Record

LevelSeries
Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)JER/1-1764
TitleJerningham correspondence
Extent1764 letters
Date1779-1824
DescriptionFamily and personal correspondence, principally written to Charlotte Bedingfeld (nee Jerningham), together with some other letters written to various members of the Jerningham and Bedingfeld families. There are, for example, a number of personal and family letters both to her husband, Sir Richard Bedingfeld and to her father, Sir William Jerningham, from their children, other relatives and from business and other acquaintances; there are letters between Charlotte's brothers and between her own children; and correspondence of her mother which include letters to and from her children other than Charlotte and other relatives. There are also a small number of letters written by Charlotte within the collection.

A large proportion of the letters - about 750 - are from Charlotte's mother, the extensive correspondence having begun when Charlotte was sent to school in 1784 and then this resumed after her marriage in 1795. There are a number of chronological gaps in this sequence of letters which usually coincide with visits between mother and daughter. Her mother often wrote lengthy and frequent letters to her daughter and these are a major source of information about the lives of her immediate family, her children and grandchildren, and also her extended family which encompassed many interconnected Catholic families in this country and in continental Europe. She also writes about social, religious and political matters. The description of the contents of the individual letters are, of necessity, fairly brief; the letters touch on many other subjects not described and so they will benefit from a much closer examination.

From 1807, Charlotte also began to receive letters from her children and this correspondence became quite significant, particularly the letters received from her married daughters, Matilda Cary and Agnes Seel and from another daughter, Charlotte who became a nun. Charlotte was also separated for lengthy periods from her youngest son, Felix and he wrote about 40 letters to his parents as a young boy from Ghent and from Oscott College near Birmingham. She also received some letters from her other sons, Henry, Charles and Edward but, rather surprisingly, only three from her eldest daughter, Fanny, all dated to 1807. During her life, Charlotte also corresponded regularly with her brothers and, after their marriages, with their wives and there are also some letters in the collection from nieces and nephews and from her sons-in-law. Her uncles - her father's two brothers, Charles and Edward Jerningham - corresponded with her from childhood into adulthood - and there are, for example, more than 30 letters from Charles whose letters are all in French.

The collection also contains letters to Charlotte from other correspondents. These include more distant relatives, from members of the Jerningham, Dillon, Bedingfeld and other families, one of whom was Helen Bedingfeld, a cousin of her husband, who wrote 17 letters to Charlotte between 1798 and 1823. Other correspondents are friends and acquaintances and the more regular correspondents are Lady Maria Stuart (letters, 1794-1800), Lady Lucy Bradford (1808-1824), Lady Mary Petre, the mother-in-law of her daughter, Fanny (1815-1824), Sir Thomas Clifford (1816-1819), Mrs S. M. Holroyd who appears to have been a friend from Charlotte's days in Bath (1814-1819), Miss Sophia Wodehouse (1799-1824), Lord Glenbervie (1817-1822), Baron Auguste de Beulwitz (1817-1823) and Harriet Howell (1811).

The following, more detailed, description has been compiled on the basis of the collection's former arrangement in 16 chronological volumes. (For an explanation of the arrangement of the original volumes, see below in the Custodial History field.) The purpose of this description has been to provide information about key events represented in each volume and to place the item level descriptions of each letter in a more general context:

Volume 1, 1779-94: The majority of the letters are addressed to Charlotte. However, there are also two addressed to her father, Sir William Jerningham, four to her mother, Lady Jerningham, five to her brother, Edward (two from Charlotte herself, two from his mother and one from his brother) and three to her brother, George (one from his sister, Charlotte and two from his mother). Nearly 30 out of a total of 73 letters were written to Charlotte from her mother, almost all coinciding with the time when Charlotte was away at her convent school in Paris, 1884-86. Indeed, more than half the letters in this volume are dated to these three years. There are nine dated to 1792 when Charlotte spent time in Brussels, but none are from her mother who also appears to have been with her daughter. Otherwise there are no more than three for any other year and for some years there are none at all. This volume also included two stray letters, one for 1795 and one for 1797. As well as letters from her brothers and her two uncles, Edward and Charles Jerningham, Charlotte received letters from other family members including one from her grandmother in 1780. Family and personal matters reported in these letters include the education and school life of Charlotte and her two brothers and much about the extended family and its social life.

