Posts Tagged ‘Maria Fitzherbert’

Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

William Porden
1755 – 1822


William Porden

William Porden was born in Kingston upon Hull, he trained under James Wyatt and Samuel Pepys Cockerell.

In 1784, the year of his marriage to Mary Plowman, Porden was appointed estate surveyor by the 1st Earl Grosvenor. This position involved assessing buildings on the Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair and determining the “fine” which an occupier had to pay when his lease fell in, and the revised ground rent. More than twenty years later Porden was appointed to reconstruct the Grosvenors’ country seat, Eaton Hall in Cheshire. This project was carried out in a Gothic revival style.

From 1804–08 he designed the stables, riding house and tennis court at the Brighton Pavilion for the Prince of Wales. The riding school was in the “Indo-Saracenic” style, inspired by pictures of Indian buildings. The main building was a notable technical accomplishment for the time, being circular and domed, with a diameter of 24 metres (79 ft) and a height of 19 metres (62 ft). It survives and is now a concert hall called “The Dome”. Also in 1804, he designed Steine House for Maria Fitzherbert, the Prince’s wife.

Porden was also a garden architect and furniture designer and he was involved in the development of housing on the Phillimore Estate in Holland Park, London.

In 1785, William and Mary Porden had twin daughters, Mary Hannah (who died at the age of two years) and Sarah Henrietta. A son, William, born in 1793, also died at the age of two. The youngest child, the poet Eleanor (born in 1795), became the first wife of John Franklin, Arctic explorer and later Governor of Tasmania, but she died before reaching thirty.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Prince Edward Augustus Duke of Kent and Strathearn
2 November 1767 – 23 January 1820


Edward Augustus

Prince Edward Augustus Duke of Kent and Strathearn was created Duke of Kent and Strathearn and Earl of Dublin on 23 April 1799 and, a few weeks later, appointed a General and commander-in-chief of British forces in North America, On 23 March 1802 he was appointed Governor of Gibraltar and nominally retained that post until his death. The Duke of Kent was appointed Field-Marshal of the Forces on 3 September 1805.

He was the first member of the royal family to live in North America for more than a short visit (1791–1800) and, in 1794, the first prince to enter the United States (travelling to Boston by foot from Lower Canada) after independence.

On June 27, 1792, Edward is credited with the first use of the term “Canadian” to mean both French and English settlers in Upper and Lower Canada. The Prince used the term in an effort to quell a riot between the two groups at a polling station in Charlesbourg, Lower Canada. Recently he has been styled the “Father of the Canadian Crown” for his impact on the development of Canada.

Prince Edward was born on 2 November 1767. His parents were the reigning British monarch, George III, and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

As a son of the British monarch, he was styled His Royal Highness The Prince Edward from birth, and was fourth in the line of succession to the throne. He was named after his paternal uncle, the Duke of York and Albany, who had died several weeks earlier and was buried at Westminster Abbey the day before his birth.

Prince Edward was baptised on 30 November 1767; his godparents were the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick-Lüneburg (his paternal uncle by marriage, for whom the Earl of Hertford, Lord Chamberlain, stood proxy), Duke Charles of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (his maternal uncle, for whom the Earl of Huntingdon, Groom of the Stole, stood proxy), the Hereditary Princess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (his paternal aunt, who was represented by a proxy) and the Landgravine of Hesse-Kassel (his twice-paternal grandaunt, for whom the Duchess of Argyll, Lady of the Bedchamber to the Queen, stood proxy).

The Prince began his military training in Germany in 1785. King George III intended to send him to the University of Göttingen, but decided against it upon the advice of the Duke of York. Instead, Prince Edward went to Lüneburg and later Hanover, accompanied by his tutor, Baron Wangenheim. From 1788 to 1789, he completed his education in Geneva.

In 1789 he was appointed colonel of the 7th Regiment of Foot (Royal Fusiliers). In 1790 he returned home without leave and, in disgrace, was sent off to Gibraltar as an ordinary officer. He was joined from Marseilles by Madame de Saint-Laurent.

Due to the extreme Mediterranean heat, Edward requested to be transferred to Canada, specifically Quebec, in 1791. Edward arrived in Canada in time to witness the proclamation of the Constitutional Act of 1791, become the first member of the Royal Family to tour Upper Canada and became a fixture of British North American society. Edward and his mistress, Julie St. Laurent, became close friends with the French Canadian de Salaberry family – the Prince mentored all of the family’s sons throughout their military careers. Edward guided Charles de Salaberry throughout his career, and made sure that the famous commander was duly honoured after his leadership during the Battle of Chateauguay.

