These letters graciously have been shared with the Victorian Web by Eunice and Ron Shanahan; they have been taken from their website. The letters give an insight into the daily lives and concerns of 'ordinary' people without whom history would not exist. The letters are a wonderful example of how much history may be gleaned from such sources.
Since the original letter was posted on the web, I have received the following information by e-mails
- the book by F Dawtrey Drewitt: Bombay in the Days of George IV — Memoirs of Sir Edward West ( Longmans, Green & Co, London, 2nd edition 1935) contains the diary of Lady West, the wife of Sir Edward West, judge in Bombay 1823 — 1828.
Her entry for June 15, 1825 reads as follows :- "We hear that Sir Ralph Palmer is arrived at Madras in 85 days from England and that Sir Charles Grey is appointed Chief Justice at Calcutta. Edward has written to them both to congratulate them". A footnote says: Sir R Palmer succeeded Sir Edmond Stanley as Chief Justice of Madras.
- Another correspondent said: "I have been researching the deCoetlogon family in ENGLAND, for a friend of mine. I have a Rev. Charles Edward deCoetlogon who may have been the son of Rev. Dennis Claudius deCoetlogon and his wife Ann Bradbury. No mention of his wife's name has emerged. Charles did have a daughter, Charlotte Sarah deCoetlogon who married Capt John Gascoigne. From various letters it has been determined that Charles was a French Huguenot. There is a large book on the deCoetlogon families in France, that has been filmed and is available on an LDS film #1573165.
The Cator Connection
Pat Manning in Beckenham, Kent, gave information about the Cator and Bertie family members in Beckenham, and would be delighted if any further information could be sent directly to her here. The information is quite complex, but most importantly she has identified the writer 'Emma Bertie' and also the man named in the letter as 'Peter'.
- Firstly, the address from where the letter was written is actually The Oakery, and not the Bakery
- Emma Bertie the writer of the letter was the eldest of two known children of Admiral Sir Albemarle Bertie and Emma Heywood. The other daughter was Louisa (mentioned in the letter).
- Sir Albemarle Bertie's sister Diana married Joseph Cator. The Peter mentioned in the letter was the youngest surviving child born 1786 of this Joseph Cator, rich merchant, brother of John Cator, timber merchant who made the family fortunes. Their pedigree is in Burke's Landed Gentry.
- Peter was largely responsible for the setting out of Beckenham as a desirable suburb which it remains today. He was one of the founder members of the Foxgrove Cricket Club in 1866 -(the tennis courts of which are used today as one of the tennis tournaments preceding Wimbledon).
- Peter married Martha Alder in 1823 who is the wife that you speak of. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge and became a barrister and for a long time a judge in Madras. Peter Cator was in the Indian Civil Service as Registrar of the Supreme Court at Madras. He founded the Peter Cator Memorial Prize Fund to encourage biblical and other learning for British subjects educated in India. Peter Cator spent his last 12 years in Beckenham from about the early 1860's. He died in 1873.
- His eldest brother, John Barwell Cator, gained his name Barwell from his father's friend Richard Barwell a writer in the East India Co in 1756 and the Cator fortune descended through the John Barwell line.One of the direct descendants was Betty Cator who was bridesmaid to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and married the Queen Mum's brother.
- Bertie Cator to whom she refers is another brother. Bertie Cornelius was the 5th son, Peter Cator's next but one brother. He entered the RN in 1800 on his uncle Albemarle's ship "Windsor Castle". His uncle was Flag Captain to Sir Charles COTTON on the Home station. Bertie married Sophia Atkinson in 1816 and eventually became an Admiral.
- The "John" of the letter, John Barwell Cator, bought land at Woodbastwick in Norfolk near Norwich and took over The Hall becoming Lord of the Manor of Woodbastwick as well as Beckenham. At the time of the letter he had a young family and he lived "the life of Riley", travelling between Beckenham, Ireland and Woodbastwick and as the letter indicates, Worthing and Brighton as well!
- Emma Bertie died in 1840 and her will listed various bequests, all naming her various relatives, including the fact that Peter Cator was her cousin.
Pat is trying to contact the descendants of another brother, Charles Cator,( the grandson of the first Charles Cator brother of Peter Cator of the letter), who emigrated to Australia, but who is buried in the family vault in Calcutta, India. The family line is this :-
- Charles Cator married Emily Elizabeth Swain
- one of their daughters Audrey Emily Theodora Cator (died and buried in Melbourne) born onboard a P & O vessel in the Bay of Biscay 1879, married Alfred Agacy
- their daughter Evelyn Margaret Agacy married Thomas Edward Bell
- their daughter June Bell married a Mr Freeman, and they had four children.
3 December 2002