Gray and Inge Connections
On 5 March 1842, Eyre Evans Kenny married by licence, for the second time when aged 58 years, to Frances Anne Gray at Edgbaston, Birmingham, Warwickshire. Frances was the daughter of Edward Gray and Frances Owen.
Edward was the son of James Gray and Elizabeth Shaw who were married on 14 April 1789 at St Martin’s Church, Birmingham, Warwickshire. We have yet to discover their background, however this couple had at least five children.
William, born 18 May 1790, baptised 9 January 1791 at Harborne, Staffordshire
Edward, baptised 7 January 1793 at Harborne
James, born 30 June 1796, baptised 19 February 1802 at Harborne
Elizabeth, born 9 November 180, baptised 19 February 1802 at Harborne
Mary Ann, born 29 October 1803, baptised 9 March 1804 at Harborne
Edward married Frances Owen at nearby Old Swinford in Worcestershire, on 18 March 1813 and they had five children.
Christopher Owen, born 7 April 1814, baptised 1 May 1814 at Harborne, died 13 February 1839 at Kings Norton
Elinor, born 12 July 1815, baptised 6 August 1815 at Harborne, died 22 October 1827 at Harborne
Frances Anne, born 30 April 1817, baptised 26 May 1817 at Harborne, and baptised again on 19 July 1818 at Harborne
Sarah Maria, born 18 December 1818, baptised 17 January 1819 at Harborne, died 18 July 1836 at Harborne
Rebecca, born 30 March 1824, baptised 13 June 1824 at Harborne died 17 December 1832 at Harborne
Harborne was first mentioned in the Doomsday Book in 1086 as follows:-
Horeborne. There is land for one plough.
Robert holds it.
Smethwick. There is land for two ploughs and Tipton five ploughs.
William holds it.
In these lands or hamlets,
there are in the demesne seven ploughs and sixty villeins,
and twenty-two borderers with twenty-five ploughs.
Amongst them all there are fifty-two acres of meadow and a mill.
The spelling of Harborne has appeared with several variations through the centuries, and the derivation of the place name has often been disputed. One of the more probable suggestions is 'boundary brook', although 'high brow' and 'dirty brook' are also possibilities.
It is believed that St Peter's Church was founded during the 13th century, and the land close to it would have been an early area of settlement. Later some of the larger houses in Harborne were built close by.
Since Harborne had ceased to be church property in the 16th century it had passed through the ownership of the Dudley, Cornwallis, Foley and Birch families. Around 1780 Thomas Green, then Lord of the Manor, built Harborne House. Thomas Green's house still stands, and is known as Bishops Croft. It is now the residence of the Bishop of Birmingham.
Harborne remained a small village on the border of Staffordshire, until the Industrial Revolution. By the mid 19th century the development of the village was accelerating. An 1845 directory of the county includes a description of the village:
The chief agricultural productions are corn and potatoes, with market gardening carried on to a considerable extent, particularly for strawberries. There is a blacking manufactory and a steel mill. The labouring population are chiefly nailers, working in their own cottages.
Nail makers are first recorded in Harborne in a legal document of 1600, but it had been an established occupation in these parts for many years before. Often it would be an alternative employment to agricultural labouring when the weather prevented working on the land. The whole family might be involved, helping at the small forge built to the side or rear of the cottage. Iron was supplied by the nail masters, a few of whom were among the wealthier residents of Harborne. A finished load of nails might have to be carried into Birmingham to be exchanged for the raw material to fashion the next load. With the coming of the Industrial Revolution in the early 19th century, small scale production of nails was soon in decline.
The growth of its neighbour, Birmingham, into a major city had far reaching effects, culminating in a loss of independence as it was swallowed up as a suburb of Britain's second city in 1891 and within the county of Warwickshire. At the turn of the 19th Century, there were under 1500 inhabitants. By 1900, the population had grown to 10,000.
Perhaps the Gray family were in the nail making business for that was the occupation of Edward Gray in 1841, see later. Other towns that feature in the Gray and Kenny history, namely Birmingham, Kings Norton and Edgbaston, are close by.
Frances Owen was the daughter of Christopher Owen and Sarah Cox who married on 22 February 1784 at Old Swinford, Worcestershire. Christopher and Sarah had at least six children.
Frances, baptised 28 October 1785 at Old Swinford
James Cope, baptised 4 January 1787 at Old Swinford
Sarah, baptised 4 September 1788 at Old Swinford
Ann, baptised 5 August 1790 at Old Swinford
Christopher, baptised 8 June 1793 at Old Swinford
Timothy Milliachap, baptised 14 April 1797 at Old Swinford
We could not establish the birth or baptism of Christopher Owen or the names of his parents. Sarah Cox was baptised on 23 March 1760 at Old Swinford, the daughter of Samuel Cox and Anne Cope who married on 6 September 1758 at Old Swinford.
It is likely that Samuel Cox was baptised on 3 April 1737 at Old Swinford, the son of Richard Cox and Elizabeth Moore who were married at Old Swinford on 26 January 1729. It is likely that Ann Cope was baptised on 26 February 1735 at Old Swinford, the daughter of Richard and Catherine Cope.
The occupation of Christopher Owen is not known, but we can draw on the fact that he provided his daughter Frances a very good education (and it can be assumed her brothers and sisters as well). This is an indicator that the Owen family was probably well off and one of the leading families in Old Swinford. Possibly Christopher had a significant role in the production of nails and/or glass.
Old Swinford is a parish in an area known as the Black Country, which is a group of towns to the north and west of Birmingham. The Black Country towns were known as 'Red by Night, Black by Day' due to the amount of foundries, lime kilns, collieries, backyard chain making and nail making that went on in the district. It's known as the 'Black Country' due to the colour of the ground. The famous ten yard coal seam outcropped here and the ground is black. Old Swinford was on the edge of this area and beyond the coal seam, and therefore did not have the large foundries, kilns and collieries.
It is a large and populous parish situated near the canal and the Stour River, and includes the towns of Stourbridge, Ambleside, Lye, Upper Swinford, Old Swinford, Wollaston and Wollescott.
In medieval times Swinford (then spelt Swynford) was an extensive manor bordering the large manor of Swinford Regis (Kingswinford). Swinford is mentioned in a Saxon charter of 950 AD (spelt Suineforde). It is also mentioned in William the Conqueror’s Doomsday Survey when the manor was in the possession of William Fitz Ansculf a powerful Norman Lord who resided in his hilltop castle at Dudley. ‘Old’ was added to Swynford to distinguish it from the adjacent Swinford Regis.
The Manor of Old Swinford changed hands many times during the Middle Ages. In 1482 Henry VII granted the manor, then held by the Dean and Canons of St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, the right to hold a weekly market with two fairs each year. In 1486 the charter was renewed by Edward IV to the Earl of Ormond, who then held the manor, as a reward for his services in the Wars of the Roses.
The Foleys, whose wealth was based on the expanding iron industry, took control of Old Swinford Manor and brought with them their substantial family fortune. In 1666 Thomas Foley founded a charity school for boys at Old Swinford. He set aside the majority of the parish of Pedmore to form part of the endowment of his Old Swinford Hospital.
Up until the 1860’s Old Swinford was a poor village of nailers and glassmakers. However from then on it changed as developers and wealthy families saw it as a desirable area to live in because it was on the edge of the extensive industrial estates of Birmingham.
Returning to the story of Frances Gray (nee Owen) it is apparent that she had had a good education and being a female, would have been educated at home by a tutor. Frances kept a diary on occasions, wrote poetry and most interestingly wrote a letter to her first daughter. We understand that it was not uncommon for parents of that time to provide such advice in writing to their children. It is a very interesting document that reflects the views of an early 19th century mother. Perhaps one of the reasons for writing such a document is that there was a high risk of death for a mother giving birth. Perhaps Frances had had a difficult pregnancy with her first daughter Elinor. Another interesting observation is that Frances was also going to write a similar letter to her son.
Letter of Advice
Mother to her Daughter
My dear Child
Before you are of an age to receive and profit by my instructions, Death perhaps may have taken me from you, this consideration induces me thus to address you, that you may have the consolation of knowing, if you survive me, that you had a Mother who was sensibly alive to your interests, and who was desirous, as far as possible, to promote your happiness in both worlds; but. if (as I hope will be the case) I should be spared to assist in forming your mind, and see your reason and judgement matured, I shall receive a sufficient remuneration for my trouble, by seeing you accept with gratitude and pleasure, this little tribute, of a parents love.
It is my earnest wish to convey to you, through this medium as far as my abilities will permit me, that advice and instruction, which, if observed, will be most likely to conduce to your comfort here, and promote your internal welfare. May the Almighty aid my endeavours to succour the mind of my child, and render her object worthy of His care!
