“A difficult part to act”

When I came to Parliament everyone knew who I was. Now they all look through me as though I’m not there … I have no presence, no role, nothing but a name, and even that is more William’s than mine now.

Thus speaks the 2nd Earl of Chatham, the main character of my novel The Long Shadow, shortly after his brother Pitt the Younger makes his maiden speech in the House of Commons. John’s words are, of course, my own, and they reflect one of the main themes of the novel, John’s search for his own identity beyond the long shadow of his father and brother. My theme, however, is well-grounded in fact. He was the eldest son, the head of the family, but heavily dependent on the patronage and favour of his younger brother. It was a complete inversion of the 18th century aristocratic norm. Not only that, but John possessed an impoverished and virtually landless title which was nonetheless closely associated with greatness and authority. How difficult must John’s position have been?

John, 2nd Earl of Chatham, in John Singleton Copley's "The Death of the Earl of Chatham" (1779)

John, 2nd Earl of Chatham, in John Singleton Copley’s “The Death of the Earl of Chatham” (1779)

With our 20/20 hindsight it is all too easy to forget that Pitt the Younger was not his father’s eldest son. When the first Earl of Chatham died in 1778 all eyes did not automatically turn to his second son, who was barely nineteen, still kept rooms at Cambridge, and was only just embarking on legal training at Lincoln’s Inn. William Pitt had not yet done anything to distinguish himself in the public, although his reputation for hard study and a defence of his father’s posthumous reputation published as an open letter to Lord Bute suggested he had inherited more than his fair share of the family brains. Quite reasonably, everyone turned their attention to the eldest son, John, now the 2nd Earl. “One looks upon him as the Child of the Publick,” Lord Grantham wrote, explaining his curiosity to meet the eldest son of the great Lord Chatham.[1]

At the time of his father’s death John was twenty-one and about to serve as aide-de-camp to General Boyd at Gibraltar. He does not seem to have been well known in political circles, but had clearly kept up social links with the effective head of the Chathamite political interest in Parliament, Lord Shelburne, and he had served on various occasions as a scribe for his gout-stricken father. John’s closest friend, the Duke of Rutland, might have formed a political group of his own — his father, the Marquis of Granby, was nearly as famous a political figure as Pitt the Elder, and Rutland’s rank, wealth and intelligence would have suited him to the task. Astonishingly, however, Rutland laid himself completely at the service of “a man for whom I profess & most sincerely do feel so much”[2]:

My dear Lord, give me Leave to thank you in the Sincerest Manner for the Great Honor you have done me in trusting me with your Proxy [while John was abroad in the West Indies]. Such an unequivocal testimony such a Publick distinguished Demonstration of Confidence from one whose Good opinion & Friendship is the Pride & Pleasure of my Life is a Circumstance too affecting, for me to be able to Express the Satisfaction I feel upon it in terms adequate to my Sensations.[3]

Charles, 4th Duke of Rutland (Wikimedia Commons) [a]

Charles, 4th Duke of Rutland (Wikimedia Commons) [a]

While Rutland was in Ireland, he left Chatham in charge of his parliamentary interest, instructing his agent Daniel Pulteney to apply to Chatham for advice on all political issues.

Had Chatham wanted to, he could have taken advantage of his name and parentage (as his brother William was later to do). His attitude to politics started out diligently enough. He was in Gibraltar from June 1778 until March 1779, so he could do nothing in that period, but one of the first things he did upon returning to England was to take his seat in the House of Lords. The reappearance of the Earl of Chatham in Parliament caused a frenzy of interest:

The young Earl of Chatham took the oaths and his seat in Parliament on Thursday last. His Lordship was dressed in his regimentals … and presented a very elegant, manly, and graceful figure. He is as tall as his late father, has the appearance of much mildness in his countenance, and is said to be a most exemplary young nobleman in his morals, and general good character.[4]

Chatham did not spend much time in England over the next two years, but he crops up regularly enough in the Journals of the House of Lords, and was one of nine opposition Lords who signed an official protest against the King’s elevating Lord George Germain to the peerage as Viscount Sackville.[5] As Rutland’s letter suggests, Chatham cared enough about political issues to make arrangements for his proxy vote to be deployed in his absence.

During a period  of leave in 1781 he spent some time at Lord Shelburne’s house at Bowood, where he was looked upon with great curiosity by the philosopher Jeremy Bentham:

Do you know Lord Chatham? … He has his father’s Roman nose, and, if events should concur to make him have a good opinion of himself, will soon, I dare say, acquire his commanding manner: at present, one sees little more than a kind of reserve, tempered with mildness, but clouded with a little dash of bashfulness.[6]

That “bashfulness”, however, was one of several reasons why John never did manage to find a political niche for himself. His “mildness” was remarked upon by many who met him, often in surprise. “Lord Chatham … has not his [father’s] Countenance,” Lord Grantham noted in astonishment when he met John in Madrid in 1779.[7] But Chatham was not his father, despite inheriting the title: he simply wasn’t cut out for politics. Much later in his life, during the Walcheren debacle, a military subordinate suggested “that he wants confidence in his own powers”, a remarkably incisive comment.[8] He had the intelligence to be interested, but neither the energy nor the drive to make his name. And in any case, by the time Bentham was writing in 1781, the rising star of the Pitt family was becoming clear… and it wasn’t John.

What sort of effect must all this have had on Chatham? He must have been aware that his father always expected great things of him. “The promise of our dear children does me more good than the purest of pure air,” Pitt the Elder once wrote to his wife, referring specifically to both John and William.[9] In the first few years after his father’s death he must have had a great burden on his shoulders, one he was not necessarily well-suited to carry, but he did his best.

