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The Gossip Notes of Ada Tollemache, Lady Sudeley
28th July 1913

Provenance - The "Gossip Notes" were first assembled by Dame Eva Anstruther in July of 1913 after conversations with her mother, Ada Maria Hanbury-Tracy - née Tollemache (1848-1928) who, in 1868, became Ada, Lady Sudeley when she married Charles Douglas Richard Hanbury-Tracy - 4th. Lord Sudeley (1840-1922).

Eva Hanbury-Tracy was a daughter - and the eldest child - of the 4th Lord Sudeley and Ada Maria Tollemache and she married the M.P., Harry Anstruther (2nd. son of Sir Robert Anstruther of Balcaskie, Fife). She was honoured as D.B.E. after her war service in the administration of the Camps Library which was operated for troops serving in France during the 1914-1918 War.

Eva Anstruther worked on the original Gossip Notes over a period of some months after July 1913 so that a final typescript - from which the following is transcribed - was produced in late 1914 or early 1915. Eventually, it was placed in a large volume of collected family writings and the volume subsequently passed to her daughter, Joyce Anstruther, the latter being better known as the writer, Jan Struther, author of the classic "Mrs. Miniver" and who married Anthony Maxtone Graham in 1923.

The only daughter of this latter marriage was Janet Rance - also a writer - née Janet Mary Maxtone Graham (1928-1996). The volume passed to her and these notes were later annotated by her brother, Robert Maxtone Graham, family historian and archivist, one of two sons born to Joyce Anstruther and Anthony Maxtone Graham. The volume, containing these notes, was then bequeathed by Janet Rance to one of her daughters. Gratitude is extended to both Maxtone Graham and Rance cousins for making the annotated text available to this family site.

Site Note

Ada Maria Tollemache was the daughter of Frederick James Tollemache and Isabella Anne Forbes. Frederick's brother, Lionel William John Tollemache, became 8th Lord Dysart. Their father was William Manners (Lord Huntingtower) whose father was John Manners whose parents were Lord William Manners (2nd. son of the 2nd. Duke of Rutland) and Corbetta Smyth. Corbetta Smyth was the daughter of William Smyth (Smith), an apothecary of Shrewsbury and his wife, Mary.

"I" or "me" or "my" in this document each refers to Dame Eva Anstruther, known to Robert and his siblings as "Granny Dame" who was born in 1864 and died in 1935. Words in brackets thus: [italics] refer to annotations supplied by Robert Maxtone Graham. Some paragraphing of the original typescript has been edited in this page.

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Based on the information of her mother, Ada - Lady Sudeley - Dame Eva Anstruther writes:

Louisa, Countess of Dysart [in her own right] married a Mr. Manners - illegitimate son of Lord William Manners [younger son of 2nd Duke of Rutland] and of Corbetta Smith, daughter of a surgeon of Shrewsbury - a woman of great beauty.

Site Note

Horace Walpole refers to Lord William Manners - and the Manners family - in part of a letter, dated March 28th 1754, to Sir Horace Mann as follows:

"Yesterday an odd event happened: Lord Gower resigned the privy seal: it had been for some time promised to the Duke of Rutland, (John Manners, third Duke, father of Lord Granby) who having been reported dead, and who really having voided a quarry of stones, is come to town; and his brother, a Lord William Manners, better known in the groom-porter's annals than in those of Europe, and the whole Manners family having intimated to the Duke of Newcastle that unless Lord Gower was dismissed in a month, and the Duke of Rutland instated in his place, they would oppose the prosperous dawn of the new ministry, that poor Earl, who is inarticulate with the palsy, has been drawn into a resignation, and is the first sacrifice to the spirit of the new administration. You will very likely not understand such politics as these, but they are the best we have."

The Gossip Notes continue:

Mr. Manners kept a gambling house and her family disapproved very much of the marriage. She (Louisa) used to meet him inside the avenues [at Ham House] up the Melancholy Walk - by the door in the wall. But one day she went outside the wall and he got hold of the key and refused to give it back to her and swept her off to Gretna Green where they were married. Her parents afterwards insisted on her being married at St. James' Piccadilly.

She was not the heiress [she was 15th in a family of 16] at the time of her marriage but all her brothers having died [before her] she came into such of the property as her parents could not leave away from her. She was a very beautiful woman - large hearted but not specially clever. She had many [10] children. Her eldest son, Sir William Manners [1766-1833 Bt. m. 1793] afterwards, Lord Huntingtower [courtesy title of eldest son and heir of Earldom of Dysart] (he never succeeded) [because he died in the lifetime of his mother, Countess of Dysart] was my [the Dame's] great grandfather.

