The real people behind the characters in Gentleman Jack
Captain Jeremy Lister - Anne's father
"You're an idiot."
Lister to Jeremy and Anne (née Hall) Lister in August 1752.
He married Rebecca Battle in 1788.
As an ensign in the 10th Regiment of Foot he served with the British Army during the American War of Independence: "He was at Lexington. And Concord. He was in Boston. During the tea party."
He was wounded at Concord Bridge on April 19, 1775. In his own words: "I rec'd a shot through my Right Elbow joint which effectually disabled that arme
Captain Lister died in 1836 at Shibden, and was buried at Halifax Parish Churchnow Halifax Minster
Anne described the funeral in her diary: "they took the coffin forward into the chancel - I followed close then went round to the head of it & stood the whole time near the altar-railing - I must have been very conspicuous but my mind was engaged & I saw only the coffin & bearers - Mr Musgrave did the duty very well - Mr Jubb stood at his side in the pew over the grave as he, the vicar, committed the body to the dust - the grave took up the whole breadth of the isle, deep enough for 2 coffins above my father's - let down steadily - plenty of room, coffin 2ft. 6in. wide, & 3 inches to spare on each side in the neatly bricked-round grave" (11 April 1836)
Anne Lister - "Aunt Anne"
"This is Halifax. People don't mince words."
Very close to and probably understood Anne better than anyone.
She never married, and died in 1836 at Shibden. She was also buried at Halifax Parish Church.
Marian Lister - Anne's sister
"But one day I shall have a child, a son, and he will have a greater claim to Shibden than you!"
Although she was engaged to John Abbott ("A man who makes rugs"
) in 1834, she never married.
In 1836 she left Shibden and returned to live at the family's Skelfler estate, which she inherited on the death of her and Anne's father Jeremy.
She died on 6 August 1882 aet. 84, and was buried in the Lister family grave at St Anne's Church, Southowram.
Samuel Lister - Anne's brother
Although Sam died long before the GJ story starts in 1832, Anne refers to him very fondly in episode 2: "He drowned. In a river. In Ireland. Eighteen years ago. Just turned twenty."
An ensign in the 84th Yorks and Lancs
, he drowned in the River Blackwater on June 19, 1813. His death left Anne as the heir to Shibden.
James Lister - "Uncle James"
Another family member we don't meet in GJ, James Lister was a very important player in Anne's life. She lived with him and Aunt Anne at Shibden from an early age, and it was to Anne that he left the entire estate - even if Marian wasn't happy with the arrangement: "And it was never 'rightly half yours'. It was entirely at Uncle James's disposal who he left his estate to, and we all know why he did."
He never married, and died at Shibden in 1826.
"I love you. Anne. I'm in love with you. I always have been."
Born Ann John Walker on May 20, 1803 in Lightcliffe (probably at Cliffe Hill), to John Walker (b. 1753) and Mary Edwards (b. 1763), both of whom died in 1823. When her father died, Ann was orphaned at 20.
She moved to Crow Nest aged six, and later (1829 or soon after) to Lidgate, where she was living in 1832. By this time she had inherited - with her sister Elizabeth - the Lightcliffe estates on the death of her brother John in 1830.
There are several references to Ann and the "Misses Walker" in the diaries; a few are transcribed here
She famously married Anne on Easter Sunday, 1834, in the beautiful Holy Trinity Church in York, and moved into Shibden later that year. They were together until Anne's premature death in 1840 while travelling abroad.
Anne died on 22 September 1840, at or near Koutais (now Kutaisi in Georgia) of a fever, possibly transmitted by a tick, whilst travelling with Ann. It took six or seven months for Anne's embalmed body to return to Halifax in a lead-lined coffin. Did Ann accompany the body back to England? There is certainly plenty of doubt, as insearchofannwalker.com
After Anne's death Ann returned to Shibden, having been granted a life interest in Anne's will. But in 1843 she left the hall and once again went to York to be under the care of Dr Belcombe. She never returned to Shibden and subsequently lived at Cliffe Hill until her death. The circumstances under which Ann quit Shibden are not entirely clear, but her mental health issues and/or machinations by her brother-in-law Captain Sutherland may have played a part. insearchofannwalker.com
has, again, done the heavy lifting here
On September 12, 1843 she moved to Terrace House in Osbaldwick on the outskirts of York, having been comitted by two doctors, William Short and George Goldie. Anne's first love, Eliza Raine
, would move to the same house ten years later.
