‘An ordinary family’

This interesting 19th century memoir was received from EFHA member 207 Eric Avebury in May 2005. It gives us an insight into the life of a merchant family in Victorian times and earlier. It also mentions a connection with the Loyd Entwisle Bank.

‘I attach a memorandum, transcribed from a note in the possession of Michael Sutton-Scott-Tucker of Riversbridge, Dartmouth, Devon, who inherited it from Entwisle ancestors. The author is ‘H T’ Bury, son of Frances Entwisle, the youngest daughter of James Entwisle and Mary Bury.’

Eric Reginald Lubbock, Lord Avebury Eric Avebury at Silbury Hill

Who wrote the memoir ?

It seems to have been written by a child of Frances Entwisle. She was baptised July 27, 1787 at St Ann’s, Manchester, and married John Bury at Manchester Cathedral July 2, 1807. She died June 18, 1855. Strangely, the author does not name himself or herself, but refers to:

1. ‘Our mother’, the youngest child of James Entwisle & Mary Bury, i.e. Frances Entwisle who married John Bury.
2. ‘Our sister’ Fanny
3. ‘My brother Willm’

This leaves:

4. ‘H T’, born 1811 and reported to have married twice, several children;
5. John, born 1815, married with several children;
6. Edward, born 1818, married twice, several children;
7. Mary Frances, born 1825, married I B Wallace, several children, and
8. Emily, born 1829, married R Cooke, several children.

The author dined with uncle Henry Entwisle before the uncle departed for Messina, where he was killed by bandits in March 1834, and also dined with the Lubbocks in the winter of 1834-5. The most likely candidate is therefore H T, who would have been 22 or 23 at the time. The next oldest, John, would have been 19. Furthermore, in the family tree, H T is the only sibling of that generation referred to only by initials, and this was perhaps because the memoir was addressed to someone who would know his name.

The date of the memoir is 1860, since that was the date Elias Arnaud died and the author refers to him as ‘recently deceased’. It is part of  a longer memoir but this is the section that deals with the Entwisle branch of his family. We believe that ‘HT’ is Henry Bury, born 1811.


HT writes, “I do not know what sort of a ‘heading’ should be put to this chapter of the chronicle which I am about to write, but perhaps as good a title as any would be… ”

Memoirs of an ordinary family

First of all, the Entwisle branch of the family

James Entwisle & Mary his wife were the parents of ten children, of whom our mother was the youngest.1 Mary Entwisle died soon after the birth of our mother, leaving a reputation of having been a woman of very great ability and a powerful aid to her husband in the realization of a considerable fortune. James had a brother, John Entwisle, a bachelor, with whom he carried on the commerce, then just rising into notice between Manchester & the continent.2 According to the habits of those days, they rose at 5 in the morning, drove from Rusholme into Manchester by way of Ardwick, breakfasted, dined and had tea in town, and returned to Rusholme to supper. For a journey of such magnitude (3 miles) one pair of horses was considered insufficient – and John Entwisle was wont to keep two pair of strong Flemish animals, ill calculated to run swiftly over the smooth McAdam of modern days, but well adapted to pull a family conveyance of pre-adamite, & certainly pre-McAdamite construction & ponderous weight thro’ deep mud.

James died early in the present century.Our mother was then a child – & I believe she lived much with her sister Mrs Scholes – and there she grew up in intimacy with her future husband, with whose family there was an acknowledged relationship.

Richard, the eldest surviving son, succeeded to the Rusholme property & to the chief place in the family. John, his elder brother, lived to man’s estate, travelled much on the continent, & was always spoken of by my mother as a most amiable, agreeable & accomplished gentleman. He made love, I understood, to the sister of Sir J W Lubbock of that day – who was said to have encouraged & accepted his addresses & then to have ‘thrown him over’ for a man with the Plebeian name of Brown.4 I heard of him (Brown) as an individual with a fair exterior and an empty head, & when I recollect him he had failed in his original business, & had betaken himself to that refuge for the destitute, the wine business, the conduct of which probably then, as more recently, required neither character nor capital. He disappeared from the scene, leaving a widow and family, of whom you know something. They were haunted to the end of their domestic connection by the recollection that they had a baronetcy (tho’ only a city one) in the family, & by the necessity, self-imposed, of keeping up their ‘position’.5 If you want to know particularly what this involves I recommend to your perusal & consideration the chapters in the Snob Papers devoted to the household of Major & Mrs Ponto.

