Robert Gosling’s Legacy

February 14, 2009 at 11:01 am (people) (, , )


Robert Gosling, Mary’s brother, studied to be a lawyer; he entered the family banking business, Gosling and Sharpe, some unspecified time before the death of his eldest brother (in 1834), according to the obituary of their father William. 

Robert died in August 1869, and I happened upon an article in The Law Times (though based on an article in The London Illustatrated News), which gives the contents of his will:

The will of Mr. Robert Gosling, banker, Fleet-street, and of Portland-place, and Botleys-park, Chertsey, Middlesex, has been proved in the London Court, under 700,000l. personally, the executors being Georgina Vere Gosling, his relict, and Robert Gosling and William Cunliffe Gosling, his sons. The will bears date April 13, 1864, and two codicils 1866 and 1868; and testator died at Botleys-park on the 12th ult., aged 74. He leaves to his wife the jewels and pearls,– the latter, after her decease, are to go to his eldest son; he also leaves her an immediate legacy of 1000l., an annuity of 1500l., and the interest of 100,000l. for her life, the principal, at her decease, to be divided among his four sons, William, Herbert, George, and Frederick; and to them he has left the sum of 240,000l., also 10,000l. bank stock, and 20,000l. stock in the South-Western Railway. His mansion and estate, Botleys-park, he leaves to his wife for her life; and it is his wish that his unmarried daughters should reside with their mother. The mansion, after her decease, he gives to his second son, William. Each of his married daughters having received 16,666l. as a marriage portion, he bequeaths the like sum to each of his two unmarried daughters. He has bequeathed to each of his four married daughters a further sum of 10,000l. There is a legacy to his sister, and to each of his godchildren who may be related to him a legacy of 50 guineas. To his partners Richard and Francis Gosling each 300l.; to Mr. Richard Gosling, jun., and Charles J. Sharpe, his partner, each 200l.; to each of his clerks in the banking-house, 50l. free of duty; to the porters, each 10l.; and legacies to his servants. He bequeaths to the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, and to St. George’s Hospital, each 100l. He leaves 500l. to the school, Farnham, Essex, to be added to the sum of 1500l. left for the same object by his brother, William Ellis Gosling. He appoints his son Robert residuary legatee, who, he states, is otherwise amply provided for under the will of testator’s late father.– Illustrated London News.

A strange sum for the marriage settlements of the girls – £16,666! Interesting to note, as Robert’s daughters married in the 1850s, that Mary Gosling, in 1826 had £20,000 at her marriage (and we must presume sister Elizabeth brought the same sum to her marriage with Langham Christie). Tougher times? More daughters?

There is a photograph of Robert in old age (four years prior to his death); he seems a frail man, his thinness making him appear on the taller side. He is seated and his coat-tails, ready to brush the ground of Botleys, give the aura of a proper mid-Victorian English gentleman of means, while the stove pipe hat makes this American think “Abraham Lincoln”! Georgina sits beside him, a look of patience upon her care-worn face. She, especially, comes across in Mary’s diaries as a caring woman whom it is easy to admire. Their children and grandchildren flank around them, as everyone poses upon the great sweeping staircase one would use to enter Botleys. Reading the contents of Robert’s will while looking at the photo just brings them all to life.

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2 Comments

  1. Mark ter Haar said,

    could you please contact me as i have a lot of interesting info regarding the Gosling family and the facts discussed in your blog

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