Ann outlived Anne by thirteen years; she died - possibly from a stroke
- aged 50 on 25 February 1854. She was buried "under the pulpit" at Lightcliffe Church, of which only the tower still remains.
The grave is unmarked, and there is some uncertainty as to its precise location - this article
has the details.
Apart from Elizabeth and John, Ann had two other siblings: William, who died aged 21 days on April 26, 1798, and Mary, who died aged 15 on February 1, 1815. Steph Belcombe was right when he says in episode 4: "She's had a lot of sadness. To contend with. In her life."
There is a plaque in the Lightcliffe church tower in memory of Ann's parents and the two children - although the tower is not open to the public.
Elizabeth Sutherland - Ann's sister
"Sometimes. Often. A good friendship is better than a marriage."
Born 10 November 1801 in Lightcliffe.
She married Captain George Mackay Sutherland (1798-1847) on 29 October 1828.
Elizabeth died aet. 43 on 28 December 1844 of tuberculosis at Abbey Lodge, Merton, Surrey,
and was buried at St. Mary's Churchyard, Wimbledon.
The Sutherlands took possession of Shibden after Ann's 1843 commital following Anne's death. Their tenure was not long: after Elizabeth's death in 1844 Captain Sutherland remarried (in 1846)
but would die at Shibden less than a year later. He was buried with his daughter Mary at Lightcliffe Church.
The Sutherlands had at least six children:
Mary (1830-1846) - In GJ Elizabeth's daughter is referred to as "Alice" by Catherine Rawson ("Little Sackville and Alice and the new baby"
), but I can't find any record of an Alice, so the child was presumably Mary. Mary died at Shibden, aged just 15, and was buried at Lightcliffe Church.
George Sackville (1831-1843) - Although he was actually less than two years old when Ann went to Scotland, this is the Sackville who is "still in the measles"
in GJ episode 6 and the drummer-boy in episode 7. Sackville was buried at Kirkmichael, County Ross, Scotland, with his younger brother John.
Elisabeth (1832-1872) - The "new baby"
, another of Ann's nieces. In 1850 she married David Sinclair Wemyss of Southdun (1813-1877).
John Walker (1834-1836) - Died in infancy and buried in Scotland.
Evan Charles (1835-1913) - On Ann's death in 1854 Evan Charles Sutherland inherited the Lightcliffe estates, having already inherited his father's estate in Scotland. Ann's will
stipulated that he add "Walker" to his name. In 1866 an act of parliament enabled him to sell the Walker estates and drop the "Walker" (some sources say he changed his name by deed poll on October 13, 1883). In 1859 he married Alice Sophia Tudor, and over the next decades he managed to lose most of his money and property, and died in "reduced circumstances"
in a flat at Falkland House, Kensington.
Ann Walker (1837-1917) - Ann Walker Sutherland married William Henry Stansfeld (1828-1893) on 6 November 1858. She died in Middlesex, aet. 80.
Captain Sutherland's mother - who we meet in GJ - was Jean Sutherland, née Mackay. She was born in 1772 and outlived her son, dying in 1852.
John Walker - Ann's brother
Born in 1804 in Lightcliffe, on 28 July 1829 he married Frances (Fanny) Penfold. (The Penfolds were related to the Rawsons. Fanny's brother, Dr Christopher Rawson Penfold, emigrated to Australia where he and his wife Mary established the world-famous Penfolds winery. They still produce "Rawson's Retreat" - a wine I bought by the case when I lived in Sydney.)
As anti-Anne Aunty Ann says to Ann: "You must never forget that your brother died in Naples."
