New light on the Sobieski Stuarts
New light on the Sobieski Stuarts
The biography and background of Thomas Allen the father of John Carter Allen (1795-1872) alias John Sobieski Stuart and Charles Manning Allen (c.1801-1880) alias Charles Edward Stuart, Count of Albany, has received considerable attention from historians over a long period. In 1897 Henry Jenner wrote that the brothers' story, bedevilled by lies and invention, was 'a very slippery one' that had 'eluded the grasp of everyone  and a hundred years later Professor Hugh Trevor-Roper wrote that about Thomas Allen, 'nothing seems discoverable' . The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography in 2004 followed Trevor-Roper's outline, but both had overlooked material in articles by Leo Berry in Notes & Queries in 1952  which have led to the present discoveries.
The basic story if that the two brothers began in the 1830s to say that they were the legitimate grandchildren of the Young Pretender, claiming that the secret of their royal descent had been revealed to them about 1811, that they then fought for Napoleon at Dresden, Leipzig and Waterloo and learned Gaelic in London. John travelled in Argyll and then joinied Charles in Edinburgh, they living together in the Finhorn valley from 1826 and moving to Eilean Aigas on the River Beauly in 1838. From there they published a now discredited work on clan tartans in 1842 and a romanticised outline of their ancestral claims in 1847 . Both books were savaged by Professor George Skene of Glasgow University in 1847  and the brothers went overseas, returning to England only in 1868.
The brothers claimed that their father, Thomas Allen, had been born to the Young Pretender in 1773 but spirited away from Italy and adopted by their grandfather Admiral John Carter Allen (1725-1800) who, however, as the Dictionary of National Biography pointed out, was on half-pay from 1771 to 1775 and not in command of any ship at the time. Thomas Allen himself, however, was proud of a Hay descent and seems not to have made these claims to Stuart ancestry . He had married at Godalming in 1792 Catherine Matilda Manning, a daughter of Rev. Owen Manning the historian of Surrey. She had been baptised at Godalming in 1765 and was thus some years older than Thomas. Thomas retired from the Navy in 1798 and his subsequent history was far from clear though his son Charles Manning Allen wrote in 1877 that his father (whom he called James) died in 1839, a date adopted by Trevor-Roper and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography in rejection of the year 1852 which had been accepted by the old Dictionary of National Biography.
An account of the claims published by Hugh Beveridge in 1909  says that the two brothers 'were extraordinarily like' the Young Pretender (a statement strongly disputed by Leo Berry)  but noted that they also resembled their rejected grandfather Admiral John Carter Allen. Beveridge unwisely concluded that either the brothers were the Prince's grandchildren or that the Admiral himself had an illegitimate descent from the Stuarts .
Thomas Allen (1767-1852)
Although generally referred to as 'Captain' Thomas Allen and given that description by his family, Berry could find no evidence that he was promoted beyond Second Lieutenant . In 1952 Berry wrote that in retirement Thomas Allen had married secondly about 1812 a much younger woman, Ann Salmon, and had several children by her. Berry had been in touch with a descendant of that 'second marriage' and seen a few family papers that had come down in the family. He and Beveridge before him had no doubt that Thomas's wife Catherine Matilda had died about 1811. Ann's children, they said, were 'looked down on' by the Sobieski Stuarts as 'of much lower rank in life' .
However, the statements by Trevor-Roper that Thomas Allen then 'lived mainly abroad, especially in Italy' and by Berry that Thomas, following speculation and other financial problems, was from 1816 to 1829 based at Boulogne, 'a safe refuge for English debtors' , cannot be confirmed, but coupled with Beveridge's statement that there had been 'a general break-up of the home' about 1818 and that Thomas's whereabouts were unknown until 1822 , have led to a long series of entries in the Middlesex Deeds Registry (MDR) and the London Gazette.
