Putting them in the picture

 

 

This, the last posting of the Stothard sequence, contains four names of import: Ten Broeke, the Earl of Moira, Lord Rancliffe, and the Stadtholder.

This tight little group, standing immediately behind the Prince Regent (Dr Boyes makes up the quintet) tells its own story about perceived importance in the eyes of Stothard. Or possibly, if the portrait represented a single event, how they perceived their own importance at the time. If this were a sort of historical photograph, their positioning by design or a degree of elbow-jostling infers a status on the individuals. The closer you were to the future king at an event might indicate how close you were to the future king. The positioning is highly likely to have been choreographed in a real event. If it were a composite image of a number of similar events, quite possibly Stothard was instructed where to place people. On the other hand, the darker colours are enhanced by the splendid scarlet of the uniform jacket so for artistic licence it works. We are not party to all the preparation for event or image so we can only speculate whether deeper meaning can be read into this grouping or not.

Anthony Ten Broeke was certainly important in the School’s history. A founder of the Caledonian Lodge, Ten Broeke was also one of the nine freemasons who established the Royal Cumberland Freemasons’ School in 1788. Born in 1736, he would have been in his prime at the time. His surname is Dutch in origin and until very recently there was a serving Dutch politician of that name: Hans Ten Broeke. The surname appears to derive from ‘on the marsh’ – a broeke is a marshy area or a creek and, of course, is linked to the English word ‘brook’. So Anthony Ten Broeke would be Tony Marsh or Tony Brook perhaps.

This portrait of him is in the Library of Freemasonry having been presented in 1938 and since restored. It portrays him as Master of the Caledonian Lodge which he became in 1766.

The Caledonian Lodge itself has a strong association with the School. It has long supported the School financially – until 1978 when the present day school became independent – particularly when capital expenditure was required to meet the costs of development. For example, when the School moved from its first site in Somers Place East to its second, and first purpose-built establishment, in St George’s Fields, Southwark, the Caledonian lodge was on hand with support. The new site included a Committee Room

so meetings no longer had to be held in coffee houses etc. Said committee room required furnishing so the lodge presented to the School a fine set of 25 chairs which can still be found at the modern day School.

One of these chairs, known as the King’s Chair, is the one used by any visiting royalty and has a label attached to it identifying the occasions when it was thus used.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anthony Ten Broeke left a masonic dynasty in the lodge, with the Master in its 250th year, Graham Ten Broeke, continuing the family tradition. Indeed, a celebration was held at the School to mark this occasion as an indication of the longevity of the association.

Ten Broeke died in 1812 and is buried in Austin Friars Churchyard (Nederlandse Kerk Londen) in the North Aisle. This church was destroyed by fire in 1862 and its replacement destroyed in the Blitz. The current church on this site was built in the 1950s.

The Earl of Moira also has a connection with the School that goes beyond the individual depicted by Stothard. When the School moved to its current site in 1934, the eight boarding houses were given names that reflected the School’s history. One of those names was Moira. Francis Edward Rawdon-Hastings, 1st Marquess of Hastings, was known as The Earl of Moira between 1793 and 1816 – so whichever of the dates we select for the Stothard portrait, he was the Earl of Moira in it. He had served with British forces during the American Revolutionary War and in 1794 during the French Revolution, hence his depiction in military uniform.

http://www.britannica.com

He married late in life (he was fifty at the time) and, as this was on 12 July 1804, he was single at the time of the portrait. He and his wife, Flora Campbell, Countess of Loudoun, had six children. It would appear to have been a love match as, after his death at sea off Naples in 1824 and following his earlier directions, she arranged for his right hand to be cut off and preserved, to be buried with her when she died. He had been serving as Governor of Malta and had been on board the ship to return to his wife when he died. His body was laid to rest in Hastings Gardens, Valletta which is named for the Earl. His hand was eventually interred, clasped with hers, in the family vault at Loudoun Kirk.

He had inherited Donnington Hall from an uncle and then had it rebuilt in a Gothic style at about the date of the Stothard portrait. Requisitioned at the start of World War I by the British government and turned into a prisoner of war camp, it is now the headquarters of the Norton Motorcycle Company.