(on honeymoon on 19 January 1830 aet. 25). Pregnant Fanny returned to England where the baby was stillborn on 10 October, leaving no impediment to Ann and Elizabeth inheriting all the Walker property. Making them very
Ann Walker - Ann's aunt
"She'll have her in Paris before we know it."
She was Ann's father's younger sister.
She never married.
She mostly lived at Crow Nest during Anne's time, but in 1832 she was living at Cliffe Hill.
Mariana Lawton née Belcombe
Born Mariana Percy Belcombe (actually Bulcock
- see here
) in 1788, Mariana was probably the love of Anne's life; she and Anne considered themselves married (see here
). In GJ we meet her unhappily married to Charles Lawton "How is Mr. Lawton? - Oh. . . irritable"
stopping off at Shibden on her way to York. With no financial prospects of her own Mariana had married the wealthy Charles Lawton in 1816, breaking Anne's heart. Even though they were still involved, by 1832 Anne had realised that she and Mariana would never "get together".
Mariana's nickname for Anne was "Fred"; Anne often called Mariana "Mary".
She died at 7 Belsize Park, London on 31 October 1868 aet. 80, outliving both her husbands. She was buried with Charles at All Saints Churchyard, Church Lawton, Cheshire.
Dr Henry Stephens Belcombe
Like his father, "Steph" specialised in the care of people with mental illness, and as shown in GJ Anne did consult him about Ann's health in 1832. He also ran the institution to which Ann was committed in 1843. Eliza Raine
, Anne's first love, was treated by Dr Belcombe senior in the same institution in 1817.
He was a friend and confidante of Anne's. He treated both Anne and Mariana for the venereal infection that Mariana contracted from Charles Lawton.
Steph's name is often given as "Henry Stephen" (without the 's'); I'm sure that 'Stephens' is correct
He married Harriet Bagshaw Cotton on 28 March 1816; they were aquaintances of Charles Dickens, and almost certainly knew the Wedgewoods & Darwins.
He died on 21 December 1856, aet. 66. He and his family are buried in York Cemetery.
Charles Bourne Lawton was born the second son of John Lawton (1746-1804) and Anne Crewe (1747-1810) in 1770.
He was at Trinity College, Cambridge.
He married Ann Featherstonhaugh (1779-1814) in Scarborough on 2 July 1808; she died in childbirth and no children survived. The Featherstonhaughs knew the Belcombes from Scarborough; Mariana had almost certainly visited Lawton Hall before Charles was widowed.
Less than two years after Charles' first wife's death he and Mariana were married in York on 9 March 1816. Charles was 45 at the time, Mariana 28. As Charles was nearly 20 years older than Mariana, she and Anne hoped that Charles would die soon enough for them to get together at Shibden. This didn't happen: Charles lived to be 89, dying in 1860.
Charles had an older brother, William, who died unmarried in March 1831. This would suggest that that when he married Mariana, Charles was not the master of Lawton Hall. However... Anne writes the following as a verbatim account of an allegation made by a Miss Jane Preston:
"Mr Lawton has an idiot brother who sits at the bottom of the table, and to whom the property belongs - £6000, a year, &, indeed, we all know how it is spent - only think of Miss Mariana Belcombe, who had a good home of her own, marrying such a man as Mr L. But he is such a horrid wretch - everybody knows he broke his first wife's heart. Oh! indeed £6000, a year, was not to be lost, & not to be got every day - indeed it was very well known, he only came over for one day to make his offer, & then no more until the day before the marriage - there was no time for courtship, & what does it leave the world to suppose but that there must have been either a connection or an engagement between them in the late wife's lifetime" (12-Dec-1817)
Presumably "Mr Lawton" is Charles and the "idiot brother" is William.
The relationship between Charles and Anne was rocky, to say the least. Charles fell out with Anne after discovering her plan to move Mariana into Shibden after Charles' hoped-for early death, but they reconciled after Anne sent Mariana back to Lawton Hall after leaving Charles, shortly after Anne inherited Shibden from her uncle James - as referred to in GJ episode 7 in the carriage on the way to Oxford: "How could I leave Charles? When I did leave Charles you sent me back to him. You and Steph." "Well that was before. I'd just inherited Shibden, the timing was too blatant."
