MC:P287/C5: Letters from the Earl of Dartmouth and Family 1723/4-1728
MC:P287/C5/1 16th Feb. 1723/4
Letter from Lord Dartmouth (address Sandwell) to Sir Walter Bagot (no address given). Dartmouth mentions a ‘Mr. Levet’ (probably Richard Levett, matr. Magd. 1722; but perhaps Henry Levett, matr. Exeter Coll. 1718/9, demy Magd. 1720-6) coming to Blithfield, and to whom he seems to have given his letter. He gives his sympathy to Sir Walter, as it appears that one Mr. Bagot, (probably Sir Walter’s great uncle Charles) has a serious, and probably fatal illness. He sends his good wishes for a swift recovery to Mr. Bagot.
MC:P287/C5/2 23rd May 1724
Letter from Lord Dartmouth (address Sandwell) to Sir Walter Bagot (no address given). In this letter Dartmouth reminds Sir Walter that he ought to visit Lady Aylesford (Lady Elizabeth Finch of Aylesford, d.1743) at Albury, Surrey before he leaves London. He reminds Sir Walter that she is now the only living relation close enough to expect such a visit, particularly as Barbara (here called ‘Bab’, soon to marry Sir Walter) was always her favourite grandchild. He mentions that Lord Aylesford will be there and that Viscount Lewisham (Dartmouth’s son George) is ready to wait on him, should he wish.
MC:P287/C5/3 15 June 1724
Letter from Lord Dartmouth (address Sandwell) to Sir Walter Bagot (address: ‘At Captain Clark’s house in Essex Street near the Strand, London). Dartmouth is pleased that Sir Walter has recovered (the illness is unspecified). Sir Walter had visited Lady Aylesford at Albury, as he suggested (MC:P287/C5/2 23rd May, 1724). The next section is less clear, as Dartmouth remarks cryptically that he had hoped that he had persuaded Sir Walter not to spend money on certain presents for his lady (probably his future wife, Lord Dartmouth’s daughter, Barbara, though he moves without clarification to her from Lady Aylesford). He asks that in future he give ‘the least token’ of his esteem, rather than these gifts of ‘uncertain value’.
MC:P287/C5/4 n.d. 
Document discussing the settlement to be made upon Barbara Legge by her husband, Sir Walter Bagot, and the reasoning behind it. It also records the settlement, inheritance etc. of Lady Dartmouth, and the views of Lord Dartmouth and Lord Chief Justice Holt (Sir John Holt, d.1710), on what men ought to leave their wives. It discusses briefly the settlements granted by Lord Chancellor Nottingham (Daniel Finch, 2nd Earl of Nottingham, d.1730), how the law functioned and financial considerations.
MC:P287/C5/5 26 Aug. 1724
‘Envelope’ from a letter from Lord Dartmouth (no address given) to Sir Walter Bagot (address, Blithfield), now empty.
MC:P287/C5/6 15 Sept. 1724
Letter from Lord Dartmouth (address Sandwell) to Sir Walter Bagot (no address given). In response to an enquiry from Sir Walter, Dartmouth reports that they he and his wife had a pleasant journey back from a visit. He says that he was disappointed to hear that his daughter-in-law Lady Lewisham (Elizabeth Kaye) has not yet given birth, but that he remains so excited about the prospect of becoming a grandfather that this is but a minor disappointment. Dartmouth talks about his difficulty in leaving his daughter, Barbara, with her new husband, Sir Walter, and her own ‘tenderness’ at the separation from her parents. He finds comfort in the fact that the Bagots live nearby and that he is so fond of Sir Walter, whom he praises affectionately.
MC:P287/C5/7 6th Oct. 1724
Letter from Lord and Lady Dartmouth, Viscount Lewisham and his wife Elizabeth, Heneage Legge, and Anne Legge (signed with ‘her mark’; Heneage’s sister, b.c.1720) (address, Sandwell Vineyard) to Sir Walter Bagot (address Blithfield). The Legge family here sends some ‘southern fruit’ – grapes from their vineyard – to Sir Walter, as his house lies north of the Trent, close to the Moss of Chartley (Staffordshire). They fear that the grapes might have been mishandled by a young gentleman from Sir Walter’s neighbourhood, unused to seeing grapes on the vine. They suggest that he familiarise his neighbours with the fruit by planting some at his house, which would have culinary benefits too. They also suggest a variety of plum that Sir Walter could easily grow.
