Edward Nugent Ayrton

Edward Nugent Ayrton

b: 13 MAR 1815
d: 28 NOV 1873
From 'The Chaplin and Skinner Families' page 21:

>> (2) Edward Nugent Ayrton, the second son of Mr. Frederick Ayrton, died on 28th November 1873, and the following obituary notice appeared in The Solicitors' Journal of 13th December. 1873:--

"We regret to announce the decease of this gentleman, which took place at Box Hill (NB: should be Bexhill) on November 18th. We have been favoured with the following notices of Mr. Ayrton's character and career :-
"The late Mr. Edward Nugent Ayrton was the second son of Mr. Frederick Ayrton, an advocate of great ability in the Supreme Court of Bombay, and was born at Richmond on the 13th March, 1815. He was educated at Ealing, of which then large and well-known school he was captain at the early age of thirteen. Subsequently he went to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated in honours in 1836. After taking his degree he spent some years in systematic travel in Europe and the East, and was called to the bar in 1845.
"Mr. Ayrton practised at the equity bar and as a conveyancer, and, though not widely known, he was, by those with whom he was brought into contact, highly regarded for his deep and scientific knowledge of the principles of equity and real property law and for his varied learning and cultivation. To the public his writings were to some extent known, for he contributed leading articles to various newspapers, and most members of the legal Profession have read articles written by him for the Solicitors' Journal, to which paper he was at one time a regular contributor.
"His style was always clear and forcible, his aim being never to use a superfluous word, and was sometimes eloquent when he was dealing with such questions of home and foreign politics as greatly interested him; if the subiect admitted of it, his writing was seldom without some touch of irony or humour. Mr. Ayrton published pamphlets on the subject of a decimal coinage (which he maintained should be established without disturbing the existing copper currency) and on improvements in the law of real property. On the passing of Lord Westbury's Transfer of Land Act he published an exhaustive work upon it.
"Mr. Ayrton's health failed in the summer of 1871, and from that time he ceased to practise at the bar; his death was unexpected and almost instantaneous, having been caused by an attack of serous apoplexy on the 28th November, 1873, whilst residing at Box Hill [Bexhill], where he was buried. His loss will be sincerely felt by many to whom he had endeared himself by his ready sympathy and his earnest assistance in any professional or literary work to which his aid was asked.
"Mr. E. N. Ayrton's elder brother, Mr. Frederick Ayrton, was a member of the bar, and resided at Cairo, and we had occasion to notice his death last July. Mr. E. N Ayrton's younger brother is the present Judge-Advocate-General·
"The following remarks are contributed by one who is now a leader at the equity bar, and was for many years intimately acquainted with the late Mr. Ayrton:--
"He was in every way a remarkable man. His intellect was of a powerful grasp, and enabled him to acquire a mastery over a wide extent of the domain of knowledge. Few men knew more than he did, or more thoroughly what he knew. He was an accomplished linguist, and a critical scholar, while he was none the less a master in many departments of science, and was surpassed by few as a lawyer. Like John Stuart Mill, he had the characteristic of thoroughness in whatever he turned his mind to. He was moreover an excellent speaker, with a decided inclination for discussion, if not debate. On one occasion, several years ago, his argument of a case before Kindersley, V.C., which lasted many hours, was a surprise to the habitués of the court, as he was but seldom seen and little known there. People could not help asking why a man who could argue so forcibly and so well did not oftener appear? It is strange that it should be so, but so it was. For many years his business even as a conveyancer was inconsiderable, and he was of twenty years' standing before it could be spoken of otherwise. Indeed, outside a comparatively small number of persons he was hardly known as a regular practitioner, although there was no man in practice who was more constant and punctual in his attendance at chambers. By degrees, however, his reputation as a conveyancer began to be known among solicitors. The secret of his comparative want of professional success was probably owing in a great measure to his peculiarity of manner, which was very reserved, indeed to many persons somewhat repellant. He took no pains to make friends, or to encourage the approach of clients. Those who knew how kindly a nature was his, sometimes made merry at the angularity and frigidity of his bearing towards those who had merely a professional or but slight acquaintance with him: and this, no doubt, interfered with his prospects at the bar. But no man was more esteemed and prized among the few who knew him well. No man was a truer friend or a more honest or competent adviser. He was characterised no less by public spirit than by private worth, and it was not without great regret that his friends at the bar found that his health of late years precluded all hope of his taking the position as a public man for which his remarkable talents so well qualified him."

The following letter, written by Edward Nugent Ayrton when at the well-known school of Dr. Nicholas at Ealing, and about eight years of age, to his eldest brother Frederick, is now, in my possession. The school is spoken of by Thackeray under the name of Dr. Ticklem's school.

" My dear Brother,
"I am glad to hear you are better. I have executed your commissions. Rigby says he would be much obliged to you if you would send him his hone, and he says he has got yours. Tell grandmama my knife is in high preservation, and I have bought some more oil, but not so good as hers, and I hope she is better than when you wrote last. I expect papa every day - I am on the light look out The fives court is done very nicely. Mr Shury and Peter are going to have a match tomorrow on it. I think it will be a light game; I dare say you would like to see it Love to Matilda, and I hope she is better. Howard and ]oe are very well. Mr. Mason makes us make our verses out of our own head: he is not at all strict. Hardly one of the fellows had come back when we had, but they are all back now.
" Doubly Small had such a tight flogging on the man's hack for going home without Frank's leave. There are no repetitions now. Cricket is beginning; the fellows are getting up the clubs. Perigal was flogged this school (2nd school) for the same reason as Small. I am sorry mamma is not well, but I hope she is better. Old Puts is as fat as ever, if not fatter I am in a club at cricket with Bunne Howard. A great many of the fellows asked how you were, and when you were coming back, Collins in particular - he came back yesterday. Old Young fought Rogers - he (Young) got two black eyes. Frank told him in the middle of the school to go and have some leeches on. Give my love to all at home.
"I remain, yours ever,
" E. N. Ayrton" <<

Letter from his grandmother Adriana Nugent to Edward when at the school:

"My Dearest Edward, 17 Beaumont St Nov 8th 1826

It gave me great pleasure to hear from you at last - "better late than never". I am glad yourself and dear Brother are so well and that Johnny keeps his Cloaths in better order - I heard from your dear Mother the other day. She is well and took a drive with Mrs Howard yesterday week to see Mrs Carpenter at Potter's Bar, only six miles distant from Shenly on the following day they went to see (?) where the Murder of Mr (?) took place some time ago - when you write to Fred you must always pay the Postage or else he will not receive your letter - The two Drawing Rooms on High St are finished and the small Room on the Stair Case - but the two new ones are not in a very forward state at present but I make no doubt they may be compleat by Xmas - Your Cousin Mrs Laurence has got another Son, on the 8th of last month - I did not receive yours until Monday evening altho dated the 27th
I have not any news to tell you only that Dr Bree's daughter is to be married on Friday next to the Revd Mr Whichcote of Asworby(?) near Grantham in Lincolnshire. GrandPapa and myself are in rude Health and he joins me in best Love and Regards to you and the two others.
Adieu my dears and believe me most assuredly
Yours affectionate
Grand Mother
A Nugent"

Letter from John Clarke Chaplin to Acton Ayrton, August 1847:

Edward: is bent upon the law and I have no doubt will make an excellent and learned lawyer. He appears disposed to be a Conveyancer or Chamber (?). I have told him if that be his course he must make up his mind to a life of severe study and toil, without the prospect of professional honours, in the evening of life. He is a little too theoretical at present. And not quite so much worldly tact as might be very useful to him. However I think he has been more practical lately and by his intercourse with Frederick will eventually be successful at the Bar.