What Charles actually
thought of Anne is unknown, but there is a bizarre passage from 1828 when Anne was staying at Lawton Hall: "Very good friends. Charles wanted me seriously to take the other bed in their room, or at least to undress there by the fire while he got into bed at the other end, hid by the curtains" (29-Mar-1828)
On Charles' death the estate passed to his nephew, John, the second son of Charles' younger brother, the Rev John Lawton. The elder son had died in an accident as related in GJ - although it happened in 1833, not 1832:
"He was succeeded by his nephew John Lawton, second son of Revd John Lawton... He died suddenly in the year 1831. His eldest son and heir presumptive to the Lawton estates, died in his 17th year through being accldentally caught and crushed in a bone mill, whilst pursuing his studies at Shingley parsonages in 1835. His second son John, who succeeded his uncle Charles, was born in 1821."
A little bit of gossip:
"Early in the 19th century, one of the Lawton squires drank and/or gambled himself into sufficient debt as to cause the deed to the Lawton estate to pass into the hands of the estate bailiff, who lived across the valley. One night the squire's wife, whose name was Anne, having learned that the bailiff lay dying, walked across the valley and then literally stole the deed from the man as he lay on his deathbed. In the entrance hall of Lawton Hall hangs a painting of Anne and she is depicted holding the deed in her hands.
"Although four or five of the squires of Lawton had wives named Anne, the 19th century date would seem to indicate that this was Anne the daughter of Henry Featherstonehaugh and wife of Charles Bourne Lawton, Esq."
NB: Another source (lawtonhallestate.com
) suggests - rather more convincingly - that the Anne involved was not Charles Lawson's first wife, but his mother. She died in 1810, so would not have been excluded by the "19th century date". Also, Charles did not become the "squire" until 1831, when his older brother died.
Christopher and Jeremiah's great-grandfather was John Rawson of Bolton. He married a Catharine Lister of Ripon (no relation to Anne). After John's death in 1719 Catharine remarried and moved to Halifax with her son Christopher (1712-1780) - and so the Halifax Rawson dynasty began. (This Christopher Rawson married Grace Rawson of Beckfoot. There are other Rawsons of Beckfoot in the family tree, so Grace was almost certainly related to Christopher.)
"Oh yes. She likes the ladies. Does Miss Lister."
Born on 17 December 1777, he was the eldest of old Mrs Rawson's children.
He joined the East India Company and first served as a midshipman on the Minerva
in 1893, and later as an officer on the Minerva
before returning to Halifax in 1806.
He married Mary Anne Brook(e)s on 25 January 1807. This makes the proposal scene in The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister
unlikely, to say the least.
Sally Wainwright refers to Mary as Margaret in GJ for some reason.
He and Mary had no children.
He ran Rawson's Bank in Halifax with his brothers William and John, at Royds' House - now Somerset House - in Rawson Street, becoming chairman in 1836.
He wasn't quite the brute portrayed in GJ: he published books (including Spiritual Retirement
) and was a patron of the arts. He also founded the Halifax Literary & Philosophical Society, supporting Anne as the only female member of the committee.
He was a magistrate, a freemason, Lord of the Manor of Southowram, Deputy Lieutenant for the West Riding and turned down a knighthood.
He died in 1849, and was buried at (what is now the former) Holy Trinity Church, Harrison Road, Halifax, with Mary, who had died in 1836.
Born 28 March 1787 in Halifax. He was one of Christopher Rawson's younger brothers.
He married Hannah Preston on 25 January 1810; they had ten children, one of whom died in infancy.
His three youngest daughters commissioned a window at All Saints Church in Salterhebble: "in remembrance of their beloved father Jeremiah Rawson, of Green Royde, who died on 6th September 1839, aged 52 years"
"You haven't been stealing her coal, have you?"
