King George the Third admired the simplicity of the Quakers and there is a well-known story, first published in 1770 but much embroidered in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries that, originally in amusement or ridicule, linked his name as an extremely shy fifteen-year-old with the 'Fair Quaker', Hannah Lightfoot, some eight years his senior, who married Isaac Axford in December 1753, but left him before the end of the following year and completely disappeared.
Public awareness of the story hardly existed before the 1770s and there was no discussion about Hannah until the 1820s when, after the King's death, it began to be said that he had somehow been involved in her disappearance, a belief, 'not the less remarkable', as has been said, because it was 'induced only by persistent rumour' [Note 1]. No contemporary source connecting the Prince and Hannah has ever been found.
Any publicity that Hammah's disappearance might have received was overshadowed in the press by the disappearance of Elizabeth Canning, a servant in the City of London, who in 1753, was missing for four weeks and then alleged that she had been taken by two men and starved in the loft of a house at Enfield Wash, in order to force her into prostitution. Public interest in her story was immense but she was tried for perjury in 1754 and transported for seven years. The judge at her trial was Sir John Willes, an unscrupulous intriguer and womanizer whose promotion had been delayed by George II's objections to his private character [Note 2], but who later played a part in the Lightfoot story.
Origin of stories
George the Third was throughout his life interested in the Quakers and thus an easy butt for jokes in the later years of his grandfather's reign. On 5 February 1756, the shy young prince had seen someone dressed as a Quaker at a masquerade at Northumberland House, as he recalled when ill on its anniversary in 1789 [Note 3]. However, judging by his later tongue-tied embarrassment in his interest in Lady Sarah Lennox, it is highly unlikely that there had been any earlier relationship with Hannah Lightfoot. No academic biographer or historian thinks that there was.
It is said that when the new King and several members of the Royal Famaily visited the wealthy Quaker linen merchant David Barclay and his family in Cheapside in the City of London on Lord Mayor's Day, 8 November 1761 [Note 4], that the prints extolled the King's manner in suiting 'his behaviour to the principles and habits of the Quakers' amd that one of 'a number of witty impromptus ... facetiously remarked that His Majesty had been thoroughly initiated and instructed by the fairest of the Quaker sisterhood' [Note 5]. Although this was written in 1820, no prints of the day seem to have survived and none are mentioned in the British Museum's extensive catalogue before 1788.
On Friday, 7 September 1770, The Public Advertiser mentioned the recent appearance in court of the King's younger brother the Duke of Cumberland as defendant in an action for crim. con. in which his illiterate letters had caused much amusement. The paper jokingly advertised that 'a new Publication, entitled 'The Letters of an Elder Brother to a Fair Quaker', will entirely retrieve the Literary Fame of an illustrious family, whoch has been lately endangered by a hasty and incorrect writer belonging to it'.
A year later a listing of supposed seductions by members of the Royal Family appeared in the Reading Mercury in 1771 and asked the question, 'What seduction was there in the mis-alliance with the fair Quaker of St James's Market?' [Note 6], and there was obviously an undercurrent of gossip in London aimed at the young king, one of who's first actions as king had been to issue a 'Proclamation for the encouragement of Piety and Virtue, and for the Preventing and Publishing of Vice, Profaneness, and Immorality'.
The name of the lady said to have been involved appeared merely as 'the fair Quaker', a sobriquet taken from the title of Charles Shadwell's popular comedy play The Fair Quaker of Deal; or the Humours of the Navy, first printed in 1710 and revived several times, notably at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in 1737.
On 10 December 1759 (a week before Isaac Axford married again) a young Lady Sophia Egerton wrote to her uncle William, Count Bentinck, about the Prince of Wales, 'it has often been buzz'd that H.R.H. in spite of his reserve, was not wholly insensible to the passion of Love and I am assured that he kept a beautiful young Quaker for some years, that she is dead and that One Child was the produce of that intrigue' [Note 7].
Sophia Egerton was a close relative of Lady Caroline Egerton who, the previous year, had had dealings with a John Lightfoot about land at Harrow, Middlesex, and was perhaps the source of her story [Note 8], but no surname was given publicly to the Fair Quaker until The Citizen, a newspaper for Saturday, 24 February 1776, promised to publish 'Court Fragments' which would include 'The history and Adventures of Miss L..htf..t, the Fair Quaker, wherein will be faithfully portrayed some striking pictures of female constancy and princely gratitude, which terminated in the untimely death of that lady, and the sudden death of her disconsolate mother'. Nothing further appeared. Those who knew her name, however, thus knew also that she had died before her mother (if not before December 1759) and her mother died in May 1760.
However, an engraving, dated to 1788, 'The Fair Quaker of Cheltenham', showed the King talking to a pretty woman on a stile, watched by the Queen from behind a tree, a sign pointing 'To Cheltenham Spa' [Note 9], which would have helped to perpetuate the story.
Olive Wilmot Serres
Olive Serres apparently stayed at Brighton in 1805 and then called herself landscape painter to George IV and it is probably no coincidence that on 3 June 1806 an advertisement appeared in the Morning Post, 'Unedited print of Hogarth's. This day is published by John Scott, Bookseller, 142 Strand. A print from an original painting of Hogarth's, called "The Royal Masquerade", now in the possession of Roger Palmer, Esq. exhibiting among an interesting group of Portraits by that able Master, the most striking likenesses of a Great Personage now living, of the Fair Quaker, the late Duke of Cumberland, the late Lord Bute, and of many other distinguished Characters of that day. Price 12s. each. Proof Impressions, £1 1s'. The prices, like the text, were heavily inflated.
A copy in the British Museum [Note 10] was purchased from the estate of Charles Burney in 1818 and Anecdotes of William Hogarth [and] a catalogue of his prints by J.B. Nichols (1833) 287, tells us that when a copy of this print was sold at Sotheby's on 19 December 1827, a manuscrcript explanation was included which ended with the words, 'The figure in the dress of a Quaker by the fire, is placed there to draw attention to the figure on the opposite side, intended for his Gracious Majesty (Geo. III) in amorous parley with the fair Quaker, and she appears to be retiring with her Royal Lover'. The print is, however, of doubtful authenticity and is not described in the standard catalogues of Hogarth's works by Paulson (1989) and Einberg (2016).