Post Mortem:

"I certify that I have this day made a Post Mortem examination of the late Mr. E.N. Ayrton - that I consider his death was due to an effusion of serum into the left lateral ventrical of the brain coupled with extreme cerebral congestion, The heart and all other organs of the body were in a perfectly natural condition. The extreme weight of the brain (56 oz) was noteworthy." (Signed) Thomas Trollope, MD Cantab, MRCP. St Leonards on Sea. Sunday November 30, 1873

From Ann Gregory's copy of the Chaplin and Skinner book:
"In a Report of Commission on Registration of Title in Land Sales (published 1859) Appendix, Part E p.324 is a paper by E N Ayrton. Pages 343 to 352 of same Parliamentary Report are by Henry Pyne".

From Matilda Adriana Chaplin's diary for 1870:

Saturday 19 March

Went to Greenwich -- saw little Julia playing in the Park. She recognised me and was pleased to see me. Edward and Emma gardening -- Holroyd came in the evening and we returned by London Bridge and Underground. I went by Holborn Viaduct for the first time.

Friday 6 May

Went to Greenwich. Slept there. Little Julie grown, she shows great observation of colours and general intelligence. Read en route a pretty novel "Hotel du Petit St Jean," scene in south of France. The writer knows it so well. I think he must have been there.

Saturday 7 May

Emma took me for a drive to Shooters Hill. The country looks dreary and backward, things seem rather to have shrunk than expanded during this cold week. Met Holroyd at Notting Hill and went with him a to look at houses.

On 29 November, after he died, she wrote in her diary: "Went to Bexill with Holroyd, saw his marble-looking very handsome head so majestic in the calm of death. I felt thankful that he was removed from all his perplexities out of which we could see no escape......."

END In the 1841 Census there is a reference to EDWARD AYRTON born c 1816 and living at Southampton Buildings, Holborn, who appears to be working as a Law Student (ref 107-670-11/6-5)>> Edward Nugent Ayrton

Edward, one of the sons of Frederick Ayrton and a brother of Acton Ayrton MP and Matilda Adriana Ayrton, later Matilda Adriana Chaplin, was born at Richmond in 1815.

From the evidence of his letters he was a strange and broody man, though not as strange as his uncle Alfred Ayrton. According to his obituary (see Family Historian) he either didn’t want to or couldn’t make friends, and on account of this, although he was very clever, was not as successful, as a barrister, as he could otherwise have been.

Also, although he married a German girl, Emma Althof, who was 22 years younger than he was, in 1866, he had an illegitimate son, William Edward Ayrton, in 1847, when he was 32 and married to no-one. That was regarded as very shameful, and William’s birth somewhere in London seems to have been kept secret. I have not been able to find out who brought him up either, but I guess that it was probably Matilda Adriana, his grandmother. He turned out to be very clever, like his father, and had a hugely successful career. His mother is unknown, but may have been the daughter of a Cornish fisherman.

A year after Edward married he had a daughter, Julia Ayrton, by his wife Emma.

Alan Ray-Jones

1834 - From Trinity
[Letter addressed to Acton Smee Ayrton Esq, 9 Somerset Street, Marylebone, London and postmarked possibly December 10, certainly 1834]

My dear Acton

I received the parcel, and have only been prevented making an earlier acknowledgement by pieces of business. Give my thanks to my grandmother for all of this and her trouble in sending it off, on account of your lack of leisure. I have seldom been more surprised than at seeing Mr Hutchinson's death in the Morning Herald. What a distressing loss to the family! It is certainly an awful thing to see a man taken as it were out of his path, and laid in his grave out of all hearing and past repentance. This is a lesson for the simplest(?). I am glad to find that it will not affect you; as I shall soon be in town I will not trouble you to write to me about it but will hear all from your own mouth.

We have had a bad fever here, they called it the Walcheren pestilence; it carried off men in a few days; not many however died, tho’ a great number were attacked. They have had some thoughts, I believe, of sending us away – a step that was providentially rendered unnecessary.

Tomorrow (Thursday) we go in pew(?) again to hear the Duke's funeral sermon; he was our Chancellor, his death is particularly noticed here. Our High Steward is also dead and they say the Bishop of Ely is dying.

Tell Fred that unless he requires it sooner, I will bring him some account of the books he(?) wrote about Sedgwick (?) unfortunately (for us) at Durha(?) on the occasion of being presented with a State; but I will ask (?), who, they say, read one encyclopaedia through. I shall be in town from after the end of term, which will be next Monday.

It seems that the infant flourishes, and the blossom(?) is now blowing; give my love to the (?) family may they be (Greek); the translation I leave to Margaret (?). So there is to be another wedding; it is usual to congratulate the Lady on these occasions, but I shall congratulate the gentleman.

Tell me when (?) Examination comes along for I should like to see it.

Love to my grandfather and grandmother. (?). Believe me your affectionate brother Edward Nugent Ayrton

[Postmarked Cambridge, 2nd February 1835 and addressed to John Hyde Ayrton Esq., 9 Somerset Street, London]

Trinity College, Cambridge

Dear John,

I suppose that either you saw my letter to Frederick or that he told you of my intention of writing to you. I have indeed long intended to do so before your departure but especially to say a few words upon the subject at which I hinted when you were with me. Do not suppose for a moment that any advice I should offer would result from any fancied superiority on my part. I merely suggest to you those considerations which must strike anyone who has been enabled by the Grace of God to make religion ever a matter of thought.

Circumstances have indeed been more favourable to me than to you but I do not conceive that at any time better than the present can you particularly consider thy life in reference to a future state. You are now about to better your own station in society, you can take your stand where you please, it is true some trials await you and such are the very portion of the Christian, but we should all unhesitatingly confess that they come from those whose good opinion could augur ill to that state of mind which should place us above the opinion of men. But none of us will I believe deny that some change must be made in our thoughts and habits, it is only the time that we dispute with ourselves about -- the reflection however that neither our thoughts nor our habits are in our power but we in (?) must point out the fatal error of those who delay repentance.

We cannot even know ourselves without long and attentive study of ourselves, and watchfulness over our days as they pass by us. This is amply proved by the frequent abandonment of resolutions made under the prospect of death - they were generally made in sincerity but the maker did not even know his weaker points and his many sins and so do deluded himself. Thus it is even if the deathbed repentance is allowed us, even if it would be effectual in saving us, but it is idle to hold out such a prospect - there are few very few whose lives are gradually and peacefully ended. Frequently the sick man is not informed of his danger till delirium deprives him of consciousness, or till bodily weakness wastes his energies, but how many step of out of the high road of life in to the grave without thought of God, who indeed only knows which of these may be to each of us.

But generally can we suppose that if we offend daily and wilfully we shall at last have grace given us for repentance, would it not be an insult to a man to tell him that you offended him because you knew that he would forgive you. Be assured my dear brother this is the great error. We have all opportunities and frequent exhortations to turn our thoughts to God. We have no concern and bitter will be the anguish hereafter of the many days that have been misspent when the life here is irretrievable and the doom is eternal.

