Destination: Bath Easton

August 1, 2015 at 11:49 am (books, diaries) (, , , )

I just have to share…

The book is entitled, WALKS THROUGH BATH; it is the 1819 edition.

“Bath-Easton, this is a small town, of one tolerable street in length, and the appearance of the houses is very neat and clean. In this neighbourhood is Bailbrook-Lodge, a recent establishment formed for the reception of decayed ladies of respectability and high rank, under the patronage and sanction of her late Majesty. Also Bath-easton-Villa, once the residence of Sir John Millar. This seat was distinguished for the weekly parties of his lady, famed for their poetic productions. … Several other gentlemen’s seats are contiguous to Bath-easton, and the prospects and variety of subjects along the road interest the traveller, till he descends the hill adjoining to Walcot.”

The description has literally “made my day” today!

batheaston villa

A nice historical description of Batheaston Villa is available as a PDF through Pritchards of Bath. {LOVE the photo of the two little girls, peering in the window!}

Read more about the area at the Fanny Chapman diary website.

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Regency Diaries of Fanny Chapman (online)

July 30, 2015 at 7:03 am (a day in the life, diaries, history, news, people, places, research, travel) (, , , , )

Charlotte Frost (author of Sir William Knighton, The Strange Career of a Regency Physician) – always with her eyes and ears open for tidbits of interest to me, emailed me about this site which is SO terrific that I simply must share it.

fanny chapman

Fanny Chapman (pictured; click pic to go to site) is the author of a set of diaries spanning the years 1807 thru 1812 and 1837 through 1840 (as of July 2015, not yet online). I’m THRILLED because I’ve found brief mentions of Lady Colebrooke, wife of Sir George Colebrooke; grandmother of Belinda Colebrooke (Charles Joshua Smith’s first wife).

The fine “introduction”, which tells about the people and the diaries, can be augmented by another at All Things Georgian.

The Chapman diaries are well illustrated, and have been lovingly transcribed by George and Amanda Rosenberg — who would LOVE to hear from anyone with further glimpses of their own Fanny Chapman and her relations & friends. _I_ only wish my own stash of letters and diaries were as forthcoming on their behalf as their research as been for me (I do live in hope of uncovering more). But, while the Colebrookes were visited in Bath by the Smiths of Erle Stoke Park, the Smiths stayed home or were found in London; they never seem to have lived a time in Bath. Still, I do have NAMES now to be on the look-out for in the future.

prince of wales

From what I’ve read, you will not per se learn about the likes of the Prince of Wales, but the daily life of a sociable woman has its own rewards. The Diaries of Fanny Chapman is HIGHLY recommended – and the Rosenbergs are commended for offering these transcriptions and elucidations to the public.

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New Letters, New Revelations

November 3, 2013 at 9:38 am (diaries, history, news, people, research, smiths of stratford) (, , , , , , , )

Special thanks to Mike who photographed some letters for me at the Hampshire Record Office. Being 3000 miles from this enormous source of Smith&Gosling info is one of the hardest situations to be in. I’m very grateful to Mike, and to anyone who is able to allow me to continue my research from afar (you all know who you are…).

I spent yesterday morning and evening (until 2 am! – though with the time change, I gained an hour) in the 1790s – with Emma Smith (my Emma’s “Aunt Emma”), youngest sister to Augusta (AKA Mamma); also with their Father Joshua Smith and Mother Sarah Smith. There’s even a letter from Judith Smith (née Lefevre), Emma’s great-grandmother, but I’ve not touched that one yet. The Smiths senior (Emma, Joshua, Sarah) write a LOT about aches, pains, accidents. A HARROWING letter from Sarah Smith to daughter Eliza Chute sets out the near-fatal accident of young Emma (“Aunt Emma”)! O-M-G-!

  • click link “near-fatal accident” to LISTEN to this segment of Sarah Smith’s September 1799 letter

The letters of my Emma Smith (AKA Emma Austen Leigh) come from the period 1811 / 1814. Emma was just nine-years-old in August 1811. HUGE handwriting — but cursive handwriting:


This is page 3 — and LOOK at the treat that was in store for me: an early mention of my Mary Gosling, an 11-year-old! Only eleven and nine, and the girls were already corresponding…

The 1814 letters are poignant, dealing in the time period of Papa Charles Smith’s last illness. The bright spot in one letter? Mentions of “the little ones”. I swear Emma writes, “When we came to Stratford [the home of “Aunt”, Judith Smith – Charles’ only living sister; she was obviously keeping the children away from the scene of sickness] we found the little ones very well & hungry…” Emma goes on to mention little Drummond – a toddler at this point; and Charlotte, about five-years-old – who was outpacing her elder sister Eliza in learning her religion and also in reading.