One cannot say that the insane charlatan Olive Serres had already embarked on her tortuous path, with its changes of direction and alteration of documents, that would eventually lead to her daughter almost inadvertently claiming the throne, but there is ample proof that she was for many years a liar and a forger. During a heated argument with her daughter Lavinia Ryves in September 1821, Lavinia publicly accused her mother of forgery, shouting at her, 'You deserve to be hanged!' (the punishment for forgery) [Note 11]. Desperately short of money, her whole life was a tissue of lies, made worse in the 1820s by her close association with William Petrie who, it was said in 1825, 'can imitate any handwriting' [Note 12].
The few early mentions in the press of the unnamed 'Fair Quaker' had roused little public comment, but a year after the king's death, a query as to her identity in The Monthly Magazine started a correspondence in 1821, encouraged by the editor, but noteworthy for the lack of information that it revealed. Although contact had been made with a son of Isaac Axford at Warminster it seemed likely that the father had said little about Hannah to his children.
The legends, however, received their greatest fillip by the publication of the anonymous An historical fragment relative to Her Late Majesty Queen Caroline (1824),the anonymous Authentic Records of the Court of England (1831-2) and the Secret History of the Court of England (1832) attributed to Lady Anne Hamilton, all of which, if not written by OliveSerres, undoubtedly contained material that she had provided.
The first book invented a story that the Queen, because of the King's supposed earlier marriage to Hannah, had doubted the legality of her own marriage to the King and had insisted that they be married again. The second said that Hannah and the Prince had been married at the Curzon Street Chapel (closed in 1754) in 1759, and the third said that Hannah had children by the Prince and that she was then 'disposed of' in marriage to Axford.
Attempting to show 'the utter groundlessness' of this story, the various published notes were then usefully brought together by William Thoms, the founding editor of Notes and Queries and Deputy Librarian at the House of Lords, in Hannah Lightfoot (1867). Earlier that year John Heneage Jesse, a clerk in the Admiralty, had annoyingly, if amusingly as Thoms said, re-told the story of the alleged connection between Hannah and the Prince in Memoirs of the life and reign of King George III [Note 13]. Jesse said that Hannah had been advertised for in the newspapers, though no such advertisements have been found.
Olive Serres died on 21 November 1834 but apparently left her daughter Lavinia thinking (at least that is the impression she gave at the forthcoming trial) that if she could prove that George III had married Hannah Lightfoot and thus made illegitimate all his children by Queen Charlotte, that following the death of William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, on 30 November 1834, the next in line to the throne would be a legitimate descendant of Henry Frederck, Duke of Cumberland, who had died in 1790. There were none, but Olive had claimed that he was her father.
In 1858 her daughter Lavinia published An appeal to Royalty which included a copy of the 1759 marriage entry and of Hannah Lightfoot's purported will dated in 1768, and in 1866 she commenced a court action which was intended to recognize her mother's legitimacy. She filed an array of forged documents which included certificates of the pretended marriage of the Duke of Cumberland at Lord Archer's house in Grosvenor Square in 1767 and of two marriages of Hannah Lightfoot and Prince George at Kew Chapel on 17 April 1759 and 'at their residence at Peckham' on 27 May 1759. The case was dismissed, the Lord Chief Justice saying of the certificates, 'I believe them to be rank and gross forgeries' as the jury had decided, and the documents were impounded for a hundred years.
At this court action the Attorney General said that the guilt of the 'fraud, fabrication and imposture' that Lavinia was promoting. might be 'excused by the insanity of one of the persons principally concerned'. It is indeed absurd that Lavinia, whose whole livelihood had come to rely on the support of others in the promotion of this bogus story, should now be portrayed as deeply wronged.
Hannah Lightfoot's two marriages and her will were said to have been witnessed by William Pitt, the will at Hampstead on 7 July 1768 [Note 14]. However, William Thoms, who said that he had been told by J, Wilson Croker 'that there are no tests of truth so severe and so much to be depended upon as dates' [Note 15], showed that there was much doubt about the Prince's ability to be present at the two marriageso n those days and that on 7 July 1768 Pitt was so unwell at Hayes in West London (not at Hampstead) that he was unable to write letters and he continued so at least until 16 July [Note 16].
After the release of her documents in the 1970s, the tale that Olive Serres had told, that prince George married Hannah Lightfoot and had three children by her, one of them being George Rex of Knysna in South Africa, was destroyed by a close examination of the Rex pedigree by Professor Ian Christie of University College, London [Note 17] and Patricia Storrar [Note 18]. Professor Christie concluded that the certificates and other documents produced by Olive and Lavinia were, as the Court had decided, 'undoubted forgeries ... faked by Olive Wilmot Serres ... with the idea of supporting her spurious claim to be recognized as Princess of Cumberland' [Note 19]. The Rex claims were, he wrote, 'merely the product of a fertile imagination' [Note 20].
Following the court decision, little was heard of the story and in 1910 William B. Boulton wrote a dretailed and balanced essay on 'The elusive Qukeress' for his In the days of the Georges [Note 21]. That should have been the end of the matter but after the death of Edward VII in 1910 Mary Pendered, who described herself in 1939 as a 'novelist and dramatist', produced The fair Quaker: Hannah Lightfoot and her relations with George III, which was also published in New York in 1911. She discussed every point at considerable length and accepted the 'tradition' that Hannah and the King had three children, though she did not go so far as to say that they were married. 'Seldom', said a reviewer of the book in the Westminster Gazette, 'has so big a book been built up on so slight a substratum of fact', adding 'we move in a "giddy waltz" of surmise and conjecture' [Note 22]. Pendered was impressed by the number of correspondents who had begun to claim that they were descendants of Hannah and the King but should have remembered that William Thoms had five families of descendants who had no connection with each other (including one who believed that he was the rightful King of England) and wrote that they probably had just as little connection with the king and his suposed mistress [Note 23]. Somewhat later, in 1939, in association with Justinian Mallett, Mary Pendered wrote a book about Olive Serres, Princess or Pretender? (1939),which re-worked some of the questions yet again. Fortunately, when the documents in The National Archives were eventually released, the local historian Margaret Shepard poured scorn on the impostor and all her forgeries in her insufficiently known book Princess Olive (1984).
Stanley Ayling's biography of the king in 1972 concluded that the story of a romance with Hannah Lightfoot 'is probably best fogotten. It seems almost certainly not to have happened' [Note 24] and Christopher Hibbert agreed that the so-called evidence was 'without exception hearsay or else suspicious in origin', adding, 'There is no documentation for the most salient facts' [Note 25].