The only way in which we can possibly become better is by prayer and the study of the Scriptures. If they are read as the guide to immortality they will most assuredly lead to it. But they must be so read, or they are comparatively profitless

[lines crossing previous text]:

Let me recommend you Doddridge’s Family Expositor, you can purchase it in Charlotte Street.

I have suggested these things in order that you may think of them, they can do no good of themselves, it can only be by resolution on your part and a total dependence upon the grace of God and the merits of Jesus Christ - be assured that if you do seek your happiness in religion you will find it there, you will find a heartfelt happiness, not that which displays itself always upon the countenance or in our gestures, but that of security which the protection and guidance of the Almighty; that which lies in a continual prospect of a better world; which never leaves the mind in desolation and despair but teaches us to look upon all our struggles as the road to perfection and bliss. And believe me that there is no time more favourable for the blessing of God, for the cultivation of religion, than that in which we are leaving our friends; for as we fear them(?) most on making a change of life, so does the sadness of themselves turn our hearts to Him who will never leave us, but reunite those who die in the Lord.

Do take these things to your heart. With love to my grandfather and grandmother and the rest of my kin believe me dear John,

Your affectionate brother,

Edward Nugent Ayrton

1835 - Money
[Swanley(?) Hale (in Ireland), June … Year not apparent but 46 written vertically after June. This cannot be the year because he was called to the bar in 1845. It might be 1834 or 1835 since Colaba is mentioned (Frederick was there in 1834)]

Dear Acton,

The sword of strength, the helmet of darkness, the shoes of swiftness, what were all these but money? Yet, though I especially inserted "directly" in my letter, you will not send me a farthing. I have sent back my tailor, shoemaker, and weaver, empty-handed (?) more than once; (?) they’ll think I'm (?). I have had nothing but fourpence for the last fortnight; and owing a shilling that I borrowed, I may state my resources as


Are you insolvent? If so, tell me at once and I will say no more about it; but to have a mail of only two days between me and mine for a week or more, is enough to make one grow tall with expecting.

I heard from Matilda the other day, she says that Fred has been appointed to act in special duty with the Chief Engineer, and to bore for water in the Island of Colaba so (?) (?) wrote: in speaking of Agnes, she says that probably there is another by this time. As to my telling Mr Chaplin that I was going to the bar, it is likely he might have drawn the inference from what I said, that I really remember nothing about it, and can only say that he knows a great deal more about it than I do myself.

The country is beginning to look fair and fresh, now the leaves are on; but there are most despairing complaints of a want of rain, they talk of it as if it were to go down their own throats at once and not (?); there is to be no grass, no butter (?) and I suppose no juices of any kind -- the crops seem certainly to be (?) brown.

I have given you a respite of some days, hoping that I should hear from you; and now on Saturday I take up my pen again. Plenty of rain has fallen since my last (1/2 sheet) but. I suppose that you will be soon leaving the house. What is the new situation? I do not think that you will get much by coming to Ireland, let us go and see some good sights. The country here is rural St Giles’s.

I have given you another respite and really can hold out no longer. I have 1/2 a dozen washerwomen's bills in arrears -- and going about in rags because I cannot buy stuff to have a waistcoat made of, can put nothing in the poor box on Sunday. I look daily in the small print to find “George Basham solicitor Bedford Place (?) -- Basinghall Street". Let me know when you get your certificate in order that I may satisfy myself.

The Laird of Enniskillen arrived yesterday and just like all other Earls finds it too much trouble to speak plainly, he is a perfect ventriloquist; about 68; just beginning to walk carefully. How is Dr Bree. I should like to see him again before he dies. I certainly do not think that I shall stay here longer than I am obliged, it is surprising how parents so neglect the education of their children, his mind is one of the least disciplined I ever met with. What a thing it must be to (?) from necessity, instead of reading together to have to hear lessons. I feel as if I could quit it tomorrow except that I engaged for a year. However it is well to see a little good society and how they think and act who have not been brought up exactly like oneself; the family are agreeable enough, and so is the place.

Send me some money by return of post.

I remain. Your affectionate brother
E. N. A.

1835 - Books.
[No address, no date, just ‘Saturday evening’ but postmarked Cambridge 18 July 1835]

My dear Acton,

After as had a ride as the fabled one up Blaxton I alighted at my well-known haunt but found it in the greatest confusion, everything in the shape of carpets huddled up together, the covers off the sofa, tables etc., and in fact such confusion that I have put myself into a neighbour’s quarters till Monday. Of course I could have avoided it by writing a letter but I only anticipated having to air my sheets etc.

But I write more particularly about the books. My bookseller offers 16s for the lot. He says that the Euclid is of little or no value as nothing is bought but the abbreviated form.

Happily some of my friends "stay up" the long vacation or I should be very dull, empty colleges are more unsocial than none at all.

With love to my grandfather and grandmother and blessings on the departing,

I remain
Your affectionate Brother
Edward Nugent Ayrton

You will see Bickersteeth on the Sacrament in the parlour. I forgot to mention it. I bought it for you.

[Letter addressed to Acton Smee Ayrton Esqr, 15 Park Street, Grosvenor Square, London and postmarked Drogheda, October 2, 1836. A large rectangle has been cut out so many lines on pages 3 & 4 are incomplete]

Dear Acton

I received your letter so late yesterday evening that I could not answer it by return of post. I think upon the whole that as so many things may happen in three months you had better perch temporarily and when I come over we can make other arrangements if we like. I am glad that my grandmother is pleased the change from the brick walls to the park brings back dancing days.

I wrote a letter for you in Dublin but forgetting to leave it at (?)hams the people at the Coach office promised to send it there, but as you do not mention it I do not know whether you got it -- it was to let you know that I searched the gazettes and the only thing I could find was I think in June 86 (if it was 90) or 76 (if 80) -- an advertisement to the claimants to send in their claims upon the estate which had been described in an order of the Court of Chancery a short time before. (?) after (?) must have been (?) superiors to the start especially as the weather was fine. I wish you would enquire of Welch about the clothes, or perhaps I had better do it. I put Ta(?) letter in the post. I do not think I have much chance of getting Dardis stick but I will write to the Company if there is one or the King’s agent in Dublin if I can find him out. I often think of the porters Whiskey (?) Arching just like (?) field, at Mrs Adrians -- I saw the Eiss(?) hieroglyphic up in large gold letters in Dane Street the next day.

[page 3]
I do not admire Welch much as a friend, in fact the same may be said of every one who has not his mind occupied (?)ing. I hope Margaret has (?) confinement. I believe (?) favourable. Every time Kil(?) with my mind how the idea (?) the recollection of all the (?) the boats -- to think if the (?) quantity of rural pleasure (?) that those fellows had (?) fancy rushing about the (?) 8 or 9 sweaty carcasses (?) If ever I go again (?) the lakes at the other end to try and neutralise it all. It's certainly is not worth steaming and jiggling in those cars so many 100 miles to go to see the waters but if one happened to wander there some autumn evening it would be pleasant enough. I am reading Lyells Geology. I think you would like it. Give my love to my grandmother and remembrances to our Guardian. I hope you asked him my conundrum – ‘why is a pickpocket’s guilt clear?’

