Roehampton Grove

The girlhood home of Mary Gosling, inherited after William Gosling’s death by her brother Bennett. Now owned by Roehampton University (known as “Grove House” or Froebel College), it is a Grade II listed building. Image by John Hassell, 1804.

useful links: Parks&Gardens; British History Online; see the plans for William Gosling’s Conservatory; Roehampton University.

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Perhaps the most important estate of all for this research: Suttons served as the girlhood home of Emma Smith (later: Emma Austen Leigh), and the bridal home of Mary Gosling (later: Lady Smith). This is the estate Augusta Smith (Mamma Smith) saw in 1798, when describing her “domestic felicity” as a new bride.

The photo comes from the set of books (two volumes) entitled, Leaves from a Hunting Diary in Essex, both of which can be found at Internet Archive. This second volume also includes a photo of the current owner, Sir Charles Cunliffe Smith, bart. — Mary and Charles’ son. The publication date is 1900, but I’m unsure about the date of the photo.

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Portland Place, London
No. 5 & No. 6
(Gosling & Smith)

exterior Portland Place


The “Town” homes of the Smiths and Goslings exist! renumbered today (28 & 30), they were indeed next-door-neighbors. The photo shows the door of No 5 – the Goslings (with the pilasters); No 6 – the Smiths is on its left.

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The Vyne / The Vine

One of the most evocative places, since it is now owned by the National Trust and was once associated with the Smiths and Goslings: the home of William and Eliza Chute. Visited by nearly everyone concerned in one year or another. Since it’s open to the (paying) public, I also got to walk up the staircase, just as Mary and Emma would have done 200 years ago! This image appeared in Ackermann (see the list of pages, right, on this blog), October 1825, and would have been much as Jane Austen found it on her visits to the Chutes. Jane’s brother the Revd. James Austen led the parish and he often dined with the Chutes; his son James Edward (known in the family as Edward) became so friendly with the Smiths of Suttons that he eventually married second daughter, Emma.

useful links: National Trust – check out the “film” about the Estate! (“Tour of the House” with Mary the maid)

find: The Vyne Gardens on WordPress. LOVE the old photos of the house, gardens, and estate.

* * *

Castle Ashby

castle ashby_griffith

Castle Ashby, the estate of the Marquess of Northampton (in Emma’s day, her Uncle and Aunt Northampton, the first Marquess and Marchioness). View their portraits on this site. From the earliest diaries (1815), Emma frequented this place. One of her most touching extended diary entries focusses on the wedding of her cousin, Spencer, to Margaret Maclean Clephane — a ward (with her sisters) of Sir Walter Scott. Emma met the man! (At Portland Place, not Castle Ashby.) I turned this diary entry into a Pride and Prejudice-centered article, which may be found at JASNA.ORG: Pemberley’s Welcome.

useful links: Castle Ashby is a private home, but their weddings website is available. Wikipedia has a useful entry.

Please keep in mind, I’m searching for a copy of the book The History of the Comptons of Compton Wynyates!

* * *

Compton Wynyates


One of the Compton estates, though mentioned far less in letters and diaries than Castle Ashby; this photograph from 1915, published in The Connoisseur. According to Wikipedia, this Grade I listed building served as a filming site for the 1980s movie The Mirror Crack’d.

useful links: a fascinating history of this estate by Alice Dryden.

* * *

Sign of the Three Squirrels, 19 Fleet Street

The premises of the family banking firm, Goslings and Sharp. Photographed in the early 20th century. The actual sign, which predated numbering, still exists and is said to be on display at 19 Fleet Street — now the headquarters of Barclays Bank. (Barclays has a Gosling archive, which Mike from Surrey has been kind enough to tell me about.)

useful links: Twinings Tea & Goslings Bank; check out the checks drawn on this bank from the British Museum; the only online copy of the informative booklet, A History of Gosling’s Branch.

* * *

Erle Stoke Park (also: Erlestoke Park)

Earl Stoke-Neale_google

Home to the four Smith sisters of the earlier generation: Maria, Eliza, Augusta and Emma — the daughters of Joshua Smith and Sarah Gilbert. Maria married the Earl (later 1st Marquess) of Northampton and went on to reside at Castle Ashby; Eliza, who was a bosom friend to Margaret Elizabeth Cunliffe (Eliza Gosling), married William Chute of The Vyne; Augusta is “Mamma Smith”, married in 1798 to Charles Smith of Suttons (no relation) and mother to Charles Joshua Smith, Emma Smith and all who grew up at Suttons, Tring and Mapledurham in the 1810s, 20s and 30s. Emma, “Aunt Emma” to the Smiths of Suttons, never married. She travelled much, especially on the Continent, often in company with Lady Elizabeth Compton, sister to the Marquess of Northampton. The young Smiths of Suttons visited Erle Stoke with great frequency; it was sold after the death of Joshua Smith.

