THE UNKNOWN JANE AUSTEN
HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT
WITH THE REAL MR. DARCY
Nigel King Copyright 2018-2023
Easter Egg definitions
1) An artificial chocolate or hard boiled decorated egg given at Easter
2) An unexpected or undocumented feature in a piece of computer software or on a DVD included as a joke or bonus, ( this definition has come to include jokes etc in art for example the recently discovered initials LV and the date 1495 in the Mona Lisa or the loaves in The Last Supper also by Leonardo Da Vinci, that a musician realised could also be musical notation for a 40 second requiem.
I N T R O D U C T I O N
I have assumed rightly or wrongly that the reader is familiar with both the work and life of Jane Austen.
From my research:
I claim to have discovered the real life identity of the man who inspired Mr. Darcy, of Pride and Prejudice fame.
I claim to have discovered the real life location of Thornton Lacey. It is a real village in Northampton where the man I think was Mr. Darcy lived on an estate initially rented in 1795 and purchased in 1799 for 42, 000 pounds.
I claim to have discovered the real life location of Northanger Abbey. It was owned by a cousin of the man I think was Mr. Darcy. A man who coincidentally? was a colonel just like Darcy's cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam.
The man I think was Darcy absolutely must have known Hertfordshire very well, a place Jane Austen never visited yet wrote about. He owned an estate close to Ware the town thought by many to be the location of Meryton and which was also well within 10 miles of The Great North Road (see Pride and Prejudice for the significance of 10 miles).
Prior to 1796 this man must have known some members of the Duke of Devonshire's family who owned Chatsworth House, often thought to be the inspiration for Pemberley.
He knew Gracechurch Street (where the Gardiners lived) very well, visiting it on several occasions in the early 1790's where, as a set of accounts compiled by his friend show, he spent (perhaps even squandered) many hundreds of pounds on several occasions at Number 2 Gracechurch Street Spinks and Co and other select establishments nearby.
Almost everything that Jane Austen tells us about Mr. Darcy apply to this man beginning with the fact that in 1795 when Jane Austen first began Pride and Prejudice he was a young, very rich, single man.
I claim to have discovered a quantity of puns in her work. Prior to 2020 only ONE was known.
I claim to have discovered an extraordinary quantity of anagram puzzles based around names within her work.
I claim to have discovered some number puzzles within her work.
I claim to be able to offer an explanation of "sans peur et sans reproche," a phrase used by Jane Austen but for which no obvious rationale has been offered.
I claim to be able to explain the use by Jane Austen herself of the name Austin spelt with an I not an E
I also have explanations for the origins of the fictional names of Mansfield as in Mansfield Park ,Thornton Lacey, Northanger Abbey, Pemberley, (especially clever) the pseudonym of Ashton Dennis used by Jane Austen and more besides.
As I said earlier over the course of my research I claim to have discovered the most extraordinary, the most brilliantly hidden number and anagram puzzles primarily based around names. HUNDREDS of them! Some quite easy to see once you take on board the concept of an anagram to be found based around a name. Some of just spellbinding genius. Prior to 2018 only 1 pun was known to exist in Jane Austen's work. I have found another half a dozen. As puns not great puns perhaps, but as hidden gems waiting to be found, they are constructions of simply the most sublime artistry. I know of nothing quite like these Easter Eggs in all literature. I cannot express my admiration for such brilliance adequately but be assured I admire them very much.
In August 2022 I discovered a man who can be shown from a contemporary document (1794) to have had close links to at least two important members of Jane Austen's family and who also had close links to the man I think was Mr. Darcy because some of his closest friends and 1 close relation were part of his family of in laws. This man, and the man I think was Mr. Darcy, were also close landed neighbours. Each had an estate bordering the other's in Hertfordshire and each estate had been in their respective families for over 100 years. That is not all though. An uncle of the man I have recently uncovered was married to a woman who was a daughter of one of the actual Baron Leighs of Stoneleigh, the family that Cassandra Austen Jane Austen's mother, traced her descent from, was reputedly very proud of and so therefore was a cousin of Cassandra Austen . Cassandra Austen assuming she did know her family connections so well cannot have been unaware of this lady. Nor is it likely that she was unaware that this cousin of hers whose only child, a daughter, was commemorated in a poem "On the death of Mrs. Bowes " written extempore in 1724 very shortly after her death at the age of fourteen, by Lady Mary Montagu Wortley. A 1st edition of Pride and Prejudice beloging to this man was sold at Christies auctions 11th December 2019 for 60, 000 pounds
Finally there are schools of thought that believe coded messages may lie within her works. I entirely agree. However I think it possible there maybe more than 1 type of coded message. I believe I know where they maybe hidden but regrettably I am not smart enough to work them out.
Before explaining in greater detail about the real life individual who may have inspired Mr. Darcy and everything else that I claim, I give below, from the dozens and dozens of number and anagram puzzles available, a small number of quotes from the texts of Jane Austen 1st editions to show for the doubting that there is substance to my claims. In each quote is at least one anagram puzzle based on names and or number puzzle for you to work out for yourself. At least one answer from the first few should not cause too much difficulty to find for any cryptic crossword puzzler. But they do get harder. One regular Times cryptic crossword puzzle solver of faint acquaintance has, since Xmas 2021 tried to solve them all. One, eventually solved at the end of April whilst visiting his injured wife in hospital caused him to leave the hospital to go outside and give a whoop of joy. He still has a few to go. As I said they get harder.
In light of the fact that they get harder and the difficulty some have had in just getting started I have decided 26 April 2022 that a little help must be given. So let me explain how I first came to the realisation that there maybe "Easter Eggs" hidden within Jane Austen's work.
If you take a the D from the name Darcy then the name Cary can be made with the remaining letters. This is the middle name of the man I think was Mr. Darcy and realising that this was a possible way to disguise a man's real identity was the first inkling I had that names could, in some way be anagram puzzles. Shortly after this deduction I looked again at "Sewell's Farm" Thornton Lacey. The man I think was Mr Darcy had an estate close to the town of Northampton. A visit to this village confirms my initial theory that this village was the original for Thornton Lacey. Everything that Jane Austen tells us about Thornton Lacey seems to be present. Apart from Sewell's Farm. I believe Sewell's Farm is a reference to the estate owned by the man I think was Mr. Darcy and in calling this estate a farm where he bred racehorses was an insult and in calling it Sewell's Farm she was encoding his name for those who could see and appreciate the insult. As with Darcy to Cary if we remove an L from the name Sewell we can make the name Elwes and this is the surname of the man I think was Mr. Darcy. If you are struggling to find any may I suggest that you employ a website called Scrabble Word Finder. It can as I found out and freely admit be very helpful.
For example, carefully read the letter by "Mrs Ashton Dennis" again, then type the name ASHTON DENNIS into the search box. There are no 12 letter or 11 letter results but there is 1 and only 1 result with 10 letters.
Due to the difficulty many have found in even solving one of these puzzles I have also felt it expedient to explain the first two. Examples 1 and 2 both contain the name B A D D E L E Y. If you remove the letter B from this sequence the letters remaning are A D D E L E Y . The word DE L A Y E D can be made. Armed with this information you should definitely solve a few more.
N.B. After receiving her copy of Pride and Prejudice in 1813, Jane Austen, in a letter to her sister wrote " I do not write for such dull elves as have not a great deal of ingenuity themselves"
After the puzzles are some suggestions for further reading
A FEW NUMBER AND ANAGRAM P U Z Z L E S
1) "Well then, Lady Bertram, suppose you speak for tea directly, suppose you hurry Baddeley a little, he seems behind hand to-night.
2) Fanny could hardly have kept her seat any longer, or have refrained from at least trying to get away in spite of all the too public opposition she foresaw to it, had it not been for the sound of approaching relief, the very sound which she had been long watching for, and long thinking strangely delayed.
‘The solemn procession, headed by Baddeley, of tea-board, urn, and cake-bearers, made its appearance, and delivered her from a grievous imprisonment of body and mind.’
3) She danced four dances with him at Meryton; she saw him one morning at his own house, and has since dined with him in company four times. This is not quite enough to make her understand his character."
"Not as you represent it. Had she merely DINED with him, she might only have discovered whether he had a good appetite; but you must remember that four evenings have also been spent together--and four evenings may do a great deal."
"Yes; these four evenings have enabled them to ascertain that they both like Vingt - un better than Commerce;
4) "There is no danger of Wickham's marrying Mary King"
5) THE HAIR was curled, and the maid sent away, and Emma sat down to think and be miserable.- It was a wretched business indeed! - Such an overthrow of every thing she had been wishing for! - Such a development of every thing most unwelcome! - Such a blow for Harriet! - that was the worst of all. Every part of it brought pain and humiliation, of some sort or other; but, compared with the evil to Harriet, all was light; and she would gladly have submitted to feel yet more mistaken- more in error - more disgraced by mis-judgment, than she actually was, could the effects of her blunders have been confined to herself.
6) The Portsmouth girls turn up their noses at anybody who has not a commission. One might as well be nothing as a midshipman. One is nothing, indeed. You remember the Gregorys; they are grown up amazing fine girls, but they will hardly speak to me, because Lucy is courted by a lieutenant."
7)"Do you know anything of my cousin's captain?" said Edmund; "Captain Marshall? You have a large acquaintance in the navy, I conclude?"
"Among admirals, large enough; but," with an air of grandeur, "we know very little of the inferior ranks. Post-captains may be very good sort of men, but they do not belong to us. Of various admirals I could tell you a great deal: of them and their flags, and the gradation of their pay, and their bickerings and jealousies. But, in general, I can assure you that they are all passed over, and all very ill used. Certainly, my home at my uncle's brought me acquainted with a circle of admirals.
8) "There will be but one subject throughout the parishes of Donwell. "
9)It was the gift of her good godmother, old Mrs. Admiral Maxwell, only six weeks before she was taken for death. Poor little sweet creature! Well, she was taken away from evil to come.
10) Their affectionate mother shared all their grief; she remembered what she had herself endured on a similar occasion, five-and twenty years ago. "I am sure" said she. "I cried for two days altogether when Colonel Millar's regiment went away. I thought I should have broken my heart."
11) "How uncomfortable it is," whispered Catherine, "not to have a single acquaintance here!"
12) "The Miss Owens--you liked them, did not you?"
"Yes, very well. Pleasant, good-humoured, unaffected girls. But I am spoilt, Fanny, for common female society. Good-humoured, unaffected girls will not do for a man who has been used to sensible women.
13) Ah! here's Miss Woodhouse. - Dear Miss Woodhouse, how do you do? - Very well I thank you, quite well. This is meeting quite in fairy - land! - Such a transformation! - Must not compliment, I know (eyeing Emma most complacently) - that would be rude - but upon my word, Miss Woodhouse, you do look - how do you like Jane's hair? -You are a judge. - She did it all herself. Quite wonderful how she does her hair! - No hairdresser from London I think could. - Ah! Dr. Hughes I declare - and Mrs. Hughes. Must go and speak to Dr. and Mrs. Hughes for a moment. - How do you do? How do you do? - Very well, I thank you. This is delightful, is not it? - Where's dear Mr. Richard? - Oh! there he is. Don't disturb him. Much better employed talking to the young ladies. How do you do, Mr. Richard? - I saw you the other day as you rode through the town - Mrs. Otway, I protest! - and good Mr. Otway, and Miss Otway and Miss Caroline. -Such a host of friends! - and Mr. George and Mr. Arthur! - How do you do? How do you all do?
14) This topic was discussed very happily, and others succeeded of similar moment, and passed away with similar harmony; but the evening did not close without a little return of agitation. The gruel came and supplied a great deal to be said--much praise and many comments - undoubting decision of its wholesomeness for every constitution, and pretty severe Philippics upon the many houses where it was never met with tolerable; - but, unfortunately, among the failures which the daughter had to instance, the most recent, and therefore most prominent, was in her own cook at South End, a young woman hired for the time, who never had been able to understand what she meant by a basin of nice smooth gruel, thin, but not too thin.
15) Consider carefully the name Fairfax for anagram/s relevant to Jane Fairfax .
16) "On his return from Woodston two days before"
17) This ill-timed intruder was Miss Tilney's maid, sent by her mistress to be of use to Miss Morland; and though Catherine immediately dismissed her it recalled her to the sense of what she ought to be doing, and forced her in spite of her anxious desire to penetrate this mystery, to proceed in her dressing without further delay. Her progress was not quick, for her thoughts and her eyes were still bent on the object so well calculated to interest and alarm; and though she dared not waste a moment upon a second attempt, she could not remain many paces from the chest.
18) "I wish you could see Compton," said he; "it is the most complete thing! I never saw a place so altered in my life. I told Smith I did not know where I was. The approach now is one of the finest things in the country: you see the house in the most surprising manner. I declare, when I got back to Sotherton yesterday, it looked like a prison - quite a dismal old prison."
"Oh, for shame!" cried Mrs. Norris. "A prison indeed? Sotherton Court is the noblest old place in the world.")
N.B. For this puzzle a little knowledge of Humphrey Repton's work is essential.
19) "I was in company with a certain Admiral Baldwin, the most deplorable-looking person you can imagine. His face like mahogany, all lines and wrinkles, nine grey hairs and only a dab of powder on top."
20) I (Mr. Rushworth) declare when I got back from Sotherton yesterday, it looked like a prison - quite a dismal prison." "Oh! for shame" cried Mrs. NORRIS. A prison indeed!
21) "Come, Darcy," said he, I must have you dance. I hate to see you standing about by yourself in this stupid manner. You had much better dance."
22) "....there to parade over the wonders of Sotherton in her evening parties - enjoying them as thoroughly perhaps in the animation of a card - table as she had ever done on the spot- and before the middle of the same month the ceremony had taken place, which gave Sotherton another mistress."
23) "The housekeeper came; a respectable-looking elderly woman, much less fine, and more civil, than she had any notion of finding her. They followed her into the dining-parlour. It was a large, well-proportioned room, handsomely fitted up. Elizabeth, after slightly surveying it, went to a window to enjoy its prospect. The hill, crowned with wood, from which they had descended, receiving increased abruptness from the distance, was a beautiful object. Every disposition of the ground was good; and she looked on the whole scene - the river, the trees scattered on its banks, and the winding of the valley, as far as she could trace it - with delight. As they passed into other rooms these objects were taking different positions; but from every window there were beauties to be seen. The rooms were lofty and handsome, and their furniture suitable to the fortune of their proprietor; but Elizabeth saw, with admiration of his taste, that it was neither gaudy nor uselessly fine; with less of splendor, and more real elegance, than the furniture of Rosings."
N.B. This quote is from the 1st edition. Later editions for many years are sometimes in a subtle way slightly different.
24) SOME CHANGE of countenance was necessary for each gentleman as they walked into Mrs. Weston's drawing-room;—Mr. Elton must compose his joyous looks, and Mr. John Knightley disperse his ill-humour. Mr. Elton must smile less, and Mr. John Knightley more, to fit them for the place.—Emma only might be as nature prompted, and shew herself just as happy as she was. To her it was real enjoyment to be with the Westons. Mr. Weston was a great favourite, and there was not a creature in the world to whom she spoke with such unreserve, as to his wife; not any one, to whom she related with such conviction of being listened to and understood, of being always interesting and always intelligible, the little affairs, arrangements, perplexities, and pleasures of her father and herself. She could tell nothing of Hartfield, in which Mrs. Weston had not a lively concern; and half an hour's uninterrupted communication of all those little matters on which the daily happiness of private life depends, was one of the first gratifications of each."
25) "she took her candle and looked closely at the cabinet"
26)"A style of living almost equal to Maple Grove - and as to the children except the little Sucklings, and little Bragges...."
27) "he had been walking away from William Larkins, the whole morning, to have his thoughts to himself
"Ah! there is one difficulty, unprovided for, " cried Emma. "I am sure William Larkins will not like it. You must get his consent before you ask mine.
28)"The naivete of Miss Smith's manners - and altogether - Oh, it is most admirable! "
29) " I do not know - One of the Otways, - Not Frank ; it is not Frank , I assure you. You will not see him. He is half way to Windsor"
30) "Lady Bertram seems more of a cipher now than when he is at home; and nobody else can keep Mrs. Norris in order. But, Mary, do not fancy that Maria Bertram cares for Henry."
31) very little white satin, very few lace veils; a most pitiable business - Selina "
32) "Her cousin prefaced his speech with a solemn bow, and though she could not hear a word of it, she felt as if hearing it all, and saw in the motion of his lips the words "apology""Hunsford"and "Lady Catherine De Bourgh"
33) "Mama,” cried Lydia, “my aunt says that Colonel Forster and Captain Carter do not go so often to Miss Watson’s as they did when they first came; she sees them very often standing in Clarke’s library.”
34) "Very likely," said Emma- "nothing more likely. I know no man more likely than Mr. Knightley
35) "bowing whenever Miss De Bourgh looked that way"
36) "You seem determined to think ill of him "
"Me! - Not at all replied Mr Knightley, rather displeased ; I do not want to think ill of him."
Further reading There is so, so much more; this is just the start. For example
Write down ALL the numbers In the 4 short chapters of The Watsons. Do you notice anything?
Write down ALL the numbers in the unfinished Sanditon. Do you notice anything? Write down all the numbers in the first 4 chapters of Mansfield Park. Do you notice anything?
Write down all the numbers in the first 7 chapters of Northanger Abbey. There is a lot to notice never mind more of the "same"
Within JA's work you will see use of the word EIGHTH. Often she will use the actual word EIGHTH. Sometimes though this word has to be "seen" as in Henry V111, or half a quarter of a mile, or furlong, (an eighth of a mile in each case ) or the words HEIGHT and HIGHEST anagrams of Eighth and Eighths. But in Northanger Abbey EIGHTHS are hidden in my opinion at least with a sublime brilliance I cannot express. Can you find any???
The significance of EIGHTHS may also extend to Eight. In Jane Austen's family for example were 6 brothers and one sister plus herself . 8 children. In Northanger Abbey she mentions the Octagon Rooms in Bath, and the "eight parts of speech" In Mansfield park as mentioned is Henry VIII and it is Eight miles from Mansfield Park to Thornton Lacey. In Pride and Prejudice a letter is written and dated in the eighth month of the year August. There is, I think " something going on"
Wherever there is a name in Jane Austen's work there is the possibility at least of an anagram puzzle.
Look again at Fordyce as in Fordyce's Sermons Pride and Prejudice
Look in Emma at paragraphs containing the name Mr. Knightley for example in these few chapters.
Chapter 5 paragraphs 3 and 4. Chapter 18 paragraph 32. Chapter26
The name Pemberley may quite simply have derived either from a small hamlet in Hamshire near Eastleigh or a family name with the addition of Ley a common ending for English place names. But why? exactly Pemberley. For a long time I could think of nothing but a simple rhyme Remember me. Early in 2021 contact with a family member provided me with a clue. It would seem that the man I think was Mr. Darcy was definitely in Paris in 1790 (a portrait from this time exists of him see illustration) and if family oral tradition is correct in their memories he and his good friend companion and tutor Charles Drake Barnard were some of the last to leave Paris possibly in 1790 although I would think probably in 1792. The Scarlet Pimpernel ??? Who knows there are certainly some striking parallels (see in more detail later) but with the clue that Pimpernel provides I realise that solving this conundrum is like a journey from A to B and back by a different route to A so to begin
The first step to finding the route from Pemberley to Pimpernel is Remember Me. Can you find the way to Pimpernel and return to Pemberley by a different route.
There are many many more!
I hope you enjoy them. They were created for you to enjoy.
SO TO BEGIN !
Who was the real life "Mr. Darcy" of the novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen? Or rather perhaps who was the original Mr. Darcy in First Impressions as Pride and Prejudice was originally titled. So far as I am aware nobody knows. Was there ever an original Mr. Darcy. There are many who believe that there may have been an original person who provided Jane Austen with the inspiration at least, for the character Mr. Darcy.
Names have been tendered. Books have been written proposing various characters as the original for Mr. Darcy. There are bound to be suggestions as to who such a famous well drawn character might have been, based upon the fact that so many think there was an original Mr. Darcy. But nobody really knows. Could he have been a complete figment of Jane Austen's imagination, or a composite of the many people she knew or was there a real life individual who provided her with the inspiration.
Before discovering and publishing online my very recently uncovered findings I would have personally thought that there was a real life character who provided many of the "factual" details of appearance and position in society. The opening line sounds like it could be real dialogue borrowed from life. The ball sounds like the description of a real ball. Darcy, arrogantly walking around sounds like the actions of a real individual. The marriage proposal and refusal to and by Lizzie certainly feels as if there could be a basis in reality. Even when Lizzie and Darcy meet again by chance has the feel of some basis in reality too and so on. But perhaps nothing as regards plot, character, actions, and behaviour. It would be no real surprise if an author borrowed from real life. To some extent all authors use something from real life.