The prince was promoted to the rank of major-general in October 1793 and the next year served successfully in the West Indies campaign being mentioned in dispatches and receiving the thanks of parliament.
After 1794, Prince Edward lived at the headquarters of the Royal Navy’s North American Station which was Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was instrumental in shaping that settlement’s military defences, protecting its important Royal Navy base, as well as influencing the city’s and colony’s socio-political and economic institutions. Edward was responsible for the construction of Halifax’s iconic Garrison Clock, as well as numerous other civic projects (St. George’s Round Church). Lieutenant Governor Sir John Wentworth and Lady Francis Wentworth provided their country residence for the use of Prince Edward and Julie St. Laurent. Extensively renovated, the estate became known as “Prince’s Lodge” as the couple hosted numerous dignitaries, including Louis-Phillippe of Orléans (the future King of the French). The only remains of the residence is a small rotunda built by Edward for his regimental band to play music.

After suffering a fall from his horse in late 1798 was he allowed to return to England. On 24 April 1799, Prince Edward was created Duke of Kent and Strathearn and Earl of Dublin, received the thanks of parliament and an income of £12,000. In May that same year the Duke was promoted to the rank of general and appointed Commander-in-Chief of British forces in North America. He took leave of his parents 22 July 1799 and sailed to Halifax. Just over twelve months later he left Halifax and arrived in England on 31 August 1800 where it was confidently expected his next appointment would be Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

Appointed Governor of Gibraltar by the War Office, gazetted 23 March 1802, the Duke took up his post on 24 May 1802 with express orders from the government to restore discipline among the drunken troops. The Duke’s harsh discipline precipitated a mutiny by soldiers in his own and the 25th Regiment on Christmas Eve 1802. The Duke of York, then Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, recalled him in May 1803 after receiving reports of the mutiny, but despite this direct order he refused to return to England until his successor arrived. He was refused permission to return to Gibraltar for an inquiry and, although allowed to continue to hold the governorship of Gibraltar until his death, he was forbidden to return.

As a consolation for the end of his active military career at age 35, he was promoted to the rank of field marshal and appointed Ranger of Hampton Court Park on 5 September 1805. This office provided him with a residence now known as The Pavilion. (His sailor brother William, with children to provide for, had been made Ranger of Bushy Park in 1797.) The Duke continued to serve as honorary colonel of the 1st Regiment of Foot (the Royal Scots) until his death.

Though it was a tendency shared to some extent with his brothers, the Duke’s excesses as a military disciplinarian may have been due less to natural disposition and more to what he had learned from his tutor Baron Wangenheim. Certainly Wangenheim, by keeping his allowance very small, accustomed Edward to borrowing at an early age. The Duke applied the same military discipline to his own duties that he demanded of others. Though it seems inconsistent with his unpopularity among the army’s rank and file, his friendliness toward others and popularity with servants has been emphasized. He also introduced the first regimental school. The Duke of Wellington considered him a first-class speaker. He took a continuing interest in the social experiments of Robert Owen, voted for Catholic emancipation, and supported literary, Bible and abolitionist societies.

His daughter, Victoria, after hearing Lord Melbourne’s opinions, was able to add to her private journal of 1 August 1838 “from all what I heard, he was the best of all”.

Following the death in November 1817 of the only legitimate grandchild of George III, Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales, the royal succession began to look uncertain. The Prince Regent and his younger brother Frederick, the Duke of York, though married, were estranged from their wives and had no surviving legitimate children. King George’s surviving daughters were all past likely childbearing age. The unmarried sons of King George III, the Duke of Clarence (later King William IV), the Duke of Kent, and the Duke of Cambridge, all rushed to contract lawful marriages and provide an heir to the throne. (The fifth son of King George III, the Duke of Cumberland, was already married but had no living children at that time, whilst the marriage of the sixth son, the Duke of Sussex, was void because he had married in contravention of the Royal Marriages Act 1772.)