Isaac Axford and John Barton
Hannah, as we know, had escaped from her sheltered and restricted life on 11 December 1753 by marrying at the disreputable St George's Chapel (Keith's Chapel) in Curzon Street, Mayfair [Note 26], without banns or licence or indeed the knowledge of her mother and against the strict rules of her faith, one Isaac Axford, described by a correspondent in The Monthly Magazine for July 1821 as 'a shopman to Barton the grocer, on Ludgate Hill' in the City of London, but incorrectly called Bolton in that journal's September 1821 issue [Note 27].
It was long accepted that Isaac had been baptised at Earlstoke (or Erlestoke) in Wiltshire, on 17 September 1734, the son of John and Elizabeth Axford [Note 28], but his late baptism into the Church of England as 'Isaac Silvester Axford, an adult person, aged 16 years', had in fact taken place at St Martin Ludgate on Ludgate Hill, on 14 May 1747, the entry saying that he was the son of William Axford [Note 29]. If, as it seems, Isaac had been brought up as a Baptist, then he later may have been a sympathetic listener to Hannah Lightfoot. On 2 June 1747 as the son of William Axford he was apprenticed for seven years to John Barton, Citizen and Broderer, for an unusually large fee of £120 [Note 30]. His master, John Barton, who had become free of the Broderers' Company, 3 January 1738, was chosen Renter Warden, 8 June 1747, but refused to provide dinners on the next Lord Mayor's Days. He died and was buried in the new vault at St Martin Ludgate, 11 September 1749 [Note 31].
Isaac's apprenticeship would have expired in June 1754, but it does not appear that he was turned over to another master or that he was subsequently made free of the City. He may thus have continued working for the widowed Margaret Barton, formerly Eyre, as she was by the custom of London 'free by courtesy'. She was buried at St Martin Ludgate, 24 February 1768. She and John Barton had married from City parishes by licence at Walton-on-the-Hill, Surrey in February 1740/41. This John Barton does not seem to have had any immediate connection with the John Barton, also of Ludgate Hill, whose will was proved in 1756 and whose father, the Revd John Barton, was then still alive [Note 32].
The biographer John Lindsey [Note 33] mistakenly thought that Mary Ann Pearne, a daughter of Captain William Pearne (buried on Antigua in 1726) and named in Oliver's History of Antigua as living in 1759 and having married a person called Barton by licence at St Paul's, was the wife of the above John Barton, but the marriage took place at St Paul's on the Island in 1732 and not at the Cathedral in London as Lindsey had supposed.
Isaac Axford and the Mill at Potterne
In 1907 the historian Horace Bleackley had followed up one of the old stories in The Monthly Magazine for July 1821 that Isaac Axford, believing Hannah to be dead, had married again a Miss Bartlett and by her had succeeded to an estate at Chevrett (presumed to be a mis-transcription of Cheverell) worth about £150 a year. Horace Bleackley was told by Frank Curtis (died 1913),a carpenter and builder in Warminster, that after Isaac's death (i.e. after 1816),a Bartlett cousin claimed the property from Isaac's son, 'the grandfather of my wife. In her childhood she heard her parents speak of one Mr. Aldridge, a lawyer of this town, who went to her grandmother, and asked to see some papers. These were taken away and never returned. My wife has no idea where the lawsuit was tried, but the Bartlett family won the case', the property in dispute being a mill at Potterne [Note 34].
Many people have tried to locate the records of this 'case' without success. In 1910 Mary Pendered involved the editor of the Wiltshire Gazette who found a notice to the creditors of one Tregonwell Napier, of Hurst Mill, Potterne, in 1820, that he intended action against an unnamed person in order to recover the title deeds of a freehold which he claimed, but they found no further mention of the matter. Pendered unwisely assumed that in view of the statements of the Curtis family, there had been an unlocated or unreported case which had decided that Isaac Axford's second marriage was invalid as his first wife was living when, aged 29, a widower and grocer of Earlstoke, he had married by licence (with a bond from William Axford, junior, maltster, of Erlestoke) [Note 35], Mary Bartlett, of Warminster, spinster, aged 21, of Earlstoke, on 3 December 1759 [Note 36].
Further research has, however, shown that in fact Tregonwell Napier, 'mealman, dealer and chapman', had been made bankrupt in 1819 and in February 1820 was in Devizes bridewell, having been committed for not answering questions under the bankruptcy laws [Note 37]. A full discovery of his estate and effects did not take place until 1826 when a final dividend was agreed [Note 38]. He presumably held no freehold property which might have been sold. Indeed it seems that those who operated the mill at Potterne merely had sub-leases. Amongst the deeds of the Fetherstonhaugh Estate is a lease for a year, dated 28 September 1761, from the Duke of Richmond to Sir Matthew Ftherstonhaugh, of the cornmill at Potterne with three closes of arable and a coppice on the south side of the mill pond, together known as Hurst's Mill. In 1761 it was in the occupation of Benjamin Bartlett [Note 39].
However, it seems likely that the whole mill story derived from a very garbled remembrance of the situation at the time of Isaac's marriage to Mary Bartlett in 1759. Mary was one of two under-age daughters of James Bartlett of Great Cheverell, yeoman, who made his will about his freeholds at Marston in Potterne parish and died in 1752 [Note 40]. James had a great dislike for John Ware, a servant at Potterne, whom his eldest daugher, Ann, wished to marry and in his will, James set out strict conditions about the income from the freeholds which were subject to bequests totaling £150 to two of James's nieces, Ann was required to provide a bond for £1,600 to James's executors that she would pay Mary £800 witin a month if she married John Ware without their written approval. Research may clarify the story, but is unlikely to invalidate's Isaac's marriage, as the solicitor will have found when he took away from the Curtises what I assume was their copy of James Bartlett's unpleasant will.
However, we know now, following a discovery in July 2008 that after Isaac's wife's death in 1791, on Monday, 13 May 1793, a firm of London solicitors, Messrs. Hill and Meredith, of Grays Inn, advertised in the London Newspaper The Star (issue 1575, page 1b, and again on 14 May),for evidence and proof that Hannah Lightfoot was alive on 4 December 1759 (the day after Isaac's marriage at Earlstoke),'and if dead, when and where she died', for which the informant would be 'handsomely rewarded'. In view of all the subsequent uncertainty it seems most likely that no such information, one way or the other, was forthcoming.