William Pitt the Elder, 1st Earl of Chatham by William Hoare (Wikimedia Commons) [b]

William Pitt the Elder, 1st Earl of Chatham by William Hoare (Wikimedia Commons) [b]

As contemporaries realised, it was a difficult line to tread. When various rumours were circulated regarding his behaviour in Gibraltar, Lord Grantham and his brother Frederick Robinson immediately dismissed them as partisan talk. “I think much depends on ye. hands he will fall into,” Grantham concluded cautiously, but it was Robinson who put his finger on a deeper truth: “I think Ld. Chatham has a difficult part to act in this country, & do not wonder at his character being variously spoken of”.[10]


[1]Lord Grantham to Frederick Robinson, 27 March 1779, Wrest Park (Lucas) MSS, Bedford and Luton Archives, L30/15/54/127

[2] Rutland to Chatham, 8 December [1778], PRO 30/8/368 f 231

[3] Rutland to Chatham, 22 January 1780, PRO 30/8/368 f 233

[4] London Evening Post, 19 July 1779

[5] House of Lords Journal vol XXXVI, 18 February 1782

[6] Jeremy Bentham to George Wilson, 1781, Benthamiana, ed. J H Burton (London, 1843), p 333

[7] Lord Grantham to Frederick Robinson, 25 March 1779, Wrest Park (Lucas) MSS, Bedford and Luton Archives, L30/15/54/126

[8] Letters from Flushing by an officer of the 81st Regiment (London, 1809), p 126

[9] Lord Chatham to Lady Chatham, 8 June 1770, Chatham Correspondence IV, 267

[10] Lord Grantham to Frederick Robinson, 6 April 1779, Wrest Park (Lucas) MSS, Bedford and Luton Archives, L30/15/54/132; Frederick Robinson to Lord Grantham, 27 April 1779, Wrest Park (Lucas) MSS, Bedford and Luton Archives, L30/14/333/198

Image references

[a] http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3A4th_Duke_of_Rutland.jpg

[b] http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AWilliamPittTheElder.jpg


“He has at least won all our hearts”: Letters from Flushing

No, I’m not ready to do that post just yet, but the Walcheren campaign of 1809 — and obviously the involvement of John, 2nd Earl of Chatham in that campaign — has been on my mind recently. I am aware that when I lay down my pen in a few months at the end of my novel, I am going to have to do some research on Walcheren: I feel I owe it to myself, and to my boy Chatham, to do it. I know it won’t be pleasant, but I can hardly call myself a Chatham expert until I have familiarised myself with every aspect of the campaign.

In due course, therefore, I will probably be writing a series of Walcheren-related posts. For now I’m thinking about it mainly because I have recently made contact with Dr Carl A. Christie, whose doctoral research was on the Walcheren campaign and who kindly sent me an article he wrote on the subject in 1981.[1] While reading the article one of the references caught my eye, so I chased it up:


I was expecting the book to be harsh on John, but while it is not exactly favourable,I was surprised at how positive it was about him. I freely admit I’m much more likely to blog about the nice stuff at this stage (cross my heart I will be fair to Chatham when I come to look at Walcheren properly) but after the bad press he has in the history books I really wasn’t expecting his subordinates to, well … like him. Although it must be noted that being a likeable chap does not necessarily make for a great military commander, and there’s plenty of censure here too.

George Cruikshank, "The Grand Expedition" -- a rather more critical *coughs* portrayal of Lord Chatham's inactivity than in "Letters from Flushing"

George Cruikshank, “The Grand Expedition” — a rather more critical *coughs* portrayal of Lord Chatham’s inactivity than in “Letters from Flushing” (Wikimedia Commons)

The anonymous officer of the 81st Regiment who wrote the letters printed in “Letters from Flushing” may have had a pro-Chatham agenda of some sort, I don’t know: I haven’t done enough research even to guess who he might have been. He certainly had an axe to grind against the navy, so would be expected to take the army’s side in a debate. Taking all that as given, he begins (pp. 3-5) with a lengthy description of Lord Chatham, and the way in which he was viewed at the beginning of the expedition at the end of July 1809. (The letter in question is dated from Ramsgate, 27 July 1809.)

There’s a fair amount of implied criticism in the account — the author is quite circumspect about his opinion: “there is an old proverb, that ‘walls have ears’, and perhaps there are some things which should not be committed to letters” — but the John I have come to know in my research is certainly recognisable here.

So much, however, I will say, that I could wish the Earl [of Chatham] would be more active in putting his talents forth. He is certainly a man of abilities, he thinks solidly, and writes extremely well; but it is not very easy to arouse him into exertion; he is indolent beyond any man I have ever seen. At the present moment he bustles about with some appearance of alacrity; but it is evidently only a fit and a start, and all of us begin to apprehend a relapse. If you pass his window in his hours of leisure, you will invariably see him yawning, or with a book, over which he is sleeping. To sum up all, however, and perhaps to compensate for all, he has the reputation of being as honest a man as Heaven ever formed; he is the perfect gentleman, moreover, in his manners and deportment, and, as I have said before, whatever he does, he does well. If his activity were but equal to his talents, he would be inferior to none of our most celebrated Generals.

The author goes on to hint at one possibility never mentioned by historians for why Chatham was chosen to lead the expedition: his name and heritage inspired loyalty in the troops under his command (pp 4-5).

As the brother of the immortal Pitt, his appointment has given universal satisfaction amongst all the officers; and I do really believe that, under this impelling principle, they would do more for him than for any General in the service. I can scarcely describe to you the enthusiasm with which the good people of Ramsgate flock around the brother of Pitt, and the son of Chatham.

Presumably the soldiery were at least expecting a man who would be at least half as brilliant as his father and brother, although as the account suggests Chatham’s reputation for indolence was well-known.

On pp 125-7, the author again speaks of Chatham’s popularity among the soldiers, something I found rather surprising: from a couple of sources quoted in Gordon Bond and Martin Howard’s accounts of Walcheren I had the impression he was viewed as a distant commander, rather out of touch with what was happening on the front lines. Still, John was always an affable chap, and well-mannered, as the author keeps mentioning (he’s not the only one to lay emphasis on John’s “manners”). There’s nevertheless a flavour of censure about his easy-goingness, and the author does attack his hesitation and inactivity:

As to our Commander in Chief, he spends the greater part of his time in Middleburg [the headquarters], and very freely and good-naturedly permits the officers to follow their own inclinations.


Above: Middelburg, Walcheren Island

So much I must say of him, that every one seems to feel a lively regard for him; his manners are so gentlemanlike, and his temper so easy and affable, that he has at least won all our hearts. But there are certainly some murmurs that he is not sufficiently decisive, that he wants confidence in his own powers [I’d say this is a very incisive observation], that he is too fond of councils of war, and that he is deliberating, where the nature of the service requires that he should be acting. Be this as it may, he is the perfect gentleman [but of course]; and when he thinks proper to exert himself, an excellent officer. Every one acknowledges his abilities, whilst they lament that he does not sufficiently put them forth.