From these we learn that under his marriage settlement with Catherine Matilda Manning, Thomas and their children (the two sons and a daughter Matilda) had a life interest and income from properties in Mare Street and Well Street, Hackney. Indeed Berry had already seen in the Allen family papers that in February 1817 Thomas Allen had appealed to the former Lord Chancellor, Lord Erskine, for help with the possible sale of some trust property but Erskine had replied that he could 'see no immediate remedy for the case you mention' .
A last minute attempt to make some arrangement for the future sale of the property and the income meanwhile was made on 17 January 1818  but that same day the unfortunate outcome is revealed by the Middlesex Deeds Registry which records a judgment in the Court of Kings Bench against Thomas and his son John in a plea of debt by James Barstow for £300 and damages . Thomas was consequently imprisoned for debt in the Fleet Prison from January 1818 until 20 December 1819. An Order of the Court for Relief of Insolvent Debtors that his petition for release be heard appeared in the London Gazette for 30 October 1819 when he was described as 'Thomas Allen (alias Thomas Hay Allen, alias Thomas Gatehouse Hay Allen, committed in the name Thomas Hay Allen) formerly of Oystermouth, near Swansea, Glamorgan; Withergate Hill near Nettlebed, Oxon; Frimley, Surrey; Gesling near Hastings, Sussex; Thayer Street, Manchester Square, Middlesex, and late of Greenwich Street, Kent' . His petition was heard at the Guildhall, Westminster, on 22 November 1819  and he was discharged on 20 December 1819 .
Thomas had moved from Greenwich to Lambeth by February 1822  but continued to live in fear of his creditors. Proposals for a final settlement with his bankruptcy assignees could not be agreed and he, his wife and children appear in a further series of transactions and mortgages relating to the trust properties, some of which were publicly auctioned on 8 May 1840. . A notice in the London Gazette for 1 October 1841 said that Thomas's creditors were to meet his assignees on 25 October 1841, proposing the purchase of the dividends, interest and produce of the £2,000 to which he was entitled for life at the time of his discharge as a debtor, in case he survived his wife, 'which event has lately happened', or to sell the same by auction in manner and place approved.  A final indenture of 4 July 1843 records the purchase by Thomas's son Charles Manning Allen of the family's life interest from the bankruptcy assignees . It is clear from the entries not only that Thomas did not die in 1837 but also that his wife Catherine Matilda did not die about 1811 but had survived until 1841.
Berry said that in 1839 Thomas was in hiding as 'Mr Salmon' at 10 Portland Place North, Clapham Road, Lambeth , and looking at the inhabitants of that street in the 1841 census I was amused to see him as 'Thomas MacGaradh', aged 70, independent, claiming to be born in Scotland. He had with him Anne MacGaradh, aged 48 (i.e. his 'second wife'), Eli Bar MacGaradh, aged 12 (i.e. their son Gilbert Hay Allen, born in 1829) and Napoleon de la Fleurier, aged 17 (his daughter's son Napoleon de la Fleuriere). The word 'MacGaradh' was supposed to be a war-cry of the Hay family and was the subject of a poem 'The Gathering of the Hays', parts of which Thomas's eldest son, then calling himself John Hay Allan, claimed to be ancient and had inserted in his book The bridal of Caolchairn and other poems (1822) to show a connection with the Hays of Errol. It contains the lines, "Come in MacGaradh! Come arm'd for the fray! Wide is the war-cry and dark is the day" . George Skene thought the poem a forgery  and George Fraser Black wrote that the word 'MacGaradh', which the brothers said was the Gaelic form of the surname Hay, was entirely their invention .
Berry says that from 1843 Thomas was confined to his room at 22 Henry Street, Pentonville, and he was there, apparently using Ann's surname, as 'John Salmon', aged 70, independent, with his 'wife' Ann, aged 60, in 1851 . He died at that address on 14 February 1852, aged 84, his death being registered as Thomas Hay Allen. It is said in the 1892 edition of one of his sons' books that he was buried at Old St Pancras  and it has been stated that he was buried at St James Clerkenwell , but he was actually buried, as Thomas Hay Allen, at St Giles in the Fields, on 23 February 1852 .