Volume 2, 1795-99: The majority of the letters are addressed to Charlotte; out of a total of 65 letters, six are to her mother, Lady Jerningham, two are to her husband, Sir Richard, one is to her brother, Edward from their mother and one is to her father, Sir William Jerningham. Only 20 of the letters to Charlotte are from her mother; the remainder of them are from other members of the extended family including her father and her brothers, various cousins including members of her mother's family, the Dillons, her uncle, Charles Jerningham. This correspondence is, at times, sporadic: there are lengthy gaps and only four letters for the whole of 1797. Family and personal matters reported in these letters include her own marriage to Sir Richard Bedingfeld in June 1795 and one letter is from Charlotte to her mother, written the day after the wedding in which she describes her journey to Oxburgh; the birth of two of her daughters, Fanny in 1796 and Agnes in 1798; the wedding of her cousin, Fanny Dillon to Sir Thomas Webb in 1799; and the engagement of her brother, George Jerningham to Frances Sulyard

Volume 3, 1800-1802: The majority of the letters are addressed to Charlotte and, out of a total of 127 letters, about 80 are from her mother. Four letters are addressed to her husband, Sir Richard and three are to her mother, one of these being from Charlotte herself which was never sent. There are only 11 letters for 1801 and none between July and the end of December. During much of the three years, Charlotte was resident at Oxburgh although a few letters are also addressed to her at Cossey and one in London. Between July and October 1802, she travelled to Spa in Germany. Family and personal matters reported in these letters include the birth of her son, Henry in May 1800 and her daughter, Charlotte in January 1802; the birth of a daughter, Charlotte, in September 1800 and a son, Henry, in January 1802 to her brother, George Jerningham and his wife, Frances; and the ill health of her father, Sir William in early 1802 and her parents removal to Tunbridge Wells in May and June for his health.

Volume 4, 1803: Out of a total 49 letters, all but one is addressed to Charlotte, the other being to her husband, Sir Richard; 32 are from her mother. Charlotte spent the year largely at Oxburgh apart from a stay in Yarmouth from July to September and a visit to Cossey in February and her mother corresponded from Cossey, London and, in June and July, from Tunbridge Wells. Family matters reported in these letters include the engagement and marriage of her brother, William to Anna Wright in November 1803; the birth of twin girls to her brother, George and his wife, Frances. There is also mention of the birth of her own son, Charles in September 1803. The correspondence includes references to the political situation in France and the potential threat of invasion

Volume 5, 1804-1807: Out of a total of 141 letters, all but three are addressed to Charlotte and nearly 100 are from her mother. During these four years, Charlotte resided at Oxburgh and in Yarmouth but spent time visiting her parents at Cossey and also made a brief visit to London for her brother Edward's wedding in October 1804. Her mother wrote to her principally from Cossey and from London but also from Tunbridge Wells in June and July 1804 and from Tunbridge Wells and Brighton, June to August 1806. Family matters reported in these letters include her brother Edward's courtship of and marriage to Emily Middleton in October 1804; and the birth of children to her brothers: a son, Edward to Sir George and Lady Jerningham in August 1804; a daughter, Lucretia to William and Anna; and a son, Charles Edward, to Edward and Emily in November 1805 and another son in April 1807. In 1807, Charlotte began to receive letters from her daughters, Fanny and Matilda.

Volume 6, 1808-1811: The majority of the letters are addressed to Charlotte and, out of a total of 153 letters, more than 100 from her mother and this is despite a lengthy break in their correspondence between June and the end of September 1809 when Charlotte was at Cossey during her father's last illness. There are three letters from her brother, Edward, two to his mother and one to his brother, George and a letter to Sir George Jerningham from his wife. During these four years, Charlotte was resident in a number of places. For the first half of 1808, she lived at Oxburgh but from October 1808 until July1811 she largely lived at Yarmouth apart from a lengthy visit to Cossey in the months of July to September 1809 and a stay in Bath during April to June 1810. From August 1811, Charlotte appears to have taken up residence in Bath. Family matters reported in these letters include the ill health and death of her father, Sir William Jerningham in August 1809; the subsequent move of her mother, the Dowager Lady Jerningham from Cossey to her house in Bolton Row, London and the establishment of a new life there; and the birth of children to her brothers including a son to William and his wife, Anna in December 1809, a daughter, Mary Clementina to Edward and his wife Emily, September 1810, and a daughter, Laura, to Sir George and his wife Lady Jerningham in January 1811. Her mother largely wrote from Cossey and, later, from London but she did travel to other parts of England and during May to June 1808 was in Ramsgate and the Tunbridge Wells; in August and September she stayed in Worthing and then travelled through Hampshire and Wiltshire; and in July to September 1811 she visited Eastbourne.

