MC:P287/C4: Correspondence between Heneage Legge and Sir Walter Bagot
MC:P287/C4/1 25th Jan. 1720/1
Letter from Heneage Legge (address All Souls’) to Sir Walter Bagot, Bart. (address ‘At George Jones’s Esq. In Lincolns Inn Fields, London’). Legge relates news of his social life at Oxford, mentioning several Magdalen members:
Henry Levett (Exeter Coll. 1718/19, demy Magd. 1720-6) or Richard Levett, matr. Magd. 1722 (some other letters in the collection specify Richard)
John Borlace Warren Esq. (matr. Magd. 1717/18)
George Legge (Viscount Lewisham, matr. Magd. 1719/20, Legge’s brother)
‘Sir William’, ‘kt. Wheeler’ (probably one and the same, William Wheler, 5th Bart., matr. Magd. 1720)
‘Dicky Adams’ (perhaps Richard Adams; Demy 1680; Fellow 1689–1721).
At the top of the letter, Legge quotes a short poem that he or a family member wrote entitled ‘On a Conversation of St Paul’, concerning an omen for the year’s weather.
MC:P287/C4/2 10th Feb. 1720/1
Letter from Heneage Legge (address, Magdalen College) to Sir Walter Bagot, Bart. (address ‘At George Jones’s Esq. In Lincolns Inn Fields, London’). Legge discusses some political news, concerning Knight and talk of a new parliament. He then turns to ‘domestic affairs’, discussing the following Magdalen members:
Roger Cane (unidentified)
He adds at the end that Dr. Pudsey (Alexander Pudsey, demy 1657-61, B.A. 1658-9, Fellow 1661-1721) is dying.
MC:P287/C4/3 1st Mar. 1720/1
Letter from Heneage Legge to Sir Walter Bagot (address ‘at George Jones’s Esq., Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London’). Legge begins by discussing the political scandal involving Lord Coningsby (Thomas Coningsby, 1st Earl Coningsby), who had just been sent to the Tower. He reports that Dr. Pudsey has been mending steadily. He mentions a scandal involving a late member of Magdalen, Mr. Ward (unidentified), with a woman now claiming to be his widow.
MC:P287/C4/4 29th May 1722
Letter from Heneage Legge (address, Black Heath) to Sir Walter Bagot (address Magdalen College). Legge details his plans to leave soon for Sandwell Hall, the family hall in the Sandwell Valley, W. Midlands, and has been in Yorkshire, ‘to be perused by Sir Arthur’ (Sir Arthur Kaye, soon to be his brother George’s father-in-law). He discusses his brother’s forthcoming marriage. He also mentions a print taken from a painting of the lovers Phillis and Corydon, which he is sending to Levett. He notes that he is unwell due to a cold.
MC:P287/C4/5 27th June 1722 [1724 proposed by later hand]
Letter from Heneage Legge (address Sandwell) to Sir Walter Bagot (no address given). Legge gives a positive report on his ‘new sister’ (Elizabeth Kaye), who had recently married his brother George. He notes that he received a letter from ‘the Alder boy’ (unidentified). He is unsure when or even whether he will return to Oxford, but asks Sir Walter to keep this quiet. The letter dates to 1722, the year of George Legge’s marriage.
MC:P287/C4/6 7th July 1724
Letter from Heneage Legge (address Sandwell) to Sir Walter Bagot (no address given). Legge mentions that five boxes arrived yesterday for a ‘Lady Holte’ (Barbara, nee Lister, wife of Sir Clobery Holte). He warns Sir Walter against being ‘pert’ by pinning a star upon his cloak, unless he is a member of the Order of the Garter. He records that his brother George has had a fever and is seeing one Dr. Swinfield (unidentified). He ends with a Latin quotation, drawn from Horace’s Ars poetica (ll.121) and Sermonum 1.3.
MC:P287/C4/7 31st Jan. 1725/6
Letter from Heneage Legge (address Black Heath) to Sir Walter Bagot, (no address given). Legge congratulates Sir Walter on the birth of his son, sending his compliments to Sir Walter’s wife (Legge’s sister, Barbara). Legge states that he is himself forbidden to get an heir until he gets his inheritance. He also sends greetings to Sir Walter’s sister Miss Bagot, wishing her joy of her nephew. (This son seems to have died in infancy).