For his part the Duke of Kent, aged 50, already considering marriage and encouraged into this particular match with her sister-in-law by his now-deceased niece Princess Charlotte, became engaged to Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (17 August 1786 – 16 March 1861) and the couple married on 29 May 1818 at Schloss Ehrenburg, Coburg, (Lutheran rite) and again on 11 July 1818 at Kew Palace, Kew, Surrey.
A widow with two children, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld was the daughter of Duke Franz Friedrich of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and sister of Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld husband of the recently deceased Princess Charlotte. The new Duchess of Kent’s first husband was Emich Carl, 2nd Prince of Leiningen, with whom she had two children: a son Carl and a daughter Feodora.

They had one child, Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent (24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901), who became Queen Victoria on 20 June 1837. The Duke took great pride in his daughter, telling his friends to look at her well, for she would be Queen of England and bringing the infant to a military review, to the outrage of the Prince Regent, who demanded to know what place the child had there.

The Duke of Kent purchased a house of his own from Mrs Fitzherbert in 1801. Castle Hill Lodge on Castlebar Hill Ealing was then placed in the hands of architect James Wyatt and more than £100,000 spent. Near neighbours from 1815 to 1817 at Little Boston House were US envoy and future US President John Quincy Adams and his English wife Louisa. “We all went to church and heard a charity sermon preached by a Dr Crane before the Duke of Kent”, wrote Adams in a diary entry from August 1815.

Following the birth of Princess Victoria in May 1819, the Duke and Duchess, concerned to manage the Duke’s great debts, sought to find a place where they could live inexpensively. After the coast of Devon was recommended to them they leased from a General Baynes, intending to remain incognito, Woolbrook Cottage on the seaside by Sidmouth.

The Duke of Kent died of pneumonia on 23 January 1820 at Woolbrook Cottage, Sidmouth, and was interred in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. He died only six days before his father, George III, and less than a year after his daughter’s birth.

He predeceased his father and his three elder brothers but, as none of his elder brothers had any surviving legitimate children, his daughter Victoria succeeded to the throne on the death of her uncle King William IV in 1837.

In 1829 the Duke’s former aide-de-camp purchased the unoccupied Castle Hill Lodge from the Duchess in an attempt to reduce her debts; the debts were finally discharged after Victoria took the throne and paid them over time from her income.

While Edward lived in Quebec (1791-3) he met with Jonathan Sewell, an immigrant American Loyalist who played trumpet in the Prince’s regimental band. Sewell would rise in Lower Canadian government to hold such offices as Attorney General, Chief Justice, and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. In 1814, Sewell forwarded to the Duke a copy of his report “A plan for the federal union of British provinces in North America.” The Duke supported Sewell’s plan to unify the colonies, offering comments and critiques that would later be cited by Lord Durham (1839) and participants of the Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences (1864).

Edward’s 1814 letter to Sewell:

My dear Sewell,
I have had this day the pleasure of receiving your note of yesterday with its interesting enclosure. Nothing can be better arranged than the whole thing is or more perfectly, and when I see an opening it is fully my intention to point the matter out to Lord Bathurst and put the paper in his hands, without however telling him from whom I have it, though I shall urge him to have some conversation with you relative to it. Permit me, however, just to ask you whether it was not an oversight in you to state that there are five Houses of Assembly in the British Colonies in North America. If I am not under an error there are six, viz., Upper and Lower Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the islands of Prince Edward and Cape Breton.
Allow me to beg of you to put down the proportions in which you think the thirty members of the Representatives Assembly ought to be furnished by each Province, and to suggest whether you would not think two Lieutenant-Governors with two Executive Councils sufficient for an executive government of the whole, namely one for the two Canadas, and one for New Brunswick and the two small dependencies of Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island, the former to reside in Montreal, and the latter at whichever of the two (following) situations may be considered most central for the two provinces whether Annapolis Royal or Windsor.
But, at all events, should you consider in your Executive Councils requisite I presume there cannot be a question of the expediency of comprehending the two small islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence with Nova Scotia.
Believe me ever to remain, With the most friendly regard, My dear Sewell, Yours faithfully,


Madame de Saint-Laurent

Various sources report that the Duke of Kent had mistresses. In Geneva: Adelaide Dubus, who died in childbirth of their daughter Adelaide Victoria Auguste Dubus (1789 – in or after 1832) and Anne Gabrielle Alexandrine Moré mother of Edward Schenker Scheener (1789–1853). Scheener married but had no children and returned to Geneva, perhaps significantly in 1837, where he later died.

The Duke was accompanied for 28 years, from 1790 until his marriage in 1818, by Madame de Saint-Laurent born Thérèse-Bernardine Montgenet. The portrait of the Duke by Beechey was hers.