Your present early age (15 mths) renders it impossible for me to ascertain your disposition, or to know what will prove the bent of your genius, but they will I humbly trust, both unfold themselves as a mother’s fond hopes would have them. You are born in that happy mediocrity of life, which if it should please God to continue you in, is the most easy of any to support; but as it is impossible to foresee your future destination, it shall be my care, to prepare your mind to receive any change that may befal you. If good fortune, or what is commonly so called, an abundance of this worlds goods should be your portion, do not set your heart upon them, remember, “Riches maketh unto themselves wings and flee away”: likewise remember, if much is given you, much will be required of you: the Almighty dispenses bounties to some of his creatures, and they should prove, as they were doubtless intended, incitements to virtue. Our activity and vigilance should increase with our Riches and the only acceptable return we can make to the giver of all good, after our mental gratitude, is to dispense in return, His bounties to those who need them, as far as we have the power. In this exercise of your duty beware of ostentation, a word, too frequently mistaken for charity, but as different in its sense as light and darkness: I cannot better convince you of this, and, at the same time afford you a guide for your conduct, than by referring you to the 13th Chapter of St Pauls 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, and that you may avoid hypocrisy, and know that the Almighty rewardth it not, I again refer you to our Saviours own words in the 6th Chapter of St Matthews Gospel, from which chapter, you will likewise be able to derive much other useful information which I trust you will profit by.
If the reverse of good fortune should be your lot, and you should have to contend with poverty and adversity, do not yield to unavailing regret, and cherish the idea that in such a situation you can do no good, in the most abject poverty there is room for the exercise of every virtue; if you have not riches to dispose of you may still render essential service to your fellow creatures by numerous good offices, which discretion and humanity, if you follow their dictates will point out to you. Distress is not always alleviated by pecuniary aid, when the mind labours under affliction the poor, as well as the rich, have it in their power to mitigate the sufferers anguish by kind commiseration, and a charity of this kind is as grateful to the Almighty, as the distribution of thousands from those who have them to bestow.
That there are greater hardships to be borne in a state of poverty than of wealth is without doubt; but these are generally rendered greater than they ever would be, for want of that cheerful, patient resignation to the will of God, which is ever found to be the characteristic of a true christian. In poverty you will find a balm for your sorrows in the recollection that the prayers ascending from a cottage find as easy access to the throne of Grace, as those from a palace: never then indulge a spirit of discontent, or presume to murmur at the decrees of infinite wisdom.
My next care, shall be to point out to you, duties of your earlier life, and prepare your mind, as well as I am able, to receive and combat those cares, which in every condition, will unavoidably attend your maturer years.
Your first indispensable duty, and the foundation of all your happiness, is the love of God, and a strict observance of His laws; this will naturally prompt you to the fulfilment of your next duty, which is a conformity to the will of your parents, or those who may have the care of your youth, and affectionate behaviour towards them; shew a deference and respect to their opinion, and you will thereby be likely to avoid an error, very general among young people who are too apt to depend on their own judgement and not unfrequently endanger much of their happiness by following the dictates of their own inexperienced minds whereas, if they had condescended to ask the opinion of their parents, whose age, and experience, must render them better able to decide on every subject, they would not only have saved themselves much trouble; but given a convincing proof of their respect and affection for those most entitled to it.
One of the many errors, resulting from the folly of submitting yourself to the guidance of inexperience, is the forming of hasty friendships, an error from which few can extricate themselves without difficulty: fatal experience, my dear child, induces me to say this, I myself have suffered for my folly and am on that account the more anxious for you to avoid it. By friendship, (for in this case it is a word misapplied) I wish you to understand that unbounded and unlimited confidence in another which a warm and sanguine temper is too apt to bestow, without first considering if the person confided in, is worthy the trust: time, almost invariably proves it otherwise; and you find too late that your confidence has been solicited from mean or interested motives, or, if this should not be the case, you are often inclined to repent having formed the connexion you have, by the discovery of some imperfection which your warmth of temper had either overlooked, or your superficial acquaintance, with a disposition of the person had prevented your observing earlier.
I should be sorry, if by this caution, I should produce in you a contrary disposition, and thereby render you suspicious, and unsocial: In your journey through life you will doubtless meet with many persons whose acquaintance may prove a source of happiness and pleasure to you: by mutual intercourse your ideas will expand, and you will become a more useful and valuable member of society; but unlimited confidence can be no where so safely reposed as in the bosom of a Mother, who is bound to you by every tender tie, and who can have no other motive, in giving advice, than the welfare of the object so near and dear to her.
If it should please God to deprive you of this friend no one will more ably supply my place than your Father; you I trust, will receive sufficient proof of the gentleness of his disposition, and, although a delicate female mind may shrink from the idea of making a man acquainted with every secret, yet, be assured, you will nowhere find a friend so sincere, or one so capable of guiding you aright: your scruples will vanish when you reflect, that if I had lived, he would have been the partner of all my thoughts respecting you, and I should only have acted as his agent, depending more on his discretion than my own; revere him then for my sake, and ask his admonitions for your own.
With respect to your more distant relatives, good sense, and discretion will teach you how to act by them. It may not be amiss for me, in this place to guard you against a fault, too prevalent in the season of youth, and which, as age approaches, is almost certain to bring with it self reproof: this, like forming hasty friendships, is the great avidity with which some embrace a new acquaintance, and the mortifying indifference they evince for an old one; an agreeable face, or deportment, new accomplishments, and trifles of like nature, are frequently sufficient encitements for a young person to devote herself entirely to a stranger, and, by such conduct, cause an old acquaintance, who has perhaps real claims on her regard, great pain at the neglect she is doomed to feel. This disposition is often manifested by young persons, in other respects amiable, and who, if they could see the impropriety of their conduct, or knew how disagreeable their caprice rendered them in the eyes of their companions, would endeavour to divest themselves of it; but it seldom happens that they become acquainted with it, until age has sufficiently matured their discernment for them to discover it themselves: you I hope, will now try to avoid conduct so likely to prove offensive: be particularly cautious not to shun, or neglect, an old acquaintance whose merit you are acquainted with; and let a worthier motive than caprice govern you in the choice of a new one. As I have before intimated, I have no wish for your circle of acquaintance to be very circumscribed, let it be as extensive as your circumstances will admit, or as you may find convenient, or agreeable; I only wish you to be circumspect in the choice, and to acquire yourself, that rectitude of principle, and dignity of manners which is the sure criterion of a good, and well regulated mind; which cannot fail to secure to you the respect and esteem of the good, and will prove the surest means of guarding you from the censure of those less worthy.
In all your avocations and pursuits observe diligence, never let the evil habit of procrastination take possession of you, or think of deferring till the next hour that which you may perform in the present one: Solomon says, “boast not thyself of tomorrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” This wise advice you will do well to apply particularly to your religious duties, never let a day pass with the vain and foolish supposition, that the next will be time enough for you to render that grateful homage to your Creator, which is so indispensably due from the creature. If you exercise diligence, and observe an uniform regularity in all your pursuits, and employments, whether pleasurable or profitable, you will find sufficient time for that work which it is dangerous to procrastinate for one hour, remember, the next might launch you into eternity; how vain, and useless then, would be your regrets, if you should have neglected the great work of your salvation. Let not youth, or health, or any other transitory, and delusive idea for a moment beguile you, and induce you to say, ‘it is yet time enough for me to ask pardon for my transgressions, I will set about the work of repentance presently’; but should sickness, or death overtake you, how can you make good this promise? Let me entreat you then my child, to be always found in the path of righteousness, that when you are summoned hence, you may be ever ready to attend, leaving your temporal concerns without distraction and cherishing the delightful hope that you shall be able to appear at the great tribunal of your God without fear or trembling.
A state of celibacy is seldom adopted by choice, and as you may, at some period of your life, have an opportunity of forming a matrimonial connexion, it is my intention to be very particular in my admonitions on this subject, fondly hoping what I dictate will so far influence your conduct as to enable you to avoid the many difficulties, and, unpleasant circumstances which generally result from a rash and inconsiderate choice, and secure to you if possible, that height of human felicity, which is the general reward of those who enter the pale of matrimony with that serious deliberation which the sacred holiness of the contract requires. When you reflect on this subject, you will do well to remember, that its importance is much greater than is generally allowed; you form a connexion which is to last for life, and not only your earthly, but eternal welfare depend greatly upon your fulfilment of its duties: your husband will be greatly dependant upon you for comfort and happiness, and your offspring, if you should be blest with any, will depend wholly on your care for the inculcation of those principles which is to lay the foundation of future bliss. These are subjects which should not be treated lightly, neither should we suffer ourselves to be led astray by passion, when the consequences may prove fatal to the peace of so many.
In giving you advice on the subject of marriage, as I cannot foresee the condition you will be in, it is only possible for me to guard you against those things which I think would be most likely to militate against your peace in any state, and I trust, the suggestions of your own good sense, will lead you to adopt those principles which will be most conducive to your happiness. It must be confessed, that very much depends upon the choice you make in a companion for life; remember it is not a pleasing exterior, or fascinating manners alone that should steal your affections, something more substantial should be relied upon; let sincerity of heart, and mental worth claim your first regard, these are sterling merits, although perhaps less attractive than the others. I would not have you entirely overlook what generally proves an auxiliary to happiness, yet I should be sorry for you to sacrifice at the shrine of plutus, wealth is by some deemed an equivalent for everything, but I have not yet learnt to think so; my sanction would be sooner obtained for honest worth, where there was a fair prospect of well doing, than for great riches wanting this essential. Amongst your admirers, or those who may seem to deserve the appellation I would have you carefully discriminate who are sincere and who otherwise; this you will find no difficulty if you are yourself free from vanity, and a love of coquetry for devoid of these properties which by no means contribute to the excellence of the female character, you will be less likely to be assailed by those men who have seldom a worthier motive for paying attention to a young women than feeding their own vanity with the pleasure she seems to experience from their adulation; this practice they will pursue as long as they find it agreeable to their self-love, and then the poor dupe of their flattery is left to her own reflections, which I think can seldom be free from mortification; if she feels no further regret she is well off.