Even the author, however, seems to have fallen under the spell of John’s charm, since he can’t resist finishing off with a sweet story from John’s childhood. It’s almost certainly apocryphal, but having read a fair amount of Pitt family correspondence there is a flavour of truth about the tale:

I have heard that the late Lord Chatham, the great Chatham as he is deservedly called, entertained a very high opinion of our Commander’s abilities. The late Lord Clarendon being one day at his house, and Mr Pitt and Lord Chatham, at that time boys, happening to pass — ‘There, my Lord,’ said Lord Chatham, ‘are my best services to my country; there are two boy who will hereafter be most useful men. The one, Mr Pitt, is the readiest; he has a due confidence in himself. The other will be the most solid thinker.’

There, then, you have it: easy-going, lazy, difficult to rouse, diffident, a slavish follower of official military protocol: yes, that is definitely a Chatham I recognise. But popular, intelligent, full of ability, respected by the men under his command? Now that’s a John I have yet to see in any history books.



All quotations from Letters from Flushing by an officer of the 81st Regiment (London, 1809)

[1] Carl A. Christie, “The Royal Navy and the Walcheren Expedition of 1809”, New Aspects of Naval History ed C. L. Symonds et al (Annapolis, 1981) 190-200

Happy 258th birthday John Pitt, 2nd Earl of Chatham

As those who have followed this blog since its beginning will know, I do not follow the majority view that John, 2nd Earl of Chatham was born on 9 October 1756. As far as I can see the only justification for this is that John’s father wrote a letter to William Pitt (John’s brother) on 9 October 1773 in which he talked of it being “the happy day that gave us your brother”.[1] Possibly it was John’s birthday, as certainly John read Tomline’s draft before the book was published and might have been expected to correct the error, but I tend to think Tomline mistranscribed.

This is why:

John, 2nd Earl of Chatham's baptismal record, Hayes, Kent

John, 2nd Earl of Chatham’s baptismal record, Hayes, Kent[2]

Even given this is a partial record, I think it’s fairly obvious that I have good grounds for commemorating John’s birthday on the 10th and not the 9th.

Anyway, moving on… in celebration of John’s 258th (he always looked younger than his years), today’s post is about his childhood. I’ve been posting a lot about his later years recently, so it seems fitting to go right back to the beginning for once.

John, 2nd Earl of Chatham, in John Singleton Copley's "The Death of the Earl of Chatham"

John, 2nd Earl of Chatham, aged 21/2, in John Singleton Copley’s “The Death of the Earl of Chatham”

John was, like his younger brother William, born at Hayes Place, his father’s country house in Kent. (The other three children were born in London.) “We are all well here … and intend that our little colony shall, God willing, receive its increase in the pure air of our village,” Pitt the Elder wrote to his brother-in-law George Grenville on 20 August 1756.[3]

In accordance with his later reputation, it seems John arrived a little later than expected, but when he did decide to make his appearance he was in a hurry.[4] It was probably the quickest entrance he made in his entire life. A delighted Pitt the Elder gushed to George Grenville on the morning of 10 October 1756 about John’s health and size:

Lady Hester is as well as can be in her situation, after being delivered of a son this morning, who is also well. She had a sharp time, but not longer than two hours and a half. There was enough notice to have [William] Hunter [the fashionable accoucheur] and all comforts about us. … Mrs Grenville, I am sure, and perhaps you, will excuse my talking nursery: the young man meets with general applause for stature and strength … He is, however, as they flatter me, without appearance of heaviness, notwithstanding his size.[5]

Pitt was evidently delighted to have a son at last. “[Lady Hester] and the child are as well as possible,” he reported to his nephew Thomas Pitt, “and the father in the joy of his heart”.[6]

William Pitt the Elder by William Hoare

William Pitt the Elder by William Hoare

Most books focus on the childhood of John’s brother William, but there are occasional glimpses of John in the family correspondence. The impression drawn from history is that Lord and Lady Chatham favoured their second son above all the other children, and there is probably some truth in this, but John, too, was much loved. In 1770 Lord Chatham spent some quality time at Burton Pynsent with John, who was going to travel on with his tutor Mr Wilson to Cornwall, while Lady Chatham remained with the four others at Hayes:

Pray tell all at Athens, professors, and scholars, how truly charmed I am with their performances [ie, as correspondents] … They may all rest satisfied that Pitt [John, whose courtesy title as heir was Viscount Pitt] is every thing that can please: he is a sweet, idle boy; he is a sensible, conversable, discreet man: sense or nonsense, verse or prose, Homer, mouse, taste, all shine alike, and draw perpetual applauses from papa and Mr Wilson.[7]

Along with his four siblings Hester, Harriot, William, and James Charles, John was educated at home by a tutor, Reverend Edward Wilson. There were some thoughts of sending him to Eton, where his father had gone, but apparently these came to nothing.[8] He seems to have been a bright boy: he often bested William in his studies, and their tutor Wilson’s comments on the subject can be followed in the Chatham MSS at the National Archives .[9] “John was distinguish’d first for his Mathematicks, and then for his Latin Lesson,” Lady Chatham wrote to her husband in July 1766. “… Mr Wilson imputed their success [John and Hester’s], to the subject, which he told me they took to, with a Taste and an ardour of Application that was quite fine. The subject, was an account of Aristides, and his great Virtues”.[10]

From W.A. Shuffrey, "Some Craven Worthies" (London, 1903)

Rev. Edward Wilson and his brother Thomas, From W.A. Shuffrey, “Some Craven Worthies” (London, 1903)

In terms of his likes and dislikes, John was pure boy. He was never happier than when out riding or shooting, two pastimes he kept up for the rest of his life. In 1777 his mother apologised to a correspondent for John’s not adding his good wishes to a letter, because he was “following the Fox Hounds, for the first day this season”.[11] It seems, however, that he was proficient at drawing, and his tutor Mr Wilson often referred to the vividness of his imagination.[12] Dancing was also a passion: he and his siblings were under the tutelage of the fashionable dancing master Giovanni Gallini, and there are frequent mentions in the correspondence of John staying out late dancing or accepting invitations to Pantheon balls.[13] On at least one occasion Lord Chatham referred to his eldest son as “the powdered beau”, suggesting an early inclination to dressing fashionably and well which he never entirely outgrew.

John was early destined for a career in the army (… which has always struck me as a little unusual as the destination for an older son, but there you go). His future was already determined before he was 14: Lord Chatham joked he was learning “how to live in a March, or bad quarters” when they made a bad journey from London to Somerset in July 1770.[15] John spent the summer of 1773 applying himself assiduously to his studies, Lord Chatham having procured him an ensigncy in the 47th Foot. John was due to go out with General Guy Carleton to Quebec the following year, but in the meantime the sixteen-year-old spent most of a holiday spent at Lyme in Dorset studying with a local military engineer.