Revenons à nos moutons. Richard Entwisle (of Rusholme) was very musical & played & sang himself into an engagement with Friederica Bernhard or von Bernhard,6 whom he married without the sanction of his family.7 I believe he never asked them but took that sort of leave which is denominated French. He set up house at Chorlton cum Hardy [in the very cottage afterwards inhabited by his daughter Fanny on her marriage with P Hordern when I used to visit the latter 8] & with enormous energy walked in & out of town night & morning for some years. He had nine children – I am not sure whether James was the eldest or the second. James was a wild fellow – ran away from home – married in America & was drowned there, having been knocked overboard by the shifting of the sail of a boat on (I believe) a pleasure excursion.9 His name was forbidden subject & I never could learn further particulars – but my Uncle paid for many years an annuity to his widow – and it may be paid yet for anything within my knowledge.

Henry, the second (or eldest?) son of Richard,10 was also a wild spirit. Him I remember well. James I once saw & of James I recollect much mention, but Henry I encountered in the flesh often. He was a very good looking & clever fellow, and could make himself wonderfully agreeable. But he was a roué & a reprobate & was at times insufferably insolent & overbearing. I have heard him ‘go on’ with servants & others in a marvellous manner & of one scene in particular I have a ludicrous recollection. On the morning of the marriage of one of his sisters, finding one of his garments not ironed to his fancy, he had the washerwoman sent for & placed on the stairs at Rusholme whilst he, in demi-costume, stormed & railed at her from the landing, to the perturbation of the whole household and the utter terror & prostration of the poor woman. Nevertheless, he had the art (or gift and not an acquisition) of attaching to himself all his subordinates, and the servants and employees about the place, the washerwoman no doubt included, much preferred his insolence to the civility of the other members of the family. The marker of the Club Billiard Room, whom he was wont to call a fool & a beast & at whom he would on small provocation have thrown a cue or a Billiard Ball (altho’ the man was something of a pugilist) used to speak of him to me with tears in his eyes, & would, I really believe, have gone on his hands & knees to do him a service.

I conclude therefore that he had good in him, tho’ he overlaid it by wild & wilful misconduct.

Some further apology there is for him in the fact that he had an unprosperous love affair with Mary Barton, then, in my remembrance, a very pretty young woman, & now an aged grandmother under the name of Mrs Thomas Heywood. Her Father put a veto on it – & it somehow did not run right. This perhaps tended to make him the reckless fellow he subsequently became – & he once referred to it in conversation with me as one of the causes of his ruined career. Suddenly, years after his first affair & when he had reached a tolerably mature period, he made fierce love to Miss H and I well remember some curious scenes of which I was a witness in the progress of the affair – with such good looks – such a knowledge of the art – & such a winning manner – & above all with such a dreadful reputation he was sure to succeed – and Mademoiselle would accordingly have married him bravely – but again parental authority interposed. Papa said if she were to break her heart it might as well be in single blessedness. Perhaps he was right but on the other hand it might have been a case of reformation & amendment. As it was the disappointed gentleman did not commit suicide or even tear his hair. He went abroad – & I dined with him tete à tete just before his departure. He walked part of the way to town with me afterwards – & we had, under a lamp in Oxford Road, a very cordial & friendly parting, which I remember as well as any event of last year. I believe he did not much care what became of him. Tidings reached us that he had been to Paris & had offered to serve in the Algerian Legion – then that he had got into a violent row at a Swiss customs house, where, on being threatened with a personal search, he stripped instantly to his under garments, & handed his ordinary clothes over to the authorities for examination; but retained a pistol, with which he swore, doubtless with many oaths, to blow out the brains of anyone who laid hands upon him. He was suffered to depart as a ‘mad Englishman’. Ultimately at Messina, in retreating from some fellows who were supposed to be assailing him for the purpose of robbery, he fell backwards down an area & received a fatal injury to the spine. He lived for a day or two conscious, but in a paralysed state, & he died 11 in the arms of Stewart Garnett,12 himself destined not many years afterwards to lay his bones in an obscure & long since forgotten grave at Hong Kong.