But in the last few weeks of February 2018, I may have found a candidate for Mr. Darcy not so far considered. In my opinion he is far a superior candidate than others so far suggested. Almost everything that Jane Austen tells us about Darcy, the snippets of detail for example a sister, an only sibling, worth 30,000 pounds just like Darcy this man seems to possess to an uncanny degree.
I discovered his existence whilst researching the author of the manuscript that my blog Wisden's Secret is primarily about Francis Emilius Cary Elwes, the man who I believe on the content of the ms. I am blogging about was in part at least the creator of Wisden's Almanack. (See foot of page)*
I looked for details about his family and friends and when I initially came across this gentleman candidate, who was Francis Emilius Cary Elwes's father I thought or rather a little voice inside me said "he could be Mr. Darcy." His main assets in this regard as far as I could see at the time were that he was very rich and had been from a young age.
I thought no more about this until a few days ago (February 2018) when thinking what to put else to put in my website. So out of curiosity and just to make sure I looked his name up to see what could be found out about him and whether there was any possibility that he could be the original Mr. Darcy. There are three things that need to be ascertained and can be checked quickly for there to be the remotest chance of him being Mr. Darcy.
They are: - Was he rich ? - Was he young? - Was he single? when Jane Austen began First Impressions.
I already knew from earlier research into his son Francis that he might be rich but I quickly found out that his father died when he was young, aged about 10 and left him a huge amount quite possibly £10,000 a year or more which he most probably inherited at his coming of age 21. He was young too, in 1796/97 he was 24/25 and he was single. (Is it conicidence that Henry Tilney in Northanger abbey is described as a young man of about who "seemed to be about four or five and twenty")
A promising start. What else might be needed for there to be any hope of him being the original Mr. Darcy. Jane Austen gives several clues about him. For example. He was an only son, as described earlier he had a sister, a sister worth £30,000, he was not a nobleman but a plain Mr. He had it in his power to gift a church living, he owned a huge estate up north and he was clever. All of these things, and more this man I have found had in common with Mr. Darcy. Aside from this though, the man I have found provides many other links to the book. Particularly Ware, or Meryton as she named it, is based as many think upon the town of Ware, a town that Jane Austen appears to know very well despite never having been there. Ware however is a town where this man and his only sibling, a sister, must have known well because that is a town close to where they grew up. The town of Ware was about 13 miles away from one of the estates their father owned.
To be considered also is what Jane Austen does not tell us about Darcy that is also true for Elwes. She does not say he served in the army or a militia or navy or was a solicitor or any of the other occupations a man like Darcy might have spent time engaged in particularly with the Napoleonic War in progress. Darcy is a gentleman, nothing more, nothing less, who lives life entirely as a gentleman with no financial pressures or any other pressures to do anything other than live life entirely as he pleased. Elwes is exactly the same.
But I asked myself could Jane Austen have met this man? It is certainly not impossible but Yes! I found that she could have met him but even if she did not actually meet him it is highly likely that she may have heard of him and that there were occasions when he could have been very close to Jane Austen and talking to people she knew in Winchester. She could also however have known of him for several years from another source much closer to home.
The more I looked the closer he came. So let’s start with the name Darcy. Where did Jane Austen find that name? A figment of her imagination perhaps? If so why Darcy, why not Smith or Jones or any other of the tens of thousands of names that exist? Authors in general take a lot of care over characters names especially central characters.
Surely an unusual name like Fitzwilliam Darcy does not arrive unbidden and without some careful thought. Maybe the name did spring carelessly from her imagination. "Oh, Fitzwilliam Darcy. That's a nice name " But I dont think so. For an author as clever as Jane Austen one would expect something a little better.
But if you have this man’s name it becomes simplicity to suggest a possibility based around a word play as to where and how the name Darcy originated. Jane Austen enjoyed word games. The British library owns a set of ivory letters that used to belong to Jane Austen and with which word games could obviously be played. I have never heard the suggestion below as being the origin as to where the name Darcy may have sprung. So this is a first timer. (Due to one persons misunderstanding I must add that when I ask where did Jane Austen find that name I am not posing a question as to its historical, geographical, linguistic or etymological etc origins interesting as they maybe, but its artistic and imaginative origins.)
Suppose for argument's sake that Jane Austen knew a man whose real name she wanted to disguise. How might she do it. Here is one way. Suppose this man's surname to be Cray. What might she do to disguise it. Well she could try and Gallicize it like this Richard Le Cray, Le Cary, Le Racy, or L'Arcy. Doesn't work. What about using De. Here we get Richard De Cray, De Cary, De Racy, or D'Arcy. Add some magic, abracadabra, and eliminate the apostrophe and thus, could the name of Darcy have been created with this simple name game.
Or maybe in just playing with letters and adding a D to the Cray and looking for a name anagram the name Darcy appeared. This would be a simple way of disguising his identity. A name game which is of a type Jane Austen with her enjoyment of word games might well have liked. (See Emma /Dixon)
Either way her original audience of family members would have easily recognised him if there was indeed a "Mr. Darcy" and because mimicry is funny would have enjoyed her portrayal read aloud? of such a man.
Could this man have had his name disguised in such a way? Yes he could if he had the right name to start with and this man, lo and behold did. For his name was Robert CARY Elwes and in 1795 when Jane Austen began First Impressions later to become Pride and Prejudice he was a very rich, young man with no wife. Is Cary to Darcy and Darcy to Cary the first Easter Egg that I have found. I think he is.
Robert Cary Elwes Esq.
(the Real Mr. Darcy?)
A photograph of a portrait of "SQUIRE" Robert
Cary Elwes aged about 18 painted in Paris 1790
by Ludwig Guttenbrun famous 18th/19th century
portrait artist. Painted when the sitter was 18/19.
Its the only image I have been able to locate of
Robert Cary Elwes. It was published in 1932 by
the Connoisseur magazine. This journal ceased
publication decades ago. It has not been possible
to either trace copyright or to find out even if
copyright still exist. There is much more to be said
later about RCE in Paris. The current whereabouts
of this portrait is unknown despite efforts to trace
Does he look like a man who 5 or 6 years later
when Jane Austen first began Pride and Prejudice
could be described as haughty, reserved, and
fastidious and with manners well bred but not
inviting? This is how Jane Austen describes Mr.
Darcy in the third paragraph before the end of
Book 1 Chapter 4.
I have checked this man's name on the births, deaths, marriages and elsewhere etc to find out about him and to see if he provides other links to Pride and Prejudice. He most surely does. The first link that I found came from his early life and the obvious closeness of his connections to Hertfordshire that are to be found. There is no proof only conjecture as to how Jane Austen appears to be so well informed about Hertfordshire (some cousins many times removed is the official, unproven!, best guess! version and regaled as the absolute unquestionable truth that that is how she must have known details of Hertfordshire despite never having been there. I am paraphrasing a little but this is pretty much the story that Maureen Stiller, (Hon. Sec. JAS) Deidre Le Fay (Expert now deceased ) and a few others have presented to me. But if she did meet Robert Cary Elwes then he would be an undeniably good source for knowledge of life in Hertfordshire near the town of Ware given that one of his estates was just a few miles north of Ware.
He was born on the 28th of July 1772. He may well have been born in a small village called Throcking. The small village of Throcking is less than 15 miles away from both Hertford and Ware in the county of Hertfordshire. The village of Throcking looks now as it probably was then a very rural small village with very few buildings in it apart from the manor since demolished, a large, now converted barn, a parsonage and church. How promisingly auspicious. If there is one county where I would hope to find Robert Cary Elwes it would be Hertfordshire and if there any towns I would wish to find him anywhere near it would be the towns of either Hertford and Ware, particularly Ware, the generally accepted most likely location for the fictional Meryton. He certainly lived for a time at Throcking because his parents owned Throcking Manor. His parents were Cary Elwes also born in Throcking and Elizabeth Elwes born Holgate. Throcking Hall was a magnificent mansion built circa 1743 that reputedly cost £11,000 but was later demolished. Cary Elwes, his father died in 1782 leaving most of his estate to Robert but also a substantial amount 30,000 pounds to Elizabeth his sister who if Robert died before the age of 21 would have inherited the lot.
In common with Darcy he has only one sister. His sister Elizabeth was born 1771 and married Rev. Robert Cary Barnard (see Burke's Genealogical.... ) More about him and other relatives with the name Barnard will be met with a little later.
Elizabeth his sister is of course older than Darcy's sister Georgiana but obviously Georgiana's role could not have worked as it did if she was older. However, Elizabeth his sister, like Georgiana, Darcy's was also worth £30,000. Her father had left her £20,000 upon reaching the age of 21 and a further £10,000 was to come to her the day she married.
Was Robert Cary Elwes clever? Well he appears in the list of Cambridge Alumni so I would guess yes he probably was clever. The executor account for his fathers will, seems to show that he was privately tutored by one of its executors Rev. Charles Drake Barnard (a later chaplain to the Earl of Oxford) another member of the Barnard family whose lives are weaved generationally with the Elwes family. (He was a brother of 2 of the Senior Prebendarys at Winchester in the late 18th century and brother also to Rev. Thomas Barnard vicar of Great Amwell 1793 see more below) and its reasonable I think to assume that his education was good and that he went to Cambridge because he was possibly clever. Some of his direct descendants were intelligent for sure. They include artists, an opera singer, a monsignor, and of particular note Francis Emilius Cary Elwes. Throcking was not the only estate that Robert inherited. He inherited estates at Roxby and Bigby in Lincolnshire (sizes currently unknown) and Egton in Yorkshire. Egton in particular was a huge estate covering 12,500 acres about 18 square miles and costing in 1743 about £38,000. This estate included besides land and timber most of the houses and farms enclosed within this area in the villages of Egton and Egton bridge. In common with Darcy he was a substantial landowner with an estate up north. (see below*)
A view across the North Yorkshire moors. This view is just a small panoramic snapshot of the land
he owned .
It is as fine a territory for shooting today as it was 200 years ago. Little has changed.
Robert Cary Elwes's youngest son Francis wrote and illustrated a superlative account of a season's
shooting 1862 - 63 part of which takes place on the Egton Estate. This shooting diary has been
transcribed with explanatory notes and can be found elsewhere on this website.
Go to the contents page Wisden's Secret part 1 and scroll down for Shooting Season 1862 - 1863 for
the completely transcribed account.
Below is the idyllic entrance of one the routes into Egton village
* At the time of writing the above I had initially thought the estate was 6,000 acres in size. This figure was based upon the size it currently is according to its current owners. Since then I have discovered the auction sale catalogue of the Egton estate in 1869. This shows an estate of nearly 12,500 acres and included some valuable "Timber". The estate sold for £155,000 and the timber was sold separately for £25,000. This estate also included most of the property enclosed within. Exactly how big this estate was in 1795/6 I do not know but when it was bought in 1743 by Robert Elwes of Twickenham and costing £38,000 it cannot have been small. A very detailed catalogue of the sale by auction of the Egton Estate has survived and is held by Northampton Archives .
A cutting from the Leicestershire Mercury 27 March 1852 reporting on the probate details for Robert Cary Elwes reveals that the Mercury had been given to understand that the rental income from his Yorkshire and Lincolnshire estates amounted to in excess of 20,000 pound per year and was valued at 160,000 pounds and that a further 2000 pounds per year came from the estate at Great Billing.
Fitzwilliam Darcy although a very rich landowner was not a nobleman, just a plain Mister. He shares this fictional quality with the actual reality of Robert Cary Elwes who was also, a very rich landowner although not a nobleman, just a plain Mister.
Along with the estates he also owned the advowson at Great Amwell a mile south of Ware and a few miles further from Hertford. This had been the gift of his family for some 200 years and is relevant because Darcy also had the gift of a church living in his power. This living had been promised to Wickham the son of Darcy's land steward. Interestingly, the advowson of Great Amwell was given to Thomas Barnard in 1793. He was a member of the Barnard family that Elwes clearly must have known given that his sister was married to one of them and another was an executor of his father's will and tutor and friend .
One of the Barnards, Charles Drake Barnard was a joint executor of the will of Robert Cary Elwes's father and another may have been a land steward for some/all the estates held in Lincolnshire by him. Robert Cary Elwes therefore certainly could have provided some of the details about Hertford/Ware. Whether or not Jane Austen met Robert Cary Elwes on only a very few occasions even maybe debatable, but he obviously must have had some knowledge about Hertford/Ware.
Another possibility for providing Jane Austen with her knowledge of Hertford/Ware was Robert Cary Elwes's sister Elizabeth who was married to the Reverend Robert Cary Barnard Rector of Withersfield. Robert Cary Barnard was from the same branch of the Barnard family as the Barnards above. Robert Cary Elwes's sister's husband Robert Cary Barnard had relatives that Jane Austen's father must have known. He must have known them because in a professional sense they were next door neighbours. His parish was Steventon and it came within the diocese of Winchester. The relatives that Jane Austen's father must have known are the Reverend Robert Barnard Senior Prebendary at Winchester, Reverend John Gilbert Barnard also a senior Prebendary at Winchester died 1791. Steventon, where Jane Austen's father was Rector, being in the diocese of Winchester these two must surely have been known to Jane Austen's father George. Its surely not impossible that other members of the Austen family knew of the 2 Senior Prebendaries named Barnard. Would the Austens or at least Jane Austen's father never have called in to see or met in passing The Reverend Robert Barnard and his wife the Hon. Louisa Peyto daughter of John Peyto 6th Baron Willoughby de Broke (Is this where the character name John Willoughby of Sense and Sensibility came?). I think it a possibility. Whilst there, is there not a strong possibility that on occasions Elizabeth Barnard nee Elwes married to Reverend Robert Cary Barnard was there seeing his cousins 2 Senior Prebendaries. Perhaps even, as the Barnard family were closely connected to the Elwes family, is it not also a possibility that Robert Cary Elwes was at some point also there. And even if not present, conversation between people who know each other could easily have extended to enquiries about family members etc.
There must have been times when some of the Austens went to Winchester if only her father Reverend George Austen.
To begin, George Austen had an account at a local bookshop. Some contact with Winchester must have occurred because the Cathedral's assistant organist George Chard used to ride frequently to Steventon to give piano lessons. Jane Austen had friends apparently who used to live in Cathedral Close Winchester. "Trade" gossip between Jane's father and George Chard re the Barnards could easily have brought Robert Cary Elwes and his youthful fortune to Jane Austen's attention. There is no proof apparently but she may well have danced in the Assembly rooms in Winchester. * (See the entry for Winchester Races at Worthy Down for one, probably annual occasion at least, when she might have danced at the Winchester Assembley Rooms. )
So I think it is worth looking again at the opening chapters and the introduction and imminent arrival of a young, rich and single young man and that there may well be some loose basis in reality that these chapters are based upon.
With this in mind I think there must have been a strong possibility that Jane Austen not only knew of Elisabeth Barnard and or Robert Cary Elwes but may have met them on occasion. A visit to Elizabeth's husband Reverend Robert Cary Barnard's relatives perhaps and from there met Jane Austen, talked of Hertford or Ware towns both Robert and Elizabeth knew well and perhaps even about her brother Robert Cary Elwes who the Austens may have known of from another source already.
In Pride and Prejudice Wickham's father had been a steward of Darcy's late father. Given that the Barnards came from Bigby in Lincolnshire and given that Elwes senior owned a large estate in Bigby as well as nearby Roxby and that this land had been owned by an Elwes for a century and given that Elwes's father died when he was very young, is it possible that the man who looked after these estates was a member of the Barnard family and that the figure of 10,000 a year was a figure based upon a real known amount. Furthermore is the fact that Charles Drake Barnard another member and brother of the others so far mentioned and one of the executors of Cary Elwes's will must have had a good idea, perhaps even exactly of just how rich Robert Cary Elwes was. There exists brief financial accounts compiled by Charles Drake Barnard in his role as executor and considerable sums are paid to Charles Drake Barnard. These sums cannot be for nothing and are not just tuition fees. CDB also oversaw the financial transactions.
Such stewardship between the families was to cross over into the 1860's when one of the Barnards was appointed along with R.J.C Elwes (brother of Francis) to administer the account at Goslings of Francis Emilius Cary Elwes the man who wrote the ms. (in part at least the "Original source Manuscript to the 1st Edition of Wisden's Almanac 1864 that forms a large part of this website blog. A member of the Barnard family was an executor of Robert Cary Elwes's father, Cary Elwes’s will. The connections between the families are of long duration that cross generations and at the time at least were trusted and for all I know still are. There can be no doubt that the Barnard family were obviously very well known to Robert Cary Elwes.
Jane Austen's knowledge of the military presence of the Derby Militia in Hertfordshire must have come from someone too. The Derby Militia were stationed close to the estate in Throcking owned by Robert Cary Elwes and either he or his sister Elizabeth surely could have provided knowledge of a militia in Hertfordshire. Throcking is only a few miles away from Welwyn and the military presence there simply cannot have been unknown by people living close by.
There is again no proof but it has been suggested that Jane Austen must have known about the military presence in Hertfordshire via her brother Henry who had served in the militia. Whilst he could have provided knowledge about life in the militia itself it does not therefore follow that he also knew about the militia in relation to Hertfordshire. (see Colonel Fitzwilliam and the Militia)
Another possible source for Jane Austen to have known about and heard about Robert Cary Elwes was via the Rector of Elkstone's family. The rectors son Tom Fowle ,who was Jane's sister Cassandra's prospective husband and a close family friend could quite easily known about Robert Cary Elwes. Gentleman and their wives and families for their social interaction look to other gentlemen and their wives and families and if one lives in a small village like Colesbourn that means sometimes looking in a different village not too far away. In the village of Elkstone only a few miles away lived the Fowle family. People like the Fowle family would have mixed socially, sooner or later with people like the new owners in 1789 of nearby Colesbourn Park.
It was bought by John Elwes son of the celebrated miser John Elwes supposedly the inspiration for perhaps Dickens's most famous character Scrooge and a relative of Robert Cary Elwes. Its difficult to imagine that the new owner of Colesbourn Park and his doings were unknown to the Rector of Elkstone and his son Tom, and therefore I think it is quite possible that in conversation with the Fowle family, and in particular Tom, Cassandra Austen's fiancee, the fact and knowledge about Robert Cary Elwes and his youthful fortune may well have come to the attention of Jane Austen.
* In early 2021 I was contacted by a member of the Barnard family who suggested that I might find it fruitful to look at the university/s which members of Jane Austen's family may have attended. 2 of her brothers, Henry and James went to university and attended St. Johns Oxford between the years 1775 and 1792. They were scholarship pupils there I presume for the education, in their case Divinity. Whilst there they jointly produced a publication primarily for students known as The Loiterer.
Most members of the Barnard family attended Cambridge but there was one Charles Drake Barnard (mentioned earlier ) who attended Trinity College Oxford in the late 1780's. He came away with a B.A. and moved to Cambridge where he gained an M.A. in Divinity. At the time of writing I have not ascertained whether the B.A. at Oxford was in Divinity or not but his subsequent life in the clergy makes it likely.
Could this Barnard who according to my source knew RCE very, very well have known either or both of the Austens.
St John's College is almost next door to Trinity College. Close...
A building a short distance away from St. John's and Trinity where CDB could have met one or both Austens and that all three may have visited was Divinity School and next door to that is the Bodlaien Library. There are not thousands of students studying divinity in 1789 Closer....
In producing The Loiterer 1789 primarily for students is it not possible that one or other of the Austens in casual conversation or even promoting The Loiterer could very easily have encountered Barnard .....
So at a ball such as is described in P and P how does gossip spread within 5 minutes that a seemingly completely unknown man by the name of Mr. Darcy is worth 10,000 a year. Somebody must know!
In 1790 CDB leaves Oxford to go to Cambridge to study for an M.A. in divinity. Before leaving he tells either one or both Austens that he is leaving and that whilst at Cambridge he will be paid for tutoring a fellow student he has known since childhood. A man who has inherited land property etc and is worth 10,000 a year. Fast forward a few years and a party consisting of Charles Drake Barnard, Robert Cary Elwes; his sister and her husband another member of the Barnard family come to Winchester to visit another close family member. They come in summer for the races at Worthy Down and through connections attend the stewards ball afterwards. At the ball are Jane Austen's family who as I will point out later knew the steward ( a man named Chute ) of the Worthy Down races (more later about Worthy Down races). One of the Austen brothers recognises CDB from Oxford talks to him discovers that Elwes is the man worth 10,000 that he was tutoring and 5 minutes later the whole room knows.