Lord Chatham wrote to his wife referring to his eldest son as “young Vauban” and described how he was kept from joining his father and second brother on a ride because “he was generously occupied in learning to defend the happy land we were enjoying. Indeed, my life, the promise of our dear children does me more good than the purest of pure air”.[16] John’s brother James Charles was slightly less generous  when the travellers returned to Burton Pynsent, expressing astonishment “that Pitt has made so amazing a progress in the military art, in so short a time”– but that’s siblings for you.[17]

When he left England for Canada in June 1774 John, theoretically, stopped being a boy and became a man. He was still only 17, though, and he had spent all his childhood at home with his family. Travelling abroad must have been a big shock for a boy who had, essentially, rarely gone much further north than London. Apart from his brother James, he was by far the most well-travelled of the Pitts, travelling with the army to North America, Gibraltar, and the Leeward Islands, as well as in due course the Netherlands.

He was, also, and less positively, the man responsible for selling the house in which he had been born, Hayes Place, and the house in which he spent much of his childhood, Burton Pynsent. Hayes was sold in 1785, Burton Pynsent in 1805, after his mother’s death, both to settle John’s debts– although he had inherited both of them mortgaged to the hilt. John never had children of his own; nor would he, strictly speaking, fulfil the promise his father clearly felt he showed in his youth. But promise he had, and it is well worth remembering that the man who would, in later life and posthumously, be castigated as an idiot, once bested his brother in mathematics.



[1] Tomline, Life of Pitt I, 15

[2] Thanks to Stephenie Woolterton for the picture

[3] Grenville Papers I, 171

[4] Letters written by the late Earl of Chatham to his nephew Thomas Pitt… (London, 1804), p. 96

[5] Grenville Papers I, 173-4

[6] Letters of Lord Chatham to Thomas Pitt, p. 97

[7] Lord Chatham to Lady Chatham, 3 August 1770, Chatham Correspondence III, 470

[8] Lady Chatham to Lord Temple, 23 September 1769, Grenville Papers 5, 463

[9] PRO 30/8/67

[10] Lady Chatham to Lord Chatham, 11 July 1766, PRO 30/8/9

[11] Lady Chatham to Mrs Thomas Pitt, 25 October 1777, Dropmore Papers, British Library Add Ms 59490, ff 61-2. Thanks to Stephenie Woolterton for the reference

[12] James Charles Pitt to Lord Chatham, 21 June 1773, PRO 30/8/13; Edward Wilson to Lady Chatham, 23 August 1766, PRO 30/8/67

[13] Vere Birdwood, So dearly loved, so much admired (London, 1994), p. 9; Marie Peters, The Elder Pitt (London, 1998), pp. 211-2

[14] Ghita Stanhope and G.P. Gooch, Life of Charles, 3rd Earl Stanhope (London, 1914), p. 10

[15] Lord Chatham to Lady Chatham, 31 July 1770, PRO 30/8/9

[16] Quoted in Tresham Lever, The House of Pitt (London, 1947), pp. 192-3

[17] James Charles Pitt to Lord Chatham, 21 June 1773, PRO 30/8/13


The death and funeral of John, 2nd Earl of Chatham, September-October 1835

In the evening of 3 October 1835 George Bentinck, a relative of the Duke of Portland, wrote to his mother from Westminster Abbey. The weather, he complained, “has been far from good here. It has rained every day, [and] it was very lucky I brought my umbrella”. Appended to this fascinating catalogue of adventures was a piece of news: “Lord Chatham was buried here in the Abbey to day[.] [T]here was a very great funeral and the King sent his carriage[.] [H]e is buried in the North Transept between Lord Mansfield and Mr Pitt.” (Portland MSS, Nottingham University Archives, PwM 205)

R. Ackermann, North Transept of Westminster Abbey (1809), from http://www.motco.com/index-london/imageone-a.asp?Picno=9902095

R. Ackermann, North Transept of Westminster Abbey (1809), from http://www.motco.com/index-london/imageone-a.asp?Picno=9902095

In September 1835 John Pitt, 2nd Earl of Chatham was approaching his 79th birthday. He was the last remaining member of the Pitt family, and certainly one of the longest-lived (his mother got to 82 but neither his father nor his siblings even came close). In the summer of 1834 he had had a paralytic stroke but it seems made a reasonably full recovery. He was planning to spend the autumn, winter and spring in Brighton, as he had done nearly every year since returning from Gibraltar, and the newspapers reported in mid-September that his house was ready to receive him there.

John never made it. I’m not quite sure what happened to him exactly, but I would guess he suffered another, fatal stroke in the early hours of the morning of 24 September. His heirs, his great nephews William Stanhope Taylor and John Henry Pringle, were swiftly notified. One of the first things they had to do (apart from sort out the legal implications of John’s having completely forgotten Taylor’s name and got it wrong in his will) was to sort out John’s funeral.

John had not only been an Earl; he had also been a Knight of the Garter. As such, his rank entitled him to a grand funeral in the family vault in the north transept of Westminster Abbey. One day I will have to contact the Office of Heralds to see if they have any records on the subject, but according to precedent his funeral would have been held under the auspices of Garter King of Arms, who would have prescribed the precise order of the ceremony and also what sort of heraldic devices could be used.

The heraldic precedent for an earl’s funeral was that of the Earl of Derby in 1574. Reading over the account of the ceremony, I’m guessing John’s could theoretically have been as impressive as his heirs wanted it to be. John in life had always been very proud of his status and of his knighthood: he would, no doubt, have wanted the whole hog with the black velvet pall embroidered in escutcheons, the helmet (silver with five gold bars for an earl), crest, sword and target (crested shield), the great banner (the crest of the deceased), and the bannerolls (a square crest particularly designed for use in funerals).

Presumably he got at least some of these things, and the attendance of Garter King of Arms himself to preside. The fee to the Office of Heraldry for using all the heraldic devices required in an Earl’s funeral was £35, a not inconsiderable sum, but John’s heirs had to stump up a fair amount otherwise, as the bill for the funeral in the National Archives makes clear (PRO 30/8/370 f 152).