Volume 7, 1812-1813: The majority of the letters are addressed to Charlotte; there are eight to other recipients, mostly to her husband, Sir Richard. Charlotte remained in Bath throughout these two years until December 1813 when she made a visit to London. There is a significant break in the correspondence from her mother between July 1812 and March 1813 when it appears that the Dowager Lady Jerningham was on an extended visit to her daughter and as a result, out of 122 letters, only 56 were from her mother. The Dowager Lady Jerningham wrote mainly from London but later in 1813, she wrote from Southend and Portsmouth. There are a few letters to Charlotte from her husband: during July 1812 when he took their son, Henry, to school at Stonyhurst; and in 1813 when he was at Oxburgh. Family matters reported in these letters include the birth of a son, William, to her brother and wife, Sir George and Lady Jerningham in July 1812 and the death of their daughter, Mary, in May 1813; the health and religious faith of her uncle, Edward Jerningham; and the birth of two nephews, a son each to her brothers, William and Edward and their wives.

Volume 8, 1814: All but five of these letters are addressed to Charlotte; all but one of these five are addressed to her husband, the other is a letter written from Henry Bedingfeld at school to his sister, Fanny. Charlotte was in London at the beginning of the year, but then moved to Bath. Out of 104 letters, nearly 50 are from her mother and 30 from her brothers and sisters-in-law. The family correspondence includes letters from her brother, William about the illness and death of his wife, Anna, in August and there are also letters about the care of his children by his wife's sister, Eliza Wright. Her son, Henry, writes from Stonyhurst College and there are also other letters about his health after contracting scarlet fever. Prominent family themes which feature in this year's correspondence include the ill health and death of her uncle, Charles Jerningham, in November and the engagement of her eldest daughter, Fanny to Lord Petre, also in November. During this year a number of the letters do include references to the French royal family and the political situation in France

Volume 9, 1815: All but two of these letters are addressed to Charlotte; these two are both addressed to her husband. Out of 104 letters, more than 40 are from her mother; nearly 20 are from her brothers and sisters-in-law; and nine are from two of her children, Henry and Charlotte. Apart from a brief visit to Cheltenham in July, Charlotte remained in Bath. Prominent family themes which feature in this year's correspondence include the marriage of her daughter, Fanny, to Lord Petre in June and the news of her pregnancy; and the birth of a daughter, Isabella to her brother and his wife, Sir George and Lady Jerningham. During this year, her daughter, Charlotte, was sent to school at Hammersmith Convent and her son, Henry, also writes from Stonyhurst College. The French political situation continues to feature in this year's correspondence

Volume 10, 1816-1817: The majority of the letters are addressed to Charlotte; there are seven to other recipients, mostly to her husband, Sir Richard. Out of 137 letters, 55 are from her mother, nearly 20 are from her brothers and sisters-in-law and 10 from her children. For most of 1816 Charlotte was resident in Bath although as early as March there is a reference to the removal of the family to Ghent which did not take place until October. Charlotte remained in Ghent throughout 1817 apart from a period of time from July to October in Spa, Germany. Sir George Jerningham family also removed to Paris for six months in October 1816, returning to Cossey by July 1817. During these two years, their sons write from school: Henry from Stonyhurst College, Charles and Edward from Alost College. The news of the birth of two children is also reported: a son to her brother Edward and his wife, Emily in January 1817; and a son, William Bernard, to her daughter, Fanny in December1817