Conjecture? Of course. But... *
A note about Darcy:
Maureen Stiller Hon. Sec of the Jane Austen Society has proposed to me that Darcy, the name, has been chosen precisely because, although she (Jane Austen) knew many people (you have only to read her letters, she tells me) she DID NOT know anyone with the surname Darcy. I cannot say that this is not an argument. But "I do not know anyone called Darcy so I will call the hero of my book Mr. Darcy." does seem an unlikely scenario. What a dull way to arrive at the name of the hero. I simply cannot believe that an author with the inventiveness of Jane Austen as clever and smart witted as Jane Austen chooses her hero's surname because she knew nobody with that surname. An absurd idea.
Whilst writing the March diary commentary for Wisden's Secret I came across the mention of someone the author Francis Emilius Cary Elwes knew, one Henry William Lindow. I have just looked his name up and there may be a connection between this man's father and Pride and Prejudice. I am not suggesting for one minute that he has provided any plot or character for Bingley as for Robert Cary Elwes, but he may with clever wordplay have provided the name Bingley and some of the "concrete " details about his life. Nor can I say whether there is any chance that she could have heard of him from any source, but that is not to say she could not have if she in fact knew Elwes.
In real life he lived at Lower Slaughter House, Lower Slaughter Gloucestershire. He would have been a little younger than Bingley (coincidence Bingley was also a little younger in reality than Darcy about 4 years in each case) but he does have things in common with Bingley.
He inherited at a young age, land and estates and presumably income and probably slaves. The land was in Lancaster, St Vincents and Grenada. He left Oxford at 17 and in July 1795 turned 18. The name Bingley can also be found by a word play. It is to be a fair a little tortuous. My daughter succinctly describes it as "a bit of a reach." Riddles often are though and riddles like anagrams are something else Jane Austen enjoyed.
The word play
A type of widow that rhymes with his name Bay to Bey
The use of the letter 'g' for Grenada
Mixing the first half of his name Lin
Stir them all up and the name Bingley appears
His name was Henry Lindow Lindow but he was born Henry Lindow Rawlinson and changed his name
in order to inherit.
As with Elwes I'm not aware of any other suggestions as to who or where or how the name Bingley could have evolved or been arrived at but this at least is something not conceived of to date.
Each day a little more appears. I can connect Robert Cary Elwes with Henry Lindow Lindow back to at least 1817 when he married Charlotte Elizabeth Barnard, the daughter of reverend Robert Cary Barnard and his wife Elizabeth nee Elwes Barnard. Robert Cary Elwes's name appears on the marriage settlement between them and its reasonable I think to assume Elwes and Lindow knew each other for a time at least before this marriage in 1817; the question is for how long. Charlotte was Robert Cary Elwes's niece.
*In 2022 I learnt that the Gosling Archives held accounts for Charles Drake Barnard and Edward Austen ( More about Edward in good time) In May 2022 I looked at these accounts. Here I struck gold. I may not be able to trace Lindow to RCE beyond 1817 but I can trace someone by the name of Lindow and likely the man I am trying to trace back to the best friend tutor etc to RCE Charles Drake Barnard. I have found there are 2 records of payments to "Lindow" in these accounts. One for 15th November 1805 and a second for 17th January 1806. The surname Lindow is a very uncommon surname nowadays and no doubt was uncommon 200 years ago. When did Barnard and Lindow first meet. Who knows days, weeks, months, maybe years but certainly prior to November 1805. Barnard was very close to RCE and it is probable also that RCE knew of if not knew Lindow.
A further coincidence: Robert Cary Elwes's father's name was Cary Charles Elwes. Henry Lindow Lindow's father was brother-in-law to William Lindow and it was William Lindow's estates that Henry Lindow Lindow inherited. Can the use of names (Fitz)william Darcy and Charles Bingley be just a simple coincidence. Not sure about that one.
Just guesswork of course but there are mysteries to be solved.
How much were Robert Cary Elwes and Mr. Darcy worth in today's money. This is supposedly quite difficult to work out. The Telegraph helps out in an article entitled "could Mr. Darcy afford a stately home today" In the article they produce a table based upon values in 1810 close to the time when Jane Austen produced her novels in which they suggest that £10,000 a year has a real value today of £619,100 numerically approx. 60 -70 times as much but has a prestige value of £8,877,000 numerically 800-900 times as much.
For a couple of reasons I'm not sure about the credibility of the first figure of 60-70 times today’s value. In 1861, 70 years later Robert Cary Elwes's Elwes's son purchased Number 39 Queens Gate Terrace Kensington a five storey mansion for somewhere between £6 and £8,000. This house if unconverted would now sell for well in excess of (let's not exaggerate)
£6 - 9 million; a figure closer to 1,000 times the original cost. 100 years or so after Jane Austen was writing her novels mainly in the early 19th century, Robert Tressell wrote "The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists" A fictional tale of working class life as a painter and decorator by a painter and decorator and therefore much of it surely factually based.
Wages for a skilled man such as the main character Owen were 6 pence an hour or 7 pence for special work of the sort that Owen was capable of producing. A pound a week give or take a few shillings. Labourers earned substantially less. At the "real value" above a painter and decorators wage would be £60 -70 a week which is clearly rubbish in today's world 2018 in the U.K. You cant get a days labour out of a skilled man for £70 a day never mind a full week. The "prestige value "at 8-900 times the values in 1810 gives a much better comparison with reality and is much nearer to what a skilled painter and decorator currently expects to earn today ie. £8-900 a week.
Either way though Robert Cary Elwes was without doubt, a very wealthy young man. Some of his banking records survive. They date from 1799. There must have been others prior to 1799 and there may well have been other bank accounts in 1799 that have not survived. According to the only account of his that I have found in 1799 he held a sum in cash close to £35,000. Add to this four estates, not just the land but all the property too and the likelihood of wealth elsewhere...
The Lincolnshire Archives Committee Archivists Report 20 gives quite some detail about the Elwes holdings in Lincolnshire in Roxby and Bigby. Not as large as Egton but not that small and built up over many years. I do not know the exact figure of either estate nor if they also included property but I would be surprised if they did not include property holdings also.
As a "real value" today according to the Telegraph figures then in cash he would be worth perhaps £2 million plus the four estates etc. In terms of "prestige value" perhaps a sum held in cash in excess of £25 million plus 4 estates etc.
At today's valuations of his land and property holdings his wealth would far exceed that. Land in Yorkshire today retails at a minimum 5000 pounds plus per acre and Robert Cary Elwes owned 12500 acres and in addition most of the property in the 2 nearby villages. Do the maths.
With such extensive land and property holdings and by the time income from his estates is included he surely could have been close to being the single young man in possession of £10, 000 a year, and therefore in need of a wife.
*A Process of Elimination.
I have included this section because someone pointed out to me that there must have been many people in 1795 who had the necessary attributes and income to be Mr. Darcy. But is that so. I think by a process of elimination one could come close to identifying him. Mr Darcy belonged to the landed gentry class, a group of people who comprised perhaps one and a half per cent of the population in 1795. The 1801 census indicates that the population of England was about 5 million people .
Some fag packet calculations:
So Landed gentry equals one and a half percent of five million which is about 75,000 people; so to keep the sums easy call it 100,000. Minus 5o% because they are women = 50,000 left. Minus 90% of the remaining males because they are
a) too young
b) too old
c) they are already married/betrothed = 5,000 left
Minus 80% of those who unlike Darcy are not clever = 1000 left
Minus another say 60% of those who were not only sons as Darcy was = 400 left
Minus those who were plain Mr. rather than Lord Duke etc say another 50% = 200 left
Minus those who whilst wealthy did not possess a sizeable estate say another 75 % = 50 left
Minus those who did not have it in their power to bestow a church living say another 20 % = 40 left
Minus those who only had one other sibling a sister worth 30,000 pounds
Minus those who did not have anywhere near £10,000 a year
Minus those who cannot be shown to have one degree or closer connections to Jane Austen
Minus those whose names have no obvious relationship to the name Darcy = A number close to one.
One possible candidate for the identity of Mr. Darcy. Can anyone name better? Perhaps there are other young men whom in 1795 the above could also be applied to but there cannot possibly be many.
More could have been added to the above to make the argument more compelling Knowledge about Chatsworth and the Cavendish family, (see below ) Hertford and or Ware. As I was t o find out later and will explain later, there was yet more besides.
Mr. Darcy has characteristics that fit the above process. So does Robert Cary Elwes. But who else does?
* * In late February / early March 2021 and following contact with a member of the family I thought a little more as to whether there were others ways in which the possibility of connection between Darcy and Elwes could have been established. The initial criteria I have employed to establish a connection is to assume that when Jane Austen gives detail about Darcy the man she is speaking about is a real life individual.
On that basis there are at least 2 further ways which when combined with the above pin down Robert Cary Elwes as the man.
Firstly: We learn that Darcy has a substantial estate (Pemberley) somewhere up north. Drawing a horizontal line above say South Birmingham if the owner of every substantial 18th century landed estate was examined we would find very few candidates who could fit the bill. How many of these substantial landowners are a) the right age 20 - 30, b) plain Misters, c) have only a single sister, no brother and that worth 30,ooo pounds. Not very many I beg to suggest but one who does is Robert Cary Elwes.
*Qualities shared by both Darcy and Elwes are found later.
Secondly: We learn from Wickham that Darcy is intelligent. Where do intelligent sons of the wealthy receive their education? Eton Harrow privately and the university along with many sons of the wealthy who were not intelligent they receive their education in their late teens and early twenties at university. If there were a real life individual based upon Darcy would he be any different. Highly unlikely I think. In which case which university would he have attended
Before the beginning of the 19th century there were only 2 universities that he could have attended Oxford and Cambridge. Both these universities have full records of their former alumni. Late 18th century university numbers are far below today's numbers but of course there is still a lot of names to look; certainly a few thousand. a search for a needle in a haystack? Perhaps But if you do not search the haystack you cannot find the needle. So given that Jane Austen began writing P and P in 1795 Darcy one reasonably and realistically would think could not be older than 30 nor younger than 20. A systematic search could reject many because they were not wealthy enough, they already had a title by 1795, they were not the owner of a substantial estate/s, they had many other siblings not just one sister. As one systematically runs through the list of alumni one comes to the name Robert Cary Elwes and his entry in the Cambridge Alumni demands an immediate and closer look. I hope to be able to show a screenshot of his entry in this database which can be found by googling "database Cambridge Alumni" and searching for his entry. Pre- internet days of course this entry would have taken some effort to find whereas today a quick search using google and then a search of the database and a few minutes later up comes all the information.
But until such time as I can show the screenshot below are some details which the well informed student of Jane Austen, her works, life and times and who thinks there may indeed have been a real man who provided the inspiration at least and quite probably the actuality for Mr. Darcy would surely have seized upon as information that demanded thorough checking! How could you not? Hindsight is such a wonderful thing.
Pemberley / Chatsworth
It is thought by many that Pemberley House in Pride and Prejudice is based upon Chatsworth House and that Jane Austen's description of this place must have come from a visit to Bakewell made in 1811, although there is no evidence that she went to Chatsworth. It has also been suggested to me that she knew about Chatsworth through either books or publications (plural) of the period. The, let’s call her an authoritative individual, who informed me of this offered no evidence of whatsoever these books or publications (plural or singular ) may have been. For the record lets just say that there are very very few that could have been consulted. This is another example of conjecture unquestioned for so long that it is now related as truth or certainly related to me as truth that needs to be reviewed.
Might there be another way that she knew of Chatsworth House in the way for example that she appears to know a great deal about Hertfordshire despite never having been there. I have recently read the description of Elizabeth's tour around Pemberley. It certainly reads like a real description from life. How was she able to do this if she never went there?
I think there is a way and it comes courtesy of Robert Cary Elwes if she met him. The Elwes family (Robert Cary Elwes) seem to have been associated with Billing Hall from sometime in 1795 renting before purchasing it in 1799. It had formerly been the property of Lord John Cavendish who died in 1796. Lord John Cavendish was the youngest son of the 4th Duke of Devonshire and brother of the 5th. Negotiations for the sale and purchase of Billing Hall one would imagine took place over a reasonable period of time. Before paying for somewhere like Billing Hall some sort of inventory must have taken place and a price arrived at and agreed upon. Although not owning the hall until 1799 these associations between Elwes and the Cavendish family would appear to have commenced as early if not earlier for other reasons by the renting of Great Billing Hall at sometime in 1795.
In that period of time before being bought by Elwes is it not possible that Elwes may have visited perhaps even known well the owner of Chatsworth House, given that Lord John Cavendish the previous owner of Billing Hall was the youngest son of the fourth Duke of Devonshire a former owner of Chatsworth House and younger brother of the fifth Duke of Devonshire the current owner in 1795.
The Great Billing Hall estate was bought by Elwes in 1799 for about £40,000. I have no problem with the possibility of Rober Cary Elwes knowing about Chatsworth and being given a guided tour and therefore being able to talk about Chatsworth knowledgeably.
Colonel Fitzwilliam and the _____ Militia
The ____ Militia who were posted to Hertfordshire in Pride and Prejudice are thought to be the Derbyshire Militia. I thought it worth a look to see if Colonel Fitzwilliam the man in charge of the _____ Militia in Pride and Prejudice could be identified with a real man and if that man might have links with Colonel Fitzwilliam and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.
In Pride and Prejudice in brief we learn that Colonel Fitzwilliam was a Colonel the youngest son of an earl, and of good family.
In 1795 In charge of one regiment of the Derbyshire Miltia was Colonel George Augustus Henry Cavendish and he was born in 1754. He was a Colonel from 1783 until 1811. The name Cavendish is of immediate interest because as already explained Robert Cary Elwes bought Billing Hall and rented initially from the Cavendish family of whom the Duke of Devonshire and owner of Chatsworth House was the best known. George Augustus Henry Cavendish was a younger son ( Colonel Fitzwilliam was the youngest son ) His father's name was William Cavendish the 4th Duke of Devonshire and owner of Chatsworth House.
Interestingly enough the prefix for the name Fitzwilliam Fitz means son of hence in this case, son of William. Coincidence? Although George Cavendish was not the son of an earl as Fitzwilliam was, he was the son of a duke and being the son of a duke is pretty similar in social standing but for those interested in such nuances it is of higher rank. No matter what, as a man he would have been considered as being from a good family.
A point to consider: The Derbyshire Militia were based for a while in Hertfordshire. Elwes's estate seems to have been right in the middle or very close to where the Derbyshire Militia were camped. Where would Colonel Geoge Henry Augustus Cavendish have slept at night. In a tent? I am sure Robert Cary Elwes must have been aware of the nearby presence of the Derby Militia. If George Augustus Henry Cavendish spent time a few short miles away at Throcking home of Robert Cary Elwes it would be no surprise to me and via Robert Cary Elwes provides a way in which Jane Austen may have learnt not only about Hertfordshire, the Derbyshire Militia, and Chatsworth but also about the real life Colonel Fitzwilliam!!!
Winchester Races at Worthy Down
Two further possibilities as to why Robert Cary Elwes may have been anywhere near Jane Austen in 1795/6 besides visiting his relatives in Winchester have emerged.
Firstly Elwes was to become a race horse breeder who purchased Great Billing Hall from the Duke of Devonshire's brother's estate; an estate with its own private race course. Elwes purchased this estate in 1799 having been associated with it since 1795.
At Worthy Down near Winchester horse racing was held. Horse racing here was a major social event at the end of the 18th century to which the great and the good would attend from far away so it is not impossible that a man with all the time and money he needed in which to do as he pleased, and with an interest in horse racing should be there. Besides which he had strong family connections living within Winchester itself who if he did not already know about Worthy Down could have told him and would have provided a further good reason to visit.
* A newspaper article from 1794 gives a brief account of the social side of the occasion with the following quoted text
" The company was numerous and splendid - On Tuesday evening there was a concert at St. John's House. The theatre was opened as usual and was brilliantly attended on Wednesday evening, when the performances were by the desire of W. Chute Esq. the steward of the races - The stewards ball and supper on Thursday evening at St. John's House, were attended by all the beauty and fashion in this city and neighbourhood"
*Special thanks for the above newspaper report to John Slusar owner of the Greyhoundderby website who made me aware of the existence of this report through his interest in horse racing and among other things horse racing courses, including the one at Worthy Down Winchester *
Point No. 1
St. John's House Winchester is a grade II listed building with an 18th century first floor Regency Assembly Room.
The Chute family were undoubtedly known to the Austen family through James Austen who was the vicar of Sherbonne St.John just outside of which the Chutes lived in a magnificent country house known as the Vyne.
Point No. 3
Although there is no account of the entertainment associated with the Winchester races in the years 1795/6/7 its highly probable that there were very similar entertainments in these years, and that there was a stewards ball, whether the steward was W. Chute is not at this moment known but I can find no reason so far for him not to have been the steward of the races in 1795/6/7 at Worthy Down Winchester.
Point No. 4
If W. Chute Esq. were still the steward at the Worthy Down races 1795/6/7 and at the time of writing it appears he was and no reason why not ; and given that the Austen family and the Chute family who must have known each other fairly well through at least James Austen, Jane's brother and because W. Chute owned "The Vyne" in Sherbonne St. John and James Austen was the vicar of Sherbonne St. John courtesy of W. Chute. Would it be a surprise if Jane Austen and her family were invited guests at the stewards ball in 1795/6/7. Close Friends and acquaintances of the steward would be likely to be invited. Young attractive ladies are always needed at such events and I would be more surprised if she did not get an invite than if she did, and if so could this be the ball that provides the basis for the ball at Meryton were Elizabeth first encountered Darcy and Jane Austen writing that everyone agreed that he (Darcy) "was the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world and everybody there hoped he would never come there again" The dating of the ball at Meryton it needs to be noted is not the same because the ball at St. John's House takes place in July whereas the ball at Meryton takes place Octoberish.
Maureen Stiller Hon. Sec of the JAS. has informed me that Jane Austen rarely went to Winchester, Balls or otherwise but if there were one good reason for Jane Austen being in Winchester and moreover at a ball in Winchester then the stewards ball organised by W. Chute after the racing at Worthy Down is it. Isn't it?
Similarly if Robert Cary Elwes did travel to Worthy Down for the racing and there were a ball in Winchester to be attended by Robert Cary Elwes then the stewards ball after the racing at Worthy Down is likely and thus the 2 could have met. Could they not?
Yes its conjecture. But its plausible conjecture with some structural factual support that provides answers as to how come and where Jane Austen could have met the man who might be the man with definite similarities and commonalities with Darcy of Pride and Prejudice. It explains how a man nobody had seen before or knew of, could have appeared from nowhere so to speak in a manner not dissimilar to the appearance of Darcy a man nobody had seen before.
Added July 30th 2018
A further reason for Robert Cary Elwes to be in Winchester besides horse racing and relatives relates to the death of his father and a Doctor John Berkenhout of Winchester. Whether or not the Austen family knew of him or not I do not know although in his day he would have been a well known figure. A clever knowledgeable man and published author see Oxford DNB entry. But Robert Cary Elwes certainly knew of him.
Held in Northampton archives is an executors account book by one Francis Grojan and Charles Cary Barnard (the same relative of the Barnards previously mentioned) who was the trustee for the will of Cary Elwes, Robert Cary Elwes's father. It details the income and expenses for the estate of Cary Elwes until Robert Cary Elwes reached the age of 21.
There is an expense of 200 pounds for 17 days (the last 17 days in the life of Cary Elwes ) of medical care payable to John Berkenhout of Winchester. Berkennhout would therefore in all probability have been the last or one of the last people to have seen Robert Cary Elwes's father alive.
John Berkenhout's Wikipedia entry shows him as dying in 1791 so if Elwes did try to visit him it would have been in vain.
Horse Racing Newmarket Mansfield Park
I had suggested that the B____ races could be Banbury. John Slusar of the greyhoundderby website has told me that there was no horse racing at Banbury between 1809 and 1813, therefore B_____ races is unlikely to be Banbury. For the same reason this includes nearby Brackley also. There was horse racing at Bedford during this period.
However he did inform me of an interesting fact with regard to Robert Cary Elwes and horse racing at Newmarket. Newmarket was the race course that Tom Bertram had his accident and thus a race course that Jane Austen knew something of at least in order to include it in Mansfield Park. In 1812 Robert Cary Elwes raced and won with a horse by the name of Master George at Newmarket. The Racing Calendar for 1815 lists the previous winners of races in 1812. The entry reads Master George, Mr. Elwes's 225 gns and 50 gns at Newmarket
In the Sporting Intelligence section of the London Chronicle for 1812 is an article about the third October meeting at Newmarket in 1812 on Wednesday 28 October It reads " Mr. Elwes's c. Master George 8st. 7lb. beat Lord Lowther's brother to Buttercup 8st 4lb. A. F. 50 gs. five - 4 on Master George.
Jane Austen wrote the book Mansfield Park between the years of 1812 and 1814 at Chawton Cottage.
