Spotlight on: Fanny Smith

April 21, 2019 at 1:15 pm (diaries, people, research, spotlight on) (, , )

I am reminded that Fanny Smith (after marriage in 1834, Fanny Seymour, or Mrs. Richard Seymour of Kinwarton), was among the earliest people I gathered information about. I gave a talk on her; and wrote about her early years (up to her marriage). That’s why it would be SO FASCINATING to find her own diaries!

One archive (Hertfordshire) has photographs of the Seymours; I’ve only ever seen one, very early (for photography), circa 1850s. It was taken out-of-doors (you can see a blanket kind of backdrop!), with Fanny and her three daughters – Augusta, the eldest of the family; Emma and Fanny the two youngest – and one of the sons, whom it took me the longest to identify, as Dick. I’ve never yet found the miniature Richard talks about commissioning, painted by Ross; but often figure it must have somewhat looked like this:

Ross_a Lady-closeup

I have a photograph of a “from a miniature” photograph, but whether it represents that portrait done by Ross or not, it doesn’t say. I would, however, be able to ID it as Fanny, should the actual miniature come to light!

My two Local Past articles on young Fanny Smith are available through my Academia account (another link is provided in the menu section – on the right side of the screen):

  • “Before She Became Fanny Seymour, Parson’s Wife”
  • “‘Fanny I am thankful to say continues going on very well'”

The first is about Fanny’s life up to her marriage; the second deals with the tragic days of Fanny’s confinement, following the loss of her first-born, a son named Michael John.

The articles can be read online; you will only need to log in (can do it through Facebook!) if you wish to download.

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Fanny Smith: before she became…

April 9, 2018 at 9:30 pm (introduction, people, spotlight on, World of Two Teens) (, , , )

fanny2

birth of Fanny Smith, 28 Oct 1803

I invite readers – especially new readers who may not “know” much about the family, to investigate a piece written for a British local history society.

The title is “BEFORE SHE BECAME FANNY SEYMOUR, PARSON’S WIFE.”

Fanny is Emma Austen’s next-youngest sister (she was born in 1803). In 1834 she married the Rev. Richard Seymour, a son of Sir Michael Seymour (a Royal Navy rear-admiral) and nephew of Sir William Knighton (physician to King George IV).

Fanny was rather the “middle child” of the six sisters. Emma and Augusta were a tight unit of eldest and next eldest sisters; while all referred to the three youngest – Sarah Eliza, Charlotte, and Maria Louisa – as “the children”.

My, how that phrase must have discouraged the youngsters! But it was Fanny who paid the price of being the “odd man out” sometimes.

fanny signature

Fanny’s story is continued in the article, “‘Fanny I am thankful to say continues going on very well.'” This follows Fanny from marriage to the aftermath of her first pregnancy — and the heartbreaking death of her little boy Michael John. This second article is posted on my ACADEMIA account.

 

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Boswell’s ‘my Miss Cunliffe’

August 28, 2017 at 7:05 pm (books, people, research, spotlight on) (, , , )

James Boswell actually has a few connections to people in the Smith & Gosling families. I’ve already written about the GREGG family – my diarist Mary Gosling‘s Aunt Gregg (sister of Mary’s father, William Gosling) married into this family. Aunt Gregg’s husband was Henry Gregg. Henry and his sister Miss Gregg (the future Caroline Carr) can be found in diary entries by Boswell.

But my earliest Boswell *find* concerned Lady Cunliffe – Mary’s maternal grandmother – and her two daughters Mary and Eliza. Lady Cunliffe came from Chester, England and maintained ties there. It was in my second post to THIS blog, on 7 June 2008, that I first mentioned the “tie” between my Cunliffe ladies and James Boswell. And YES! 2018 will celebrate the tenth anniversary of Two Teens in the Time of Austen.

Boswell wrote A LOT – letters, diaries, memos to self even. He and his later heirs saved a LOT. But one item that slipped through, and evidently was lost BY Boswell in his lifetime, is his “Chester Journal“. I cannot say how WONDERFUL it would have been to read his words about my trio of ladies! Alas…

Based on a few letters from circa 1780, my article on Academia.edu, “Boswell’s ‘my Miss Cunliffe’: Augmenting James Boswell’s missing Chester Journal,” rectifies the misidentification of the two sisters in the original Boswell literature. They appear in the volume, The Correspondence of James Boswell with Certain members of the Club (1976); and also letters between Boswell and Margaret Stuart (née Cuninghame) in Catalogue of the Papers of James Boswell at Yale University (1993).