Your affectionate brother
Edward Nugent Ayrton

[Letter from Edward addressed to Acton at 15 Park Street, Grosvenor Square, London, postmarked Boulogne sur Mer, 29 Nov 1837]

Dear Acton,

Since my last I have had a slight return of my complaint, which will alter the state of affairs. I have kept within doors on slender diet since Saturday last and am in hope that the enemy is being starved out. Should he not surrender I shall again use the mortar and bombard him with pills and flood him with potions. Of course, as I am here I shall stay until I get quite well, which I do not expect to be under a fortnight from the present time at least.

I think the glandular swellings arise from walking, therefore I shall endeavour to renovate myself entirely, otherwise I should never be safe if the germ occupies my rooms until I return. You may have them for what I pay for them. Then I shall recruit at my ease. I will tell you the particulars that you may communicate with Hicks, who can write to me if he thinks it requisite. There was a slight swelling on Saturday morning. Rather larger on Sunday. Monday morning rather sore. I (?) this morning and swelling reduced -- swellings in the groin on Sunday and Mondy - nearly gone this morning. I have lived entirely on (?) only since Saturday, but this morning I took some tea. Have sat all the time with my feet up and am now in bed, which I shall quit in the course of the day. Did not take the pills Saturday or Sunday -- took yesterday, intended to take today -- feel fairly well -- have no fever -- and no pain when the swelling is touched now -- good appetite -- shall not walk the swelling quite gone and then very gradually. I think it was wandering about for lodgings that brought it on again.

I enquired on Wednesday for the family I knew when last here -- could not find them -- but was delighted to pitch upon the Madame by accident on Friday. They have built an arcade called after themselves (?). I went with the son, a youth at the college here, to see some conjuring in the evening. The man did one or two good tricks, making two pigeons out of one -- appearing to throw a (?) of (?) into a lady’s face and sprinkling her with roses. Of course I have seen nothing of (?) since he said you should go as ever or you can't as "there was no knowing what might happen." He recommends Marseille - Boulogne has one great advantage for families, no women (?) to appear at the (?) any of the streets after sunset -- one was signed 5 francs last week for going to the (?). Will you enquire about the postage for the (?) and if it is trifling send them forthwith - there seems to be a new settlement of parties depending upon the question of ballot &. The aristocrats will never concede that position whatever party they may be in. I read the Weekly Chronicle yesterday, it seems a very (?) table Radical paper. Let me know the family arrangements specially if you could oblige me by taking up my rooms. Love to grandmère.

Your affectionate brother

E Nugent Ayrton

If you should not go (?) my rooms (?). Love to Matilda and baby

[Letter from Edward addressed to Acton S Ayrton Esqr, 52 Park Street, Grosvenor Square, London and postmarked Boulogne Sur Mer, 4 December 1837, with a ‘Hotel des Bains’ stamp as well]

Hotel des Bains

My dear Acton

You will see I have changed my quarters. The baths have drawn me here and though a coffee room has its fidgets it is more cheerful for an invalid who has no one to visit him. My experience has enabled me to reduce the enemy -- the starvation prevented inflammation but some matter formed without pain under the skin from which I apprehended no danger otherwise I should have returned directly for I knew that so nice a place was not to be neglected. On Wednesday I moved to the hotel and the skin broke in the night. I fermented with warm water and applied a linseed poultice until Friday night. The swelling has now subsided and I took my first bath today at 96 degrees. I breakfast at nine, take a turn in the air for a quarter of an hour at 12 a.m., then bathe -- take soup at 2 and boiled mutton at 6 keeping very quiet and avoiding all exertion. I was very weak yesterday but am considerably stronger today, so that I think Mr Hick will tell you that I may expect to be pretty well in a few days.

I take the pills regularly. I do not expect to return by the 14th for I have six baths to take which will detain me 12 days, so you had better enter my room at 13 shillings, --the one-week -- for that will be so much money gained to me. I shall not stay here more than three or four days I think, but take the lodging again -- direct at the Post Office. You can bring Isaacson’s letter with you and some money. I should like to know for certain whether Captain Evans is here and the Neals -- just enquire if you have time en passant. I was glad to hear of your success with G..

The weather has been very bright here and if it continues I expect the Inn to revive me. I see the "Temps" paper here from which it appears that the Duke of Newcastle is going to promote the question of the expulsion of the Catholic members. It would be very unwise to do so until the Tories(?) have the executive power in their own hands again. If you could enquire at Lincoln’s Inn about sick certificates I should be obliged to you.

They are shutting the shutters and the Lamp has not come on and the dark supervenes. Adieu.

Your affectionate brother
E N Ayrton

Give my love “……………..”
Mention to Hick's that I have occasional pains in my legs -- though I expect that they will be gone ere you get this. [possibly George Hicks of Baldock, his sister-in-law’s father, a surgeon – though why Acton should be in touch with him I don’t know] What will you do about the introductions from Mr Arthur Cole? I think that whether you keep much or little company they tend to give character - you will find him at 37 Duke Street, St. James or you can find him through Lord Cole or Lord de Grey. Explain to him about the book.

1838 - Genoa
[Letter to Mrs Chaplin, Hagley Cottage, Edgbaston, Birmingham, England postmarked Genoa 18 and London 26 Jan 1839]

Genoa, January 17th 1838

My dear Matilda

This letter should have been dated from Rome. I have been kept here a fortnight waiting for my baggage which I sent by diligence from Geneva five weeks ago -- however Genoa is an interesting town -- forming a crescent at the head of the Gulf -- a circular hill runs round the back sheltering it from all winds but the South -- the air warmer than an English spring -- no fires and sun at 94 degrees. I am perched up a dozen pair of stairs at the Hotel Suisse and from the windows facing the East and South have a clear view of the port and town. Genoa is called the superb -- however its grandeur consists in the size and beauty of the houses, which have marble balconies and porticos and courtyards, and not in the general effect, for there is only one street which serves as a thoroughfare for carriages and that is not so wide as Park Street.

The columns of white marble consisting of a single piece which are generally visible through the gateways and ornament a space under with the first floor which is something between a hall and a courtyard are imposing at first, but when one sees the posts in the streets of the same material the effect wears off -- some houses are built entirely of marble -- the cornices are generally very bold, but conceive two fine palaces on either side of a narrow street so close as almost to darken one another.

The streets at Milan are wider but the houses are as fine tho’ far more numerous than here. The low windows are generally protected by a very stout iron grating. Picture to yourself the town running round the bay and the jetty from the point running across so as to narrow the entrance to the harbour and finishing in a lighthouse. The harbour on the east side covered with rows of small brigs and you will have an idea of Genoa.

The females of the lower classes wear a white muslin scarf which is thrown over the head and falls down in front over the shoulders -- the poor a cotton one with a large and showy pattern. In a commercial town one can seldom walk near the water but here a wall runs all round the shore on the top of which is a (?) walk, and through it are entrances to the warehouses. I generally walk here and am much amused with the lively scene below of vessels unloading at the quays, porters hurrying backwards with loads which they string from poles, one supporting the end on his shoulders -- hundreds of red woollen night caps may be seen bobbing about.

