A Studentship for Richard Seymour

August 29, 2013 at 10:08 pm (books, british royalty, diaries, history, people, research) (, , , )

Regular readers of Two Teens will know that a major source is the diary kept by the Rev. Richard Seymour of Kinwarton; the extant volumes span from 1832 until the 1870s. There are obvious volumes missing at the beginning of the series (or… dare I hope… in existence, but for some reason NOT microfilmed by the Warwickshire Record Office?). A great pity.

Richard_SeymourSo, imagine my thoughts, last night when I spotted a letter that mentioned him written by his uncle Sir William Knighton to Lord Liverpool, dated 1824!

(see Twitter and blog of Knighton’s
biographer, Charlotte Frost)

Richard’s brother, the Rev. John Hobart Culme-Seymour, certainly seems to have risen dramatically through the church’s ranks and perhaps Sir William’s influence at court was a help (could never be a hinderance, right?). Yet Richard seems so meek, mild, and willing to serve that I didn’t really think about any patronage he might have benefited from. Now, a little evidence of an “uncle-ly” helping hand (though Sir William doesn’t out and out say that he and Sir Michael Seymour married sisters). The book is The Letters of King George IV (volume 1: 1813-1830).

Sir William Knighton to the Earl of Liverpool, February 1824

The King has commanded me to write your Lordship a private letter on the subject of H.M.’s commands relative to the two studentships of C.C. {Christ Church, Oxford}. I explained to H.M. in the most detailed and accurate manner all that your Lordship had said on the subject in conversation with me yesterday; and I, at the same time, mentioned to H.M. what I had humbly presumed to advise the Dean of C.C. to do through your Lordship, and hence the Dean’s letter to me.

His Majesty, I am commanded to say, agrees in the general principle laid down by the D. of C.C. as it was urged and supported by your Lordship at our interview on that occasion. But H.M. will not, on this present occasion, forego his commands altho’ H.M. may not repeat such commands in future.

Sir H. Calvert’s son was promised by the King, three years since, at the earnest and affectionate solicitation of the Duke of York.

The King’s word was passed and the young man is under the influence of this promise. Under these circumstances the King is obliged to consult the delicacy due to his own feelings as well as those of his brother the Duke of York.

The King has long had the intention of fulfilling, for a variety of amiable as well as just reasons (which H.M. says it becomes no one to question) to command a studentship for Richard Seymour. He is one of eleven or twelve children, is on the foundation of the Charter House, there placed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and is at the head of the school. Sir M. Seymour, the father of this young gentleman, stands thus in the annals of his country. On the first of June he lost his arm. On commanding the Amethyst, frigate, he took the Thetis, French frigate, of superior force, in single action and had the medual [sic]. He afterwards, in single action took the Niemen, French frigate, of much superior force, for which he was created a Baronet. He continued to serve during the whole of the War, with increased reputation, and at the close was made Commander of the Bath. Now Sir M. Seymour commands the King’s yatch [sic]. It would be invidious to say the King’s favor was improperly bestowed on this occasion.

I am further commanded to state to you that it is now seven years since the King has commanded a studentship, which then was for Dr. Hook’s son, — the grandson of the late Sir W. Farquhar — and, moreover, this studentship was required of the late Dean by the application of Dr. Cyril Jackson, at His M’s. gracious commands.

The Alumni Oxoniensis contains the following information about the Rev. Richard Seymour:

CHRIST CHURCH, matric. 8 May, 1824, aged 18; student 1824-34, B.A. 1828, M.A. 1830, rector of Kinwarton 1834-77, hon. Canon of Worcester 1846-73, canon 1873, until his death 6 July, 1880.

As we all had already guessed: Richard gained his studentship.

signature_richard seymour

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Lady Charlotte, the Gunnings, and Aynho

August 18, 2013 at 10:57 pm (carriages & transport, diaries, history, london's landscape, news, people, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Oh my gosh…

Doing just a little digging through Lady Charlotte Bridgeman’s journals, I have come across even more family — and I’m quickly learning why she knew so many whom the Smiths & Goslings knew:

Lady Charlotte’s grandfather, Orlando 1st Earl of Bradford, had a sister named Elizabeth Diana Bridgeman (1764-1810). In 1794 she married Sir George Gunning, bart. Among their children is one in particular who shows up in the diaries of the Rev. Richard Seymour of Kinwarton: Orlando George Gunning, RN. In 1830 he married Richard’s sister, Mary.