MC:P287/C4/8 8th Mar. 1725/6
Letter from Heneage Legge (address Black Heath) to his sister, Barbara (m. to Sir Walter Bagot) (no address given). Legge gives his sister news of Lady Dartmouth (their mother), Lady Musgrave (Julia Musgrave, nee Chardin), Lady Lewisham, Lady Bingley (Elizabeth Benson, nee Finch, d.1757), and Miss Benson (Harriet Benson, d.1771). Much of the letter concerns fashion. He reports on the death of ‘Old Finch’, and details his estate and heirs, who include his uncle Finch and ‘Burley Jack’. (These are unidentified relations on his mother’s side). He touches on politics, as the Duke of Kingston (Evelyn Pierrepont, d.1726) has just died, and Lord Trevor (Thomas Trevor, 1st Baron Trevor, d. 1730), looks set for the Privy Seal. He also discusses Lord Ferrers’ (identified as Washington Shirley, 2nd Earl Ferrers) divorce case, due to be heard by the Lords. (A later hand wrongly dates the letter to 1726/7).
MC:P287/C4/9 23rd June 1726
Letter from Heneage Legge (address Temple) to Sir Walter Bagot (no address given). Legge writes to Sir Walter to congratulate him on his becoming a Justice of the Peace. He disparages lawyers. He has arranged with a bookseller called Ward to equip Sir Walter with various legal texts, thus: Wood’s Institutes, Nelson, Dalton and Blackerby. (Ward may be bookseller Caesar Ward d.1759, apprenticed in 1725 to bookseller Robert Gosling) Another friend, Digby (perhaps John Digby s. William, Baron Digby, matr. Magd. 1703; M.A. 1707, MP; d.1747, or Robert Digby of Coleshill) has promised to provide The Statutes Abridged, if Sir Walter’s copy is out of date. For other reading Legge recommends a new pamphlet, the Memoirs of Ker of Kersland. Written by a Scottish spy (d.1726), the pamphlet apparently caused a great stir. Legge notes that it was dedicated to Sir Robert Walpole (d.1745). The letter ends with some personal news, including that Viscount Lewisham is to meet Sir Edward Gascoigne. He adds a curious note that he hopes that the news of ‘Old Walcot’s death is true.’ (Possibly the father of John Walcot, matr. Magd. 1715, M.A. 1719/20).
MC:P287/C4/10 25th Oct. 1726
Letter from Heneage Legge (address Temple) to Sir Walter Bagot (address Blithfield). Legge discusses the 1726 lottery and a dispute over the selection of Sir Laurence Carter (M.P., d.1745) as a judge. There is some discussion about books, again relating to Ward the bookseller. He mentions that his brother, Viscount Lewisham, is improving his property at Black Heath, and asks after various members of Sir Walter’s family. Friends mentioned include Levett, Walcot and Digby, (who, we are told, was a member of the Digby family of Coleshill and had been at All Souls) and Ned Lisle (unidentified).
MC:P287/C4/11 3rd Jan. 1726/7
Letter from Heneage Legge (address Black Heath) to Sir Walter Bagot (address Blithfield). Legge mentions his pleasure in hearing that Sir Walter has been enjoying Gulliver’s Travels, touching on the great stir that Swift’s satire had caused. He complains that he has not had anything worthy to send since, as ‘every thing since has been in relation to the Rabbet Woman, which is but a filthy story at best.’ He refers here to the story of Mary Toft (d.1763). Legge refers somewhat cryptically to events and people in his private and public life, criticising a newly married Doctor friend whose affairs have been disordered. He mentions an account Sir Walter sent of a Commission, which he had shown to his lord (i.e. his father?). He hints at political upheaval and anticipates a major event on the 17th of the month. Finally he submits a Latin poem he has written on the death of John Ward (unidentified, apparently not the bookseller Ward) for the scrutiny of his friend.
MC:P287/C4/12 2nd Feb. 1726/7
Letter from Heneage Legge (address Temple) addressed to Sir Walter Bagot (address Blithfield nr. Ridgely, Staff). Legge mentions a number of literary works to which Sir Walter subscribed and which Legge was sending from London. The first are two plays, The Fall of Saguntum and ‘Mr. Moore’s play’ (unidentified). Sir Walter also bought political works, as Legge records his difficulty in obtaining ‘The Occasional Writer’ (a pamphlet by Henry St John, Viscount Bolingbroke), and promises to send copies of the leading opposition newspaper, The Craftsman. Other friends, Lord Gower and Mr. Williams (unidentified) are also mentioned as possible sources for sending the pamphlet. Legge promises to send a pamphlet written in response to one that Sir Walter already acquired, The State of National Debt, after he has consulted with Sir Hugh Acland (Sir Hugh Acland 6th Bart., M.P.). He mentions a dinner at St James’ Palace at which the City presented a ‘very loyal address.’ Levett was present, but missed out on receiving an honour. Legge offers to send the third part of the Memoirs of John Ker of Kersland. Finally, he copied down two short, satirical epitaphs, written in rhyming couplets. The first mocks a Lady E.R. (unidentified), the second is Abel Evans’ (d.1737) lines on Lord Vanbrugh (d.1726).