The bill was issued by Thomas Dowbiggin & Co (a company that made furniture for high society, with an undertaking business on the side) on 24 September 1835, so presumably Taylor and Pringle wasted no time in getting down to business. While John was not going to be buried in the same lavish fashion as his father and brother, who both received public funerals, he would be laid to rest in fine style.

The arrangements for the coffin alone were as follows:

A strong elm Coffin lined, and ruffled with rich White Satin – £7 7s 0d

A rich satin Winding Sheet – £4 18s 6d

A rich thick tufted Mattress and pillow – £2 12s 6d

A pair of silk gloves – £0 4s 0d

A strong outside leaden coffin soldered all round – £7 17s 6d

A Metal Plate of Inscription soldered on ditto – £0 7s 0d

Putting John into the coffin and soldering it closed cost just over a pound in total. Once he was in, the coffin was encased in another elm case, this time covered in crimson velvet attached with three rows of brass nails. Four pairs of “solid brass Handles with Octagon Rests” were attached to the side, and the whole was studded with “brass Coronets .., [and] Star to the order of the garter all richly gilt and burnished” [GARTER BLING!]. The decoration alone cost nearly thirty pounds. Unsurprisingly, it cost 15s just to carry the coffin downstairs.

Once the coffin was sorted, the accoutrements now had to be sorted out. At the head of the procession was a “Male Horse” (nice and specific there), covered in a velvet caparison and dressed with black ostrich feathers, and led by two grooms. John’s executors hired a velvet pall for 10s 6d, as well as more ostrich feathers (and a man to carry them, supported by two men in mourning with wands). The hearse was drawn by six horses, all also covered in velvet and ostrich feathers and attended by ten men in mourning carrying “truncheons”.

Behind the coffin was a “Velvet Chased Earl’s Coronet gilt and jewelled” with an ermine border carried on a velvet cushion, both of these presumably also hired as they only cost a total of £3 13s 6d. Of banners, bannerolls, targets etc etc there is no sign, so presumably these were skimped, but eleven official “mourners” were hired, each dressed in “ducasse” (? no idea: anyone know?) scarves and hatbands and wearing black silk gloves.

After this the list is mostly about kitting out the various officials, clergymen and porters who attended, and there must have been quite a procession. The provision of “rich silk pole covers” suggests that someone walked under a canopy, probably the Dean of Westminster, his Sub Dean, the Preceptor, the Clerk of Works, and “Mr Vincent & Mr Hayes” (I have no idea who these men were, alas). All of these men were also kitted out with “ducasse Scarves”, hatbands and gloves at the executors’ expense, as were the Chief Mourner (presumably the eldest heir, William Stanhope Taylor), “two vergers and a Beadle”. Some of the servants driving the mourning carriages in the procession also had to be kitted out, and no fewer than twenty grooms accompanied the “Royal Carriages”, presumably that of the King (William IV) mentioned by G.F. Bentinck and whatever other royals graced John’s funeral with their symbolic presence.

Behind the royal carriages were at least three empty “mourning coaches”, each drawn by four horses, also bedecked with the usual velvet and ostrich-feather combination. Two men in mourning walked beside each empty coach, carrying wands. The accompanying assemblage of porters, hearse pages, coach pages, foot pages, footmen, grooms, coachmen and postillions, all of them had to be kitted out in hatbands and gloves at the executors’ expense.

Finally came the “achievement”, in other words a hatchment designed to be attached above the door of John’s house in Charles Street (or perhaps attached over the grave in the Abbey: I’m not quite clear on where it ended up, but it could have been either of those places). I do not know where this has ended up, but it is described in the undertakers’ bill as “a Yard and half” in size, which seems to have been standard, “in double Shields supporters, Garter &c painted in Oil with Frame covered with fine black Cloth”. This, along with the “Wall Gooks, Nails &c” cost £8 8s 0d, not counting 7s for two men to fix it up.

John’s achievement would have been similar to the above, with his arms impaled with those of his wife Mary. Because Mary had died in 1821, however, both sides of the achievement would have been painted black.

Hatchment for the 4th Duke of Rutland (from http://www.bottesfordhistory.org.uk/page_id__796_path__0p1p30p45p.aspx). Like Rutland, John would have been entitled to surround his arms with a Garter. Unlike Rutland, his would have been completely black due to the fact he was a widower

Hatchment for the 4th Duke of Rutland (from http://www.bottesfordhistory.org.uk/page_id__796_path__0p1p30p45p.aspx). Like Rutland, John would have been entitled to surround his arms with a Garter. Unlike Rutland, his would have been completely black due to the fact he was a widower

After this the estate had to cover a number of additional expenses. “Fees to the Abbey” (presumably to all the officials, and for closing off the whole building and Abbey yard) came in at a whopping £130 17s 2d, nearly as much as the procession by itself. Masons were paid £4 13s 5d, and the royal servants received a tip of £3, while other servants received 9s. Carriage duty and “expenses for Men &c”, as well as a mysterious “Searcher”, made up the remainder. No fees were paid to any heralds or heraldry officers, so I am guessing Garter King of Arms did not directly attend.

The grand total for the whole funeral was £348 19s 7d, not counting £2 13s 5d for “removing [the] Marble Ledger … &c from the Family Vault”, relaying it, repairing the vault and “making good paving” (bill dated 3 October 1825, PRO 30/8/370 f 156).

I think John would have approved … although I also think he might have liked a surcoat or two. 😉

For further reading, you could do worse than to visit my friend Stephenie Woolterton’s webpage, where she discusses the funerals of John, Lord Chatham’s father and younger sister Harriot. (Please have a snoop at the rest of her excellent site, of course!)

Some sources used in putting up this blog post:

Chatham Papers, National Archives PRO 30/8/370 ff 152, 156

Portland MSS, Nottingham University Archives, PwM 205

William Berry, Encyclopaedia heraldica; or, a complete dictionary of heraldry (London, 1828)

James Parker, A glossary of terms used in heraldry (London, 1894)

Short story: From Day to Day

This is a bit of a departure for me in this blog, but I recently wrote a short story for the Historical Novel Society conference competition. I didn’t make the shortlist, but I’m quite proud of it, so wanted to share it here.

It’s called From Day to Day, and takes place over the disastrous weekend in September 1819 when the Bishop of Lincoln and his wife Eliza Tomline came to visit Lord and Lady Chatham at Abington Hall. If the title seems familiar, it’s because I wrote a post about the historical background to this story back in April.