Richard’s existing diaries begin in 1832 (designated as volume 4) — so too late to comment on his sister’s courtship and wedding. Reading about Orlando Gunning’s siblings, on the Bridgeman website, made sense of so much: the estate Aynho, in Northamptonshire, was staring me in the face! (I wrote about Aynho last year.)

Published in 1989, Lili at Aynhoe: Victorian Life in an English Country House features drawings of the house by Lili Cartwright (1830s & 1840s); some of her diary entries (how I wish there had been a companion volume with MORE!) are included so that family life is fleshed out. I’ve used this book when discussing naive women artists.

Aynho_colored

Looking it up tonight, I see Elizabeth Cartwright-Hignett included some GUNNING material — for one of Orlando’s brothers, the Rev. Sir Henry Gunning married (in 1827) Mary Catherine Cartwright, one of Lili’s sisters-in-law! So, by 1830, with Orlando Gunning’s marriage to Mary Seymour, the Cartwrights were “family”. In Richard’s earliest extant diary is notation of a visit from Orlando, Mary and baby (the future Di Gunning / Di Liddell).

A quick perusal and I see mention of Orlando’s youngest siblings, Octavius (born 1804) and Elizabeth (born 1803).

Richard mentions the death of “Miss Gunning” — which is one piece from Lili’s diary published in Lili at Aynhoe, from the 17th of March: “This morning’s post brought us sad news! Lizzy Gunning died in London yesterday during the aftermath of the operation which was performed on her eight days ago…”

Richard simply mentions hearing about the young woman’s death, so I have NO idea at all about “the operation”. There is much “trimming” of Richard’s diary, but what is left has this to say about Lizzy Gunning: “This morning {19th} we learnt from the Paper the death of Miss Gunning – an account which I fear will cause much deep affliction to poor Orlando and her other brothers–“

Lizzy Gunning had seven brothers!

She would have close in age to Richard’s own wife, Fanny (who was born in October 1803).

The Gunnings had lost a young son at the Battle of Waterloo; now Miss Gunning. And in 1852, Lady Charlotte’s diary, as well as Richard’s, discusses the accident of Orlando Gunning, who was riding in company with his daughter Di.

Read Lady Charlotte’s journal, May 1852

Richard’s comments, which last for days, has much of the same information – but I have found out WHY Mrs Vyse (Richard’s sister, another “Lizzy”) is able to open the door to Lady Charlotte: it was the Vyse home (in Chesham Street) that Orlando Gunning was brought to: The Vyses were in Windsor at the time.

Lizzy returned first, then George — both to the news of the death of their brother-in-law.

Di Gunning’s marriage – on December 8, 1852, which took place at Coolhurst (the Dickins’ estate in Sussex) – is the event which opens Richard’s twelfth volume of journals.

I’m off to search for more “familiar” names in the Lady Charlotte Bridgeman journals.

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Photo Frustrations

January 14, 2013 at 2:14 am (fashion, history, jane austen, news, people, portraits and paintings) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

wwknightonThis past weekend I have been looking through portraits by the famed Camille Silvy. I found several “new to me” portraits at Paul Frecker’s website, including William Wellesley Knighton (right; son of Sir William Knighton, uncle of Richard Seymour of Kinwarton), a second picture of Captain Seymour (probably Ned Seymour, Richard and Fanny’s son), Henry Le Marchant (son of Eliza and Denis), and a couple of puzzles – “Lady E. Compton” and “Miss Mary A. Leigh“. (Without more information, these last two remain tantalizing names).

I was MOST intrigued by seeing members of the family of Sir John Mordaunt. Especially by a photo Frecker alludes to as “Lady Caroline Mordaunt“. Here, Frecker has a lengthier bio to accompany the picture. She was the daughter of a bishop, wife of a baronet. Her obituary (1913) consistently calls her “Lady Mordaunt” — which is the name the Rev. Richard Seymour uses for this lady’s mother-in-law, the Dowager Lady Mordaunt (née Marianne [Mary Ann(e)] Holbech). Richard wrote exceedingly highly of Lady Mordaunt and her daughters, Mary (born c1811) and Emma (born c1813).

Was “Lady Caroline Mordaunt” Silvy’s designation? As the wife of a baronet she should be Lady Mordaunt; maybe Lady (Caroline) Mordaunt. But if this incorrect appellation comes from Silvy … How does that fact affect the two photos at the National Portrait Gallery that has, in someone’s hand, “Lady Louisa Seymour” emblazoned across the top. NPG used to call this sitter Maria Culme Seymour (ie, Emma’s youngest sister). She, too, was married to a baronet – she shouldn’t be known as anything other than Lady Seymour or Lady Culme Seymour. And Maria was a mere year older (born in 1814) than this Lady Mordaunt (born in 1815).