Born 23 December 1778 in Halifax, the second son of old Mrs Rawson.
He married Elizabeth Leach on 5 May 1802, they had eight children.
In 1829 he built Wasdale Hall, Cumberland - now owned by the YHA.
Died 27 November 1856 in Cumberland.
"Apparently she's... a bit like a man."
Born 3 April 1803.
She was Stansfield Rawson's eldest daughter, and was named after her aunt, who died aet. 12 soon after Catherine was born.
Her name is variously spelled "Katherine", "Katharine" & "Catharine".
In 1832 the Stansfield Rawsons owned property in Wasdale, near Wastwater in the Lake District. Hence "We're going to the Lake District."
Anne seems to have suspected Catherine of being a rival for Ann's affections: "...thought then my surmise was probably true when I fancied that Catharine's classics might have taught her the trick of debauching Miss W" (11 October 1832)
On 20 June 1842 Catherine married the Rev Thomas Worsley (b.1797), Master of Downing College, Cambridge from 1836 until 1885. They had no children.
She died less than a month after her husband, on 6 March 1885.
"Except the lips. I think. Are fuller."
Born Delia Elizabeth Rawson on 14 July 1809.
Catherine Rawson was her sister. She had a aunt named Delia, who died at just 19, in 1813.
She never married.
Died in July 1870 at Waterton Lodge, Guildford.
There's a fantastic article on Delia here: insearchofannwalker.com/delia-rawson
(Old) Mrs (Nelly) Rawson
"She's done so many things, she's been to so many places. Most women are dull and stupid."
Born Nelly Stansf(i)eld in 1753. She was the mother of Christopher, Jeremiah and Stansfield Rawson (and at least nine other children, some of whom are mentioned in the diaries).
She was the daughter of David Stansf(i)eld (1720-1769), who built the Stansf(i)eld family home in Halifax, Hope Hall (which later passed to Christopher in 1808).
She was a friend of Anne, appearing regularly in the diaries.
She died on 23 November 1837 aet. 84, and was also buried at Holy Trinity Church, Halifax.
Mrs (Eliza) Priestley
"You're playing with fire. Do you understand? Both of you."
Born Eliza Paley in 1781, in Dalston, Cumberland.
She married William Priestley, Ann's cousin, in 1808. In 1832 they were living at New House, Lightcliffe.
She died in 1856, at Thorp Arch, Boston Spa.
"She'd run rings round Lord Grey and his cabinet if she got anywhere near them!"
Born on October 1779, at the Lodge, Sowerby.
William Priestley was Ann's first cousin - his mother was Ann's paternal aunt Elizabeth.
He died in 1860, also at Thorp Arch.
Vere Hobart, later Lady Vere Cameron
"Donald's asked me to marry him. I shan't say no"
Born Vere Catherine Louisa Hobart on 24 January 1803, the only child of the Honourable George Vere Hobart (1761-1802), Governor of Grenada and his second wife, Janet MacLean, whom he married on April 26, 1802 - less than eight months before his death.
She was the half-sister of Lady Harriet Hagemann, who we meet in Copenhagen.
Her aunt (a younger sister of Janet MacLean) was Sibella MacLean, another of Anne's lovers.
She married Donald Cameron
of Lochiel (1796-1859), the 23rd Chief of Clan Cameron, on 31 July 1832 at the church of St Martin in the Fields, London, as per GJ (although in GJ the wedding invitation says September 19).
On 9 September 1832 she and her half-sisters were granted "the style and precedence of the daughter of an Earl" by Royal Warrant, making her Lady Vere Cameron
The Camerons had several children, including Anne Louisa, who was born on 4 July 1833 in Wimpole Street - she's Vere's baby in GJ. Unfortunately she didn't live to be "brilliant and fascinating and bursting with energy and ideas"
for long, dying unmarried in London on 24 June 1864, aged just 30. At least two of Vere's children lived into the 20th century.
