Chasing Mrs Frances Jacson

February 21, 2012 at 9:28 pm (books, history, jane austen, news, people, portraits and paintings) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

J-A-C-S-O-N; an unusual spelling, isn’t it.

When I came across the name this evening, I had to mutter to myself: They’re the same person…, surely…

While writing a blog post on Anna Seward for the Ladies of Llangollen blog, I came across a very nice biography of her at Chawton House Library. Intrigued, as I hadn’t look over the Library’s website for quite a while, I clicked to see what authors they were featuring on their NOVELS-ON-LINE. Some familiar-sounding names, not from a novel-point-of-view, but from a Smith & Gosling point of view! Harriet Cheney? The same who drew portraits while in Italy, including the young Comptons (see portraits & pedigrees page). Mrs Cheney’s book (2nd edition published in 1825) is A Peep at the Pilgrims. She did live until 1848, according to Christie’s website. But so many people — especially within a family — have the same name as other family members that I won’t yet count the two Harriets as one.

Then I spied the name JACSON. Two novels are listed for a FRANCES JACSON: Things by their Right Names (1812) and  Isabella: A Novel (1823).

Why did the name attract me? I think I have a picture (a miniature) of her!

Sale 5984 at Christie’s was The Country House Sale – Newton Hall. Newton Hall, in Northumberland, has ties to the Cook-Widdrington family; they have ties (through the Davisons) to the Goslings! And it was while perusing this sale catalogue that I came across (and saved) a pair of miniatures — Captain Shalcross Jacson and his wife Frances, née Cook. Frances captivated me:

She is described as, “in white muslin dress, blue fringed shawl, coral necklace”; the pair of miniatures date to c1815.

IS this Frances Jacson, with the unusual last name, Chawton House’s Frances Jacson??? S-U-R-E-L-Y    S-O. {see UPDATE below}

* * *

BTW, this same Christie’s auction, and source, sold my beloved Harriet Gosling AKA Mrs Alexander Davison. The Dorothy Widdrington you see represented as an old lady, as well as some of her drawings, was the Davison’s daughter — whom my Mary Gosling (Lady Smith) includes several times in her diaries!

BTW2: Capt Cook, who took the name Widdrington, published a couple books too! Sketches in Spain During the Years 1829-1832 and Spain and the Spaniards in 1843 (vol. 1; vol. 2) and Observations on the Present State of War in Spain. Interestingly, the Sketches exists in an 1834 GERMAN edition (on as well!

* * *

UPDATE: The Christie’s Sale 5475 featured a novel, Plain Sense, by Frances Margaretta Jacson – and included this description:

“FIRST EDITION OF THE AUTHOR’S ‘POPULAR FIRST NOVEL’. The two unmarried sisters, Maria and Frances, both turned to writing, partly in order to help out their brother Shallcross Jacson (d. 1821) who was ‘over-fond of drink and horse-racing’, Maria turning to manuals on botany and gardening, and Frances to fiction (see ODNB). Their other brother, Roger, had a son Shallcross Fitzherbert Jacson (1826-1917) who married Frances, daughter of the Rev. Joseph Cook of Newton Hall, and who inherited the house in 1856, following the death of his wife’s brother, Samuel Edward Cook (later Widdrington). RARE. NO COPY IN BL and only two copies recorded in the British Isles (National Trust and private collection). Blakey, p. 172. (3)”

This copy of Plain Sense was once part of Newton Hall’s library.

I have found Christie’s and/or Bonhams to have some incorrect information (which auction house had the three Spencer-Smith girls??); but here is a Shallcross Jacson married to a Frances Cook whose birth/death dates are 1826-1917. In the miniatures Captain Shallcross Jacson is given dates of 1787-1852. Groan! were there really TWO Shallcross Jacsons married to TWO Frances Cooks??? I do rather chuckle over poor Shallcross who died in 1821 being “over-fond of drink and horse-racing,” but who were all these Shallcross Jacsons!?

BTW, here’s a portrait, from the Newton Hall sale, of the Rev. Roger Jacson, Rector of Bebington (b. 1753, according to Christie’s). If he was born in 1753, did he really have a son in 1826??? Wikipedia describes Frances Margaretta Jacson as the daughter of the Rev. Simon Jacson, Rector of Bebington (1728-1808). This then is probably Roger’s father, and therefore the father of an unmarried Frances Margaretta Jacson.

Check out this at the Orlando Project (most of the site is by subscription, alas…): Frances Margaretta Jacson kept a diary!

The game is afoot, Watson…


  1. jocuri cu biciclete said,

    Nice write-up, your articles are good! Keep working …

  2. milenanik3 said,

    Reblogged this on Milenanik3's Blog and commented:
    Amazing and very interesting

  3. Terence Jackson said,

    Hi from Terry Jackson not Jacson believe this was a change of name when Samuel was born out of wedlock in 1843, He was my Grandfathers father, Richard Jackson, Descendents of the Quernmore Hall and later Barton Manor Jacson /jackson family, Any further news you have I’m interested together with another 120+ members of the family.

    • Janeite Kelly said,

      Hi, Terry — how fun to hear from family. I’m not sure that I have much on the Jacsons. There’s obviously a connection, otherwise why would their miniatures be at Newton Hall?! Mary’s diaries mention names without the “connection” (ie, she might mention General White and Mrs White – without saying they are daughter and son-in-law of Alexander Davison, her uncle!). I’ll keep an eye out, though.

      If you come across the Jacson diary (ie, at Orlando Project), do let me know what dates she was writing; I’ve never pursued that line of inquiry.


  4. Bob Janes said,

    There was just one Shallcross Jacson (1785-1852) – son of Roger (1753-1826) – who married a Frances Cook, there were though two Shallcross FitzHerbert Jacson’s – the first died young, the 1826-1917 dates belong to the second-born. The surviving SFJ inherited Newton Hall from his uncle, Frances’ brother Samuel Edward Cook (later Widdrington).

    There was another Shallcross Jacson (1757-1821), uncle of Frances’ husband, son of Simon (1728-1808) and sister of Frances Margaretta (1755-1842) and Maria Elizabetha (1755-1829).


  5. Bob Janes said,

    I am so far failing to pin down the relationship between Frances Jacson and Henry Gally Knight. The Wikipedia page for Frances says he is her nephew . . . but does not specify the relationship. If he were literally a nephew then a sister Jacson would have married a Gally and there is no sign of that.

    A FitzHerbert link seems likely. I have Frances as the daughter of Anne FitzHerbert (1730-1795) and grand-daughter of Richard FitzHerbert (1690-1746) both of Tissington. And Henry as the daughter of Selina FitzHerbert (1751-1823) and grand-daughter of William FitzHerbert (1712-1772) both of Somersal Herbert.

    Maybe there is a missing link – or quite possibly I have something wrong – but I can’t make the nephew stick – even remotely.


  6. Neil Deaville said,

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