In early 2021 I realised there was another possibility for B______ Races that had been staring me in the face. Elwes's estate at Great Billing had its own private racecourse and thus B______ could easily stand for Billing
Could Throcking be the Original siting of Longbourn. Was there a real Oakham Mount and did this place provide the inspirational source for the naming of Netherfield Park?
There is one major argument for saying that Throcking is not the original location for "Longbourn" and that is its distance from Hertford or Ware (Meryton) Throcking is 15 miles away from Hertford and 12 and a half from Ware, whereas Longbourn is only a mile away from Meryton. However just as Jane Austen disguised place names might she not also have disguised location. Its worth noting that despite Jane Austen's precision location of one mile from Meryton nobody has found or been able to name it for certain.
Aside from the fact that Robert Cary Elwes grew up and lived in Throcking there at least 2 good arguments for suggesting that Throcking maybe the original Longbourn.
The first argument is that Throcking is 7/8 miles away from Baldock. Baldock was a small town that was an important staging post along the Great North Road in the late 18th century. This is an important point because on hearing of Lydia and Wickham's elopement, ostensibly to Scotland, via London, they would have travelled along the Great North Road. A character, based in Longbourn laments that "they must have passed within 10 miles of us"
The second argument is in relation to Oakham Mount. Mrs. Bennet advises Mr. Darcy, Lizzy and Kitty "to walk to Oakham Mount this morning. It’s a nice long walk and Mr. Darcy has never seen the view"
There is a small village close to Throcking with superb views, apparently all the way to Ely on a clear day,a distance of about 20 miles. Clicking google images brings some of these views these up. In 1936 it provided a trig. point for the ordnance Survey. To reach this point from Throcking would have been a good long walk. The distance there and back is about 14 miles. Besides being a possible location for Oakham Mount it may also have provided the inspirational source for the name Netherfield Park. According to a Cary map of 1787 it appears to be slightly North East of Throcking. Therfield is the name of this place and if one adds NE the abbreviation for North East to Therfield the name Netherfield results.
There are however 2 further possibilities that could be "Longbourn." Both can be connected to Elwes. The first is the village of Great Amwell. It is a small village about a mile outside Ware just as Longbourn is a small village about a mile from Meryton. It is in respect of the church at Great Amwell that Elwes held the church living. This church living that was gifted to Thomas Barnard a brother of the "Winchester Cathedral" Barnard brothers. Aside from this there is at least one further interesting connection to Amwell and Longbourn.
This can be found if one dissects the name Longbourn. Long obviously meaning long and bourn. The word bourn means a small stream. Could Longbourn mean A Long small stream. Possibly if one is referring to Great Amwell. For Great Amwell has one major claim to fame. It is the source of what is now known as the New River. This is an artificial waterway created in the 17th century by Sir Hugh Muddleton. Its purpose was to take fresh water from the River Lea and Chadwell and Amwell Springs. This is a distance of 28 miles. Quite a distance for a small "stream"
The second further possibility is that Longbourn is simply a composite of Amwell and Throcking to create a third place albeit of course a non existent place .
Tom Lefroy and "our Irish friend"
At some point I had a little look at Tom Lefroy and the possibility of a romance between him and JA. In a letter to her sister Cassandra JA says that she expects to receive an offer from "our Irish friend." Based upon the fact mainly that Tom Lefroy was Irish and knew JA much has been written and inferred about the possibility of some kind of romance between the two of them. Tom himself has little to say, certainly not going as far as to admitting to such a fact as proposing and being turned down.
Is it possible though that "our Irish friend " could refer to someone else known to both JA and her sister but not necessarily anyone else by the term "our Irish Friend" . The use of the word "our" suggests at least the possibility of something personal to just JA and her sister. Tom Lefroy and his Irishness was known to all in the area and not just JA and her sister.
So I have pondered whether JA could be referring in a coded way to someone else, for example Robert Cary Elwes. For there to be any chance of it to be him or anyone else for that matter some strong Irish connection/s would need to be demonstrated. If none were to be found it might not totally invalidate the case I am making for RCE to be the original for Mr. Darcy but it does no favours to the cause.
But what if there were connections, slim connections for example, or better still significant and substantial connections
If none can be demonstrated or found then quite possibly JA is referring to someone else, but as I say what about if RCE does have strong Irish connections?...
So let me explain as briefly as I can .
This research piece about Jane Austen came into being following a lot of earlier research into a 250 page part illustrated manuscript* I bought 4 years ago that was written in 1863 by Robert Cary Elwes's youngest son Francis Emilius Cary Elwes.
I say manuscript. In fact it is 3 perhaps 4 manuscripts in one.
Firstly : A day to day diary from January 1863 to September 1863. It is a brief record of his daily doings, who he meets, where he goes, what he does etc. Of principal interest initially for me were diary entries detailing several meetings with a man by the name of John Wisden always referred to in the diary as Wisden.
John Wisden today is probably the most famous sportsman in the world from the Victorian era. He was a cricketer, a very good one too but his fame rests not upon his deeds on the cricket field good as they undeniably were, but upon a publication known as Wisden's Almanack; initially known for its first few years as The Sportsman's Handbook, first published in 1864 and published yearly ever since. Over the years it has massively expanded from the 112 pages of the 1st edition particularly with the addition of cricket match reports and statistical information. It is now a record of anything to do with first class cricket and to a lesser extent schools cricket. (that is to say top public Schools cricket ie Eton, Harrow etc) It has been known colloquially as "The Cricketers Bible" since the 1930's after a phrase coined by author Alec Waugh.
Secondly: A charmingly illustrated and very well written small game (partridges, pheasants, rabbits etc) shooting diary for the season November 1862 - January 1863 that took place mainly on the Egton Estate in Yorkshire, one of Robert Cary Elwes 's estates and inherited by his eldest son, but also on a few estates further South in Suffolk that were also owned by members of the Elwes family. In my opinion it is quite an important document of social historical interest in its own right. There are, I am sure many well written shooting accounts, and some maybe even better illustrated but few if any contain the detailed statistical minutae that this one includes. It is I think superlative....
Thirdly There is a large collection of sporting reports for the spring and summer for the year 1863. There are reports for Rowing, Rackets, Horse Racing, Boxing and most importantly for those who know cricket, Cricket. A few comparisons with the cricket reports in the newspapers of the day show that these cricket reports have not been simply copied but compiled in such a way that leaves little room for doubt to those familiar with Wisden cricket reports that Wisden and or his editor textually and stylistically copied these very reports when they introduced match reports from the late 1860's. Indeed it was whilst trying to get to grips with what I had bought that after reading a few reports and knowing Wisden reports from Wisdens that I had owned that I thought to myself "These are Wisden reports." the only problem being that whomever they were by they most certainly were not by Wisden.
Fourthly: A significant number of missing pages scattered throughout the text that in no way impact upon the other 3. The general neatness of writing, the calligraphy used and the lack of mistakes throughout except nearer the end when the author was becoming more seriously ill with what 4 years later would kill him syphilis (his medical records from Ticehurst Asylum for the last few years of his life also survive as well as his banking records from Goslings ), leads me to conclude that there was almost certainly a fourth text.
Renowned all over the cricketing world as Wisden's Almanack now is the 1 st edition of 1864 is a very odd, even bizarre publication. For sporting material what cricket there is very poor in content and mixed in with the cricket there is a list of the winners of the Epsom Derby, the St. Ledger and the Oaks horse races and a table showing the winners of the University Rowing Matches (Oxford v Cambridge) as well, but there is also all sorts of other stuff the inclusion of which is quite baffling. There is a list of the major societies in the U.K. a list of the lengths of the canals of Britain, a list of the dates of the Crusades, and the War of the Roses random factoids and ending with an account from an obvious royalist of the trial and execution of King Charles the 1st and then there is Almanack section itself with its strange, even baffling inclusions.
A 1st edition of Wisden 1864 is a rare and valuable item selling for about 15,000 pounds give or take a few thousand for condition and sometimes previous ownership. But among those who know the 1st edition and until fairly recently I did not there had been considerable speculation as to whether it was in fact all Wisden's own work. But until recently nothing to show that it was not all Wisden's own work.
I contacted a Wisden expert by the name of Stephen Baldwin who was independently contacted by the publisher's of Wisden to have a look at this manuscript and give an opinion. In his report, a copy of which I have he said that it was undoubtedly in part at least the "original source manuscript". After more research, I was able to provide 2 absolute proofs of copying to the criminal law requirements of "beyond reasonable doubt" and much more supporting evidence of copying by Wisden.
I spent a lot of time and did a lot of research into this man's family and background as I tried to unravel the mystery this manuscript presented. I knew that some of the entries in the Almanack for sure related to the author and his life because there were references repeated in the manuscript and I therefore suspected that the reason for the inclusion of so much odd stuff related in some way to this man his life, family, and friends and this manuscript.
It was this research that brought me to the knowledge that the author's father had inherited hugely as a young child and in a moment of idle speculation that he might be the original Young, single man, possessed of 10, 000 a year ie. Mr.Darcy.
I looked into his ancestors, hunting for anything conceivably related to the Almanack . Beginning with the surname Elwes. Its how I learned that for example that considerable wealth had accompanied the Elwes family for 200 years or more or that the gift of the living in Great Amwell near Ware had been in their power for 200 years and they had long been associated with the estate at Throcking a few miles outside Ware.
I learnt about RCE's grandmother. A lady descended the Cary family and hence his middle name Cary. The Cary family could trace its exotic aristocratic roots several centuries further back and the name Cary is mentioned in the Domesday book as a settlement by the name Cary in Somerset. The name seems to first appear in records with a Alice de Cary married to a Lord Henry Lovel and a son born in 1169 and known as Adam De Karri and Adam of Devonshire. Going back that far with such pedigree there could easily have been ancestral knights who fought in the Crusades. More recently at the Battle of Tewkesbury during the War of the Roses Sir William Cary of Clovelly and Cockington was one of those who sought sanctuary in Tewksbury Cathedral and was beheaded in the massacre after the Battle of Tewkesbury.
More pertinent to the argument that RCE has irish connections are the branches of the Cary family. Going back several centuries there appear to be 4. Somerset and around Bristol, Clovelly in North Devon and Cockington in South Devon and finally.... Ireland.
The first association with Ireland begins in the late 14th century with Sir John Cary who was banished and died in exile at Waterford 1395
The Wikipedia entry for the Cary's in Ireland is below
Georg Cary (1589-1640), a grandson of Robert Cary (died 1586), was one of the first aldermen of the city of Derry in 1613 and was appointed, in the same year, Recorder of Derry. He was Member of Parliament for County Londonderry in the Parliament of Ireland from 1615-1640. He married Jane Beresford, sister of Sir Tristram Beresford, 1st Baronet, in 1615, with whom he had many children. His daughter, Elizabeth, married George Hart, a son of Captain Henry Hart, with whom she was the progenitor of the Hart family of Kilderry House, Glenalla House and Carrablagh House in Donegal.
The Cary family remained landlords in Inishowen until losing their property after the passage of the Irish Land Act in 1882. The Anglo-Irish writer Joyce Cary was a descendant of this branch of the Cary family.
A google search can, for those interested, show much more about the Cary family in Ireland including part of a text of work entitled "The Cary Family of Innishowen " by Lionel Stevenson a cousin of the Anglo-Irish author Joyce Cary. For a little more background information about the history of the Cary family its a useful guide.
And thus does Robert Cary Elwes have strong Irish connections. From the 21st century these connections are a long way back but in the 18th century and in the days of limited travel I think it likely that a man with as few very close relatives as RCE had would have known about his Irish roots that he had via his grandmother. Later events in the family also indicate the probability of these connections being maintained. One of his sons Richard married a woman by the name Selina Jephson of Limerick whilst one of his granddaughters Eleanora Caroline married Charles Fitzgerald from Kilkee, County Clare, Ireland, a one time Governor Of Western Australia.
The name Darcy as explained earlier is easily made from Cary simply by adding a D and rearranging the letters. But as an addenda, Darcy is also a fairly common Irish name. So why could Elwes not be the unknown "our Irish friend"
A little more that connects Darcy to Robert Cary Elwes
I have reread again Pride and Prejudice looking for clues and connections that I may have missed. Another one that I have missed is the one where Caroline Bingley is invited by Darcy to make further suggestions for Darcy's domestic felicity. She replies to his question "Oh,yes. Do let the portraits of your uncle and aunt Philips be placed in the gallery at Pemberley. Put them next to your great uncle the judge. They are in the same profession only different lines."
In Pride and Prejudice Uncle Philips was an attorney and in the same profession as a great uncle of Robert Cary Elwes for Robert Cary Elwes had a great uncle who was a magistrate of some fame. This particular relative inherited not one but two fortunes at a young age and was one of the wealthiest men in England. He was considered to be the finest horseman in Europe. Part of his life was spent as a magistrate of some repute, locally at least, to whose judgement people with disputes would come from far and wide to settle. This led to him becoming an M.P. during which time he joined no party and voted as his conscience directed. He was reputed to be impossible to bribe. There is a biography of him by Edward Topham, which went through many printings in 1790. It was entitled The Life of Mr. Elwes the celebrated miser. (its probable that he provided the inspiration for Scrooge) There is a frontispiece illustration to this book of John Elwes of which if one googles "John Elwes miser" an example can be seen.
I can trace few mementoes of Robert Cary Elwes's existence. No letters, no anecdotes, no journals, nothing. He or others appear to have either destroyed all correspondence between others and himself, or there was none; and for a man in his position there must have been some. It’s almost but not quite as if he did not exist. Northampton Archives hold a considerable amount of Elwes family material and it is almost devoid of anything to do with him. But he has left some written evidence. An executors account signedby himsel;f and Charles Drake Barnard. More is to be found in his banking records with the bankers Goslings currently held by Barclay Archives Group. At the end of each year he signs off the account record for that year. (see illustrations below) At some time in the future I hope to be able to have his handwriting analysed to see if it can be shown to corroborate any aspects of Elwes's character with what we are told about Darcy.
Some things about his handwriting are easy to discern. For example, Elwes in common with Darcy does not write at great speed. He has I would suggest like Darcy even handwriting. His signature with the enlarged R and C and especially the 2 full stops after each capital I am sure will reveal further commonalities, but no further comment from me for now. At sometime? in 2019/2020 I hope to have his handwriting analysed.
A little More About Gracechurch Street
How did Jane Austen know enough about the real life existence of Gracechurch Street, a street in the business district of London to include it in Pride and Prejudice. Enough to describe something of its character and flavour. She never went there. A quick Google search gives no indication or explanation of how she knew of the existence of this specific street. Of course, a quick answer is someone she knew, family, friends, etc. from here there and everywhere. In which case where is the evidence that any of these likely people knew anything about Gracechurch Street. It was just the sort of street where successful and prosperous business people like the Gardiners might well live above the shop down below. But how did Jane Austen know anything Gracechurch Street and its location. What possessed her to write about and include Gracechurch Street. Where did the information about its exact distance from Longbourn come from. I think these are reasonable questions to ask and to date so far as I can ascertain there is no answer via Google at least or anywhere else.
However, if she knew of Robert Cary Elwes then there is maybe an answer for he definitely did know of Gracechurch Street and can be shown to have had business dealings of some sort in Gracechurch Street in the years of 1792 and 1793. In the executor accounts produced by the executors of his father's will are 8 payments in the years 1792 and 1793 made on his behalf to Spinks and Co. 2 payments in 1792 are for 300 pounds each and the other for 100 pounds and in 1793 there are 3 payments for 200 pounds each, 1 payment for 100 pounds and a further payment of 50 pounds. Considerable sums in 1792/3.
Some of these payments were made in winter December and January. A time of year when London may have been at its filthiest. No sewage system in London in those days to take human waste away and then there would be smoke and ash from the fires, horse shit in the roads and who knows what else can be imagined when one understands that almost directly opposite was the entrance to one of London's oldest and most famous markets Leadenhall Market. It is a market dates all the way back to the early 14th century and stood in what was originally the centre of Roman London. By 1600 it was the most important market in London for all manner of items but especially for provisions. 150 plus years later I do not suppose it to have been much less important and bustling a place not to mention filthy. The market specialised in skins and hide but no doubt much else was available. It has changed a lot since 1790 and nowadays would be almost unrecognisable just as is Nos 1 and 2 Gracechurch Street. The original Nos 1 and 2 were rebuilt in 1879. Thomas Rowlandson produced a coloured aquatint view of Leadenhall Market in 1809
Spinks and Co refers to the still existing and much respected coin dealers and auctioneers Spinks and Co. Begun in 1668 after the Great Fire of London they relocated in 1772 to No. 1 and 2 Gracechurch Street. In 1772 they were coin and jewellery dealers. I strongly suspect that Spinks and Co do not possess archives going back to the 1790's but they have been contacted just in case and I await an answer.
But Elwes did not just visit Gracechurch Street as the executor accounts show. He also spent a large sum of money at the very fine establishment of Rundell and Bridge, jewellers and goldsmiths in nearby Ludgate Hill.
Robert Cary Elwes undoubtedly knew of Gracechurch Street and presumably how to get there from his estate in Hertfordshire near Ware. It’s not unreasonable to believe that he knew how far it was. But how did Jane Austen know of a place close to Ware such a precise distance away. What and from where did she know enough about Gracechurch Street to write "Mr. Darcy may perhaps have heard of Gracechurch Street but he would hardly think a months ablution enough to cleanse him from its impurities" Although an exaggeration, to a countryman like Elwes reared on his array of extensive rural estates a day in Gracechurch Street may well have left him with the feeling for the need of ablutions. All that dirt. horse shit, human waste, smoke and ash from fires in winter and more would be found in such a busy commercial street. If she knew Elwes then the question as to where Jane Austen acquired any knowledge of Gracechurch Street, along with, please note, a multitude of other mysteries, unsatisfactorily answered if at all by conjecture, theory, supposition and plain guesswork has with one easy solution a more plausible source for its answer. Mr. Robert Cary Elwes Esq.
One further coincidence needs to be added. This is the first letter written by Edward Gardiner from Gracechurch Street. It is dated Monday [second day of the week ] 2 Aug. With 30 other days to choose from why choose Monday the 2 of August. The coincidence if there is one is that the address of Spinks in Gracechurch Street at this time was Number 2.
Longbourn "Hertfordshire" to Gracechurch Street London 24 miles
In chapter 27 of Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen informs us that Gracechurch Street in London is exactly 24 miles from the village of Longbourn itself a mile outside the town of Meryton.
The village of Amwell is one mile to the south of Ware.
If Amwell is the original location of Longbourn then it would need to be 24 miles from London.
Suppose that Amwell and Ware are the real locations for Longbourn and Meryton. In order to disguise its exact location might Jane Austen have situated Longbourn one mile the other side of Meryton. If this were the case then the distance to Gracechurch Street from Longbourn would be 24 miles.
To the left is a photograph of a old milestone just outside the town of Ware. It clearly pertains to the parish of Amwell. A traveller heading north would see that the town of Ware was a mile away and had she / he come from London had travelled 20 miles and vice versa.
The illustration to the left is of a rare hand coloured map of the area 15 miles around London entitled The Pedestrians Companion pub. 1822 by M. J. Godwin approx 600mm by 580mm
The illustration below to the middle left shows the town of Enfield. Enfield is a town on the main route to Ware in 1822. This was the main road to Ware and went back centuries.
The illustration to the middle right shows the distance among other places in Middlesex to Enfield from London.
The illustration at the bottom of the page shows part of (The list of Places from which the Principal roads are Measured. Roads to Enfield and thence to Ware are measured from Hicks Hall.
Milestones like the one illustrated above, along the way are also measured from their respective starting positions in London in this case Hicks Hall and in the above illustration of the milestone at Amwell
The reason for Gracechurch Street being 24 miles away is explained thus the distance of milestones along the route from London to Ware was calculated from the starting point of Hicks's Hall in St John 's Street Clerkenwell.
Hicks's Hall according to a hand coloured map I have entitled The Pedestrian's Companion 15 miles round London published by M.J. Godwin 1822 states that the road to Enfield and thus to Ware is measured from Hicks's Hall. Hicks's Hall no longer exists and has not existed for well over 200 years but road measurements were traditionally taken from where the front of the building originally stood. If one was travelling from one mile north of Ware to London that would make a distance of 22 miles. (See illustrations below)
The distance from Hick's Hall to Gracechurch Street was 1. 8 miles. Add the 2 distances together and the distance of 24 miles from Gracechurch Street London to "Longbourn" (Amwell) one mile north of "Meryton" (Ware) is arrived at.
