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Letter to Mary WebbMary Elizabeth Webb, or: Mary Elizabeth Webb | Born: 1796-04-15 in Wokingham, Berkshire, England. Died: .
Close friend and frequent correspondent of Mary Russell Mitford. Mary Webb was born about 1796, the daughter of James Webb, Esq., and Jane Elizabeth Ogbourn. Baptized on April 15, 1796 in Wokingham, Berkshire. Sister of Elizabeth (called "Eliza") and Jane Eleanor Webb and niece of the elder Mary Webb, "Aunt Mary". In Needham’s papers, he notes from the Berkshire Directorythat she lived on Broad street, presumably in Wokingham, Berkshire. She was the wife of Thomas Hawkins, Esq., as she is referred to thus in probate papers of 1858 regarding the wills of her sister Eliza Webb Walter and her husband Henry Walter. Date of death unknown. More research needed.--#scw #lmw
, March 2, 2016

Edited by Lisa M. Wilson.

Sponsored by:

First digital edition in TEI, date: Edition made with help from photos taken by Digital Mitford editors. Digital Mitford photo files: DSCF8919.jpg, DSCF8920.jpg, DSCF8920.jpg, .

Published by: Digital Mitford: The Mary Russell Mitford Archive, Greensburg, PA, USA: 2013.

Reproduced by courtesy of the Reading Central LibraryReading Central Library The principal archive of Mary Russell Mitford’s personal papers and related documents, holding approximately 1,000 manuscripts and a nearly comprehensive collection of her publications.
The principal archive of Mary Russell Mitford’s personal papers and related documents, holding approximately 1,000 manuscripts and a nearly comprehensive collection of her publications.--

Digital Mitford Letters: The Mary Russell Mitford Archive

Repository: Reading Central Library. Shelf mark: qB/TU/MIT Horizon No. 1361552

One sheet of paper, two surfaces photographed. Folded in half vertically then in thirds horizontally. No postmarks. Top edge of sheet burned or torn around center fold. No seal.

Hands other than Mitford's noted on this manuscript:

Mitford’s spelling and punctuation are retained, except where a word is split at the end of a line and the beginning of the next in the manuscript. Where Mitford’s spelling and hyphenation of words deviates from the standard, in order to facilitate searching we are using the TEI elements “choice," “sic," and “reg" to encode both Mitford’s spelling and the regular international standard of Oxford English spelling, following the first listed spelling in the Oxford English Dictionary. The long s and ligatured forms are not encoded.
[before 23 Aug. 1819] Tuesday