Catherine Matilda Manning (1765-1841)
Thomas's wife Catherine Matilda had not been mentioned in the wills of her father or mother but in 1818 she was a witness at the marriage of her daughter Matilda in Greenwich and in 1822 she and her husband, then of 23 Lower Charlotte Street, St George the Martyr, consented to and were witnesses at the marriage of their son Charles . She was named in the will of her unmarried sister Matilda Manning in 1827 and asked for an indenture of 1817 to be registered on 4 March 1834 .
I had assumed from the published accounts that at some stage Thomas had left the marital home and gone to live with Ann. However, the 1817 indenture speaks of John Carter Allen eldest son of Thomas Allen by Katherine Matilda and 'now residing with them' which, like their son Charles's marriage entry in 1822, indicates that the couple continued to live together.
The record of Katherine Matilda's death in 1841 proved elusive but was found registered by her husband, he calling himself Thomas MacGaradh and, as though unrelated, describing her in her maiden name of Manning and as a 'widow'. She died on 14 February 1841 at 11 Portland Place North, aged 77. The census taken in June shows that Ann then quickly moved into the house.
Charles Manning Allen (died 1880)
It should perhaps be mentioned that Thomas's second legitimate son, Charles Manning Allen, who is variously stated to have been born in April 1797 or on 4 June 1799 was not born until after October 1801, for he was still under age and needing the consent of his parents for his marriage at St George, Hanover Square, on 9 October 1822. A notice of the marriage in The Examiner of 20 October 1822 describes him as 'Charles Stuart Hay Allen' and he used that name when at a Levee by the King in London on 21 April 1823 . That the brothers went to see King George IV in Edinburgh in August 1822 cannot be confirmed. His brother John wrote that Charles had been born on 4 July . If that is correct and he was not born until 4 July 1802 he was indeed young to have been fighting at Dresden in August 1813. His elder brother John, we know from Berry's work (but not noted in ODNB), was born at Oystermouth, Glamorgan, 4 August 1795, and baptised there, 5 October 1795 .
Matilda Allen (born 1799)
Thomas Allen's daughter Matilda had been born at Oystermouth, Glamorgan, on 18 October 1799 and baptised there on 12 January 1800 , though in 1851 she said that she was aged 45 and born in Holland . Berry said that she had been married twice: firstly to Dr Bosanquet who was also known as the Comte de Fleure, by whom she had a son who died unmarried in London and other issue, and secondly in the 1840s to Count Ferdinand de Lancastro, by whom she had another son, 'Charles Ferdinand Montesinore de Lancastro, Count de Lancastro et d'Albanie', born in 1844 .
Research has shown that Matilda indeed married at St Alphege, Greenwich, on 8 April 1818, one Henry Timothie Boisquet de la Fleuriere, of Nantes, France, formerly a Captain in Napoleon's Light Horse and previously in the Hussars, who is described in The Times as 'second son of the late Marquis de la Fleuriere'. One may assume that Napoleon de la Fleuriere, who said that he was born at Lambeth about 1823-4 and died an 'author' in 1881, was their son . Berry had seen a letter signed M.B. from Matilda to her father written from abroad which told 'a pathetic and harrowing story of the destitution and even starvation to which she and her children were then reduced' . Berry does not give the date of this letter but says that most of those he had seen related to the years 1812-26 and she perhaps went to France on marriage. None of her children were baptised at Greenwich and Henry Timothie's death has not been found.
