Need Help: Susannah Smith, nee Mackworth Praed

May 1, 2012 at 2:02 pm (diaries, history, news, people, portraits and paintings, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I have been thinking of letters and diaries these last couple of weeks. Some diaries are in the 1810s; others propel me forward to the 1840s; and the letters have been as early as the 1790s!

Today I want to make a special appeal to anyone who might have knowledge of letters written by or to Susannah Smith, the wife of Thomas Smith of Bersted Lodge.

Susannah and Thomas married in 1800; Thomas was a brother of Joshua Smith of Erle Stoke Park, so he was Augusta (Mamma) Smith’s Uncle and therefore a great-uncle to my Emma.

This close-up is from a miniature that recently sold at auction. How can you resist this face?!?

Susannah had a twin-sister: Arabella, Countess of Mayo. She became a lady-in-waiting.

Knowing well that LETTERS were the bread-and-butter of life then, I suspect Susannah’s letters, at the very least to and from her sister, but probably also to others in the Smith’s extended family, must exist. Mrs Thomas Smith was of the generation who visited Tring Park to stay with Mr and Mrs Drummond Smith – and also visit Roehampton, where resided Eliza Gosling (Mrs William Gosling), sister to Mary, Mrs Drummond Smith. How wonderful it would be to read comments – even slightly negative ones! – about my Smiths & Goslings.

Even hints to possible whereabouts of some correspondence would be welcome! Published sources as much as manuscript sources.

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UPDATE: it was stupid of me not to include more information on Susannah’s sister and brother-in-law. The Earl of Mayo had the familial name of BOURKE. Some places associated with the family include Naas and Palmerstown. The Praed family were also related to the Shore family, which produced the delightful publication The Journal of Emily Shore.

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In Mary’s Footsteps

October 22, 2009 at 11:28 pm (a day in the life, estates) (, , , )

Have spent the evening looking up various things: the Currie family, the doll house of Bertram Wodehouse Currie’s boys (more on that later!), the Seymours of Kinwarton, and always trying to find something new on the Goslings…

I keep looking for new pictures – remembering some early photographs of GROVE HOUSE that Roehampton University used to have online and are now long gone. (Makes you learn to SAVE pictures to your hard drive!) I found these, which put me quite ‘in the picture’.

Visiting The Vyne (in Hampshire), I could imagine Eliza Gosling (Mary’s mother) arm-in-arm with Eliza Chute, or my two girls — Mary and Emma — running up the stairs. But Roehampton Grove was Mary’s home – she went there when she was ill in the months before her death; her girlhood diaries always have the family leaving on trips from Roehampton, for this is how I first met her: “We left Roehampton on Monday the 27th of August, at eleven o’clock our party consisting of Papa, Mamma, my Sister, and myself: we went with our own horses to Salt hill, a distance of 19 miles.” GroveHouse_room3b

<<< Mary seems especially alive in such an evocative setting








And surely this was the domain of William, her father >>>


There is a Wedding ‘show’ being held at the estate on 22 November 2009 — oh, to be able to go there! It’s free! If anyone goes and has eyes for something OTHER than wedding bits and pieces, do tell me about it (or better yet send pictures!).

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Serving the Servants

June 16, 2009 at 8:08 am (books) (, , , , )

woolfIn Montreal Sunday for a local meeting of JASNA, I just had to hit two stores. One was Bramble House, in Pointe Claire (west of downtown), which sells British food and teas and tea pots & cosies. The other, Nicholas Hoare, the Westmount bookstore at which I always find something to take away (to the detriment of my wallet!).

Sunday, the take away was Mrs Woolf and the Servants. This look at servants, in the household of the Stephens and Woolf families, traces the backgrounds and working lives of these little-recognized people.

One of my tasks is to do HALF as much for the staff members in the households at Suttons, Roehampton, etc etc. Given that many servants are entered into the diaries as one name only (first or last), this may be asking the impossible; yet a few people stand out as not only having a long history with the family, but also are mentioned in a manner that fleshes them out a bit.

And now I add to this post a bit, though names and examples come from the ‘can you help’ page. I’ve done more work extracting and “cataloguing” names from Mary (Gosling) Smith’s diaries, than from Emma (Smith) Austen-Leigh’s. That is a task yet to come…

From Mary’s diaries, therefore, we pull names of women like Mrs Sandoz (seemingly Mary’s governess) and her daughter; Mr Sendall (tutor to little Charles, Mary’s son) and Mr Wyatt (another tutor). I pull out these people because tutors and governesses were not treated in quite the same ‘servant’ category as others working in the household, never mind the estate workers.

Mary Adams; Barlow (I presume a lady’s maid – but what if Barlow was a man?!); Sarah Batch; Martha Finch; Ketcham (a maid); Betsey Thomas also get their mentions; I will cull the diaries and see in at context they are mentioned – and report back! (Often, however, there IS no context.0

Men include Bowen; Conybeare (a real wonder about the spelling of this), who was hired as a new Butler in 1832 at Suttons; Davis; Foster; Godfrey; Hinds.

You can find more by looking in the files called ‘dramatis personae’, including the year-dates in which they appear in Mary’s diaries. For instance, Mary Adams found on the A-F listing, appears in the diaries in the year 1829 only, and I conclude her to be a ‘waged servant’. Why??

Searching the file (which contains transcriptions of all Lady Smith’s diaries), we find the following about Mary Adams:

She possibly replaced Betsey Furlong. On 9 June 1829, Mary (Lady Smith) writes “My sister came from London  Betsey Furlong went away” [Yes, that is the ENTIRE entry for this day; you see, therefore, how cryptic are the originals I work with!] My surmising that Mary replaced her comes from the entry of 11 June: “Mary Adams came” and in the column, against the “pounds” (nothing in the shilling or pence columns), Mary has written “6”. Undoubtedly the girl’s wages!

But in March 1830 we see this notation: “Betsey went home to her mother” – could this be Betsey Furlong or someone else? Then, in July 1832, Mary notes, “Went with Furlong cutting many of laurels in the shubbery [sic].” No mention again of Furlong or Betsey or Mary Adams.

Am finding Mrs Woolf and the Servants of interest, but I’m not far into it yet (a couple chapters). Indeed, it sounds as if the author had more to work with: Virginia Woolf sounds to have written at length, at times, about her ‘servant problems’. Stay tuned.

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