I had previously doubted [Note 41] that Frank Curtis's wife, Elizabeth Ann Axford, had the descent from Isaac Axford attributed to her, but the couple's daughter Priscilla assisted Mary Pendered [Note 42] and Elizabeth Ann Axford was herself baptised at Warminster in 1829, the daughter of Isaac Axford and his wife Anne Kemp, who had married at Bishopstrow, a mile and a half from Warminster, 18 January 1827. This Isaac Axord, a carpenter at Bishopstrow, was baptised at Bishopstrow in 1807 and buried there in 1847 aged 44. He was the son of another Isaac Axford, a yeoman at Bishopstrow, and his wife Elizabeth Matthews who had married at Bishopstrow, 12 June 1791, when she was unable to sign her name. This Isaac was aged 74 in the 1841 census [Note 43] but described as aged 84 at his burial at Bishopstrow, 5 October 1846. He left a will dated 7 September 1839, which mentioned the two leasehold cottages [Note 44] that he and his son Isaac occupied and named his younger brother Oliver Axford who lived in Chelsea [Note 45].
It thus appears that Hannah Lightfoot's husband Isaac Axford, who was buried from Back Lane, Warminster, 19 April 1816, aged 86, had by his second wife Mary Bartlett, who was buried at Warminster, 10 January 1791, aged 52, at least nine chidlren following their marriage in 1759:
(1) Mary Axford, baptised at Warminster, 28 October 1760.
(2) Isaac Axford, baptised at Warminster, 7 April 1762.
(3) Ann Axford, baptised at Warminster, 29 August 1764.
(4) Grace Axford, baptised at Warminster, 16 July 1766; buried at Great Cheverell, 9 May 1768.
(5) James Axford, baptised at Warminster, 26 January 1768.
(6) Edward Axford, buried at Great Cheverell, 11 July 1771.
(7) Susannah Axford, buried from Warminster at Great Cheverell, 28 February 1774, infant.
(8) Charlotte Axford, baptised at Bishopstrow, 28 October 1777; married from Bishopstrow at St Peter & St Paul, Bath, Somerset, 31 March 1828, William Dredge [Note 46].
(9) Oliver Axford, baptised at Bishopstrow, 14 April 1781; of 29 Sloane Square, Chelsea, Middlesex, silk mercer, 1835-54 [Note 47]; silk mercer, aged 45, 1841 [Note 48]; retired, 1851 [Note 49]; died December Quarter, 1854. He had married by licence of the Faculty Office dated 1 July 1826, at All Hallows, Barking by the Tower, Middlesex, 11 July 1826, Sophia Eliza Trist [Note 50]. She was buried at St Luke, Chelsea, 24 June 1835, aged 33 [Note 51].
Isaac Axford had thus returned to his native Wiltshire at the time of his second marriage and on 1 April 1762 he placed a notice on page 4 of the Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette, 'Isaac Axford. Grocer. In Warminster, Wilts. Takes this Method of acquainting his Friends, and the Public in general, that he has opened a Shop at Warminster aforesaid, where they may depend of being served with all Kinds of Grocery Goods, on reasonable terms'. However, the London Gazette later shows that as of Bishopstrow, grocer and shopkeeper, he went bankrupt on 8 April 1777 [Note 53], though from the above baptismal and burial entries he appears to have lived for a while at Great Cheverell.
The surname Axford is frequent in Wiltshire, but according to a note in Notes and Queries [Note 53], Isaac's father, William Axford, was a Baptist and was a witness when a licence was granted for a new meeting house at Bratton where he later became Deacon. It seems, however, that Isaac probably did not belong immediately to the family of the two brothers Axford, William and John, who, at least from 1762 [Note 54], were prominent as grocers on Ludgate Hill, though he may, perhaps after John Barton's death in 1749, have worked for them.
This William Axford said in his will, made and proved in 1780, that he had a house and premises at Camberwell but had 'for many years past carried on the trade of a grocer upon Ludgate Hill' in partnership with his brother John [Note 55] who continued the business at 26 Ludgate Hill, on the corner of the Old Bailey, until his death in 1822, aged 88, the lease there being sold in 1823. They had an elder brother called Isaac, born 1742/3, who had gone to India aged 21 in 1764, and had died there in 1769, a lieutenant in the Bengal Army [Note 56].
Hannah Lightfoot had been born into a strict Quaker family at Wapping on 12 October 1730, the daughter of Matthew Lightfoot, a shoemaker. by his second wife Mary, the sister of Henry Wheeler, a linen draper in Market Lane, Westminster. She was the only surviving child of the marriage and her father died when she was two years old. She and her mother then lived with her uncle Henry Wheeler who had married again in 1740. In their house she was a witness to the birth of Henry's son, also Henry, on 8 May 1747.
As mentioned above Hannah had on 11 December 1753 married Isaac Axford according to the rites of the Church of England and on 1 January 1755 the Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends in Westminster was told that 'Hannah Lightfoot is married by the Priest and since absconded from her husband', but on 3 September 1755 the Meeting heard that her mother 'was not fully satisfied that she was absented from her husband'. After several Friends had made further enquiries it was reported on 7 January 1756 that they 'can't hear where she can be spoke with, or where she is', and the Meeting agreed that a Testimony of Denial be prepared against her for being married by a priest against the known rules of their Society, it being 'the almost invariable practice to disown Friends who married otherwise than by the Quaker ceremony' [Note 57]. This was read and approved at their Monthly Meeting on 3 March 1756, it again said that those appointed to visit her could not 'obtain any intelligence where she is' [Note 58]. Four of those involved in the search lived in Westminster (Nathaniel Might, tallow chandler; Michael Morton, coal merchant; James Marshman, leather cutter; and Mary Keene, a widow with grandchildren in Pennsylvania) but the delays in bringing any account to the meetings are unexplained unless, with our without her husband, she had completely left the area, going perhaps to Isaac's native Wiltshire. The Meeting's action did not mean that Hannah could not attend future meetings for worship and, if she attended regularly, she might after a decent interval, be reinstated. Clearly Hannah had no such intention.
Hannah had been bequeathed £50 by her aunt Hannah Plant in 1748, a bequest confirmed by codicil in 1750 and which she should have received on probate, 9 March 1756 [Note 59]. She may not, however, have been aware of the bequest.
Hannah's mother, Mary, who would have been distressed and ashamed at the situation, died on 16 May 1760, but intended that her daughter would be well provided for [Note 60]. She had put the greater part of her estate in trust for her 'daughter Hannah Axford wife of Isaac Axford' in her will, made on 10 January 1760, but said that she was 'not certain whether my said daughter be living or dead I not having seen or heard from her for about two years last past'. She stipulated that if Hannah did not appear within seven years of her death the income from her estate was to be divided between her own sisters, Ann Elbeck and Rebecca Jefferys, and then divided equally amongst the children of her brother Henry Wheeler. Hannah's aunt Rebecca Jefferys continued to live in St James's Market and by her will dated in 1785 and proved in 1787, asked her nephew George Wheeler (to whom she had bequeathed two freehold properties in Shoreditch) to pay £530 to the estate of her sister Mary 'to be disposed of as her will directs' [Note 61].