However, Matilda surprisingly re-appears in the above-mentioned 1843 indenture together with her husband as 'Alexander McCaskery and Matilda his wife formerly Matilda Allen spinster'. This Alexander McCaskery, who was presumably her second husband though no marriage entry has been found [see, however, additional footnote 42A], was a police sergeant in Fulham . In 1861 he described himself as married but he was then lodging alone in Fulham . He died in 1870, aged 70 . I have not found where and when his wife Matilda died. The couple had at least three children: Alexander (1835-1848) who died young, Gabriel (1839-1920) a schoolmaster in the army who lived latterly at Battersea in 'a state of semi starvation' , and Oscar (1841-1915) a soldier who by 1881 was a patient in a Lunatic Asylum at Norwood . The first child was baptised at St Luke, Chelsea, the other two at St John, Walham Green, Fulham. Neither married.
This McCaskery family is not mentioned in the stories emanating from the Sobieski Stuarts. Instead Matilda, as mentioned, is said to have married secondly an unidentified Count Ferdinand de Lancastro and to have had issue an only son, also Charles Ferdinand, who said in 1871 that he was born in Brunswick in 1844  and is said to have had various military adventures before going to Austria in 1873 . This young man, who was in London with his Sobieski Stuart uncles in 1871, did not go abroad in 1873 but died as 'Charles Ferdinand Stuart' in London that year, aged 29 . He may, of course, have been a child of Matilda and Alexander, born overseas, but if so he was not with his parents as a child in 1851 .
Ann Salmon's children
Leo Berry had noted Thomas Allen's use of the surname Salmon in 1839 and Thomas's entry in that surname in the 1851 census returns and he had concluded that Thomas had taken Ann's surname, the couple having with them as a servant in 1851, a niece, Emily Salmon, aged 14, born in Somers Town, St Pancras . According to Berry this girl was the daughter of Richard Salmon of Great James Street, Marylebone, but he provides no evidence for that statement .
Thomas and Ann were said to have had five children born at Boulogne between '181-' and 1829 and it is possible that Thomas had gone to France in the early days of his liaison with Ann and perhaps that she was at Boulogne whilst he was in prison. Berry had in 1940 been in touch with a great-granddaughter of Thomas and Ann who said that the youngest of the children, Gilbert Hay Allen, was born on 14 October 1829, but Berry had few details of the other children, giving them all the surname 'Hay Allen' and saying that although on friendly terms with their half-brothers they never adopted a Stuart pose . However, this youngest child, Gilbert, who remained in London and became a police inspector, dying in East Finchley in 1902, consistently said that he was born, not in Boulogne, but in Kennington, Surrey (though in 1851 he said Clapham, probably because Portland Place North was off Clapham Road). His baptismal entry has not been found.
Beveridge had also obtained information from an unnamed daughter of Gilbert's elder brother, Donald (who had died, she said, in 1883), and she told him about her uncle William, but nowhere does Beveridge give the surname used by these illegitimate children. Perhaps he wished to preserve the family's anonymity. He denied that Donald had died in 1883, although he certainly did, not in the surname Allen or MacGaradh but in that of MacGarrow, a surname which had been used by Donald's daughter Fanny, who died in 1918, since at least 1851. Indeed, searches have revealed that at least three of Thomas Allen's four other illegitimate children had gone to Scotland and taken that surname and that Donald's children usually called themselves Stuart or Stewart MacGarrow.
Thomas's eldest illegitimate child, William, had a child baptised in that name at Forres, Moray, in 1836 and he died a grocer there in 1878, aged 76. In 1871 he said that he was aged 63 and born in Wales. His brother Donald MacGarrow had his first child Fanny in Ireland about 1840-1 and was also at Forres, a hotel keeper, from at least 1843 until his death in 1883, also aged 76 (though he had a child at Tain, Ross & Cromarty, in 1853). In 1851 Donald had said that he was aged 37, a vintner, and born at Appin, Argyll, but by 1881 he was saying that he was aged 60 and born at Moidart, Inverness. William and Donald's sister, Fanny MacGarrow, died at Forres on 17 March 1861 aged 42 and was not apparently in Scotland, in the surname MacGarrow at least, in 1851. The 'Stuart pose' is obvious but little credence can be given to some of the statements. They may indicate that Ann's family were in Argyll or Inverness before they moved eastwards to Forres.