There is no evidence of children but many families in Canada have claimed descent from the couple

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Anna Maria Crouch
April 20, 1763 – October 2, 1805


Anna Maria Crouch

Born Anna Maria Phillips, she first went on stage as a child, acting and singing. Articled to Thomas Linley, she made her debut at Drury Lane theatre in 1780 as Mandane in Thomas Arne’s Artaxerxes, and became a principal in the regular company of the theatre under the management of Sheridan and Linley. In 1781 she made a great success as the heroine in Charles Dibdin’s Lionel and Clarissa. She was a notable Ophelia, Olivia and Celia. Her Polly Peachum in The Beggar’s Opera was well-known. In 1787 her stage partnership began with the Irish actor and singer, Michael Kelly, on his arrival in London with Stephen and Nancy Storace from the Viennese court.

In 1784 she had married a naval lieutenant named Crouch. In 1790 she was at Brighton to perform at the opening of the Duke Street Theatre. By 1791, her marriage was suffering, and she was deeply involved in an affair with Kelly. However, this did not prevent her from entering into an affair with the Prince of Wales, occurring while he was living with Maria Anne Fitzherbert. The affair was brief, but she benefited financially, with the general belief being that she received somewhere in the amount of 10,000 pounds from the Prince when the affair ended. Following her marital separation from Crouch in 1791, her domestic partnership with Michael Kelly became generally known.

She died suddenly, of unknown causes, on October 2, 1805, while in Brighton. There are reports that indicate that her death was possibly as a result of a carriage accident. She is buried in St. Nicholas’s churchyard, Brighton.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Captain John (Jack) Willett Payne
23 April 1752 – 17 November 1803


John (Jack) Willett Payne

Payne was born in 1752, son of Ralph Payne, Chief Justice of St Kitts and his wife Margaret née Gallaway. His elder brother Ralph Payne would later become Baron Lavington. Payne was educated at Dr. Bracken’s Academy in Greenwich and later attended the Royal Naval Academy at Portsmouth to train as an officer. During this time he became friends with Hugh Seymour Conway, with whom he had a lifelong friendship and close naval partnership. In 1769 he left the academy to join HMS Quebec.

Quebec served in the West Indies but after only a few months Payne moved to the ship of the line HMS Montagu before returning to Britain in 1773 aboard the sloop HMS Falcon. Payne briefly joined HMS Egmont but soon was attached to the large frigate HMS Rainbow for a cruise to the Guinea Coast. In 1775 he was back in England, where he passed for lieutenant aboard Egmont.

With the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War in 1775, Payne joined HMS Bristol and participated in the Battle of Sullivan’s Island under the command of Sir Peter Parker. Shortly afterward, Payne joined HMS Eagle in New York to serve as Lord Howe’s aide-de-camp. In 1777, Payne joined HMS Brune and the following year transferred to HMS Phoenix in which he participated in numerous coastal operations on the Eastern Seaboard.

Payne returned to Britain aboard HMS Roebuck and in Britain served aboard HMS Romney. He impressed Commodore George Johnstone in this duty and in 1779 was made commander of the sloop HMS Cormorant. The following year, Payne was promoted to post captain and took over the prize frigate HMS Artois which he commanded in European waters. He was also embroiled in a scandal when he was accused of impressing Portuguese citizens out of merchant ships in the Tagus.

In 1781, Payne sailed to the Jamaica station in HMS Enterprize and the following year took over HMS Leander. In Leander, Payne fought a duel with a much larger enemy ship in which both vessels were severely damaged. The identity of the other ship was never established, but Payne was given the 80-gun HMS Princess Amelia as a reward. At the war’s conclusion, Payne returned to Europe and Princess Amelia was paid off.

During the early 1780s, Payne had formed a friendship with the rakish heir to the throne, George, Prince of Wales. After acting as companion to Lord Northington on a Grand Tour of Europe in 1785, Payne returned to the service of the Prince as his private secretary and Keeper of the Privy Seal. Payne also ran the Prince’s household and lent money to Lord Sandwich, who was obliged to obtain for Payne the parliamentary seat of Huntingdon, which he held from 1787 to 1796. During this period he was appointed captain of HMS Phoenix but never served at sea, drawing the pay whilst pursuing his other duties.

