the Foreign Enlistment Act.

To make things a little awkward for me in the research department, there were too many Campbells around, officers with the KCTS decoration, who served in the Peninsular Wars and possibly in this Portuguese civil war. Anyone who decides to study the story more closely will need to be cautious. I can only hope I am not getting the facts too confused.

There is no doubt that Sir John Campbell of my story, the man who eventually lives at 51 Charles Street, was at the head of the Miguelite forces, as they were called. He supported the absolutist cause whole-heartedly. On the other side were Admiral Sartorius and then Sir Charles Napier. Their respective forces were a mixture of English and Portuguese, and not professional soldiers, but what we might charitably call a motley crew.

A few brief glances at some of the debates in the House of Lords and the Commons after the war ended indicates that the British politicians were not in unanimous support of either side in the Portuguese war. Again, this is an over-simplification, but Sir John became something of a political football.

In the early days of the war, his side did well, but then the tide turned. Sir John was captured on board a ship (apparently leaving Portugal) with some allegedly incriminating papers. Papers or no, his side had lost. He became a prisoner of war.

This was an unpleasant imprisonment. Reading between the lines, I suspect there was a good deal of seeking revenge involved, because in some quarters the Miguelites had a reputation for being barbaric to their own prisioners. English visitors to Portugal after the war, in the early 1830s, reported seeing Sir John behind the bars of the prison compound.

His appeals to the English government for help went unanswered, on the basis that he was fighting in a foreign war on foreign soil, not in a British cause.

Why did he do it?

I've read that Sir John was a personal friend of Dom Miguel from his earlier time in Portugal, and I assume that the granting of the honour of KCTS, whenever that was, cemented that friendship. Sir John's politics must have been conservative, which mattered a great deal against the backdrop of the Reform movement in England.

He was held for at least nine months, much of which was apparently in solitary confinement. The degree of deprivation is in the eye of the beholder, but certainly it was a hard time, during which he was abandoned by his country.

I'm a little surprised that he was ever allowed to return to England. Having fought for the losing side in a battle that put British soldiers against each other, he could have been called treasonous without a huge stretch of the imagination.

I suspect what saved him was the fact that no one had clean hands.

By the time he returned to England in about 1834, his daughter was 16. He had been away from her for a few years (at least).

Here was a man who had spent much of his life achieving honour and glory as a soldier, only to end up disgraced. In the Commons debates, reference was made to his having a Portuguese wife (with the implication being that his loyalty wasn't to Britain), but no one pointed out that Maria Brigida had been dead for ten years.

He'd lost his wife and son, had hardly seen his daughter, had fought on a losing side and been imprisoned, and could probably never return to the country he must have come to love, Portugal.

He had reason to be a bitter and disappointed man, and maybe he was. Or, maybe he was so convinced of the rightness of his cause that he spent the rest of his life deploring the wrongs done to him. I don't know. The dictionary of biography says he lived a quiet life.

The quiet lasted until 1863, some 20 years after the civil war ended. It was then succeeded by that quiet which comes to us all, one day.

The first book, by Shaw, is about the War of Two Brothers. The other two books are from the Duke of Wellington's earlier experiences in Portugal. I have written before that Sir John Campbell was mentioned favourably in dispatches by Wellesley, late the Duke, but this may not be true, or it may be true but some of the mentions may refer to other Campbells. I post links to some of the books here in case anyone is interested in finding out more.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The young Portuguese bride of Sir John Campbell: Dona Maria Brigida

I have mentioned a few things about Sir John Campbell, KB, KCTS, and left off suggesting that the KCTS (Knight Commander of the Tower and the Sword, Portugal) shaped his life.

As far as I can tell, Sir John Campbell stayed in Portugal after the Peninsular Wars, on loan to the Portuguese army until 1820. He left when the constitutionalists started to become too heated. When he returned to England, he lived in Baker Street with his Portuguese wife, Dona Maria Brigida do Faria e Lacerda, and Elizabeth, their daughter, who was born in Lisbon in 1818.

Sir John and Maria Brigida were married in 1816. She was 18 years old. He was 36.

Upon their return to England in 1820, or perhaps shortly before, their son, John David Campbell, was born. Elizabeth and John David are the only children I know of in this family.