There is no reason to doubt Mary Pendered's claim, made in 1910, that 'some years ago' she had been shown a sampler and two or three undated letters which Hannah had written to her mother mentioning their shortage of money. Hannah had encouraged her mother to put her trust in someone, referred to as 'the Person', who would help them [Note 62]. Patricia Storrar thought that this indicated that Hannah had been 'taken into the protection of some wealthy and influential person' and the fact that her portrait had apparently been painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds strongly suggested this [Note 63].
However, if Hannah's main purpose was to escape the constraints of her religion (and perhaps her uncle and his new wife),the involvement of a 'protector' was probably not in contemplation. There were family members, not so strongly committed to their religion, as well as her old friend Mary Pearne, who would help her, but Hannah would certainly not wish to name them. Did Mary Pearne then take her to the chapel where her own daughter had been married?
The Pearne connection
The articles in The Monthly Magazine included one from a correspondent in Warminster who, one assumes, had been talking to Isaac Axford, and had first made the comment that, 'Hannah was fair and pure as far I ever heard but 'not the purest of pures' in respect of the house of Mr Perryn, who left her an annuity of £40 a year'.
Indeed, as 'Mrs Hannah Axford formerly Miss Hannah Lightfoot and niece to the late Mr John Jefferyes watchmaker in Holborn', Hannah had in 1757 been a beneficiary of the estate of one Robert Pearne, esquire, of Isleworth and had been bequeathed by him 'one annuity or yearly sum of forty pounds during the term of her natural life ... payable quarterly ... not subject to the control ... of her present or any future taken husband', in his carefully worded will dated 26 January 1757 and proved 4 April 1757 [Note 64]. Why the bequest was made has caused much speculation. Later, perhaps for decency's sake, the same Magazine claimed in its September 1821 issue that Pearne was a relative.
Robert Pearne's grandfather, Henry Pearne, owned plantations in Antigua, one of the 'Sugar Islands', and on his death in 1705, his young son, also called Robert Pearne and the father of the Robert in question, inherited the income from an estate of some 1,200 acres in Blubber Valley and Rose Valley which, together with the Mosqueto Cove estate of 600 acres, eventually came to the grandson in 1717 [Note 65]. This elder Robert matriculated at Christ Church College, Oxford, in October 1712, aged 17 [Note 66] and as 'of the island of Antego, in America', was admitted a student at the Middle Temple on 19 January 1712/13 [Note 67]. However, on 6 December 1713 he married at Evenley in Northamptonshire, Mary Lisle [Note 68], the fifth and youngest daughter of William Lisle, of the Middle Temple, a former Member of Parliament for the borough of Brackley in Northamptonshire, who owned the manors of Evenly or Imly (now called Evenley),near Brackley and Barton in Buckinghamshire [Note 69]. The Lisle family had been prominent at Brackley since Elizabethan times and William's uncle had been M.P. for Brackley in the first Parliament of James I. William Lisle had been educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, which owned much land in the area, but abandoned the legal profession when he succeeded to the Evenley estate.
Mary Pearne, who continued to live at Evenley Hall, inherited £500 and some household goods from her father and was named (as Mary Perne) one of his executors in 1715, but her sister Bridget acted in her stead following his death in 1716 [Note 70].
Mary and her husband Robert Pearne had two chidren baptised at Evenley: Mary on 19 February 1715/16 and Robert (Hannah's benefactor) on 10 January 1717/18, the Bishops Transcripts spelling their surname 'Perne'. Mary had been pregnant when Robert made his will on 12 July 1717 and he made provision for the unborn child if it were a son. He died on 1 September 1717, when he can only have been about twenty-two, and his will was proved in November 1718, but the Evenley registers do not record his burial
Under Robert's will, his widow Mary Pearne, remaining at Evenley, was empowered to draw £1,000 from the Royal Exchange in the City of London within six months of Robert's death, a further £1,000 after the next sugar crop, and a further £1,000 after the second crop. Robert named five 'worthy friends and relatives' in Antigua as overseers and one of them, Captain Patrick Lisle, was granted probate in November 1718. The residue of Robert's estate was to be shared between his daughter and his widow, but if the baby were a boy, everything was to go to him.
It was in the mid-1740s that the young and relatively wealthy widow, Mary Pearne, got to know some of the people in the Quaker comunity in London. In 1744 she was a witness to the will of the highly skilled and successful watch and clock maker John Jefferys, who had been apprenticed in Stepney and was now established in Holborn [Note 71]. He was the son of a Quaker and his wife was the above-named Rebecca, Hannah Lightfoot's aunt. The year before his death in 1754, John Jefferys was asked to make an accurate pocket watch by John 'Longitude' Harrison. John's Quaker apprentice, Larcum Kendall, taken in 1735, later made timepieces that went round the world with Captains Cook and Bligh. Hannah, another of Rebecca's sister, after whom Hannah Lightfoot was presumably named, was married to John Plant, a prosperous linen draper in Westminster who died in 1748 [Note 72], leaving money to several members of her family as well as to the poor Quakers who attended the Savoy Meeting and to the Committee of the Workhouse for poor Quakers in Clerkenwell which had nearly sixty inmates [Note 73].
Mary Pearne's sister Bridget Lisle bequeathed her £10 in her will dated in 1742 and proved 1752 [Note 74]. The income from three acres of land in Mary Pearne's occupation at Evenley was left by their owner, Keziah Brown, of Brackley, widow, in 1753 to the churchwardens of Evenley for the use of its poor widows [Note 75]. Mary's daughter, also called Mary, married in 1749 at the same chapel as was used by Hannah Lightfoot in 1753. Mary Pearne died 13 May 1756 and was buried in the north transept of Evenley church, 27 May 1756. Her administration (with will dated 26 March 1756) was granted to her son Robert Pearne (Hannah's benefactor) on 13 July 1756. Mary's intentions, partly written down by her daughter, had been first noted and signed on 9 June 1750, and although no executor had been named, they were signed again on 26 November 1753 and again on 26 March 1756. She left her small estate equally between her son and daughter [Note 76].