That modesty and diffidence, which are the inseparable companions of true-love, will prevent your being imposed upon by the person who addresses you, if you have sufficient discernment to discover them. It may unfortunately happen that a person may seek an alliance with you for whom you cannot feel a reciprocal affection, this will not be your fault; we cannot always govern our affections so far as to bestow them even on an object that is worthy; but when you find you cannot make a suitable return, the least you can do is to treat the person who honours you with his regard with that ingenuous candour, and generosity which he is certainly entitled to from you, this you can only do by putting him as speedily as possible out of suspense with respect to the state of your heart, assure him with kindness, that he has nothing to expect from you, and, although you lose a lover you will in all probability, (if he possesses sense) secure to yourself a friend, for he will certainly cease to importune you on the subject of love when he finds he shall thereby only excite your disgust, and he will be anxious to retain the esteem of a woman who was capable of inspiring him with so tender a regard.
If my dear child should be happily destined to meet with an object worthy her regard, and at the same time capable of inspiring her with a congeniality of sentiment, sincerely do I hope no obstacles will oppose themselves to prevent her union, she will then be able to say with her mother, marriage is a foretaste of heavenly joys, if entered with sincerity, and affection on both sides.
My admonitions would be incomplete if I were to let the subject end with marriage, to render its joys permanent, your subsequent conduct must be properly regulated: do not suppose, when the ceremony is over that the man of your heart is secured to you and that you have no longer anything to care about relative to his affections; know that it is exactly at this period your anxiety, and care should commence to render lasting, those joys, and that affection, which were only anticipated during the season of courtship: those little attentions generally practiced by the lover if continued by the husband, would sink him into effeminacy and render him contemptible: at the same time female delicacy shrinks from the performance of those tender assiduities which characterise the affectionate wife, and though disgusting to the lover because unseasonable, are in general, gratefully received by the husband and essential to his happiness. Thus you see, after the performance of the marriage ceremony you almost exchange characters, and it will be your turn then, to practice those endearments, and lessen by your affectionate care, and kindness, those mental or bodily toils, which the partner of your bosom, may have to encounter.
Never after marriage neglect yourself, in any one instance, this is sure to be productive of evil to yourself; remember always, what engaged and charmed the lover, must be agreeable to the husband: be attentive to your dress, I mean, as regards neatness, and decency, nothing is more likely to create disgust, than neglect of your own person. In your conversation, and manners, never relax into vulgarity, this must unavoidably sink you in the estimation of your husband, and serve to make you contemptible in your own eyes: that modest dignity, which is the criterion of true virtue, will shield you from the attacks of the licentious and, although your husband may at times manifest a different disposition, yet, be assured, he will prize you the more when he finds you guarded by this inestimable jewel, for contemptible indeed, is the mind of that woman, who can listen with unblushing effrontery to the coarse jests of obscenity!
Let the will of your husband be the general guide of your conduct, remember, you solemnly promise, ‘to love, honour, and obey’: although your own judgement may seem superior to his in some instances, yet, do not violently oppose him, he will perhaps, concede to gentleness, what opposition may cause him resolutely to refuse.
When love is the main spring of our actions, conformity to the will of its object constitutes our greatest felicity; although self-love, and self-will, sometimes so far predominate, as to make us forget for a time, our duty, and our pleasure.
I have little more to say on this subject, if you should have children may the Almighty aid you in the culture of their minds, and render them blessings!
Be mindful of your dependants, make their situations easy, and comfortable as possible; remember, we are all children on one parent, do not, by unjust authority awaken their resentment by inciting their dislike, when you may, by an affectionate and proper conduct, secure their respect, and entitle yourself to their gratitude and zeal.
You have at present only one Brother, who is sixteen months your senior, he is at this time, everything a mother’s fond wishes would have him, and when I see his infantine caresses bestowed upon you, my heart rejoices to think, what a valuable friend he may prove to you; let me enjoin you to love each other tenderly; never let envy, jealousy, or any selfish passion have place for a moment in your hearts; but if either should discover faults in the other, let them if possible, be rather softened, and thereby subdued, than censured, and condemned. “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love: but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends”. If your brother should at any time confide in you never carelessly betray his secret, such breach of trust would evince a littleness of mind, and perhaps, render you foes, whereas contrary behaviour may secure his affection and his respect, and you may prove to him, the useful, and faithful monitress.
It is not in my power to give you much advice respecting your literary pursuits, yet I wish to caution you against that inordinate love of Novel reading, which is too apt to enervate the mind, and render it incapable of relishing more serious and useful compositions; too many females have fallen into this error, and by indulging in a species of light reading have rendered themselves not only unfit companions for persons of more enlightened minds, whose ideas have not always been enslaved by the Hero’s or Heroines of romance, but by imbibing mistaken notions of Men, and things in general, have become unfit, to support consistently, the character of wife, or mother.
I do not wish entirely to prohibit novels, but I beg you to select them with judgement, and read them with discrimination; they may be indulged in as a recreation with any other work of fancy, but let nobler pursuits claim your attention and regard. As a wife, and mother, your first care should be attention to your husband’s interests, and the cultivation of your childrens minds: how can a woman possessing no other ideas than those deduced from novels be able to perform or attend to either of these duties as she ought?
If (as I have every reason to believe will be the case) I should have an increase of family, and you should have sisters, remember, if this letter is capable of affording you instruction, I expect the same will be imparted unto them; I trust you will all prove deserving of my love, and I have written for all through you. Your brother, or brothers, I shall address separately, the situation I am in allows me more time for this purpose than your Father, of whom I have yet said little; but if it please God to spare me to you, I shall teach you to love him for my sake; if I am taken from you, I trust you will love him for his own.
May the Almighty prosper all your endeavours to do right! and after a life spent in His service, may we all meet in His heavenly Kingdom, and partake of those blessed joys, which He has promised to those who love, and serve Him!!
Thus, my dear Child, prays most fervently, and devoutly,
Your faithful friend and
Harborne, October, 1816.
Sadly Elinor died in 1827 aged 12 and Frances died on 13 January 1832 at Harborne. Of their other daughters Rebecca died later in 1832 aged 8 years, Sarah died in 1836 aged 7 years, and their remaining daughter Frances came in to possession of the letter and brought it with her to Melbourne with other writings by Frances.
In 1818 Edward had a miniature painted of himself and gave it to his wife Frances. In response she wrote a poem to Edward.
Addrefsed to my Husband on receiving
Accept my thanks, dear Edward,
Gratitude, is all I’ve got to give.
For the dear treasure I have just received,
Accept it then, and likewise the afsurance that
The mimic form I now behold, affords me more delight
Than all the treasures of the East, could give,
Divested of thy Love. - This miniature,
The just and faithful model of a face so dear, which
Will prove a happy solace, and relieve the melancholy
In spite of my best efforts oftentimes afsails me
In thine absence, It shall be
The lov’d companion of my bosom
Where I’ll carefully conceal it, when the presence of the dear original
Shall supersede its claim to notice:
But when thine avocations take thee from my sight, and
Naught remains to me but solitude,
I’ll steal my treasure from its hiding-place,
And fondly recognise each well remember’d feature
Which the Artist’s hand has drawn with such exactness.
In contemplating its serenity
I shall learn to estimate, & set a greater value on the head
Which animates the fair exterior
And inspires that gentlenefs which is here with truth portray’d,
And which, I trust, will stand the test of Time,
Tho’ its rude blasts may so much change the tenement,
That I may need this dear remembrance
To tell me what it once had been.
Feb: 14th 1818 F. Gray
Another of Frances’ poems, probably written about the same time, seems to indicate that her husband Edward became illtempered from time to time and in response she wrote the following
On a gentleman’s appearing suddenly illtemper’d
This afternoon, when my Lord came to his tea,
He seem’d in a humour to Jest;
The fire it burnt dull, he look’d angry at me,
I stirr’d it, and strove by much innocent glee
To make him his sorrows forget.
In this I was cheated, his frown was the same
Whether I was merry or grave,
I look’d with good humour & call’d on his name
But his answer in sullen disdainfulnefs came,
It was too good for me to receive!!
I next kindly urged him to tell me the cause
Of his silence, his look made me shrink,
For turning quite round, with a terrible pause
He replied, looking dark, as a face in black gauze,
“I am just in the humour to think!”
To think! mercy on me! what can his thoughts be,
That make him so dismal and sad,
I’m sure my dear Nancy it cannot be thee,
My fair sister ......? no! it cannot be she,
For such thoughts would make him look glad.
I am puzzled to guefs what his thoughts are about,
But am not the more likely to know:
So I’ll ere rest contented I make no more rout,
And when he walks in, I will walk myself out
Unlefs he more kindnefs does show.
And then, my dear Sir, you may think at your leisure,
And think your thoughts over again,
For you soon will discover, it is not my pleasure,
To enter so easily into your measure,
Of Thinking, in this dismal strain.
It is not known how long Frances kept a diary but the following pages have been copied from the original document held by descendants.