Following the succession crisis of 1788 when King George III was struck down by porphyria, Payne was an active supporter of the Prince of Wales’s regency. Payne corresponded closely with other supporters but also participated in the Prince’s frequent and extravagant masques and entertainments. He also helped conspire in the Prince’s illegal marriage to Maria Fitzherbert and was once rebuked by the Duchess of Gordon in the terms “You little, insignificant, good-for-nothing, upstart, pert chattering puppy” after being overheard making insulting comments about the Queen, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

The King’s recovery, combined with the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars, called Payne to see once more. Taking command of HMS Russell in 1793, Payne joined the Channel Fleet under Lord Howe and the following year participated in the Atlantic campaign of May 1794. Howe was attempting to chase down a French fleet guarding a grain convoy in the mid-Atlantic and after a month of sparring, caught the French on 28 May. Payne’s ship was with the flying squadron under Thomas Pasley sent to engage the French and Russell fought well in this action and the following day. In the culminating engagement, the Glorious First of June, Payne’s ship was heavily engaged and fought a succession of French ships, inflicting severe damage and making a great contribution to the eventual victory.

In the aftermath of the action, Payne was rewarded with a gold medal and in 1795 was tasked with escorting the Prince of Wales’s official wife, Caroline of Brunswick to Britain. Payne became friends with Caroline, and the bitter marriage between her and the Prince angered Payne. In addition, Payne had earned the enmity of Frances Villiers, Countess of Jersey and these factors combined to alienate him from the Prince, who dismissed Payne from all his offices in 1796.

The same year, Payne took command of HMS Impetueux, one of the ships he had captured at the Glorious First of June two years before. In her Payne led a squadron the blockade of Brest until 1799, seeing no significant action and suffering from increasing ill-health as a result of the arduous service. In January 1799, Payne retired ashore and was reconciled with the Prince, who described their relationship as “an old and steady friendship of upwards of twenty years standing”. In February Payne was made rear-admiral, but it was becoming clear that he was no longer fit for sea service.

Retiring to the prestige post of treasurer of the Royal Naval Hospital at Greewich, Payne was actually a patient at the hospital for his last years, and plans for him to move into one of the Prince’s residences at Carlton House came to nothing. Payne died in 1803 at the hospital from the strain of his long-service, and was buried at the Church of St. Margaret, Westminster. He never married and had no children, however had been one of the lovers of Emma Lyons who later became Lady Hamilton.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Richard Cosway
November 4 1742-July 4 1821


Richard Cosway

Richard Cosway was born in Tiverton the son of a schoolmaster. Educated at Blundell’s School. At the age of twelve he travelled to London to take lessons in painting. He won a prize from the Society of Artists in 1754. In 1760 he had his own business. He exhibited in 1762 and was soon in demand.

Cosway was one of the first group of associate members of the Royal Academy, a full member by 1771. He is included in Johan Zoffany’s group portrait of the members of the academy.

He was appointed Painter to the Prince of Wales in 1785, the only time this title was ever awarded. His subjects included the Prince’s first wife, Mrs. Fitzherbert, and various English and French aristocrats, including Madame du Barry.

On 18 January 1781, Cosway married Maria Hadfield. Maria was a composer, musician and authority on girls’ education and admired by Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson wrote letters to her decrying her marriage to another man.


Maria Hadfield

The Cosways’ marriage is thought to be a marriage of convenience due to his being 20 years her senior. Richard was a libertine. Richard though realized his wife’s talent and helped her to develop it.

The Cosways house became a fashionable salon for London society. They had a daughter, Louisa, who died young. However, the marriage did not last, eventually being annulled.

Late in life Cosway suffered from mental disorders and spent time in institutions. Maria returned to nurse him prior to his death in 1821.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

George Bussy Villiers 4th Earl of Jersey
June 9 1735-August 5 1805

George Bussy (Bussey) Villiers was the 4th Earl of Jersey. (He was the grandson of the 1st Duke of Bridgewater, and great grandson of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough.) He was a courtier for King George III and a member of the Prince Regent’s set. An infamous member for he allowed his wife to become the Prince’s Mistress during the period when Prince George had left Mrs. Fitzherbert to marry Princess Caroline. Then when the Prince left Caroline he took up with Lady Jersey, Frances Twysden. During which time he knew that he was in love with Mrs. Fitzherbert and eventually returned to her.