You will not expect us of course in such weather my dearest friendMary Elizabeth Webb, or: Mary Elizabeth Webb | Born: 1796-04-15 in Wokingham, Berkshire, England. Died: .
Close friend and frequent correspondent of Mary Russell Mitford. Mary Webb was born about 1796, the daughter of James Webb, Esq., and Jane Elizabeth Ogbourn. Baptized on April 15, 1796 in Wokingham, Berkshire. Sister of Elizabeth (called "Eliza") and Jane Eleanor Webb and niece of the elder Mary Webb, "Aunt Mary". In Needham’s papers, he notes from the Berkshire Directorythat she lived on Broad street, presumably in Wokingham, Berkshire. She was the wife of Thomas Hawkins, Esq., as she is referred to thus in probate papers of 1858 regarding the wills of her sister Eliza Webb Walter and her husband Henry Walter. Date of death unknown. More research needed.--#scw #lmw
, but cannot suffer the servant to go into ReadingReading, Berkshire, England | Reading | Berkshire | England | 51.4542645 -0.9781302999999753 | County town in Berkshire, in the Thames valley at the confluence of the Thames and the River Kennet. The town developed as a river port and in Mitford’s time served as a staging point on the Bath Road and was developing into a center of manufacturing. Mitford lived here with her parents from 1791 to 1795, on Coley Avenue in the parish of St. Mary’s and attended the Abbey School. The family returned to Reading from 1797 to about 1804, after which they relocated to Bertram House. They frequently visited Reading thereafter from their homes at nearby Bertram House, Three Mile Cross and Swallowfield. Mitford later used scenes from Reading as the basis for Belford Regis; or Sketches of a Country Town.--#lmw51.4542645 -0.9781302999999753 without assuring you of our regret at being disappointed of our visit. PapaGeorge Mitford, Esq., or: George Midford | Born: . Died: .
George Mitford was born on November 15, 1760 in Hexham, Northumberland, the son of Francis Midford, surgeon, and Jane Graham. He was related to the Mitfords of Mitford Castle, Northumberland. In 1784, he was living in Alresford and is listed in a Hampshire directory as "surgeon (medicine)." Although later sources would claim that he was a graduate of the University of Edinburgh medical school, there is no evidence that he obtained a medical degree; his father and grandfather worked as surgeon-apothecaries and it seems likely that he served a medical apprenticeship with family members. He married Mary Russell on October 17, 1785 at New Alresford, Hampshire. On the marriage allegation papers, both gave their addresses as Old Alresford; they later came to live at Broad Street in New Alresford. Their only child to live to adulthood, Mary Russell Mitford, was born two years later on December 16, 1787 at New Alresford, Hampshire. George Mitford died on December 11, 1842 at Three Mile Cross in the parish of Shinfield, Berkshire. --#lmw
particularly laments not being able to meet William Hayward, but the roads are in such plight & our cavalry so exceedingly inefficient that to drag the Gig & great coats, through the mire would be impossible to say nothing of the live (or dead) weight which the aforesaid great coats would enclose. You must write to me Saturday my own dear MaryMary Elizabeth Webb, or: Mary Elizabeth Webb | Born: 1796-04-15 in Wokingham, Berkshire, England. Died: .
Close friend and frequent correspondent of Mary Russell Mitford. Mary Webb was born about 1796, the daughter of James Webb, Esq., and Jane Elizabeth Ogbourn. Baptized on April 15, 1796 in Wokingham, Berkshire. Sister of Elizabeth (called "Eliza") and Jane Eleanor Webb and niece of the elder Mary Webb, "Aunt Mary". In Needham’s papers, he notes from the Berkshire Directorythat she lived on Broad street, presumably in Wokingham, Berkshire. She was the wife of Thomas Hawkins, Esq., as she is referred to thus in probate papers of 1858 regarding the wills of her sister Eliza Webb Walter and her husband Henry Walter. Date of death unknown. More research needed.--#scw #lmw
, & give me good news of the dear PapaJames Webb | Born: 1769 in Hurley, Berkshire, England. Died: 1822-01-11 in Wokingham, Berkshire, England.
Born about 1769 and baptized on February 19, 1769 in Hurley, Berkshire. Prominent manufacturer in the Wokinghambrewing industry, and community leader in Woking and the county of Berkshire. Father of Eliza, Jane, and Mary Webb, and brother (or brother-in-law) of his daughters’ "Aunt Mary," another Mary Webb. Francis Needham suggested that he was the original of the "gentleman" in the Our Villagesketch "Aunt Martha" . Sources: Francis Needham, Letter to William Roberts, 16 June 1953 . Needham Papers, Reading Central Library . --#scw #lmw
. I hope William will take great care of him at WinchesterWinchester, Hampshire, England | Winchester | Hampshire | England | 51.059771 -1.3101420000000417 | City and county town of Hampshire. Site of Winchester Cathedral and Winchester College, one of the oldest public grammar schools. Jane Austen died here and is buried in the Cathedral. John Keats wrote several of his best-known poems while on a visit to the city.--#lmw51.059771 -1.3101420000000417. I wish he was not going. You must likewise give me good tidings of poor Wilson--how sorry we all were for his accident--but dogs will fight--even my exemplary dog MossyMossy
Mitford’s dog; He died on Saturday, August 21, 1819 at Bertram House. "Mossy" was a nickname for "Moss Trooper."--#lmw #ncl
pretty nearly killed one of Mrs. Pile's at Overton. When such a Sir Charles GrandisonSir Charles Grandison
Title character of Samuel Richardson’s novel The History of Sir Charles Grandison. Became proverbial for an impossibly perfect ideal man and used by Mitford in this sense.--#lmw
-sort of dog as MossyMossy
Mitford’s dog; He died on Saturday, August 21, 1819 at Bertram House. "Mossy" was a nickname for "Moss Trooper."--#lmw #ncl
does such things what can be expected of the less educated race! Bye the bye it's great good luck that PapaGeorge Mitford, Esq., or: George Midford | Born: . Died: .
George Mitford was born on November 15, 1760 in Hexham, Northumberland, the son of Francis Midford, surgeon, and Jane Graham. He was related to the Mitfords of Mitford Castle, Northumberland. In 1784, he was living in Alresford and is listed in a Hampshire directory as "surgeon (medicine)." Although later sources would claim that he was a graduate of the University of Edinburgh medical school, there is no evidence that he obtained a medical degree; his father and grandfather worked as surgeon-apothecaries and it seems likely that he served a medical apprenticeship with family members. He married Mary Russell on October 17, 1785 at New Alresford, Hampshire. On the marriage allegation papers, both gave their addresses as Old Alresford; they later came to live at Broad Street in New Alresford. Their only child to live to adulthood, Mary Russell Mitford, was born two years later on December 16, 1787 at New Alresford, Hampshire. George Mitford died on December 11, 1842 at Three Mile Cross in the parish of Shinfield, Berkshire. --#lmw
did not hang him.--