Sir John was given what sounds like a reasonably quiet job in England, in command of the 75th Regiment of Foot while they were at home and not off fighting abroad. This is a famous regiment (the Gordon Highlanders) but during Sir John's tenure, I have the impression nothing much happened. (Another avenue for the eager military historian to pursue.)

I wish I could draw the curtain here and say they lived happily ever after. At this point, Portugal was experiencing unrest but not war, and Sir John had a comfortable family life in London, from the sounds of it.


Some day I would like to go to the Parish Church in Marylebone.

View Larger Map

I've seen it from the outside without knowing (nor, at that time, caring) but haven't gone in.

As far as I can tell, there is still a plaque on the east wall, reading as follows.

"To the memory of
Dona Maria Brigida do Faria
E Lacerda
Wife of
Sir John Cambell, K.C.T.S.
Lieut Col in the British, and Maj Gen in the Portuguese Service.
She died much lamented
on the 22nd Jan 1821, in the 24th Year of her age;
Her remains are deposited in a vault of this Church.

Also of
John David Campbell
Son of the above who died 28 May 1824
Aged 3 years and 9 months" e/2up 

Having lost his wife and little boy between 1821 and 1824, Sir John retired from the army and sold his commission by the 1st of October, 1824. Thus he and young Elizabeth (only 6 years old when her brother died; motherless since age 3) were apparently left alone.

There is always the possibility that Sir John married a second time during this period. I have found no mention of such an event, however, and the notes in biographic sources are consistent in saying he had two wives.

At this point my impression of Sir John is that he was living quietly and was enjoying a life of reasonably high social standing. His sisters and brothers appeared to have married well, and he probably had good family connections on his mother's side (the Pitcairns). I would say the same of his father's, but I haven't been able to trace them back with any confidence.

Things were about to change, and the KCTS was going to make a big difference in Sir John's life.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Knight Commander of the Tower and Sword, Portugal: the honour that shaped a life

Sir John Campbell's entry in the Index of Wills and Administrations after his death in 1863 identified him as Knight Commander of the Order of the Tower and Sword of Portugal. What did this mean? It certainly did turn out to be handy in tracking him for at least part of his life.

In The Peerage, Baronetage, and Knightage, of Great Britain and Ireland, including all the titled classes, by Charles R. Dodd, 1845 (Google e-book copy), at page 70, I found a fairly detailed entry for Sir John.


What a treasure trove!

Here is the new information. It is a repetition of what the clipping says, broken into points for follow-up.

  • Father was William Campbell, Commissioner of the Navy Board.
  • Mother's maiden name was Pitcairn.
  • Mother's father was Major Pitcairn of the Marines, killed at Bunker's [sic] Hill.
  • 1780: Born 1780 (this is a little more precise that the census, which estimated 1781).
  • 1800: Entered the army in 1800.
  • 1806: Became Captain of 7th Hussars in 1806.
  • 1807: Was exchanged into the 10th Foot [I assume that is 10th Regiment of Foot] and was a Brigade Major in 1807 in the expedition under General Crawfurd. 
  • 1808: Military service in 1807 and 1808: Miserere, Buenos Ayres, Roleia, Vimiera.
  • 1808: With cavalry under Lord Anglesey in 1808 at Sahagun and Benevente.
  • 1809: Portuguese army 1809 as a British Major and a Portuguese Lieutenant-Colonel.
  • 1810: In all campaigns in peninsula and Pyrenees before and after 1810.
  • 1810: Around 1810 became Colonel of 4th Cavalry.
  • 1811: In 1811 became Lieutenant-Colonel in British army, but was apparently serving with the Portuguese at the time.
  •  1815: Created Knight Bachelor, his English knighthood, in 1815.
  • 1816: Married a Portuguese lady in 1816, Dona Maria Brigida de Faria e Lacerda, of Lisbon.
  • 1820: Sometime between 1810 and 1820, became a Major-General in Portuguese military.
  • 1820: Stayed a Major-General till 1820, at which point he was Deputy Quarter-Master General of the Portuguese army.
  • 1821: From 1821 to 1824, commanded 75th Foot (British).
  • 1824: In 1824 sold his British commission (as a Lieutenant Colonel).
  • 1820: Date unclear, perhaps 1820, became a Portuguese Lieutenant-General. This rank was given by "Don Miguel, whose cause he espoused."
  • 1820: In 1820, received the order of the Tower and Sword of Portugal.
  • 1842: Married again in 1842, the relict of Major-General Sir Alexander Dickson, K.C.B. (Presumably this wife is Harriet Maria, with Sir John in 1851 and 1861.)
  • 1845: In 1845 (date of the book), he was living at 51 Charles Street.
This painted a different picture.

