This letter also appears on the Victorian Web
Both of these two letters are from this man and both are addressed to Henry Ashworth, The Oaks, Bolton, Lancashire. The first was sent postage unpaid, and the second postage paid. The postal markings are quite different
These markings are all in black
The letter is an interesting insight into the private education of boys, and this was even before the Victorian age.
Cresswell Lodge, Old Brompton, 15 Sept 1835
In reply to your letter of the 12th Inst., I must request that you will return my thanks to those who have kindly interested themselves in my behalf at so great a distance. I receive about a dozen pupils in to my house, whom I endeavour to instruct in the principles of a liberal Education, i.e. not merely in Latin & Greek, but in a knowledge of the Scriptures, in history, geography, arithmetic & mathematics. My terms are a hundred guineas a year, & a guinea a quarter for washing.
I may refer you to the Hon: The Mrs. Winn, whose two boys have been with me some time, of this place (Kensington) & also to my Excellent friend the Vicar, the Venble. Archdeacon Pott, whose Curate I was for about 7 years.
I wish to receive younger boys, and I shall be happy to receive your ward, if what I have stated meets your approbation & if he brings with him a good character from his former Master,
I am Sir,
Your obedient & humble servant
T. Simpson Evans
P.S. I believe I ought to add that our Vicar is probably now on a visit with his nephew, the Revd Percival Frye at Lostwithiel in Cornwall."
Possibly the reason he did not pay the postage for that letter is that it was a reply to a request asking about his services.
The second letter, however, was being sent as a reference to show his suitability. It was marked 'Paid' by the writer , and has 6 postal markings beginning with
This letter, written 15 days later, is in a different hand, but signed by the same one as the first letter.
I have this morning received a letter from the Archdeacon, in consequence of my requesting him to answer any letter of inquiry you might address to him. He fears he may have missed your letter, if you did write, as he has been travelling in Devonshire, and he kindly sends me the accompanying to forward to you, lest that may have been the case. Trusting you will pardon the liberty I take, in so doing, I venture to enclose it, & should it be useless as a recommendation to you, I shall esteem it a favor if you will take the trouble of returning it,
I am Sir,
T Simpson Evans.
Then in a totally different hand, and with scribbled notes all around it — he has included a copy of this letter of recommendation
|Copy on 29 — 1835
I have been able to find out a great deal of information about the writer and the addressee of these two 165-year old letters. I am indebted to the Archives Assistant — Oxford University Archives, Bodleian Library, for extracts from their records. From the entry in Foster's 'Alumni Oxonienses 1715-1886'.
Extracts from Crockford's 'Clerical Directory' in 1860: 1880
So when he wrote this letter, he had not yet been appointed as Vicar, and he probably needed to augment his income by giving private tuition. The entry in Foster's for the Vicar's nephew, Percival Frye, shows that he was appointed vicar of St Winnow, Lostwithiel Cornwall in 1835 (when this letter was written) and he held that position until his death on 28 November 1863. His uncle the Venerable Archdeacon Potts, must have taken the opportunity to visit beautiful Cornwall
"He gave his older children a Quaker education. The boys were sent to a variety of schools, mostly under the control of Quakers, and in the 1840s they completed their education with Dr Coke Taylor"
However, this letter written by Rev. Evans mentions 'your ward', not 'your son'.
As a point of interest, I had not realised these two letters were linked, until they were entered onto a database. They were written up in the London Postmarks but in two different sections; one for paid marks and one for unpaid marks. Because my collection was originally written up to conform to competition rules, (for which only applicable information is allowed), I missed the obvious link between them. Since I have given up competing, I am able to put a lot more research into the whole of the letters instead of just the postmark. It is much more time consuming, but I find it considerably more interesting.
George Brumell: The Local Posts of London 1680-1840
Willcocks & Jay: The British County Catalogue of Postal History (London)
Alan W. Robertson: Great Britain Post Roads, Post Towns and Postal Rates 1635-1839.
H Saxelby (ed.), Bolton Survey (1953)
R Boyson, The Ashworth Cotton Enterprise: the Rise and Fall of a Family Firm 1818-1880 (Lancashire Record Office, 1970).
Letters index page