On the three death certificates the father in each case is given as Thomas MacGarrow, Captain RN (or Merchant Service as in the case of Fanny), but the informants add to the confusion when they each say that the mother's maiden name was not Ann Salmon but Ann Burton, as indeed it may have been as there is so little evidence on the point. Further searches in Scotland may perhaps be worthwhile but meanwhile we have little idea when Thomas Allen's liaison with Ann commenced, where he was when their children were born or in what surname they were baptised. If the papers that Berry saw have survived, it is possible that they would throw additional light on the matter.
Admiral John Carter Allen (1725-1800)
Thomas Allen, the supposed son of the Young Pretender, was himself said to have been born on 7 May 1767, a date calculated from his age at death and from 'family records' , and this agrees roughly with his age of 70 in 1841, though he gave the same age in 1851 when he said that he was born at Westminster. No record of his birth or baptism, or of those of his brother Admiral John Allen (said to have been born at Upham in Hampshire on 26 January 1771)  and of their sister Jane or Jean Allen who married Thomas Robinson at Brighton in 1788 , has been found but it has always been assumed that these three children were legitimate. Their father was to all intents and purposes Admiral John Carter Allen, who died in 1800 . He had named the three children in his will without comment as to their status, though he had bequeathed only £100 to Thomas and £100 and a pair of silver candlesticks to Jane, but leaving £2,200 and the residue to John . The disparity has caused comment but Thomas had an assured income from his marriage settlement.
Leo Berry knew little about John Carter Allen's personal life but research has shown that he was twice married, firstly when in his mid-50s, on 20 June 1780 at St James, Westminster, to Mrs Caroline Addington (died 1796-7) , the daughter of Captain Thomas Arnold, R.N., and the widow of William Addington (by whom she had had an only child) , and secondly by special licence on 29 June 1799 at No 2 Devonshire Place, St Marylebone , to Stella Frances Freeman who died in 1821 aged 92 . It is thus clear that the three children above-mentioned were born prior to Admiral John Carter Allen's first marriage and were thus illegitimate.
Looking for further details of these families I was rewarded by finding the will of John Carter Allen's first mother-in-law, Elizabeth, the widow of Thomas Arnold of Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth who had died in 1737 . Elizabeth survived her husband by fifty years and died in 1789. By her will, proved in 1789 , she bequeathed £1,000 to her daughter's husband, 'Admiral John Cator Allen' [sic], and in the twelfth of the sixteen codicils to that will, dated 13 May 1788, she wrote 'I give to Thos John and Jean Allen natural children of Admiral Allen twenty guineas each', thus confirming their illegitimacy. Unfortunately there is no indication as to the name of the children's mother and their baptisms have not been found. In view of Thomas's use in later life of the name Gatehouse it is possible that his mother was a Gatehouse.
Admiral John Carter Allen had himself been born 19 January 1724/5 and baptised at St Dunstan in the West, 31 January 1724/5, the son of Carter Allen.
Carter Allen (1700-1734)
Carter Allen was an attorney in the City of London  who had been born 23 December 1700 and baptised at St Sepulchre in the City on 24 December 1700, the son of John and Ann Allen, of Ellis Court . Carter Allen was buried in the Middle Aisle at St Clement Eastcheap on 31 May 1734  and his estate was administered by his wife, formerly Emma Hay , whom he had married at St Giles, Camberwell, on 20 April 1724 .
The descent from Emma Hay explains Thomas Allen's use of that surname. Contemporaries of Admiral John Carter Allen had recounted at his death in 1800, that the late Lord Hillsborough (who had died in 1793) had said that he had a claim to 'the title of Erroll … as being descended from the old Earl Hay in the male line' , a suggestion that clearly has no substance but which impressed Thomas Allen .
I have not attempted to take the male ancestry further. Emma was not buried at St Clement Eastcheap and it is possible that she married again. Her husband's early death and the circumstances of her son's early liaison and illegitimate children coupled with the illegitimacies in the next generation would undoubtedly have obscured family traditions from later generations, allowing invention to fill the gaps.