 

 

 

 

 

Lord Rancliffe, placed under the guardianship of the Earl of Moira when his father died, was George Augustus Henry Anne Parkyns (1785-1850). He was given his first two forenames in honour of his godfather, later George IV. So his position in the Stothard portrait is explained by his connections to both the Earl of Moira and the Prince Regent. Strictly, however, he should not have been referred to as Lord Rancliffe in the portrait as he did not succeed to the baronetcy until 1806. However, the Right Hon The Lord Rancliffe is how he appears on the outline image.

https://www.grosvenorprints.com

On his 21st birthday he came into his inheritance which included an annual income of £21,000. A sum not to be sniffed at now, it was the equivalent of £5.5 million in today’s money. He also inherited the delightfully named Bunny Hall in Nottinghamshire which had been in the family since 1574.

https://houseandheritage.org/tag/lord-rancliffe/

Actually, the name Bunny is nothing to do with cute furry creatures but is derived from Old English Bune, meaning reed. In White’s Directory of Nottinghamshire, 1853 it is spelled Bunney.

In October 1807 – so still a very young man – Rancliffe married Lady Elizabeth Mary Theresa Forbes, daughter of the Earl of Granard, and also niece to the Earl of Moira. The marriage was not successful and they separated, although did not divorce. He returned to Nottinghamshire (from Paris) and there he made the acquaintance of Harriet Burtt. At that time, she was married to a GP, considerably older than she, who was confined to an asylum. Harriet became resident at Wymeswold (Leicestershire), under Rancliffe’s protection, and then later went to live with him at Bunny.

Bunny Hall December 1914 from http://www.bunnyvillage.org.uk/photos1.htm

Lord Rancliffe died at Bunny Hall on 1st November 1850, after a long illness. His will caused great consternation in the family because it said:

“I give Bunny Hall to Mrs Burtt for her life, and afterwards to whosoever she may appoint to inherit the said estates. I give Mrs Burtt, for her use entirely, all the goods, furniture, and pictures, with one exception; and I give her all my plate, together with the plated silver tureen and dishes with my crest. I also leave my silver tureen presented to me by the electors of Nottingham, to Mrs Burtt; and I also leave my horses and carriages at her entire disposal.”

Eleven years later, the will was contested by his brother-in-law but to no avail. Harriet Burtt was left in full enjoyment of the estate which at the time had an income of £7000 a year (equiv. of about £250,000 today).

Mrs Burtt bequeathed the estate to her niece, Arabella Hawksley, who married Mr Robert Wilkinson Smith in 1898. When Robert died, he left the greater part of his large fortune for the benefit of Nottingham’s poor widows and spinsters.

Our final member of the Stothard group is His Serene Highness, the Stadtholder, or William V, Prince of Orange. The use of the word ‘Serene’ here is to mean supreme or royal rather as ‘Sublime’ (Ambassador to the Sublime Porte) meant principal. Queen Mary, who opened the School on its present site, was born ‘Her Serene Highness Princess Mary of Teck’ but during WWI, George V revoked recognition of this style of title for members of the family living in Britain.

William was the last Stadtholder of the Dutch republic. Born in 1748, he went into exile in London in 1795 under the title of Prince of Nassau-Orange. On his death in 1806, that title was inherited by his son William, who returned to the Netherlands in 1813 and became the first Dutch monarch from the House of Orange (William I). As a European royal, it does not come as a surprise to find that William V was related to the Prince Regent as he was George III’s cousin.

The title Stadtholder is roughly comparable to England’s historic title Lord Lieutenant and was elected rather than inherited. However, In 1747 the office had been made hereditary. William IV was the first of these and William V the last. However, what would have been William VI, the Stadtholder, became instead William I, the first King of the Netherlands. His direct descendants still hold the title (currently Willem-Alexander).

 

We began this little group with one person of Dutch descent and, rather neatly, we end with another. The portrait, so familiar to the School, has taken on a new life in the identification of many of the people portrayed in it. It is now not just Ruspini leading the children before assembled Freemasons but represents a moment in time recorded for future generations to witness the extraordinary breadth of support the School received.

See the bigger picture

Mr Jones, Mr Birch, and George Boulton Esq in the Stothard portrait are just images in a picture because, without much more information, they are impossible to trace. Fortunately for informaphiles there is plenty about the others!

Mr Asperne is James Asperne 1757-1820, bookseller and proprietor of the European Magazine, a monthly magazine published from 1782 until 1826. He was also Past Master of the Foundation Lodge and St Peter’s Lodge and Grand Steward for 1814. His image in the Stothard is little more than a coloured blob if we zoom in so, fortunately, there is a much better portrait by Samuel Drummond in the Library of Freemasonry.

