Untold lives blog

Sharing stories from the past, worldwide

09 March 2023

The children of Chaund Bebee and John Shore – (2) Francis and Martha Shore

Francis and Martha, the second and third children of Chaund Bebee and John Shore, were baptised together in Calcutta on 2 February 1785.  John Shore was at that time a senior merchant in the service of the East India Company.  Francis was born about 1781 and Martha in about 1783.

When Francis made his will in 1825, he said that he had lately resided in Bengal but now lived in Regent Street, Westminster.  The Westminster Rate Books show his address as 4 Carlton Chambers, Regent Street.  Carlton Chambers was purpose-built for letting out as sets of rooms. A resident porter looked after the building, and a female servant also lived on the premises to light fires and clean for tenants.

Carlton Chambers in Regent StreetCarlton Chambers in Regent Street from Tallis's London Street Views. No. 17, Regent Street, Division IV (1838)

Francis’s business interests were closely linked to his brothers John and George.  He was an East India Company stockholder and active in the Marine Society.  In 1832 Francis was elected a member of the Royal Asiatic Society.

On 5 November 1834 Francis Shore died aged 53 at his home in Regent Street, after a short illness of 4½ hours.  He was buried at St Pancras Church.  A memorial tablet originally on the west wall of the church is now in the crypt. 

Francis’s will bequeathed his estate in trust to his brothers John and George and his sister Martha, and after their deaths to their lawful children.  A bequest was made to John’s ‘natural’ daughter Elizabeth Shore who was living at Guilford Street London with her father and his family. Elizabeth was left 20,000 sicca rupees, or the equivalent in British currency, to be paid out of her father’s share at his death before it was divided between his other children.  Although Francis identified Elizabeth as his niece, a clear distinction was made between her and John's legitimate offspring.

Drawing of St Sidwell's Church ExeterSt Sidwell's Church Exeter from British Newspaper Archive Illustrated London News 22 February 1845 Image © Illustrated London News Group

Martha Shore also moved from Bengal to England. She married Peter Mann Osborne on 28 September 1813 at St Sidwell's Church Exeter, Devon.  Osborne was a Church of England priest who was curate for the parish of Heavitree just outside Exeter.  They started their married life in a ‘neat modern-built’ house at Salutary Mount.

Sale of house occupied by Reverend Osborne at Heavitreee 1814Sale of house occupied by Reverend Osborne at Heavitree - British Newspaper Archive Exeter Flying Post  11 August 1814

The couple moved to the village of Pinhoe, where Martha died aged 50 on 8 September 1834 after a severe illness.  She was buried at Clyst Hydon.

The 1841 and 1851 censuses show Martha’s niece Elizabeth Shore living with Reverend Osborne at Pinhoe.  Osborne died in Pinhoe at a house called Petersfield aged 81 in June 1860.  In his will he made provision for Elizabeth to live at Petersfield and have use of its contents for the rest of her life.  After Elizabeth’s death, Osborne's estate was to pass to the eldest son of his brother Thomas Osborne, and to Letitia Hildyard (née Shore, Elizabeth’s half-sister), her husband Frederick Hildyard, and their children.

In 1861 Elizabeth Shore was living at Petersfield with three servants and was described in the census as a landed proprietor.  She died there on 20 May 1865 aged 62.  Her will describes Peter Mann Osborne as ‘my deceased friend’.  She bequeathed her property in investments to the children of Letitia Hildyard.

Newspaper advert for sale of Petersfield in Pinhoe 1865Sale of Petersfield - British Newspaper Archive Exeter Flying Post  20 September 1865

Petersfield and its contents were put up for sale soon after Elizabeth’s death under the terms of Peter Mann Osborne’s will.

Sale of Peter Mann Osborne's effects 1865Sale of Peter Mann Osborne’s furniture and household effects -British Newspaper Archive Exeter Flying Post 6 September 1865

The next post in this series will look at the life of George Shore, Chaund Bebee’s youngest son.