Monday August 20th 1821
My mind is far from feeling that comfortable serenity, which is the constant attendant of good works. May the Almighty enable me to persevere in the path Religion points out to me, that I may at some future period deserve the love of the dearest friend I have on earth, and may he so much approve my conduct, that he may be induced to follow the example of righteousnefs, that when we go hence we may be meet partakers of heavenly joy. -
Rec’d the angry Note designed for Mrs James Gray, and rejoiced to see it destroy’d, in doing this I gain’d a triumph over pafsion.
December 31st 1828
Permit me merciful Father, Lord of heaven and earth, to raise my feeble thoughts to Thee! Sanctify my desires and wishes, and let my heart meditate on Thy mercy and love, which has so long spared a poor worthlefs, unprofitable servant who has so blindly and wilfully neglected thy divine commands as I have done. Oh continue Thy love to me, and cut me not off in the midst of my transgrefsions. Spare me, and give me grace that I may heartily repent my misdoings, and strive to live, as desiring above all things an interest in my blefsed Redeemer. Enable me to feel that Christ died for me, and though I may be the chief of sinners, yet His precious blood, which was shed for me, can save my soul alive. Oh transporting glorious thought, if, I will but flee from sin and seek my saviour in sincerity and thenth I shall be saved; though my sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. Let this precious afsurance animate me, O Lord, & if I am permitted to live through another year, let it not witnefs against me, as that will do which is just gone: let thy holy spirit rest with me to help my infirmities and blefs me, O Lord, for thy dear son’s sake. Amen.
1829 January 1st.
A new epoch of time is begun, and, I have been permitted to to see the first day of a new year; grant, gracious Lord that the same blefsed spirit which has influenced me this day may abide with me continually; and if I should be spared to see the last day of this period of time, may I be able to say, I have triumphed over sin; enable me O Lord, to do this: of my own strength I can do nothing good. Not for myself alone do I ask O Lord, for Mercy and Love, let my dear husband and children be made objects of thy peculiar care, let my feeble prayers daily be accepted for them, and let Thy holy Spirit direct them to seek of Thee those blefsings which the world cannot give. Let my dear Sister, who is now the object of my tenderest solicitude continue to receive Thy compafsionate care, if it be Thy blefsed will to raise her up, grant that her life may be spent in Thy service; but if Thou determine that this sicknefs shall be unto death, grant, gracious Father that her end may be peaceful, let the precious blood of Christ, which was shed for her, cleanse her from all sin; and permit her afflictions to be sanctified to her surviving relatives, that when her happy spirit is enjoying the communion of Saints, we may be humbly seeking an interest in person, and desiring earnestly to be, through Him united to her, in the realms of endlefs blifs. For my Parents, I ask, Thy favour and protection, enable them to draw nigh unto Thee, and to seek, above all things, Thy kingdom and its righteousnefs. O Lord, hear and answer my imperfect prayers for thy dear son’s sake, Amen.
This has been a day of trial, but my heavenly Father has wonderfully supported me. My dear sister has been taken from us by her Father. May her dear spirit continue to derive consolation from religion, which shall “bring forth repentance not to be repented of”. “God is a spirit and they who worship Him, must worship Him in spirit and in truth”, grant, gracious Lord that I may be enabled to do so, for Thy dear Son’s sake, Amen.
Another day is past, and another week is gone to the years beyond the flood. O merciful Father let the Sabbath which is approaching remind us of the eternal Sabbath which the righteous will enjoy in Thy heavenly kingdom. Look upon the preachers of Thy word tomorrow O Lord, and blefs their labours to the hearts of thousands who are yet in the bonds of iniquity. Let the hearts of those who do hunger and thirst after righteousnefs be made glad, and rejoice to hear the joyful tidings of salvation.
O Lord, behold thy servant and let each succeeding Sabbath eve find her heart more devoted to Thy good cause, that she may more zealously enter upon the solemn duties of the Sabbath morn. Help me to remember, gracious Lord, that the day is exclusively Thine, and give grace that I may not dishonour it by any improper employment. Let every member of my dear family feel the blefsed influence of thy holy Spirit, that their hearts may incline unto true wisdom. I ask this and every blefsing, O Lord, in the name and through the mediation of my dear Redeemer to whom with Thee and the Holy Ghost be honour and glory world without end, Amen.
Notwithstanding my anxious desires to do well, the great enemy of my soul prevailed so far as to make the weather (which was bad) an excuse for not waiting in the Courts of the Lord’s house. O merciful Father, forgive me this transgrefsion, and preserve me from my great adversary who is, in my besetting sins, constantly afsailing me. O let Thy grace bound more and more in my heart, forsake me not, nor leave me to the evil of my own ways. O Lord, let my dear Sister who now feels Thy chastening hand, be mercifully supported, make Thou her bed in her sicknefs, and say unto her soul, I am Thy salvation. Let her draw nigh unto Thee in her heart, and do Thou manifest Thyself unto her, to her great contentment. Let the prayers which she offers for her several friends be heard and answered; and when it shall please Thee to call her hence, may she be found waiting with her lamp trimmed. O Lord, let my dear husband and myself with the precious charges Thou hast given us, repose safely this night, under the shadow of Thy wing, for thy dear son’s sake Jesus Christ the righteous. Amen.
I have this day been greatly tried, O Lord, forgive my impatience at the unkindnefs of my brother. Thou alone knowest the secrets of all hearts, and Thou knowest, I love this brother, Oh make me still to love him, and enable him to see, in Thy good time, that he has been unjust and unkind to me, enable him also to see the error of his ways and to forsake them; grant that the indulgent love of his earthly parents may not make him forget his dependence upon Thee : let him look to Thee, as the only giver of every good gift, and let the grace of Thy holy Spirit abide in his heart and fill it with those honest and upright intentions, which will cause him to act justly by all men. I humbly entreat these prayers may be accepted for the sake of my dear Redeemer, Jesus Christ, Amen.
I have this day written to my Father, grant, merciful Lord, that he may receive my letter in the true spirit of affection and kindnefs, and do justice to my intentions respecting my poor sister, whom Thou knowest I love dearly. O grant that the differences which now subsist in my family may all be done away by Thine Almighty and wise interference, and grant, that we may all be united in Thy Kingdom family of love. Incline the hearts of my brothers’ towards me, that they may do me justice; and enable me still to pray for them, and to blefs them, in thy dear Son’s name. Bluffs my parents, O Lord, make them just to the offspring Thou has blefsed them with and do Thou make each and every one of their descendants anxious to promote their earthly and heavenly good; and make them, Lord, anxious, above all things, to seek Thy Kingdom and its righteousnefs. Hear my prayers, O merciful Father, for the sake of Thy dear Son to whom with Thee & the holy Spirit be honour & glory now and for ever, Amen.
Rec’d this day a kind letter from my Father, my prayers concerning him were heard and answered. O Lord, inspire this dear parent with the full conviction that I love him as I ought to do. Thou alone knowest how sincerely and affectionately I desire his spiritual and temporal welfare. Grant merciful Father that my children may ever feel for me the same anxious and affectionate respect that I have ever cherished for this dear Friend.
My dear husband started for London. Protect him Almighty Father on his journey, prosper his ways that are right in Thy sight, and keep him from the commifsion of evil. Restore him to his family in health and safety. I ask these temporal blefsings O Lord, and also that Thou will mercifully incline his heart unto true wisdom, teach him to love and fear Thee above all things, and to desire most fervently an interest in his dear Redeemer, to whom with Thee and the Holy Spirit, he honour and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
Spent a most delightful day with my poor sister, who was mercifully spared from suffering except what her weaknefs occasions. She was all day long permitted to join, in blefsing and praising her great Creator’s name, and was also able to tell, with grateful joy, of the sure and blifsful hope she felt, through her blefsed Redeemer, of a joyful immortality. Grant gracious Father, that, my end may be peaceful and serene like hers, and that we may be permitted to renew in Thy heavenly Kingdom, the friendship begun on earth.
My dear husband returned from London in good health. How shall I express my thankfulnefs for this and every other signal mercy which I daily receive from Thee, the sovereign of all good? My words are feeble praise, but Thou searcheth the heart: Oh! search mine, and accept such gratitude as Thou will there find, imperfect as it may be. The weather very severe, fresh cause for thankfulnefs, in feeling and enjoying the comforts of a happy home. May the dear partner of my earthly joys and sorrows whose return I this day so sincerely welcomed, long be spared, to make this home delightful.
My brother Timothy dines with us, and manifested that kindnefs of disposition which convinced me my prayers had been heard and answered. May the Almighty continue to listen to my supplications in behalf of this dear brother; and make him to see and know, that I am his sister in sincerity and truth.
Spent the day with my poor sister, who was called upon to bear fresh trials in the flesh, a violent pain in her side all day which was only partially relieved by leeches.
This, she piously acknowledged, was intended to wean her from the world, for, like holy David, she found her soul still cleaving unto the dust. O, merciful Father, do Thou in Thy compafsion support her, and in Thy good time release her from this earthly bondage and let her happy spirit exultingly exclaim I have fought the good fight. Let her be enabled patiently to receive Thy dispensations as she has this day, and oh! let her afflictions be sanctified to every friend who is permitted to witnefs them. All this I humbly ask through the grace and love of a crucified Redeemer. Amen.
