James Crump, Butler to Mr. Gosling

July 11, 2017 at 5:22 pm (estates, people, places) (, , )

Yesterday I found a small “treasure” – a letter, written by James Crump, in which he claims the position of BUTLER in the Roehampton Grove household of Mr. William Gosling! The letter is dated August 1820.

roehamptongrove

Roehampton Grove

Thanks to the greater volume of Smith family letters, I have some names of servants within their household. Thanks to Mary’s later diaries, especially those written after the death of her husband Charles, I have some names of servants in the household of Suttons (1830s).

This *find* was truly EXCITING! though I was disappointed in not finding MORE information about the man.

From the small cache of letters (four) found, a little of Mr. Crump’s history can be surmised:

  • he has a daughter-in-law

Therefore, he is older; is married or has been married; has had children – and those children are of an age to have gotten married already.

  • his correspondent is the Earl of Sheffield

In discussing a loan of £20, obtained from the earl in 1814, he must have been part of the earl’s household at the time of the loan. Without a census, which would have answered questions of Crump’s age and position within the household, this question cannot be easily answered. He enclosed two pounds, interest on the loan.

  • one letter was sent from abroad – Brussels

A LONG list of places seen, and one can guess why (in a later letter) he is hankering to get abroad again. As the old song says, “How you gonna keep ’em down on the farm (after they’ve seen Paree)”.

  • same 1819 letter places him in service to the Marchioness of Downshire

It was the Marchioness’ two sons – Lord George Hill and Lord Augustus Hill – with whom Mr. Crump travelled. He describes himself as being employed a year by the Marchioness; he act as courier or travelling servant for her sons. The Marchioness had been widowed in 1801; her sons were a little younger than the Gosling boys. So, at the time of their lengthy trip abroad, they were in their late teens – George, born in December 1801, was the younger of the two (Augustus being born in August 1800). They were children of the late Arthur Hill, the 2nd Marquess of Downshire, and his wife Mary Sandys.

  • by August 1820, Crump was Butler at Roehampton, but looking to go abroad

Two letters written in the summer of 1820 bring us up to date with Mr. Crump. In the earlier letter, he has repaid the £20 loan; in this letter of August, he thanks the earl for the return of his promissory note, and actually refers to having “lived so long in your Lordship’s service”.

It was therefore, between the Brussels letter of September 1819 and the first letter written from Roehampton Grove (July 1820) that Crump was hired as Butler.

One would think, by hinting to the earl that he would LIKE to be a travelling servant again, that Crump didn’t stay LONG in the Gosling household.

But I wonder…

Granted, an unknown name could be misread OR clumsy fingers create a typo, but I searched through letters and found young Maria Smith ending one letter with some curious news.

Maria Smith

Maria mentions the recent move of Charlotte Gosling, the youngest Gosling sister. The very next sentence,  I think, continues Gosling household news. Surely the Mr. Crump or Crumpe (difficult to tell) that Maria then mentions is tied in some manner to the Goslings. The man was soon off, to become steward to Lord Glenlyon, with a battalion of foresters and grooms to supervise. Maria added that the position would be a great change for him! Indeed, _IF_ he had been “butlering” for the past twenty years. The letter is dated 1840.

Like the surmising of James Crump’s early life with the Earl of Sheffield, we can only surmise his years (perhaps) with Lord Glenlyon. AND his years (perhaps) with the Goslings. If anyone knows further information of James Crump, please do get in touch.

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More “Fashionable World,” 1801

October 20, 2013 at 10:56 pm (books, diaries, entertainment, fashion, history, people, research) (, , , , , , , , )

1801 turns out to be an unusually RICH year for finding the Smiths & Goslings in the newspapers.

The “London Season” was in full-swing!

And my ladies – Eliza Gosling (Mary’s mother, the former Eliza Cunliffe), Mary Smith (Mary’s Aunt and Emma’s great-aunt; the former Mary Cunliffe, now Mrs Drummond Smith), were giving balls and routs; my gentlemen – William Gosling (Mary’s father), Drummond Smith (Emma’s great-uncle), were giving dinners.

fashionable world1

Quick IDs to some others:

  • Alexander Davison had married William Gosling’s sister, Harriet.
  • The Francis Goslings lived in Bloomsbury Square.
  • Lady Cunliffe was the widowed mother of Eliza Gosling and Mary Smith.
  • Lord Walsingham was a de Grey relation of the future (2nd wife) Mrs William Gosling.
  • Mrs Thomas Smith (later of Bersted Lodge) was Emma’s great-aunt, the former Susannah Mackworth Praed.
  • Mrs Gregg of Bedford Square was Mary’s “Aunt Gregg,” sister of William Gosling.
  • Lady Frances Compton was the unmarried sister of Lord Northampton, called “Aunt Frances” by the Smiths of Suttons siblings.