I had earlier thought of Sir John as a retired military man of 80 growing old with his 80-year-old wife, and assumed they had been together forever. Turns out, both had been married before.

There are connections to Portugal, an earlier wife, high ranks and honours in both British and Portuguese military, lots of action in battles, command of the 75th in England, and a hint of something out of the ordinary "whose cause he espoused".

Order of the Tower and Sword

This Portuguese honour was dormant for some time, though it dates back to 1459 according to a history by Jose Vicente de Braganca.

In 1808, the Prince Regent used this as the only non-religious Portuguese honour the British could accept, to reward those who had helped the Portuguese royal family escape from Napoleon's soldiers, who had invaded Portugal, to Brazil.

It is a high honour, still in use.

Sir John was made K.C.T.S. in 1820. To understand the significance of the dates of various events in Sir John's life requires a quick and superficial romp through Portuguese history. I know I will get some of this wrong. If you'd like to offer an explanation or more information, please do! Use the comments form at the end of the post and you will be my new best friend. This was a complicated time and place and I can only gloss over it.

Portugal and Britain by the Methuen Treaty of 1703 had established a mutually beneficial trading alliance, with port flowing north and textiles coming south. From time to time on Charles Street I have run into Portuguese wine merchants, especially with Thomas March, whose parents (March and Gonne) both came from families trading in wine (port) in Portugal. The British merchant colony at Oporto is what most trails lead back to when looking at Brits in Portugal in the 1700s and the first decades of the 1800s.

The 18th century in Europe was a time of upheaval, when liberals pressured the absolute monarchs for more freedom. The French Revolution is perhaps the best-known example.

In the early 19th century, Portugal was allied with England against France and Spain. The Portuguese royal family, as mentioned earlier, fled to Brazil when Napoleon's forces invaded. So did approximately 10,000 other people, apparently, effectively removing all Portuguese leadership and leaving behind a Portuguese-British protectorate.

Sir John fought on the British-Portuguese side against the French and Spanish in the Peninsular Wars. He was mentioned favourably in the (later) Duke of Wellington's field dispatches more than once. This probably supported the granting of his British knighthood in 1815.

After the Peninsular Wars, when Portugal was quieter, Campbell remained there and helped build up the Portuguese army. He married Dona Brigida of Lisbon in 1816.

The political climate in Portugal began to heat up again around 1820, with anti-absolutist factions gaining power. I sense that it was of his own accord that Sir John decided to leave Portugal. Whether he already held the KCTS at this point I don't know, but it's possible. That fits with his later loyalty to Dom Miguel, loyalty which I suggest shaped the rest of Sir John's life.

The Portuguese royal family was divided in its opinion about how absolutist to remain. This led to the War of the Two Brothers (1828 to 1833), with one brother, Dom Miguel, attempting to push back all reforms and hold on to absolute power. To cut a long story short, Sir John backed the wrong horse, as I will explain in more detail next time.

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I have not read the books below. The first one is highly regarded but (this is the honest truth) my dog ate it before I could read it. The second and third are texts I would like to have a peek at, especially the last one, a first-hand account of The War of the Two Brothers by a British lady in Oporto. It's out of print but I wanted to make its existence known.

  Siege lady: The adventures of Mrs. Dorothy Procter of Entre Quintas and of divers other notable persons during the siege of Oporto and the War of the Two Brothers in Portugal, 1832-1834

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sir John Campbell, Knight Bachelor, and his wife Harriet Maria: what probate told me

In 1851 and 1861, Sir John Campbell and his wife Harriet Maria were  living at 51 Charles Street, Berkeley Square, London  with four servants in 1851 and two of the same plus two new ones in 1861.

My first impression was that this was a couple who had spent 50 or 60  years together. There was no mention of children in either census, but  as Sir John and Harriet were each born in about 1781, any children they  had may well have been married and gone by 1800 to 1810.