James Asperne by Samuel Drummond

Another in the print trade was Mr Whittle as it seems very likely that he is the Whittle of Laurie & Whittle. Laurie, a skilled artist, had been apprenticed to Robert Sayer and took over from him in 1794. James Whittle had also been an apprentice but in the Needlemakers’ Company and he joined with Laurie producing maps, charts and prints from the Golden Buck in Fleet Street. They and their families lived on the premises.

‘The foundation of their business was the existing Sayer stock of printing plates, both for maps and atlases and also decorative prints, but they continued to add new material to freshen up the atlases, as well as separately-published maps on topical issues, notably events during the Napoleonic Wars.’ https://www.crouchrarebooks.com/mapmakers/laurie-whittle

After his partner retired, and until his death in 1818, Whittle continued the business with Laurie’s son. ‘Ultimately the business formed part of the famous nautical chart firm of Imray, Laurie, Norie &Wilson.’ https://www.jpmaps.co.uk/includes/biography.popup.cfm/id.803

http://www.davidrumsey.com/maps1151094-31512.html

 

No portrait of James Whittle has been found and, like Mr Asperne, he is just a blob in the Stothard so it makes us no wiser about his appearance.

 

Standing next to him, is Dr de Valangin and, in a neat connection, the image below was published by James Asperne! The legend states “Engraved from an Original Painting by Abbott. Dr. De Valangin.” and “Published by J. Asperne, at the Bible, Crown & Constitution, Cornhill, Sept.r. 1st 1805.”

image from https://wellcomeimages.org via Creative Commons

Dr Franciscus Josephus Pahud de Valangin was born in 1719 in Berne, Switzerland and studied medicine at Leiden. In 1768 (the same year that Ruspini also published a treatise) he published a Treatise on Diet. From his practice in Fore St, Cripplegate he dispensed not only his own medicines but also Ruspini’s haemostatic styptic, given to the poor free of charge in tins stamped with his coat of arms. Medical care at that time being costly, de Valangin was unusual for charging people according to what he thought they could pay.

‘To those in the humbler walks of life, it was his constant custom to regulate the acceptance of his fees by their presumed ability to afford them: and the poor were always welcome to his gratuitous assistance.’ (European Magazine 1805)

De Valangin leased land at White Conduit Fields, Pentonville and had a house constructed to his own design. He called it Hermes Hill House derived from Hermes Trismegistus deemed author of Hermetic Corpus. (No, I had no idea either – and I’m not much wiser having looked it up.)

‘His house was remarkable for a singular brick tower or observatory, which was taken down by the next tenant.’ https://www.british-history.ac.uk/old-new-london/vol2/pp279-289

From his first marriage, he had two sons and a daughter. Sadly, the daughter died when she was nine years old and she was buried in the garden of Hermes Hill House. Fortunately for the next occupant, her body was later transferred to Cripplegate church. De Valangin married for a second time in 1782, the widow of the architect who built his house.

De Valangin was certainly involved in the early days of the School. The first attempt to find some premises, in Little Chelsea, failed quite a long way into the negotiations because the Duchess of Cumberland decided they (and the owner) were not suitable. In a very short space of time, they had to find other premises and it was de Valangin who found the Somers Place East site. He also gave his services as a physician free of charge to the School.

Curiously, his death, like that of Thomas Stothard, involved a carriage accident. The European Magazine – see, they’re all connected – reports that on 2nd January 1805, de Valangin slipped and fell whilst alighting from his carriage, the ground being frosty. He sustained an injury which he himself predicted would shorten his life and so it proved. On 1st March 1805 he died and was interred in the family vault in Cripplegate church, the same vault to which his daughter’s body had been removed the day before.

His obituary says of him that he was ‘a friend to mankind and an honour to his profession.’

Now, Sir John Eamer, on the other hand, is described less flatteringly as ‘a remarkable and controversial man’ http://thekempetrust.co.uk/?p=292 written by Adrian Barlow, 2015. He was a friend of the Prince Regent although Stothard portrays him standing behind the prince’s brother on the opposite side of the hall. In 1794 he became Sherriff of London and was knighted by George III. He was elected to the position of Lord Mayor of London in 1801 so perhaps Stothard mistakenly attributed his later position to the listing rather than giving him as Sherriff.