* * *

{newspaper} The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 6 Feb 1801

Mrs. Drummond Smith’s parties, during the fashionable season, will be given in the same stile they were last year.

Mrs. Gosling had a large party of fashionable visitants at her house a few days ago in Portland-place.

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 14 Feb 1801

Mr. and Mrs. Davison have returned to town for the residue of the winter. Mrs. Davison’s fashionable parties are expected to commence in the course of a fortnight.

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 18 Feb 1801

among the attendees at the Marchioness of Salisbury’s Rout, among Mistresses: Drummond Smith

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 24 Feb 1801

Mrs. Drummond Smith’s parties commence early in next month, at her magnificent house in Piccadilly.”

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 27 Feb 1801

among “near five hundred personages of distinction”: Messrs. – Drummond Smith…Mistresses – Drummond Smith

… “Mrs. Gosling’s Rout on Monday night, in Bloomsbury-square, was very respectably attended.

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 2 Mar 1801

FASHIONABLE ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE WEEK.

Friday.

Mrs. Drummond Smith’s Rout, Piccadilly

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 4 Mar 1801

at Mrs. Vaughan’s Rout (Monday evening, Manchester-square) “attended by upwards of three hundred personages of distinction”: both Drummond and Mrs Drummond Smith

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 6 Mar 1801

Mrs. Drummond Smith will entertain a small party of friends, this evening, at her elegant house in Piccadilly.

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 14 Mar 1801

at the Countess of Mansfield’s Rout (her “first assembly since her marriage”) {the house a “noble and spacious family mansion, in the centre of Portland-place; the house having previously undergone improvements in the first style of elegance”} “near 500” attend: among them Lady Cunliffe, Lord Walsingham; also Lady Wingfield, Lady Sey and Sele [sic], Mistress Drummond Smith, Mistress Fremantle.

same issue: “Mrs. Drummond Smith’s rout, last night, was attended by a very numerous party of distinguished friends.

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 25 Mar 1801

notice is given of Mrs Methuen’s rout; among the “upwards of three hundred personnages of fashion” was Mrs William Gosling and Mrs Drummond Smith. Mr C. Smith may be Charles (“Papa”). Among the “Ladies” are Lady Cunliffe and Lady Frances Compton. At the top of the guest list: The Prince of Orange.

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 1 April 1801

Mrs. Davison had a private ball on Friday evening in St. James’s-square, which commenced at ten o’clock, and broke up at one.

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 6 April 1801

FASHIONABLE ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE WEEK

Friday

Mr Gosling’s Grand Dinner, Portland Place

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 13 Apr 1801

FASHIONABLE ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE WEEK.

Tuesday.

Mr. Gosling’s grand Dinner, Portland-place

Mrs. Gosling’s Rout, Portland-place

Thursday.

Mr. Cure’s grand Dinner, Great George-street.

Mr. Drummond Smith’s Dinner, Piccadilly.

Friday.

Mrs. Thomas Smith’s Rout, New Norfolk-street.

Saturday.

Mrs. Gosling’s Rout.

*

 The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 20 Apr 1801

FASHIONABLE ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE WEEK.

This evening.

Mrs. Thomas Smith’s Rout, New Norfolk-street

Thursday.

Mrs. Gosling’s Rout, Portland-place

Saturday.

Mr. Davidson’s Grand Dinner, St. James’s-square

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 27 Apr 1801

FASHIONABLE ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE WEEK.

This evening.

[note Lady Syke’s Rout, Audley-sq]

Mrs. Gosling’s Rout, Bloomsbury-square

Tuesday – Mrs. Gregg’s Rout, Bedford-square

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 5 May 1801

among the LONG list of attendees at the Duchess of Chandos’ Ball: Mrs W. Gosling, Mrs Drummond Smith

* * *

Read about The Beau Monde, in the book
by Hannah Greig

beau monde

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LondonLiveStreet: Portland Place

December 9, 2012 at 12:23 pm (history, london's landscape, people, places, travel) (, , , , , )

A couple of nights ago I was trolling YouTube for anything interesting. Putting in “Portland Place” london, I happened upon this video of a drive up the street, from Langham Place — and the lovely All Souls Church — to the Park Crescent area near Regents Park. Frankly, how dare they call Portland Place – that dignified boulevard – the A4201!!