Volume 11, 1818-1819: All but five of these letters are addressed to Charlotte; all but one of these five is addressed to her husband which are from or about their sons. Of 141 letters, more than 50 are from her mother, although there is a gap in this correspondence between June and October 1818 when the Dowager Lady Jerningham appears to have made a visit to her daughter. Over 20 letters are from her children of which 10 are from Felix and four are from her sister-in-law, Lady Jerningham. Other regular correspondents include Lord Glenbervie and Sir Thomas Clifford. Apart from a visit to Spa in Germany in August 1818, Charlotte remained in Ghent throughout 1818 and up until May 1819, when she returned to England for the rest of 1819. Her lengthy included time spent in London in May and June, at Oxburgh Hall, July to September, Cheltenham and Bath in September and October before finally returning to Oxburgh Hall. While away from Ghent, her youngest son Felix writes to her and her other younger children write from various educational establishments; Charles at Alost College in Belgium; Henry at Stonyhurst College and then at Rouen, Charlotte at Amiens Convent School and Edward at Alost College and then Acheul College, Amiens

Volume 12, 1820: All but six of these letters are addressed to Charlotte. Five are addressed to her husband, Sir Richard from their sons, one from his brother-in-law, Sir George and a love letter from Stanley Cary to his fiancée, their daughter, Matilda. Out of a total of 104 letters, 30 are from her mother and nearly 30 are from her children, including 10 from Matilda, six from Felix and five from her eldest son, Henry, writes about court life at Weimar. Her husband also wrote 7 letters to her during their time apart. During this year, Charlotte was still in England, staying at Oxburgh Hall at the beginning of the year until February but returned to live in Ghent apart from a visit to Spa in Germany, July-September. Prominent family themes which feature in this year's correspondence to Charlotte include the engagement and marriage of her daughter, Matilda to Stanley Carey and the death of her brother, William Jerningham, in October.

Volume 13, 1821: The majority of these letters are addressed to Charlotte. A number are written to her husband, Sir Richard from their children and from others including General James Ambrose about obtaining a commission for their son, Charles and two letters are from Charlotte's daughter, Matilda to her siblings, Agnes and Felix. Out of a total of 107 letters, about 35 are from her mother, more than 30 are from her children of whom Matilda was her principal correspondent and about 20 are from her brothers and their wives. Prominent family themes which feature in this year's correspondence to Charlotte the placing of her son, Charles in the Austrian service; her daughter, Matilda writes about her new home and married life in Torquay, a visit to London and the birth of her daughter, Camilla, in October; and her third son, Edward writes about his service in the navy from HMS 'Phaeton'

Volume 14, 1822: All but five of these letters are addressed to Charlotte. Three letters are ones written by Charlotte herself to her son, Edward on board the HMS 'Phaeton' and these letters were presumably returned to her on his death in late 1823. Out of a total of 146 letters, 35 are from her mother, nearly 50 are from her children and six are from her husband. Her daughters Agnes, Matilda and Charlotte each wrote 10 or more letters and her youngest son, Felix sent 13. Prominent family themes which feature in this year's correspondence to Charlotte include the death of her daughter, Fanny, wife of Lord Petre following childbirth in January; the death of Charlotte's brother, Edward (which was announced in a letter from her brother, Sir George Jerningham to her husband, Sir Richard), her immediate visit to London and the subsequent death of her sister-in-law, Emily, May-June; Her daughter, Charlotte writes from the English Convent at Bruges about her desire to become a nun, Felix about his schooling at Oscott College, and Agnes about her life in London living with her grandmother

Volume 15, 1823: All but five of these letters are addressed to Charlotte and the majority are from her sons, daughters and mother. The other letters are to her husband. Out of a total of 82 letters, 25 are from her mother - although there is no correspondence from her for the first three months of the year - and nearly 30 are from her children. Charlotte was still living in Ghent though made a visit to London during the month of August. Prominent family themes which feature in this year's correspondence to Charlotte include the remarriage of her son-in-law, Lord Petre to Emma Howard; the marriage of her niece, Charlotte Jerningham to Thomas Fraser in August; the birth of another granddaughter, Charlotte, to her eldest daughter, Matilda Cary in September; the courtship and marriage of her daughter, Agnes to Thomas Molyneux Steel and their honeymoon; the vocation of her daughter as a nun, Charlotte, at the Bruges English Convent; Henry writes to her on the travels of her eldest son, Henry, in Europe, where he writes from Paris and Milan.