Without further ado…

From Day to Day

I stand outside Abington Hall and watch for his return from the hunt. He is late and my anxiety rises when John is not beside me. I feel for the locket he gave me on our wedding day with a lock of his black hair inside. My fingers trace the filigree pattern, smoothed by daily wear and warm from the heat of my skin. I know he wants to send me to my family until I am better. I must show him I already am, for if I lose him I never will get well.

John comes home at dusk. Relief courses through me at the sight of his tall, straight form in the saddle, but the moment he sees me his expression changes. Once his heavy-lidded eyes rarely looked upon me with anything but affection. Now they are full of a suspicion I never saw there before I became ill.

‘What are you doing here?’ His voice is low but firm. He turns me away from the sight of the stable-hands. ‘You should be resting.’

I bite back tears of shame, for I know he does not mean to hurt me. Ever since he commanded that infernal expedition to Antwerp he has suffered humiliation upon humiliation: the “late Lord Chatham”, Mr Pitt’s useless elder brother. Even his valet damns him as “the hero of Walcheren” behind his back. If word spreads that Lady Chatham is insane, he will lose his last shreds of dignity. I love him too much to wish for that.

Once I am safely in my room John relaxes. He rings for Sally to undress me, then holds my hand while I take my laudanum. If I close my eyes I can pretend all is as it was before madness came between us.

‘What time do you expect the Bishop tomorrow?’ I ask.

His hand tightens round mine. He knows I hate the self-serving Bishop of Lincoln and his vapid wife. John tolerates them only because of his poor brother, for the Bishop was Mr Pitt’s intimate friend. ‘Are you certain you are equal to their visit?’

As much as I dislike the Tomlines, I want them to come. Receiving them will be a trial, but it will prove to John that I am well again. I will not let him send me away. ‘I will be happy to receive them. I feel better, my love. I am better.’

He smiles and kisses my forehead. The warmth of his love floods through me. For over a year we have lived from day to day, but now we can look forward to the future again. I know it.


I open my eyes. Slowly, the fog of misery descends. My husband is not beside me, and today the Tomlines will come.

A stranger stares at me from the mirror. I was beautiful once, but this disease ravages the face as much as the mind. Sally brushes out my hair. She snags at a stubborn knot and I raise my hand. In the mirror I see her shrink back. With effort I quash the instinct to strike her. If I can get through the Bishop’s visit I will show John that I truly am better, and perhaps then he will keep me by his side, where I belong.

The Tomlines arrive in the afternoon. I receive them in the Jacobean drawing room and try to ignore the openness with which they peer about in contempt. Abington must seem a small house for the son of the great Chatham and brother of Mr Pitt.

‘Our thanks for your hospitality, my lady,’ the Bishop says. ‘I am glad to find you so well.’ He is nearly seventy, fat and balding, with a broad face and tiny eyes like black pebbles. His wife is thin and shrivelled.

I want to recoil from them, but I smile politely. ‘Thank you. My health is much improved.’

I raise my eyes to my husband. He watches me anxiously, but his lips curve in response to my smile. In his relief he looks almost young again.


Sunday comes. We cross the bridge and walk to church. Rain falls in the long grass with a sound like a sustained sigh.

The villagers gawp at me and I want to sob into my Book of Common Prayer, but John holds my hand and his touch gives me confidence. He is my strength. With him I might conquer anything.

John takes the Bishop riding towards Cambridge. Mrs Tomline and I are alone. The thought of her revolts me, but the old Mary Chatham would not snub a guest.

Sally fetches my workbox. Mrs Tomline brings out her tambour frame. Rain drums against the window like nails.

‘The men will be soaked through,’ Mrs Tomline observes.

‘Lord Chatham is accustomed to riding in all weather.’ I wonder if he prefers being away from his sick wife, but such doubts belong to my malady and not to me.

‘You must speak more of your illness,’ Mrs Tomline says. I straighten. I do not wish to talk about what is past to anyone, least of all a woman for whom I have no regard. She frowns. ‘Keeping it shut up inside will make you worse. I am a friend. Your confidence will go no further.’

I burst into a bitter laugh. I am sure Mrs Tomline would be all too delighted to linger over every last detail. ‘It is of no interest to anyone but Lord Chatham and myself.’

Mrs Tomline purses her lips. ‘You cannot burden Lord Chatham with your ill health. Has he not suffered enough?’

The needle lies idle in my hand. She is more right than she knows. I am the reason we sit in Abington Hall’s tiny parlour in a Cambridgeshire exile. Had it not been for me and my wretched mind John might still be in government. He need not have accepted the commission to take Antwerp; his disastrous retreat before Walcheren would never have occurred. He would never have been mortified before army, Parliament and nation. A wave of isolation takes me unawares. ‘I know I must not give Lord Chatham a moment’s pain.’

‘I am glad you recognise his goodness towards you, but you do not fully comprehend the difficulty under which you put Lord Chatham when you are in this state. You must control yourself.’ I stare at her. Does she not see how hard I am trying? Does she not realise this is the best I can do? She leans forward and takes my hand. Her skin is as scaly as a lizard’s. ‘I know you can be well if you choose to be so.’

‘You know nothing of it,’ I snap, and whip my hand back.

‘Of course not, but it is not enough to control yourself for us. You must control yourself for the whole world, for Lord Chatham’s sake. Should your state become general knowledge–’

Does she think she is helping? Perhaps she wishes I would act more like a lunatic. Then she might fill her letters with accounts of a Countess raving and foaming at the mouth. Her gaze moves down and I become aware I am scratching at my hands, drawing blood.

‘Oh my dear Lady Chatham,’ she says, and I know if I remain a moment longer I will scream. My sewing falls to the floor and I flee.

I slam the door to the parlour. I clutch my head to stop it spinning.

‘Mary?’ It is my husband. Rain drips from his coat. He leaves the Bishop in the pillared hallway and rushes to my side, spurs clattering across the stone floor. He takes my hand. His fingers rub the bloodied scratchmarks and I see his dismay. No! I whip my hands out of his and bury them in my skirts.

I must not allow Mrs Tomline to discompose me. I must not let John see that she does, for I might lose him and his proximity is all that sustains me.


Dinner is served at six. The strain of pretence is beginning to tell. When I make my appearance I see the concern on my husband’s face. I make an effort so strong I can almost feel the earth shift beneath my feet and give him my arm. He looks doubtful but says nothing.

