Meet Miss Anna Jane Clephane

December 8, 2020 at 10:49 am (introduction, people, spotlight on, World of Two Teens) (, , , )

Anna Jane Douglas Maclean Clephane was born on 21 May 1793. The announcement of her birth reads, “21. at Kirkness, Mrs Douglas Maclean Clephane of Carslogie, of a daughter.”

Anna Jane died at the home of her nephew the 3rd Marquess of Northampton, at Castle Ashby, 27 January 1860; her burial service was conducted by another nephew, Lord Alwyne Compton, rector of Castle Ashby, on February 1st.

Her birth is often confused with that listed as “1798. 11 [November]. Mrs D. Maclean Clephane of Carslogie, a daughter.” This may be an announcement for a sister (Helen Amelia) who died in April 1803, but I have yet to confirm this.

Mrs. Clephane had three daughters grow to adulthood:

The eldest sister’s birth is found alongside her future sister-in-law in December 1791. Margaret Clephane on the 13th and Lady Elizabeth Compton on the 20th December. Margaret died in Italy, in April 1830. She is buried at Castle Ashby.

The youngest Clephane sister, Wilmina, was born 26 December 1803 (her father, Maj. Gen. William Douglas Maclean Clephane, died in November 1803). She died 9 February 1869. She is found in records under her married name, de Normann. (She had married Wilhelm, Baron de Normann in 1831.) A little portrait of Wilmina was among many at auction (Christie’s) back in October 2005.

I have yet to find a portrait of Anna Jane. I have had access to a number of her (early) letters, written around the time she was “meeting” Lady Elizabeth Compton via the post. A LOT of Anna Jane “sightings” happen once the Smiths meet her in person, in the late 1810s, when she comes to visit Lord and Lady Compton in London.

I have not – so far – come across Anna Jane’s correspondence with (especially) Augusta Smith, Emma’s eldest sister. It is discussed at length in letters to Lady Elizabeth — including that Anna Jane sent Augusta, following strict instructions, an outline so that Augusta could create a silhouette.  Of course, nothing was included with the letter that mentioned this tidbit of information, and I’ve not come across it in Lady Elizabeth’s group of “heads” (which also does not include Lady Elizabeth herself).

Black Out

Augusta Smith (later: Wilder) was well-known for her artistic ability, and kept at least one “book of heads”, though I believe silhouettes in various collections to have been done (at least in part) by Augusta. I chuckle whenever I recall one transcript of a letter, which referred to Augusta’s “book of beads“. Surely a misread.

Wilmina, born at the end of 1803, was still quite young when her sister Margaret married Spencer, Lord Compton (Lady Elizabeth’s brother; cousin to Emma Smith et al.) in the summer of 1815. Anna Jane, on the other hand, was already a young woman. When her new relations wrote their London news, she was resident in Scotland; Margaret had gotten married in Edinburgh. Of course ONE hope was that visitors would come to them, at Torloisk (if not Edinburgh).

Mrs. Clephane was most adamant that she would leave Margaret to settle in with her new family. The Clephanes traveled into England, but only to stay at Harrogate. The ladies, of course, stayed in touch with lots of letters.

The sisters’ girlhood home, Torloisk, on the Isle of Mull, passed from Margaret to her next-to-eldest son. Mrs. Clephane (who died in August 1843) gets some mentions in the diaries of James Robertson (listed, among online diaries I have found, on my blog Georgian Gems, Regency Reads & Victorian Voices). Remaining unmarried, Anna Jane spent much of her life with Margaret’s children, sharing Compton’s – by then the 2nd Marquess of Northampton – Northamptonshire home. I’ve done little beyond collecting and transcribing letters from the later years; I lose sight of Anna Jane.

One superb source for a little about Anna Jane Douglas Mclean Clephane, as a person, is James Robertson’s Journal. In his 15 December 1843 entry, he notes the “better read and better educated” Mrs. Milman (and others), who does not hold a candle to Miss Clephane, “who is an exception to all rule.” If only he had painted a picture of her looks as he so adeptly did for two of her nephews (and dear sweet Miss Macdougall, too).

