Can you help?
Diaries and letters belonging to the Smiths, Goslings and their relatives reside in places as diverse as Duke University and the Hampshire Record Office. I have also tracked down several private collectors. Have you come across these people? Do you own a diary or a letter (or letterbook) or a portrait which once belonged to the family. If so, I want to hear from you!
♦ Is an Archive or Estate in your neighborhood? see especially The Vyne and Berkshire Record Office blog posts. And I never turn down visitors to the Hampshire Record Office (Winchester). In the States: anyone near UCLA?
♦ One past request concerned Dublin, Ireland — Many Thanks to Kildare for the images! In the States: Thanks, Pat for work at Stanford.
please also see the following pages on this site:
There are many names within the families, the major ones being:
- Burgess / Burges / Smith-Burges(s)
- Shaw Lefevre / Lefevre
- Compton / Northampton
- Chute / Lobb Chute / Wiggett Chute
- Austen / Austen Leigh
- Seymour / Culme-Seymour
- Dickens / Dickins
Are you familiar with former residences associated with them:
- Suttons (Romford, Essex), Hassobury (Farnham, Essex); also Albyns, Clayberry, Dagnams, Hill Hall, Kelvedon, Skreens, etc. (all: Essex)
- Tring Park (Herts.)
- Mapledurham House, Speen, or Newbury (Oxon.)
- Kinwarton (Warks.)
- Castle Ashby; Preston Deanery (Northants.)
- Erle Stoke Park (Wilts.)
- The Vyne (near Basingstoke); Stanlake (near Twyford); Blendworth; Brooklands (all: Hants.)
- Purley Hall (Berks.)
- Coolhurst (West Sussex)
- Roehampton Grove; Botleys (near Chertsey); Cobham Place (all: Surrey)
- the London borough (now Newham and future site of the Olympics…) once known as Stratford
- the London townhouses: No. 5 & No. 6 Portland Place; No. 144 Piccadilly (home of the (Sir) Drummond Smiths); No. 145 Piccadilly (home of the Smith-Burgeses [sometimes spelled Smith-Burgess]; later purchased by Lord Northampton); the Le Marchant residence at 84 (or No. 7) Harley Street; the residence of the Curries, (No. 12?) Cavendish Square; the Christies lived in 1833 somewhere on Park Crescent.
- two Ramsgate ‘vacation’ residences are mentioned in letters: No. 7 Albion Place (the Christies; 1840) and No. 3 Nelson’s Crescent (Lady Smith; 1841)
Or familiar with some of the Essex families the Smiths of Suttons had as neighbors
- (Comyns) Parker
Or those whom they employed:
- the two Miss Ashleys (one or both were governesses to the Smiths, over two generations; one identified as Sarah Ashley, the other as yet has no first name)
- Miss Helen McDougall or Miss Pond or Miss Ramsay (Smith governesses prior to Miss Ashley)
- Miss Manly or Miss Beekvelt, friends to the unfortunate Miss Ramsay (who died in 1819)
- Mrs Sandoz (Mary’s governess) and her daughter
- Mary Adams; Barlow; Sarah Batch; Bowen; Conybeare (spelling?), the new Butler in 1832; Davis; Martha Finch; Foster; Godfrey; Hinds, possibly the departing Butler in 1832; Ketcham (a maid); Marshall (who may be Catherine ‘Kitty’ Marshall); Reeves, new Butler in 1840; Betsey Thomas = all predominately at Suttons
- Mr Sendall (tutor to Charles Cunliffe Smith); Mr Wyatt (another tutor, 1839)
If you’re researching any of the family, friends, or employees — I’d love to hear from you.
As I slowly work through more diaries, earlier diaries — of Emma, of her mother Augusta, of her aunt Eliza Chute, I will be adding to this list of people and places, for there are subtle differences between Emma’s girlhood diaries and Mary’s lady-of-the-manor diaries (from which most of this information was initially extracted).
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Of course, there are items that I know exist – I just don’t know where they are. Paintings & miniatures are going to be the hardest to track down (do see my “want list” on bottom of the portraits page). But there are also several books, for instance:
- William Compton (Lord Northampton), History of the Comptons of Compton Wynyates (1940).
- Peter Weston, From Roehampton Great House to Grove House to Froebel College. NOVEMBER 2016 update: have a copy, thanks to Gilly @ Roehampton U.
- Malcolm Sutherland, Sola bona quae honesta: The Colebrooke Family, 1650-1950.
- (Eliza and Drummond Smith), Scenes from Life at Suttons, 1825-1827 (Spottiswoode, 1925). This is described in May Lamberton Becker’s book ‘Presenting Miss Jane Austen’ (pp. 203-4) as: Written by Eliza and Drummond Smith and first published one hundred years later for the descendants of that family as “a clever and graphic picture of life in a country house” of that period. These lively scenes, in rhymed verse, use the actual words spoken on these occasions, in the manner–characteristic of large and happy families–of seldom getting to the end of a sentence uninterrupted. Written without thought of publication, it carries on the tradition in families like those of the Austens, of providing their own home entertainment before wireless or motor cars. The portraits are sketches from life by Augusta Smith. Emma Smith (1801-1876) married Rev. James Austen–subsequently Austen-Leigh. JUNE 2011 update: FOUND!
Anyone who can let me borrow a copy, make a xerox copy for me, or otherwise help, please contact me.
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Funding opportunities are exceptionally difficult to track down, never mind secure. For the research trip to England which took place May-July 2007, I applied for a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, and also JASNA’s International Visitor Program (IVP); both went unfunded. If anyone knows of programs designed (or willing) to help fund research done by independent scholars, I would be grateful.