There is the theatre here and an opera -- the same size as the first rate in London. The singing is bad and the dancing good. I went to the theatre one night but the acting is so grimacious the (?) and postures so unnatural that an Englishman who does not understand the language can take no interest in it. Fancy a large theatre like Drury Lane with nothing in the orchestra between the acts but the flute and a violincello. The chief difference between the Italian and English theatres consists in the number of tiers of boxes. There are six and a gallery but much closer than the English and all hung with silk -- here each box in a different manner.

I aim(?) here as the table d'hote -- not very distinguished. However as I only pay 1½ francs for my room and 1½ for my dinner and have a delightful little room where I read most part of the day, I get on very well. In fact I am in a peculiar position. I have had nothing for five weeks but my walking equipment -- luckily I put a pair of black trousers and a pair of half boot is in my knapsack -- so that I have appeared at Milan and Genoa in a blouse i.e. the brown cotton frock reaching to the knees and tied with a band at the waist.

I fully expected to find my things at Milan -- judge my embarrassment. When I go to the opera I borrow the waiter’s coat. Many is the (?) and the whistle that I have heard stop as I have passed -- many is the nudge that I have seen the husband give the wife and the lover the sweetheart. However I have written to Geneva. Enquiring at the Post Office for an answer they put all the English letters before me -- among them I saw one directed to my friend so perhaps he has not yet passed (?) Genoa.

The churches are generally the most interesting features of the town here. The outside ugly another generally brick as in the villages but the inside handsome -- you enter at the west end where there are generally three doors -- the body of the church is divided into three parts by two rows of pillars which also divide the ceiling -- the pillars and floors are generally marble and the ceiling painted rather gaudily, with sculpture pieces, and generally the building is in the form of a cross. At the further end as you enter is the ‘maitre autol’ -- generally in the shape of a table with a back -- but consisting of marble of different colours -- in this are placed candles with artificial flowers, busts of saints etc. -- this corresponds to our communion table. On either side of the church against the wall are smaller altars adorned in a similar manner, devoted to different saints and "privileged" on certain days when the worshippers get indulgence for praying at them. There are generally persons of the poorer classes kneeling before some of them at all hours of the day. On the altar are pictures, statues (?) etc. most of them passable and some very good -- priests may be seen at all times saying mass before (?) one of the altars -- morning and evening the chapter saying prayers behind the high altar and the people kneel in front -- generally as abstracted(?) as our own church -- like ourselves they practise kneeling as a religious office -- beggars kneel on the stones beneath (?).

I have seen one poor fellow kneel for half an hour on the stones without apparently the slightest idea of what is going on -- when he is tired he goes out -- sometimes in the middle of the service two or three dogs may be seen trotting up to the high altar -- men come to church with baskets and bundles -- the priest spits on the floor in the middle of the mass -- however though sometimes they laugh and talk they mostly look very grave and are quite contented. Frequently one sees religious pictures and inscriptions in the homes(?) and hackney coaches. So far is this carried that they paint crosses on the walls to save them from defilement.

I long to be with you all – love to John. Remember me to the Mott(?) and all friends (?).
Adieu – your affectionate brother E (?).

As soon as my things arrive I shall go to Pisa – Hence to Florence and Rome. Adieu – what has become of the project(?) for the infant school?

1939 - Rome and Naples
[Letter probably from E N Ayrton to his sister Matilda]

Rome, March 19th, 1839

My dear Matilda,

I think my last was from Genoa some weeks ago. I have been so long reaching Rome that I (?) letters until I (?) Eternal City. From Genoa I took the steamer to Leghorn – this is a large port but very dull. Thence I went to Pisa [not continued – the writing is very faded and goes both ways across the page, making it very difficult to read. It is a long letter and perhaps one of the earliest in the collection].

[Letter from E N Ayrton to his brother, folded and sealed and addressed on the outer side to: Acton S Ayrton Esq, Bombay, East Indies]

Naples, April 18th, 1839

My dear Acton

You know by my letter of (?) that I am now in the land of ruins. I came here by Geneva, the Simplon, Milan, Genoa, Leghorn [Livorno], Florence, and Rome. I walked from Geneva to the great St. Berna..(?) thence across the Simplon to Dome d’ossota – and was conveyed thence to Milan -- you were there -- what a pity it is that the columns of the cathedral are crowded with a capital of statues.

Switzerland was very fine, I had a cloudless sky for a fortnight and used daily to see the peaks of the Alps flushed at sunset and pale with the moonlight -- the whole country was covered with snow -- the cascades hung frozen from the rocks and the larch was covered with hoar frost, it was a most glorious sight.

Genoa is a fine place, some of the houses being magnificent but none larger than the first rate London house -- the streets are however so narrow that the effect is lost -- indeed there is only one line of street fit for carriages, so that it hardly merits the epithet of superb. From Genoa the steamer to Leghorn, a dull place. Florence is rather pretty and the galleries are good.

Rome is the most disappointing place in the world, there are materials for a fine city, palaces, (?), fountains and columns, but they all are in such out of the way places. There are only two good streets and those not wider than Park Street, the rest are so broken up and badly kept that they are more like a London mews than anything else. The ruins are not in the part of the town now inhabited by the better class - and are not (?) -- there are three or four sets of columns by the capitol and the Coliseum which is brick and very fine. The other ruins are chiefly brick, for the Romans seem to have coated their buildings only, and they have been since stripped. The Pantheon now a church is nearly perfect -- the light is let in at the top thro’ a large aperture.

Most of the remains of antiquity have been pressed into the service of the church. All the fine columns of one piece of valuable marble, which we see in the churches and palaces, are ancient - indeed almost all the architectural wealth of modern Rome is so. So that now the ruins are not very fine -- those that are now brick were half lined until excavations were made by the French - as the level of Rome is now in some places thirty feet higher than it was of old so that you frequently see little more than the capital of a column. In some of the ruins the old paintings are still visible. Sir H. Davy analysed a pot of colour that he found -- but we have lost the secret of making the plaster for the fresco paintings. The views of the Tiber are very picturesque. I was at Rome during the Passion and saw the Pope wash the feet of 13 pilgrims and afterwards wait upon them at dinner. He blessed the multitude assembled in the square before St. Peters, then on Easter Sunday St. Peters is illuminated to the top of the cross. There are also fireworks in (?) Vesuvius. The (?) of the Pope and Cardinals are very sumptuous, being all embroidered in gold.

Naples is a gay place, the Brighton of Rome. As you have seen Italian towns I shall only say that the brick floors and painted walls which are so horrible to an Englishman in Winter are now in April agreeable. What a wretched want of workmanship there is in everything -- everything is sacrificed to the fine arts -- instead of being an amusement they are the all in all of the Italian workman. The peasants near Rome where a piece of linen wound round their feet like mummies and a piece of cowhide tied as a sandal with string. Here they are barefoot, the Neapolitans lie basking without shoes or stockings, wearing a coat (?)brown wollen jacket and cap -- loose linen breaches -- they are dusty and ragged -- little better than Ireland.

The scenery and some of the ruins here are worth seeing -- the towns too are picturesque from their dilapidated state and irregularity -- the (?), cactus, vine, olive and fig tree are interesting -- the colors too of the scenery. The most beautiful views here are those in which extensive remains of aqueducts or palaces form part. I am told that they get here for working about a shilling a day but I do not believe it. They always ask about four times as they intend to take and plunder the English, who are too idle or (?) or wanting in self-esteem to make a bargain. Beggars abound, you are sometimes followed by half a dozen -- indeed there is an immense class who live wholly upon what they can (?) up by showing you the way to your mouth.