Permalink Leave a Comment

Walter Scott & the Shetland Islands

December 26, 2017 at 11:46 am (jane austen, places, travel) (, , , )

Over the holiday weekend I got an email from a friend who plans a future trip to the Shetland Islands! Oooohh…..

Islands have a lure for me – though I cannot say I have EVER visited any I’ve pointed to on a map. The Isles of Scilly remain merely read about. The Channel Islands, because they are on U.K. time, proved impossible to visit as a day trip from Paris, thanks to the ferry schedule. In Scotland, I did get to the Highlands, but never to any of the Islands.

In the back of my brain, however, I dug up the memory of once having ordered yarn (yes, I used to knit) from the tippy-top of Shetland – from Unst, if I recall correctly. I still have the sweater – a thin wool “jumper,” dark green, made to go with a Macdonald tartan skirt.

Oh, the memories! I’m looking at the Jamieson & Smith website. I remember when I used to look at books on historical knitting – and thought about building myself a JUMPER BOARD. If you’re a knitter, and don’t know what that is, click the link. The cost is 85 pounds (though not sure about the shipping…). GROAN: “currently unavailable.” (Ditto for the glove boards.)

IMAGINE: Mail order, in the days before the internet! I can’t be a 100% sure of the company or which island my goods came from, but I’m in the right neighborhood. I bet somewhere around the house is the original packing slip. I remember some fabric, from Scotland, and even Wales, too.

Those were GOOD days. I used to be so enthusiastic about sewing; and I actually designed my own knitwear. Not my own design, but one of my handiwork is this pair of socks:

stocking_clock

The photo was meant to show the “clock” that’s worked around the ankle, although this pattern is Austrian, and features a cable from ankle to knee.

So I’ve had an interest in Shetland patterns, and historical knits in general (I have a tidy little library of books on that subject). AND now I’ve a Highland Lady of my own – Margaret Douglas Maclean Clephane – whom I have been writing about. Margaret married Emma Smith’s (Emma Austen Leigh’s) cousin, Lord Compton. On the death of his father (May 1828), she became the 2nd Marchioness of Northampton.

But Margaret was a Highland Bluestocking.

Torloisk, the Isle of Mull home she shared with her mother and two sisters, is an area I’ve recently looked at on google maps. So it wasn’t hard to look up the likes of Staffa, which Lord Compton visited in 1813 – and I’m beginning to think the Clephane ladies showed him around this island known for its basalt columns.

And not far off from there (on a map): the Shetlands – and that is how I discovered the footprints of Sir Walter Scott!

Margaret Clephane knew Walter Scott (he was her godfather, and her guardian) – and due to her intended marriage to Lord Compton (in 1815) he dropped by the Smith residence at No. 6 Portland Place and chatted an hour with Emma and Fanny Smith! (Mamma was not at home…)

Compton_Margaret and Marianne_Harriet Cheney

Margaret & Marianne (her eldest daughter)

Walter Scott is behind the naming of JARLSHOF, a name he invented for his novel The Pirate (1822). At the southern tip of the Sheltland Islands, Jarlshof is an important archeological site.

Ian Mitchell has written about Scott’s adventures in the Shetlands; Scott visited these northern islands in 1814 – the year he published WAVERLEY, the novel Jane Austen was loath to like, though she “feared she must” like it. [aside: read David Groves, “Jane Austen in Scotland” in JASNA’s 1985 journal Persuasions.] Until that publication, Scott was known for his poetry – and Jane Austen, with three novels to her credit, teased her niece that Scott should have left the crowded field of novel-writing alone! Indeed, his works became fiercely beloved in his lifetime. Published anonymously, it’s rather surprising that Austen had already heard who the author of Waverley was; even Margaret Clephane was only guessing when she wrote to Scott about Waverley – teasing about how much she could have helped the “unknown” author with all things Scots Gaelic (a language Margaret spoke as well as English). She is the reason for a LOT of the Highland scholarship behind Scott’s historical novels. It’s all there, in her letters to him (his replies to her, of course, make up letters in the published Scott Correspondence).