A fresh month begun, who shall see its end? My husband’s birthday. Permit me gracious Lord, to ask an especial blefsing for him on this day. Make him a sincere and devout observer, and doer of Thy word, and let his example be blefsed to the hearts of his dear children that they may be always ready to say “It is better to be a doer-keeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickednefs”.
Mrs Thomas Attwood called, and by her affable condescension, gave proof of that distinguishing grace which marks the followers of Him, who was meek and lowly of heart.
My poor sister spared another week, and though considerably weaker in body, yet I hope and trust, stronger in spirit, and more alive to those rich mercies, and that free grace which can alone save her soul alive Lord, how dust Thou manifest Thyself in this dear sufferer! Continue to do so, and let her be daily more and more transformed into the image of her crucified Saviour, until she shall be called upon to inhabit that mansion which His precious death secured for her inheritance.
Prevented again by indisposition from attending divine service in the house of God. Accept O Lord, the prayers and devotions of one who humbly trusts in Thy precious promises, and loves Thy name. Behold my dear children, and by them, blefs me, O Lord, and my endeavours, to bring them up in Thy true nurture and admonition. Let Thy sanctifying grace enter their hearts and incline them to seek Thee only. Blefs all my friends, and forgive those who have injured me. Blefs my parents and brethren, & make them to love and serve Thee truly as the only giver of all goods. Blefs my dear husband O Lord this day, enrich his mind with that heavenly knowledge which shall make him wise unto salvation, and give him that peace of mind which pafseth understanding. I crave and supplicate all these mercies, in the name and through the mediation of Him who died for us, Jesus Christ the righteous, to whom with Thee O Father and the Holy Spirit be honour and glory, might, majesty and dominion world without end, Amen.
A day of great suffering and pain; a violent inflammation of my eyes and face. Sanctify this affliction to me, Merciful, heavenly Father; and let me feel, that Thy corrections are those of love, and not anger. Mercifully preserve my heart from being too much set on the things of this world : let these gentle chastisements remind me that all on earth is transitory and fleeting; and instruct me to place my affections on things above, where sicknefs, sorrow and disappointment are never felt. Teach me, O Lord, to bear this illnefs with patience and meek submifsion to Thy will and blefs the means used for my recovery. I have a desire to live for my childrens sake, but Thou, O Lord, knowest all things best. Grant therefore that I may not feel this desire too strongly, but enable me in Thy love, to cast this case, and every other upon Him, who hath said, He careth for all, even Jesus, the Author and finisher of our flesh. Amen.
My head and eyes still bad but better: my brother Timothy left us to go to London. Rejoiced to see him arrive free from that ill will which lately has pofsefsed his mind. Preserve him, O Lord, in his absence, and restore him in safety and health to those parents whose comfort he is, let him be spared to them, to be solace of their old age.
Prevented from attending the sick room of my dear sister by indisposition, restore me to health gracious Lord if it be Thy blefsed will, for Jesus Christ sake, Amen.
Rode in Mr Twomley’s cart to see my poor sister, who was very hoarse from excefsive coughing but still resigned, and patiently awaiting the will of God.
Spent a comfortable and happy day with my poor sister who was mercifully spared much pain. Mrs T. Attwood called and drank tea with her, and by her amiable and increased condescension, gave a convincing proof of that humility which is sure to be found with the followers of Him who was meek and lowly of heart.
Very wet. Harriet left. May the Almighty give her an understanding heart and direct her aright. Her ways according to human judgement are sadly wrong.
My brother Timothy returned from London in health and safety much flurried in consequence of having lost the Box Coat belonging to Edward. He dined with us and left us immediately afterwards. The 45th Anniversary of my dear Parents marriage. Merciful heavenly Father, condescend to accept the grateful thanks of thy servant for the great happinefs I have this day derived, from the knowledge that the Authors of my being are in health, and that they should have been spared to each other so many years. Grant that as Isaac and Rebecca lived happily together, so may they, until that period of time when death shall break this earthly union, and do Thou reunite them after the cares of this work are ended, in Thy blefsed Kingdom. Oh spare them, and prepare them to be meet partakers of those joys which are from everlasting to everlasting. Let their children and their children’s children always remember the example set them by their dear parents, keep holy and undefiled the marriage contract.
Edward accompanied by Owen and Fanny walked to our dear Mary whom they found weaker, but recovered from the hoarsenefs. Still able and willing to impart to my children, who have always been the objects of her tenderest solicitude, a portion of that comfort, which the near approach to death has taught her the value of, O Lord, imprint on their hearts every sentence she has uttered to the honour and glory of Thy name, and teach them that to die happy they must live righteously.
Spent the day with my dear sister, who appears much weaker, and much changed in her personal appearance; yet patient and uncomplaining, relying firmly on the rock of ages, and in that dear Saviours love in whom is no variablenefs, neither, shadow of turning. How gently, merciful Father, art Thou drawing this dear sufferer from earth to heaven. Her sufferings are protracted here, but one hour in the presence of her Redeemer will amply compensate for these trials in the flesh.
Went twice to church where I fervently remembered my poor sister’s sufferings, and piously entreated divine compafsion may be extended to her in an early removal from this world of sin and suffering. Oh! that her tired and patient spirit may soon rejoice in the welcome sound of that blefsed sentence “Well done good and faithful servant, enter now into the joy of Thy Lord.” Let a portion of Thy sanctifying grace, O Lord, rest on me and mine, and let every continued and fresh trial, come blefsed to our Lord for the sake of Him who suffered for us, thy dear son, our Saviour. Amen.
Summoned very suddenly to my dear sister, not expecting to find her alive I ran to the fiveways, where I got into a car, and with all speed hastened to her bedside; I found the dear sufferer rallying a little from excefsive weaknefs, and suffering exceedingly with pain in the bowels. Long suffering had very greatly enfeebled her, and she manifested more impatience than I had before seen; neverthelefs meek submifsion was still visible, tho’ she longed to be with Christ. She earnestly entreated my immediate prayers which were offered to the Throne of Mercy with sincerity for her release. The illness of Maria and Rebecca, as I had no servant, compelled me to leave her, and I did so reluctantly after Mr Charafse had assured me that he thought she would continue to live three or four days.
Ash Wednesday. I was at dinner when a note arrived from Mrs Gray, informing me that my beloved sisters’ released spirit had taken its happy flight for a blifsful eternity. Oh! Sovereign Father of the universe, I feel that these trials are in mercy sent to wean us from the world, our earthly connexions are broken, that we may feel our dependence on that compafsionate Saviour who died to save us. I hastened to look upon the loved remains of one who had for so many years been my tried friend, and dear companion. Alas! how great a change had a few short hours effected, this time yesterday, that dear face was ever distorted by pain, to-day, it is placid and still in Death. The spirit which animated it, having escaped its earthly prison is rejoicing in the presence of its Saviour. Oh! may my end be like Thine, dear Child of my fond solicitude and affection! May no temptation or allurement of this world, draw me from the path of rectitude and duty, which was so conscientiously trodden by Thee. Grant, gracious Lord! that when my work is done, and my spirit is summoned from this tabernacle of clay, it may be received by Thee, and welcomed to Thy Mansions of everlasting blifs by those dear friends who have been summoned before me, amongst which, will afsuredly be found this faithful servant of Thine, whose removal I am so selfish to deplore.
Visited, and kindly consoled by Mrs Attwood, and Mifs Cameron, both justly warm in the praise of the dear departed.
Mr and Mrs Attwood called, and took me in their carriage to town. Mrs A and myself spent an hour with the dear remains of poor Mary Anne; death had made visible ravages in the form so loved by us both. The amiable and christian virtue of Mrs Attwood entitles her to my love, and her kind and affectionate condescension mitigates my sorrows.
This day my dear sister was carried to the house appointed for all living, and placed beside those dear friends who loved her when living and where happy spirits I trust, have ere now, welcomed her to the realm of everlasting blifs through the merits of a crucified Redeemer. Now naturally are the Living objects of our care, the anxiety I have felt for my poor Sister, centres now in my husband, his pale and anxious face excites my utmost fear, lest he too should be taken from me. Lord, teach me to moderate my fears! let me not distrust Thy mercy and love, and do Thou instruct me not to make these objects of my affection my Idols lest I thereby provoke Thy jealous anger, and thence shouldst deprive me of them. Restore our minds to cheerfulnefs, O Lord, and our bodies to health, and let our sorrow be governed by reason, and not, as though we had no hope.
Mifs Bache called, and mingled her grief with mine, when we talked of the virtues and excellencies of the dear departed.
From these diary entries we see references to her dying sister-in-law Mary Ann, her husband Edward, her children Owen, Fanny, Maria and Rebecca, and her brother Timothy. Again they give a clear indication of the high standard of education provided to Frances. And it is reasonable to conclude she expected her children to receive the same standard of education, to be religious, and to make a positive contribution to the community.
Frances died on 13 January 1832 at Harborne.
Edward married for the second time to Elizabeth Blott (nee Denny) the widow of William Blott, at St Thomas’ Church, Birmingham, Warwickshire, on 29 December 1836. Edward and Elizabeth had one child, Charles Edward, born 19 August 1839, and baptised on 30 March 1847 at St Martin’s Church, Birmingham.
The following have been extracted from the English census returns that were taken every ten years and survive from 1841.