Knowing what life had in store for all these people – (for example: marriage, children, early death) – it touches me to glimpse these moments of them as innocent, buoyant children. Thankfully, so much material has been preserved – in so many different places. Each letter shades their portraits in such subtle ways. A valuable gift, as we move into the festive season of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and on to a New Year.

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NB: IS Mrs Thrale in the recorded letter of Sarah Smith who I think she is?

Hester Thrale Piozzi did know the Cunliffes; letters mention the deaths of Lady Cunliffe’s daughters, Eliza Gosling (1803) and Mary Smith (1804). Trouble is: Dr Johnson’s Mrs Thrale had, by 1799, long ago become Mrs Piozzi. The name could be read as “Thrall”… But it’s possible Sarah Smith had a slip of the pen, or didn’t hear (or didn’t remember hearing) of Mrs Thrale’s remarriage. Must dig a bit further.

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An Evening with Mr Wickham: Langrishe & Lukis

September 20, 2012 at 8:12 pm (entertainment, jane austen) (, , , , , , , , , )

Today, a Guest Blogger: Calista, writing on her attendance at Bath’s Jane Austen Festival event: An Evening with Mr Wickham:

“Oh Kelly what an evening it was! 

On Sunday we went to the Bath Assembly rooms, the Tea Room where the show was held. We got parking right in front. Quite a few people were in costume; actually come to think of it, very few were not in costume. So many were dressed in ballroom gowns and looked ever so elegant; made me wanted one so badly. 
Anyhow, there we were, in that enchanting room with the grand chandeliers and all. We were there at 7:00pm and the show started at 8. We talked to a couple of  ladies who were attending the show from London. They were here for the Austen festival and had booked a hotel close by for few days. They saw the costume parade which I did not attend on Saturday (the only event I would have liked, apart from the ones I am attending). Perhaps next year.
So there we were at the Tea Room, sitting in the front row, and soon the room was completely packed. I was very curious to see Caroline Langrishe and my goodness she looked stunning. Adrian Lukis showed up with her and the two read different parts from Austen’s books. Starting with Northanger Abbey in which Tilney inquires of Catherine Morland about all those places she had visited in Bath. The fun part was the one in which he describes to her about the haunted bedroom which she is to occupy. Moving on to Pride & Prejudice: the first marriage proposal from Mr. Darcy. Adrian Lukis did a good job in describing to Elizabeth about how cruelly Mr. Darcy had treated him in his portrayal of Mr. Wickham. Adrian looks good, he is very very tall.  
I found Caroline Langrishe’s performance as Mrs. Dashwood pretty good. There was also a section read from Persuasion in which Anne Elliot and Captain Benwick discuss men and women. The show started at 8 and had a 20 mins interval and ended around 9:30, I believe. The organizer told the audience that we could mingle with the actors in the bar and perhaps take photographs with them.
Now comes the fun part. My husband Francis had taken the DVD covers of Caroline Langrishe’s shows. Initially, I wanted only one cover of season 6 Lovejoy, but we took season 5; as well also she was Kitty in my favourite Anna Karenina TV series done in 1977 and A Christmas Carol, George C. Scott’s version in which she played Janet Holywell (Mr. Scrooge’s nephew’s wife). While I was waiting along with others, Francis came in and asked me to come to another part of the room outside the bar where the two actors were talking to some people from the audience.
I was most anxious to meet Caroline. When I asked her about the autograph she had no problem. When she saw Anna Karenina she was so surprised. She asked us where we got the DVD from, since she too wanted one and her mother wanted one as well. It was her first role. 

We were the only ones with all those DVD covers and were really there to see her. I told her that I loved her performances in Lovejoy, as Kitty in Anna Karenina, in my favourite Christmas Carol etc and she was so happy to hear of it. She signed all our covers and we took a couple of photos with her. When one lady saw our Christmas Carol cover she didn’t realize Caroline was in it since she too owns the DVD. We talked a bit, wished her luck and bid her good-bye. She and Adrian are doing a play right now called Handyman
We got the ticket autographed by Adrian, and took a photo and wished him well.

It was a wonderful evening. We left there by 10 and got home closer to 11:30.”

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Jane Austen Fashion on Guernsey

June 23, 2011 at 12:26 pm (books, fashion, news, people, travel) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

While searching online for mentions of “Le Marchant” I found this wonderful “cyber display” by the Priaulx Library – a favorite source of mine, as, yes, my Le Marchant family has Guernsey connections. The letters are a delight to savor, and the fashion plates will delight all Jane Austen fans.

Begin corresponding with Miss Caroline Guille Le Marchant by clicking here.

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