Maria Culme-Seymour2I had previously inquired of NPG how they came to equate “Lady Louisa Seymour” with my Maria Louisa Culme Seymour. Their answer was basically “process of elimination”. Evidently no one else could be found. At the time I had compared it to another family photo, of Lady Marian Alford (daughter of the Smiths’ cousin, Spencer – the 2nd Marquess of Northampton). Lady Marian (or Marianne) was born in 1817; yet in her portrait by Silvy she seemed matronly. So how could “Lady Louisa Seymour”, a fresh-looking young lady, be Maria Culme Seymour?

And now comes THIS portrait of Lady Mordaunt – another “fresh-looking” lady. (All three are in the neighborhood of being 45-years-old.) It genuinely has me wondering yet again about the Maria picture. I have nothing, however, to compare it to – except this portrait miniature (left).

It is ESPECIALLY hard to “compare” a drawing to a photo. See, for instance, this pair from Ronald Dunning’s website JANE AUSTENS FAMILY, which depicts Catherine Anne Austen, later Mrs Hubback.

Also on Two Teens in the Time of Austen:

* * *

Fascinating news: Speaking of old photographs, I just HAVE to make note of this news story: “100-Year-Old Photos Found in Antique Camera“. Anton Orlov recently purchased a 1911 Bellini Jumelle camera — which was found to have World War I-era photos still in it! I’ve not watched the video yet, but the eight photos found inside are a wonder of accidental re(dis)covery!

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Mapledurham House – its secret past

January 12, 2013 at 9:55 am (diaries, estates, europe, history, news, places, research) (, , , , , , , , , , )

mapledurham_newspaper

Mapledurham House (near Reading) was the last home Mamma (Mrs Augusta Smith) would inhabit. She and her unmarried children moved here in 1834. The first family event was to be a wedding uniting Fanny Smith with the Rev. Richard Seymour. The night before the wedding was spent, however, fanning the flames of a fire!

Mary, Lady Smith, saved the house by alerting everyone to smoke. Emma Austen‘s diary relates the story.

Working on my Pinterest boards (you can find us by searching Emma Austen, if you’d like!), and responding to a comment about my little Mapledurham House thimble, I searched once again for pictures to post – and found this article from The Telegraph, published in 2011.

According to Damien Thompson, Mapledurham was a “safe house for fugitive priests”. “Mapledurham House kept a genuine secret during the Tudor persecution and … its current owners, John and Lady Anne Eyston, are still making discoveries. The most recent priest hole, for example, lay undiscovered until 2002 — though it’s in such an inaccessible upper bedroom that it can’t accommodate crowds of tourists. The hole is hidden underneath a sliding hearth, and it might better be described as an elaborate escape shaft. ‘Family legend had it that there was a priest hole in the bedroom fireplace – but we didn’t realise that for years we were looking at the wrong fireplace, not the hidden original…’.”

Now if only I knew which bedroom Mary shared with Eliza. It was next door to a “large sitting room up stairs”. A crack in the hearth, and smoldering embers, caused the “insufferable smoke,” which woke Mary at four in the morning. Emma ends the diary entry, “The floor of the room & a picture were much burnt & the wall & ceiling smoked  the house a good deal injured by fire. Sir John Seymour arrived.” Richard Seymour’s diary recounts that his “beloved” Fanny woke him at “4 1/2 AM  the house being on fire  Two hours of the deepest anxiety followed…” Surely not the start to their wedding day the couple had envisioned!

Maybe it was a Priest Hole rather than a “crack in the hearth”….

* * *

Visit Mapledurham!

mapledurham_website

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Princess Victoria visits Ryde

February 23, 2012 at 8:42 pm (books, british royalty, history, people, research) (, , , , , , )

With Roger’s interest in the daughters of Jane Hawker and Rear-Admiral Sir Michael Seymour, Bart., KCB, I dipped once again into the biography written by their son, the Rev. Richard Seymour of Kinwarton. I simply have to share this charming story:

“In the summer of the year 1831, {Sir Michael} and Lady Seymour had the honour of receiving our present gracious Sovereign, then Princess Victoria, together with H.R.H. the Duchess of Kent, and entertaining them at luncheon, after which he conveyed their Royal Highnesses in his barge over to Ryde, himself steering the boat. The Princess, then in her thirteenth year, showed a lively sympathy with Sir Michael in the loss of his arm, and expressed great surprised and interest at his ability to do so much with the remaining one.”