Alas for progress…

Mike at Tring had already snapped a few pics for me of Nos 28 and 30 Portland Place, London – so I knew what I was looking for. A set of townhouses, on the right. I watched and watched this short video, despairing that the camera’s focus on the left side of the street would swing towards the right too late. When: THERE THEY WERE!

portland place

No. 28 – the old “No 5 Portland Place”, home of William Gosling and family – is more readily seen: the portico juts out towards the sidewalk, and is beneath that pediment and those pilasters. No. 30 – the old “No 6 Portland Place”, home of Augusta Smith and her children – is the next doorway. At present, painted blue, the doorway of No 5 / 28, with the entrance blocked in, has surely been changed – the walls can’t be original, even if the columns are. I can see Mary and Elizabeth sheltering by the door, waiting for their carriage to pull up – can’t you? And is that Emma and Augusta at the first-floor window of No 6 / 30, waving??

I invite you to take the ride: we board at Langham Place and get off near Regents Park (click here or on the photo)

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Mrs Delany writes Letters

August 14, 2012 at 12:04 am (books, goslings and sharpe, history, people, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Ah, August… when the summer sessions at the university END, so ends the evening hours at the library. Booo!

Today, if they had been open past five, I would have gone to have a look at their collection of Mary Delany books. A new biography published last year had caught my eye, but there were other books I had looked at over the years but never taken out. I really want to see them, but must wait for noontime Saturday when the library’s open 12-5.

This silhouette comes, however, from a book published in 1821!  While I’ve long known about the more recent books, I had no idea anything was published as long ago as that. Might Emma and Mary have read Letters from Mrs Delany? Might Emma mention it in her diary and I just hadn’t been paying attention enough to make note of it?

Today Mrs Delany is remembered because of her Flower Mosaics. Yet a quick perusal of the index in vol. 6 of her letters shows how valuable her published letters could prove to the Smith & Gosling project. Why? Among other things, she evidently banked with Goslings and Sharpe!

For instance,

March 1780, from Mrs Delany: “I hope my last letter and draft on Gosling for L:y Clanbrassil’s christning {sic} money has arrived safe.”

September 1770, to Mrs Delany: “…he has vowed that he will be punctual to a day to the hands of your banker, Mr. Gosling.”

December 1758, from Mrs Delany: “I have indeed set my heart much upon your going to town, and you have a draught on Gosling, etc., which I designed should pay for the Birmingham boxes…”

She therefore, goes back to the very beginnings of the banking firm!

So who in 1756 might “Mrs Gosling” have been — she wouldn’t have been William Gosling’s mother (i.e., Mary’s paternal grandmother), as William’s parents only married in 1763. William’s father, Robert Gosling, though would have been with the firm — having joined in 1754, according to The History of Barclays Bank. At this time the firm was called Gosling, Bennett, and Gosling — for the partners (Sir) Francis Gosling, Samuel Bennett, Robert Gosling.

Could this describe Elizabeth Douce, William’s paternal grandmother? Elizabeth Midwinter, prior to Francis Gosling’s knighthood? (According to The Alderman of the City of London, Francis was knighted on 28 October 1760.)

It’s a curious comment, and a faintly unflattering one:

March 1756, from Mrs Delany: “Wednesday, I spent with Mrs. Donnellan instead of going to Israel in Egypt; and how provoking! she had Mrs. Montagu, Mrs. Gosling, and two or three fiddle faddles, so that I might as well have been at the oratorio.”

Mrs Delany was a Handel fan.

The Gosling circle tightens when one finds the Correspondence of Samuel Richardson contains (in vol. 4) letters to Dr and Mrs Delany, Mrs Donnellan, Mrs Dewes (sister to Mrs Delany). Samuel Richardson was the guardian of Miss Midwinter — who became Lady Gosling, wife to Sir Francis.

Oh, my….

It’s eleven at night and I find myself *WISHING* I had all the hours in the day to devote to research – there’s so much here. And how was it that I found Mrs Delany this evening: looking up information on BIO – Biographers International Organization. I’d love to hear from anyone belonging to BIO; I’m thinking of applying.