We dine in the largest room of the house, overlooking the lawn. The footmen lay the dishes on the table: roast beef, Cambridgeshire mutton, a venison pie. The Bishop and John talk about the reform meeting in St Peter’s Field and its terrible aftermath. ‘Mr Pitt would not have allowed matters to reach such an extremity,’ the Bishop says and my husband nods. I pick at my food and try not to listen. The Tomlines leave in the morning, and then I can concentrate on getting better.

I hear the Bishop say my name. ‘I fear we are tiring Lady Chatham with our talk.’

John stops chewing. I see wariness on his face, as though I am a loaded fowling piece on full cock.

The Bishop smiles at me. ‘My wife and I understand if you have not the strength to remain at table.’

‘I am quite equal to company,’ I say, but it is as if I have not spoken. Mrs Tomline looks across at her husband.

‘To tell the truth, my love, I wonder if we have imposed upon Lady Chatham by our visit and set back her convalescence.’

I glance desperately at my husband, willing him to leap to my defence. He still watches me with that strange expression.

The Bishop looks uncomfortable. ‘We are of course fully sensible of the honour you have done us in inviting us to Abington, but my wife is right. A little more rest will set you up, Lady Chatham.’

‘I am well now!’ I insist.

‘With God’s grace your ladyship will be so very soon,’ Mrs Tomline says.
John has not taken his eyes off me for a moment. I scratch at my hands. The pain is distracting and strangely comforting.

Mrs Tomline sees what I am doing. She whispers loudly, ‘Remember what I told you, my dear. You must control yourself.’

She reaches out and holds my arm. I do not know what angers me more, her familiarity or the implication that, once again, I have fallen short of expectations. I will not be scolded like a child. I am not an animal to be manhandled. She thinks I am not in control? Well then, I shall show her what happens when I give full rein to my madness.

I feel as though I am watching myself from a distance. I stand, grasp the gravy bowl in both hands, and throw its contents over Mrs Tomline.

She screams. I want to laugh at her for being so foolish– the gravy isn’t even hot. The Bishop leaps to his feet. The footmen stare.

Someone is shouting. ‘Bitch! You cannot understand! I despise you!’ Suddenly I realise the person shouting is me. I shut my mouth so sharply I feel the impact in the pit of my stomach, but it is too late.

My husband’s face is as hard and grey as stone, his mouth thin with dismay. He looks me in the eye and pushes his chair back. He pins my arms to my side and hurries me past the servants gathering outside the dining room, attracted by Mrs Tomline’s cry.

He enters the bedroom, rips back the hangings and throws me onto the bed. My head bounces off the bolster. When I open my eyes I see him leaning heavily against the bedpost. I can see every line on his face, scored deeply into his skin by strain, humiliation and disappointment.

Tears fill my eyes. ‘I am sorry. So sorry.’ I have failed him and I have failed myself. My limbs feel heavy, as though my self-hatred has turned them to lead.

‘Our guests,’ he says. He is too distraught to form a sentence. ‘Our guests. In front of the servants.’

‘I am trying,’ I manage. ‘I am trying so very hard to be well.’

‘I am beginning to doubt you will ever be well again,’ he says. I stare at him over my bent knees. His mouth curves downward and his hand against the bedpost tightens into a fist. ‘I will write to your brother next week. You must go to him at Frognal.’

‘No!’ I leap off the bed. He jumps back and I see, clearly, the fear in his eyes. Like Sally, he thinks I will strike him. I wonder how he can believe he is in the slightest danger from me, then I look down at my clenched fist and realise I am not fully in control of my own body. I want to laugh. How could I ever think I could conquer this malady? It knows me better than I know myself.

‘The change of air will make you better,’ he says.

I throw myself to the floor. He flinches. I grasp his knees and press my face against his fine cotton stockings. ‘Do you not understand, John? I can only get better if I am with you.’

He disengages himself and steps back. There is no response in his face to my plea. He knows he will be better off without me. He will send me away for his sake, not mine.

All my attempts to keep him by me have been useless. I might as well go to Frognal, for I see now that I lost my husband years ago.

The door closes behind him. For a moment I sit on the floor in uncomprehending silence, then panic spreads through me like a poison. My breath chokes in my throat. I claw at my neck and my fingers catch the chain of my locket. It flies through the air and bounces under the bed.

I pick it up with trembling fingers. It falls open in my hands. I see his black hair and our initials written in his hand. JC MEC. The locket slips through my fingers to the floor.

I fall back, put my hands to my face, and weep.

The Earl of Chatham’s weight


A year or so ago, my good friend A Noon-Day Eclipse and I visited Berry Brothers & Rudd in London. BB&R (as I shall henceforth call them) obviously sell wine, but they also have ledger books dating back to the 18th century recording the weights of various patrons who visited over the years. BB&R, then Clarke’s, sold coffee as well as wine, and had an enormous pair of coffee weighing scales. Wealthy patrons frequently came to Clarke’s to be weighed. Pitt the Younger was weighed numerous times in the 1780s. What we wanted to see, however, was the weight of his brother, John, 2nd Lord Chatham.

John was weighed eight times over the course of ten years. I’ve attached a photograph of the relevant ledger at the top of this post, but his weights were as follows:

1816 June 20 – 11st 13lb in boots

1818 July 17 – 11st 1lb in boots

1821 Sept 29 – 11st 13 1/2lb in boots

1825 Aug 3 – 9st 10 1/4lb in boots

1825 Nov 8 – 10st 13 1/2lb in boots and greatcoat

1825 Nov 25 – 10st 12lb in boots and greatcoat

1825 Dec 16 – 10st 12lb in boots and greatcoat

1826 Jan 20 – 11st 3 1/2lb in boots and greatcoat

From this I deduce that John was rather a spare man. I don’t know how tall he was exactly, but he was described physically as “tall”, so I think it’s fair to say he was above average height: maybe 5’11” or so (possibly taller). According to the NHS BMI calculator, in September 1821 John had a BMI of 23.4, comfortably on the upper range of healthy for a man of his age (of course he would have been fully clothed with boots when he was weighed, which I cannot correct for, but it’s an accurate enough guess). At his lowest weight in August 1825, however, he had a BMI of 18.9, which is right on the cusp of underweight.

Why the fluctuation? I can hazard some guesses. John’s “normal” weight was obviously about 11st 13lb or thereabouts. The dates above are suggestive. At the start of the records, in 1816, John was a couple of months shy of his 60th birthday, presumably in good health, happy enough. He had few official responsibilities as he had been out of office for six years, and I’m guessing his military duties were not especially onerous.