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Plumptre of the Foundling Hospital

February 4, 2012 at 11:20 am (books, diaries, history, jane austen, people, research) (, , , , , , , , )

While reading Richard Seymour’s diaries this week, I couldn’t help but wonder about a certain “Mr Plumtree” whom he mentions on Sunday, the 19th of January 1834.

Such a familiar name — for Fanny Knight wrote Aunt Jane about her undecidedness about marrying (should he ask) a Mr Plumptre.  (This was also the story behind the TV show Miss Austen Regrets.) Was Richard’s spelling more phonetic than accurate?

Indeed! the two men are related! And even related to Sir Brooke Bridges. A Small World.

A search *finally* procured an essay on the Rev Henry-Scawen Plumptre, minister of St Mary’s, Lambeth; and also evening preacher at the Foundling Hospital. The book — The Living Preachers’ Portrait Gallery — even had this illustrating his essay!

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Pretty as a Picture

December 6, 2011 at 7:57 pm (fashion, history, portraits and paintings, research) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Charlotte Frost, author of Sir William Knighton: The Strange Career of a Regency Physician, recently asked how I found the images, portraits, miniatures I had been uncovering. In a word: SEARCHED. Hours, sometimes, of painstaking searching for names, different combinations of names and estates (you trying looking for people named SMITH!), and sometimes just sheer luck: looking for something totally different you unearth a little piece of GOLD.

Charlotte’s Sir William was uncle to my Richard Seymour — husband of Fanny Smith, Emma’s younger sister. And it was while transcribing Richard’s 1836 diary that I came across mention of what seem to be two portraits:

At the end of April, 1836, Richard laments his lack of time – he is taken up with parish duties, “sitting to Ross & the claims of friends”. He is in London and it is easy to disregard the comment, although the phrase “sitting to” is self-evident.

Then, in September 1836, come two further comments about Mr Ross. The first reads, “Mr. Ross arrived this evening to paint dearest Fanny’s miniature“.

Really?! The connection of ROSS and MINIATURE immediately brought to mind the delightful miniature of Maria Smith (Lady Culme-Seymour) auctioned at Bonhams.

And then the suspicion — always a habit when dealing with primary materials — IS the image really of Maria? Or, could it have been misidentifie,d and it’s really Fanny??

Just from the look of the eyes — always described as too “light” by Mamma Smith — and the youthful impertinence, I have come to love and think of this picture as Maria. So Maria she remains.

The question therefore arises: WHERE is miniature of Fanny Seymour? Where is the seeming “companion” miniature of Richard Seymour??

That Richard and Fanny are home, in Kinwarton (Warwickshire, not far from Stratford on Avon) — Richard’s comments on Ross’s arrival — leads me to presume that they may have housed the man for the few days he sat at work.

Ross arrived the evening of the 22nd, and he “finished a miniature of dearest Fanny – w:h quite satisfies me” on the 28th. Richard then comments that he paid the man £26, 5 shillings for the portrait; and £3, 15 shillings for the frame & case. There are moments when you just fall in love with Richard, and this is one of those moments, when he writes, “This piece of self indulgence will I hope be pardoned in me–“.

A little digression: Jane Hawker — AKA Lady Seymour — was Richard Seymour’s mother. She was also mother to John Culme-Seymour (eventual husband to Maria, pictured above), Michael Seymour (of the Royal Navy), and Frances Seymour. Frances married Emma/Fanny/Maria’s middle brother Spencer Smith — so THREE Smith siblings married THREE Seymour siblings! And Michael? he married his cousin, Dora Knighton — daughter of Dorothea Hawker (Jane’s sister) and the very same Sir William Knighton mentioned above.

Due to Maria’s portrait — sold in a lot that also included the Seymours’ mother — Richard’s “Mr. Ross” can only be (Sir) William Charles Ross, RA (1794-1860) — at the time not yet a “sir” and not yet a Royal Academician…

You can view Lot Details of Maria Lady Culme Seymour and Jane Lady Seymour, from Bonhams.

While it’s wonderful to see the cost of such a treasure, how could Richard say nothing about the portrait — a description of Fanny’s clothing, for instance, would have helped identify it. Oh, it is hard not to wonder if the two fluffy sheep in the background of Maria’s picture are KINWARTON sheep!

It breaks my heart to read of such portraits leaving the family (these two were first sold by Sotheby’s in 1972); I can only hope the two purchases went to the same purchaser…

Needless to say, should anyone know the whereabouts of Richard and Fanny’s miniatures by Mr Ross please do let me know!