Margaret Makepeace
Lead Curator, East India Company Records

Further reading:
Baptism of Francis and Martha Shore at Calcutta 2 February 1785 IOR/N/1/4 f.11.
Death of Francis Shore – British Newspaper Archive English Chronicle 6 November 1834 and Satirist 9 November 1834.
Will and estate papers for Francis Shore - IOR/L/AG/34/29/57 pp.21-36; IOR/L/AG/34/27/108 p.574; IOR/L/AG/34/29/3; IOR/L/AG/34/27/109 p.262.
Death of Martha Shore - British Newspaper Archive Western Times 13 September 1834.
Death of Elizabeth Shore - British Newspaper Archive Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 26 May 1865.
Westminster Rate Books via Findmypast
Information about Carlton Chambers 
The will of Chaund Bebee or Bebee Shore 
The children of Chaund Bebee and John Shore – (1) John Shore 


07 March 2023

Address to Queen Victoria from a student in India

In June 1870, the India Office received an address from India that had been sent directly to Buckingham Palace intended for the Queen.   It was not unusual for the India Office to receive addresses and petitions from people in India addressed to members of the Royal family or British politicians.  This particular address was from Aine, a pupil at the Secundra Female Normal School at Agra in what was then the North Western Provinces.  It had been sent to England by the Reverend Erhardt, Superintendent of the Secundra Orphanage on 21 April 1870, along with a sample of lace (which unfortunately is not in the file).

Address to Queen Victoria from Aine, a pupil at the Secundra Female Normal School at Agra

Address to Queen Victoria from Aine, a pupil at the Secundra Female Normal School at Agra - IOR/L/PJ/2/50, File 7/333.

The India Office provided a translation of the address for the Palace.  Aine began: ‘May the mercy of Jesus Christ be on your gracious Majesty!  Be it known to you that I am one of your subjects and a poor girl.  There is an orphan school here in which all the boys and girls are orphans.  Through God’s great mercy we have all been brought here and are very happy’.  Aine says that there were eleven classes in the school, consisting of 220 girls and 180 boys.  Mr and Mrs Erhardt taught them English, and two other female teachers taught them to read and ‘keep us from evil ways of every kind’.  Aine belonged to the normal class where she learned geography, sacred history and Hindi grammar.

Translation of the address by Aine to Queen VictoriaTranslation of the address by Aine to Queen Victoria - IOR/L/PJ/2/50, File 7/333.

Aine also described a visit to the school by Albert Edward Prince of Wales, Queen Victoria’s eldest son, who had toured India between November 1875 and March 1876. ‘ Be it known to you that Prince Alfred honoured the Secundrah School with a visit, that he came into our enclosure and then went to the boys, and then to the church where we sang a hymn and the Padre prayed for him.  He afterwards went away.’

Aine ends her address: ‘May God bless you and keep you and preserve you.   May the favour of our Lord Jesus and the grace of God and the help of the Holy Ghost for ever be with you and your family.  All the orphans send greeting.  This letter is written by your unworthy slave’. 

India Office file on the address from AineIndia Office file on Aine's address - IOR/L/PJ/2/50, File 7/333.

The address and translation were sent back to the India Office to be dealt with by the Secretary of State for India.  The official at the India Office seemed unimpressed by such a lovely document, and more concerned that the normal channels of communication had not been followed.  He advised that ‘as the present address asks for nothing, but contains an offering, and is only complimentary, it is submitted that it is better not to return it to the writer, as is done periodically in the case of petitions and such like.  From enquiry as to the course usually pursued in the Political Dept., it would appear to be best to take no notice of the communication’.

John O’Brien
India Office Records

Further Reading:
Public Home Correspondence for 1869-1870: address to the Queen from a pupil in the Secundra Female Normal School at Agra, shelfmark IOR/L/PJ/2/50, File 7/333.

Prince of Wales visit to India 


02 March 2023

The children of Chaund Bebee and John Shore – (1) John Shore

We met Chaund Bebee, commonly known as Bebee Shore, in an earlier story about her will.  She had four children with John Shore, an East India Company official who rose to be Governor General of Bengal: John, Francis, Martha, and George.

