Letters from the Past
Lord Archibald Hamilton
The Right Honorable Lord Archibald Hamilton, at Ashton Hall, Near Lancaster, and written by G. Grey.
The postal markings are not very easy to see, 1) a charge mark ‘3’ scribbled out but not replaced, and then 2) a very poorly struck two-line name stamp possibly KNUTS FORD which is in Cheshire. There is another name stamp 3) above the wax seal, but even less distinct than the one on the front of the letter. I have found it indecipherable.
The wax seal consists of the design of a female carrying some kind of orb and holding a shield with a cross on it. The wording is not completely legible but looks like AMOR ET SE RERIT, but the last word could possibly be SPERIT.
Unfortunately there is no address on the letter from the writer, so no clue there as to the origin. As the letter concerns finance it is likely that this was written by the family solicitor, or the estate manager.
2nd May 1764
Then further down the page of the letter it continues in a different handwriting.
“ My Lord I have wrote to Mr Newton that I am now upon a journey to London and that he should have my answer from thence. If your Lordship will please to honour me with your directions about this affair you will please to direct for me at the Earl of Harringtons in London. As stocks are now at a pretty good price I would recommend to your Lordship to give Mr Hoare’s directions to sell with orders to pay me what your lordship thinks proper which I will apply in discharge of this Bond and I wish your Lordship would let it be the whole 1300£ and £29..5..d interest for I dare say they will be writing for the remainder soon after they have got this.
Note 1) The reference to Mr Hoare is the banker.
Hoare’s bank was founded in 1672 by Richard Hoare at the sign of the Golden Bottle in Cheapside, London. It has a fascinating history as a privately owned bank, and some famous customers of the 17th century were Samuel Pepys, Sir Godfrey Kneller (painter) John Dryden (Poet) and “Beau” Nash. In the 19th century: Lord Byron (poet); Jane Austen (author); Lord Palmerston and the Earl of Liverpool (Prime Ministers) were all customers. After the Great War, most of the remaining private banks were absorbed by the larger banks. Hoares took a decision not to merge and today is the sole survivor as an independent bank, employing 220 staff in two branches in London, and having appointed its first female partner.Their website in June 2018 has this information
C. Hoare & Co. is the United Kingdom’s oldest privately owned bank.Unquote
Note 2) The letter is addressed to Ashton Hall which has a very long history, and this information from Wikipedia covers the time until the Dukes of Hamilton no longer owned the property.
Ashton Hall is constructed of red and grey sandstone, with roofs of slate. Its plan is unusual, with towers set diagonally. The 19th-century building was built in the Gothic style of grey sandstone. The rectangular 14th-century tower is of red sandstone; it has angle-towers and a crenellated parapet.
As an update to this historic pile, the land around Ashton Hall has been turned into a golf course, and the hall is now owned by Lancaster Golf Club.
Although this is not a wildly exciting letter, full of gossip and scandal, it shows the normal life of one man more than 250 years ago, and can be put into the time frame of what was happening in England at that time, which is part of the appeal to me of these old letters.
NOTE The second and third letters written to Lord Archibald Hamilton are also also on the website and can be found on the Letters page under the title Lord Archibald Hamilton, 1798 Lord Archibald .
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