Two years later, however, he’s dropped nearly a stone in weight. This is perhaps not surprising: his wife Mary’s mental issues had begun, and John had been nursing her for some months. This was to carry on over the next few years with very little intermission, and from his letters (I’ve blogged about them in the past) it’s clear it took a toll on his health.

Three years later, in September 1821, John was a widower and about to leave for Gibraltar. He had some issues with depression after his wife’s death, but that doesn’t seem to have affected his weight: this is his heaviest ever, just shy of 12 stone.

It’s a different story in August of 1825. John left for Gibraltar in November 1821. He left there in May 1825. I have not yet managed to work out exactly why he left when he did, but there’s a hint in the newspapers of the time:

Morning Post, 20 May 1825

Morning Post, 20 May 1825

The fact that John’s “health [had] suffered materially” is reflected in August’s weight record: 9st 10 1/4lb fully dressed in boots. Clearly he was not a well man even after returning to England. He arrived in London on 1 July 1825. A friend who had not seen him for four years was shocked:

Years have bent him much. Time has made him, who was once a very fine-looking man in face and person, no longer, as to the latter, upright and straight as an arrow, and in countenance it has left him certainly fine remains of what he was, but only remains. (Lord Eldon to his son, 24 July 1825, H. Twiss, Life of Lord Eldon II, 559-60)

John obviously kept an eye on his weight for some time afterwards, and he was weighed four times between November 1825 and January 1826. His weight had clearly recovered to a certain extent, although he never seems to have gone beyond 11st 3lb in full winter greatcoat and boots. Still, I think it’s fair to say he went from “too thin” to “about OK”.

I have a feeling there are a few more John records at BB&R, which we did not find on the day we visited. Perhaps one day I will find them. It would be interesting to see how heavy John was in his younger days, although I suspect (like his brother, who was about 12st in his late 20s) he was never overweight.

Happy 252nd birthday Mary, Countess of Chatham

Mary, Countess of Chatham

Mary, Countess of Chatham [1]

Today (2 September) is Mary, Countess of Chatham’s 252nd birthday. Everyone who reads this blog will know how much I love her, and how much I wish her story had had a happier ending. For today, though, we’ll stick to the positives.

I haven’t got much to add to the biographical post I wrote for Madame Gilflurt in May, but I wanted to quote two pieces I have referred to in the past. There’s precious little about Mary in the historical record, which I think is at least partly a tribute to her retiring nature. The following poem, found among the Marsham-Townshend papers at Bromley Archives, certainly corroborates this. I have no idea who wrote the poem (presumably either a family member or a friend), and Shakespeare it ain’t, but it encapsulates my view of the private nature of Mary’s character perfectly:

The Countess of Chatham

Aye! There’s a creature feminine, of whom

The world may proudly boast, with store of charms,

And blandishments that so bedeck the Sex;

She from the yielding of her gentle heart,

Hath walked fair honor’s handmaid, early shunned

The flaunting scenes of Court parade, to act

The humble duties of Domestic life.

Simply attired as innocent in Mind,

With all the Sweet benevolences graced,

Her polish came by habit so engrained

That slander’s biting file cd. never touch it. [2]

The other piece I’d like to quote is one of the few letters I have seen written by Mary not petitioning for patronage for a family member or servant (and she had such a wonderfully embarrassed way of doing it too). I daresay there are large piles of Mary correspondence hiding away in private collections, but I was staggered to find six or seven letters which she wrote to Catherine Stapleton quoted in The correspondence of Field Marshal Viscount Combermere (London, 1866), vol 2. Mrs Stapleton was the companion of Mary’s mother-in-law, Hester, Dowager Countess of Chatham. One day I will try and track down where the originals of these letters actually are, but in the meantime I will be satisfied with the doctored snippets found online.

Mary, Countess of Chatham (ca 1800) by Charles Rosenburg of Bath; in the possession of Ron Mills

Mary, Countess of Chatham (ca 1800) by Charles Rosenburg of Bath; in the possession of Ron Mills

Clearly Mary was capable of writing of other things than patronage, and one or two of her letters even contain a fair amount of politics. While she never tried to assert herself as a political hostess, I suppose it was inevitable that the prime minister’s sister-in-law would be interested in current affairs. The following letter was clearly written in 1794, either just before or just after Pitt the Younger coalesced his government with the followers of the Duke of Portland, former oppositionists who had broken with Charles James Fox over the French Revolution.

Mary starts off with a dryly humourous account of a ball, at which the former Oppositionists showed their faces at Court for the first time in many years. She then makes some brief observations on the inconveniences of Courtly fashion.

We had a very grand ball at the Queen’s house on Monday, and a very good one, as they always are. Among the company a great many repentant sinners. Portlands — it was comical enough that the first ball Lady M. Bentinck should go to should be at the Queen’s house — Fitzwilliams, Carlisles, Spencers, Jerseys, Mansfields — it seemed quite odd to see them all. … Lord Carlisle and Lord Spencer are my two favourites, though, of them, nothing can be more thoroughly manly and honourable than their conduct. … The feathers in the Queen’s face is what now always happens with all young ladies who kiss her hand, for in the way in which they now wear them it is unavoidable, though the Queen leans as far back as she can; to be sure it annoys her, but she’s always good-humoured to young ladies … The Cabinet dine here, and I must get out of their way; so I go to keep a long standing promise to my brother and Mrs T[ownshend], and my carriage is now come. Adieu! Yours affectionately, MEC. [3]

I can’t help wondering what Mary would have said about Lord Spencer, had she known he would shortly supplant her husband as First Lord of the Admiralty…

The above, then, is a tantalising taste of Mary’s epistolary style. I would give anything to find more of Mary’s letters. From what I have seen she had a very similar tone and outlook to her husband: clearly they were a good match in terms of personality.

So happy birthday, Mary. I think it’s about time you received some recognition!

Notes and References

[1] Mary, Countess of Chatham, from an unknown source. I am trying to track down further information on this miniature, the only known portrait of Lady Chatham (apart from the Rosenburg silhouette) that I know of. (The Reynolds portrait you will find elsewhere on the internet is not of Mary, but her aunt.) If anyone has any information on this miniature, please contact me using the form on the About Me page.

[2] Bromley Archives, 1080/3/6/6 f 10

[3] From The correspondence of Field Marshal Viscount Combermere (London, 1866), vol 2, 426