The daughter, Mary Pearne, had married from St Marylebone at St George's Chapel, Mayfair, on 12 October 1749, one Samuel Pateshall. They were living in St George's Hanover Square parish in 1756 and in the following year her brother left her various items for life, listed in an attachment to his will. These were then to go to her daughter Mary Pateshall, the latter receiving £1,000 when she reached the age of twenty-three. Robert Pearne left his brother-in-law Samuel Pateshall five guineas [Note 77].
The young Robert, baptised in January 1717/18, had remained with his mother at Evenley. There was serious unrest on Antigua in 1736 and Robert, described in 1737 as 'late of St Kitts but residing in London', decided in December 1740 to sell by auction his plantation of 130 acres at St Mary Cayon in St Kitts, and he followed this between March 1743 and March 1745, as of Evenley, by selling the main plantations in Antigua with the dwelling house and slaves, to William Johnson [Note 78].
At Evenley itself the Manor had descended to Mary Pearne's nephew, Fermor Lisle, who died unmarried in 1742 [Note 79]. His will shows that the farm at Evenley and the Manor and lands at Barton were heavily mortgaged [Note 80]. His legal successor, a cousin, Tobias Lisle, sold the Manor of Evenley and the advowson of Brackley to William Price in March 1744 [Note 81]. The Attorney General and the Mayor and Overseers of Brackley brought a case in Chancery against William Price, Tobias Lisle, Bridget Lisle and Mary Pearn in 1745 [Note 82] and at Price's death the estate was purchased by Francis Basset (died 1769) who meanwhile had built the fine Palladian house Evenley Hall [Note 83]. Robert Pearne remained at Evenley and filed a Bill in Chancery against Tobias Lisle in 1749 [Note 84].
On Thursday, 4 February 1745, a curious story about Robert had appeared on page 3 of the Stamford Mercury, saying, 'On Monday last Robert Pearne Esq a young gentleman possessed of a large estate at Antigua and St Christopher, in America, was married to Miss Pycraft, daughter to an eminent brewer in the City, an agreable lady, with a fortune of £10,000'. The story was noted, without its source, in V.L. Oliver's History of Antgua, iii (1899) 19, where the amount is given as £20,000. No appropriate marriage entry has been found but the local poet, Mary Leapor, who lived at Brackley and must have known Robert Pearne, in a poem about the marriage market published in 1751, wrote:
'Now madam, as the chat goes round,
I hear you have ten thousand pound.
But that I as a trifle hold,
give me your person, dem your gold.
Yet for your own sake t'is secured,
I hope - your houses too insured'.
"Robert Pearn, Esqr' had himself subscribed to the volume in which the verse appeared [Note 85].
No full copy of the decayed inscription on Robert Pearne's tomb seems to have survived but enough of the last line on its base remains to show that it also contained, 'The body of Will .. lock many years the faithful sevant of Robert Pearne' and he is to be identified as William Luck, of Evenley, who made this will when 'very sick and weak in body' on 2 April 1752, leaving his money and possessions to his master Robert Pearne to pay small annuities to his mother and other relatives, and asking that his best livery and watch be sold by Pearne for that purpose. Luck was buried at Evenley on 8 April 1752. His will had already been proved by Robert Pearne on 6 April 1752 [Note 86]. Another servant, James Gulliver, was a witness, as were Hannah Lightfoot's uncle and aunt, John and Rebecca Jefferys, who were apparently at Evenley at the time. James Gulliver lived later with Robert Pearne's sister Mary Pateshall, describing himself in his will, dated and proved in January 1759, as of Brackley, gentleman but now residing with Mr Samuel Pattershall (sic) in Church Court, Kensinton. Mary Pateshall was his executrix [Note 87].
Robert Pearn, described as of Evenly, was in May 1753, with Francis Burton of Aynho, appointed executors by Keziah Brown of Brackley who left them five guineas with which to buy rings. Although she said she did not doubt her two executors' 'due performance and discharge of the trust I have reposed in them', Robert did not act as an executor when her will was proved in April 1755 [Note 88]. He sold the remaining Shackerley's Plantation on Antigua in December 1755 [Note 89] and it is possible that he was generally settling his affairs. By January 1757, when he made his will, he had moved to Isleworth. He did not long survive his mother but died 24 March 1757 and was buried in the limestone chest tomb just north of the chancel of St George's Church, Evenley, on 31 March 1757 [Note 90].
Robert Pearne's will was dated at Isleworth, 26 January 1757, and proved 4 April 1757 [Note 91]. It is not the will of a very wealthy man but is remarkable for its careful wording and the unusual way in which receipts were to be requested for the bequests made. It suggests considerable care but it may have been drafted by Sir John Willes (the above mentioned judge) or the latter's son John, as they were its chief beneficiaries. Attached to the will is an undated schedule, mainly of household furniture and effects, which were to go to Robert's sister Mary Pateshall for her life and then, with £1,000 charged on the plantations in Antigua, to her daughter Mary when aged 23. After the bequest of personal items (his chariot and its harness, a diamond shirt buckle and his picture, to John Willes; a gold headed cane and twenty guineas for a ring, to John's brother Edward Willes; a diamond ring to Charles Spooner; the pictures of his mother and grandfather William Lisle to Mary Tufton; a silver tumbler and an agate snuff box to Nathaniel Worley; an annuity of £6 to his coachman, one of £10 to his servant James Gulliver together with his house for life; an annuity of £4 to Ann South as requested by his mother); the bequest of the larger annuity of £40 to Hannah Lightfoot follows. The annuities were to be held in trust for the recipients by John Willes who was to have the household good in the house at Isleworth 'where I now dwell', but John's father Sir John Willes was to have the residue of his personal estate plus half the plantations in Antigua on trust for life, they then going to his son John Willes, the other half going to John Spooner of Bloomsbury Square and then to his son Charles Spooner. Sir John Willes, John Willes and Charles Spooner were the executors, John being charged with keeping the deeds and allowing access to them. The family pedigree was to go to a cousin, Elizabeth Bowles, the wife of the Rector of Brackley.
It is curious that Robert Pearne should have mentioned his plantations in Antigua as it would appear from the details given by V.L. Oliver that the majority of these, if not all the slaves, had been sold some years earlier [Note 89]. It may indicate that the will had been drafted (but not signed) at an earlier date.
Sir John Willes, who had about 1740 built a new home, Astrop House, in nearby King's Sutton, commemorated Robert Pearne's bequest by leaving to his son John Willes (by will dated 21 November 1757) a hundred pounds 'to buy a dozen silver soup plates' and asking 'that the late Mr Pearne's Arms may be engraved on each of them and on the bottom of each these words, Ex dono Roberti Pearne' [Note 92]. John Willes did not die until 1784 and his will makes no mention of Antigua.