MC:P287/C5/8 16 Dec. 1724
Letter from Lord Dartmouth (address, Sandwell) to Sir Walter Bagot (no address given). Lord Dartmouth explains that he has been meaning to visit Sir Walter ever since his wife returned from Blithfield, but poor weather and an attack of gout prevented it. He mentions that he is now a grandfather and is pleased that the ‘master is so brisk.’ (Sadly, this child died in infancy). He asserts his fondness for Sir Walter, as he is now one of the family, and declares that he doesn’t wish to ‘live in formality’ with his family. He mentions that ‘Nany’ (probably a nickname for his young daughter, Anne) enjoyed her visit to Blithfield and sends his love to ‘Bab’ (Barbara). Sir Walter had been to see the Earl of Nottingham, Daniel Finch (Dartmouth’s uncle by marriage) at his seat, Burley House, at Burley-on-the-Hill, Rutland. Dartmouth is pleased to hear that the house met Sir Walter’s expectations and that Finch was ‘as upright as ever.’ He sends his service to Miss Bagot and to a Mr. Holdsworth. (Holdsworth might be the Latin poet Edward Holdsworth, demy of Magdalen (matr.1705), graduating BA 1708 and MA 1711, d.1746).
MC:P287/C5/9 9th Jan. 1724/5
Letter from Lord Dartmouth (address, Sandwell) to Sir Walter Bagot (address, Blithfield). A planned visit by Sir Walter and ‘Bab’ to Sandwell was cancelled, so Dartmouth and his sons Viscount Lewisham and Heneage plan to go to Blithfield instead. Dartmouth states that he is trying to keep his other sons ‘Harry’ and ‘Ned’ away, but they too are keen to visit. Dartmouth relates that Lady Holte has endured extensive medical treatment and now has the ‘size and vigour of an ordinary woman’, much to the delight of her husband, Sir Clobery. He desires that Mr. Levit (sic) be told of this with caution, lest ill consequences arise from his passions being put into commotion.
MC:P287/C5/10 n.d. 
Letter from Lord Dartmouth (no address given) to Sir Walter Bagot (address, Blithfield). Lord Dartmouth tells Sir Walter that he is glad that Barbara has been safely delivered, though he wishes the baby were male. He recalls though that his first child was a girl, followed by six boys ‘without intermission’. Lady Dartmouth, he notes miscarried ‘very often’, but never had a girl until ‘Nany’ (Anne) was born. He is confident that Sir Walter and Barbara will have as many children as they need until they have sons, as they have both shown themselves capable of begetting and bearing children. He had planned to visit Sir Walter that night, but the condition of his cattle prevented it. He adds that ‘Harry’ believes that the child will be a good girl, as she was born on the 29th of March. The letter has been dated to 1725 by the birth of Sir Walter’s first child, Barbara.
MC:P287/C5/11 16th Nov. 1725
Letter from Lord Dartmouth (address Blackheath) to Sir Walter Bagot (no address given). The ink has damaged the paper and it is now in a somewhat fragile state. Dartmouth apologises for his delay in writing to Sir Walter, which he blames on being busy making arrangements for a long stay at Blackheath and on a bad cold which he got whilst visiting Sir Gregory Page’s (Sir Gregory, second Bart., d.1775) new Palladian house at Wricklemarsh, Blackheath. He records a visit from Levett, who brought his mother and sister to Blackheath. Dartmouth’s sons George and Heneage have gone to London in order to find Sir Walter lodgings and are hoping to secure the lodgings rented previously by Sir John Bland. Lady Lewisham’s pregnancy continues to progress well. Her mother, ‘Lady K’ (Lady Anne Kaye, nee Marrow), plans to visit. Dartmouth makes some disparaging comments about Lady Lewisham’s father. There seems to have been a debate between the families about whether to introduce Elizabeth at court, as her parents wished. Dartmouth passes on gossip that Fox’s sister (perhaps Charlotte or Christiana, sisters of Henry Fox, first Baron Holland of Foxley (d.1774) was to marry Lord Huntingdon (Theophilus Hastings, 9th Earl of Huntingdon, d.1746). He also mentions news of parliament and that yachts have gone for the king. He closes by discussing a visit to Blithfield, so that his daughter Anne (‘Nanny’) can visit her niece.
