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|Letter 37: A Wide Acquaintance in Bath....
Written by JulieW
(9/20/2007 8:05 a.m.)
Jane Austen seldom wanted for company in Bath either during her early visits or when she later lived there.
Her uncle and aunt ,Mr and Mrs Leigh Perrot ,as we have seen were long-established residents of the city, and were able to introduce her to a numerous acquaintance.
I do get the impression that some of these new acquaintances were not the sympathetic or congenial company that JA seemed ,to me at least to crave. Some connection with people that wasn’t transient or superficial, establishing good lasting friendships ,taking years to develop were ,IMHO going to be thin on the ground in a place like Bath with its constantly changing population, most people staying here only a few weeks to affect a "cure" or to accompany someone taking it.
For some reason Anne Elliot conversation with Mr Elliot , in chapter 16 of Persuasion about "good company" keeps jumping into my head:
and when Anne ventured to speak her opinion of them to Mr. Elliot, he agreed to their being nothing in themselves, but still maintained that, as a family connexion, as good company, as those who would collect good company around them, they had their value. Anne smiled and said --
"My idea of good company, Mr. Elliot, is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company."
"You are mistaken," said he gently; "that is not good company; that is the best…
Let's try and discover something about the company she did keep , shall we?
At least some of the many people mentioned in Jane's letters from Bath were in fact related to her, by virtue of a common descent from James Brydges, Lord Chandos of Sudeley (died 1714), whose eldest daughter Mary married Theophilus Leigh of Adlestrop and became the mother of the Revd Thomas Leigh of Harpsden.
Thomas was the father of James Leigh Perrot and of Mrs George Austen. He had a brother Theophilus who was Master of Balliol College, Oxford, and whose daughter Cassandra married the Revd Samuel Cooke of Great Bookham ; their children, who occur frequently in the letters, were Jane's second cousins.
Equally closely related, however, were the Miss Arnolds of Chippenham who visited JA and Mrs Austen at Bath in May 1801. In letter 37 we find that they are
very civil, and not too genteel, and upon hearing that we wanted a House recommended one at Chippenham.
Chippenham is in Wiltshire, an while it is not a million miles away from Bath( it is approximately 30 miles away) their suggestion is quite ridiculous….but what is 30 miles of good road ? LOL I suppose they meant well.
I am indebted to Robin Vick's article in the JAS Report of 1995 ( pages 24-9) for the details of the connection between the Arnolds and the Austens.
Thomas Leigh of Harpsden's eldest sister, Emma, had married Peter Waldo, 'a clergyman of between six & eight hundred a year temporal estate', at Westminster in 1713.
Their fifth daughter (and eleventh child) Tryphena was born in 1726; she married (probably in the early 1750s - her eldest son was baptised in 1754) Henry Arnold. The marriage entry has not been located but the identification is confirmed by the notice of her death in the Gentleman's Magazine: 'March 18 . At Chippenham, Wilts... at an advanced age... Mrs Arnold, relict of Henry Arnold esq... and daughter of the late Rev. Dr. Waldo, formerly rector of Aston Clinton, Bucks.'
The will of Henry Arnold,who died in 1794, was dated 1783 but not proved until 1797. It named his wife Tryphena; sons Henry, Samuel and John ; and daughters Tryphena, Elizabeth, Cassandra and Mary. Which two of the daughters were the Austens' visitors in 1801 is uncertain.
Here is the Chipenham connection:
The will of Henry's widow Tryphena (dated 1805 proved 1807) showed that she was living at St Mary's Street, Chippenham. She mentioned her three sons but only three daughters ; Elizabeth had apparently predeceased her. Cassandra was now 'Cassandra Walsh', Tryphena and Mary remained unmarried but Mary Arnold
Another relation whom Jane met at Bath in 1801 was Admiral Stanhope.His visit was immortalised in Letter 36 :
Wednesday. -- Another stupid party last night; perhaps if larger they might be less intolerable, but here there were only just enough to make one card-table, with six people to look on and talk nonsense to each other. Lady Fust, Mrs. Busby, and a Mrs. Owen sat down with my uncle to whist, within five minutes after the three old Toughs came in, and there they sat, with only the exchange of Adm. Stanhope for my uncle, till their chairs were announced.