Robert Pearne owned no land in England and with the outbreak of war with France in 1756 he may have been unsure about the income from the plantations. In any case Robert was not the very wealthy man that Mary Pendered had portrayed. We know now that members of the Pearne ad Lightfoot families had known each other since at least 1744, when Robert Pearne was in his tweties and Hannah lightfoot was about fourteen. His bequest of the annuity to Hannah was relatively small and was called 'a paltry sum' by Mary Pendered [Note 83] but it shows that regardless of the gossip from Warminster and what Isaac Axford's family may have come to think, Hannah was probably not Robert's mistress. Robert's father had died before he was born and he, who died aged just forty, may well have had concerns about his health. He would have known the trurth about Hannah Lightfoot from his mother and hearing that she had been cut off by her family, he may thus have made some provision for her which would at least keep her from starvation.
That Hannah was strikingly beautiful, as stated in the embellished stories of later centuries, is hardly borne out by the portrait by Joshua Reynolds attributed to her at Knole Park (if indeed it has anything to do with her) which shows an unhappy lady of fashion (not a Quaker),apparently in her early thirties and with slightly protuberant eyes. It is described in a catalogue printed in 1817 as 'In the Venetian Dressing Room ... portrait of Miss Axford. - This is the Fair Quaker noticed by his Majesty when Prince of Wales'. When saved from a fire in January 1818 it was described in the Morning Post as a portrait of 'Miss Oxford [sic] (the fair Quaker)' [Note 94] and in 1839 it was acscribed by John H. Brady to Sir Joshua Reynolds.
Lord De la Warr who owned the picture in 1867 whrote then that the portrait was in a private list of paintings bought by the third Duke of Dorset, who died in 1799, as 'Mrs Axford, the fair Quakeress' by Sir Joshua Reynolds. Beyond that the family had no history of the picture [Note 95]. William Thoms wrote in 1867 that 'like the portraits of La Baccelli, and the Schinderlin, also at Knowle, and painted by Sir Joshia, it is believed to have been added to the collection by the third Duke of Dorset; and like those portraits, is probably that of one of his mistresses' [Note 96].
It could, however, be a portrait of Miss Ann Axford, a sister of the William and John Axord, of Ludgate Hill, mentioned above, who was named in the will of William Axford in 1780 [Note 97], who seems likely to be the Ann Axford buried at Camberwell, aged 68, in 1831.
William Boulton pointed out in 1910 the fact that Isaac had married again in 1759, 'at a time when bigamy was a capital offence, is strong presumption that he was then convinced of her death' [Note 98].
It has been assumed that when Mary Lightfoot made her will and died in 1760, that her daughter Hannah was still alive, though she had disappeared in 1754 and her mother said in her will that she had not heard from her for two years. However, the wording of The Citizen for 24 January 1776 which had first mentioned her surname, says that Hannah had died before her mother.
At some stage in the ninetenth century a silly 'tradition' arose that Hannah had been buried in Islington churchyard and that the Revd Zachary Brooke, a Chaplain to the King, had buried her there under the name Rebecca Powell, describing her as his niece. The parish registers record, without further detail, the burial on 31 May 1759, of Rebecca Powell, aged 22, and the extravagant Latin inscription on her tomb says that she died on 27 May 1759. The tomb was commented upon in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1779 and 1792 [Note 100] and noted by Daniel Lysons in The Environs o London, vol. 3: Middlesex (1795).
Brooke had no known connection with Islington and was himself buried, as he had asked in his will, in the chancel of Ickleton Church, Cambridgeshire [Note 101]. He had married at Fen Stanton in Huntingdonshire on 25 June 1765, Susanna, a daughter of John and Elizabeth Hanchett, and she was baptised at Ickleton on 3 February 1737, but research on his family has not revealed a relationship to a Rebecca Powell, though it was apparently stated in 1949 that she was his daughter. It has been suggested that she could be the girl Rebecca baptised at nearby St Botolph, Aldersgate, daughter of Thomas and Rebecca Powell, on 26 August 1736 [Note 102].
To have commemorated a Quaker by burial in consecrated ground with an elaborate tomb and a flowery Latin inscription would have been the final insult.
In 1999 Sheila Mitchell noted that an Anna Axford (without further detail) had been buried at Great Cheverell on 20 February 1758, a little less than two years before Isaac re-married [Note 99]. It would have been just two years since her mother had last heard from her, as she said in her will. The surname Axford is quite frequent at Great Cheverell and an Anne Pinnock married William Axford the younger, both from Earlstoke, at Little Cheverell in 1748, Anne herself being buried at Great Cheverell in 1762. However, no other likely burial has been found and this entry in 1758 could well relate to Hannah Lightfoot. Quakers, of course were not interested in memorials and their workhouse at Clerkenwell, where many Quakers must have died and been buried, has no surviving registers.
Today (in 2021) there is an advertisement online for a painting which was purchased at auction as 'Portrait of a Lady'. In the advertisement the sitter is described as 'Hannah Lightfoot ... King George III's legitimate wife'. There is, however, not the slightest evidence that Hannah ever met the Prince and there is some evidence that she had probably died before he became King. Thus, however, do the fables continue to proliferate.
1. Lewis Melville, Farmer George, vol. 1 (1907) 86-104.
2. Edward Foss, A biographical dictionary of the Judges of England (1870) 737-38.
3. F.M. Bladon, ed., The diaries of Colonel the Hon. Robert Fulke Greville (1930) 207.
4. Christopher Hibbert, George III: a personal history (1998) 51-52.
5. John Brown, Memoirs of George the Third (Liverpool, Caxton Press, 1820) 453.
6. Reading Mercury, 18 November 1771, page 1.
7. British Library, Egerton MS 1719, folio 81, quoted in Patricia Storrar, George Rex; death of a legend (Macmillan South Africa, 1974) 27.
8. Greater London Record Office, Middlesex Deeds Registry, 1758, 2-269 and 2-270; he had also been involved with land at Stepney in 1748, 1-353.
9. Mary Dorothy George, Catalogue of political and personal satires ... in the British Museum, vi (1938) 7374.
10. Reference R, 19.53.
11. Margaret Shepard, Princess Olive (Shipston on Stour, 1984) 43.
12. Anthony Camp, Royal Mistresses and Bastards (2007) 269-70.
13. vol. 1 (1867) 31-36.