This article is the only place to read so much information about Lady Cunliffe (below, in a portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds) and her daughters Mrs. Drummond Smith (Mary) and Mrs. William Gosling (Eliza).

Read: Boswell’s ‘my Miss Cunliffe’ (also linked in the sidebar)

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“I am Governess to Mr Gosling’s daughters…”

August 11, 2013 at 10:35 am (carriages & transport, diaries, history, london's landscape, people, research, spotlight on) (, , , , , , )

Been a VERY busy, rewarding week. Have been living in many decades – the 1820s and back again to the 1760s. I never feel that I “get much done”, but little puzzle pieces fitting together to create a larger whole IS one goal of this research, isn’t it?

I’ve mentioned before the need to flesh out the Smith & Gosling households. If you think locating information (official accounts; the letters and diaries are a miracle of survival, and yet who but women carried on such connective interaction?) on women is an uphill battle, try locating those faithful (and also the troublesome…) men, women, children who worked so the town houses and estates ran smoothly.

I’ve long visited the wonder website The Proceedings of the Old Bailey; seen a few cases – but only now think about two things: culling them to fill-in those little moments when one brother or father or uncle appeared in court, the subject, perhaps, of a robbery! And, reading this particular account (see below), it dawned that I could do a little in adding NAMES to the people in the household!

And yet, reading the account with fresh eyes this morning, this poor woman had so much stolen: Perhaps all her personal effects! And with the thought of shedding a little light on a moment of life for MARY ANN HARDCASTLE, I post today.

Mary Ann Hardcastle describes herself in this court document: “I am governess to Mr Gosling’s daughters; the family live in Lincoln-Inns-Fields, and their country house is at Langley.*” These, then, also the addresses associated with this hardworking governess. And when the family packed up to move from town to country, or country to town as in this case, so did she.

[* Robert Gosling was my Mary’s paternal grandfather; the daughters here being Mary’s aunts: Harriet (later, Mrs Alexander Davison of Swarland) and Mary [Maria?] (later, Mrs Henry Gregg, of Lincoln’s Inn).]

At the heart of the case, her DEAL BOX (see a c1800 Welsh “deal box” settle). “I packed up my box on the 27th of November [1783], I never saw the box afterwards, till I saw it in Hall’s lodging…”

Two men were indicted: William Hall (“otherwise Halley”) and John Field; the first for stealing; the second for receiving stolen goods.

Mary Cartwright, the Goslings’ housekeeper, swore to seeing the box set upon the waggon of the Langley Carrier, Thomas Webb. Webb then told a tale of robbery: after delivering “an empty Hamper at Knights Bridge, and a woman at Hyde Park Corner,” he “came to the Running Horse, just below Park Lane….I missed two boxes, the tilt was tore, and the skewers taken out; I had a great many other persons goods; there were two trunks taken out; This is one of the boxes that was lost, the other was much larger and heavier.”

Some items were recovered from Field’s room and accommodations. Among the still-missing: “an apron and some sort of a locket or thing that ladies wear about their neck; he said he had sold them”.

Field claimed to have found the trunk.

While it’s heartbreaking to see the list of simple items stolen from her, to read Mrs Hardcastle’s next statement is a revelation! The statement says much about Field’s actions, but look at what Mrs Hardcastle valued:

“Field immediately took the poker and attempted to open the drawers; he seemed very concerned and very much surprized when my things were found in his possession: I had several letters in my box, some directed at me at Mr. Gosling’s, Lincoln’s-Inn Fields, and some in the country. I had a large parcel of manuscripts, poetry, and bills and receipts, and many things that I valued very much, and Hall had burnt them the night before: the gentleman went down into the kitchen and found several scraps of my papers half burnt; I had likewise a common leather memorandum book which Hall sold for two-pence with the papers that were in it which I valued exceedingly: I had likewise a very large parcel of poetry; Hall afterwards, when I asked him why he burnt them, said, for fear of leading to a discovery, because he meant to sell my clothes”.

I stop here to list the items which appear at the head of the report*:

one deal box, value 6 d.
three linen shirts, value 15 s.
six pair of white stockings, value 6 s.
one dimity gown, trimmed with muslin, value 10 s.
two womens linen riding shirts, value 10 s.
two womens riding waistcoats, value 10 s.
two linen handkerchiefs, value 2 s.
one deal box, value 12 d.
two worked muslin aprons, value 10 s.
one plain lawn apron, value 4 s.
one plain muslin short apron, value 3 s.
two tambour muslin gowns, value 20 s.
one printed muslin gown, value 10 s.
one sattin gown, value 10 s.
one white sarcenet cloak, value 10 s.
two yards of white striped gauze, value 10 s.
a pink silk petticoat, value 10 s.
two muslin neck handkerchiefs, value 4 s.
two muslin night caps, value 2 s.
one silver tissue pocketbook, value 12 d.
one leather pocket-book, value 2 d.
one base metal handkerchief slider, value 6 d.

the property of Mary Hardcastle, spinster.