I cannot anyhow continue to find people agreeable; I respect Mrs. Chamberlayne for doing her hair well, but cannot feel a more tender sentiment. Miss Langley is like any other short girl, with a broad nose and wide mouth, fashionable dress and exposed bosom. Adm. Stanhope is a gentleman-like man, but then his legs are too short and his tail too long. Mrs. Stanhope could not come; I fancy she had a private appointment with Mr. Chamberlayne, whom I wished to see more than all the rest.
Henry Edwyn Stanhope was a recently promoted Rear-Admiral. Henry Edwyn was the only Stanhope holding flag rank in the Royal Navy in 1801; a John Stanhope who became Rear-Admiral in 1795 had died on 1 December 1800.( see Vick as above)
Henry Edwyn was the son of Edwyn Francis Stanhope by his wife Lady Catherine, daughter of John Brydges, Marquess of Carnarvon, son of James Brydges, first Duke of Chandos. The Duke was the younger brother of Mary who married Theophilus Leigh who were the grandparents of Mrs George Austen.
Admiral Stanhope was therefore Jane's third cousin. Born in 1754, he married in 1783 Margaret, daughter of Francis Malbone of Newport, Rhode Island. He was created a baronet in 1807 and lived latterly at Stanwell House, Middlesex where he died in 1814.
The third daughter of Lord Chandos, Emma Brydges, married at Westminster in 1692 Edmund Chamberlayne of Maugersbury, Stow on the Wold, Gloucestershire.7 Their only surviving son, another Edmund, was the father of six sons and five daughters; the second son John, rector of Little Ilford in Essex, succeeded to Maugersbury in 1774 and died there in 1786, leaving a son, Edmund John Chamberlayne, Jane's third cousin.
Edmund John married at St George's, Hanover Square in 1796 Cecil, daughter of the Hon. and Revd Dr George Talbot, Vicar of Temple Guiting in Gloucestershire, but had no issue. This well-connected lady (she was a granddaughter of Baron Talbot, Lord High Chancellor; niece of Earl Talbot, Lord Steward of the Household;
Evidently they were already acquainted. In January in Letter 31 we learn that Jane had heard through her aunt Jane Leigh Parrot that :
Mr and Mrs Chamberlayne are in Bath, lodging at the Charitable Repository - I wish the scene may suggest to Mrs C. the notion of selling her black beaver bonnet for the releif of the poor.
When Jane arrived in Bath in May she wrote in Letter 35:
The Chamberlaynes are still here. I begin to think better of Mrs. C -,and upon recollection beleive she has rather a long chin than otherwise, as she remembers us in Gloucestershire when we were very charming young women.
In the following weeks Jane took at least two long walks with Mrs Chamberlayne but the friendship was not continued after the latter left Bath at the end of the month. Quite transitory therefore. There is no further mention of Mrs Chamberlayne of Maugersbury ,who died in 1832, in Jane's surviving letters.
There is another Mrs Chamberlayne whom we will meet in 1805 (Letters 43,44). This was Margaret, wife of Admiral Charles Chamberlayne of Plymouth.
That the two were distinct is apparent from the fact that the earlier Mrs Chamberlayne's husband was Mr Chamberlayne (See Letters 31, 36), a style which Jane would not have accorded to an admiral. Charles Chamberlayne was the sixth son of Edmund of Maugersbury who died in 1774 and was therefore the uncle of Edmund John, the 'Mr Chamberlayne' of 1801.
Admiral Chamberlayne died in 1810 at his house in Ham Street, Plymouth. (He and four of his sons are commemorated by a tablet in the church at Stow.) His widow removed soon after to Englefield Green, Surrey. Towards the end of her life she lived with her youngest daughter Cecil in Southampton, where she died in 1837.
Another family connexion, though not related in blood, was Lady Fust, mentioned several times in Jane's Bath letters of May 1801.
She was a guest at Mrs Leigh Perrot's 'stupid party', where she spent the entire evening playing whist. Thrilling.
She was Philippa, widow of Sir John Fust of Hill Court, Gloucestershire, and daughter of John Hamilton of Chilston, Kent.
Her brother John Hamilton was a naval captain who was created a baronet in 1776, had married at Stow in 1763 Cassandra Agnes, third daughter of Edmund Chamberlayne and sister of Lydia Catherine Irvine and Admiral Chamberlayne.
Lady Fust lived chiefly at Hill Court which was and still is about 15 miles north of Bristol and also at her house in the Mall at Clifton, but died at Bath in 1803 aged 85.