I have just heard from Miss JamesElizabeth Mary James | Born: . Died: .
Close friend and correspondent of Mary Russell Mitford. She was born about 1775 in Bath, Somerset, the eldest daughter of Thomas Webb and Susanna Haycock. Her father died in 1818 and her mother in 1835. After her parents’ deaths, she lived with her two younger sisters, Emily and Susan, in Green Park Buildings, Bath, Walcot, Somerset; High Street, Mortlake, Surrey; and 3 Pembroke Villas, Richmond, Surrey. According to Coles, referring to Mitford’s diary, letters were also addressed to her at Bellevue, Lower Road, Richmond (Coles 26). She died on November 25, 1861, at 3 Pembroke Villas, Richmond, Surrey and was buried at St. Mary Magdalene, Richmond, Surrey. In the 1841 census, under "profession, trade, employment, or independent means" she lists "Ind." for "independent means;" in the 1851 census, she lists "landholder;" in the 1861 census, she lists "railway shareholder."--#lmw
who desires her most particular love to you all, PapaJames Webb | Born: 1769 in Hurley, Berkshire, England. Died: 1822-01-11 in Wokingham, Berkshire, England.
Born about 1769 and baptized on February 19, 1769 in Hurley, Berkshire. Prominent manufacturer in the Wokinghambrewing industry, and community leader in Woking and the county of Berkshire. Father of Eliza, Jane, and Mary Webb, and brother (or brother-in-law) of his daughters’ "Aunt Mary," another Mary Webb. Francis Needham suggested that he was the original of the "gentleman" in the Our Villagesketch "Aunt Martha" . Sources: Francis Needham, Letter to William Roberts, 16 June 1953 . Needham Papers, Reading Central Library . --#scw #lmw
& Aunt MaryMary Webb
Friend ofMary Russell Mitford. Sister or sister-in-law of James Webb and aunt of Eliza, Jane and Mary Webb. Francis Needhamsuggests that she was the basis for the character of Aunt Martha in the Our Villagestory of that title. [Sources: Francis Needham, Letter to William Roberts, 16 June 1953 . Needham Papers, Reading Central Library . Relationship to other Webbs and birth and death dates unknown. More research needed.--#scw #lmw
included. Some of this letter would make you laugh. Do come & see it, & see me, & the primrosesprimrose
One of Mitford’s favorite flowers, blooms in spring in Berkshire. Mitford likely refers to Primula vulgaris, a species of flowering plant in the family Primulaceae, native to western and southern Europe, commonly called the English primrose or common primrose. It is not to be confused with evening primrose or Oenothera, a genus of 100+ species of herbaceous flowering plants native to the Americas, which are not closely related to the true primroses (genus Primula). Mitford also mentions the evening primrose in her writing. Evening primroses have been cultivated in Europe since the early seventeenth century and are now naturalized in some parts of Europe and Asia. --#lmw
. Do.--Poor Dr. ValpyRichard Valpy, Doctor of Divinity (DD), Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (FSA), or: Dr. Valpy | Born: 1754-12-07 in St. John’s, Jersey, Channel Islands. Died: 1836-03-28 in Reading, Berkshire, England.
Richard Valpy (the fourth of that name) was the eldest son of Richard Valpy [III] and Catherine Chevalier. He was born on December 7, 1754 at St. John’s, Jersey, Channel Islands. He was a friend and literary mentor to Mary Russell Mitford. He matriculated at Pembroke College, Oxford University on April 1, 1773, aged eighteen, as a Morley scholar. He received from Oxford a B.A. (1776), M.A. (1784), B.D. & D.D. (1792). He took orders in the Church of England in 1777. Richard Valpy served as Second Master at Bury School, Bury, Huntindonshire from 1771 to 1781, and was also collated to the rectory of Stradishall, Suffolk, in 1787. He became the Headmaster at Reading School, Reading, Berkshire, in 1781 and served until 1830, at which time he turned the Headmastership over to his youngest son Francis E. J. Valpy and continued in semi-retirement until his death in 1836. During his tenure as Headmaster of Reading Grammar School for boys over the course of fifty years, he expanded the boarding school and added new buildings. He is the author of numerous published works, including Greek and Latin textbooks, sermons, volumes of poetry, and adaptations of plays such as Shakespeare’s King John and Sheridan’s The Critic. His Elements of Greek Grammar, Elements of Latin Grammar,,Greek Delectus and Latin Delectus, printed and published by his son A. J. Valpy, were all much used as school texts throughout the nineteenth century. Valpy’s students performed his own adaptations of Greek, Latin, and English plays for the triennial visitations and the play receipts went to charitable organizations. Valpy enlisted Mitford to write reviews of the productions for the Reading Mercury. In 1803, his adaptation of Shakespeare’s King John was performed at Covent Garden Theatre. Richard Valpy was married twice and had twelve children, eleven of whom lived to adulthood. His first wife was Martha Cornelia de Cartaret; Richard and Martha were married about 1778 and they had one daughter, Martha Cartaretta Cornelia, born 1779. His first wife Martha died about 1780 and he married Mary Benwell of Caversham, Oxfordshire on May 30, 1782. Together they had six sons and five daughters and ten of their eleven children survived to adulthood. Richard Valpy and Mary Benwell’s sons were Richard Valpy (the fifth of that name), Abraham John Valpy, called John; Gabriel Valpy, Anthony Blagrove Valpy; and Francis Edward Jackson Valpy. His daughters were Mary Ann Catherine Valpy; Sarah Frances Valpy, called "Frances" or "Fanny"; Catherine Elizabeth Blanch Valpy; Penelope Arabella Valpy; and Elizabeth Charlotte Valpy, who died as an infant. Richard Valpy died on March 28, 1836 in Reading, Berkshire, and is buried in All Souls cemetery, Kensal Green, London. Dr. Valpy’s students placed a marble bust of him in St. Lawrence’s church, Reading, Berkshire, after his death. John Opie painted Dr. Valpy’s portrait. See . --#ebb #lmw
is very ill we are sending to enquire after him. Good bye, my dear loves--