[*NEARLY FORGOT to include this valuable website: check out the English Costume link, as well as the textiles, to get an impression of the items at the center of this case.]

Other than the boxes and the leather pocket book, there really is NO valuation given to the papers – the letters, poetry (did she write them? did the Gosling girls?) OH TO HAVE THESE ITEMS!!

From a 21st-century perspective, the report ends SO UBRUPTLY! Witnesses for the two prisoners were called; characters given; NOT GUILTY is the verdict passed!

And poor Mary Hardcastle? Some items recovered; others lost. And – seemingly, (given the “caught-red-handed” scenario) – no justice served.

Was the court unimpressed by the simple belongings of a mere governess to follow-through with prosecution? Was Mary Ann Hardcastle literally “robbed” a second time?

A fabulous document, attached to this case, appears online at LONDON LIVES.

hardcastle-cartwright

Beyond her name, I know nothing of Mary Ann Hardcastle; not how old she was in 1783, nor how long she was with the Goslings at this point, nor how long she stayed. The candle that illuminates her life at this moment of such stress, flickers out…

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Ackermann’s Repository of Arts

December 2, 2009 at 12:09 am (books, entertainment, fashion, places, spotlight on) (, , , , , )

In readying an article for publication, I was on the lookout for period images of the Chute estate, The Vyne. What joy when I found a ‘library’ of Ackermann’s The Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashions and Politics! (Later renamed The Repository of Arts, Literature, Fashions, &c) These are the “famous” journals from which fashion plates have been extracted – and those fashion plates certainly have an important role to play in the lives of the Smiths and Goslings!

Just because Internet Archive has them rather jumbled (for there are two ‘bound’ issues per calendar year), I list here those that I’ve found – and will augment this list whenever I find new issues have been posted. (Or, is it not true that it published through 1829?)

1809 – 1st half (vol. 1); 2nd half (vol. 2)

1810 – 1st half (vol. 3); 2nd half (vol. 4)

1811 – 1st half (vol. 5); 2nd half (vol. 6)

1812 – 1st half (vol. 7); 2nd half (vol. 8 )

1813 – 1st half (vol. 9); 2nd half (vol. 10)

1814 – 1st half (vol. 11); 2nd half (vol. 12)

1815 – 1st half (vol. 13); 2nd half (vol. 14)

1816 – 1st half (series 2, vol. 1); 2nd half (series 2, vol. 2)

1817 – 1st half (vol. 3); 2nd half (vol. 4)

1818 – 1st half (vol. 5); 2nd half (vol. 6)

1819 – 1st half (vol. 7); 2nd half (vol. 8 )

1820 – 1st half (vol. 9); 2nd half (vol. 10)

1821 – 1st half (vol. 11); 2nd half (vol. 12)

1822 – 1st half (vol. 13); 2nd half (vol. 14)

1823 – 1st half (series 3, vol. 1); 2nd half (series 3, vol. 2)

1824 – 1st half (vol. 3); 2nd half (vol. 4)

1825 – 1st half (vol. 5); 2nd half (vol. 6)

1826 – 1st half (vol. 7); 2nd half (vol. 8 )

1827 – 1st half (vol. 9); 2nd half (vol. 10)

1828 – 1st half (vol. 11); 2nd half (vol. 12)

I just *love* the color prints of estates – The Vyne is found in October 1825’s issue (opposite page 188). Of course the FASHION PLATES are very well known (this one is also from 1825), and have been reproduced quite frequently — but one bit I have never encountered before are their “muslin patterns”. I remember coming across a letter (at the Essex Record Office) in which Mary had traced out the pattern her sister Elizabeth had used for a sleeping cap made for Charles. And here are very similar — though much more extensive — patterns that could be exceptionally useful for embroiderers working today. An important find indeed.

Here is a useful article on Rudolph Ackermann himself.

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Spotlight on… Sir Francis Gosling, kt.