I am going on foot to Sicily - at present I am with Wilshire(?) whom you saw. James of whom you spoke in your last is not going to India. Why do you not write to Miss Bingham for an introduction to the Compton's? Dr Bree was going fast when I last saw him. My grandmother tolerably well. I have heard nothing more of F. Welch. Captain S. was very well, also Dardis. I told you that Dudley was going to be married. I have heard nothing more of it. M.'s children go on well.

Adieu-- take care are not to overwork yourself. I hope you will be able to return in a few years, well ballasted for a sail in wider seas.

Your affectionate brother
E Nugent Ayrton

[Letter to Matilda addressed to Mrs J C Chaplin, Hagley Cottage, Edgbaston, Birmingham, England, dated Rome April 18th 1839 and postmarked London (for onward transmission to Birmingham) 3 May 1839]

Naples 36 Chiaga, April 18th 1839

My dear Matilda

I left Rome last Saturday week with a friend of my friends -- we walked from Rome to Naples to see an old Roman road now deserted. Here is still some of the granite remaining -- it was laid down in large pieces and is in some places as perfect as if it were newly done -- on each side of the road which is perfectly straight are masses of brickwork about the size of a small haystack which were formerly tombs, but they are now despoiled of their outer coating of stone.

We crossed the Pontine Marshes on Monday -- the air here is so bad that travellers are frequently taken ill -- all the natives look pale and sickly, however the scenery is not ugly -- there are the Appenines on the left and plantations to the right. At the end of them is Terracina on the coast -- very picturesque -- the are immense cactuses on the cliffs, and pines. The road then runs through orange gardens and mounts the hills among cork and olive trees and descending into the plain again brings you to Naples.

This is the Brighton of Italy. There is a row of houses about half a mile long facing the sea on the North side of the bay, where the English live, and between this and the sea is a very delightful esplanade well planted and forming groves. This is the promenade -- the bay is fine. Vesuvius smoking gently in the bend of it -- and houses and towns all round it. The Toledo (High Street) is one of the finest things I have seen -- the Neapolitans are even lazier than the Romans. They sit in the sun in a coarse brown jacket and cap and loose linen breeches without shoes and stockings, without apparently having anything to do. So many hands are here that there is a footman to every hackney coach. The people are very dirty -- much like Ireand.

I am now living with my friend Wilshire and my pedestrian companion from Rome, Hamilton. We are very comfortable -- handsome rooms and good dining -- but everything is dear here a single room five francs a night. I pay Wilshire 2 sardi(?) about 8d a day for everything -- but I shall not indulge long, for I shall set out tomorrow for Poesticum where a there are very fine ruins. I went yesterday to see the remains of what was the Roman Brighton in gold times -- it was built on one of the bends of the bay of Naples. There is there is a passage cut in the rock which they call (?) -- after walking about 30 yards you come to boiling water -- it is intensely hot and in order to catch the cold current you are obliged to stoop as low as possible. The guide takes and egg in a small pail and dips it into the water. In about two minutes it is boiled. I eat it. You see here what was made by the Ancients the entrance to hell on account of the steam and gases proceeding from the ground.

The whole of this region called Baja is subject to earthquakes, and is not all picturesque now. Low hills -- one about as high as a church steeple was raised in 36 hours about 300 years ago. Fig trees and vines are planted in the valleys. There is a very fine Museum at Naples. You see loaves, eggs, vegetables, (?), all sorts of saucepans and scales that have been found in Pompeii and Herculaneum -- they found jewels and ornaments upon the skeletons. There is a lump of ashes with the impression of part of the body on it. In the stock were skeletons -- all the bronze and silver things are in excellent preservation -- but the iron is much eaten away. There is a brazier with some of the original charcoal ashes in it -- a great number of paintings and statues -- glass and pottery -- bottles for milk and wine. The same shapes as are used now. Most of the shapes of cups and vases and such things now in use were taken from those found in Pompeii.

I received no more than two letters when in Rome. I shall return there about the middle of May so you will know how to direct. The scenery and the galleries of painting and sculpture seem to be the things most worth seeing here. I have seen few modern buildings that are fine, and excepting Naples all the towns are badly built. This however gives them picturesque appearance in scenery for there is great variety of roof and window (?) very uncomfortable place. The houses are badly painted and furnished -- the wood and plaster work has no finish about it, and the streets show no airtight doors and smooth pavements with handsome gas posts -- but are in irregular in appearance -- large gateways -- small shops -- passengers and carriages and horses together in the road. The people dirt, carriages lumbering -- ruggednesss and untidiness, cheating and idleness – bad workmanship everywhere. If a man takes care not to live a mere routine life England is the place for enjoyment and (?) blended together.

The climate is not so pleasant as you might imagine. The weather is generally fine but the changes from hot to cold take place in a minute you are boiled and the next moment shivering. The lights in the landscape are very (?), the hills in the evening being a deep blue.

Adieu - I don’t think John came to Naples. Give my love to him and (?) the little ones. If I see any good costumes I will buy them.

Your affectionate Brother,
E Nugent Ayrton.

1839 - Death of Grandmother Nugent
[Letter to Mrs J.C. Chaplin, Hagley Cottage, Edgbaston, Birmingham postmarked 6 August, just after the death of Colonel Nugent’s wife (née Adriana Spencer). A note in pencil on the letter states ‘On the death of my G’mother Nugent, 1839’. The date of death in the family file (4th August) then is wrong by two days. The death date of the other grandmother (Thomas Ayrton’s wife) is unknown. This letter like others refers to the writer’s grandmother even though she was also the recipient’s grandmother]

15 Park Street, August 4th 1839

My dear Matilda

This letter will already have told you that the melancholy event which we expected yesterday has taken place. My grandmother continued in the same state all night, towards morning I observed that the veins of her hands were diminishing and thought that she could not live many hours, especially as she suffered from slight convulsion.

At about twelve o'clock at noon today she became quieter and then gradually went off without pain. She seemed to suffer a good deal in the night but the doctor says that much of her groaning was caused by spasmodic breathing and did not seem to think that she was in pain.

She has been laid out and now looks tranquil. I should like John to write me word by return of post whether Tuesday or Monday next would suit him best for the funeral; for his presence will add much to any satisfaction that can be felt on such occasions. Dudley came in accidentally just after my grandmother had expired, he will come again in the evening.

Do not forget to mention to John anything that you would wish on the event that has happened. I hope that Julia is still recovering. My grandmother to the last always spoke of her with the utmost affection. The baby is I suppose well.

Adieu -- your affectionate brother

E. Nugent Ayrton

Give my remembrance to all your circle.

1841 - Alexandria
[Letter postmarked Alexandria September 26, 1841, also Birmingham, addressed to Mrs J C Chaplin, Hagley Cottage, Egbaston, Birmingham, England, kept in a white envelope]

At the head: A letter directed to Constantinople care of the British Consul may reach us.

Cairo, Sept 19th 1841

My dear Matilda,

I had fully intended writing to you from Alexandria about three weeks ago but left in rather a hurry and have under the excitement of novelty put it off day by day - however now that home scenes come back to the mind I write with heartfelt pleasure to tell you that we are well here and to enquire after you and John and the children - kiss them all for me and tell them I often think of them. As I wrote to you I left London on the 1st of August, reached Paris on the 3rd, left it on the 5th for Lyons which I reached on the 8th and went rapidly down the Rhone with the steam from 15 to 20 miles an hour to Avignon, the next morning I was at Marseilles.