When William Entwisle, his brother,13 was at Messina last summer, he found a man who remembered the whole story, & who conducted him to his tomb. This man told him that one of the inhabitants of Messina had lived & died in affluent circumstances, which he was always & universally believed to have established by the plunder of the Englishman – I could not learn whether they considered him blameable or fortunate – whether they execrated his atrocity or envied his luck – but in either case the popular impression was a complete mistake – for the family knew that he had nothing in his possession of the least importance – & he himself said nothing about it.

Of the other members of Richard Entwisle’s family little need be said. Young Richard, his son, was killed on the moors near Lancaster, in loading his gun. The second barrel exploded, & the charge, striking him on the side of the head, reduced him to instant unconsciousness from which, tho’ he lived for some hours, he never rallied. Broken down by these repeated and terrible catastrophes in his family & utterly crippled by gout, the father died in 1836 at little more than 60 years of age.14 He was a very thin tall man – agreeable in conversation beyond anyone that I ever met, & well able to talk, not merely sense with men, but nonsense, and downright good nonsense too, with all sorts & conditions of people, men, women & children – of music he was a regular professor & I remember when his room was full of instruments from an organ downwards – & he played scientifically on all of them. Peace be to his memory! He was always very kind & considerate to me, and had he lived, would I am sure have done his best to push my fortunes.

We must now turn back, & advert to the other members of the family of James Entwisle & Mary Bury. Mary Entwisle 15 their eldest surviving daughter married Sir John Lubbock 16 who is said to have fallen in love with her ‘across the counter’ when some accidental circumstance took her & somebody else into the Forster, Lubbock and Bosanquet Banking House, (later, Lubbock & Co.). She was a cold and artificial person & never took any particular interest (tho’ she professed any quantity) in her only surviving sister [i.e. the author’s mother Frances]. As she made few friends in life, she died in a forlorn sort of state – neglected by her only child & forgotten by those with whom she had associated.17 [I dined with the family occasionally in the winter of 1834-5 when I was in London. Her Ladyship generally placed somebody next to her on the sofa, & conversed in the lowest whisper & in an earnest tone, as if the subject of discussion were of the most mysterious character & of (at least) European importance – whereas it perhaps related to the chance of having to go into court mourning & the expediency of delaying the purchase of other costume de Lede (?). She & my Uncle Henry used to wag their heads & look as profound as Lord Burleigh about it].

Thomas Entwisle, my mother’s brother, married Miss Garnett. He was a burly man with a stentorian voice (when he chose to exert it) &, young or old, was always a sort of terror in the family. He was a man of sense & information, & could talk well in the heavy style – but his fun was like the disporting of an elephant or the fun of Lord Campbell (if you ever met with any attempts at badinage on the part of this noble Peer you will understand what I mean) & he was altogether a heavy & somewhat selfish old gentleman. He continued to have a wonderfully stupid house, which was avoided by his relations – & from which, on one occasion when, under parental authority he had compelled two of his Rusholme nephews to a visit, they clandestinely ran away!

Henry Entwisle,18 the next brother, took to the fashionable way of life, & became, in his own estimation at all events, a ‘London swell’. He did the correct thing – could not possibly be absent from London in the right part of the season – & went to Brighton, Cheltenham, etc, according to the rules of the Almanack of Fashion. He said he got a prize of £30,000 in the Lottery & this story passed current for years in the family, until one of the younger members bred in the law began to enquire into the evidence on which it rested – then the tide turned and I don’t think that, afterwards, the allegation obtained the least credit – a result to which no doubt a better appreciation of the man himself greatly contributed. He was engaged to be married to Miss Baring – but broke off the match at the eleventh hour, without reason assigned, to the probable detriment of his own fortune as well as reputation – and to the great distress of the ill-used lady. She subsequently married Kemp of Kemp town & died early. You may read this incidental mention of her short unhappy life upon or very near to the property with which she was connected. As for him, Henry Entwisle, retribution may be said to have overtaken him. He spent all his property & was put to wretched & not successful dodges & subterfuges in the attempt to keep up appearances. When I last met him at dinner he came unshaved, with a second-days white ‘tie’ & a pair of lack-lustre boots – & from having been a smart & (I always heard) very handsome man, he had sunk down into a shabby, surly, used-up & insufferably prosy old bore. He died at Cheltenham, on the verge of actual want – and he was buried by a watering-place parson who (I was told by a bystander), rattled over the service at express speed – & was hardly at the trouble to keep up appearances. We shall have occasion to disinter the deceased & to make further mention of him presently. He gave me the bookcase now standing in my library (having no use for it himself & it not being worth moving) and he reminded me of it every time I saw him afterwards. He passed in the family for a dreary old humbug – and I cannot say that the family judgement was wrong.