As midnight looms, I wrap up this post with a listing of the online books relating to Mrs Delany:

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Creevey & Croker

July 28, 2012 at 6:54 pm (books, british royalty, diaries, history, people) (, , , , , , , , )

After finishing the Helene Hanff books (see the post on 84, Charing Cross Road), I was letting my fingers do the walking through my downstairs bookcase – and plucked an old paperback “selection” of Thomas Creevey’s papers. Gosh! I remember when I first bought this: I hankered after the THREE books it was based on. Guess what? you can pretty much find them online now… Ah, it had taken at least some dusty stacks grabbing (if not storage…) to find the Maxwell edition. A lot of work to find them back then.

So here I’m posting links, including those of a “rival” John Wilson Croker.

Thomas Creevey (left) left letters – and if he DID leave diaries, they’ve not been traced and may have been “swallowed up” by those not wanting his thoughts and opinions to leak out. I hadn’t realized before: Born in 1768, Thomas Creevey was of an age with the likes of William Gosling and Eliza Chute!

My paperback is a reprint edition edited by John Gore, called Thomas Creevey’s Papers, 1793-1838.

I was reading Gore’s introduction last evening. Gore’s 1944 compilation had been preceded by Sir Herbert Maxwell’s 1904 2-volume set. Gore had worked not to duplicate items. Gore writes of Maxwell’s work “taking Edwardian London by storm”. We should all be so lucky…

Gore included an appendix about the possible parentage (father) of Thomas Creevey. This opening speaks VOLUMES to me: “Probably all who have to do with biography will acknowledge the fact that the truth too often comes to light after and not at the publication of a definitive biography, even of one which is the result of years of patient research.”

That, indeed, is a big fear of mine. Some BOMBSHELL will burst, exploding a supposition I’ve held and perhaps long cherished. I already have had a minor bombshell in a little mystery surrounding Lady Elizabeth Compton and her eventual husband Charles Scrase Dickins. One letter was all it took… And one letter disclosed that Maria Smith was sought in marriage by the young man, Mr Odell, who accompanied her brother Drummond on his trip to Italy — a trip that Drummond never returned from. And one letter in a published source led me to the diary of Lord Ossory that Ann in Ireland was kind enough to look through for me. All it takes is “one”. Gore finished his thought by saying “Truth will out . . . but reluctantly. One cannot obtain a warrant to search the attics of every country house…” (maybe not! but I’d LIKE TO do so) “…vital facts often come to light immediately after interest is aroused by the publication of a biography.”

  • The Creevey Papers, edited by Sir Herbert Maxwell: vol I, vol II – this is via Internet Archive, but is a Google book. It looks like both volumes are in one. Another link; here’s a two-volume set: vol I; vol II. I like the “set” because vol II has a portrait of MRS Creevey – and you know I’d rather read about the ladies.
  • Creevey’s Life and Times, edited by John Gore seems not online — yet?!

In reading the introduction, I was reminded of John Wilson Croker (below)- his works cover nearly the same period.

I can’t say much about either man – never read Croker and it’s been years since I’ve dipped into Creevey. I based a character in two short-stories on his sister. Should look into getting those stories published…

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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.

* * *

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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No 5 & No 6 Portland Place Alive and Well

April 26, 2012 at 12:34 pm (carriages & transport, estates, goslings and sharpe, history, london's landscape, news, places, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

MUCH has been happening in the past week, some diaries, some letters, some images have been turning up. Many, MANY thanks to those collectors for contacting me!

But the news I really want to share is the fantastic news that the Smith & Gosling homes in “Town” (ie, London) still exist!

Toby in Essex confirmed that indeed a renumbering had occurred and he had proof that No. 28 was once designated No. 5 Portland Place. The rather chuckle-worthy remainder of the story? Today No. 28 is the Royal Institute for Public Health and Hygiene!

On the “well-what-do-ya-know” front is, the Royal Institute has rooms for hire — and pictures are online! It’stheAgency offers some photos and hiring info. Square Meal has further photos and 360-degree virtual tours of the rooms. Another site had floor plans (showing the size of each room – a bit of a challenge for me: all in meters rather than feet and inches), but I can’t put my finger on the URL at the moment. UPDATE: Here’s the link at Chester Boyd.

THEN came the map, dated 1790, sent by Mike in Surrey. It clearly shows that No. 5 was next door (as I always hoped) to No. 6 — so Mary Gosling (at No. 5) truly did marry the “boy next door” — Charles Joshua Smith at No. 6!