He [Sir William Manners Bt. Lord Huntingtower took surname of Tollemache] was a tyrant and a man without a conscience - none of his children had a good word for him. [Debretts' Magazine of September/October 1985 (c/o Susan Tollemache, 2003) relates that Lord Huntingtower, who died in 1833, "insisted on dressing his sons in tail-coats when they were two years old," and that "the elder boys amused themselves by rolling their younger brothers from one side of the table to the other."] He was very good looking, but was paralysed in early middle life. He loved practical jokes. His two eldest daughters - Louisa and [Catherine] Camilla both made run-away marriages, one with Sir Joseph Bourke and the other with Sir George Sinclair. He was so furious with them that he left London. (His house was Surrey House, and [included] the other half of the building as the house has now been divided in two) and he whisked the rest of his family to the country, where he never entertained, seldom came to London, and his family could only find out his intentions of moving by discovering how many sheep he had ordered killed for the family consumption. Two of his other daughters were so miserable that they ran away from home without husbands. He disinherited them but their Grandmother made up their fortunes. They were sure he would cut them off. And when, in their escapement from home, and as they climbed over the hedge, one said to the other, "There goes £10,000!"

My [the Dame's] Grandfather [Hon. Frederick James Tollemache b. 1804 d. 1888 M.P. for Grantham] and his brothers were all over six feet high, and with one exception were all expelled from Harrow.Click here to view (and find further Tollemache information) an 1810 family 'cartoon'  by James Gillray

Click on this image to access an associated Dysart/Manners page containing information
about Louisa's siblings and a somewhat risqué (for the time) cartoon entitled "The Three Graces"

Louisa, Lady Dysart's daughters, had curious and tragic lives. One [Louisa] Grace, became Duchess of St. Albans [m. 6th Duke as second wife] but died [1816] in childbirth, the child [7th Duke d. in infancy 1816] not surviving. This was considered a dispensation of Providence, as the Duke believed that he was not the father of the child and had it lived would have disowned it.

Site Note (June 2004) courtesy of Alan Tollemache, of New Zealand,

"The following link records a different set of events.

The sixth Duke died in 1815 and his wife Louisa in 1816 and due to some complex issues regarding wills, the estate was passed to her sister Mrs.Laura Dalrymple [née Tollemache] absolute.

The Tollemaches lived at Little Park [later Little Park Farm], opposite the gunpowder mills. Laura died in 1834, leaving Hanworth to her brother's younger daughter - Lady Ailsbury- stipulating that her mother the Countess Dysart could live there for life. On her death in 1840 Lady Ailsbury sold Hanworth Park to Henry Perkins.

This would appear to be correct. Alan Freer's  genealogy of the THE ROYAL AND NOBLE FAMILIES OF BRITAIN has Grace passing away the year after her husband. I would therefore think it highly unlikely that "the Duke believed that he was not the father of the child and had it lived would have disowned it." (See this link )Lady Maria Caroline Manners by Agar

Alan's observations are, of course, valid. It should, however, be remembered that these are the verbatim "gossip notes" of Ada - as transcribed by Eva, in 1913/14 - and cannot, as such, be relied upon as being wholly factual! (Editor)

Site Note (July 2004) - information courtesy of Alan Tollemache (New Zealand)

With regard to the debate over the parentage of the 7th Duke of St. Albans and Lady Grace Manners Tollemache, I found the following in Brian Master's book, The Dukes:  

"... the 6th Duke of St. Albans was the most hideous disagreeable little animal I have ever met, in the words of Lady Harriet Cavendish. He in turn was succeeded by his only son, aged four months. Or was he?   The child was born after twelve years of marriage, and during the course of a hectic affair the Duchess was having with one 'Sinclair', who may have been Sir George Sinclair. The lovers were meeting again while the body of the Duke was scarce cold, and in the next room, which gave rise, not unnaturally, to some comment. The Duchess announced another pregnancy after her husband's death, which was more than the family could take. Delicate investigations were made to prove that the foetus could not possibly belong to the Duke. The whole business was resolved by fate in the end, as the little boy lived only ten months, to be succeeded by his Uncle William, who had been making all the fuss about his paternity."

The Gossip Notes continue:

The second, Maria, was engaged to her cousin but he died in action just before the marriage. She afterwards married Mr. Duff, heir to Fife Earldom, but died [1805] from the bite of a mad dog.

Site Note (June 2004) courtesy of Alan Tollemache.

Lady Maria Caroline Manners  - see this link for further details "... she died from hydrophobia, from a scratch from a rabid dog, 20 December 1805."