Met in the boat going to Boulogne a lady who had travelled much. I fell into conversation with her about a dog which she had, a black and tan spaniel which had unfortunately had puppies a day or two before the voyage and was suckling one in the basket. We talked about the education of children and found that we entertained the same feelings. Paris is very cheerful in the summer. I had travelled with three Irish gentlemen going to the British College at Rome and as they knew no French (?) they were completely thrown when the (?) especially as like myself they wished to journey as cheaply as possible. I took the steamer on the 11th for Alexandria. On the 13th we docked at Leghorn, on the 14th at (?), the 15th at Naples, the 18th we spent at Malta, the 21st at (?) one of the Greek Isles, and arrived at Alexandria on the 24th.

I had hoped to meet Frederick here but found a letter saying that he would (?) at Cairo (?) after his return from Mount Sinai where he was going, so that I determined on leaving Alexandria in a day or two to join him. We entered the bay of Alexandria between the (?) of the Pasha’s fleet consisting of about 12 sail of the line and 12 smaller vessels, and so I ended a (?) trip of 14 days as I had rather (?) it to use a traveller’s (?). I was glad to disembark - there are four places on the steamer - the 1st cabin, the 2nd cabin, the 3rd cabin and the deck. I had determined at whatever hazard to take the 3rd, the cheapness about £8 being the decisive reason. You may conceive my pleasure at falling into conversation with a young Frenchman a physician an agreably intelligent man who had done the same. There were three priests in the 4th place - in the course of the voyage we took up a merchant at Leghorn going to (?)ydna and at Naples the Tutor in the Howe family (whom I know by name) in the 4th so that while I had anticipated possible misery in my 3rd place I found the society there by far the most agreeable that I had ever met with in a public conveyance. As we all spoke one or two different languages the conversation was curious, the same tongue being never used for five minutes together. I spoke English, French and a little Italian. The physician the same, the tutor German, English, French and Italian - the merchant Turkish, Greek and Italian, so that we had every day half a dozen languages in play. I amused myself by studying Turkish. There is a restauration on board but economical travellers lay in their basket of bread and fruit and preserved meats. Fruit is very cheap on the way, a basket of grapes may be got for a shilling.

I found a French hotel at Alexandria. The natives have no hotels but the Franks have built themselves a large square. One is at first struck by the appearance of the houses in the native quarter - these are built of a (?) shape brick and for windows have a kind of bow window of carved lattice work unpainted. The streets are very narrow and unpaved but they are sheltered from the sun by a roofing of planks sufficiently wide apart to admit the light about 15 feet above the ground, in fact just above the shops. As you walk pensively along, looking in the shops which are merely large square openings in the wall, or rather the [end of second page] [top of third page] whole of the bottom part of the house is open in front and each shop is divided from the next only by the party wall, so you are looking at this and the owner of the shop who sits cross legged on a kind of counter in front [pic] smoking his pipe.

You hear a cry of (?) behind and you find a camel (?) close to you (?) who (?) in his blue shirt swaying backwards and forwards with (?) motion of a dozen water melons hanging in panniers made of (?). You hear the (?) again and it is a lady of whom you can see nothing but her eyes as she has a (?) white veil hanging down by a (?) down the (?) in front and a black silk cloak and (?) with behing very large full drawers of which the bottom is just visible, and yellow shoes. She is mounted on a donkey (?). Donkeys are the animals in use here and you must appear on foot without being pestered by a dozen donkey boys with scraps of English and I think there would be plenty of donkeys for Julia and Louy and Holroyd (?) English donkeys but go fast and ask them (?) and you have a good ride for 2 ½ (?) class wear merely a blue shirt (?) they have not a veil, they hold a (?) of handkerchief which they all wear on the head (?) the mouth. It is only (?) one side of the face. The men wear all sorts of diff(?) shirt to the complete costume which is a (?) loose drawers - a (?) called a kaftan like a (?) gown but a long roll of muslim round the waist, a jacket of cloth and yellow shoes (?)

[crossways, first page] and large silk band with a (?). I wear a turban which consists of a red cloth cape and roll of muslim wound round and Frederick has a muslim. You will find the manners and customs of the modern Egyptians accurately described in two volumes of the Library of Entertaining Knowledge by Lane.

I left Alexandria on the 27th by the canal that goes to the Nile and by (?) and of wind and (?) tugging of the Arabs reached (?) on the Nile the next day, and leaving there on the 29th reached Cairo on the 31st. The banks of the Nile are flat but the clusters of date trees standing in relief against the sky and (?) one. The villages are interesting: the villages at first sight are like mud walls about 10 or 15 feet high built at random for the house always opens from inside the yard and the same is the case in the cities – privacy being a great object in Arab life. The Arabs in the villages all wear the blue shirt – they are fine strong men but all violence and in contrivance – there is a strong stream down the Nile but there is always a wind up it in the heat of the day but when this lulls 5 weighty(?) Arabs dash out of this boat and swim inshore in the heat of a broiling Sun and pull away for an hour by the bank(?) the rope looped round their bare breasts. The boats are something like Canal boats with a cabin behind but (?). Travelling is very cheap. I came from Alexandria to Cairo for about six shillings. Arriving at Cairo [end of page] (I) found Frederick in the upper room of a private house, the rest being untenanted except by the (?) and donkey – his only furniture was a carpet, a mattress on the floor covered with a lion’s skin, some pillows and his saddlebags. In the best furnished houses in Cairo there is only a wide sofa with pillows at the back. (?) all round the room. We have now procured a couple of stands for our mattresses and putting them end to end we make our sofa or dewan as it is called here. We have a few metal cooking utensils and plates and a grand (?) tablecloth - in Egypt where the hands are the principal knives and forks these things are not much regarded. Frederick was very well and heard my account of you all – he had returned from Mount Sinai about a fortnight (?). In the street little children are not carried in the arms but sit astride their mother’s shoulders and hold on by the head and arm very often when they (?) until they are 5 or 6 years old. The streets here are so narrow that the bow windows which I mentioned naturally touch each other sometimes.

How did you like the trip to Scarborough? I hope Julia is well.

With respect to the subject of my last letter I was merely putting in the strongest light the consequence of your making no sacrifices(?) to [end of page] end (?) relationship (?) education of the children or rather you (?) making (?) between good and evil in (?) advice of their education. An exclusive policy strongly decided by bad (?) necessity if friendships with neighbours and do not (?) your views to be too much limited by objects unmediated(?) round you. Really you would find the acquaintance of the Chan(?) very pleasant it is a source of great happiness and use(?) of friendship the good qualities of our neighbours. I write all this (?) know that our dispositions are a like kind because I look for (?) as in some measure identified with yours and the childrens’ may be satisfactory and add that I am rather anxious to be at the (?) again and be comfortably settled in. It is notable that Fred and I (?) Constantinople and then shortly return.

With best love to John and the children and (?) I am
Your afft brother
E Nugent Ayrton

The inhabitants of this part of Africa are Arabs but with the difference from the Arabs of the desert which a settled community has from an unsettled - they are dark (?) here are generally of a light sallow complexion (?) money being the (?) about 2 ½ . A small fowl costs a (?) a good roll ½

[address page - reading it not attempted!]