It has been suggested by Maureen Stiller Hon. Sec. of the Jane Austen Society to me that the occasions when Jane Austen travelled to Winchester were few and far between and by inference meetings may have been unlikely. I have to say that I was a little bothered as to how often they may have met etc. She informed me that Jane Austen's brother Edward had inherited large estates. Among these estates was Steventon Manor. They were owned by Thomas Knight who died in 1794. These estates by the terms of the will were to come to Edward Austen once Thomas Knight's wife died but by agreement were passed to him in 1798 under a very beneficial agreement to Catherine Knight. But between 1794 when Thomas Knight died and 1798 when Edward took over the running of these estates what happened. Could there have been attempts made to sell or rent them.?
In 1795 it would seem that Robert Cary Elwes began renting the estate of Great Billing from Lord John Cavendish, the Duke of Devonshire's brother and which he eventually purchased in 1799. Clearly Elwes was in the market for an estate. He undoubtedly had access at least to the cash. But he was not, I think in the market for just any estate. It had to fulfill certain requirements and needs that Elwes's main hobby for the rest of his life demanded. It also in all probability had to meet with Elwes's self image and perceived status as a rich landed aristocrat also demanded. Lord John Cavendish, the owner of the Great billing estate may have been happy renting but did not wish to sell. Further impediments to Elwes buying this estate developed when the good Lord died in 1796 and there was an obvious delay in time for this estate to pass from one owner to the next and then to Elwes. Great Billing in 1799 became his primary residence and was where he pursued his main interest in life. The breeding of racehorses. For which not just any estate will do.
The estate at Great Billing is beside the River Nene on what may have been a flood plain and thus would have provided good pasture. It was very close to Northampton racecourse and not to far away from the racecourses of Newmarket and Warwick. In fact Lord John Cavendish actually had his own private race course .
Although he did not buy Great Billing Hall until 1799 Elwes would appear to have been in the market for an estate. Could Elwes have been a prospective purchaser or tenant of Steventon Manor for example and thus appeared almost at her door. At the time of writing this is just a theory but ... Steventon Manor appears from the pictures a very grand place dating back to Elizabethan times The Digweeds who were long term tenants were paying 600 plus pounds per year for 900 acres. Surely, sufficient land for Elwes's needs. The land around Steventon appears to have been very suitable for pasture and there are racecourses within range of Steventon.
No Joy with this theory
Or maybe there was another similar estate close by that could have been for sale or rent.
Bingley discovered Netherfield via an accidental recommendation
More about this maybe.
In an estate agents blurb for the residence Ashe Park I came across the rumour that Jane Austen had written part of Pride and Prejudice in this house. A house with a tenant Jane Austen knew. I had hoped to find more but so far a blank.
I briefly scanned through the fragment of the novel The Watsons. A few chapters begun in 1803 and never finished due, so it is supposed and theorised, (there is no proof) to her father's death in 1805. This may well be the case although 5 chapters does not seem a great deal to have produced in the best part of 2 years. Be that as it may I read it just in case there was anything of interest that might relate to what I have written earlier and that was worth noting.
There are a lot of characters in these 5 chapters but 2 names stood out tall and proud. The names of the married couple Jane and Robert Watson. Jane and Robert! Is this wishful thinking by Jane Austen? Imaginary role reversal. Could there be reasons other than the death of her father that this short work is unfinished.
Who prior to 2018 has found any possible significance in Jane Austen's choices for the names of the married couple Jane and Robert Watson. When trying to find a significant reason for the choice of Christian names in The Watsons it is of course a statement of the obvious to point out that Jane Watson shares her first given Christian name with Jane Austen. A heroine by the name of Jane is Christian name she has used before Jane Bennett and Jane Fairfax. But what significance could there be in the choice of the name Robert. Why Robert? Until now no significance has ever been suggested, so is it really just an insignificant coincidence Robert Watson shares his first given Christian name with Robert Cary Elwes the man I think was Mr. Darcy.
If I had been more familiar with Jane Austen's works I would have made this connection long ago, as I am sure those who know the fragment The Watsons and the existence of a married couple with the Christian names Robert and Jane almost certainly would have made.
Anyone more familiar with Jane Austen's works and in particular The Watsons who had conducted a search for a real place that Thornton Lacey could be based upon or who had searched by a "process of elimination" similar to the one described earlier would I think have immediately paused for thought on encountering the name Robert as in Robert Cary Elwes.
Finally in 2022 I read P and P one more time and I came across this quote referring to the heritage of Darcy and his cousin Lady Anne
"They are descended, on the maternal side, from the same noble line; and, on the father's, from respectable, honourable, and ancient—though untitled—families."
RCE's Mother was one Elizabeth Holgate who would appear to be respectable gentry with professions. A relative by the name of Henry Holgate was an agent for RCE's father's Lincolnshire estates.
Much more interesting are RCE's relatives through his father and grandmother. They can trace descent all the way to the late 12th century and one Adam De Kari.
An acquaintance of an acquiantance has compiled a database of everyone he can find with links to the royal family. According to his database Elwes is a descendant of Henry 1st. I must stress this needs too be confirmed but at the moment I have no reason to doubt.
Number and Anagram Puzzles Part 1
N.B. The working out of these anagram name puzzles took a long time and is spread over the course of 3 years. Part 1 is a record of the early days when many mistakes were made; a result of feeling in the dark for I knew not what. With hindsight some of the possibilities I put forward may well seem obviously wrong. I could have edited them all out but have decided not to. Part 2 will begin after Thornton Lacey.
The Origin of the Name and Location of the Town of Meryton
Where is the town of Meryton. Ware is certainly a possibility. Which is interesting because it is possible I think to arrive at Meryton from Ware. Here's how: There are numerous place names in England that end with the suffix ton. It means settlement/farmstead and goes back to Anglo-Saxon times. Ware, the town itself, as a settlement goes back to Pre-Roman times. Begin with the suffix ton from Meryton. In order to disguise Ware first add the suffix ton to Ware which gives Wareton.
Imagine these letters for example on a scrabble board or laid out using ivory letters from Jane Austen's box of ivory letters in that exact order with one exception, that being the letter W which is placed upside down. This at first glance gives the appearance of Mareton; say Mareton quickly and there is the sound of the place Meryton, change the A for an E, and then the E for a Y and there is Meryton. Plausible ? The name Meryton is an imaginary name that must have been created somehow. Jane Austen liked word games; witness the set of ivory letters held by the British Library that belonged to her.
The world of Jane Austen is hardly overflowing with ideas that hang together as to how the name of Meryton evolved. The fictional name of Meryton evolved into existence somehow. So why not? I think its possible. Jane Austen is well known to have enjoyed puzzles riddles etc. Is this another Easter Egg?
In 2022 I paid more attention to the following quote from Chapter 56 in relation to the fictional town of Meryton and whether or not it might loosely be the town of Ware.
“Go, my dear,” cried her mother, “and shew her ladyship about the different walks. I think she will be pleased with the hermitage.”
Very much on the edge of the town of Ware is an old house known as Hermitage Cottage. Whether or not this was a real life hermitage ie. a dwelling of a hermit or not I do not know, but how else did it acquire the name Hermitage Cottage except by virtue of it once being a hermit's dwelling. Ware may also have attracted those with a religious bent given that once there was an important priory there.
More about names
Over the last few days I have reread Pride and Prejudice shortly after writing about the places Meryton and Longbourn. Whilst rereading P and P I came to the introduction of the character Mister Denny. That's interesting I thought; take away an N and that would leave the word Deny. My bet I thought to myself is that Mister Denny sooner or later is associated with denial in some form or other. It was a good wait for what I was looking for but it in due course it arrived. Chapter 47 the paragraph that begins
"Yes, but, when questioned by him (Colonel Forster) Denny DENIED knowing" BINGO Another Easter Egg
Along with disguising the town of Ware and the village Longbourn there is also as I have proposed earlier disguises for the original names Darcy and Bingley. Leaving Darcy and Bingley aside for the moment might there be more names within P and P that are more than just randomly selected and chosen names.
I think some of the following may also be Easter Eggs, so in no special order of preference. Some I like better or think more likely than others. Some on later reading are rather less likely, fanciful even. My method was to put the name into Scrabble Word Finder add a question mark and see what words appeared and whether any word absolutely stood out.
1a) The name Nicholls. As in " as soon as Nicholls has made white soup." Nicholls is hardly a character. Says nothing. Does nothing. An irrelevant pointless edition. Easily edited out of the text. Unless there is a deeper hidden reason for this individuals appearance. I think there is another reason. Take the letter H from the name Nicholls and the letters can be reformed to spell the name of Collins. Mr. Collins the clergyman at Hunsford.
1b) The name Nicholls again. The H can also be exchanged for a U and the word scullion can be made. The Collins dictionary definition of a scullion is " a kitchen worker employed to do menial tasks" Pure coincidence or intelligence at work? For me this is another Easter Egg and means the inclusion of a character with the name Nicholls as a kitchen worker and nothing else becomes essential. Later I found many occasions when a letter could be exchanged for another and a meaningful result found including Elwes (Twice).
2) The name Gardiner. Scrabble players will see that selection of letters as being very promising whether adding or taking away a letter. There are quite a few possibilities for making an anagram some of which could perhaps be used in connection with Gardiner for example add a W rewarding. But a lot of words come with this grouping. I'm not keen.
3) The name Bourgh. Swap the R for a T and bought can be made, but although that word is easily made there is no relationship to the text. *(Later as I will explain I was to realise that there is a relationship to be found)
But much better because of its punning quality it is better to take away the R which leaves the word Bough pronounced BOW! There is a lot of bowing when Lady Catherine de Bourgh is around. In the Jane Austen Thesaurus the verb bow, the noun/adjective bowing and the adjective bowed are used between them 65 times, and primarily in Pride and Prejudice. Another Easter Egg. How easy was it to make that connection for her listening audience of close family members. Arguably quite difficult judging by the use of the clue word bow so many times.
*(At the time I did not realise that there was only 1 pun in JA's work or that this would be the first of several more puns similarly constructed and every bit as clever as BOURGH to BOW to be found. )
4) The name Lucas. Add an a, search for an anagram and there is casual. And you could certainly describe Charlotte Lucas's acceptance of Collins's hand in marriage as casual. Unconvincing as are the next 2
5) The name Hill ditto above as far as character goes but as far as deeper hidden meaning. Add C to Hill and there is the word chill. Jane, if you remember caught a " chill "
6) The name Carter. Add an O and the word creator can be formed
7) The name Mary. Add an R to Mary and Marry is created. Marriage, a central theme of this book; is this really just a coincidence. But what about Mary King exchange the K for an R and the word marrying can be made. Much later I will realise that I have cause to look more carefully at Mary King.
8) The name Kitty. Swap the K of Kitty for a W and there is the word witty. Wit an essential component.
The name Lydia. Take away the I and the word lady can be made. Again unconvincing.
I am at a complete loss though with Pemberley.
Are there more?
Is there a deeper message or point waiting to be fully unearthed. Or a game for her listeners (family) to her reading aloud were challenged to spot. Whatever, are the names that Jane Austen uses picked from the bag of random choice? That I do not believe it.
Is there more to be found in P and P and does Jane Austen do this in other novels?
I would be more surprised (absolutely astounded in fact )if there were not more to be found somewhere within Jane Austen's work than if there were more to be found.
Other Meaningful Names and Mansfield Park
I was not planning to look for other names with meaningful anagrams easily made but having proposed a theory I thought perhaps I ought to check whether there were any. I felt sure there would be but! are there any ?
So starting with Emma and not trying to hard. The name Jane Fairfax. The letter X seems the obvious letter to try removing first. The word affair leaps out. So I looked at a scrabble word finder. Type in Fairfax and it lists all the anagrams. For Fairfax itself there are no 7 letter anagrams and only 2 6 letter words Raffia being the other. If however one adds a question mark to represent a blank then 3 results are returned Affaire Raffias and Affairs. If there is one theme that all Jane Austen's books could be said to have had it is surely an affair principally of the heart. But with Jane Fairfax in particular it is especially noteworthy. There is her secret affair with Frank Churchill and there is her suspected (by Emma) affair with Dixon. AFFAIR and AFFAIRS. Easter Eggs created in both ways. By the exchanging of one letter for another or by removing one letter 2 anagrams that relate so well to the text and in particular to Jane Fairfax can be found.
Next up was Mansfield Park. The name Bertram. Remove the letter M and barter is easily found . Check the scrabble word finder and it appears that there is no 7 letter word can be made from Bertram and only one other 6 letter word. I have not read every Jane Austen novel but wealthy men of trade do appear and men of trade are a recurring topic. Not so good though. In fact not good enough at all.
In isolation each name can of course be written off as a curiosity of language; together they can be considered as perhaps a coincidence although I would suggest a rather striking coincidence. But, when you add these 2 examples of word game play too what has been pointed out above (Nicholls, Denny, Bourgh, Meryton,etc) and the easy simplicity with which the name Darcy could have been derived from Robert Cary Elwes and more as I will explain to come; is coincidence really the right word. Then factor in the evidence that demonstrates beyond doubt that Jane Austen undeniably knew and enjoyed word games and even employs them in her writing (see Blunders/ Dixon Emma).
Coincidence? I don't believe it. Proof however is a long way off.
Mrs. Reynolds the housekeeper at Pemberley.
Is there I wondered an Easter Egg that can be linked to Reynolds the housekeeper at Pemberley. Reynolds in brief it will be remembered was the lady who showed Elizabeth and the Gardiners around the magnificent property of Pemberley and gave a glowing recommendation of its owner Mr. Darcy.
It took a short while to work it out but yes there is indeed an Easter Egg to be found via the name of Reynolds. I needed help from the internet to figure it out. Firstly I went to Scrabble Word Finder. I typed in the name Reynolds to see if there were any 8 letter anagrams. There are not. There are a few 7 letter word anagrams but nothing of heart stopping interest. Suppose I thought again, one added a letter would there be a 9 letter anagram. There are no 9 letter anagrams. But there are a few 8 letter anagrams. One of them surely cannot be coincidence. The most striking return is made by exchanging the Y in Reynolds for a P and the word Splendor can made. That fits rather well with the description of Pemberley. But it gets better. Volume 3 Chapter 1 Paragraphs 5 to 7. The housekeeper who we are later told is a Mrs. Reynolds is showing Elizabeth around Pemberley. I will quote the whole of the relevant sentence.
"The rooms were lofty and handsome, and their furniture suitable to the fortune of their proprietor, but Elizabeth saw, with admiration of his taste, that it was neither gaudy or uselessly fine; with less of SPLENDOR, and more real elegance than Rosings"
Just how clever is that!!! Reynolds - exchange the Y for a P and create another Easter Egg SPLENDOR.
A note about the spelling of SPLENDOR. This no accident. Jane Austen was well aware of the different spellings for splendor. According to the Jane Austen Thesaurus Jane Austen uses the word Splendor spelt with the OR ending just once and Splendour with the OUR ending seven times. The words splendor and splendour have the same meaning. Why else would Jane Austen use the OR ending for Spendor on just the one occasion for the same word. One utterly essential reason for using the OR ending for Splendor is because that is the only way that the Easter Egg that exchanges the letter P in Splendor for a Y and thereby creates the name Reynolds can be made.
Jane Austen is well known to have liked riddles, conundrums, word play anagrams etc. She shows this in her novel Emma in making the word Dixon. She says as much in a letter to Cassandra when describing the amusements that keeps them occupied "riddles and conundrums". So when names such as Denny, Nicholls, Bourgh, Meryton, as for example described earlier, not to mention others not listed and still more predicted to be found (I know there are more I just have not found them yet) and Reynolds (see above) appear to be more than just the name of a character but part of an ingenious yet simple underlying word puzzle. Can it really be speculation to say that they are there by anything else other than the deliberate design and skill of Jane Austen to create "Easter Eggs" as against a number of accidental, collectively fortuitous turns of phrase.
Please remember that this discovery of hidden underlying meanings or "Easter Eggs" that I think I have found has been brought to light initially by the proposal that I made for the simple but effective concealment of the identity of Robert Cary Elwes. Namely add a D to the name Cary and the anagram name that results is Darcy or vice versa by removing the D from Darcy the name Cary can be made.
I have just realised another, I think important subtlety about the word Splendor.
It should also be bourn in mind that Jane Austen initially is writing her stories to be read by her to a small number of people family and friends to listen to. So when she writes "with less of Splendor" is she not giving her listeners an extra audio cryptic crossword style clue, who upon hearing the word Splendor would be thinking of this word with the OUR ending. Less of Splendour; remove the U giving "less of Splendor " then find the anagram by the proscribed method .
Yet more meaningful names and Mansfield Park
I had not expected to write much more on the subject of meaningful names but six more names I feel are deserving of mention. The names that strike me as worth a second look and that might produce a meaningful angram are usually characters with none or little dialogue and who appear fleetingly. With these characters one can easily question the point of their existence. They appear to serve no real purpose. But if Jane Austen is incorporating word play in her novels as I think she is then of course they are indispensable from that viewpoint.
I have found two more from Pride and Prejudice and four more from Mansfield Park. Nor had I expected to read Mansfield Park again but on discovering that Jane Austen had written in a letter "sans Peur et sans Reproche" in relation to asking questions about Northamptonshire and that Robert Cary Elwes lived close to Northampton I thought I would see if there was anything else that could possibly connect Robert Cary Elwes to Jane Austen. The two from P and P have come by further playing around with the Scrabble Word Finder whilst three from Mansfield I have found for myself but the other has been found with the help of Scrabble Word Finder. From Pride and Prejudice come Miss Grantley and Dawson and from Mansfield Park come Baddeley, Sewell, Rebecca and Maddison. They are all created in one of the ways described before ie. add a letter, take away a letter or change a letter and then make an anagram plus there is one straightforward anagram.
Grantley. There are no eight-letter anagrams to be made from the name Grantley. The text in P and P reads "I think it infinitely superior than Miss Grantley's ." There was no real need to use an apostrophe s. Jane Austen could have written "any by Miss Grantley" for example. Although the 's is essential if I am correct in saying that an anagram word play is going on for Grantleys can be arranged to make Strangely. However whilst the word strangely can be made I'm not sure how it could relate to the text in any way. So, maybe not
The text to note here is "as long as Dawson does not object to the Barouche box." There are no six-letter words to be made from the name Dawson, however if one swaps the D for a G the Easter Egg that can be made related to a Barouche box is the word wagons. A barouche box being a type of wheeled carriage and therefore a type of wagon.
If the B is removed then the easily constructed Easter Egg DELAYED can be made. The text containing Baddeley to note here is "suppose you hurry Baddeley a little tonight, he seems behind hand tonight." Given the context in this instance in which the name Baddeley appears, is delay, could this not be deliberate.
Sewell's as in Sewell's Farm.
This is the passage where Henry Crawford is giving his account of coming upon the village of Thornton Lacey. The text reads "but which way did you turn after passing Sewell's Farm" Remove one of the l's from the name Sewell's Farm and it could become Elwes's farm.
The name Sewell is highly significant because Robert Cary Elwes lived in a place near Northampton called Great Billing Hall, Great Billing. Could "Sewell's Farm" be Great Billing Hall. Could Great Billing in the very loosest of senses be Thornton Lacey. Is this why Jane Austen in her letter wrote "sans peur et sans Reproche". Concern about the possibility of encountering Robert Cary Elwes. This would provide a plausible explanation for Jane Austen to write "sans peur et sans reproche". A plausible explanation that nobody else, so far has managed.
Baddeley, Dawson, and Sewell. Each with nothing to say or do. None with any influence on the plot. Why are they there. As an Easter Eggs there is a point.
Are the 3 names above another small clutch of "Easter Eggs"
Above and below are pictures of Great Billing church the area around Great Billing church and the parsonage . For a small village as Great Billing was 200 years ago it is in common with Thornton Lacey a good sized church for such a small place. As one can see the rooftops of the nearby houses are considerably lower than the church which stands at the top of a hill. Somewhere behind the church is where Great Billing Hall (Sewell's Farm?) once stood. Most if not all the buildings behind the church in this view are of recent construction as is much of the nearby surrounding area although 200 years ago it was countryside farmland and part of Elwes's estate. Too the right of the church beyond the churchyard and lower down the hill in a street called Church Walk is "the Old Vicarage " which dates back to the mid to late 17th century and is perhaps 150 - 200 yards from the church as the crow flies. This building is as is the one described in Thornton lacey a fine old stone building. Crawford describes the church in Thornton Lacey as "within a stone's throw of the said knoll and church" (see roadside photograph below) Close to the Old Vicarage and around the corner also in Church Walk is the Chantry and Priors Piece and on the opposite side are workers cottages which date from many years earlier No "gentleman's house is to be seen." There was always 200 years ago in every small village at least 1 other gentleman's house to be seen beside a parsonage. So is Jane Austen really saying that there is no gentleman's house to be seen or is she insinuating that a house that does not belong to a gentleman is to be seen. And Sewell's Farm. Might that not be part of a double insult to Robert Cary Elwes by referring to his estate as a farm. At the bottom of the hill is Ecton Brook which could be, as Crawford recounts, the " small stream to be forded"
Taken from a village notice board is a photograph with a brief descriptive text of Great Billing Hall as it once was but is no more. It was demolished in the 1950's
THORNTON LACEY AND MANSFIELD PARK
*Mansfield Park is a novel set in Northamptonshire. Although Jane Austen never went there she may have had descriptive assistance from either Martha Lloyd who she requests not to renew her enquiries about Northampton obliged as she (Jane Austen) is for them, because she can get what she wants from her brother Henry.