Sir John's presumably self-described occupation changed just a little  over the 10 years. He was a Knight Bachelor and a retired Lieutenant Colonel from the Army.

The fact that he was knighted gave me some hope of finding a formal and  detailed biography somewhere, and I wasn't disappointed. Sadly, the name  "John Campbell" is hardly rare. Even "Sir John Campbell" born around  1780 isn't unique. Throughout, I've had to be careful not to get mixed  up with other Sir John Campbells and other army officers of the same time, named Campbell.

Knowing that Sir John and Lady Campbell were each 80 years old in the 1861 census, it made sense to look for information about their respective deaths first. This is following the principle of working from the known to the unknown, a good basic research strategy.

Sir John Campbell: Information from probate

I am quite grateful that the National Probate Calendar for England is available online through This index lists all the grants to people who acted as executors and administrators of estates. It often gives a few good clues about where a person spent the latter part of their life, how much money they had at the end, and often identifies one or more close relatives.

A quick search for Sir John Campbell dying in 1861 or later turned up an entry in the Wills of 1864.

Instantly, I had a positive identification:
Sir John Campbell, Knight, late of 51 Charles Street;
and some new information:
  • He died 19 December 1863 at his home on Charles Street;
  • He was Knight Commander of the Order of the Tower and Sword of Portugal;
  • His effects were originally valued at under £8,000. In March 1865, the value was changed to under £10,000.
  • His executors were Richard Onslow of Wandsworth, Surrey, Esquire, and William Campbell Onslow of 28 Leinster Gardens, Middlesex, Esquire, a retired Lieutenant Colonel of Her Majesty's Indian Army.
This provided me with clues to last a month. Wonderful stuff!

It will be confusing to start into Lady Campbell's details here but don't worry, I did the same for her and will be back with more about her, too.

Sir John Campbell, Knight Bachelor, and many directions for research

 Yes, I know I promised something about Queen Victoria's god-daughter and I will deliver, but not yet.

I found a story that's held my attention for a couple of weeks now, and I hope you will find it interesting too. I'll have to tell it in installments I'm afraid. So far there have been elements of:
  • the history of the English in Portugal in the early 1800s
  • the patterns of marrying and remarrying within a certain social group and class
  • the way military officers stick together
  • the way women are so poorly represented in historical records compared to men
  • charming portraiture from the mid-1800s
  • a family with some notable artists
  • another family with a knack for marrying well
  • the fate of a foreign bride
  • money and how it moves between generations 
  • and lots more.
To begin with, you will probably already know that I have been looking at Charles Street, Berkeley Square, London, as it was in the 1871 census. Since my last post, I decided it would help the research if I looked at the street in every census so I could better understand the transmission of the houses from decade to decade, and also so I could be sure of the numbering, especially in 1841 when the house numbers aren't actually shown on the census.

I've started putting together a spreadsheet from 1841 to 1901, showing the names of the inhabitants, in all 7 censuses, for each house. This has been illuminating and useful even with just half a dozen or so houses completed, so I will keep going.

Today's story introduces Sir John Campbell, a knight and an army veteran.

51 Charles Street, 1851

From the census, reference:
Class HO107
Piece 1476
Folio 364
Page 18
GSU Roll 87799.

On, the page is found in the 1851 English Census at:
Middlesex >St. George Hanover Square >May Fair > District 17 > 18.

John Campbell, Head, married, age 70. Knight Bachelor late Lt Col 75 [indecipherable]. Born Kent, Chatham.

Harriet Maria Campbell, Wife, married, age 70. No occupation shown. Born Middlesex, Aldgate.

Anne Sutton, Servant, unmarried, age 45. Cook. Born Norfolk, Aylsham.
Sarah Loal, Servant, unmarried, age 31. Ladies Maid. Born Northampton, Nassington.
Sarah Calligan, Servant, unmarried, age 35. Housemaid. Born Middlesex, Hackney.
Joseph Attersall, Servant, unmarried, age 22. Footman. Born Lincolnshire, Fiskerton.

The Campbells are at the same place ten years later. Two of the four servants have remained with them. I take this as a sign that someone was a decent employer, when the servants stay for a long time. Of course, there were other reasons to leave a household, even when the employer was good. I make fewer inferences about people leaving than about them staying.