Your affectionate brother,

E Nugent Ayrton

Death of Adriana Nugent, nee Spencer

[Letter to Mrs J.C. Chaplin, Hagley Cottage, Edgbaston, Birmingham postmarked 6 August, just after the death of Colonel Nugent’s wife (née Adriana Spencer). A note in pencil on the letter states ‘On the death of my G’mother Nugent, 1839’. The date of death in the family file (4th August) then is wrong by two days. The death date of the other grandmother (Thomas Ayrton’s wife) is unknown. This letter like others refers to 'my grandmother' even though she was also the recipient’s grandmother]

15 Park Street, August 4th 1839

My dear Matilda

This letter will already have told you that the melancholy event which we expected yesterday has taken place. My grandmother continued in the same state all night, towards morning I observed that the veins of her hands were diminishing and thought that she could not live many hours, especially as she suffered from slight convulsion.

At about twelve o'clock at noon today she became quieter and then gradually went off without pain. She seemed to suffer a good deal in the night but the doctor says that much of her groaning was caused by spasmodic breathing and did not seem to think that she was in pain.

She has been laid out and now looks tranquil. I should like John to write me word by return of post whether Tuesday or Monday next would suit him best for the funeral; for his presence will add much to any satisfaction that can be felt on such occasions. Dudley came in accidentally just after my grandmother had expired, he will come again in the evening.

Do not forget to mention to John anything that you would wish on the event that has happened. I hope that Julia is still recovering. My grandmother to the last always spoke of her with the utmost affection. The baby is I suppose well.

Adieu -- your affectionate brother

E. Nugent Ayrton

  • 13 MAR 1815 - Birth - ; Richmond, Surrey, christened Saint Mary Magdalen, Richmond 23 April 1815
  • 28 NOV 1873 - Death - ; Buried at Bexhill, Sussex, west of St Leonard's, NOT Box Hill.
  • 1836 - Fact -
  • 1845 - Fact -
  • 1870 - Fact -
  • 1872 - Fact -
  • 1873 - Fact -
  • Occupation - Barrister at Law
Thomas Ayrton
1744 - 1811
Frederick Ayrton
1780 - 24 NOV 1824
Ann Hodges
30 OCT 1754 -
Edward Nugent Ayrton
13 MAR 1815 - 28 NOV 1873
Edward Nugent , Col.
24 JUL 1755 - 23 MAR 1836
Adriana Spencer
- 6 AUG 1839
Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) Frederick Ayrton
Birth1780London. Christened 6 April 1780 at Saint Andrew, Holborn.
Death24 NOV 1824 Bombay, India
Marriage1 JUN 1811to Juliana Caroline Rebecca Adriana Nugent at St. Lukes Church, Chelsea, London
FatherThomas Ayrton
MotherAnn Hodges
PARENT (F) Juliana Caroline Rebecca Adriana Nugent
BirthAFT 1787
Death10 MAR 1833
Marriage1 JUN 1811to Frederick Ayrton at St. Lukes Church, Chelsea, London
FatherEdward Nugent , Col.
MotherAdriana Spencer
FMatilda Adriana Ayrton
Birth1 JUN 1813Chelsea, London (baptised Richmond according to Andi Smith)
Death26 JAN 189998 Palace Gardens Terrace, Kensington, London.
Marriage6 APR 1835to John Clarke Chaplin at Marylebone, London (New Church)
MEdward Nugent Ayrton
Birth13 MAR 1815Richmond, Surrey, christened Saint Mary Magdalen, Richmond 23 April 1815
Death28 NOV 1873Buried at Bexhill, Sussex, west of St Leonard's, NOT Box Hill.
Marriage28 AUG 1866to Emma Sophie Althof at Parish Church, Freshwater, Isle of Wight
MFrederick Ayrton
Birth20 MAR 1812Chelsea, London
Death20 JUN 1873Arundel Gardens, London
Marriage13 AUG 1833to Margaret Hicks at St Paul's, Walden, Hertfordshire. Witnesses were J C Chaplin and his two sisters, M A Ayrton and her brother Edward Nuge
MActon Smee Ayrton
Birth5 AUG 1816Richmond, London
Death30 NOV 1886Mont Doré Hotel, Bournemouth
MJohn Hyde Ayrton
Birth4 JAN 1818Kew, London
Death1845Sawent Warree, India
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
PARENT (M) Edward Nugent Ayrton
Birth13 MAR 1815Richmond, Surrey, christened Saint Mary Magdalen, Richmond 23 April 1815
Death28 NOV 1873 Buried at Bexhill, Sussex, west of St Leonard's, NOT Box Hill.
Marriage28 AUG 1866to Emma Sophie Althof at Parish Church, Freshwater, Isle of Wight
FatherFrederick Ayrton
MotherJuliana Caroline Rebecca Adriana Nugent
PARENT (F) Emma Sophie Althof
Marriage28 AUG 1866to Edward Nugent Ayrton at Parish Church, Freshwater, Isle of Wight
Marriage13 MAR 1875to George Squire
FatherHerman Althof
MotherWilhelmina? ?
FJulia Minna(?) Nugent Ayrton
Birth25 JUL 1867Marylebone, London
Marriage3 AUG 1893to Thomas William Cranston Charles , MD, MRCP
MWilliam Edward Ayrton , F.R.S.
Birth14 SEP 1847London (see obituary)
Death6 NOV 190841, Norfolk Square, Hyde Park, London, England
Marriage21 DEC 1871to Matilda Charlotte Chaplin , M.D. at Saint Matthew, Bayswater, Kensington.
Marriage6 MAY 1885to Phoebe Sarah (Hertha) Marks at Mr and Mrs Hancock's house in Queen's Gate
[S11621] International Genealogical Index (in FamilySearch by Intellectual Reserve Inc, Salt Lake City) Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons, LDS)
[S12758] Ann Gregory (Mendell)'s copy of 'A short account of the Families of Chaplin and Skinner........' with annotations by Ayrton Chaplin & others
[S6265] Matilda Adriana Chaplin's diary, 1870
[S6271] Matilda Adriana Chaplin's diary, 1872
Descendancy Chart
Edward Nugent Ayrton b: 13 MAR 1815 d: 28 NOV 1873
William Edward Ayrton , F.R.S. b: 14 SEP 1847 d: 6 NOV 1908
Matilda Charlotte Chaplin , M.D. b: 20 JUN 1846 d: 19 JUL 1883
Edith Chaplin Ayrton b: 1 OCT 1874 d: 5 MAY 1945
Israel Zangwill b: 21 JAN 1864 d: 1 AUG 1926
Margaret (Peggy) Zangwill b: 12 APR 1910
Oliver Louis Zangwill b: 29 OCT 1913 d: 12 OCT 1987
Joy Moult b: 1924 d: 2016
David Ayrton Zangwill b: FEB 1952 d: 1953
Ayrton Israel Zangwill b: 15 AUG 1906
Phoebe Sarah (Hertha) Marks b: 28 APR 1854 d: 26 AUG 1923
Barbara Bodichon Ayrton b: 3 APR 1886 d: OCT 1950
Gerald Gould b: 1885 d: 1936
Michael Ayrton b: 20 FEB 1921 d: 17 NOV 1975