Hertfordshire was another place that although she herself never went to she has written about. Supposedly, so I have been told, she was informed about Hertfordshire by some long removed relatives and about the presence of the Derby Militia in Hertfordshire by her brother Henry. This information has been presented to me as fact by Maureen Stiller hon.sec. JAS. along with the "fact" that she learned about Chatsworth House via books and publications that were available at the time. Unhelpfully, when I have requested the source/s for these "facts" and where they are to be found so that I may see that they are neither theory, supposition or conjecture, total silence is the only answer I receive.
There are many other examples to be found in her work of her information coming from sources outside of her own actual experience. Much of her knowledge of naval affairs for example is surely from either one or both of her brothers Francis and Charles.
The Real Life location of Thornton Lacey Mansfield Park
In particular the village of Thornton Lacey passed through by Henry Crawford.
I think it was possible if anyone had looked to see if there was any possibility of a village based upon Thornton Lacey being anywhere in the vicinity of Northampton they would have happened across Great Billing.
The basic description of finding Thornton Lacey is to ford a stream and upon a small knoll (or hill ) is a church, a stone's throw away from which is an old parsonage (if old then at least 50 and preferably one would think close to a hundred years old ) Sewell's farm is also nearby but there appears to be no gentleman's or half gentleman's residence. Later we are told that Thornton Lacey is 8 an importanyt distance to remember miles from Northampton.
Could there have been an original for Thornton Lacey to be based upon. Beginning with the assumption that there really was a village that Thornton Lacey is based upon. Northamptonshire was a county with over 280 villages. Take a pin and place it wherever the odds of being right are 280 to 1. Using logic can this number be much reduced. If there really was a village that inspired Jane Austen then a good map to consult would be John Speede's map of Northamptonshire.
Although originally produced in the early 17th century it went through many editions and printings and provided the templates for most of the county maps of England for the next 100/150 years. Speede maps are very attractive to look at. Nowadays they are usually found coloured although colouring varies with the skill of the colourist. The town insets provide attractive details of the main county town. However they are not accurate. Their inaccuracy is part of their charm of course and it was the combination of their inaccuracy and the need for accurate maps during the Napoleonic wars that led to the creation of the Ordnance Survey maps. These first Ordnance survey maps in their original undissected form are at the very least to those who know them minor masterpieces of cartography.
There are not many features denoted on Speede maps but one feature of especial interest is that churches are noted. And where a church is noted on a 17th / 18th century map seems a good place to find an old parsonage.
Then I would propose studying the earliest Ordnance Survey map of the area firstly 2 circles be drawn around the centre of Northampton. One circle with a radius of perhaps 5 miles and another with a radius of 10 miles and that every village with a church to be noted.
Secondly, I would propose that each village be checked with an early 19th century 6 inch to one mile map of the relevant area. These maps show a lot of detail. Contours, streams, churches, and parsonages are all clearly marked.
To see if:
a) there was a church on a hill
b) if there was an old parsonage nearby, preferably close to a stone's throw away
c) is there a stream to be forded from any direction
d) check for any building that could be Sewell's farm
How many villages could be eliminated because the church is not on a hill or there is no parsonage either old in the early 18th century or nearby, or no stream to be forded I do not know; but for absolute certainty some perhaps most could be eliminated.
Sewell's Farm is an odd one as is no gentleman's or half gentleman's house. Most English villages in the 18th century with a church and an old parsonage could be expected to have had at least one other residence that was owned and occupied by a gentleman and that is the country house belonging to the estate. So why would Jane Austen write that. Answer I think is that a deeper underlying reason is there and she does not just mean this phrase in the literal sense. Those who knew her I think would have recognised a two handed insult to Elwes; firstly in naming his residence as a farm and therefore by extension himself as a farmer rather than as a gentleman , and secondly in noting that there was neither a Gentleman's or half gentleman's house in the village in which he clearly is the gentleman.
A close examination of the remaining villages would obviously include Great Billing because a church is marked there on the Speede map, and if one looked through the various county histories of Northampton for example the Victoria County History of Northampton at the village of Great Billing then Great Billing Hall, its ownership by a son of the Duke of Devonshire owner of Chatsworth House and by the Elwes family from the last years of the 18th century. A bell should be heard ringing in the distance. The long suspected location of Pemberley being Chatsworth ought to have demanded a closer look at Great Billing and its owners. If a closer look at Great Billing had been undertaken an old parsonage would also have been located and the close proximity of Great Billing Hall to the church and its rental and purchase in the late 18th century by Robert Cary Elwes would also have been found and who knows a closer examination of Robert Cary Elwes.
Those who enjoy crossword puzzles may have noticed that the addition of an L to the name Elwes and the name Sewell be made. Similar for the name Cary. Add a D and the name Darcy can be made. Further research through the Northampton Archives would have revealed the history of Great Billing Hall rebuilt in the latter quarter of the 18th century and its initial rental in 1795 and ownership in 1799 by Robert Cary Elwes and much much more.
Eight miles is the distance we are from Mansfield Park to Thornton Lacey. A very precise distance. Could reality link to Great Billing. "I say Yes it could "
A search for the distance from Great Billing to Northampton gives the result of 6.4 miles. we are not given an exact location for Mansfield other than somewhere in Northampton. If for example Great Billing is was directly or close to directly opposite but on the outskirts of Northampton a further distance must be added to 6.4 miles. That must brings one fairly close to about 8 miles. Close enough at any rate to ponder whether Great Billing is the basis for Thornton Lacey.
Not all roads lead to Rome but there is more than one way to arrive.
Robert Cary Elwes gentleman, who in 1795 was indeed a young, rich, and single man etc.
Many months after writing the above I came across the fragment of a novel "The Watsons" for the first time. Those who know this short extract will probably have heard the faint tinkle of another bell at the sight of the Christian name Robert. The significance for significance there is of the name Robert is explained a little further on.
Sans peur et sans reproche
While reading a brief synopsis about Mansfield Park I have just observed again that Mansfield Park is set in the county of Norththampton. According to one of Jane Austen's letters she writes to her sister asking her to find out if Northampton is a county of hedgerows. She goes on to say that she can get what she wants from her brother Henry and then she uses the phrase "Sans peur et sans reproche". What one might ask has Jane Austen to fear and why should there be a possibility of reproach. It cannot have been written for nothing. Her sister Cassandra, who she was writing to presumably understood exactly what was meant by "sans peur et sans reproche" and unlike the rest of the world didn't need it to be explained.
There appear to be few if any really satisfactory explanations as to why Jane Austen wrote this. What possible cause could she have had for experiencing any anxiety?
Below is a possible explanation that explains why Jane Austen may have experienced a little "peur et reproche" regarding her enquiries into Northamptonshire.
If I am right to some extent about Robert Cary Elwes being the original Mr. Darcy then this would provide a possible cause for a little "peur et reproche " for making any enquiries into the county of Northamptonshire on the part of Jane Austen. The answer lies with Robert Cary Elwes the man I think may have been the original Mr Darcy. He bought Billing Hall an estate in Great Billing a small village close to the town of Northampton in 1799 although his associations with the place appear to go back to 1795 when he may have rented it.
Mansfield Park was supposedly a newly built house Jane Austen tells us. Billing Hall was previously owned by Lord John Cavendish who had the place rebuilt in the Palladian style in 1776. The house sadly no longer exists today but images of what it looked like can be found by googling Billing Hall and clicking images. Although not completely new it was a building definitely of recent vintage when Jane Austen began writing Mansfield Park.
Elwes spent much of his life breeding race horses in which he had some success breeding 2 Derby winners, although when he began breeding race horses I do not as yet know, but he would have been able to exercise his horses on the private race course built by Lord John Cavendish, and so it’s likely that he was breeding race horses from very early in the 19th century.
The idea therefore of the possibility of being discovered by Elwes, hunting for information about Northampton and anywhere in close proximity to the village of Great Billing may well have caused Jane Austen a little cause for concern. Might it not.
2 further reasons for thinking that the village of Thornton Lacey could have been discovered if hunted for were subsequently realised . We learn from Sir Thomas that whilst Edmund's leaving Mansfield Park will be a contraction of the family circle it is "though only eight miles"
Wherever Mansfield Park Northampton is, it is only eight miles away from Thornton Lacey. If 3 circles had been drawn around the centre of Northampton of six, eight and 10 miles radius so as to cover all possibilities in terms of distance from any part of Northampton, the village of Great Billing where Robert Cary Elwes lived would have been contained within it. There is an old church known as St. Peters Northampton which according to an internet distance chart is 8 miles away from Great Billing so the outskirts of Northampton small town as it was could have extended 2 miles.
Had anyone looked seriously for a village that could have been Thornton Lacey and was remotely close to 8 miles away from Northampton the search would by looking within the circle have been narrowed down considerably from the 280 odd villages in Northamptonshire to a far lower figure and hence much easier to find if looked for. I am a little surprised that no-one made the effort to look. After all, much effort has been expended upon the possible location of Meryton on the basis of its being 24 miles from Gracechurch Street and therefore perhaps findable. It begs the question why not look for Thornton Lacey on the same basis.
We learn from Henry Crawford who hopes that the parsonage at Thornton Lacey "is not a scrambling collection of low single rooms, with as many roofs as windows " and that " it is not cramped into the vulgar compactness of a square farmhouse " but that according to him it is a "it is a solid, roomy, mansion - like looking house ". The vicarage at Great Billing is definitely a lot like that - at 3 storeys high and in excess of 125 years old it is a substantial property with a very good sized garden and easily fits with the description of the Old Parsonage of Thornton Lacey. An idea of what the Old Rectory; or The Old Rectory as it is termed in real life is like can be seen if one Googles the Old Rectory Great Billing. It was for sale a while ago with an estate agent by the name of Michael Graham.
On my way to Diss auction rooms I used to pass close to the villages of Thorndon Parva and Thorndon Magna. The sound of Thorndon is close to the sound of Thornton. Out of curiosity I decided to look at what villages there were with Thornton in their name at the beginning. One village in Yorkshire stood out a little higher than the others. By deleting an L from the village of Thornton Le Clay an anagram can be found to create the village Thornton Lacey. Just a thought.
Mansfield as in Mansfield Park. Readers to this point may remember my suggesting that there was a tenuous resemblance between Mansfield Park and Billing Hall, Elwes's residence in that Mansfield Park was a new build and to a large extent so was Billing Hall. But the links may not end there. If one removes the S from the name MANSFIELD then the anagram Fieldman can be found. A word rarely if ever used now one of its meanings according to "Your Dictionary" is farmer or labourer. Add an apostrophe to create the possessive noun and also the full anagram of Mansfield makes Fieldman's Park. There is a trail that leads to Elwes. Mansfield Park to Fieldman's Park to Farmer's Park to Sewell's Farm To Elwes's Farm to the estate of Great Billing.. Mansfield looks as if too could be an Easter Egg. Why did Jane Austen use the name Mansfield in Mansfield Park. The title of a book that incorporates a name is hardly a random choice carelessly decided upon. Its true meaning may not be known. But it would be a name for which the author will have given due consideration. In Jane Austen's case. Especially in Jane Austen's case! Many a literary expert will state and agree that Jane Austen does not do things for nothing. So what was the impetus, the motivation, for choosing the name Mansfield. Surely not because it sounds nice, or she could not think of anything better, or somebody else's idea. Google offers little assistance when searching for a reason for the choice of the name Mansfield. I think my proposal has an ingenious, but logical and simple to follow progression once one has the key name Elwes. The simple logic I'm sure is no problem for those who enjoy cryptic crosswords or compiling them. Fieldman's grounds? a literary estate for example. Too easy I know. From Elwes to Sewell to Fieldman's to Mansfield.
There at first glance appear to be no plausible reasons for the choice of the name Mansfield in Mansfield Park. But there is now.
* I have long thought there is a satirical element in Mansfield Park and RCE. In September 2021 I learnt of another very interesting link between the book Mansfield Park and RCE. In M.P. Sir Thomas Bertram has to leave for an extended period to attend to his slave plantations on the small ( 108 square miles) Carribbean island of Antigua. I discovered that in circa 1727 RCE's grandmother on the Cary side of his family inherited slaves and plantations on the island of Antigua. In 1730 she and her husband acquired the Egton Estate in North Yorkshire for 38,000 pounds. It is thought that the sale of these slaves and plantations provided most if not all the money to buy this estate. Her inheritance is corroborated by the will of her father but sadly there is no ownership or sale record of slaves and plantations in Antigua by the Cary family according to the "Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slavery. Clearly as Rachel Lang wrote Richard Cary is someone they have missed so far. The CSLBS database has no records of any member of the Cary family ever owning slaves anywhere.
There is however mention of a Richard Cary in relation to Antigua in the early years of the 18th century. It seems likely that it is the same Richard Cary. It would appear according to documentary records from British History online and also a book entitled Antigua and the Antiguans that the Colonial Agent for Antigua was one Richard Cary.
Richard Cary maybe the first Cary to own slaves and plantations but he is not the last. The Legacies of British Slavery have a record of George Stanley Cary of Fullerton Devonshire inherited from his grandfather the Hon. Gilbert Fleming Governor General of the Leeward Islands. The island of Antigua is part of the Leeward Islands.
Number and Anagram Puzzles Part 2
Finding anagram puzzles from names is a slow process where results come through gritted teeth, but slowly they reveal themselves. I'm still making mistakes but I am also gradually figuring some of it as the first example will proove. I am particularly sure of Baldwin and Fairfax and "SOME CHANGE" and some others but still some way to go before I can write "Now I begin to understand....I think"
Rebecca is a little unusual for a servant in that she is referred to by her Christian name. Rebecca is a relatively uncommon name also. All the other servants that I have come across so far have been referred to by their surnames. It maybe that in other Jane Austen novels other servants are also referred to by their Christian names, but at the moment I am not aware of that. I would imagine that calling servants by their Christian names was highly unusual and for Jane Austen to do so is an indication that there maybe more to the name than "its just a name she choses to use " it has purpose to. The reason for the use of a Christian name I think is because of the anagram that can be made by changing 1 letter of Rebecca. The anagram that can be made is an adjective and definitely applicable to Jane Austen herself and I suspect was also chosen because its not such an easy anagram to spot thus being an attractive choice. However it does mean using a Christian name for a servant. If you change an E for an I it is possible to make the word ACERBIC. But here again no obvious connection to the text.
I have never liked the theory above at all but could think of no better until recently (June 2023)
Previously I had come across the likelihood that Jane Austen used the names of people she knew of or were in her own family and have written this theory up (The names Francis Dashwood , John Willoughby, Watson, Fitzwilliam, and Martin all have close links to family or are family) Joining this group is the name Rebecca. As pointed out above it was very unusual to refer to a servant by their Christian name and so maybe there is a bit more than just a "name she Chooses to use"
In 2023 I came across the fact that Robert Cary Elwes had been the first owner of Marino Mansions now better known as Beach House Worthing. Sanditon Jane Austen's unfinished novel is based upn the then small village beside the sea of Worthing a place she visited for at least 6 weeks in 1804. Parker the main character is thought by many to be based upon Edward Ogle who did much to popularise Worthing. Jane Austen knew him quite well and letters about him survive. He had a habit of visiting the library in Worthing and there is a good chance at least that here is where they first met. Its possible that it is from Ogle that she learnt the name of the architect who designed the library. He designed many of Worthing's subsequent fine Regency style buildings. Coinicidentally? he also was the architect for Elwes's Beach House. His name was John Rebecca!
Maddison was Henry Crawford's land agent. The surname Maddison makes the straightforward anagram of the word diamonds. Diamonds are of course the hardest of substances. The text relating to Maddison and the clue (underlined) within the text is as follows " Maddison is a clever fellow; I do not wish to displace him - provided he does not try to displace me; but it would be simple to be duped by a man who has no right of creditor to dupe me - and worse than simple to let him give me a HARD hearted, griping fellow for a tenant instead of an honest man, to whom I have given half a promise already." Maddison the character appears twice in Mansfield Park. The appearance of Maddison in the above quoted text is his second appearance. His first appearance comes a little earlier in the same paragraph. Straightforward anagrams are few and far between . Maddison /Diamonds was the first straightforward anagram that I actually found Mansfield/Fieldman's has been described earlier.
Persuasion and Northanger Abbey
I had not intended to read Persuasion and Northanger Abbey again but I felt it neccessary to check and re-read it again from a study point of view . Checking as I read whether there are any more examples of anagrammatic word play similar to those described already, in Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park . I felt sure that there would be some.
So I have now read the book through again and sure enough there are more Easter Eggs based around characters names. I will only list six of these names although I am sure there are more. These six can be related in some way to the text. Of the 6 possibilities I feel absolutely sure of 1 of them and that is Baldwin.
Names omitted include Brand as in Admiral Brand. The changing of a letter or addition of a letter creates too many possibilities (brandy, brain , brawn , bread, broad, etc) and in my initial perusal, if there is any text to relate it to then I have missed it.
Most of the names listed here as in both Mansfield Park and Pride and Prejudice make but fleeting appearances and similarly it seems to me in many ways are entirely superfluous to the plot. They add nothing. Why are they there? is a reasonable question to ask. There would be no loss should they have been edited out. Unless of course the reason that they are there is because they provide an Easter Egg to be found by the small cc
Admiral Croft and his wife. Not too many anagrams to be made by the addition, subtraction, or substitution of a letter from Croft. The most appropriate perhaps for an admiral especially one met with outside a shop selling pictures of boats, (was that scene a clue for those listening to Jane Austen read aloud who hadn't got it yet ) is CRAFT
The anagram to be found by substituting W for a G is BALDING. There is a brief description of Admiral Baldwin a friend of Admiral Croft. Jane Austen's portayal of him is as a man with "nine grey hairs of a side, and nothing but a dab of powder on top" One might well wonder exactly what is the point of introducing and describing Admiral Baldwin and aspects of his physical appearance. His character adds just about nothing to the plot or its development. He says nothing, does nothing, appears and then disappears. He could just as easily be edited out, except, once one considers/realises he is crucially important as a vehicle for another of Jane Austen's Easter Eggs.
Add an E to this name and the word BREEDING can be made. Breeding: was important theme not just in Persuasion but one to be found in all the books by Jane Austen that I have read so far. It was also very important to all those within Jane Austen's circle. In terms of plot, narrative, characterisation what does Brigden bring to the book one can say pretty much the same for Captain Brigden as for Admiral Baldwin. Each says nothing, does nothing absolutely nothing. Nothing would be lost by Brigden like Admiral Baldwin being edited out unless of course Brigden like Baldwin is another Easter Egg. I'm not at all sure about this one either
A number of 8 and 9 letter words can be made from this name. But one word in relation to Lisbon stands out. Lady Mary Grierson it will be remembered was in Lisbon. Frederick had he stayed a week longer in Lisbon would have been asked to bring Lady Mary Grierson and her daughter home. The word that stands out and can be found by replacing the E for an A is the word GARRISON. During the Napoleonic Wars in 1809 the British army were fighting in Spain and Portugal. At this time there was a garrison in Lisbon under British command. What does Lady Grierson bring to the book. Precious little it seems to me. The same can be said for Lady Mary Grierson as for Admiral Baldwin unless of course here is another Easter Egg.
I have not found too many place names apart from "Sewell's Farm"that can be harnessed to create meaningful anagrams (Easter Eggs) in any other books. But Winthrop seems a possible to me. A place well known to Jane Austen and family can be found by substituting the P of Winthrop and replacing it with a g and thus making WORTHING.
I have decided to include one example of anagrammatic word play from Northanger Abbey in this piece and that is Tilney. Tilney. There are five Tilneys in Northanger Abbey. The General, Frederick, Henry, Eleanor, and lastly the Generals wife Mrs. Tilney. The first four all have extensive parts to play throughout the book. Mrs Tilney however doesn't because she is long dead and obviously can't. She says absolutely nothing, she is a memory, but crucially, she has importance. If the Y in Tilney is exchanged for an S the word SILENT can be made. Or to put it another way Exchange the Y for an S and another Easter Egg can be made. HMMM.
I still feel I am on the right track but also feel I am still scratching around in the dark.