Place - Birmingham, Warwickshire
Address - Ryland Road
Edward Gray aged 45 years nail maker, born outside Warwickshire
Elizabeth Gray aged 40 years born outside Warwickshire
Charles Gray aged 2 years born in Warwickshire
Eliza Blott aged 20 years born outside Warwickshire
Maria Morris aged 15 years servant born outside Warwickshire
Place - Edgbaston, Warwickshire
Address - Wellington Rd
Mary Gray aged 55 years Independent born outside Warwickshire
Frances Gray aged 20 years Governess born outside Warwickshire
George Gray aged 15 years Attorney Apprentice born in Warwickshire
John Gray aged 15 years born in Warwickshire
Place - Parish of Kings Norton, Warwickshire
Address - Belgrave Street
Edward Gray aged 59 years accountant born in Harborne, Staffordshire
Elizabeth Gray aged 54 years born in St Ives, Huntingdonshire
Charles E Gray aged 11 years scholar born in Birmingham, Warwickshire
Mary Ann Percy aged 17 years house serv. born in Bedford, Bedfordshire
Place - Birmingham, Warwickshire
Address - 32 Dean Street
Edward Gray aged 69 years clerk at Metallic Bedstead Works born in Harborne, Staffordshire
Eliza Gray aged 64 years born in St Ives, Huntingdonshire
Charles E Gray aged 21 years railway clerk born in Birmingham, Warwickshire
It is relevant that the Gray family lived in Ryland Street, Birmingham in 1841, for Eyre Evans Kenny and his children lived around the corner in Lee Crescent. Eyre’s future wife was a governess in nearby Edgbaston to her younger Gray cousins; George Thomas (born 1824) and John Eli (born 1826) who were the children of her uncle James and his wife Mary Jones who married in Birmingham on 25 April 1823.
In 1861, the Census recorded the relationship to the head of the household Samuel Hollick, and the three Grays were listed as lodgers. This would seem to indicate they were in temporary accommodation as a step in preparing for their departure to Melbourne. For their story in the colony refer to Chapter 5.
On 16 December 1820, at 36 years of age, Major Eyre Evans Kenny married by licence his first cousin Lucy Jennings Inge, aged 25, at Knighton in the parish of Saint Margaret, Leicestershire. This was just over a year after his mother Martha Kenny (nee Jennings) had died in Kensington, London. The licence for this marriage had been issued the day before, after Eyre had paid £200 to John Palmer, the Prebendary of the Church of St Margaret.
Lucy was the daughter of John Inge and Lucy Jennings of Stonygate House in the same parish. Her mother Lucy and Martha were sisters. John and Lucy married on 19 March 1788 in London.
On page 322 of Burke’s 1836 edition of “A genealogical and heraldic history of the commoners of Great Britain and Ireland”, there is a general introduction to the entry for Inge of Thorpe Constantine stating that “The surname Inge is both ancient and respectable, originally signifying a meadow, or watering place. Several members have enjoyed under the early Plantagenets, offices of trust and rank. In 1315 we find Sir William Inge appointed one of the judges of the court of King’s Bench.”
The following information about the Inge family has been put together from many legal documents relating to the distribution of assets amongst family members held by the Coventry Archives and supported by some entries from the online version of the International Genealogical Index. As the Inge family worshipped at the old Parish Church of St Michael’s, Coventry, or better known as Coventry Cathedral, their details of baptisms, burials and marriages are not available because of the destruction of the Cathedral by German bombs on 14 November 1940. The new Cathedral was built next to the ruins over the area which had been St Michael’s Church graveyard.
John Inge and Lucy Jennings had at least four children
Lucy Jennings married Eyre Evans Kenny 1820
Edward married Augusta Caroline Cummins on 29 September 1814 in London
John Robert married Mary Anne Ryley on 5 August 1835 at Marston Sicca in Gloucestershire, and became a minister of the Church of England
Letitia married William Humble
John’s parents were Edward and Letitia Inge, who had at least six children
Edward married Dorothy Duttison on 21 November 1795 in Coventry, died 4 July 1834, solicitor of the firm Inge and Carter of Coventry
John married Lucy Jennings in 1788, buried at St Michael’s Church, Coventry, on 13 June 1835, aged 87
Ann married John Stanton of Kenilworth, Warwickshire
Letitia married Capt Edward Coxwell on 1 January 1785 in London
Edward’s parents were Henry Inge and Anne Hill, the daughter of Edward Hill, who had at least six children
Edward married Letitia who died on 15 January 1794 aged 83 years, Edward died after Letitia, in about 1794, both buried in St Michael’s Church, Coventry
William died second half of 1760, bachelor
Anne spinster, died before 1780
Elizabeth spinster died before 1780, after sister Anne
Mary married Richard Gilbert 11 April 1751, at Corely, Warwickshire
The following are summarised extracts from the Coventry Archives web site of some of the documents held by the Archives. It should be appreciated that as these summaries have been taken from transcriptions of the originals then there may be errors.
To assist readers to better understand these documents, what follows is a list of the names of the various plots of ground that make up the immediate post-medieval Charterhouse estate.
Charterhouse, London Road, Coventry
St Anne Grove 3a 0r 15p
Dove House Meadow 2a 2r 4p (including a spring and stream)
Orchard and pond 3a 1r 12p (called “an old walled orchard” in Edward Inge’s 1784 will)
Garden (east) 2a 2r 20p
The Park 7a 1r 10p (called “Park Close” in Edward Inge’s 1784 will)
Charterhouse Leys 3a 6r 6p
Horse Pit Leys 5a 0r 5p (including an avenue)
The Charterhouse estate is on the southern edge of the City of Coventry and the Sherbourne River runs through the estate. The following is a list of Warwickshire place names indicating distances and direction in relation to the Charterhouse.
Ashow about 12 kms south west
Caney about 5 kms west
Corely about 12 kms north west
Kenilworth about 15 kms south west
Knowle about 20 kms west
Longbridge about 40 kms west
Monks Kirby about 15 kms north east
Pinley now Pinley Green, about 20 kms south west
Stoke about 8 kms north
Whitly about 3 kms east
Willenhall about 3 kms north
14 April 1726
Probate copy of the will dated 27 April 1725 of Elizabeth St Nicholas of Knowle, Warwickshire, widow, to be buried in the parish church at Monks Kirby, Warwickshire, leaving to her niece Prudence Inge, a daughter of Henry Inge of the Charterhouse, gentleman, the “Charter House Leys” of twelve acres, and the “Horse Pool Close” of three acres nearby, both occupied by Henry Inge, with remainder of her property to Henry’s son Edward. Elizabeth also gave £100 and a gold watch to her niece Elizabeth Gregory, £5 to her servant John Hill, 50 shillings to her servant Abraham Awson, and some ordinary clothes to her servants Mary Fisher and Mary Moore, if all still with Elizabeth at the time of her death. Prudence Inge was the sole executrix.
18 August 1733
Copy of a deed of settlement - Henry Inge of the Charterhouse, Coventry, gentleman and his wife Ann, daughter of the late Edward Hill of the Charterhouse, leave their properties to their son William, so long as he pays £500 each (with interest at 5% pa) to his sisters Ann, Elizabeth and Mary, within twelve months after the death of the survivor of Henry and Ann as that survivor is to have the use of the properties during their remaining lifetime. The properties listed are the Charterhouse, the Park, the Dovehouse Meadow (all occupied by Henry Inge), St Ann’s Grove, a messuage (house and buildings) at Pinley, Coventry, 90 acres near Pinley, a messuage at Stoke named the Bowling Green with its garden and orchard (lately occupied by Edward Arnold but in 1733 by Joseph Ash), and all other land held by Henry in Coventry. The Trustees were William Holbeche of Canley, Warwickshire and Julius Olds of Coventry, mercer.
18-19 October 1743
Copy of a deed relating to tenants of Prudence Inge’s 15 acres occupied by William Inge, gentleman.
11 June 1760
Copy of the will of William Inge of the Charterhouse, Coventry, gentleman, leaving all his Pinley and Stoke property to his brother Edward, gentleman, of the parish of St George, Hanover Square, Middlesex, an annuity of £20 per annum be paid to his sister Prudence, now living with him, after the death of their mother Ann. Also leaving £5 to his mother Ann, his sisters Anne and Elizabeth, his brother-in-law Richard Gilbert and Richard’s wife Mary to be paid within three months of William’s death. Probate was granted on 3 December 1760 with Edward Inge the sole executor.
Comment - From this and later documents it would seem William did not pay the above stated £500 each to his sisters as he was not obliged to do so while his mother Ann was still alive. Therefore William did not inherit his father’s properties. The properties were probably administered by William as he was living at the Charterhouse in 1743 and his address in 1760 is the Charterhouse. After the death of Henry Inge his wife Ann had the use of the properties during her lifetime. By default the properties passed to Edward after the deaths of William and their mother Ann, subject to Edward satisfying his father’s bequests to his sisters.