Volume 16, 1824: All but four of these letters are addressed to Charlotte and the majority are from her daughters, her husband, her mother and her brother, Sir George Jerningham. The other letters are to her husband from their sons, Felix, Henry and Charles. Out of a total of 107, there are fewer than 20 from her mother; nearly 30 are from her children, 13 are from her husband, Sir Richard and nearly 20 are from Sir George and Lady Jerningham. For the first part of the year, Charlotte remained in Ghent but travelled to England in August to visit her mother in London and appears to have remained there for the rest of the year. After a letter at the end of August, addressed to Charlotte at Calais, there is therefore no further correspondence from the Dowager Lady Jerningham. Sir Richard remained in Ghent but travelled for a visit to Aix-la-Chapelle in the company of Charlotte's nephew, Henry Jerningham, in late September, returning to Ghent in October. Prominent family themes which feature in this year's correspondence include messages of condolence on the death of her son, Edward; the pregnancy of her daughter, Agnes Seel, the birth of her son, Edmund in Paris and the family's subsequent return to London; the ill health of the Dowager Lady Jerningham; the pregnancy of Charlotte Fraser, eldest daughter of Sir George Jerningham and the birth of her daughter, Amelia Charlotte; and the conferment of the Stafford peerage on Sir George in July, after which date he signs his name Stafford.
ArrangementIn one continuous numerical, and largely chronological, sequence and mounted and bound in 21 volumes. This arrangement follows, in the main, the original order of the letters when the letters were numbered and formerly bound in 16 volumes. However, it appears that some rearrangement of the order was done at the time of cataloguing in 1982.

The near contemporary contents lists of the 16 volumes were mounted within this sequence but were not identified in the catalogue or numbered. The original bindings were also retained, some of which include manuscript annotations, but not catalogued or numbered. The contents lists and bindings have now been added to the catalogue at the end of the numerical sequence and described in a newly created series
Access StatusOpen
Custodial HistoryThese letters were formerly bound in 16 chronological volumes which were created before or just after Charlotte Bedingfeld's death. These volumes were also accompanied by summary contents lists (or indexes) which appear to have been largely compiled at the time of binding probably by Charlotte and her daughter, Matilda. These contents pages were found at the front, the back of the volume or, in some cases, part at the front and part at the back. Each letter was numbered within each volume according to the numbering in the contents list, although in some volumes the numbering of the letters was subsequently amended and some items are missing.

It has been possible to establish the former arrangement of the Jerningham correspondence (when in the hands of the family) in the 16 volumes, as follows:

Volume 1, 1779-1794
The original contents list of this volume (now JER/1775) was bound at the end of the original volume and can be now be physically located between JER/73 and JER/74. The items in this volume were formerly numbered 1-71, and there is an unnumbered item at the end; they are now numbered JER/1-73. The bulk of the correspondence is dated 1779-1794; the last two items are later in date

Volume 2, 1795-1799
The original contents list of this volume (now JER/1776) was bound at the beginning of the original volume and can be now be physically located between JER/73 and JER/74. The items in this volume were formerly numbered 1-63; they are now numbered JER/74-138

Former Volume 3, 1800-1802
The original contents list of this volume (now JER/1777) was bound at the beginning of the original volume and can be now be physically located between JER/137 and JER/138. The items in this volume were formerly numbered 1-127; they are now numbered JER/139-265

Former Volume 4, 1803
The original contents list of this volume (now JER/1778) was bound at the beginning of the original volume and can be now be physically located between JER/265 and JER/266. The items in this volume were formerly numbered 1-48; they are now numbered JER/266-314

Former Volume 5, 1804-1807
The original contents list of this volume (now JER/1779) was partly bound at the beginning of the original volume, which can now be physically located between JER/314 and JER/315, and partly at the end, now found between JER/453 and JER/454. The contents list for items 122-142 appears to be missing. The items in this volume were formerly numbered 1-150; they are now numbered JER/315-453.