In other news, Heneage notes that his brother and sister-in-law Lord and Lady Lewisham will return to London, as will Lord Dartmouth (Legge’s father) as the Lords have been summoned to hear ‘the Case of the Suitors of the court of Chancery upon their losses by the late deficiencies’ and grant them relief.
MC:P287/C4/13 28th Feb. 1726/7
Letter from Heneage Legge (address Temple) to Sir Walter Bagot (address Blithfield). Legge had sent a large parcel of literature to Sir Walter, including the first part of The Occasional Writer. He also sends an answer to The Occasional Writer, entitled The Occasional Writer with XXXX’s Answer Paragraph by Paragraph. He offers some comments on these works. Legge anticipates the safe arrival of his nephew, Sir Walter’s son, and asks after Hugh Acland.
MC:P287/C4/14 25th Apr. 1727
Letter from Heneage Legge (address Temple) to Sir Walter Bagot, (address Blithfield). Legge writes about political turmoil. A Commons debate concerning money was due to take place and the Malt Bill was causing controversy. Legge promises to send a copy of a protest against it. He defends the sudden departure of his brother ‘Harry’ to sea. He mentions that Lord Dartmouth has written to the naval officer and member of the Admiralty Board, Sir John Jennings (d.1743). He further mentions the case of Sir Clobery Holte against Brigadier Tyrrel (unidentified).
MC:P287/C4/15 27th May 1727
Letter from Heneage Legge (address Black Heath) to Sir Walter Bagot, (address Blithfield). Legge writes to Sir Walter in regards to sending a new collection of pamphlets. His latest offering includes some unspecified poetry and parts three and four of The Craftsman. He states that he had sent the Answer to it, as the author was an old friend of Sir Walter’s and had acquitted himself well. Legge reports that a peace treaty is in the preliminary stages, as the Emperor had unexpectedly signed some preliminary articles.
MC:P287/C4/16 17th Dec. 1727
Letter from Heneage Legge (address Temple) to Sir Walter Bagot, (address Blithfield). Legge updates Sir Walter on the quest of his brother, Viscount Lewisham, to find lodgings for him before Parliament sits. On a personal note, he intends to spend Christmas at Mapledurham, Oxfordshire, and has been ill.
MC:P287/C4/17 2nd July 1728
Letter from Heneage Legge (address Temple to Sir Walter Bagot, (address, Blithfield). Legge has a package of books ready to send to Sir Walter. He explains his delay in sending it as he was waiting to pick up ‘the Gibbean Architecture’ (A Book of Architecture, James Gibbs) and get it nicely bound. He also sends a pound of snuff to his sister on behalf of E. Gascoigne. He hopes to visit friends in Yorkshire and complains about London and the state of mankind. He remarks cryptically, that all he and his colleagues can do currently is reviewing, as ‘what we do abroad must be determined by the Congress.’ He notes that Philip D. of Wharton (unidentified) has been indicted for treason and that Alderman Levett has been chosen as Sheriff of London.
MC:P287/C4/18 n.d. [1728 proposed by a later hand]
Letter from Heneage Legge (no address given) to Sir Walter Bagot (no address given). Legge congratulates Sir Walter and his wife on the birth of a son and heir. He has recently returned to England from Lisbon. He describes his crossing and speculates on when he will leave the country again. Sir Walter’s son and heir, Sir William Bagot 1st Baron Bagot of Bagot’s Bromley, was born 28th Feb., 1728.
MC:P287/C4/19 25 Mar. 1754
Letter from Heneage Legge (address Dean Street) to Sir Walter Bagot (no address given). Legge has accepted an important post, though its exact nature is unclear. He protests that the position will be a stressful one, which he accepted out of a sense of duty. It appears to have been related to the army or navy, as he mentions being asked him if he wouldn’t ‘sell a lot of guns pretty cheap.’ Legge asks after Sir Walter’s health, as he had retreated to the country in order to recover from an illness. He mentions his wife, Catherine Fogg (d. 1759), whom he had married in 1740.
Return here to the introduction to this catalogue.