Sir Charles Raymond of Valentines
Sir Charles Raymond was born in 1713 near Exmouth in Devon and made his fortune with the East India Company. He was started on a career at sea by his uncle, Hugh Raymond, who engaged him as purser on the Dawsonne 1729/30. The majority of voyages undertaken by ships for the East India Company can be traced using the magnificent archive of journals kept at the British Library, but there is no journal for Raymond’s first voyage, only a ledger. The voyage took a year longer than might be expected, lasting from 10 February 1730-15 August 1732. The journal of the Derby, also managed by Hugh Raymond, explains why.
Having completed business in Madras, the Dawsonne proceeded to Calcutta where the cargo was unloaded. Then in October orders were received that the Dawsonne was to spend a year guarding the Hugli River in company with the Derby, protecting other shipping from the threat of the Ostend vessels. There were only a couple of possible threats during that time, but the simple task of keeping safe a ship manoeuvred by sail was not easy in waters which were so silted. On 10 October 1731 the Frances arrived to relieve the Dawsonne allowing her to return to Calcutta to prepare for the voyage home.
Portrait of Sir Charles Raymond. The location of the original portrait and the copyright status of this image are unknown. Please contact email@example.com with any information you have regarding this item.
Raymond then became 3rd Mate on the Princess of Wales 1732/3. For his third voyage Hugh Raymond arranged for Charles (then aged 21) to serve as Captain of the Wager and he continued in this role for three more voyages. Charles Raymond was lucky in that although he lost many of his crew to sickness, he did not have any major enemy encounters and his voyages were relatively routine. He made six voyages to India and it seems likely the Raymond family had contacts in Calcutta where they could maximise their trading opportunities.
Raymond retired in 1747 a wealthy man and took up a business career in the City of London. His main concern was in managing voyages for the East India Company. He was one of the leaders in this for the remaining 40 years of his life, responsible for well over 110 voyages by East Indiamen. He also became one of the managers of the Sun Fire Office, where his colleagues were men who had power and influence in the City and the commitment was a very shrewd career move. He became involved in other City financial concerns as well as serving several charitable organisations such as becoming a Governor of the Hospitals of Bridewell and Bethlem. In 1771 Raymond became one of the founders of a bank and 1774 he was created a baronet. He was said to be ‘universally respected’ as an old man and he died on 24 August 1788 leaving a fortune to his two surviving daughters.
Valentines, the seat of Charles Raymond, from A New and Complete History of Essex by a Gentleman, 1771
As well as a home and offices in the City, Raymond purchased Valentines in Essex in 1754 as a country retreat for his family. Several of his relatives and associates came to live nearby and Ilford became quite a hub of retired East India captains who were partners in managing ships, insurance and banking. Raymond’s home is now owned by the London Borough of Redbridge and one room has been enhanced by the Friends of Valentines Mansion to reflect Raymond’s life.
Valentines Mansion today - photograph by the author
Anthony Farrington, Catalogue of East India Company Ships’ Journals and Logs 1600 – 1834.
BL, IOR/L/MAR/B/671D Ledger of Dawsonne, 1729/30; BL, IOR/L/MAR/B/653G Journal of Derby, 1729/30.
Obituaries for Charles Raymond - Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser (London) 1 December 1787; Gentleman’s Magazine Vol.58 (1788) p.758 & p.834.
History of Valentines Mansion
Valentines Mansion is open to the public on Sundays and Mondays, 10.30am – 4pm, free of charge.