He was the only son of the 3rd Earl to survive to adulthood, he was tutored by William Whitehead and was nicknamed, the “King of Maccaronies” because of his courtly manners and his fastidiousness in his dress.

Between 1756 and George Villiers’ father’s death in 1769 he served continuously in the House of Commons as MP for Tamworth then Aldborough and Dover in Kent. He followed the political lead of the duke of Grafton in both the Commons and Lords. (When he became the Earl in 1769 he went into the House of Lords) He was a lord of the Admiralty from 1761 to 1763 and was sworn of the privy council in 1765. George was Lord Chamberlain from 1765 to 1769, and made a gentleman of the bedchamber to George III when he became the 4th Earl.

He married Frances Twysden, in 1770. She was 17 and he was 35.


Lady Jersey

George was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1787.

Lord and Lady Jersey had ten children. The eldest son, who would become the 5th Earl, married Sarah Sophia Fane who became a patroness of Almacks.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Lord Sefton William Philip Molyneux, 2nd Earl of Sefton
September 18 1772-November 20 1838


The Earl of Sefton is the first on the left

The only son of the 1st Earl of Sefton and a grandson of the Earl of Harrington, in 1792 he married Maria Craven, daughter of the 6th Baron Craven. She, Lady Molyneux was a patroness of Almack’s. His mother was one of the founding patronesses. They had ten children, four sons, six daughters. He became the Earl in 1795.

He was educated at Eton and Oxford. He was MP for Droitwich between 1816-1831 (The Earl of Sefton was an Irish peerage.) He was created Baron Sefton of Croxteth in 1831 and this was a Peerage of the United Kingdom and now he entered the House of Lords.

Sefton was a member of the Prince Regent’s set. He was a gambler and sportsman. He was the third Master of the Quorn (1800-1805) a famous hunt. He founded the Waterloo Cup for coursing at Altcar. Sefton leased the land at Aintree to the Waterloo Hotel which established the Aintree Racecourse, home of the Grand National Steeplechase.

In his set, he was known as Lord Dashalong and was a founder of the Four-in-Hand club which races their carriages through the streets of London. Another member was Lord Worcester, later the sixth Duke of Beaufort. Sefton was also the half-uncle of Maria Fitzherbert, the wife of the Prince Regent and it was Sefton and his countess who sponsored Maria in London society.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

George Lionel Dawson Damer
October 28 1788-April 14 1856

One of the Prince Regent’s set. Dawson-Damer was a younger son of the 1st Earl of Portarlington and Lady Caroline who was the daughter of Prime Minister John Stuart, the 3rd Earl of Bute. He took the name of Damer in 1829 when he received a portion of the estates of his aunt Caroline Damer.

He served in the 1st Dragoon Guards in Flanders at the battle of Waterloo and was made CB. Then in 1835 he was returned to Parliament for Portarlington and held the seat until 1847. He served in Peel’s cabinet from 1841 to 1846 as Comptroller of the Household. From 1847 to 1852 he held the seat of Dorchester.

He married Mary Georgiana Emma ‘Minnie’ Seymour, the daughter of Lord Hugh Seymour in 1825 and had one son and five daughters. Mrs. Fitzherbert opposed the match for she thought Dawson:

‘… quite the wrong man …
Neither Mrs. Fitzherbert nor George IV who,
watching the dowry he had granted increase to £20,000, had … [any]
wish to see it handed over to a penniless soldier … Their precious
Minnie had been raised to make a spectacular marriage.

Dawson-Damer and ‘Miinie’ married despite the objections of the King and Mrs. Fitzherbert who saw that Dawson-Damer was cur from Minnie’s settlement and that they endured long separations. She died in 1848, and he died in 1856. His son, Lionel succeeded to the family earldom as the 4th Earl of Portarlington

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The preliminary work on the Timelines of the Regency Era has now been presented. 50 years of happenings, events, births and deaths of prominent figures. It is not over. There are probably a good thousand more events to be recorded. In fact, at this point only those details through 1802 have been added into the Timeline.

The rest takes a great deal of editing, as well as searching and placing the graphics. The first years of 1787 to 1801 can all be found at Regency Assembly Press’ Timeline page

There are a lot of pictures shown there. It will add to your visualization of the Regency. But now, what to include in my daily posts. For months now we have had something new every day, and by the number of hits we are not getting, there is a small following.

Soon we will have an Edwardian Timeline, but for now, Regency Personalities is something I have thought to start on.