"The Earl of Fife's rich estate is the only highly cultivated vicinity I noticed, from Aberdeen to Banff, with, perhaps, a single exception. This solitary old gentleman lives in a castle of large dimensions, yet unfinished and likely to be so for another generation, in the midst of what we would call a very extensive and rich domain. But rising from bed at five in the evening, and retiring to repose at five in the morning, one cannot conceive why he should live in the midst of such fine gardens and groves, ornamented with beautiful walks, summer-houses, alcoves; bowers, jetteaus, &c., as environ this splendid residence, to be surveyed by himself for an hour or two in the evening of the day. Such, however, are the eccentricities of man. There is one excuse for him. His good lady, bitten by her own rabid lap-dog, fell a prey to canine madness; and in the midst of all that could gratify the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye, and the pride of life, left her lord the Earl, childless and alone, the solitary occupant of his large estate and splendid residence." Alexander Campbell - Letters from Europe--No. XXVII. (1847-1848).Section from portrait of Catherine Rebecca  Grey (Tollemache) - formerly in the possession of Babs, Mrs. Douglas Anstruther.

The Gossip Notes continue:

Another, Laura, married Lord Stair, but a previous wife whom he thought was dead having arisen, the marriage was annulled. [1811] [The previous marriage was also annulled 1820.] She returned home and lived with her mother, a soured and bitter woman. She left her large fortune and her jewels to her niece, Maria, Marchioness of Ailesbury (Aylesbury). At her death they were sold and dispersed. (These women were my grandfather's aunts.)

My [Lord Huntingtower] great grandfather's wife was a Miss [Catherine Rebecca 1766-1852, dau. of Francis Grey] Grey of Lehana, [possible spelling: Lehena] County Cork. She was a very beautiful woman, very religious and a poetess. [Janet Rance had a volume of her poems: "Poems by Lady Manners", 1793] She survived her husband by 25 years, having been heartily bullied by him during his lifetime. He left her a jointure of £1,000 only, which, considering his enormous fortune, was considered very mean.

[Site Note - She is pictured here in mourning - painted a short time after the death of her husband.]

Maria, daughter of Hon. Charles Tollemache and granddaughter of Louisa, Countess of Dysart, was a very beautiful girl and was hated by her mother (who was a daughter of Lord Gardner and a very beautiful woman.) She finally said that either she or the daughter must leave the house, the daughter at the time being 16. Her father took the girl to her grandmother Louisa, Countess Dysart, but before she left the house, her mother shaved her head so that she might not make a good impression upon her grandmother. She married [at Ham House 1833] the first Marquis of Aylesbury, she being a beautiful girl of 22 and he nearly 70. The great Duke of Wellington is supposed to have intended to marry her, but she got engaged before he had time to propose to her.

Site Note April 2004Image adapted from Chalon's drawing -  "Heath's Book of Beauty"  - Longmans, (Longman, Brown & Green) London 1843

Cousin, Alan Tollemache writes:

Maria, daughter of Hon. Charles Tollemache and granddaughter of Louisa, Countess of Dysart, was the sister of my great, great, great, grandfather, William Tollemache. He married  Anna Maria St. Maur - daughter of the Duke of Somerset. 

William's other sister, Frances Louisa Tollemache, married (secondly) her first cousin, Algernon Gray Tollemache, in 1857. Her first husband was George Richard Halliday who died in 1855 - just five years after their marriage.

[Lady Jane Tollemache (sister of Lionel 5th.Earl of Dysart & Wilbraham 6th.Earl) was born in 1750 and died 28th. August, 1802. She was married to John Delap Halliday.]

Alan concludes: "I have also recently learnt from Evelyn Pritchard's book The 1841 Emigrants from Ham to New Zealand that Algernon Gray Tollemache visited New Zealand three times over a period of 20 years."

The Gossip Notes coninue: My grandfather's eldest brother became Lord Dysart [b.1794 d. 1878] in 1840. He was a most peculiar man. He married his first cousin (through his mother) a Miss [Eliza] Toone [d.1869] but she was some years older than he was and they got on badly. They had one son and soon after, they separated - one reason being that they could not agree on the weight of the bed clothes! They separated. She lived in Grosvenor Square and he always used to speak of that part of London as the "Infernal Regions". He had a large family of illegitimate children who bore the name of Manners. Their mother was a cook. Most of these descendants are now [1913/14] living in Lincolnshire and they were amply provided for. The eldest one committed suicide but no one knew why.