Childless herself (she did not marry until she was 53), she had adopted an orphan niece Elizabeth Hamilton. Other beneficiaries of her will included 'my ever good friend Mrs Sarah Busby' who also appears in Jane's Bath letters, and her husband's niece Flora Langley to whom she bequeathed family jewels, portraits, and 'an ancient sword with the twelve apostles engraved on it... given to the family by King Charles the 2d on his restoration as a remembrance of their loyalty.'"
Feeling rather out of sorts after the 'stupid party', Jane described Flora Langley rather tartly, IMHO, as being
like any other short girl with a broad nose & wide mouth, fashionable dress, & exposed bosom.
Flora was the only child of Sir John Fust' s sister,also named Flora who had married George Langley, a Captain of Marines. Her cousin Fanny Fust had succeeded to the Hill Court estate in 1803 but apparently was not competent mentally to undertake the management of her own affairs, and in consequence her large estate was placed by the Lord Chancellor under the control of a committee, and the safety of her person confided to the care of her cousin, Miss Langley.
When Fanny Fust died in 1827 Flora Langley succeeded to the estate and took the surname of Fust by royal licence, dying unmarried at Hill in 1841.( see Vick as above)
Now I'm sure we are all familiar with Gowland's lotion and Sir Walter Elliot's recommendation of it to Mrs Clay in "Persuasion". Recently some rather wild theories have been abounding about the internet speculating why JA included a reference to this lotion in her book, which I will not trouble you by repeating them here.
There may, in fact be a very simple explanation for her including this reference to the noxious substance. A Bath family connection.
Let me explain.
First we need to meet Lydia Catherine, eldest sister of Admiral Chamberlayne, was baptised at Stow in 1737 and married at St George's, Hanover Square in 1763 Laurence Irvine, a Scottish wine merchant living in Wapping. Their early married life was spent in Bethnal Green before moving to All Hallows by the Tower in the City of London, where Laurence died in 1778. The widowed Mrs Irvine moved to Bath with her daughter Mary Anne (born 1775), known as Marianne, and they were the Mrs and Miss Irvine mentioned in Jane's letters.
Marianne Irvine was a niece of Admiral Chamberlayne and also Jane's third cousin, which explains the passage in the letter of 8 April 1805 :
'What request we are in! - Mrs Chamberlayne expressed to her neice her wish of being intimate enough with us to ask us to drink tea with her in a quiet way - we have therefore offered her ourselves & our quietness thro' the same medium [i.e. Miss Irvine].Our Tea and sugar will last a great while. - I think we are just the kind of people & party to be treated about among our relations'.
The house referred to by Jane (SeeeLetter 39) which the Irvines were to move into in September 1804 was 3 Lansdown Road, though a few years later they moved to 10 Vineyards.
Miss Irvine was friendly with Jane Austen, her exact contemporary, for several years and they are known to have corresponded, but Jane's letters to her (if preserved) have not been traced. That the affection may have been
A few days ago I had a letter from Miss Irvine, and as I was in her debt, you will guess it to be a remonstrance, not a very severe one, however; the first page is in her usual retrospective, jealous, inconsistent style, but the remainder is chatty and harmless. She supposes my silence may have proceeded from resentmentof her not having written to inquire particularly after my hooping cough, &c. She is a funny one.
There is no mention of Marianne Irvine in Jane's letters after 1807. She remained in Bath, living latterly at 1 Grafton Place, Weston Road, where she died unmarried in 1853. Her younger sister Annabella died in the Brislington House Asylum near Bristol
Now lets get to the connection ;-)
Dr John Gowland, the inventor of the eponymous lotion, had died at Bath in 1776 leaving the bulk of his considerable fortune to a cousin, Ralph Gowland. In default of issue the property was to pass to another cousin Thomas Gowland of London, merchant, and then to his son Thomas Gowland the younger. The latter had married in 1766 Emma Elizabeth, second daughter of Edmund Chamberlayne( note the name!) and sister of Mrs Irvine .They had two children (Jane's third cousins) but she died soon afterwards and was buried in 1770 at Little Ilford, Essex where her brother John was rector.
Thomas Gowland, a West India merchant like his father, never did succeed to the doctor's property for his cousin Ralph produced an heir.
As the wife of a potential beneficiary of Dr Gowland's largesse, Emma Elizabeth Gowland was probably an enthusiastic promoter of the famous lotion and perhaps family loyalty ensured that her sister and niece, Mrs and Miss Irvine, were too. I think it reasonable to wonder whether Jane had the the Irvines in mind when she put her reference to Gowland's in Persuasion….;-)
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