December 20, 2008 at 11:21 pm (spotlight on) ()

Many people seem descendants of Sir Francis and Lady Gosling – while no one I have yet heard from descend from my William Gosling, his nephew! So, while at UVM (see previous post), I found a few 1760 tidbits in Gentleman’s Magazine that may interest those interested in Sir Francis.

Page 591 [not 592, as the index states] is the following announcement: “Thursday 4 [December 1760] A Fishmonger was convicted before Aldm. Dickinson and Sir Francis Gosling for employing his apprentice to buy and sell fish by commission for him at Billingsgate, contrary to the provision made in the late act of parliament, by which he forfeited 50 l.”

Of more interest is this on page 488: It is Thursday, 28 October 1760; King George II has died (an exceptionally interesting bit on mourning attire is written up here!), and an address was given. Then:

They were all received graciously, and had the honour to kiss his majesty’s hand.
After which his majesty was pleased to the honour of knighthood on
Thomas Rawlinson, Esq; alderman
Francis Gosling, Esq; alderman

There is also the story of Sir Francis’ purchase of the statue of Queen Elizabeth:

“Monday 4 [August 1760] The workmen began pulling down that part of Ludgate called the master’s side; the common side which front Black friars is to remain till a convenient place can be provided for the prisoners. The Statue of Q Elizabeth on the west side, is purchased by Alderman Gosling, in order to be set up near St Dunstan’s church, after the removal of the shops under it.”

Further mention of Sir Francis can be found here, a webpage for St Andrew’s Church (Nether Wallop). And a really nice picture of the Queen’s statue Sir Francis rescued. Here, a memorial inscription notice for a Rivington relation. And at the Old Bailey, Sir Francis is mentioned as a victim of crime: his handkerchief is stolen!

One curious entry comes in early 1761 – now knighted, this MISTER Gosling is certainly not Sir Francis: who then?

In the section called “From Other Papers” : “Mr. Gosling, — cashier of the S.S. Company”.

[The South Sea Company – famous for its ‘bubble’ – continued to trade into the 1760s]. I can see Robert Gosling or his father (also Robert) – being involved in this venture as ‘cashier’; though, perhaps, it is no relation.

A footnote: there are some very useful tidbits in GM: like the King throwing himself of a runaway horse, or his attending the theatre; never mind the politics of the day as it unfolded, or those marriage announcements that all genealogists search for. Makes me wish there was a dedicated site for GM that had all its volumes online (and completely searchable).

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Spotlight on… Lady Cunliffe

August 31, 2008 at 12:36 pm (portraits and paintings, spotlight on) (, , , )

The reader’s first reaction will undoubted be: Who was Lady Cunliffe?? There are actually several ladies who, at the end of the 18th century, went by this name. All were related; wives of several baronets who held the title, one after the other. The woman pictured at left (in a portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds) is Mary, Lady Cunliffe; wife (widow) of Sir Ellis Cunliffe; daughter of Henry Bennett of Chester. Of the career and life of Sir Ellis I will have more to say later; he figures in the histories of both Liverpool and Annapolis, Maryland. Sir Ellis and Lady Cunliffe were Mary Gosling’s maternal grandparents.

Lady Cunliffe had only two children, unlucky for her husband’s title, neither of them a son. Her first daughter, Mary, married Drummond Smith – alas, she died before he received his baronetcy in 1806. This Drummond Smith (for he had a great-nephew of the same name) was Uncle to Eliza Chute of The Vyne, Maria Marchioness of Northampton, Augusta Smith of Suttons, and Emma Smith (again, not to be confused with her niece, Emma Austen-Leigh). He lived much of his life at his estate Tring Park in Hertfordshire.

Lady Cunliffe’s second daughter, Margaret Elizabeth, married William Gosling the banker. Her premature death in December 1803 is said to have hastened the death of her most beloved sister only two months later, in February 1804.

The book in which this portrait is reproduced – SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS: A COMPLETE CATALOGUE OF HIS PAINTINGS (Yale, 2000), by David Mannings, has this to say about the work: ‘Painted 1761, wearing a pink dress of ruched silk with lace ruffles; a miniature portrait of her husband on her left wrist. She sits in a green upholstered chair. There are appointments with Lady Cunliffe in June 1761… There is a cancelled appointment on 9 Nov. 1762. A first payment of 15 gns is recorded in the Ledger on 1 July [1761] (Cormack 1970, 114); a second payment of the same amount was made between 6 July 1761 and 28 May 1762 (ibid. 115).’