Am I surprised to see numbers in the 60s across the street… Not really. I encountered as much in Paris years ago, when searching for an address so I could pick up the key to the flat I had rented. And yet, the numbering is NOW what I would recognize as typical (ie, like the street I live on): all the odd-numbers are on one side and all the even-numbers are across the street. Therefore, if No 5 is now No 28, then No 6 is now No 30 Portland Place.

If you’re in the area, stop and gaze at the windows that used to find the Smiths and Goslings as inhabitants. Close your eyes, and hear the clomp of the horses’ hooves as the carriage pulls around the corner, from the mews. Maybe when you again open them, you will see Papa — Mr. William Gosling, come out in order to be driven to his banking firm, Goslings & Sharpe, on Fleet Street, at the Sign of the Three Squirrels!

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Pedigrees — Who’s Who in Smith & Gosling

January 9, 2012 at 6:54 am (history, introduction, news, people, places, portraits and paintings, research) (, , , , , , , , , )

Although I don’t have the software to have nice genealogical charts (and these are pretty complicated families in oh so many ways), I’ve added some “Pedigrees” to the bottom of the “Portraits” page {see link at right}.

You’ve long had information on “Who was Mary’s Father and Mother?” or “How many Smith siblings? and who did everyone marry?” Now, you can see — I hope! — how the “inter-relations” were already there. For instance, Mrs Eliza Chute was (1) best friend to Eliza Cunliffe before and after her marriage to William Gosling, but (2) Eliza Gosling’s sister was also “Aunt” to Eliza Chute — having married Drummond Smith of Tring Park (brother to Joshua Smith of Erle Stoke Park).

There’s a pedigree for the Seymour of Blendworth family — which can be confusing: there are TWO Sir Michael’s to content with, for instance. A trio of Doras too, though Richard Seymour called his sister Dora and his cousin (and eventual sister-in-law) Dora K (for Dora Knighton, her maiden name). Richard’s wife Fanny had to contend with a sister-in-law Frances. Who would believe that soon after Fanny Smith became Fanny Seymour, Frances Seymour became Frances Smith?! Whew! {they are pedigree 9}.

More pedigrees will be coming, of course — some fitting in children or parents. I’ve not always fitted in titles and military affiliations, in the hope of keeping things a bit “clean”. Apologies for that. And family historians are welcome to let me know if I’ve missed out on people or gotten someone wrong. Or ask for further information!

As always, I welcome hearing about letters and diaries that can help build up the Smith&Gosling story. So many people, so much material.

It makes for a long page, but rather nice I think to scroll past all the portraits — including the list of “Where are these?” — to get to the pedigrees. But it does make for a LOT of scrolling….

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6 Degrees of Separation

January 6, 2012 at 11:03 am (chutes of the vyne, diaries, london's landscape, people, research) (, , , , , , , , , )

No, not Eliza Chute and Jane Austen (although, it definitely is the case, as well). My “degrees of separation” are with a totally different “author” — one who never would have thought of herself as being in print.

One of the slim profferings (only three! my apologies for being so slack) on my little book blog GEORGIAN GEMS, REGENCY READS & VICTORIAN VOICES is a book entitled The Complete Diaries of a Cotswold Parson — these being the diaries of Francis Edward Witts.

I was reviewing a letter, written in August 1800, from Eliza Chute to her best friend Eliza Gosling, when a desire to read through the (heavily-edited) transcription of Eliza Chute’s 1800 diary overtook me.

Gosh! what lives these people lead — especially when they came up to Town (ie, London). I paid more attention to Eliza’s writings while in London than while back at The Vyne. Why? She visited all the other people in London — her sister Augusta Smith; Maria’s sister-in-law Lady Frances Compton, just removing to Chelsea; her parents Joshua and Sarah Smith at Great George Street — where that notorious view of St Margaret’s abutting Westminster Abbey may be viewed:

(Until seeing this photo, I never quite realized the “scene” behind Jane Austin was two towers of two buildings: now it made sense!)

Thrilling for me are Eliza’s visits to Eliza and William Gosling, as well as Lady Cunliffe (Eliza’s mother) — and her other daughter Mary. Mary was Mrs Drummond Smith — and therefore aunt to Eliza Chute!