Portrait of John Shore, Baron Teignmouth, seated with his legs crossed and his arm resting on a table piled with books.John Shore, 1st Baron Teignmouth, by Henry Edward Dawe circa 1823 © National Portrait Gallery, London NPG D40449 National Portrait Gallery Creative Commons Licence

Sir John Shore left Calcutta for the final time in March 1798, sailing for England with his wife Charlotte and their children.  Shore died on 14 February 1834.  The only one of his ‘natural’ children to receive a bequest in his will was John, who received £50 for acting as one of the executors, although he wasn’t described as being Shore’s son.

John Shore junior was baptised  at Calcutta in October 1777.  In 1793 he was nominated by the East India Company Court of Directors as a writer for Fort Marlborough in Sumatra.  John was in India at the time and it is unclear whether he ever went to Sumatra, although he remained listed on the Company’s West Coast establishment until 1811.  In January 1797 he was appointed agent to superintend the unloading and loading of Company ships at Calcutta, and the following month he became Secretary to the Marine Board.  He also served as Marine Paymaster and Secretary to the Committee of Embarkation.

Elizabeth Shore, John’s ‘natural’ daughter, was born on 4 October 1803.  John quit his post in Calcutta in February 1808 and travelled to England with Elizabeth in the ship Castle Eden.

In 1812 John married Letitia Thwaits at St George Hanover Square.  They had four children - Letitia, Ellen, John, and Jessy Emily.  The family lived at 23 Guilford Street London, near the Foundling Hospital where John was a Governor.  He was also a director of Guardian Fire and Life Assurance Office, and he and his brothers Francis and George were all East India Company stockholders and active in the Marine Society.

Plan of the parishes of St Giles in the Fields & St George,Engraving by James Wyld of the parishes of St Giles in the Fields & St George, Bloomsbury (1824). Maps Crace Port. 15.4 BL Online Gallery. Guilford Street is in the top right corner of the plan.

In 1822 John Shore, described as ‘a Gentleman of fortune’ was found guilty of assaulting schoolmaster John Underhill during an altercation at Ramsgate Assembly Rooms where the election of a master of ceremonies was taking place.  Shore was fined one shilling and required to pay 40 shillings costs.

John Shore died on 7 April 1842.  Newspaper reports and his burial record give his age as 70 which, if correct, would make him born about 1772.  In his will John asked to buried in the vaults of St Pancras Church near to his daughters Jessy Emily and Ellen who had died in February 1829, aged eight and fourteen.  He left to his wife Letitia a house and lands in Cheltenham and the house in Guilford Street, as well as monetary assets.  Other beneficiaries included his daughter Letitia, wife of Reverend Frederick Hildyard in Norfolk; his son John; his daughter Elizabeth; his sister Martha’s widower Peter Mann Osborne; and his brother George.  As well as money, George received a gold snuff box and John’s copy of the Asiatic Journal.  John’s half-brother Charles John, 2nd Lord Teignmouth, and his cousin Reverend Thomas Shore of Paignton are mentioned in connection with trusts discussed in the will.

Newspaper advert giving sale details for 23 Guilford StreetSale details for 23 Guilford Street – ‘a well-built residence, very conveniently arranged, and in excellent repair’ - Morning Herald (London) 6 March 1852 British Newspaper Archive.  Sculptor Jacob Epstein was a later occupant.

John’s widow Letitia died at 23 Guilford Street on 27 December 1843 and was buried at St Pancras Church.  Their son John was still living in the family house in 1851 but the property was sold in 1852.

The next post in this series will look at the lives of Francis and Martha Shore.