Then comes this most interesting tidbit: ‘Lady Cunliffe’s name appears almost every year in Reynolds’ Pocket Books 1777-89, usually at eight or nine o’clock, apparently in the evening, on one occasion with a note: “Cards & supper.” Sometimes she arrives with Mrs Vesey, Mrs Shipley or Mrs Boscowen and it is clear that these are social calls.’

A side note: Sir Joshua is known to have painted a companion portrait of Sir Ellis (1717-1767) – but its whereabouts remains untraced; it was last known to have descended to Herbert Gosling of Botley’s. Herbert died in 1929; the estate was sold in 1930. The artist also painted several members of the Colebrooke family – relatives of Charles’ first wife, Belinda. The most famous of the Reynolds’ portraits belonging to this extended family is that of Mrs Drummond Smith, held in private collection at Castle Ashby (seat of the Marquess of Northampton; not open to the public).

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Spotlight on… Spencer Smith of Brooklands

August 19, 2008 at 6:06 pm (spotlight on) (, )

A Surrey archive owns a late-nineteenth-century Gosling photo album. One page contains two interesting identifications: Mrs S. Smith and Mr S. Smith. Surely… Spencer Smith and his wife Frances (née Seymour). So, it was devastating to read the words “photo missing” after Spencer’s name! A photo that once was, but now is lost…

So who was Emma’s brother Spencer??

He was born in 1806, five years after Emma and was the second son born to Charles and Augusta Smith of Suttons. He was destined to outlive both his elder and his younger brothers… As Mamma Smith once lamented, ‘the three were so united’.

From letters and diaries, Spencer led the life of an eager sportsman. It was Spencer who put together a sledge and pushed the girls around when they spent some winter weeks at Suttons; he is usually mentioned among those who go out ‘skaiting’, and is described once as the ‘most agile of the party’. Letters document his worries over a misplaced gun (therefore, Spencer went out on shooting parties during the Autumn season) and his purchase of a hunter – which understandably worried Mamma: ‘Mr Cure fell out hunting & broke his arm … Spencer may perhaps be the next sufferer, for he has bought a Hunter at Oxford, which is just arrived.’ Many in the Smith household, Spencer included, enjoyed the game of Billiards (and they seem to have owned a table and had a Billiards Room). It is also obvious that he was an enthusiastic player of cricket or at least a knowledgeable critic. He passed something along to his sons, for three can be found on the rolls of players.

He attended Harrow and his comings and goings are documented in Emma’s diaries. As an older teen, Spencer seems to have followed the same schooling as his brother Charles: he is found in the company of a Mr Twissleton of Warwick; Mr Twissleton may have been a private tutor (though more information is required before identifying him), since Charles had resided with a Mr Boudier of Warwick.

Spencer attended Oxford (Balliol College), matriculating in 1823 (BA 1827; MA 1833). About this time Emma was touring Europe – along with Mamma, brother Charles, and her three eldest sisters. The Smiths had journeyed through the Netherlands, France, and Switzerland and then wintered in Italy; ultimately, they remained abroad an entire year! The ‘little children’ (Spencer, Drummond, Charlotte and Maria) who remained at home were slowly told the plans as they unfolded… which did not make for happy children. Emma, writing home, pictures the brother she has not seen in about ten months: ‘Spencer I suppose will be considerably aged, grown tall, with a hoarse voice, & perhaps a beard’; she had already recognized that ‘we hear so much of the growth of [Spencer]  perhaps he will out top us all, before we come home’.

Like Jane Austen, he must have enjoyed dancing, for in 1829 Mamma mentions ‘Spencer is a little animated about the Ball [the Smiths were hosting a ball of their own]; they are getting up Waltzing, & Le Gallop, which is rather new. He thinks we shall have quite Beaux enough, & wishes to refuse farther introductions.’ She closes this letter with, ‘At this moment Spencer is practicing the Waltz with his Sisters & Madame Lennox, the Mistress.’ He may have sometimes joined his sisters in providing entertainment, as he is once noted as ‘playing a little on the flute’.

Spencer evidently inherited property from an uncle of his mother, for he travels to Jamaica in 1831. Unfortunately, he left on 1 January; his brother Charles died a couple weeks later. It is probable that the family encouraged him to continue with his plans; they may have realized that Charles’ prognosis was not very promising, although his death came as quite the shock to Mary (Lady Smith). Spencer sailed from Bristol in a ship captained by ‘Cap’n Trip  He had no fellow passenger’. He arrived back (landing at Falmouth) by the 20th of July, after a ‘prosperous journey of 40 days’. Emma’s diary for the 21st says, ‘Dearest Spencer arrived well  thank God – he looks rather thinner’.

more later…

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