51 Charles Street, 1861

From the census, reference:
Class RG9
Piece 46
Folio 53
Page 39
GSU Roll 542563.

On, the page is found in the 1861 English Census at:
Middlesex >St. George Hanover Square >May Fair > District 15 > 39.

Sir John Campbell, Knt. Head, married, age 80. Formerly Lieut Colonel - Retired from the Army Inf. Knight Bachelor. Born Kent, Chatham.

Harriet Marie Campbell, Wife, married, age 80. No occupation shown. Born Middlesex,City of London, St. Botolphs.

Sarah Loal, Servant, unmarried, age 41. Ladies Maid. Born Northampton, Nassington.
Joseph Attersall, Servant, unmarried, age 30. Butler and Valet. Born Lincolnshire, Fiskerton.
Henrietta Chandler, unmarried, age 32. Cook. Born Norfolk, Northwold.
Ellen Smith, unmarried, age 27. Housemaid. Born Bushy, Hertfordshire.

Given these two fixed points, we can start to explore some dimensions of the Campbells' lives.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Queen Victoria was her godmother

On the one hand, it's exciting to find brushes with royalty here on Charles Street.

On the other, it inevitably means a massive knot of connections to work out!

Stay on the edge of your seat and I will let you know who this fine person was in a little while. (The size of the while has a lot to do with the complexity of the family webs.)

Charles Street, Berkeley Square from 1841 to 1901 and sometimes beyond

I'm still writing about Charles Street and its people. So far I've been presenting the people who lived there in 1871. To make the physical process of doing the research a bit easier (though it may not sound like this is really an improvement), I've recently been looking at each house in each census from 1841 to 1901.

It's a big job but very gratifying, as it shows me relationships and linear strands that I wouldn't have seen otherwise.

I'm going to have more stories!

Heiresses, bankrupts, princes, countesses and pot-scrubbers, they're all here. Gotta love it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

4 Charles Street, Berkeley Square, in 1871

A new house, fresh blood and more stories. The first three households were reasonably different from each other. This one adds a new dimension: gasp, the man is in trade.

1871 census: 4 Charles Street. Source:
  • Class:  RG10; Piece:  102; Folio:  75; Page: 32; GSU roll:  838762.

  • Present at 4 Charles Street on census night in 1871

    George Drew, Head, Married, 62. Master Grocer employing 2 men and 2 boys. Born Wimbledon, Surrey.
    Mary A Drew, Wife, Married, 53. (No occupation given). Born Westminster, Middlesex.
    George W. Drew, Son, Unmarried, 20. (No occupation given). Born Westminster, Middlesex.
    Emma M. Drew, Daughter, Unmarried, 18.  (No occupation given). Born Westminster, Middlesex.
    Ellen R. Drew, Daughter, Unmarried, 16. Scholar. Born Westminster, Middlesex.
    Charles B. Drew, Son, Unmarried, 14. Scholar. Born Westminster, Middlesex.
    Jane Wadie, Sister, Widow, 57. Annuitant. Born Wimbledon, Surrey.
    Sarah Riddle, Servant, Unmarried, 19. General Servant. (Place of birth not shown).
    G.R.C. Harris (male), Lodger, Unmarried, 20. Undergraduate. Born St Anns, Trinidad.

    A picture of the house today, from Google Maps Street View.
    Link for those who can't see the picture.

    View Larger Map

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    Comparing Thomas March, Henry Fleming and George Lambert, all of Charles Street in 1871

    It might be interesting to look at a few key bits of information about the principal residents of the first three houses on Charles Street, just for the halibut as they say down at the docks.

    No. 1: Thomas Charles March, civil servant, age 52

    Born: July 4, 1819, Marylebone

    Married: March 23, 1867.

    Spouse: Sarah Cooper, later called Arabella, b. 1839, Basingstoke

    Children: Arabella (Daughter of Arabella, apparently adopted by Thomas), b. 1857, Chelsea; Thomas, b. 1868, St. George's [Hanover Square?], died at age 8; Reginald George March, b. 1874.

    Died: 1898, age 79 approx.

    Occupation: In the Royal Household his whole life, mainly in the Lord Chamberlain's officer; Paymaster; finally Secretary of Board of the Green Cloth. A high-ranking civil servant handling the finances of the Royal Household.