Sir John by Stothard and also by Brown

On completing his term of office Sir John became Colonel of the East London militia, ‘with responsibility for safeguarding the London docks from possible French attack after the collapse of the short-lived Treaty of Amiens in 1802.’ http://thekempetrust.co.uk/

His costume, as depicted by Stothard, is vaguely uniform-like but it is difficult to be sure. The other portrait, commissioned by himself when he became Lord Mayor is definitely uniformed. The portrait, by Mather Brown, is ‘a stunning piece of myth making’. As Barlow indicates:

… he stands, flushed and supremely confident in scarlet uniform, his right elbow resting on the muzzle of a tall canon. Immediately behind him, his massive horse is draped in a cheetah-skin saddlecloth. Above and behind the horse loom the arms of the City of London, supported as heraldry demands by a griffin. Below, in a distant view barely glimpsed between the horse’s legs, soldiers can be seen drilling on a parade ground with St. Paul’s Cathedral in the background. The implicit title of this picture is all too clearly ‘Sir John Eamer, Heroic Defender of the City of London’.

But lest we should think that, Malvolio-like, Sir John from humble beginnings had greatness thrust upon him, it would appear he got to where he was by using his wealth to buy influence and it was wealth, moreover, which came from the West Indian sugar trade and, by implication, the use of slaves.

In 1805, he was court-martialled for ‘Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman’. Junior officers complained that he was bullying and abusive although, in his own defence, at a time when there was a threat of invasion and strict military discipline was necessary, Sir John found this in very short measure among the officers of the East London Militia and said some had stubbornly refused to turn out on parade.

“I was prepared to expect much discontent and strong opposition; but I was not prepared to expect that the ruin of my character, the destruction of my peace, and the blasting of my fair fame were to be the price of my duty so discharged.” (Colonel Sir John Eamer’s Defence on the court martial held on charges preferred against him by Captain William Ayres, &c. &c. as cited by Barlow)

Sir John was cleared of all charges although advised to temper what he said and how he said it. (‘Language, Timothy!’) However, just a year later he was ‘up before the Beak’ again for intemperate behaviour following a road accident in which his carriage, apparently on the wrong side of the road, had side-swiped another vehicle. Sir John, far from admitting any liability, ‘immediately began to exercise his horsewhip most actively upon the head and shoulders of the plaintiff’s servant.’ To make matters worse when the owner of the vehicle appeared, Sir John laid into him as well! This time, the court found against him and he was obliged to pay damages.

Did this sober his behaviour? Well no, because in 1810, after refusing to account for some £8000 granted for equipping the Militia, Sir John was court-martialled again for

behaving in a scandalous infamous manner, such as unbecoming the character of an Officer and a Gentleman towards one of his subordinate officers … Sir John [was] acquitted on all charges but reprimanded, again, for his use of ‘unguarded expressions’.

His reputation, however, was damaged and a few years later he withdrew from the City and retired to Brighton. He died there on 29th March 1823, and his death merited only a brief note in the Gentleman’s Magazine:

‘On a warm treacherous sun-shining day, he imprudently ventured to sit on the beach, which sapped the foundation of a frame already bending under the weight of age and infirmity’. [Definitely overtones of ‘Well if you will go out without your vest on …]

As Sir John was clearly a colourful character. It seems almost a shame that he is wearing sombre colours in the Stothard portrait.

First Day at School

Parents up and down the country are this week experiencing for the first time that rite of passage known as ‘First Day at School’. Their little darlings, clad collectively in their brand new school uniforms, clutching – some apprehensively, some in fevered excitement – their school bags, are being deposited at school gates. It might be small steps for little legs but, paraphrasing Neil Armstrong, it is one small step for a child, one giant leap for parenthood. Parents watch in astonishment as their tinies take their first steps away from them and many of the tears shed are actually those of the parents who can’t quite believe that those helpless little babies who needed them for everything are the same people now skipping gaily across the playground.

From a different perspective, there are probably a number of schools taking in pupils for the very first time this week, either because they are brand new schools or because they are taking younger children for the first time. For those establishments, it is also a time of trepidation. Will all the planning come to fruition? Will everything work as it should? Will the logistics all come together?

Wind the clock back 228 years and the very first pupils were embarking at a school in a house in Somers Place East with, in the minds of the steering Committee, many of those same worries. After a year’s intensive planning, a new school came into existence that still operates today. The Royal Cumberland Freemasons’ School officially began in 1788 but the first pupils entered the school on 5th January 1789. The Morning Herald of Thursday, January 8, 1789, stated:

It must have made an interesting spectacle for a (probably) grey January day. There must have been a goodly number of carriages. There were fifteen pupils, presumably the Matron (although she could have been waiting at the school to receive them – the records do not indicate), the gentlemen of the Committee and possibly some of the ladies and subscribers who appear to have witnessed the event.