Ever your'syours
M.R.M.Mary Russell Mitford | Born: 1787-12-16 in New Alresford, Hampshire, England. Died: 1855-01-10 in Swallowfield, Berkshire, England.
Poet, playwright, writer of prose fiction sketches, Mary Russell Mitford is, of course, the subject of our archive. Mary Russell Mitford was born on December 16, 1787 at New Alresford, Hampshire, the only child of George Mitford (or Midford) and Mary Russell. She was baptized on February 29, 1788. Much of her writing was devoted to supporting herself and her parents. She received a civil list pension in 1837. Census records from 1841 indicate that she is living with her father George, three female servants: Kerenhappuch Taylor (Mary’s ladies maid), two maids of all work, Mary Bramley and Mary Allaway, and a manservant (probably serving also as gardener), Benjamin Embury. The 1851 census lists her occupation as "authoress," and lists her as living at Three Mile Cross with Kerenhappuch Taylor (lady’s maid), Sarah Chernk (maid-of-all-work), and Samuel Swetman (gardener), after the death of her father. Mitford’s long life and prolific career ended after injuries from a carriage accident. She died on 10 January 1855 at Swallowfield, Berkshire and she is buried in Swallowfield churchyard. The executor of her will and her literary executor was the Rev. William Harness and her lady’s maid, Kerenhappuch Taylor Sweetman, was residuary legatee of her estate. --#lmw #ebb

To
Miss WebbMary Elizabeth Webb, or: Mary Elizabeth Webb | Born: 1796-04-15 in Wokingham, Berkshire, England. Died: .
Close friend and frequent correspondent of Mary Russell Mitford. Mary Webb was born about 1796, the daughter of James Webb, Esq., and Jane Elizabeth Ogbourn. Baptized on April 15, 1796 in Wokingham, Berkshire. Sister of Elizabeth (called "Eliza") and Jane Eleanor Webb and niece of the elder Mary Webb, "Aunt Mary". In Needham’s papers, he notes from the Berkshire Directorythat she lived on Broad street, presumably in Wokingham, Berkshire. She was the wife of Thomas Hawkins, Esq., as she is referred to thus in probate papers of 1858 regarding the wills of her sister Eliza Webb Walter and her husband Henry Walter. Date of death unknown. More research needed.--#scw #lmw