Donald Cameron, Anne Louisa and two other children, Albinia (d.1861 aged 21) and George (d.1874), are buried in the churchyard of St Mary Magdelene Church in Great Hampden, Buckinghamshire.
Vere died aged 85 in London (Eccleston Square?) on November 15, 1888, having lost her husband and three of her children. She's buried with them at St Mary Magdelene.
"I wrote to you in good faith"
Mason Stanhope Kenny was a very interesting character. He was of the Kenny family of Ballinrobe, Ireland, believed to descend from a Huguenot refugee. The family, originally Catholic, later converted to Protestantism - only to re-convert to Catholicism in the mid-19th century. The Kenny family was established in Ballinrobe by 1740.
Dr Kenny was born in Ballinrobe on 29 Nov 1786; he received his medical degree in 1808, as reported by The Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal
Oct. 1808. Graduations at Edinburgh in 1808.
On the 24th of June, the Senatus Academicus of Edinburgh conferred the degress of Doctor in Medicine on the following Gentlemen, after having gone through the appointed examinations, and publicly defended their respective inaugral dissertations:
Mason Stanhope Kenny
In 1812 he married Sophia Fenton of Spring Grove, Yorkshire. His brother, Courtney Kenny (1781-1863), married Sophia Fenton's sister, Louisa (d.1841) on 16 Dec 1816.
Courtney Stanhope Kenny
was his grandson.
Also in 1812 he attended William Horsfall after he had been shot by Luddites on April 28. This is the famous incident
fictionalised by Charlotte Brontë in her novel Shirley
In the 1841 census the family is recorded at Holly House, 6 Ward's End, Halifax - now The Courtyard pub.
Dr Kenny died on 25 April 1865.
In 1832 Samuel Washington was living at Fenny Royd with his wife, Hannah (née Cordingley), and daughters Susannah (Suzannah in GJ), Mary Ann and Eliza. A son, 22-week-old Edward, had died earlier that year on 5 February. By 1841 there were four more daughters: Jane, Anna Maria, Caroline and Esther.
Susannah died unmarried on January 14 1846, aet. 21. Her mother died on 26 July 1852, aet. 49.
Samuel Washington remarried, to widow Elizabeth Sutcliffe (née Bottomley) on 20 March 1856, only to die the following year on 4 November, aet. 60. Shortly afterwards daughter Anna Maria also died, on December 24 1857, aet. 22. They were all buried along with brother John at Lightcliffe Church, where their graves can still be seen today.
As per GJ, Samuel Washington was land steward to both Anne and Ann. His father, James Washington (d. 1839), had served as bookkeeper to to Ann's father John and uncle William.
Whether or not Mr Washington's wives were actually related to the Cordingley and Bottomley we meet in GJ, I don't know. However, his mother was Esther Mann, most likely related to the "Mann brothers" who sink Anne's pit.
This blog at In Search of Ann Walker
has all the information on Sam Washington and his family you could ever want.
Sally Wainwright places the Sowdens - Sam (43), Mary (35), Thomas (17), Alf (10) and Amy (6) - at Upper Southolm Farm. South Holme Farm was part of Anne's Shibden estate, but I can find no record of it being tenanted by a Sowden.
A Samuel Sowden (1779-1863) was a tenant of Anne's, at Sutcliffe Wood Farm,
Hipperholme, which was - and is - a much grander place than the Sowdens' house in GJ. The present house was built c.1713 by Anne's great-grandfather, Dr James Lister.
The Samuel Sowden of Sutcliffe Wood Farm seems to have been very different from the Sam Sowden of GJ: he was married to Martha (née Sutcliffe), and had no son named Thomas. He probably wasn't eaten by pigs, as he was buried at Lightcliffe Church on 15 August 1863.
The Sowdens had at least ten children; the ninth, Sutcliffe, went to Cambridge (or possibly Oxford) and joined the clergy. He became the first vicar of Hebden Bridge and officiated at both Charlotte Brontë's wedding at Haworth in 1854 and her funeral in 1855. Sutcliffe himself died in 1861, having drowned in the canal at Hebden Bridge.