MC:P287/C5/12 23 Nov. 1725
Letter from Lord Dartmouth (address Blackheath) to Sir Walter Bagot (no address given). Dartmouth writes in response to a letter from his daughter Barbara to his wife, in which she expressed her fears about travelling to London in time for the parliamentary session, as Sir Walter had apparently planned. Barbara was pregnant, and thus she and her family were reluctant for her to travel. Dartmouth argues that Sir Walter would not miss anything important in Parliament if he missed the beginning of the session, as the King was not expected until January and the most important debates would not take place until his arrival. Also, he and others anticipated a long parliamentary session. Dartmouth also suggests that Sir Walter could come to London and get settled before sending for Barbara later in the year. He suggests leaving her with Miss Bagot (probably Sir Walter’s sister Jane), a friend who would look after her, although there had been a misunderstanding between them in the past. Despite involving himself in Sir Walter’s affairs, Dartmouth is anxious that he not be considered an impertinent meddler. This letter has been damaged by the ink used and has some tears.
MC:P287/C5/13 27 Nov. 1725
Letter from Lord Dartmouth (address, Blackheath) to Sir Walter Bagot (no address given). Lord Dartmouth here corrects the information in his letter of 23rd Nov., as he has heard from those claiming to have spoken to Walpole himself, that the King was now expected on the 10th or 12th of December and Parliament would convene in late January. Dartmouth advises Sir Walter to be there for the start of the session in order to look after a petition that he was supporting. He suggests that Sir Walter come to London as soon as possible if he plans to bring Barbara with him. He proposes that they break their journey at Sandwell, and Packington Hall (Warwickshire, home of Heneage Finch, Lord Aylesford), before heading to Tachbrook (Warwickshire, a Wagstaffe-Bagot family property). Viscount Lewisham found lodgings for Sir Walter to rent from Sir Stafford Fairbone in London and will conclude a deal, if Sir Walter wishes.
MC:P287/C5/14 Thursday 27th Jan. 1725/6
Letter from Lord Dartmouth (no address given) to Sir Walter Bagot (address Blithfield). This affectionate letter celebrates the birth of one of Sir Walter’s children. Dartmouth says that his wife will be in touch to let them know what she has done about hiring a nurse.
MC:P287/C5/15 Thursday 27th Jan. [1725/6]
Letter from Lady Anne Dartmouth (no address given) to Sir Walter Wagstaffe Bagot (address, Blithfield). Lady Anne is overjoyed that Barbara has given birth to a son, and sends her congratulations to her daughter. She expresses her wish that she could come to Blithfield and help care for Barbara and her baby. She informs Sir Walter that she sent Thomas Everard (unidentified) to London to hire a coach to take the nurse to Lichfield and that Lady Bingley will write to tell him when the nurse has arrived there. Lady Anne is pleased with the nurse that has been hired. She adds that she has received Sir Walter’s money from a Mr. Denison (unidentified).
MC:P287/C5/16 Saturday 29th Jan. 1725 [sic., 1725/6]
Letter from Anne Dartmouth (no address given) to her son-in-law, Sir Walter Bagot (no address given). Lady Anne expresses her fears for her daughter, Barbara, and Sir Walter’s newborn son, as he was born prematurely. She discusses nurses, including a Mrs. Birch and Nurse Hern (unidentified) hired from London by Thomas Everard. Lady Bingley was to report to the family once the nurse reached Lichfield. Anne’s sister-in-law suggests that Barbara hire a midwife to live with the family in future, rather than getting nurses from London. Lady Anne passes on the congratulations of Walter’s ‘Aunts Legge’, despite the fears for his son. She sends her greetings to Miss Bagot, whom she hopes is now recovered from a fright of some sort.