Over the next few days I thought it might be useful for me to have a guide.

Amongst other royalty and notables will be:

        Lord Byron



        Jane Austen

        Lady Caroline Lamb

        Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire

        Charles James Fox

        William Wilberforce

        Thomas Clarkson

        Hannah More

        Richard Brinsley Sheridan

        Edmund Kean

        John Phillip Kemble

        John Burgoyne

        Harriet Mellon

        Mary Robinson

        Wellington (the Military man)



        St. Vincent


        General Banastre Tarleton

        Henry Paget

        Stapleton Cotton

        Thomas Picton






        Patronesses of Almacks

                Emily Lamb, Lady Cowper

                Amelia Stewart, Viscountess Castlereagh

                Sarah Villiers, Countess of Jersey

                Maria Molyneux, Countess of Sefton

                Mrs. Drummond Burrell

                Dorothea Lieven, Countess de Lieven, wife of the Russian Ambassador

                Countess Esterhazy, wife of the Austrian Ambassador

Previous Notables (Click to see the Blog):

George III

George IV

William IV

Lady Hester Stanhope

Princess Charlotte

Queen Charlotte

Princess Caroline

Queen Adelaide

Dorothea Jordan

Today, the next personality of our period, Maria Fitzherbert, mistress of George IV. Much of this is work I have done for the English Historical Fiction Authors, of which I am a member of.

Maria Anne Fitzherbert

July 26th 1756 to March 27th 1837


George IV’s mistress/wife Maria Fitzherbert from 1785 to 1794, and then from 1798 to the 1820’s, though he was married to Princess Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel.

We all should know that George did not like the bride he took to secure the payments of his debts (600,000 pounds or about 1.2 billion in todays reckoning) and achieve the allowance he desired, a woman to whom he was only dedicated for a few short years until the birth of his beloved Charlotte. Three days after which he wrote a new will giving all to Mrs. Fitzherbert. And separating from Caroline forever after. (Later in life George was to say that he only had sex with Caroline three times.)


For over 30 years Mrs Fitzherbert and the Prince were together, and when asked directly if she had ever had children of the Prince and King, she coyly changed the topic of conversation to something else. And never would she sign a statement saying she had not had children.


Maria had been married twice before she met and married George. It is fairly well documented that now she had proof that she and George did get married secretly on December 15th, 1785. Her uncle and brother were witnesses to the ceremony performed by the Reverend Robert Burt. Burt’s debts were paid by George and the reverend was released from the Fleet Prison to perform the ceremony.

The marriage was illegal for several reasons. As a royal prince, he had to first have approval. Further, if he had sought approval, then since Maria was a Roman Catholic, George would have been removed from the succession. (This was the problem that came with Charles the 1st. Head of the Church marrying a Roman Catholic and having two Roman Catholic sons for Kings. Caused all sorts of problems. At least Charles II had the good sense to act as the Head of the Church of England, James II lost the throne over his religious scruples, proving once again that Politics and Religion don’t mix!)

She was the granddaughter of a Baronet and niece of an Earl. Her first husband was Edward Weld who died 3 months after the marriage and left her with nothing. (The money all going to Weld’s young brother whose son became Cardinal Weld.) She had to remarry quickly and then did marry Thomas Fitzherbert who died in 1781, but left her with 1000 pounds (about 2 million dollars) and a town house in Park Street, in Mayfair. (That is a very nice location.)


The legality of the marriage is an interesting conundrum. But the reality is the two acted as if they were married for a number of years. They were devoted to each other. They lived together. And George, once with Maria, only broke from her and had other mistresses a few times. (Unlike his younger brother William who once with Dorothea Jordan, took no other woman, until he had to search for a wife for the Matrimonial Marathon and then took Adelaide and again, did not stray.)


Thirty of more years, with the minor interruption of Princess Caroline. An interruption that began with a letter on June 23rd 1794 and then ended with a reconciliation during the summer of 1798. Their final separation came in the early years when he began to reign as George IV. At his death though, it was discovered that George had kept all her letters.

From 1804 till her death in 1837 she resided at Steine House in Brighton. It has been suggested that she had children with George. In her wills, and after her death, claimants were named or came forward.


William IV, finding the truth in the assertions of the marriage, offered to make Mrs. Fitzherbert a Duchess, but instead she just asked to wear widows’s weeds and dress the servants in royal livery. She died in 1837.

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