Margaret Makepeace
Lead Curator, East India Company Records

Further reading:
IOR/G/35/36 Letter from Court of Directors to Fort Marlborough 5 June 1793 recording John Shore’s appointment as writer, and letter from James Cobb to Fort Marlborough 26 June 1793 forwarding covenants for John Shore.
IOR/D/34 p.409 Appointment of John Shore as writer for Fort Marlborough 9 April 1794.
IOR/L/MAR/B/296D Journal of the ship Castle Eden with passenger list from Bengal 1808 - John was accompanied by a servant Andrew Dias, probably the same man as the Andrew Deos who sailed to Portsmouth with Sir John Shore and his family in the Britannia in 1798.  William Hickey was a fellow passenger in the Castle Eden.
Records relating to John Shore junior’s service in Bengal – IOR/F/4/20/796; IOR/F/4/211/4721; IOR/F/4/309/7076; IOR/F/4/368/9208.
IOR/N/1/17 f.14 Baptism of Elizabeth Shore at Calcutta 16 November 1804.
British Newspaper Archive e.g. Assault on John Underhill  -Morning Advertiser 14 August 1822; Report of meeting of East India Company stockholders at the City of London Tavern Bishopsgate - London Courier and Evening Gazette 28 June 1833; Marine Society reports naming the Shore brothers – Morning Herald 9 February 1828 and New Times (London) 11 March 1830 and 11 February; sale of 23 Guilford Street - Morning Herald (London) 6 March 1852.
Will of John Shore proved 11 May 1842 in Prerogative Court of Canterbury (at The National Archives); also will and estate papers from court in Calcutta IOR/L/AG/34/29/73 pp. 343-365.


28 February 2023

Dr David Price – JMW Turner’s Physician

Dr David Price (1787-1870) was the son of a Welsh clergyman.  After qualifying, he initially practised in the East End of London and then in 1826 moved for health reasons to Margate, a seaside town in Kent.

Print of engraving of Margate Pier'Margate Pier' by Benjamin Thomas Pouncy published London 1807 - British Library shelfmark: Maps K.Top.17.4.i. BL flickr

Price became a well-known and highly respected practitioner who gave his services to the local board of health, the town council, and the National Hospital for Scrofula (or Royal Sea-Bathing Infirmary).  He was described as ‘painstaking, earnest, and able, inspiring confidence by his manly bearing and pleasing manners, and extracting from all who knew him much reverence for his thorough honesty and uprightness’.

David Price - newspaper article about a presentation for his work as Chairman of local board of health in MargatePresentation of a silver inkstand to Dr David Price in recognition of his services as chairman of the Margate Local Board of Health - South Eastern Gazette 9 February 1858 British Newspaper Archive

Price lived with his family at Hoopers Hill House, in Northdown Road Margate, and worked on anatomy and dissections in nearby Gloucester House.

JMW Turner was a regular visitor to Margate throughout his life.  As well as being a popular leisure resort, Margate was also known for its health benefits.  Turner was sent to school in Margate as a precaution against diseases such as cholera.   In later years, Turner would visit Margate regularly from London by steamship to relax and recuperate, painting many scenes of the stunning sunsets and maritime scenes he enjoyed.  He often stayed at a boarding house on the seafront near the harbour with widow Sophia Booth. Turner and Mrs Booth eventually had a relationship that would last until the end of his life.

In the spring of 1832, there was an outbreak of cholera in Margate. Sophia took special care of Turner at this time, particularly as both her husband and son had succumbed to the disease.  Though Turner had a reputable London physician, Sophia introduced him to David Price.  Sophia trusted and knew Price well, as he had acted as executor of her husband and son’s wills, and she had asked him to look after her inheritance.

From 1845, now in his 70s, Turner’s health started to decline.  He and Sophia increasingly relied on Dr Price for nursing and medication to aid recovery.  Turner became a very good friend of Price, who called him ‘Mr Mallard’.  In 1846, Sophia and Turner moved to Chelsea in London. When Turner caught cholera, they rushed back to Margate for the dedicated support of Dr Price. Turner survived and went to recuperate at Deal, where Price continued to visit.

Shortly before Turner’s death in December 1851, Price diagnosed heart disease.  Turner then succumbed again to cholera.  Price travelled from Margate to see Turner in Chelsea on 18 December.  His friend died the next day.

Price attended Turner’s funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral, riding in one of the mourning coaches.