This Lord Dysart [i.e. the Dame's great uncle, 1794-1878] was a very peculiar man. He was excessively good looking. In his youth he got largely into debt, ran through £100,000 but in his later days he was a miser and accumulated great wealth. He lived in [at 34] Norfolk Street, Strand, in a very small way and saw no one but his two brothers - my grandfather and Uncle Algernon [b. 1805 d. 1892] He never asked them to dinner, giving as the excuse that people couldn't do two things at the same time - eat and talk. He had an old housekeeper, Mrs. Pick, and he used to send her out to the London and Westminster Bank carrying enormous sums of money. He never went out or went to see his property at Ham [Ham House; Tony and Joyce Maxtone Graham used to stay there in the 1920s] or in Lincolnshire [Buckminster near Grantham] He lived the life of a recluse and never took any exercise except walking round his room; but he died in excellent health at 87. He used to repeat poetry, especially Byron, beautifully. He disliked his legitimate son and wanted to leave all his money to his illegitimates but my grandfather, after a great deal of trouble, persuaded him to make a just Will.

[Debrett's Magazine of September/October 1985 (c/o Susan Tollemache 2003) reports that "he had one of the only two £10,000 notes framed on his wall".]

The son (legitimate) [William, Lord Huntingtower b. 1820 dvp 1872] of this Lord Dysart married his first cousin, the daughter of Lady Louisa Bourke. Previous to this he was supposed to have made a Scotch marriage with a woman of low birth by whom he had children. These children, after his death, and his father's death, brought a lawsuit [see Irving's 'Annals of Our Time', 14 March 1805, footnote to Scots Peerage III, 420] against the family to try and prove the legitimacy and almost succeeded in doing so. They, however, failed. The daughters [of the 'Scotch' marriage] married and settled in Australia. The son [of the 'Scotch' marriage] calls himself Albert Tollemache and lives [in 1913/14] near Cambridge, has no children. There was a third illigitimate family called Manners but they are well provided for. The son lives in America. They were all Roman Catholics.

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Elizabeth Murray [see DNB] Countess of Dysart [d. 1698, daughter of William Murray, whipping boy to Charles I, created Earl of Dysart and d. 1661 without male issue - see DNB] in her own right, married [first] µ Lionel Tollemache [b1624 d. 1669] of Helmingham. Her eldest son became 3rd Earl of Dysart [2nd. Earl Lionel, dvp 1712]. His son did not live to succeed but left children and one of those children [Lionel 4th Earl of Dysart KT 1708-1770] succeeded and married Grace Carteret, daughter of George II's Chief Minister, Lord Carteret, afterwards Lord [Earl] Granville [see DNB].

µ [Her second marriage was to John, Duke of Lauderdale; she is said to have been the mistress to Oliver Cromwell.] (The affair is dismissed in Evelyn Pritchard's account - see booklet details at base of page.) For Cromwell/Smyth/e and Tollemache kinship via the Smyth/es of Essex, follow the "Essex" link.)

Elizabeth [see above - died 1698] Murray's daughter married the Duke of Argyle. Their son was the famous John, Duke of Argyle, born at Ham House. The daughter married the Duke of Buccleuch. That is how I am related to John, Cis and my son, Douglas's wife, Enid Campbell - from the Duke of Argyle [Douglas and Enid were married at the Church of the Annunciation, Bryanston Square, London, on 9th December, 1914.]

My Grandfather [Dame Eva's grandfather] Frederick Tollemache [1804-1888] married first a Miss Bumford, an Irish girl, and had one daughter, Louise, who died unmarried. He then married Isabella, [b. 1818 d.1850] daughter of [George] Gordon Forbes [b. 1782 d.1870] of Ham, Surrey. They were Aberdeenshire people, and from one brother is descended Lord Forbes, from the other, Sir John Forbes. He - [George] Gordon Forbes, (father of the [Isabella] above) was in the East Indian Civil Service. His mother was Miss [Margaret] Sullivan, her sister was Mrs. Ingram and Mrs. Brett, forbears of the present Bishop of London and Lord Esher.

Site Note

Sir John Wormald, father of Babs (Evelyn Mabel) Wormald (who became the second wife of Dame Eva Anstruther's son, Douglas Tollemache Anstruther) worked, in his early days, among the poor of the East End and there, earned the life-long friendship of two Bishops of Stepney, Winnington Ingram - and Lang.

This [George] Gordon Forbes married a Miss [Elizabeth] Murdoch Brown [d1835, aged 40] about whose mother there was some mystery of birth. [She is said to have been Eliza King, who was educated in a convent at St Omer. She married Murdoch Brown in 1790] Murdoch Brown was a great man in India at one time and one of the first Indian settlers.