Emma and more Easter Eggs
Aside from Jane Fairfax as detailed very briefly earlier there are unsurprisingly more Easter Eggs to be found in Emma. Jane Austen would sometimes write in code. A letter, for example to her 8 year old niece begins, "Ym raed yssac...." Along with the Easter Eggs explained so far I think I may have found an example of such code in her work. It concerns the name and title of her book Emma. I checked the Scrabble Word Finder for Emma plus a question mark but found nothing of compelling interest. I did not like the most obviously connective anagram made by switching E for I and making MAIM. But while reading Emma I was struck by Jane Austen's usage of French, for which apparently she had a good level of understanding. What about exchanging an M for an I and leaving EIMA. Not much there but much better is to exchange the other M for an I leaving EMIA!?
AIME as in Je t'aime I love you
AIME means in English Love.
Without love there would be no Jane Austen books.
Love so essential to every book I have read by her so far.
How many different examples of love are there in Emma. It's what the book is all about
LOVE AIME EMIA EMMA Why not? Personally I love the simplicity of its cleverness. A giant Easter Egg hidden for 200 years! Amazing!
Is that all. No. If you exchange the 2 Ms for 2 Ns you can make the name Anne
Many people think that in spirit if not actuality there is an autobiographical element to Persuasion. With that in mind and "Easter Eggs" its interesting to note that if one swaps an N for a J in the name Anne then the name JANE can be made.
There is a little more to be said about EMMA later
The first 6 are ones I think least likely
Taylor - Royalty
Otway - Today
Cole - Love
Miss Bates - (Mis) Takes
Partridge - Departing
Dixon - Doing Jane Austen uses this word on 222 occasions according to the Jane Austen Thesauras. Or what about Doxie (a mistress)
Serle the butler. There maybe other possibilities perhaps for this name than my suggestion but I would like to point out that by removing the R and replacing with a W gives the name ELWES !!! Elwes from gentleman, to farmer, to kitchen hand who chops up carcasses.
Fairfax - Affair This Easter Egg strikes me as being especially probable.
Fairfax - Affairs Jane Fairfax is thought by Emma to be conducting a secret affair with Dixon ie. is his mistress
Firstly,because, the word affair and its meanings depending on context and judging by its frequency of use is an important concept to Jane Austen. The word affair is a noun and according to the Jane Austen Thesaurus is used on 78 occasions.
Secondly, because, Jane Fairfax was conducting a secret affair with Frank Churchill.
Thirdly, because she was thought, mistakenly by Emma to be conducting an affair with Mr. Dixon. The word affair according to the Jane Austen Thesaurus is used on 78 occasions.
Fourthly, is the fact that the name Fairfax can by exchanging one letter for another make the word Affairs or by deleting a letter the word affair can be made. 2 Easter eggs from 1 name.
Below is an especially relevant quote:
Emma spends a certain amount of time mistakenly speculating whether Jane Fairfax is having an affair with Frank Dixon. Mrs Weston is speaking with Emma re Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax and says to Emma "and do you really believe the affair to have been carrying on with such perfect secrecy? - The Campbells the Dixons did none of them know of the engagement?" Emma could not speak the name of Dixon without a blush.
Its so simple to miss, so simple to see.
Elton - Alone see Emma Part 1 Chapter 3 ..."Mr. Elton, a young man living alone"
York Tan - Outrank Although a word never used by Jane Austen the noun Rank was used according to the Jane Austen Thesaurus on 43 ocassions. Hmmm?
Gilberts - Trebling "You and Miss Smith and Miss Fairfax , will be three and the two Miss Coxes will be five," had been repeated many times over. "And there will be the two Gilberts young Cox my father and myself besides Mr. Knightley. Yes, that will be quite enough for pleasure. You and Miss Smith, and Miss Fairfax, will be three, and the two Miss Coxes five; and for five couple there will be plenty of room. "
Weston - Bestow The verb bestow was used by Jane Austen according to the Jane Austen Thesaurus on 29 occasions whilst bestowed was used 33 occasions.
Astely Lastly given its position at the end of the book maybe more than just a visit to Astely's theatre
( Such very appropriate placement within the text)
Some of these are perhaps accidental or maybe red herrings in that they whilst they do make an easy to discover Easter Egg of some sort its not easy to relate them to the text in any way, Otwa York Tan, Weston
I must also add a further possible word that can be found in Pride and Prejudice by exchanging an R for an E from the name Gardiner. The word regained can be made. Following Lizzies rejection of Darcy's humiliating proposal or Love / Paradise / (Pemberley) lost and then from chapter 24 Lizzie in company with Mrs Gardiner meets Darcy and everything turns out well or to put it another way Love / Paradise / (Pemberley) REGAINED. Maybe maybe not.
As a well educated and well-read individual, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that Jane Austen had read and or knew of Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained by John Milton.
More about Emma
Jane Austen, as is quite well known enjoyed riddles, conundrums, codes, ciphers, anagrams, etc. She writes as much in Emma. A book with references to codes, ciphers, riddles, conundrums, anagrams and maybe more throughout it. Whilst reading through a second time looking for Easter Eggs that I may have missed it was with some surprise that I realised the possibilty of another level of "larger" of Easter Eggs to be made. Initially, I had thought it a little unusual that all Chapters began with the first 2 words in capital letters but like most thought no more of it. It maybe, that it is just modern editions that begin like this but I think that unlikely. More likely, I thought was surely that they follow the same textual idiosyncracies as the original first edition. But that is not quite so. Almost, but not quite.
The first chapter beginning that I noticed was Chapter 16 "THE HAIR." In that first paragraph Emma has had her hair curled and is sitting down thinking about Harriet. "The hair curled, and the maid sent away, and Emma sat down to think and be miserable . It was a wretched business, indeed! Such an overthrow of everything she had been wishing for! Such a development of everything most unwelcome! Such a blow for Harriet! " Another example I thought, if you exchange the H for an R from the word THE the name Harriet is an anagram (Easter Egg) that can be made from the words THE and HAIR . Interestingly also in this paragraph; there are 4 exclamation marks the last one coming after the name Harriet!
Is that simply one of the fascinating coincidental anomalies that occur from time to time in the English language or was that deliberate. Deliberate. I t must be! Surely! Given what I have written over the last 25 pages. Given what I think I have already found. It can't not be deliberate can it? What about if other chapter beginnings the 1st two words could be rearranged similarly
Were there other chapter beginnings with the first 2 words printed in capital letters that could by exchanging one letter create an anagram relevant to the text. In the edition I am reading the first 2 words of every chapter are written in capital letters.
Working backwards for some reason the next 2 word beginning I could work out easily without the scrabble word finder was Chapter 17 book 3 MRS. WESTONS. Exchange the E for an O and the word SNOWSTORMS can be made. Delete tan S to make SNOWSTORM There is the departure from Randalls in a (modest ) snowstorm.
Are there more. I wrote down every chapter beginning and put each one through the scrabble word finder to see if anything of interest would appear using the same methodology of exchanging one letter and thus being able to create a meaningful textually relevant anagram. For some there was nothing that I found to, shall we say excite. But others were of interest.
The chapters beginning EMMA DID could become ADMIRED. Admired was an adjective used by Jane Austen according to the Jane Austen Thesaurus 58 times. When used as a verb, admire was used on 68 occasions. These are examples of possible chapter headings that might contain an Easter Egg
But the one worthy of special mention comes from Book 1 Chapter 14 SOME CHANGE.
One can read this paragraph beginning "SOME CHANGE " simply in relation to the text that follows. Or it could be read as a pointer that there were "Things" that changed ie. names such as Mr. Elton or maybe it could also be a pointer that some chapter headings changed as above. By substituting one letter for another letter in this case the letter G for an L, the 2 words "SOME CHANGE" make (I think ) a stunningly interesting anagram (Easter Egg) in this context. CHAMELEONS can be made!!! How good is that? AN ACCIDENT! A COINCIDENCE! I THINK NOT! NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS!
The first 2 words of each chapter in the first edition of Emma are all in capital letters, with one exception. That is in chapter 1 where the first 2 words are Emma Wodehouse. In the first edition of Emma, Volume one, Chapter one, has only Emma in capital letters. Now why would that be? A mistake or deliberate. My Folio Society edition has the name Emma Wodehouse in capital letters. I presume a later editor has thought a mistake in the printing has been made and has changed it so that both Emma and Wodehouse are printed in capital letters. I would have thought that Jane Austen, when she saw the proofs would have turned automatically to the first page and if printing only Emma in capital letters was a mistake might have commented about such an error or made sure it was changed. She expresses only satisfaction with what she sees. Satisfaction because that was exactly what she wanted.
With regard to Pride and Prejudice , Jane Austen wrote in a letter to her sister that " I do not write for such dull Elves as have not a great deal of Ingenuity themselves." Could the discovery of "Easter Eggs" be what she really means.
Even with the best will in the world I cannot for a moment believe or think that a proportion at least of these examples of anagrammatic word play (Easter Eggs) are anything other than the creations of Jane Austen. And as for the suggestion courtesy of Maureen Stiller Hon. Sec. of the JAS. that they are the creations of my ingenuity. Ridiculous. Would that I could.
In my minds eye I can see Jane Austen sitting at the table writing and as she pauses from writing she puts her head up and laughs (quietly) out loud.
I thought that REYNOLDS / SPLENDOR was clever but both "EMMA / AIME" and "SOME CHANGE / CHAMELEONS " are even better?
As my friend Vince puts it "for 200 years Jane Austen has been having a right laugh Ha ha Ha."
* I have realised that some of the names in these lists of names from which meaningful anagrams can be made is maybe a little optimistic in its findings to say the least. There is a later recap about names that discards any name I do not feel sure about. But there are many that seem absolute certainties.
Part 3 After Northanger Abbey
The view of Torre Abbey from the sea as it is today overlooking Torbay. It is a view and a place that 2 of Jane Austen's brothers Charles and Francis absolutely must have known. It is a simply untenable proposition to suggest otherwise. Especially the older and more senior Francis. Both served for a time in the "Channel Fleet. It would have been basic elementary knowledge to her brothers that Torbay was a place with safe anchorage and where the Channel Fleet would take refuge during a storm in the English Channel. It would also have been common knowledge that the owner of Torre Abbey was very hospitable towards officers of the Channel Fleet and it is quite likely, probable even that these 2 Austen brothers had also met Colonel George Cary cousin of Robert Cary Elwes.
Devon, Jane Austen, and ?
We know that Jane Austen visited the county of Devon in 1802/3 and stayed at amongst other places Sidmouth, Dawlish and Teignmouth. We also know that a visit to this area had been planned by the Austens since 1801 and was known by Jane and her sister as the "Dawlish Scheme" We also know that she met someone and that whoever it was she met sparked a slight rift between her and her sister. "A man of the church? Who could she have met.? A closely guarded secret. Nobody knows. A theory, a suggestion or two but no-one really knows.
In moments of dreamy speculation I wondered if it could possibly be Robert Cary Elwes. Spreading himself far and wide you may think. Could he have had any connection with that area of Devon. A huge estate in Yorkshire, estates in Lincolnshire, the estate of Great Billing in Northampton and until the end of the 18th century at least in Throcking Hertfordshire. A wild goose chase up a blind alley leading to a dead end. I thought there was however a glimmer of light to be seen far away near the dead end so to speak.
This glimmer of light came initially via Robert Cary Elwes's youngest son Francis Emilius Cary Elwes. Francis Emilius Cary Elwes was the author and creator of the manuscript written in 1863 which forms a major part of my website blog Wisdenssecret.com. This manuscript contains a day to day diary for 1863 from January 1st until late September 1863. In the early part of May he records a duty visit paid to his mother at a place called Walland Cary that lasted a week. Walland Cary was an estate belonging? to his mother; certainly a member of the Elwes family, near Clovelly in North Devon.
Another gleam of light came through his brother, Richard James Cary Elwes, whose genealogical records show him as being born on the 18th September at Walland Cary.
Still brighter light shone with knowing that Robert Cary Elwes's grand mother went by the maiden name of Martha Cary. It seems as if this estate was inherited at some point by Robert Cary Elwes via his grandmother.
The full light of realisation dawned once I looked a little deeper into the origins of the name Cary. A name that is used as a Christian name, a surname and gives itself to an estate name indicates deeper origins. And so it proves. The name Cary is a family name with possible origins in Ireland, Somerset, 2 places in Devon and as far back as at least the 12th century to France and one named Adam De Kari.
The first origin in Devon is around Clovelly. Members of the Cary family owned estates around Clovelly. In the local church there are tombs of long dead members of the Cary family to include one, who, along with hundreds of others was executed after the Battle of Tewksbury despite seeking sanctuary in Tewksbury Cathedral. The Cary family owned this pretty village from the 14th century until the 18th century.
The second branch is based in South Devon. They owned the Cockington Court estate in the village of Cockington also from the 14th century until the 17th century. There is a pub in nearby Babbacombe called the Cary Arms. During the 17th century the then owner of Cockington Court, Henry Cary supported the wrong side in the English Civil War and was forced to sell Cockington Court to pay fines. Its what often happens to losers in war. Henry may have lost his money or property but he did at least keep his head.
In 1662 Sir George Cary a distant relative of Robert Cary Elwes bought Torre Abbey and this abbey remained within the Cary family until 1930.
How coincidental: Fitzwilliam Darcy has the same name for his given Christian name as his cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam has for his surname. There are many Christian names that can be used as either Christian name or surname. The use of Fitzwilliam as a Christian name though is very rare. I cant imagine it is common practice to use a family surname as a Christian name in a different branch of the family who bear a different surname but it does happen.
An example of it happening is to be found in the Cary family. The surname Cary has its traceable roots way back to the 12th century and amongst other places in the late 18th /early 19th century can be found belonging to George Carey of Torre Abbey. The Elwes name is a branch of the Cary family. Robert Cary Elwes's grandmother was a Cary. Robert Cary Elwes's father, a cousin of the Devon Carys, had as his first given Christian name Cary. A different spelling but then it is being used as Christian name not a surname.
Now that is an interesting coincidence is it not?
Another interesting coincidence to note is that the real Colonel of the Derby Militia had as his Christian name George as in 1802 does Robert Cary Elwes's cousin George Carey.
Yet another interesting coincidence is that George Cavendish like George Cary held the rank of Colonel during the Napoleonic Wars. Darcy's cousin was Colonel Fitzwilliam
One more coincidence for luck. The Christian name of George Cary's father like the Christian name of George Cavendish's father was.... William.
Whilst looking through the Elwes family archives at Northampton Archives I remember coming across material relating to George Cary. Which George Cary and exactly what the material was I do not know. I did not bother looking through it because I did not realise the possibility then of finding anything of interesting relevance. However the very fact that Cary material is to be found within this archive does show that the two branches must have had some sort of interaction. In 2019 I will look again at this archive material. A further search was however impossible to conduct. A reorganisation of the Elwes files and limitations on quantity that could be perused plus an absurd requirement to state what you want to look at BLAH BLAH BLAH! and on it goes. There are at least 10 boxes of uncatologued material! How is anyone supposed to know and how archivists can find what is not catalogued I do not know. I was less than happy.
TORRE ABBEY TORQUAY DEVON IS ONLY 8 AND A HALF MILES FROM TEIGNMOUTH
Firstly: Could Torre Abbey be the original siting of Northanger Abbey?
Jane Austen gives some short descriptions of various aspects of Northanger Abbey in the book Northanger Abbey. Parts of the location, the layout of the buildings and the gardens of Torre Abbey are it seems highly reminiscent of the fictional Northanger Abbey. Although Northanger Abbey is not beside the sea or at leaast if it is we are not told this, it does not have a magnificent medieval barn nor a converted chapel (to have described such recognisable individualistic features would perhaps have given away its location whereas omitting its proximity to the sea and the possession of a barn and chapel makes discovering its location rather more problematic) Add also a billiard room and fine library neither of which were possessed by Torre Abbey and the disguise is complete. Jane Austen describes the ground to the North and East of the Abbey but not to the south which is where the sea is in relation to Torre Abbey.
Although formerly a monastery rather than a convent before the Reformation Torre Abbey was a very wealthy order like Northanger Abbey. Long before in the mid 17th century Torre Abbey similarly to the Tilney family and Northanger Abbey became the property of the Cary family some time after the Dissolution and in the early 1800's had been in their hands of the Cary family for nearly 150 years.
Jane Austen writes of Northanger Abbey "of a large portion of the ancient building still making a part of the present dwelling although the rest was decayed, or of its standing low in a valley, sheltered from the north and east by rising woods of oak" could just as easily have been written of Torre Abbey and its oaks to the north and east. From what remains of the gardens of Torre Abbey it would also appear that these to would have been as impressively substantial and noteworthy just as they were in Northanger Abbey.
Secondly: Torre Abbey is just over 8 miles from Teignmouth whilst Dawlish only a few miles further away at 12 miles. Well within range of a day trip even from Dawlish. A days walk. An easy trip for Jane Austen to have made in 1802/3 when she is known to have been staying in Teignmouth in lodgings known as "Great Bella Vista" Its a bit further away from Dawlish but still easily close enough for a day trip in a carriage.
Thirdly: Is there any possibility that the unnamed mystery individual encountered during the Austen's stay in Devon could possibly be Robert Cary Elwes. That the surprise encounter leading to red faces, beating heart, joint embarrassment between Darcy and Lizzy is a loose account of a meeting between Jane Austen and Robert Cary Elwes 6 years later when time and life may have altered him. Who knows? Its very speculative of course and there is no evidence to confirm that they met but.....
Fourthly: Who was the "churchman" that Jane Austen was reputed to have loved? Could he have been a secret coded reference relating to Torre Abbey? A humorous reference by those who knew. Maybe, maybe not.
Torre Abbey does have similarities strong to Northanger Abbey. The book Northanger Abbey was sold to a publisher by the name of Crosby in 1803. It may have been finished as early as 1799 although there is the probability that it underwent some later revisions. In 1809 Jane Austen writes a letter to the publisher who had made no effort to publish the work a revised edition. The description of Northanger Abbey is towards the latter half of the book. Whether 1799 was the actual date the novel was originally finished or whether nearer 1803 when sold for publishing is not really known; nor is the extent of any revising prior to the letter to the publisher in 1809. So it is definitely not impossible for her to have known about Torre Abbey and written something in relation to it. To me at least the descriptions of Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen do read like the descriptions of a real place that either Jane Austen and or someone she knows has visited and described. They have detail within that sounds based on reality ie Rumford fireplaces.
Rumford fireplaces were invented by Count Benjamin Thompson Rumford in the very late 18th century and in 1802/3 were a recent invention which quickly became very popular for the obvious reasons that they were far more efficient in giving out heat, all the smoke went up the chimney and last but not least for the same amount of heat they consumed a lot less wood. He wrote 2 papers on the subject one in 1796 and one in 1798. A particularly noticeable quality of a Rumford would be their decrease in size and style when compared with the enormous fireplaces and surrounds that would, previous to their installation have been in place. This is how Jane Austen describes the fireplace in Northanger Abbey " The fire - place, where she had expected the ample width and ponderous carving of former times was contraced to a Rumford"
Their shape was very distinctive as the fireplace in the dining room at Torre Abbey shows. ( see Below ) There are online images of the dining room at Torre Abbey. Its not a small room and the fireplace is is very like a Rumford design. Originally the fireplace would have been faced with plain marble slabs. Although the encaustic tiles are late Victorian or later these could have been added much later.
There are two principal features that distinguish a Rumford fireplace. One is the fireplace as described above, the other is the chimney. The chimney was designed and shaped so as to facilitate the efficient and speedy removal of smoke up the chimney. Unfortunately the chimneys are now all blocked up and so it is not at the moment possible to discern the shape of the chimney and show whether it is indeed a Rumford fireplace or not.
Today there are only 4 fireplaces left that are visible. The chimneys of all 4 are blocked. 200 years ago, a place the size of Torre Abbey must have had many more fireplaces than just 4. The rest today are now all removed, bricked up etc.
It's not impossible that some 21st century imaging maybe able to give an idea of the profile of the chimney but firstly this is not cheap and secondly will require the permission of Torre Abbey management.
To the left are photographs of the dining room at Torre Abbey and the "Rumford" fireplace in the dining room at Torre Abbey. It is very much like a "Rumford "fireplace according to an American expert on the subject. To be sure the flue would need to be checked but at first site "It looks like a Rumford" The dining room is a large room and for such a large room this appears to be a rather modest sized fireplace and whilst the fire surround is not unattractive it is a much smaller and less ornate fire surround than might be expected in such a large main room.