  • view portraits of Eliza Chute, Lady Cunliffe, and Mrs Drummond Smith on this blog’s Portraits page

On 20 April 1800, Eliza noted a visit to a woman I transcribed as “Ly Elehos” – a name that, during a later reread (ie, without the original diary as reference), I flagged as fairly improbable. This reading it dawned on me that I KNEW who this woman was, not Lady Elehos but correctly transcribed as a possessive (though the original is probably without the apostrophe): “went out  admitted to Ly Elcho’s

Now here was a familiar name, from the Witts diaries! Susan Tracy Keck, related to Francis Witts’ mother (who has her own diaries – more about that momentarily), married and now named Lady Elcho, is mentioned again and again. And Eliza Chute knew them well enough to visit! She should: the Kecks and Chutes were related –> see the Chute family website at Ancestry.

Gosh! small world.

But BIG opportunity.

The “Complete” Cotswold series is (when completed) TEN volumes for Francis Witts and five volumes for Mrs Witts. The tenth volume for Francis is a volume of Notes, IDs, Index, &c. The publisher, Amberley Books, is on volume 8 (I have vols. 1 and 5); but poor Mrs Witts is in a holding pattern: her series is still only ONE volume. Groan…

Eliza, later in the year, then mentions this interesting phrase: “Paid a long visit to Ld Elcho’s who was going to Scotland in a few days

Undoubtedly the couple were departing London for Scotland to visit the Witts family — for the Witts, in debt, were at the beginning of their “nomadic” years. [UPDATE: with further reading I find my assumption is incorrect: the Witts left Edinburgh in 1798; they were abroad in 1800.]

So the big question — without the Index: Did the Witts ever mention Eliza and/or William Chute? And: Did the Witts at all know Eliza and William Gosling, especially when they were installed in Cheltenham, where the Witts too could be found.

New reasons for perusing “old” (sitting on my self) books. Hurry up, Amberley, we need more Agnes Witts!!

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Henry Austen & Cottesbrooke

September 27, 2011 at 8:40 am (estates, history, jane austen, jasna, people, places) (, , , , , , , , , , )

I am not one to speculate on Jane Austen’s novels — certainly not on what estates (IF any were in mind) might have served as prototypes for estates in her novels.

But Sunday (25 Sept 2011) our local JASNA-Vermont chapter hosted a talk given by incoming JASNA president, Iris Lutz. I first corresponded with Iris about five years ago when starting to think about getting up a chapter in the state — Iris was VP for Regions then. She put me in contact with Carol from Montpelier — who had had a similar idea and that was how JASNA-VT got off the ground.

Iris’ illustrated talk centered on the houses — in life and fiction — she had researched and/or seen in her travels. No mention of The Vyne, which was a bit of a surprise, seeing as it is highly accessible (it’s a National Trust property); but there were wonderful photos of the likes of Godmersham (the Knight estate in Kent) and Ibthorpe (home way back when to the Lloyd family; recently sold so it’s up in the air whether subsequent JASNA tours will be able to go visit the home). I thought a great talk could be made on Godmersham alone — the fabulous interior decoration in conjunction with Austen’s comments from her letters about the house or her stay(s) there.

Then an image flashed on that looked oh-so-familiar: It was Cottesbrooke! An estate that is a bit related to this blog’s research as it once was in the Langham family. And — as you might guess from the name — Langham Christie was  related to the Langhams of Cottesbrooke.

A friend to the Langhams of Cottesbrooke turns out to have been Henry Austen, Jane’s soldier-banker-clergyman brother.

Now, I always imagined some “knowledge” of Henry Austen by the Goslings — seeing as both were in banking. In Philadelphia, at the 2009 JASNA AGM, I had asked Maggie Lane, a writer on the Austens, if she had ever come across the Gosling name (or Goslings & Sharpe) when researching Henry; she had no recollection of the name.

Working on some separating writing (an Austen book chapter), I dug out my Le Faye copy of a bio on Austen cousin (and later Henry’s wife), Eliza de Feuillaide, I spotted Clive Caplan‘s 1998 article on Henry Austen as banker. So the hunt is on for this issue of the journal. Does Caplan find any Gosling & Sharpe? Does he mention the Langhams of Cottsbrooke? Time will tell.

Iris’ talk intimated that someone somewhere had the idea that Cottesbrooke might have served as a basis for Austen’s depiction of Mansfield Park. I personally doubt she “based” too heavily, although aspects might certainly have been used about ANY estate for any of her fictional places, but the idea is intriguing. Lots out there on the subject, I now find:

Facebook and AustenOnly are the main sources. Cottesbrooke Gardens get a nod from the Telegraph. You can find more mentions of the possible Mansfield Park-Cottesbrooke connection by searching for the two together.

* * *

 27 September 1801

on this day was born Emma Smith

who married James Edward Austen, later Austen Leigh

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