4 September 1762
Copy of the will of Anne Inge, of Coventry, spinster, leaving her clothes and watch to her sister Elizabeth, a silver coffee pot to her niece Mary, £5 each for mourning to her brother Edward, his wife Letitia, her brother-in-law Richard Gilbert, Richard’s wife Mary, and her sisters Prudence and Elizabeth, and the residual assets in trust with the income to go to her sister Elizabeth during her life and then after her death to be divided between her nieces Anne, Mary, Elizabeth, and Letitia Inge. Also if her sister Mary Gilbert becomes a widow while Elizabeth is alive then the income is shared between them. Probate was granted on 14 January 1780 with Elizabeth the sole executrix.
4 September 1762
Copy of the will of Elizabeth Inge, spinster, this will is similar to her sister’s will above except she does not have a coffee pot. Probate was granted on 14 January 1780.
27 October 1764
Copy of assignment - Richard Gilbert of Coventry, gentleman, and his wife Mary, nee Inge, transferred Mary’s entitlement to £500 to her brother Edward Inge. The document states that Henry, Ann and William are deceased.
9 June 1778
Copy of the will of Prudence Inge of the Charterhouse, spinster, states she wants to be buried like her sister Ann and be laid in the family vault or in her grandfather Edward Hill’s grave a week after death. Prudence left her land to her nephew and executor Edward Inge. Also left £5 each to her brother Edward, his wife Letitia, her sisters Elizabeth Inge and Mary Gilbert, nephew John Inge, nieces Ann, Mary and Letitia, and 100 guineas to her niece Elizabeth.
30 January 1784
Copy of the will of Edward Inge, of the Charterhouse, Coventry, esquire, to be buried with his wife Letitia in St Michael’s Church graveyard, leaving to his sister Mary Gilbert, his daughters Ann Stanton, Mary and Elizabeth Inge, and Letitia Coxwell £10 each for mourning, confirming under the wills of his sisters Anne and Elizabeth, the claims of his daughters Mary, Elizabeth and Letitia to £425 each, to his sister Mary Gilbert’s claim under the deed of Henry Inge to £1000, to John Stanton £1500 as a marriage settlement, charging them to the Charterhouse estate.
Leaving to his son Edward all his property in Coventry, Stoke, Whitly and Pinley, including the Charterhouse, Dovehouse Meadow, St Ann’s Grove, an old walled orchard, Park Close, and Quarry Close. Other properties to his son John, subject to him paying Edward’s daughters Mary and Elizabeth Inge, and Letitia Coxwell £1075 each, being :-
house and lands at Knighton, Leicestershire
a messuage in Brook Street, Hanover Square, St George’s parish, London
tenements in St Mary, Parish of Rotherhithe, Surrey
a messuage in Sackville Street, St James’ Parish, Westminster, London
Edward’s will also listed the following people (and probably their families) who it can be assumed were tenants on his two larger holdings:-
Thomas Meakin, William Riley, Widow Crutchloe, Francis Perkins, Joseph Parker, Edward Smith, Widow Ann Hodgetts, William Demming, Cleophas Ratcliff, Thomas Buswell jun, Widow Chamberlain, Widow Winifred Smith, William Sedgley, Widow Pickering, David Edwards, Henry Buckley, George Saunders, Thomas Hanson, Thomas Spooner, John Laxon, Thomas Aston, George Bate, Richard Mann, William Job, Thomas Cox, James Howe and .... Cave.
Mr Price, James Hardy, Job Dawson, John Hopewell, William Oldham, William Calvert, formerly leased to John Dickins, Samuel Hall, Edward Gregory, William Hopwell, ..... Haynes, and John Collis.
His son John was to pay a £20 annuity to Edward’s daughter Mary, and his son Edward was to pay a £20 annuity to Edward’s daughter Elizabeth. The will also states that if still with Edward on his death, his servants Thomas Breedon and Susannah Pegg were to receive £50 and £20 respectively, Thomas Breedon to receive his clothes, and Ann Palmer, the cook maid and Ann Neale the house maid to receive £5 each. The Charterhouse furniture is to remain with the building and John is to receive any residual estate. Sons John and Edward were appointed executors when the will was proved on 18 March 1795.
10 November 1797
Copy of Mortgage, Joseph Eglington of Coventry, builder, paid to Edward Inge and John Stanton £2000 with security being the 15 acres once owned by Prudence Inge, and John Stanton’s properties at Kenilworth, interest at 5%. By 1815 the Kenilworth properties had been sold and John Stanton had repaid £1000, and Edward Inge borrowed a further £1000 from Joseph Eglington’s widow, Elizabeth, with an additional eleven acres known as Lammas Grounds (adjacent to the Charterhouse estate) as security. After the death of Elizabeth Eglington in January 1823, Edward Inge discharged the mortgage by April 1824 by paying £2000 to the executors of her will.
23 May 1799
Conveyance whereby Mary Gilbert of Coventry, widow, John and Anne Stanton, Mary and Elizabeth Inge, and Edward and Letitia Coxwell sell to Edward Inge of the Charterhouse, Coventry, the Bowling Green estate in return for various sums of £500, £1500 and £425.
4 February 1818
Copy of the will of Mary Inge of Grove Place, Hammersmith, London, in relation to Mary’s entitlement from her brothers John and Edward of £1075 and £425 under her father Edward’s will, half the interest is bequeathed to her sister Elizabeth and half to her sister Letitia for life. After their deaths the interest is bequeathed to Mary’s niece Letitia Coxwell. Mary’s brother Edward owes her £200 and that shall be paid to her estate immediately after her death and invested with interest distributed in a like manner. The principal sums are bequeathed to her niece Letitia Coxwell, and her sister Ann Stanton, widow, receives 20 guineas, her niece receives Mary’s gold watch chain and seal, with the residual to her sisters Elizabeth and Letitia. Probate was granted on 21 May 1818 with Elizabeth Inge, Letitia Coxwell sen, and Henry Coxwell (son of Henry Coxwell late of the Temple Bar, London, druggist) as executrices and executor.
16-17 February 1820
This is a lengthy and complicated assessment where the position of the estates of the Inge family were reviewed and the present ownership clarified. It also clarified the position of all bequests of money. The conclusion was that Edward (2nd) retained all his properties as claimed except 87+ acres at Pinley. What is interesting in this assessments is the location of the various Inge family members.
Edward Inge of the Charterhouse, Coventry
Ann Stanton (in 1820 late of Kenilworth, Warwickshire, then of Grove Place, Hammersmith, Middlesex, widow.
Letitia Coxwell of Grove Place, Hammersmith, Middlesex, widow
Elizabeth Inge of Grove Place, Hammersmith, Middlesex, spinster
late Mary Inge of Grove Place, Hammersmith, Middlesex, spinster
John of Ashow, Warwickshire, clerk
William of Longbridge, Warwickshire, esquire
Edmond of Grafton Street, Fitzroy Square, Middlesex, clerk
The reason for this clarification is apparent as there is a copy of a mortgage dated 19 July 1820. Edward Inge was paid £3600 by John and Thomas Brookes, for repayment with interest on 19 January 1821 or later.
29 September 1824
Assignment of mortgage with further charge, Thomas Johnson of Wolvey, Warwickshire, farmer and grazier, paid £3600 to John and Thomas Brookes and £1900 to Edward Inge, late of the Charterhouse but now of Willenhall, Warwickshire, for repayment at 4% interest pa on 29 March 1825 or later.
23 January 1836
Probate copy of the will of Edward Inge of Willenhall, Warwickshire dated 30 June 1834, Edward bequeathed everything to his brother for life, thereafter to be held in trust for sale by his nephew-in-law Eyre Evans Kenny, Herbert Taylor of Uttoxeter, Salop, MD and Richard Dewes of Foleshill, Coventry, gentleman, Edward’s late clerk. The distribution of proceeds - his friend William Stanton of Longbridge, Warwickshire, esquire, and Richard Dewes to invest £3000 at 3% to use primarily to promote Wyken Colliery, second to discharge Edward’s debts, and finally to pay debts incurred under the will of Edward’s late brother-in-law John Stanton, esquire. Other than Edward’s fixed assets, Wyken Colliery shares and other assets are to be sold by the trustees to pay funeral expenses and liquidate mortgages. If necessary his executors will sell Charterhouse land for the London and Birmingham railroad and invest the proceeds in Edward’s father’s estate. Following the death of John Inge, Edward’s trustees will use available funds to discharge mortgages and to pay the following legacies :-
£1000 to Edward’s niece Letitia Humble in satisfaction of a £500 debt made by Edward with Letitia Humble’s mother, Letitia Coxwell
£500 to Edward’s young friend Elizabeth Badenock, wife of James Badenock of Foleshill, Warwickshire, silkman
£1000 to John Inge’s daughter Letitia
£1000 to Eyre Evans Kenny
£100 each to Edward’s sisters Elizabeth Inge and Letitia Coxwell, and to his brother John’s son’s Edward and John Robert
£200 to trustees Herbert Taylor and Richard Dewes - excludes any charge Richard Dewes may incur in settling partnership accounts with John Carter.
£200 to his old servant John Meads
£10 to every servant of five year’s standing
£1000 to his great nephew Edward Inge (son of nephew Edward Inge) invested until he turns 21 years, with income to maintain him.
Of the residual estate, a quarter each to Letitia Inge, Eyre Evans Kenny, quarter invested for income to nephew Edward Inge for life, then divided equally between his children, and quarter invested for income to nephew John Robert Inge and then divided equally between his children.