The actual route is unknown but it is likely to have passed the area where the National Gallery was later to stand (built 1824), along past the British Museum (built 1753 so it may have been a witness) and up to what is now Euston Road but what was then known as the New Road. The gentlemen of the committee retired to dine at St Alban’s Tavern but the new pupils stayed at the school. And unlike today’s mummies and daddies waiting at the school gates at home time to hear all about the experiences, these little girls remained in the school house until they were old enough to leave school aged 15.

The School went on to have more First Days as it moved house three times. In 1795, it moved from its home in Somers Town to Southwark. It moved without any ceremony. In fact, the only reason any date is known is because the Minute Books of the Committee record that the meeting was held in ’the new School House’.

By 1852, the School had long outgrown its allocated space and so it moved again – to Clapham.

This was accompanied by a little more pomp and ceremony. £400 was put aside “so that everything might be done with grace and splendour” (G Blizard Abbot, Royal Masonic Institute for Girls from 1788 to 1900) – the equivalent today of £16,500. On August 2nd, visitor numbers were estimated to be between 3000 – 4000. Amongst other ceremonial events, one of the pupils, Caroline Rhoda Davies, recited a poem especially composed for the occasion. Nine hundred dined and, as this was presided over by the Grand Master, it can be assumed that they were all Freemasons. There was also dancing in the grounds to a quadrille band and other military bands and the last visitors left shortly before midnight. And the pupils in all this celebration? Well, sadly, they were still at Southwark because they didn’t actually move until December 9th!

For the next 80 or so years, the School remained on its third site with a variety of adjustments and expansions to accommodate the growing numbers. One of these adjustments was the Junior School disappearing into Surrey. In August 1918, the younger pupils had their next First Day when they moved to Weybridge. There were 45 pupils which included 20 pupils for whom this was same school, new site and fifteen for whom it was entirely a new school. But the Clapham site continued to be crowded and eventually it was realised that, not only was a bigger site required but that it was highly unlikely to be in London. In 1926, Rickmansworth Park was found. The new buildings were ready by 1934 and on March 24th 1934 the doors of Clapham were locked for the last time (the honour went to Eileen Hones, then the youngest member of staff) and staff and pupils went off for their Easter break. When they returned almost a month later, it was the First Day of all First Days and almost 400 pupils and all the teaching staff, domestic staff, ancillary staff and maintenance staff found themselves in grounds and buildings that were as yet unfamiliar. A pupil who was there at the time commented later on the way many staff and pupils kept getting lost. But then, as well as being a new set of buildings, it was also huge. The old school, including the playgrounds, would have fitted inside the Garth of the new one – and the Garth is approximately 1.5% of the total acreage! It is a tribute to the leadership of Bertha Dean (Headmistress) and Florence Mason (Matron) that it all went so smoothly. As a member of staff at the time commented: “We had moved house that was all: the meals were on time and the bath water was hot …” In June 1934, the site was officially opened by Queen Mary.

 

 

The weather, as it so often is in British summer time, threatened to be inclement (and it did rain earlier in the day) so the route to be taken by the Queen was considered. As the parquet floors were thought to have a risk of being slippery if wet, it was decided to lay a temporary rubber matting down over the very slight slope in the corridor between the Great Hall and the Dining Hall. Naturally, it was red in colour. And this temporary matting was still there fifty years later!

The School has now been on this site for the greatest length of time it has been anywhere – 83 years and counting. In that time, not only has it seen 83 First Days – one for each year – but it has also seen younger and younger pupils having their own First Days. Each September, there are new pupils joining the School community and when you are a Newbie and it seems as if EVERYONE else knows exactly where they are going, it can be a little daunting. In recent years, a new style First Day has been trialled. Known as Focus Days, the entire school participates in activities on a theme. As, then, it is a new experience for everyone, it has the effect of putting even the most bored teenager (hey ho, another year) on her mettle as she does not know quite what to expect. In the last decade or so there have been, to name but three, Chevalier Day (2013), Environmental Day (2012) and 1934 day (2009) as the School celebrated its being on the site for 75 years. Below are the staff on two of the Focus Days.

These are First Days to remember. But then, whatever their format, your First Day at School is always important.