Letters from the Past
“16 September 1825 Margaret Campbell in London ,
to Edward Mammatt Esq of Ashby de la Zouch in Leicestershire,
(Agent to the Marquis of Hastings),1825 ”
Postmarks TP Hammh.W.O. stepped, framed in use from 1823 to 1835 rarity G. (This was the abbreviation for Hammersmith W.O.)
Hand struck 2, charge mark of 11, with a strike through the handstruck 2
On the other side of the letter there are two more postmarks, showing the transfer from the Twopenny post to the General Post. TP transfer stamp 1825 16 . SP, 7 either side both facing same way and night at the bottom.
London general post evening duty CDS double circle SE 16 in circle 1825 in arc at bottom and Y identifying letter.
This is the transcript, beautiful writing, very legible and written with good strong ink on thick cream unwatermarked paper.
I have been unable to find out anything about Miss Campbell, but where she lived is still standing.
The Wikipedia entry for this address shows a present-day image of this terrace. Hammersmith Terrace is a street of listed, brick-built houses in Hammersmith, west London. All of the seventeen houses in the terrace are Grade II listed, except No. 7 which is Grade II with a star. The street was built in about 1770 and has been home to several notable artists. The list includes many famous people, but Margaret Campbell, the writer of this letter, does not get a mention. The only entry for number 11 is much later, when it was the home and office of architect Fred Rowntree (1860 - 1927). Forty years earlier it would have been a good home for Miss Campbell.
The addressee of the letter, Edward Mammatt, was The Marquis of Hastings agent, and the information about him was found in the entry for the Ashby de la Zouch Castle. With an image of the castle in 1831
In 1819, Sir Walter Scott’s novel Ivanhoe featured a scene involving a tournament at Ashby de la Zouch Castle; the novel was immensely popular and made the location famous. Edward Mammatt, Francis Rawdon’s agent, repaired the castle ruins and opened them to visitors, whom Rawdon hoped to attract to the Ivanhoe Baths which he opened nearby.
This is a more modern image of Ashby de la Zouch and is the Market Street, and apart from the vehicles and road markings, it probably looked much like this when the letter was written.
The really interesting person mentioned in the letter is the Marquis of Hastings, who lived (when he was at home and not abroad on military or government duties) at Donington Hall. The house was built from c 1790 for Francis Rawdon-Hastings, 2nd Earl of Moira, (created Marquess of Hastings in 1816) in a fanciful Gothic manner by the plasterer and draughtsman William Wilkins.
(Image By John Horner (f11 digital) - https://www.flickr.com/photos/f11digital/2194555795/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7323646)
Francis Edward Rawdon-Hastings, 1st Marquess of Hastings, KG, PC (9 December 1754 – 28 November 1826),
styled The Honourable Francis Rawdon from birth until 1762,
Lord Rawdon between 1762 and 1783,
The Lord Rawdon from 1783 to 1793
and The Earl of Moira between 1793 and 1816, was an Anglo-Irish politician and military officer who served as Governor-General of India from 1813 to 1823. He had also served with British forces for years during the American Revolutionary War and in 1794 during the War of the First Coalition. He took the additional surname “Hastings” in 1790 in compliance with the will of his maternal uncle, Francis Hastings, 10th Earl of Huntingdon
The website for Francis Rawdon-Hastings, 1st Marquess of Hastings Wikipedia.htm has great details of his life and service in the military and subsequent government posts. I have included some of those which took my interest.
Hastings was born at Moira, County Down, the son of John Rawdon, 1st Earl of Moira and Elizabeth Hastings, 13th Baroness Hastings, who was a daughter of the 9th Earl of Huntingdon.
He grew up in Moira and in Dublin.He joined the British Army on 7 August 1771 as an ensign in the 15th Foot (the going rate for purchasing a commission for this rank was £200). From that time on his life was spent entirely in the service of his country.
He was at Harrow School and matriculated at University College, Oxford,but dropped out. He became friends there with Banastre Tarleton. With his uncle Lord Huntingdon, he went on the Grand Tour. On 20 October 1773, he was promoted to lieutenant in the 5th Foot. He returned to England to join his regiment, and sailed for America on 7 May 1774, where he was involved in many of the battles in the American War of Independence.
On his arrival in England from America, Rawdon was honoured by King George III, who created him an English peer (Baron Rawdon) in March 1783.
Following the declaration of war in 1793 of France upon Great Britain, Rawdon was appointed major general, on 12 October 1793. Sent by the Pitt ministry, Rawdon launched an expedition into Ostend, France, in 1794. He marched to join with the army of the Duke of York, at Alost. The French general Pichegru, with superior numbers, forced the British back toward their base at Antwerp. Rawdon left the expedition, feeling Pitt had broken promises.
He had an astonishing, varied and interesting career which began as Member of Parliament for Randalstown in Ireland until 1783. He held three different military positions:
The political office he held was as Master-General of the Ordnance 1806–1807
The Government offices were:
Through the influence of the Prince-Regent, Moira was appointed Governor-General of the Presidency of Fort William, effectively the Governor-General of India, on 11 November 1812.His tenure as Governor-General was a memorable one, overseeing the victory in the Gurkha War (1814–1816); the final conquest of the Marathas in 1818; and the purchase of the island of Singapore in 1819.
After delays clearing his affairs, he reached Madras on 11 September 1813. In October, he settled in at Calcutta and assumed office. British India then consisted of Madras, Bengal, and Bombay. He commanded an army of 15,000 British regulars, a Bengal army of 27 regiments of native infantry, and eight regiments of cavalry; a Madras army, led by General John Abercrombie of 24 regiments of native infantry, and eight regiments of native cavalry.
Governor of Malta 1824 until his death in 1826.
He held the Honorary title of Constable of the Tower of London
He was also a Mason and held these positions : Acting Grand Master of the Premier Grand Lodge of England 1790-1812; Acting Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland 1806-1808.
His family information: On 12 July 1804, at the age of 50, he married Flora Campbell, 6th Countess of Loudoun, daughter of Major-General James Mure-Campbell, 5th Earl of Loudoun and Lady Flora Macleod. This was during the time he was C-in-C for Scotland. They had six children, five of whom survived.
He had been appointed Governor of Malta in 1824 but died at sea off Naples two years later aboard HMS Revenge, while attempting to return home with his wife. She returned his body to Malta, and following his earlier directions, cut off his right hand and preserved it, to be buried with her when she died. His body was then laid to rest in a large marble sarcophagus in Hastings Gardens, Valletta. His hand was eventually interred, clasped with hers, in the family vault at Loudoun Kirk.
(image from Wikipedia of the Hastings Gardens resting place in Valetta)
Because he married Flora Campbell, I wondered whether the writer of our letter, Margaret Campbell could have been a relation, but I could not find confirmation of that fact, so perhaps he just knew her and was concerned for her circumstances, and made sure she was not in need. However, he lived only a further 14 months after this letter, so that could have been the end of his gifts to Margaret Campbell.
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