14. Lavinia, Princess of Cumberland, An appeal for royalty (1866) 54, 65; John Lindsey, The lovely Quaker (1939) 245-8.
15. Thoms (1867) 40.
16. Thoms (1867) 43.
17. Ian Christie, 'Family origins of George Rex of Knysna' in Notes and Queries, New Series, vol. 22, no. 1 (January 1975) 18-23.
18. Storrar (1974).
19. Notes and Queries, vol. 220 (August 1875) 364.
20. Notes and Queries, vol. 220 (January 1975) 23.
21. Published in New York (1910) pages 85-138.
22. Westminster Gazette, 30 November 1910, page 5.
23. William R. Thoms, Hannah Lightfooot (1867) iv.
24. Stanley Ayling, George the Third (1972) 36-37.
25. Christopher Hibbert, George III: a personal history (1998) 29-30.
26. Harleian Society, Register Section, xv (1889) 266.
27. Thoms (1867) 5-6.
28. Pendered (1810) 151.
29. Camp (2007) 63; the baptism of another 'Isaac Axford son of [blank] and Ann Yard, spurious', at Warminster on 7 February 1733/4, has not been satisfactorily accounted for.
30. TNA Apprentices of Great Britain, Town Registers, 2 June 1747, folio 39, no. 9 [image 77, not indexed by Ancestry].
31. Camp (2007) 63.
32. PCC Will 1756, TNA PROB11/825 folio 287-288.
33. Lindsey (1939) 189-191.
34. Notes and Queries, 10th Series, vol. VIII, 21 December 1907, page 484a.
35. Sarum Marriage Licence Bonds, 1 December 1731.
36. Pendered (1911) 241-244.
37. Salisbury and Winchester Journal, 28 February 1820, page 1a.
38. Devon and Wiltshire Gazette, 23 November 1826, page 3.
39. West Sussex Record Office, SAS-K/670.
40. Wills at Salisbury, Archdeaconr of Salisbury, P2/B/1697.
41. Camp (2007) 64.
42. Pendered (1910) 243.
43. TNA, HO107/1187-1-8.
44. 1841 Census of Bishopstrow, HO107/1187-1-8r.
45. PCC Will, TNA PROB11/2044 folio 707.
46. Somerset Bonds & Allegations.
47. Electoral Registers.
50. Parish Registers, Page 173, Entry 517.
51. Parish Registers, Page 231, Entry 1844.
52. London Gazette, 8 April 17777, Issue 11760, page 3.
53. September 1996, page 305.
54. When William Axford of St Martin Ludgate, grocer, married Mary Bedwell, at St Helen, Abingdon.
55. PCC Will, TNA 1780, PROB11/1068 folio 425.
56. V.C.P. Hodson, List of the Officers of the Bengal Army, 1758-1834, vol. 1 (1927) 62-63.
57. Pendered (1910) 150.
58. Pendered (1910) 145-8, with facsimile of the Denial; Lindsey (1939) 50-53.
59. PCC Will, TNA 1756, PROB11/821 folio 77.
60. Her will dated 10 January 1760, proved 4 June 1760, TNA PCC PROB11/857 folio 249.
61. TNA PCC Will 1787, PROB11/1149 folio 28.
62. Pendered (1910) xvii-xviii.
63. Storrar (1974) 21.
64. TNA PCC Will 1757, PROB11/829 folio 132.
65. Vere Langford Oliver, A history of the island of Antigua, iii (1899) 392.
66. Alumni Oxonienses, 1500-1714 (1891) 1132.
67. Register of Admissions to the Inner Temple, vol 1 (1949) 271.
68. The marriage is not entered in the Evenley parish registers and appears in the Bishops Transcripts mere as 'Mr Pearne of Evenley married by License' without the name of his wife.
69. George Baker, History and antiquities of the county of Northamptonshire, vol. 1 (1822) 612-5, where the surname appears a Pewine; History of Parliament Online.
70. PCC Will 1716, TNA PROB11/553 folio 165.
71. PCC Will 1754, TNA PROB11/809 folio 200.
72. PCC Will 1748, TNA PROB11/762 folio 188.
73. Tim Hitchcock, Richard Hutton's Complaints Book: the notebook of the Steward of the Quaker Workhouse at Clerkenwell 1711-1737 (London Record Society, 1987).
74. PCC Will 1752, TNA PROB11/792 folio 42,
75. PCC Will 1755, TNA PROB11/814 folio 94.
76. PCC Will 1756, TNA PROB11/824 folio 206.
77. His son,Samuel Pateshall, was not born until 22 May 1757 and baptised at St George, Hanover Square, 3 June 1757.
78. V.L. Oliver, iii (1899) 17-18.
79. Baker (1822) 612.
80. PCC Will 1743, TNA PROB11/721 folio 302.
81. Northamptonshire Archives, Lease and Release, 26 & 27 March 1744, E(B) 696.
82. TNA, C/11/2107/1 & 2.
83. NGR: SP5878335537 Listed Grade II, 1969, Entry No 1286561.
84. TNA, C11/1097/37.
85. Mary Leapor, Poems upon several occasions, vol. 2 (1751).
86. PCC Will 1752, TNA PROB11/794 folio 98.
87. PCC Will 1749, TNA PROB11/843 folio 18-19.
88. PCC Will 1753, TNA PROB11/814 folio 94.
89. V.L. Oliver, A history of the Island of Antigua, iii (1899) 20; his trustees seem to have retained the slaved and they were not sold until 1774 and 1786. Their situation was clarified by Acts of the Island's Council in 1818; see London Gazette, 23, 26 and 30 May 1818, issues Nos 17362-4.
90. The tomb was listed Grade II (1985) NGR SP5842935164.
91. PCC Will 1757, TNA PROB11/829 folio 132.
92. PCC Will 1761, TNA PROB11/871 folio 454.
93. Pendered (1911) 252.
94. Morning Post, 13 January 1818, page 3.
95. Boulton (1910) 137-8.
96. Thoms (1867) iv.
97. PCC Will 1780, TNA PROB11/1068 folio 425; Camp (2007) 61.
98. Boulton (1910) 136.
99. Sheila Mitchell, 'Hannah Lightfoot - death and burial' on www.genealogy.com/forum/surnames/Rex 17 October 1999.
100. vol. 49 (1779) 559, and vol. 93 (1793, Part 2) 1093.
101. PCC Will 1788, TNA PROB11/1169 folio 426.
102. Sheila Mitchell, 'The mystery of Hannah Lightfoot', in Family Tree Magazine (November 1998) 4-5.