MC:P287/C5/17 1st Feb. 1725/6
Letter from Lord Dartmouth (no address given) to Sir Walter Bagot (no address given). Lord Dartmouth responds to a letter in which Sir Walter told him of the death of his son. He reports that Lady Dartmouth was less surprised at the baby’s death than she was at his birth, as he was more than six weeks premature. He mentions a superstitious belief that the first born son never survived to be the heir. Sir Walter’s letter arrived too late for them to stop the nurse from coming, though she can care for Barbara instead. Dartmouth reports that his niece Howard (unidentified) has also lost a baby and is in poor health. Her brother (unidentified) plans not to come to London this year, and instead has resolved to be a good husband, something Lord Dartmouth believes he has not managed thus far. He reports that the pregnant Lady Lewisham is in good health.
MC:P/287/C5/18 17th Feb. [1725/6]
Letter from Lady Anne Dartmouth (no address given) to Sir Walter Bagot (address, Blithfield). Lady Anne thanks Sir Walter for his love, kindness and support of her daughter, which she knows has allowed her to bear her misfortune and will enable her to recover. Lady Anne reports that Lord and Lady Lewisham went to the House of Lords that day, which was expected to sit late as they were discussing the Treaty of Hanover. Viscount Lewisham had asked his mother to tell Sir Walter that he has ordered a chair, which is nearly finished. Lady Anne, Lord and Lady Lewisham and the ‘boys’ send their love to Sir Walter, Barbara and ‘Little Bab’ (their daughter). Lady Anne looks forward to seeing the family in London soon.
MC:P287/C5/19 28th Feb. [1726 proposed by a later hand; 1726/7]
Letter from Lady Anne Dartmouth (no address given) to Sir Walter Bagot (no address given). Lady Anne congratulates Sir Walter and her daughter on the birth of their daughter and is pleased to have been chosen as the baby’s god-mother. She is relieved that both mother and baby are well, though she is rather disappointed that the child is not a boy. Her husband would have written by the same post to congratulate the couple if it had been a boy. She even goes as far as suggesting that they call the child Frances, which was a name already used in Sir Walter’s family and the subject of a superstitious belief that if a girl were called Frances, then the next born sibling would be male. Lady Anne passes on her regards to Miss Bagot, on whom she depends for news of everyone at Blithfield. This letter must date to 1726/7, as it logically precedes the following letter congratulating the Bagots on their new baby girl.
MC:P287/C5/20 2nd Mar. 1726/7
Letter from Lord Dartmouth (address, Blackheath) to Sir Walter Bagot (no address given). Lord Dartmouth congratulates his daughter Barbara and Sir Walter on the safe delivery of a healthy baby. He hopes that the next one will be a boy, but asks Sir Walter to tell Barbara that he is not angry with her for having had a girl, but wishes her better luck next time. He reports that he has been busy making a small garden, which he plans to tend himself, and building a poultry house or ‘menagerie’, for his daughter Anne and her nieces. He looks forward to seeing the family at Sandwell.
MC:P287/C5/21 21st July 1728
Letter from Lord Dartmouth (no address given) to Sir Walter Bagot (address, Blithfield). Lord and Lady Dartmouth are hoping for a visit from Sir Walter and his family, and also from Sir John Bland and his wife (Lady Frances Bland, nee Finch). He mentions that his wife has not been well. He says that ‘Little Baber’ (probably his granddaughter, Barbara Bagot (d 1797), promised him that she would visit him at Sandwell and that he wants to see ‘nance’ (perhaps a nickname for his granddaughter Anne). He is also worried about Sir William (Sir William Wheeler?), who has had an accident.
Return here to the introduction to this catalogue.