Permalink Leave a Comment

Memento Mori

March 27, 2015 at 10:53 pm (history) (, , )

Although a bit of a morbid subject to contemplate, this hour-plus video tour of the cemetery known as The Dundee Howff, is quite fascinating.

howff

For instance, I can’t say I ever realized an Hour Glass on its side indicated a person who hadn’t lived “a full life” (ie, 70 years). It’s a pity those monuments that are on the ground are hard to see, as the explanations make you wish to view them closely. Iain Flett and Innes Duffus are the two archivists showing us around.

Permalink 1 Comment

Allan Maclean, Jacobite General

March 7, 2015 at 12:39 pm (books, history) (, , )

In trying to give greater access to my launching series of “Online Articles”, I was searching for a paper I knew to be on Academia.edu, and in that search found a very interesting book: on the uncle of Margaret Maclean Clephane (ie, Lady Compton).

allan macleanAllen Maclean: Jacobite General, by Mary Beacock Fryer (1987; 1996) is at the very least available on Kindle, though probably copies of the original printing are out there.

Anyone reading even a few posts on Two Teens will know that women’s history is more up my alley. BUT: Maclean not only has a slim attachment to my Smith & Gosling research, he also served in the United States (more correctly, “the Colonies”) – and I see mentions of Lake Champlain (VERY near to me) in the text.

Anyone who has read the book, don’t be shy – drop by, say ‘hello,’ and give your thoughts on the book, the man, anything really.

The blurb for the book (on books.google) begins, “Born on the Isle of Mull to an impoverished laird of the clan Maclean, young Allan fought his first battle — for Bonnie Prince Charlie at Culloden”. Maclean fled to Holland, then served during the Seven Years War (AKA The French and Indian War) here, in North America, and again during the American Revolution. Allan Maclean was born in 1725 and died in March, 1797.

Early in the book (page 123), MARGARET’s letter discussing the history of this uncle is cited:

“The adventures contributed to a fund of stories that delighted his niece Marianne [the mother of Margaret, Anna Jane, and Wilmina Douglas-Maclean-Clephane], growing up at Torloisk, which she later passed on to her daughters. The eldest, Margaret Clephane, wrote to a friend, a Miss Stanhope:

his history would make a novel; he once passed through the American Camp in the disguise of a quack doctor, and sold a whole box of physic to the Yankees, and reached the British headquarters.

This ruse occurred when Allan slipped through the rebel army surrounding Boston…”

What a FASCINATING thing for Margaret to envision, given her close relationship with Walter Scott — his books were often the subject of Clephane-Compton correspondence.

 

Permalink Leave a Comment

The Macdougall sisters’ Edinburgh-area home

June 5, 2013 at 9:00 pm (estates, history, news) (, , , , , , , , )

In an earlier post, “A Tale of Two Macdougalls,” I wondered where the sisters Susan and Helen Macdougall — two women who served in the capacity of governess in the Smith household, in the early 1820s — might have lived. I had VERY LITTLE information to go on!

Marian has ID’ed the home of Alexander Macdougall and family as Eskhill House, Inveresk, Edinburgh. No. 15 Inveresk Village, is for sale at Savills.

EDS120169_22_gal

The 12-page brochure calls Eskhill House “exceptional,” and has the following to say about the property and its 6226 sq. ft house:

“Inveresk ia charming village, situated 7 miles East of Edinburgh city centre… Historically a home for Edinburgh’s prosperous professional classes this is a picturesque village with impressive period architecture.

…Eskhill House is an exceptional house which dates from 1710 and which has been extended, improved and sympathetically modernised over the years…. Of particular note are the principal reception rooms with their fine ornamental plasterwork and magnificent mantelpieces.”

EDS120169_06_gal

Interlude:

British Listed Buildings has a little to say about Alexander Macdougall, claiming he purchased the estate for £500. Today’s asking price? £1,850,000.

Pity it wasn’t ME who won the “mega millions” lottery!

Permalink Leave a Comment