Newspaper report of funeral of JMW TurnerReport of JMW Turner’s funeral Express (London) 31 December 1851 British Newspaper Archive

Turner left an unpaid bill of more than £500 owed to Price, who took the executors to court to get it paid.

Dr Price died in 1870 at the age of 83 in the Margate house he had lived in since 1826.  His death notice in the East Kent Gazette outlined his valuable services to the town beyond his medical duties.

Newspaper death notice for David PriceDeath notice for Dr David Price - East Kent Gazette 11 June 1870 British Newspaper Archive

David Price is buried in the family vault at Margate Cemetery.  His sons Peter Charles, David Simpson, and William Preston followed their father into the medical profession.

Photograph of family vault of Dr David Price in MargateFamily vault of David Price in Margate Cemetery - photograph by author

Alison Shuttle
Independent researcher
Volunteer steward and guide at Turner’s House, Twickenham

Further reading:
Dr David Price from Plarr’s Lives of the Fellows Royal College of Surgeons
British Newspaper Archive
Franny Moyle, Turner; The Extraordinary Life and Momentous Times of JMW Turner (2016)
Stephen Channing, Turner’s Margate through contemporary eyes – the Viney Letters (2009)
For more information on cholera in Margate, there is a fascinating account found in the files of Margate Local History
JMW Turner and Sophia Booth

Turner's House

Turner’s restored house in Twickenham is open to visitors.

23 February 2023

'Stay Put' - Second World War Ephemera

Harold Wilberforce-Bell was born on 17 November 1885, and joined the Indian Army in 1905.  He had a long distinguished career, mostly in the Indian Political Service as either assistant resident, resident or political agent in several parts of India including Kolhapur, Kathiawar, Bhopal, and the Punjab States, as well as Aden.  Wilberforce-Bell was also an author and wrote books on the history of Kathiawar, the Marathi language and poets, and on his experiences during the First World War.  During his life, he filled eight volumes of scrapbooks with a wide variety of printed ephemera relating to the many events he attended, such as invitations, programmes, tickets and menus.

 Programme for Howden & District Weapons Week Programme for Howden & District Weapons Week Mss Eur G57/11

Programme for Hull, Haltenham & District Warship Week.Programme for Hull, Haltenham & District Warship Week Mss Eur G57/11

In 1939, Wilberforce-Bell retired to England, but continued to keep up his scrapbooks.  The volume for the early 1940s contains much of interest for the Second World War, including Red Cross sales and fund raising events, sales of work, British Legion lectures, programmes for the Howden & District Weapons Week and the Hull, Haltenham & District Warship Week.

Ticket for Red Cross DemonstrationTicket for Red Cross Demonstration Mss Eur G57/11

Sale of work, Eastrington Village Hall AssociationSale of work, Eastrington Village Hall Association Mss Eur G57/11

In particular, there are two Government information leaflets issued by the Ministry of Home Security instructing people what to do in the event of invasion.  The first leaflet, titled ‘If the Invader Comes, what to do – and how to do it’, lists the actions civilians must take if Britain were invaded by Germany.

Leaflet - If The Invader Comes

'If the Invader Comes, what to do – and how to do it’ Mss Eur G57/11.

  1. Remain where you are, ‘The order is Stay Put’.
  2. Do not believe rumours and do not spread them.
  3. Keep watch and report anything suspicious to the nearest authority.
  4. Do not give any German anything – food, bicycles and maps were to be hidden; cars and motorbikes were to be put out of action; and garage proprietors needed to have a plan to protect stocks of petrol.
  5. Be ready to help the Military in any way.
  6. In factories and workshops, all managers and workers were to organise some system by which a sudden attack could be resisted.
  7. Think before you act, but think always of your country before you think of yourself.