Ann, his sister, was the wife of John Scholes,19 a thoughtless fellow  who seldom exercised his judgement – always exercised it wrong when he did try – never took any thought for the morrow – never wanted his supply of beer, brandy & water & cigars – and was never discontented as long as he got them. He lost his wife (whom he neglected) early, and he subsequently was the close ally of T Houldsworth, whose racing stud he managed or mismanaged – & he finally married nobody knows whom in the Isle of Man – & died in that Pauper Colony. Of him, my strongest recollection is that the last time I saw him, in the winter of 1834-5, he was very particularly drunk & so were all the goodly company in which I found him sitting. [When he was about to be married a second time he wrote to announce the approaching event to his friend Houldsworth. The letter reached Houldsworth when he was sitting at breakfast with their mutual friend Major Poole – to whom he flung it saying ‘Here, Poole, is a letter from Scholes – read it for me will you, for I have not got my glasses’? Whereupon the Major read the letter out aloud, & finally came to the following passage – ‘Keep it a secret at present – & whatever you do, be sure you don’t tell that chattering fool Poole’!!}

Scholes had three children, two girls and a son. The two former on the death of their Mother lived with us. Sarah died just before my recollection begins – but I remember something of the mourning for her & hearing much mention of her extraordinary beauty. Mary lived with us until she was old enough to take charge of her Father’s house – to which she then returned & in which she very soon died.

Richard Scholes, the son, better known to me by his early soubriquet of Dick, you knew. He never had even a moderate chance – & he would have gone to utter perdition had not Lawrence Fort come to his rescue. Lawrence had faults & failings of his own, but perhaps where they are enumerated it may not be forgotten that he rescued Scholes from impending want and an approaching mésalliance – placed him in comfortable pecuniary circumstances & enabled him not merely to live comfortably, but to amass a moderate fortune. Dick was a droll fellow – with a sharp eye for a ludicrous situation and as keen sense of fun – a trifle coarse he was, as must be expected from his stable education & sensual habit – but he was ‘good’ at times – and I have heard him tell very droll stories & make himself excellent company. Of his later career – his port wine drinking – his beer – his selfish ways – his marriage and his subsequent fate, you know something. His name is not yet forgotten in the house where once he ruled – for the bin of wine which he stored is not yet exhausted – & his successor, calling for a particular bottle, says ‘This is Scholes’s Port’ & asks his visitor’s opinion upon it. It may console the shade of the original owner to know that his successor does ample justice to what they both would call ‘the tap’ – and gets muzzy and stupefied upon it every night. [I ought not to bid farewell to poor Dick without recording in his favour that I believe he was quite sensible of his mistaken career & used to mourn, (at times pathetically) over his wasted time & lost opportunities].

William Entwisle,20 the son of James Entwisle & Mary Bury, was a man of peculiar ways. Well read & informed and a good linguist, but very shy & retired in his habits. He travelled much in England, driving about his carriage & horses – & also on the continent & when not thus employed he lived in our family on terms of much attachment with all of us. He was understood to have made a will exclusively in favour of my Mother for whom he had a very strong affection – but he went to stay with his brother Henry and then made some change, and almost immediately after he died 21 – being found in the water near (I think) Cheltenham) – & being supposed to have thrown himself in. His final will was found to be a mixture of wisdom & mistaken judgement, for he left my Mother & her family a considerable legacy – & he made my Uncle Henry Entwisle sole executor & he gave him the residue of his property. This same Executor entered upon the discharge of his duties – stated that there was a private memo by the Testator of his wishes as to sundry articles. Something for my Mother – a very valuable watch I particularly remember for my brother William – something I believe for me – but hereupon he, I suppose, handed matters over to himself in his capacity of residuary legatee – for none of us ever heard a word more on the subject.