Edward’s trustees will continue Wyken Colliery with his partners. Probate was granted on 23 January 1836 to Edward’s executors John Inge, Eyre Evans Kenny, Herbert Taylor and Richard Dewes.
25 February 1837
Will of John Inge made on 4 April 1834, appointed Mark and Edward Thomas Pearman as trustees, leaves all his assets to his trustees to leave to Marianne Harriet Mary Ann Ryley as a marriage settlement on condition that she marries his son Rev John Robert Inge within three years of his death - they married on 5 August 1835.
Probate was granted on 23 January 1837 and the sole executor was Rev John Robert Inge.
7-8 October 1839
Copy of Lease and Release document, Eyre Evans Kenny, trustee, is described as being a lieutenant colonel not attached to a regiment, of Coventry. This lengthy document is about the sale of the Charterhouse site being lot 13. A Master in Chancery, William Wingfield, had the 18 lots sold on 4 October 1838 at the Castle Inn, Coventry and that in relation to lot 13, Richard Hands of Coventry, ribbon manufacturer, and William Grant of Coventry, dyer, proposed to pay £3150 and this was accepted. However there were some legal issues including the value of timber on lot 13. In the end William Grant became the sole purchaser for £3913/10/19 as from 25 March 1839. Lot 13 appears to have been all or most of the area around the Charterhouse and adjourned “the great turnpike road” (London Road). Specifically identified as part of Lot 13 were the Horse Pool Close and the Charterhouse Leys of over 18 acres and included the Charterhouse and St Ann’s Grove. Reserved was a roadway over Horse Pit Leys to Dilcock’s mill and the mill owner’s and occupier’s right to repair the stream banks.
Comment - the total area of the Charterhouse estate was said to have been 14 acres at the time of the original grant in 1382. From the above documents it is reasonable to conclude that the ownership sequence of the Charterhouse estate from around 1700 to 1839 is
Elizabeth St Nicholas (probably nee Hill) - 1726
Prudence Inge 1726 -1778
Henry Inge by default 1726 -
Edward Inge the first 1778 - 1795
Edward Inge the second 1795 -1834
John Inge 1834 - 1835
the trustees of Edward’s will 1835-1839
16 September 1840
Articles of Agreement, this document provides information about the Inge family’s interest in Wyken Colliery which was situated on the northern edge of Coventry, and concerns a debt due from the estate of William James of £2190 being sought by the executors of Edward Inge. Future dividends due to Elizabeth James were
to be offset against the debt, then the balance satisfied by proceeds from the sale of the colliery.
Edward Inge was a partner in the Colliery, and he probably used the funds received when he mortgaged several of his properties for £1000 (1792), £1000 (1815), £3600 (1820) and £1900 (1824), to invest in the Colliery. His share of the partnership was 7.25/30.
Others holding a share were
Rev John Stanton and William Stanton as executors of the late John Stanton of Kenilworth 5/30
William Wilson of Whitacre, Warwickshire, esquire 4/30
William Stanton 2.5/30
Rev John Grove Stanton 1.5/30
William Stanton administrator of the late Rev Edward Stanton of Kenilworth 1/30
Anne Jennings of Yalding, Kent widow administratrix of the late Robert Jennings of Hammersmith 0.5/30
Rev John Robert Inge of Scarborough, Yorkshire executor of the late John Inge of the Charterhouse 05/30
Sarah Banks of St Mary Islington, Middlesex, widow, 0.5/30
Elizabeth James of Hackney, Middlesex, executrix of the late William James of Bodmin, Cornwall 7.25/30
Wyken Colliery was a large coal mining operation in the early 19th century. Mining in the area developed from the late 16th century, using shallow mines. The Colliery was developed somewhere between 1789 and 1811. Edward Inge and John Stanton were lessees of the collieries from 1789 when they took a lease of all the Coventry Corporation mines in Foleshill, Sowe and Wyken. They Invested heavily and it is recorded they had spent £60,000 by 1811. In the period 1811-14 coal was raised at a rate of about 9,000 tons annually. 1886 the mine employed a total of 401 workers. It was closed in 1910.
From the time of John Inge’s death in 1835 until the 1850s there were many twists and turns in the sale of the Inge estates, including many legal challenges. From a reading of Edward’s will his trustees probably had responsibilities for many years, for example, trusts would have been set up in relation to the funds given for the raising and finally distribution to John Inge’s young grandchildren.
So until Eyre Evans Kenny left Coventry, probably in late 1840 or early 1841 to live in Birmingham and until he departed for Melbourne in August 1842, he probably spent a lot of time involved with the administration of the various parts of the Inge estates and then their sale. On his departure Eyre appears to have appointed Thomas Johnson as his representative in relation to his responsibilities as executor and trustee under Edward Inge’s will.
As mentioned in Chapter XX the Kenny family had settled at Biddenham in Bedfordshire on their return from Malta in about mid 1826. While at Biddenham his wife Lucy died in 1831 and their daughter Mary Ann died in 1832. It was probably then that Eyre and his children moved to the Charterhouse to live so that he may have some family support in raising his young family. Also Edward Inge may have asked Eyre to assist him in running his estates. Therefore the Kenny family probably lived at the Charterhouse from 1832 to 1839/40.
History of the Charterhouse
On the southern edge of Coventry stands what is today known as the Charterhouse. This building and the surrounding open space is the site of the Carthusian Priory of Saint Anne, founded in 1381-82 by William, Lord Zouche of Harringworth, Northamptonshire. At the time Eyre Evans Kenny lived at the Charterhouse there were several other small buildings, but what you see today is much the same as then.
When the Priory was established it was on a 14 acre site known as Shortley Field. Shortley was then the area extending along the Sherbourne River and to the south east of, and close to the walled city of Coventry.
The Carthusian Order of the Roman Catholic Church was founded by Saint Bruno in 1084 at Chartreuse in Southern France. The English word for a Carthusian monastery is Charterhouse and is a corruption of Chartreuse. The first of nine Charterhouses in England was established by Henry II in 1182 at Witham in Somersetshire.
Lord Zouche, the founder of the Priory at Coventry, did little to progress building work and he died in 1382. Credit for getting the project underway goes to Robert Palmer, Procurator of the London Charterhouse and later Prior at Coventry. Also involved in the project was Lord Zouche junior. Progress was slow and in 1384 Lord Zouche was accused of plotting to kill King Richard II. This could not be proved, but caused King Richard II and Queen Anne, to declare they were the founders of the Priory, bringing royal patronage to aid the building and maintenance. Richard II laid the foundation stone of the Priory Church in September 1385.
The Carthusians were an enclosed order and this is reflected in the construction of their Charterhouses. At Coventry there were originally seven cells for the monks, and another four were built later as funds were provided by various benefactors. The cells were arranged around a Great Cloister and in addition there were rooms for about 20 lay brothers and twelve schoolboys.
The site was partly enclosed by a high wall, most of which remains today and is heritage classified Grade II. The whole site is recognised as an Ancient Monument, except for the existing building. Only the foundation stones of the church remain and an archaeological dig during the period 1968 to 1987 found evidence of most of the original buildings and many graves. The surviving building which was probably built around 1415, known as the Charterhouse today, is believed to have been the Prior’s cell or lodging and the monks frater (refectory). It is heritage classified Grade I.
The life of Carthusian monks was very hard and rigourous, epitomising mediaeval monastic life. The monks wore black and white habits with a hair shirt underneath. They were shut away in their cells for much of the day for prayer, meditation and devotions. They slept on straw, lived simply, were forbidden to eat meat, and ate only bread and water on Fridays. As a silent order they could only speak to the Prior and only saw each other during church services or in the refectory on certain days. Their cell comprised of several rooms and an outside area enclosed by a wall. Food and other items were passed through a hole in the wall near the door.
At the time of the Dissolution in 1539, in the reign of Henry VIII, the Carthusians were forced to close the Priory and since then the land and buildings have been privately owned. Soon after ceasing to be the Priory, many of the buildings, having a religious purpose, were dismantled and the building materials carted away to be used elsewhere.
The surviving Charterhouse building is of local sandstone ashlar and is about 18.5 metres by 8 metres with three floors. At the north end the upper part is timber framed, a 16th century addition. The present roof is not the original but its carved tie beams and some of the corbels are original. Once in private ownership an extra floor was inserted at the northern end resulting in an upper part of an internal wall being removed.
In 1889 the then owner, Sir William Wyley removed the panels on this internal wall to discover part of a magnificent mediaeval wall painting of Christ’s crucifixion (photo to be included). Jesus’ legs and feet can be seen on the Cross with his blood flowing down in the form of fleur de lys. An inscription appears to commemorate the completion of the building while William Soland was prior, which dates the painting between 1411 and 1417.
In an adjoining room is another wall painting of high quality. Executed in blue-black paint, probably by an Italian painter during the reign of Elizabeth I (photo to be included). Then in an upstairs room there is a colourful 18th century frieze. There are many aged features in the Charterhouse, such as moulded stone fireplaces, exposed timber beams, carvings, a stone newel staircase, and Georgian sash windows and doors.
The Charterhouse and grounds were bequeathed to the City of Coventry on the death of Sir William Wyley in 1940 and until 1957 was an old people’s home, then used by the Council’s parks and cemeteries department, and over the past twenty years has been used as an educational centre providing business management courses and is now part of City College Coventry.
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George William Herbert Kenny