The etching dates to 1822 (after the sale to Watson) and appears in J.P. Neale’s Views of Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen. The house at Erle Stoke Park was serious damaged by fire in 1950 and the main part was demolished; two wings and outbuildings are said to exist. Currently, part of H.M. Prison Service (category C, men’s prison). Erlestoke Village has its own website.

*new*: Wiltshire Council has online The Beauties of Wiltshire, Vol. 2, by John Britton. 1801. A Wonderful Description of Erle Stoke during the tenure of Joshua Smith! Great etching of the house, follows page 202.

* * *


Home first to Maria, Dowager Marchioness of Northampton (Emma’s maternal aunt), Coolhurst becomes best-known for the Scrase Dickens ownership. Maria’s daughter Lady Elizabeth Compton married Charles Scrase Dickins (or Dickens) – their budding relationship the subject of Angela from Alberta’s letter (written between Augusta Smith junior and Lady Elizabeth, then in Italy).

The picture, done in 1867, by H.S. Syms, appears in the book Horsham: Its History and Antiquities (1868), which describes Coolhurst as “a fine modern specimen of the Tudor style of architecture.”

* * *

Sulham House

The image, from The Book of the Wilders, includes Henry’s brother the Rev. John Wilder and his wife. When Augusta married Henry, Sulham and Purley — the Wilder residences — came in for their own round of visits.

Some photographs of present-day Sulham may be found at, where there is an image of the monument to Henry Watson Wilder and Augusta (Smith) Wilder.

* * *

Richings Lodge


Described in this Ackermann illustration as “The Seat of the Right Hon. John Sullivan” (1824), Richings was the home of Georgina Vere Sullivan (after 1826, Mrs Robert Gosling). Several spellings can be found, including “Riching’s” and “Ritchings”. Mary mentions her sister-in-law, Georgina, with great frequency; and I’d dearly love to learn more about her. In the meantime, I have unearthed a few online tidbits about her father, including some history of the estate and his parliamentary career.

* * *



A recent find: Mary writing to Spencer to congratulate him on his new purchase; the home, being on the river Hamble, was located within easy-visiting to Frances Smith’s family, she being related to the Knightons-Seymours-Boyles-Hawkers found hereabouts at the like of Cadlington and Blendworth. As the photo says, this estate is more easily found when you search for Sarisbury, Hampshire.

Read the blog post about Brooklands.

* * *


Swarland Hall Northumb

The estate of Alexander Davison, whom you find mentioned in nearly EVERY biography of Horatio Nelson. He was Mary’s uncle; married to Harriet Gosling, William Gosling’s sister (his other sister was named Maria, and becomes Mary’s “Aunt Gregg”). The lengthiest biography of him, and his relationship to the Nelsons, is Martyn Downer’s 2004 book Nelson’s Purse. A fascinating story of uncovering the Davison history via articles sold at a Sotheby’s auction — items Downer describes as “Nelson’s lost treasures”. Highly recommended! Alas, Swarland was demolished in the 1930s.

* * *

Tring Park

Tring Park school

The former estate of Uncle Drummond, Tring becomes the home of Mamma and her family – including Jane Austen’s nephew James Edward Austen. Tring is now a performing arts school. The photo above is “present day” and shows the additions made in the nineteenth-century when Nathan Rothschild had the estate. Tring is celebrating 700 years (1315-2015) of being granted their charter (by Edward II). The Tring Local History Museum website has more information.

* * *

Chobham Place

Chobham Place 1824

The estate purchased by Eliza and Denis Le Marchant, Chobham Place (above) in 1824 is unrecognizable in photographs taken after later owners enlarged the house.

* * *

Mapledurham House

– where Mamma Smith settled after departing Tring
Couldn’t resist posting this THIMBLE with Mapledurham House on it

and its companion Thimble with The Vyne:vyne thimble


Hassobury – William Gosling’s estate, which eventually took a backseat to Roehampton Grove

Botley’s – home of Robert and Georgina Gosling, near Chertsey

Norfolk St, etc London

Sulham & Purley – the Wilder estates

Stratford Grove (greater London; probably doesn’t exist; site of 2012 Olympics) – home of Miss Judith Smith, known as “Aunt” to Emma and her siblings: the only living sister of Charles Smith, Sr.

Kinwarton & Great Alne – where Fanny Smith settled after marriage to the Rev. Richard Seymour

the many places associated with the Edward Austen-Leighs

& more!

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