Leaflet 'Stay Where You Are''Stay Where You Are' Mss Eur G57/11

The second leaflet, titled ‘Stay Where You Are’, reinforces the order to ‘Stay Put’, explaining that in France, Belgium and Holland the German Army had been helped by civilians blocking roads as they tried to flee from danger.  It warns, ‘If you do not stay put you will stand a very good chance of being killed’, and cautions that British soldiers will be too busy fighting the invader to help fleeing civilians.  To prepare everyone was advised to make ready an air raid shelter and to set a good example to others.  If fighting was to come to their area, they were not to engage the enemy but to seek safety in their shelter, although it was still ‘the right of every man and woman to do what you can to protect yourself, your family and your home’.  Those wishing to fight were encouraged to enrol in the Home Guard.  The leaflet ends ‘Stay Put. It’s easy to say.  When the time comes it may be hard to do. But you have got to do it; and in doing it you will be fighting Britain’s battle as bravely as a soldier’.

John O’Brien
India Office Records

Further Reading:
Papers of Lt-Col Sir Harold Wilberforce-Bell, Indian Army 1905, Indian Political Service 1910-40: Scrapbook, 20 May 1938-24 Dec 1944, shelfmark Mss Eur G57/11.

A brief summary of his service record can be found in The India Office and Burma Office List, 1940, page 641.

A list of books written by Harold Wilberforce-Bell: Explore the British Library.


21 February 2023

Well-being and living conditions in tropical climates

The India Office Economic Department series of annual files contains much interesting material, for example IOR/L/E/7/996, File 1274 of 1920: ‘Research bearing upon the well-being and conditions of lives of natives and residents of the United Kingdom in the tropical climates’.  The file includes correspondence between departments and the conclusions of the research ‘Note on Housing in the Tropics’ by Andrew Balfour and ‘Notes on Tropical Climate and Health’ by Leonard Hill, 20 March 1920.

The research notes demonstrate that there are already strategies in place that the locals use to cope with the heat and humidity such as sirdabs or tykhanas, i.e. underground chambers.  However, they are ‘not bearable to the European’ because the air remains stagnated unless there is an electric operating punkah, a ceiling cloth fan.

Mrs Gladstone Lingham reading under a punkah in a comfortably furnished room at Berhampore.Mrs Gladstone Lingham reading under a punkah in a comfortably furnished room at Berhampore WD2904 (1863) British Library Images Online

Therefore, the goal of the document is to look for the best choices in house orientation, design, construction and hygiene.  The authors make clear that regional variations should be taken into consideration when implementing the suggestions, mostly regarding proximity to the Equator, proximity to the sea and humidity.

The recommendations involve having a good water and food supply, effective waste disposal and choosing light colours.  In terms of construction, it is important to bear in mind the direction of prevailing winds and how close the building needs to be to other buildings and settlements.  The building should sit in permeable and clean soil, if possible it should be elevated and have good natural drainage, good circulation of air and plenty of light, and far from large bodies of water to avoid excessive humidity.

Andrew Balfour compares the existing construction materials and presents the available advantages and disadvantages of concrete and cement in comparison with wood and the common mixture of mud and manure. He suggests ‘double walls’ with thin inner and outer layers made of cement with the space between filled with sand or asphalt to be heat and vermin proof.

He stresses the importance of shades and verandas, of high ceilings with openings to release the hot air and to leave some space between the roof and the ceiling that is ventilated and has screened openings to avoid vermin.

He also sees the benefit of sleeping in hammocks on the roof for the early risers.

Section of report about the benefit of sleeping in hammocks on the roofIOR/L/E/7/996, File 1274 - Report, p.5.

Leonard Hill notes call attention to the importance of health to cope with the climate.

Notes on the dangers of mosquitoes  IOR/L/E/7/996, File 1274 - The dangers of mosquitoes, Hill's notes, p. 1.

He points out the importance of appropriate clothing, diet and exercise, since the weather might influence metabolism.

Notes on a tropical dietIOR/L/E/7/996, File 1274 - tropical diet, Hill's notes, p.1.

The subject of alcohol consumption is brought up both in the report and notes as ‘club life’ might become a problem.

Notes on club life IOR/L/E/7/996, File 1274 - club life, Hill's notes, p.6.

He also advocates for the health benefits of a good tan.

Notes on the benefits of a sun tan IOR/L/E/7/996, File 1274 - sun tan, Hill's notes, p.6.