* * *

To read more about Sir Wm Chas. Ross, RA:

It kills me to think one Unbekannte like this lady (c1832) could be Fanny:

When you view a page such as this one from BING you see how daunting a task finding Fanny could turn out to be (not all images are ROSS miniatures).

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Old Friends

November 3, 2011 at 7:44 pm (diaries, research) (, , , , , , , , , )

Monday, after sending off a book chapter — and now that it’s two weeks beyond the JASNA AGM, I found myself with nothing that HAD to be done. BUT: I wanted to work, to read and see my dear Smiths & Goslings. Being in the midst of some hunt, I ended up in Emma’s 1828 diary. And a few entries sent me back to the beginning of the year and a complete read-through.

My thoughts came right from the mouth of Sweeney Todd

These are my friends…
Speak to me friend — Whisper,
I’ll listen.
I know, I know — you’ve been locked out of sight all these years…
(My faithful friends)
I’ve come home to find you waiting.

I include this link to Johnny Depp singing this song on YouTube.

I was oh, so happy to welcome back my old friends! It’s been three months of intense work on other things; even my newest diaries — those of Richard Seymour — were barely touched.

And what a treat Emma’s life in 1828 is: she even ended the year reading Emma and getting engaged to James Edward Austen.

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A little time for The Times

May 22, 2011 at 10:52 am (books, news, people) (, , , , , , , , , , )

The Times of course is the great newspaper of London, and with it — on Sunday’s — comes that wonderful Times Literary Supplement. Ah, how I remember my Kingsworthy landlady Chris bringing home the newspaper every Sunday! Not being a subscriber to The New York Times, I’ve never really had such a wonderful BOOK-related piece to peruse.

Somewhere (where?) I recall reading or hearing “The TLS has a wide readership; and people hold on to their copies to look over again and again. Queries sent to them rarely FAIL to turn up responses.” Surely I didn’t dream this kind of thing, right??

Anyway, yesterday I looked up the TLS website and what was in the classified section but this ad:

REQUEST FOR
INFORMATION

* The University of Cambridge Henslow Correspondence Project seeks access to letters to and from John Stevens Henslow (1796-1861) originally dispersed at the Dawson-Turner Manuscripts Sale, 1859. Please contact Prof. John Parker at jsp25 [at] cam [dot] ac [dot] uk.

Now, this Prof. Parker has a much easier task than myself: one person (J.S. Henslow), who lived a fair but not lengthy lifespan, and with a KNOWN collection sold, granted, over 150 years ago. Henslow turns out to have been in Charles Darwin’s circle, and I’ve been reading a bio of Emma Darwin — the former Miss Emma Wedgwood; herself in the circle of Ellen Tollet! (small world) [see my post on Ellen Tollet's diary]

I’m now honing a brief, succinct ad of my own. Keep your fingers crossed… It’s so hard to read an item like this, from Richard Seymour’s diary:

“…my dear Brother [Sir John Seymour] has just been here to shew me Mrs. S.’s reply after speaking to Miss S. [Mrs. S. = Mamma Smith; Miss S. = Fanny Smith], and I think it more favourable than I had dared to anticipate!”

Richard was making “an offer” to Fanny — through his brother John, he was so unsure of his reception (can you imagine???). But bottom line is, Where is the little letter Mamma wrote? Does it still exist?? Who has it, if it does, and do they know what they have?

I’ll let you know if any juicy tidbits surface via the TLS! (Just wish I had some  “big guns,” like Cambridge University, behind me…)

* * *

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A New Addition to our Family

March 31, 2011 at 4:45 pm (books, news, people, portraits and paintings, research) (, , , , , , , )

It’s always wonderful when I come across a new “illustration” of a family member — this one I grabbed from Wikipedia’s entry on Sir Michael Seymour — he is the Rev. Richard Seymour’s brother. Sir Michael followed in his father’s footsteps; both were navy men (and, I hate to tell you, both named Michael!).

Sir Michael Seymour, the father, died in 1834 — an important year for Richard (he and Fanny married in October of that year).

As you can see here, Sir Michael Seymour, the son, lived a longer life (born in 1802, he died in 1887).

I have a cruder picture of a young Richard Seymour — it is a photo of a drawing, which is why the quality is not high (but I’ve never come across the original painting); do you think they look alike, these brothers?

Sir Michael was the husband of Dora K. (Dora Knighton, but Richard always referred to her as Dora K. in his diaries because the Seymours likewise had a SISTER named Dora!). Dora K., of course, was the daughter of Sir William Knighton — the subject of Charlotte Frost’s new biography.

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