Doctor Michael Rhodes is the author of a book about Torre Abbey entitled "Devons Torre Abbey Faith Politics and Grand Designs" Doctor Michael Rhodes is a former Head of Museum services for Torbay Council. I contacted him about the possibilities that Northanger Abbey and its similarities if any with Torre Abbey. He has duly read the relevant text from Northanger Abbey and has this to say. From the description of Northanger Abbey it is certainly plausible that Jane Austen visited the abbey. The owner of the house at the start of the 19th century George Cary did have visitors some of whom would be shown around parts of the abbey. So given that in 1802 Jane Austen was nearby in Teignmouth and Dawlish its not impossible that she and her sister visited Torre Abbey and did get to see inside. In some of her books Jane Austen does describe visits made by various characters to places of interest that relate to the book ie. Pemberley so the practice of visiting country piles like Torre Abbey was a practice with which she was familiar and no doubt, sooner or later, somewhere or other, experiences.
He then says that whilst there are definite similarities there are also some dissimmilarities most notably the view of the sea to the south from balcony windows, the absence of a magnificent medieval barn, no description of the fine private chapel, the inclusion of a billiard room and well stocked library. These highly distinctive points are significant. However if Jane Austen had mentioned the splendid views of the sea to the south from the balconies, the magnificent medieval barn and the very fine private chapel then her description would have been highly recognisable as Torre Abbey. By omitting these features and adding a non- existent billiard room and well stocked library an abbey not immediately like Torre Abbey is easily and simply created. He also lists the similarities as he sees them between Torre Abbey and Northanger Abbey.
"You will find information about the phases of building works in my book on Torre Abbey, which is available for a song on Amazon. If you can obtain this, you will see that the South East wing and East side of the Abbey were subject to a series of alterations and improvements during the late 18th century, the most major of which occurred between 1803 and 1809" (so would pre-date the publication of Jane Austen's novel. There is however evidence that Jane Austen did do some revision a few years prior to eventual publication). The book also describes how Torquay started to become a tourist resort from the late 18th century, and how genteel visitors would call upon the Cary family, and might be shown the principal rooms. He goes on to say
1. There is no evidence of a pinery at the period you are interested in, though they could have had one.
2. The main staircase dates from 1741-3 and does indeed have carved oak ornaments.
3. The drawing room was very large and had folding doors (removed in 1930, though I have a photo of them prior to this). It dates from the Napoleonic period, though I suspect its post 1803.
4. Its hard to imagine a visitor who would not have mentioned the sea views and the balconies off the 1st floor drawing room.
I have refreshed my memory of Northanger Abbey by re-reading sections of text. I think it is certainly plausible that Jane Austen visited Torre Abbey and was inspired by what she saw. The Abbey in her book is nevertheless definitely not a description of Torre Abbey:
Points of similarity
* Long damp passages
* Narrow cells
* ruined chapel
* contemporary furniture
* Chapel of St. Anthony 2 miles away is reminiscent of St. Mary's Chapel 2 miles away from Torre Abbey
* Large modern Gothic windows
* Rooms look onto quadrangle of former cloister
* The Abbey had a collection of old deeds and papers (now in the Devon Records Office)
* It had a small hot house
* It had a grove of Scots firs
* A library (though the Cary's did not read much, and their library was that of the Catholic parish priest)
* Family portraits
* Real drawing room, as compared to the 1st floor drawing room with folding doors, could refer to the ballroom (now Mayor's Parlour)"
* There were shutters in the bedrooms, as there were in most similar properties in the late 18th to early 19th centuries.
* There was a sizable kitchen garden, as was the case in most properties of similar size.
* There was a construction of some kind in the garden immediately behind the abbey, in the former cloister area. No pictures survive to say anything about its size or construction. The family used it to take breakfast in the summer months.
* If the kitchen was modernised in the late 18th century, all traces of the improvements have been obliterated by the more extensive improvements of the late Victorian period. The only features that might survive from this era are the octagonal wooden pillars that propped the sagging floor of the 18th century sitting room above, though its perhaps more likely that they date to the early 1800s."
Northanger Abbey does contain two further very interesting passages that could relate to Torre Abbey. I quote from the first edition "The elegance of the breakfast set forced itself on Catherine's notice when they were seated at table; and, luckily it had been the General's choice. He was enchanted by the approbation of his taste, confessed it to be neat and simple, thought it right to encourage the manufacture of his country, to his uncritical palate, and for his part, the tea was as well flavoured from the clay of Staffordshire as Dresden or Seve. But this was quite an old set purchased two years ago."
Firstly and most obviously the French porcelain manufacturer Sevres has been spelt incorrectly. In the first edition it is spelt Seve instead of Sevres. Why should that be? One reason I think could be because she did not know how it was spelt and her spelling was based upon another's incorrect pronunciation. Another reason could be that she was copying the spelling of another.
Could this other pronunciation for example have been by the owner in 1802-3 of Torre Abbey George Cary when Jane Austen wrote Northanger Abbey. He was familiar with France having received a Catholic education at the English Secular College in Duoai. Or could this incorrect spelling have come via one of her two brothers Charles and Francis (see next section below) George Cary was familiar with some at least of the finest English bone china dinner services having commissioned one with the family emblem, from Chamberlains of Worcester. In Doctor Michael Rhodes book about Torre Abbey there is an illustration of a soup tureen, with its cover, plate and ladle from this superlative service. The dating of this set is 1786 - 1810. Whether this dating is because of the imprecision of the dating marks or whether its manufacture was spread out over this period I do not know.
That Northanger is not an exact description of Torre Abbey is to be expected is it not. An exact description would have been recognisable. Singing the praises of the wonderful sea views that the abbey looked onto would have made it unmistakable. If Jane Austen had wanted you to know where it was she would I think have named it. The fact that she has not described it accurately creates a little more mystery.
There is indeed a ruined chapel close to Torre Abbey. Although previously long thought to be part of Torre Abbey 20th century research suggests it may never have been . Whatever the case, there is a ruined chapel nearby.
In early 2021 I learnt that Robert Cary Elwes also knew something of France and I would imagine french bread having spent time in Paris in 1790. A portrait current whereabouts unknown was painted of him by society painter of the day Ludwig Guttenbrun.
The second interesting point to make in relation to France comes towards the end of Northanger Abbey. Catherine's mother says to her "I did not quite like, at breakfast, to hear you talk so much about the French bread at Northanger."
Given George Cary's French education it seems eminently possible that French bread could well have been served at breakfast.
In the very early years of the first half of the 19th century Torquay was a very small area with just 40 or so houses and 2 inns. But visitors had started to arrive for summer holidays partly at least because of the bather friendly conditions, of definite appeal to Jane Austen who enjoyed the seaside and its bathing pleasures. Why should she not have visited the area close to Torre Abbey in 1802/3. Nor was it unusual for visitors to call at Torre Abbey because it was the principal house in the area. Why also might she not have called here. 2 ladies of genteel birth and upbringing with the naval connections of 2 brothers.
Whilst reading Doctor Michael Rhodes's book about Torre Abbey I have been struck by the possibilty, nay probability that Jane Austen may have known about the existence of Torre Abbey for a period of months perhaps even years. Her knowledge, if she did indeed know about Torre Abbey could have come from either of her brothers, Francis and Charles. Especially Francis, the elder brother who we know wrote many letters to their sisters detailing their activities in the navy. As officers in the navy, and in the Channel Fleet they must have spent some time on board one ship or another in the English Channel. In times of very stormy weather ships would if possible take shelter. One place where shelter was superb and which each brother must have been aware of at least was Tor Bay, a large natural harbour situated on an easterly facing coast and thus largely protected from the westerly storms. Overlooking Tor Bay is Torre Abbey. Its owner in the late 18th early 19th century was George Cary. A man whom, according to Michael Rhodes was known to offer hospitality to naval officers. Indeed Admiral John Jervis Earl St Vincent* is known to have spent a winter in early 1801 recuperating there. It is well documented that George Cary dispensed considerable time and hospitality to naval officers, to the extent that Torre Abbey was nicknamed "the George Inn" It is, I think inconceivable that officers as intelligent as the Austens undoubtedly were, who had spent time as officers in the navy up and down the Channel for many years , could not or did not know of the shelter that Tor Bay provided and further I suggest did not make some use of it at some time and if they did shelter or visit Tor Bay I think it unlikely that neither brother never went ashore.
Many of Francis's log books survive from his earliest days as a midshipman, then as a lieutenant and later as captain. Log books of course only record day to day events on board ship. So in all probability I can only expect to find positional entries recording mooring/sheltering in Tor Bay. Written entries recording what occurred on land at Torre Abbey cannot really be expected unless they relate perhaps to Admiral John Jervis Earl St. Vincent and the time during which he was recuperating and had an office in Torre Abbey. These log books are available to view. At some time in 2019/20 I will be examining these looking for entries that relate to Tor Bay, and if there are any I shall give further details.
*If one were looking for a model on whom General Tilney could have been based Admiral John Jervis Earl St. Vincent might be worth considering.
George Cary the owner of Torre Abbey during the period 1792 - 1805 was not a general as was the owner of Northanger Abbey General Tilney. But he did have militaristic leanings. Apparently so Doctor Michael Rhodes says he raised a corps of volunteers and liked nothing better than marching practice and pretend battles after which he invited the officers back for dinner. He quickly achieved the rank of Colonel but as a Roman Catholic was forbidden from becoming a professional soldier and holding a commission and upwards to becoming a senior officer. The Napoleonic wars were taking place whilst he was the owner of Torre Abbey and as part of the defense for the Tor Bay area, in 1803 his corps became a part of the Haytor Regiment. From 1803 an area known as Berry Head was garrisoned by a detachment of the Haytor Regiment under Colonel Cary of Tor Bay.
I have never heard of Torre Abbey as being a possibility for being the original location for Northanger Abbey. There were of course many abbeys in Britain in medieval times. But following the dissolution of the monasteries many were allowed to go to rack and ruin.
It seems to me though that a systematic search ought to have unearthed the possibility of Torre Abbey as being the original model. A systematic search based upon say a 20 mile radius of anywhere Jane Austen is known to have visited would have eliminated many candidates. None in Scotland and the north of England. None in the East of England above Kent. None in Northern Ireland only a few possibilities in Wales and then the ones outside a 20 mile radius of anywhere Jane Austen is known to have spent time. Of these remaining discard any that are ruins and any with many owners and there simply cannot be that many abbeys left that could be candidates to be the original location.
Of those left Torre Abbey must surely be a prime suspect when considering where the original model for Northanger Abbey could in reality have been and therefore worthy of some further attention. Its close proximity to where Jane Austen is known to have spent 2 summers whilst writing? Northanger Abbey in nearby Teignmouth and Dawlish demands to be researched. How could an abbey as substantial as Torre Abbey was, be ignored. A little further investigation would have revealed the commonality of its ownership by the same family for 150 years or so. A little more detective work would have discovered the certain knowledge of Torbay as a safe sheltered anchorage in stormy weather and thereby certain knowledge of Torre Abbey by her two brothers Francis and Charles, officers in the Navy. Both of whom regularly wrote letters to their sisters in some detail, giving substantial details about their lives and events in their lives. Some, if not all of Francis Austen's log books still exist. These probably do not mention going ashore for say dinner etc in Torre Abbey but as a minimum they will include a ships daily positions. It seems quite likely, probable even, that surviving logbooks will show the ship Francis Austen was an officer aboard mooring in Torbay at some time between when he first became a midshipman in 1795 and when Northanger Abbey was published.
Francis Austen and Admiral John Jervis were to some extent at least, known to each other from as early a date as sometime in 1799. Francis Austen was appointed commander of the ship Peterel on 3rd February 1799 and at a later date in 1799 is known to have delivered despatches from John Jervis also known as the Earl St. Vincent whilst at Gibraltar. They were for Rear-Admiral Nelson and he arrived with them in May 1799 at Palermo.
A description that came via Francis for example may well not have included a note about the view of the sea. It was a view to him that he saw every day and therefore perhaps not really worthy of comment. Another point to note is the precise orientation of the description of the abbey sheltered by oak trees to the North and East. A naval officer quite probably carried a compass with him at all times and therefore was easily able to state whether something was to the North or East whereas the majority of people would say behind or in front or to the left or to the right. Locations as possible original source settings for many of the places described by Jane Austen surface regularly. I'm amazed to find that nobody seems to have suggested Torre Abbey as the original source for Northanger Abbey.
Northanger Abbey underwent later revisions before its later posthumous publication. So there is a possibility that later detail about Torre Abbey may have been added later also.
To me Jane Austen's descriptions of Northanger Abbey sound as if they may have some factual basis. Torre Abbey does seem to have strong similarities. Possibly she went there 1802/3 when her and her sister were staying nearby in Dawlish and Teignmouth. But if not one or both of her brothers could easily have provided enough detail from their own knowledge IF the ships they were officers on ever moored in Torbay. Both brothers were officers in the Channel Fleet. Its just not credible to propose that neither had any idea about Torre Abbey. But suppose and it requires some imaginative supposing not then they both must have known naval officers who did know about Torre Abbey.
I must make one further point about the possibility that Torre Abbey is to some extent the basis for Northanger Abbey. Firstly this book was finished circa 1804. Secondly during Catherine's guided tour around the abbey General Tilney names a few of the distinguished characters who have stayed there. Two gentleman who stayed there of particular note are John Jervis Earl St. Vincent who stayed for 9 months and who I earlier suggested could have influenced the portrayal of the character General Tilney. The second very distinguished person to stay there, and quite probably the most famous Englishman at that time was Admiral Horatio Nelson who stayed for 1 night in 1801 and albeit a few years later in 1807 Caroline Princess of Wales.
Maybe Torre Abbey is not the original inspiration for Northanger Abbey. But it has strong claims to be the original inspirational source that most if not all others do not have.
Ashton Dennis, the pseudonymous name used by Jane Austen in a letter to the publisher Crosby had in a moment of idle curiosity inspired me to type this name into the Scrabble Word finder to see if anything of interest materialised and thus was I able to find two reasons for the choice of the name Ashton Dennis. ie. the words ASTONISHED and ASTONISHMENT which can be found by deleting 2 letters or exchanging 2 letters
It was a similar impulse that led me to type in the name Northanger to see if anything with disguised interest sailed into view. The name Northanger alone produced nothing that I could see so I tried with one question mark. Here again nothing. So I tried 2 question marks . 3 results were returned. Archenteron, Interrobang
(everyday words not) and most intriguingly Grandmother.
Why is Grandmother of such intriguing interest ? Answer Torre Abbey is the abbey that I think provided at least some of the inspiration for Northanger Abbey. Its owner George Cary was a cousin of Robert Cary Elwes. RCE was a cousin of George Cary via his grandmother! who was born Martha Cary. Now that is interesting is it not? A coincidence of synchronicity? Or a deliberate clue to concealed identification. Personally, I have no problem with saying and thinking that this is yet another example of quite stunning ingenuity by Jane Austen. But maybe it is yet another mysterious coincidence not dissimilar to the coincidences provided by the name Ashton Dennis. Lol.
At the time of writing late 2018 I have yet to examine these logbooks but hope to in 2019/2020
N.B. Due to Covid 19 this has not been possible to do.
A further Easter Egg maybe contained in the village of Woodston the small village in which Catherine is taken by General Tilney to the parsonage that is the accommodation that comes with Henry Tilney's living. If the D of Woodston is changed for an L the name Woolston is made. About a 3 hour drive away from Teignmouth and significantly less from Torre Abbey and less than 20 miles is the hamlet of Woolston Green. It appears to have had no church or parsonage in it but it does, by exchanging the L for a D lend itself to the easy creation of another Easter Egg. I have tried to find out whether the Cary family owned land or had the gift of a living anywhere near but with no success. The Cary's were a Catholic family so quite possibly they did not have the gift of a living in their hands Dr. Michael Rhodes suggested that finding out by going through all the documents and records would be the task of 2 Ph.D's. So maybe not. But
There is however one other place by the name of Woolston that I feel sure Jane Austen knew about. It is close (2 and a half miles) to Castle Square in Southampton where she lived for a few years. It must have been visible across the river Itchen too. It involves a ferry ride across the river Itchen to reach it though. It would appear from a quick look at the contours on an ordnance survey map of the area and as expected considering its closeness to the sea to be rather flat, as was Woodston according to General Tilney's apology for its flatness. It would, had she chosen to go on the Itchen ferry have been easily accessible to Jane Austen. However if she ever went there it does not appear as if Woolston in the early 19th century was anything more than a hamlet.
A church known as Pear Tree Church was built at Pear Tree Green in 1618. It adjoins the parish of Woolston. Whether a modern parsonage was built anywhere close to the year 1800 I do not know. The same can be said as to whether there was a view of a pretty cottage from the parsonage.
A biography of Jane Austen by Paula Byrne entitled "The Real Jane Austen A Life in Small Things" has this to say about time spent in Southampton and where she went and what she did "The Austens made family excursions by ferry boat on the River Itchen. They saw naval sites and the Gothic ruins of Netley Abbey. Jane continued her long walks surrounding the town beside Southampton Water and and along the banks of the Itchen and Test rivers." The Itchen ferry carried goods and people from Southampton to Woolston and to Netley Abbey which is 2.2 miles from Woolston. I do not know where Paula Byrne sourced this information but assuming this is the case and I'm sure she is not mistaken when she writes this and if this is so Jane Austen must have known about the village of Woolston.
NUMBER AND ANAGRAM PUZZLES Part 3
A Recap about Easter Eggs: I can see that errors have been made. To balance this though there are many more to reinforce the premise that there are indeed anagram puzzles within Jane Austen's work. It's a slow process and it is not until I get close to the end of this section that I really begin to understand. However at the time of writing whilst I may not fully understand yet I am certain in some of the following examples found that I am right and by the end of part 3 I know I'm right in part at least.
1) Jane Austen owned a set of ivory letters now in the British Museum and undoubtedly she would have played a common parlour game/s that revolved around the creation and discovery of anagrams.
2) She writes about a game involving anagrams in Emma (See blunders and Dixon) and she also enjoyed puzzles
3) The possibility therefore of Jane Austen making use of names to create Easter Eggs (anagrams) is certainly a feasible concept.
4) I feel sure also that she easily had sufficient ability as a writer and was smart enough as an individual to have had the idea to incorporate "Easter Eggs" within the texts.
5) Puzzles and riddles and codes all provided her with amusement. Should it be a surprise to encounter anything of this nature in her work. The surprise I think is not to find them, not that they are there.
I have said before that I think I have found 4 methods by which Jane Austen inserted Easter Egg anagrams into her work by using names. They are
1) By adding a letter to a name that she knew ie D to Cary to create Darcy.
2) By a straightforward anagram ie. Maddison to Diamonds
3) By exchanging a letter from a name to create a word that relates to the text in some way or to the context of the paragraph in which it appears ie. Baldwin: exchange the letter W for a G and the word Balding can be made (see description of Baldwin in Persuasion) Below is a list of the names and the anagrams that can be made using this method in which I think it is most difficult to dispute that these are the deliberate creative intentions of Jane Austen.
4) By deleting a letter to create a word that relates to the text or context of the paragraph in which it appears. ie. Baddeley: By deleting the letter B the word Delayed can be made which relates to the context of the paragraph in which the name Baddeley first appears namely Delay.
But after reflection, I have realised that perhaps in reality there are only 2 methods that should be considered.
Method 1 only exists for Cary To Darcy and Elwes to Sewell and should really be part of method 4. By removing the D from Darcy the name Cary can be made and the L from Sewell (as in Sewell's farm) the name Elwes can be made. Of relevance of course only if Jane Austen knew or knew of Robert Cary Elwes. *(N.B. Later reflections based on greater understanding force me to revise this again)
Method 2 only exists for Maddison. Maddison so far as I can tell is the only straightforward anagram from a name to a word that I have found. Although it relates to the context of the paragraph in which it appears and although I feel certain that Jane Austen knew perfectly well that by using the name Maddison the anagram diamonds could be found, and that this was indeed her intention, because this is the only exact anagram from a name to a word that I have found I need to accept the possibility that this is just a chance occurrence. I would make the point though that it is not that easy to make words from 7 or 8 letter names. * See "Now I begin to Understand....I think"
Which leaves methods 3 and 4.
Some of the names/ anagrams that I have listed initially are quite possibly wrong. Maybe I have come to the wrong answers just like her earliest audience. But some of the names/anagrams cannot be written off so easily. Listed below are some of the most significant and most probable examples for both methods.
Method 1: exchanging one letter for another and creating an anagram that relates to the text in general or context of the passage in which it appears.
Reynolds / Splendor
Baldwin / Balding
Nicholls / Scullion
Elton / Alone
Fairfax /Affairs, or possibly Affaire
Gilberts / Trebling
Some Change / Chameleons
The Hair / Harriet
Matilda / Marital
Danvers / Servant
Serle The cook by the name of Serle should be included too. Exchange the R in Serle for a W and the name Elwes can be made. From gentleman Darcy/ Cary to farmer Sewell/ Elwes to the servant class that a cook belongs to in Serle/ Elwes. Is the choice of the name Serle really just an accident to which no deeper hidden meaning should be ascribed?