Although the reports present interesting ideas, both for mitigating tropical infectious diseases and for a better adaptation of people, European or otherwise, to tropical climate, the Medical Adviser disregarded the documents saying ‘there is nothing here which promises to be of any assistance to India’.

Extract from the Medical Adviser's report  15 May 1920. IOR/L/E/7/996, File 1264 - Medical Adviser's report, 15 May 1920.

Bianca Miranda Cardoso
Cataloguer, India Office Records

Further reading:
The IOR/L/E/7 collection consists of 1567 volumes that bind the Annual Files of the Departments of:
• Revenue, Statistics and Commerce, 1882-1887
• Revenue and Statistics, 1887-1921
• Commerce and Revenue, 1921-1924; Economic and Overseas, 1924-1929.

Adaptation to different climate conditions has been mentioned in previous Untold Lives blog posts -
Severe weather hits Britain in January 1763 

Indian soldiers’ views of England during World War I sharing natives of India’s comments on the mostly wet and cloudy British weather.


16 February 2023

An early Union Flag on a Bombay document

Would it surprise you that there is an early representation of a Union Flag on a pass issued in Bombay in 1684?

Bombay, now known as Mumbai, became an English colony on 11 May 1661 as part of the dowry of Catherine of Braganza when she married Charles II.  On 27 March 1668, the King leased Bombay to the East India Company for an annual rent of £10.  By 1683 dissatisfaction with the Company’s rule culminated in a rebellion, with Bombay’s inhabitants appointing Captain Richard Keigwin to govern on behalf of Charles II.  Keigwin issued passes to local merchants allowing them to trade outside the Company’s monopoly as part of his policy to encourage economic growth in Bombay.

Pass issued by Richard Keigwin for the ship Tiger  owned by ‘Monnock Parsee’  Bombay  with impression of ‘His Majestie’s Union Seale’Pass issued by Richard Keigwin for the ship  Tiger,owned by ‘Monnock Parsee’, Bombay, with impression of ‘His Majestie’s Union Seale’- British Library IOR/E/3/43 f. 323 Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

A pass for ‘Monnock Parsee’ and ‘Pendia Pattell’ sailing aboard the Tiger was issued at Fort Bombay on 6 January 1684.  Valid for one year, it was signed by Governor Keigwin on behalf of Charles II.  It requested ship commanders and British subjects allow the Tiger and its passengers ‘to passe without seizure, molestation or trouble, nor offering any abuse or incivility'.  The pass carries an impression of His Majesty’s ‘Union Seale’ in addition to the signatures of Keigwin and his secretary.

Impression of ‘His Majestie’s Union Seale’Impression of ‘His Majestie’s Union Seale’ - British Library IOR/E/3/43 f. 323  Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

The seal’s design includes a large flag comprising the saltire of St Andrew and cross of St George denoting the union of England and Scotland.  Informally combined from 24 March 1603 onwards after the accession of King James VI of Scotland to the English throne as James I, this was not a legal and political reality until the 1707 Act of Union.  Nevertheless, a Royal decree on 12 April 1606 ordered the creation of a Union Flag for display on the main topmast of English and Scottish vessels.   Various design iterations fell in and out of fashion throughout the 17th century.  With flags being termed ‘jacks’ in the maritime world, such Union Flags acquired the nickname ‘Union Jack'.  Becoming the national flag of the United Kingdom from 1707 onwards, our current design has been in use since 1801.

Richard Scott Morel
Curator, British Library’s Philatelic Collections

Further reading:
Digital images of East India Company ‘Original Correspondence’ in the series IOR/E/3 are available via AM’s East India Company resource, free to access in British Library reading rooms.


14 February 2023

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.

Painting of Sir Charles Raymond in a white wig and brown coat, with landscape in the backgroundPortrait of Sir Charles Raymond. The location of the original portrait and the copyright status of this image are unknown. Please contact copyright@bl.uk 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.

View of Valentines Mansion from A New and Complete History of Essex by a Gentleman 1771Valentines, 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 MansionValentines Mansion today - photograph by the author

Georgina Green
Independent researcher

Further reading:
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.