 Hugh Trevor Roper, 'Invention of tradition: the highland tradition of Scotland', in Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, eds., The invention of tradition (University of Cambridge, 1983), reprinted in Journal of the St Andrew's Society of Montreal (September 2006).
 Notes and Queries, vol. 197 (1952) 428-29, 455-57, 470-71, 511-13.
 Notes and Queries, vol. 197 (1952) 471.
 Beveridge (1909) v.
 Notes and Queries, vol. 197 (1952) 455.
 Notes and Queries, vol. 178 (1940) 367-8.
 London Gazette, 16 October 1821, No 17755, page 2065a-b.
 London Gazette, 1 October 1841, No 20023, page 2443.
 Hackney Archives Department, M220; registered 12 July 1848, MDR 1848-5-607.
 Notes and Queries, vol. 197 (1952) 456.
 The costume of the clans (1892) xvii.
 The Genealogical Magazine, i (1897) 23.
 MDR 1834-2-373.
 Morning Post, 22 April 1823, 2c.
 Notes and Queries, vol. 197 (1952) 470.
 1851 Census of Prospect Place, Fulham, HO107/147-44-26, as 'McCasling'.
 He had a brief career as Editor of the Morning Advertiser, 8 September 1876 to January 1877; Edinburgh Evening News, 9 September1876, 4; Ipswich Journal, 16 January 1877, 2.
[42A] The marriage of "Alexander McCoskery" and "Matilda McFleur" apparently took place at St Mary Abbots, Kensington, on 16 April 1835.
 1841 Census of Rectory Place, Fulham, HO107/689-14-37v.
 1861 Census of 1 Home Cottages, Fulham, RG9/27-11-18.
 Death registered Kensington, March Quarter 1870, aged 70.
 1881 Census of Middlesex Lunatic Asylum, Norwood, RG11/1336-82-32.
 Death registered St George Hanover Square, aged 29; Notes and Queries, Fifth Series viii (1877) 92.
 1851 Census of Prospect Place, Fulham, HO107/147-44-26.
 1851 Census of 22 Henry Street, Pentonville, HO107/1518-152-33.
 Notes and Queries, vol. 197 (1952) 456.
 Notes and Queries, vol. 197 (1952) 470-1.
 Notes and Queries, vol. 197 (1952) 455-6.
 Notes and Queries, vol. 199 (1954) 209.
 He is generally stated to have died at his house in Devonshire Place, London, on 2 October 1800 (The Star for 15 October and Gentleman's Magazine, 1800 ii 1010), but the first accounts of his death (in the Courier and Evening Gazette and Morning Post for 9 October and the Oracle and Daily Advertiser for 10 October) say that he died at Bath.
 His will dated 11 February 1800 (with codicils 1 March 1800 and 25 March 1800) proved 16 October 1800 (PCC folio 697); text printed in Notes and Queries vol. 203 (1958) 310-11; IR26/44 No 5, Under £5,000.
 His will dated 22 August 1777 proved PCC 8 June 1779, PROB11/1053 folio 230.
 Marriage Registers of St Marylebone, 29 June 1799, Page 76, Entry 228.
 She was buried at Abbots Langley, Hertfordshire, 12 November 1821, aged 92; her will dated 10 June 1806 with codicils 10 April 1812 and 17 August 1819 proved PCC 21 November 1821, PROB11/1649 folio 583.
 Burial Registers of St Clement Eastcheap, City of London, 31 May 1734; Harleian Society, 68 (1938) 15.
 His administration granted PCC, 13 June 1734, PROB6/110 folio 99r.
 Letter of William Scott in Gentleman's Magazine, 1800 ii 1021.
(c) Anthony J. Camp, June 2016. First published (with summary pedigree) in Genealogists' Magazine, Volume 31, Number 8, December 2014, pages 298-306.