    Highest honour: CB, Companion of the Order of the Bath

    Value of estate: 1898, £15,387/0/8. The website Measuring says this is worth £1.280 million in 2008 using the retail price index, or £7.04 million in 2008 using average earnings.

    Parents: Thomas March, Esq. and Mary Ann Gonne, both British subjects born in Portugal to wine merchants. Gonne is an Irish surname. Mary Ann was distantly related to Maud Gonne of a later generation. There was intra-family litigation between Thomas and Mary Ann's brothers after Mary Ann's father died and Thomas went bankrupt, involving Mary Ann's marriage settlement. The case was reported in the bankruptcy law books.

    Siblings: At least three sisters and two brothers. The family appears to have been wealthy and to have retained or improved their social standing.

    Other notes: In 1852, Thomas represented the Royal Household in escorting the body of the Duke of Wellington to Westminster for his state funeral.

    Queen Victoria Number: 1

    Dracula Number: 2

    Left Charles Street around 1872.

    No. 2: Henry Fleming, civil servant, age about 69

    Born: about 1812, apparently in Birmingham. His exact age was something of a mystery to his social circle.

    Married: Never.

    Died: 1876, age about 74

    Occupation: Lifelong civil servant, mainly as Permanent Secretary to the Poor Law Board where it appears he was not particularly effective. He was more successful socially. Known as "The Flea", his role from at least the 1840s was literally to spread gossip strategically in political and intellectual circles. He knew Prime Ministers Palmerston, Gladstone and Disraeli, and was described a few times in the letters of Thomas Carlyle. He introduced the painter George Frederic Watts to the much younger beauty, Virginia Pattle, at a party given by Lady Holland. It goes on and on.

    Highest honour: Nothing official I'm afraid.

    Value of estate: Less than £3,000. In 2008 terms, either £210,000, or £1.560 million, depending on the computation method used.

    Parents: Irish army officer Captain Valentine Fleming of Tuam, County Galway, and Catherine Emma Gowan, whose father was a notorious anti-Catholic, Hunter Gowan. One of Catherine's half-brothers, Ogle Gowan, started the Orange Lodge in Canada.

    Siblings: Sir Valentine Fleming, a lawyer (as was Henry, though he didn't practice), Chief Justice of Tasmania; James Fleming, also a lawyer, and Chancellor of the Palatinate of Durham. James's eldest son, Frances Fleming, was Governor of Antigua, and of Hong Kong, among other postings, including service in Africa. Henry also had a sister, Emma, of whom I have seen very little.

    Other notes: The brothers Fleming attempted unsuccessfully to prove themselves the lawful descendants of the Barons of Slane. No castle for you!

    Henry's nickname was "The Flea". Someone should write a thesis about his role in mid-nineteenth century communication.

    He died at home in 1876, at No. 2 Charles Street.

    Queen Victoria Number: 2

    Dracula Number: 3

    No. 3: George Thomas Lambert, later, Sir George Lambert, civil servant, age 34

    Born: 1837, Ireland

    Married: Never

    Died: 1918, age 81

    Occupation: Private secretary to the Admiralty

    Highest honour: Companion of the Order of the Bath (1897), Knight Bachelor (1903)

    Value of estate: £22,946/9/8. Value in 2008: £833,000 or £4.1 million, again, depending on the computation method used.

    Parents: Henry Lambert of Carnagh, Ireland, and Catherine Talbot, both of prominent Irish families.

    Siblings: Many.

    Other notes: Prominent Catholic.

    Queen Victoria Number: 1

    Dracula Number: 3

    Frankenstein Number: 3

    Winners and Losers?


    81 Lambert
    79 March
    74 Fleming

    Money at the end:

    £7.04 million March
    £4.1 million Lambert
    Less than £1.560 million Fleming


    Of the three men, only Thomas March had children. His adopted daughter, Arabella, was unmarried. His second son, Reginald, died in 1918, leaving (at least) a daughter, Marjorie (b. 1911, the rest, unknown), and a son, Thomas (1915-1999). There may be March descendants living today.

    March 1, the others zero.

    Highest honours:

    Lambert CB and Knighthood
    March CB
    Fleming Nada

    Best remembered:

    March and Lambert tied, far behind

    The Score:

    11 March
    9 Lambert
    6 Fleming

    Who had the most fun?