Therefore, it is that I don’t feel particularly grateful for the bookcase before mentioned – & it is not without a sort of savage satisfaction that I think of having blown up that story about the Lottery Ticket! With this last favourable mention of him he disappears from the family Memoirs altogether – little considered when living & very soon forgotten when dead.

Our Uncle James 22 you knew. At the beginning as at the end he was a man of infinite patience & he was always kind & gentle with the young people about him. He was a man of some attainments & fitted for better things than he ever accomplished, late in life he had an ‘affair’ with Emma Wilson of Seacroft – but it was a foolish business – and altho’ the young lady did not look unfavourably upon him, it was terminated by a sort of common consent – She was very pretty – which is some excuse for him.

This concludes the direct account which I have to give of the Entwisle branch of the family.


Some notes.

1 This establishes that the author’s mother was Frances Entwisle, baptised at St Ann’s, Manchester, July 27, 1787, who married John Bury July 2, 1807 at Manchester Cathedral.

2 James and John are listed as merchants at 8 & 9 Norfolk Street, Manchester, in the 1791 Universal British Directory f Trade, Commerce, and Manufacture.

3 His will is dated March 26, 1802 and was proved May 9, 1803 (Chester Archdeaconry). Frances was therefore 15 at the time of her father’s death. Her sister Ann married John Entwisle Scholes July 7, 1795 at Manchester.

4 Anna Eliza Lubbock, sister of the first Sir JW, born January 2, 1779 at Lammas, Norfolk, married Hugh William Brown September 24, 1801 at Lamas, and they had six children. Richard Entwisle married Frederica Margaretta Phillipino von Bernhard on August 14, 1794, so if he had been Anna Eliza’s suitor before that she would have been barely 15 at the time.

5 The youngest child of Hugh William Brown and Anna Eliza Lubbock was Mary Lubbock Brown, born October 26, 1818, so the marriage lasted at least 17 years. The date of Hugh William Brown’s death is not known, but presumably he must have died, rather than deserted his wife as the author implies, because Anna Eliza became a widow.

6 I had occasion some years since to investigate the Pedigree of the Bernhard family & certificates were obtained from all parts of Europe, showing how admirably the registers were kept even during a period when the whole continent was swept by war & revolution. The Pedigree when obtained covered a great part of the wall of a room. The then head of the family was a certain Baron von Bernhard a Professor at one of the German Universities. The original man with whom the Pedigree commenced held the office of Head or Court Gardener at some German court, I forget which, and was an ‘Ober’ something or other as long as my arm. Perhaps he was a ‘secret’ gardener, a description of appointment so much fancied that my Uncle James used to tell of the office of ‘secret trumpeter’. See also the fictional genealogy of the von Bernhards

7 The marriage was at Manchester Cathedral, so it would appear unlikely that his father’s disapproval was all that severe.

8 Frances Entwisle, Richard’s daughter, was baptised May 2, 1805 at St Ann’s, Manchester, and married the Rev Peter Hordern January 14, 1834, at Manchester Cathedral. Her only child Ellen Frances, born February 15, 1835, was the first wife of Sir John Lubbock 1st Lord Avebury.

9 James was baptised August 26, 1796 at St Ann’s, Manchester.

10 Henry was the eldest, baptised October 2, 1795, at St Ann’s, Manchester

11 Henry died March 12, 1834, and is buried at the English Cemetery, Messina, Sicily.

12 Thomas Entwisle, son of James Entwisle & Mary Bury, and uncle of Henry, married Elizabeth Garnett.

13 William was born September 30, 1808. He was elected MP for South Lancashire in 1844, and the author’s failure to mention this or his achievements in banking is surprising.

14 He was in fact 64, having been baptised December 13, 1771 at Newark, and died May 31, 1836.

15 Mary was baptised June 19, 1777

16 Sir John William Lubbock 2nd Bt, born December 27, 1773. The marriage was August 1, 1799 at the Colegiate Church, Manchester. For more about the banking connection see The Loyd, Entwisle Bank and Decimal Coinage – 1855!

17 Mary died January 7, 1845, at High Elms, Downe, Kent.

18 Henry was baptised September 29, 1779 at St Ann’s, Manchester.

19 Ann married John Entwisle Scholes July 7, 1795, at Manchester.

20 William was baptised April 15, 1770

21 William died in 1825

22 James was baptised March 13, 1782 at St Ann’s, Manchester.