Former Volume 6, 1808-1811
The original contents list of this volume (now JER/1780) was bound at the beginning of the original volume and can be now be physically located between JER/453 and JER/454. The items in this volume were formerly numbered 1-155; they are now numbered JER/454-606

Former Volume 7, 1812-1813
The original contents list of this volume (now JER/1781) was partly bound at the beginning of the original volume, which can now be physically located between JER/606 and JER/607, and partly at the end, now found between JER/728 and JER/729. The items in this volume were formerly numbered 1-51 for the letters dated 1812 and 1-70 for letters dated 1813; they are now numbered JER/607-728

Former Volume 8, 1814
The original contents list of this volume (now JER/1782) was bound at the beginning of the original volume and can be now be physically located between JER/728 and JER/729. The items in this volume were formerly numbered 1-104; they are now numbered JER/729-832

Former Volume 9, 1815
The original contents list of this volume (now JER/1783) was bound at the beginning of the original volume and can be now be physically located between JER/832 and JER/833. The items in this volume were formerly numbered 1-101; they are now numbered JER/833-935

Former Volume 10, 1816-1817
The original contents list of this volume (now JER/1784) was bound at the end of the original volume and can be now be physically located between JER/1070 and JER/1071. The items in this volume were formerly numbered 1-66 for letters dated 1816, and 1-71 for letters dated 1817; they are now numbered JER/936-1070

Former Volume 11, 1818-1819
The original contents list of this volume (now JER/1785) was bound at the end of the original volume and can be now be physically located between JER/1231 and JER/1232. The items in this volume were formerly numbered 1-163 for letters dated 1818, and 1-71 for letters dated 1819; they are now numbered JER/1071-1231

Former Volume 12, 1820
The original contents list of this volume (now JER/1786) was bound at the end of the original volume and can be now be physically located between JER/1333 and JER/1334. The items in this volume were formerly numbered 1-106; they are now numbered JER/1232-1333

Former Volume 13, 1821
The original contents list of this volume (now JER/1787) was bound at the end of the original volume and can be now be physically located between JER/1438 and JER/1439. The items in this volume were formerly numbered 1-112; they are now numbered JER/1334-1438

Former Volume 14, 1822
The original contents list of this volume (now JER/1788) was bound at the beginning of the original volume and can be now be physically located between JER/1438 and JER/1439. The items in this volume were formerly numbered 1-140; they are now numbered JER/1439-1584

Former Volume 15, 1823
The original contents list of this volume (now JER/1789) was bound at the beginning of the original volume and can be now be physically located between JER/1584 and JER/1585. The items in this volume were formerly numbered 1-85; they are now numbered JER/1585-1666

Former Volume16, 1824
The original contents list of this volume (now JER/1790) was bound at the beginning of the original volume and can be now be physically located between JER/1666 and JER/1667. The items in this volume were formerly numbered 1-101; they are now numbered JER/1667-1763
Archival NoteThe item level descriptions of these letters are largely based on the manual catalogue compiled in 1980. However, in order to ensure consistency of description, the names of the correspondents have been standardised as far as possible. So as to allow easy identification of the correspondents, their relationship to Charlotte has also been inserted. Charlotte's mother has been described as Lady Jerningham up to the date of her husband's death and thereafter she is described as the Dowager Lady Jerningham; the wife of Charlotte's eldest brother, George, is referred to as Frances Jerningham until her husband succeeded the title in 1809 and then is described as Lady Jerningham. The names of the places from where letters were written have also been regularised and, in those instances where place of origin is not in the letter but is identified in the relevant original contents lists, the place is given in square brackets.

The presentation of the information about the creation date has been difficult without resort to excessive use of square brackets and question marks. A large number of letters which did not include the year date have been annotated in a different hand with the year and it is not known whether this was done at or near time of receipt by the recipient or at a later date by another person. Moreover, because these letters were arranged in largely chronological order, often in volumes which cover only one or two years, the year date - where not give - can be confidently assumed; it has therefore not been thought necessary to put year date in square brackets. Where there is no specific date on a letter but the original contents list supplies one or, where from the position in the contents list a month may be assumed, this information is given in square brackets.

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