Biographical Note - for Murdoch Brown in which Robert Maxtone Graham draws on the Dictionary of Indian Biography held at the Society of Genealogists' Library.

"BROWN, Murdoch. Born at Edinburgh 1750; left Scotland for Lisbon merely for the voyage but never returned: found work in Lisbon, made his way through Europe: in 1775 went out as Consul to Calicut for the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria: engaged in trade, of which Jonathan Duncan, Governor of Bombay, wrote, 1792, as the most considerable of any British subject on that side of India: he lost eleven ships, East Indiamen, of 1,000 tons or more in the war with France: in 1798 he took over from Government as a plantation "Five Tarras of Randaterra" (The Anjrakandy estate) in Malabar: was granted, in 1802, a 99 years' lease, being the earliest English landholder in India: the natives regarded him as their Raja: none but the lowest caste would work on the estate, which was wasted by war: he educated his tenants and Christianized them by native catechists and German missionaries, raising them to the scale of civilisation: he spoke seven European languages and five or six Oriental languages: died at Tellicherry, 1828."

Robert adds: "Another of Murdoch's daughters, Maria Jane, married 1810, John Ludlow, Lt. Col. C.B. 6th Native Infantry. List of Officers in the Bengal Army p.88"

The beautiful Duchess of Devonshire [Georgiana, wife of 5th Duke] was a first cousin of Louisa, Countess of Dysart. Lady Elizabeth Forster, Lord Harvey's [succ. as 4th Earl of Bristol] daughter ["m. 1776 John Thomas Forster and had issue" - Collins Peerage iv 160] was mistress to the [5th.] Duke. [of Devonshire] The two women were great friends and, as they were both going to have babies at the same time, they agreed that if Lady Elizabeth Forster had the boy, and the Duchess the girl, that the babies should be exchanged. This plan was actually carried out and an arrangement was carried out that the boy should be allowed to be considered Duke [the 6th Duke, b.1790 d. unmarried 1858] on condition he agreed not to marry and leave legitimate heirs. The Duchess' discarded daughter subsequently married, a Mr. Lamb, and lived and died at Devonshire Cottage, Richmond. She was a great friend of my [the Dame's] grandfather (Frederick Tollemache) [1804-1888] and left him a picture. She also left a ring to an Aunt of my mother's (a ring with 4 turquoises) which my mother [Ada, Lady Sudeley] has now. This ring belonged to Lady Elizabeth Forster. Mr. Lamb left no descendants.

Dame Eva Anstruther's account concludes as follows:

The way in which some of the Thanet plate is in our possession is that Lady Tollemache, one of the daughters who ran away without a husband, set up house with a Miss Lyster and Lady Elizabeth Tufton, who was the last legitimate descendant of the Earls of Thanet. (The present Lord Hothfield is the illigitimate branch.) Lady Catherine Tollemache was the survivor of this trio and inherited from the two others. She left everything to my Grandfather.

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Alan Tollemache has this to add to the above in relation to the recluse Lord Dysart, 1794 -1878 - Dame Eva Anstruther's great uncle:Lyonel Tollemache ...

"The large sums of money he gave to his housekeeper were passed to her through a hatch at the bottom of his door.  He got her to pass her apron through and then passed it back to her containing significant amounts of cash, with instructions to buy shares in British Rail.  On one occasion, he asked for a boot maker to be sent to him.  When the boot maker arrived  to measure his feet, he would not allow the boot maker in the room and instead put one foot through the hatch.  When the boot maker asked him to put his other foot through also,  he refused, stating that the other shoe still had plenty of wear. [There are] many such anecdotes in "The Tollemaches of Helmingham and Ham" by The Hon. E.D.H. Tollemache."

Tollemache- Tollemache - this keyhole link reveals further information about later Tollemache family with a most unusual name ... name ... name ...

Suggested further reading: "Ham House and its owners through four centuries 1610-1948" by Evelyn Pritchard; Richmond Local History Society, 1998. This well-researched volume is available from Ham House itself which is administered by the National Trust. The front cover illustration of Ham House (imaged here from the book) was drawn by Sarah Houston. Click on the image to visit the National Trust web site for Ham House, Richmond and find out more.

(Click on the author's name above to see further details of Tollemache family research - with New Zealand associations.)

NB: Richmond Local History Society Members meet for talks on Mondays in Meadows Hall, Church Road, Richmond at 8pm (coffee from 7.30pm). Visitors £1. Secretary: Elizabeth, on 8891 3825.

National Trust - Ham House, Richmond

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