Monday, January 30, 2017

Mary Hunt Devon's 'Romantic Poet' and the Devon Connection at Dunkeswell

Having just written Down the Devon Roads to Dunkeswell, a piece about Elizabeth Simcoe and her links with Dunkeswell for my new Blog Voices from Wildridge, which ends with a reference to poet Mary Hunt, plus link to my old blog piece about her poem, I remembered that I had a backlog of email conversations, which I had promised to add to the blog. At the time of the emails,which concern the life and family of Mary Hunt I was in the midst of a difficult time, so posting was unintentionally forgotten. My apologies to Patricia Dolby and Andrew Ashfied.

 Hence this new post. I am just posting the main messages received from Patricia, as I promised I would. I have added excerpts from another, related email conversation from Andrew Ashfield, at the end of the first Mary Hunt blog here. Readers who are interested in this C19 writer may find the following of interest. The conversation took place in 2015.

Path leading to site of Dunkeswell Abbey
Postcard of Dunkeswell Abbey

I read your scrapblog abt Mary Hunt and you mentioned Mary Ward another devonian poet.

I am researching a Ward/Hunt connection...Dr. Edward Hunt, Rector of Stoke Doyle and Benefield was grandson of the Baron Wards...Sir Edward Ward...daug Jane Ward married Thomas Hunt and inherited the manor of Wadenhoe...only abt 2 miles from Aldwinckle.

Could you tell me more abt Mary Ward?

As you know finding info abt. Victorian era women is rare.

My family was from 1871 my Dolby ancesters were footman and housemaid for 4 Hunt siblings living @ 20 St. James Square Bath but born in Stoke Doyle from 1792-1805.

Coincidentally...I live in Canada abt 2 miles from Navy Hall where Mrs. Simcoe had written letters to Miss Hunt @ Wolford.

Thanks, Patricia


Hi Julie,

Regarding The Visitations on Dunkeswell Abbey poem written by Miss Mary Hunt in 1786.

Thought you might find this interesting. I've figured out who Miss Mary Ann Hunt was. She was the daughter of Rev Rowland Hunt DD the Rector of St Rumbold Church in Stoke Doyle. He was the son of Thomas Hunt of Boreatton and Jane Ward daug of Sir Edward Ward of Preston Rutland.

I've been working on her genealogy with some assistance from a local historian although not final when compared against the Index to Burkes Dictionary of the Landed Gentry written in 1853 by Sir Bernard Burke some adjustments are still required. The attchd file shows her Hunt family members. The attchd email shows how I determined who Mrs. Ann Hunt and Miss Mary Ann Hunt were.

Her ancestry shows that her family had involvement in the Dissolution of the Monestaries.

Thomas Hunt b 1599 represented Shrewbury in the Parliament of the Commonwealth.
In 1656 he served the office of High Sheriff of Shropshire.
and.. after the restoration of Charles ii he purchased the estate of Boreatton Shropshire.

Sir Edward Ward's father was William Ward and he was brother in law of William Shields
William Shields 2nd marriage was to Elizabeth Cromwell the youngest daughter of Oliver Cromwell.
William Shields was MP for Rutland in 1654 during the Protectorate Parliament.
(see rutland newsletter Apr.2014 No. 1/14)

....and I'm sure there would have been others as well.

The poem Visitations on Dunkeswell Abbey written by Mary Hunt in 1786 during her visit w the Simcoe's was written with her knowledge of the events of the Dissolution of the Abbey's through her families involvement.
Her family had gained considerable wealth by taking over monestary property during the dissolutions and the reformations.

And of course I thought you should know that Mary was more than just a tutor to the Simcoe children and that her mother Mrs. Ann Hunt would not have been just a "housekeeper". Now we know.

I also noticed that Mary daug of Rev Rowland Hunt DD of St Rumbold Church Stoke Doyle was not included in Burkes Landed Gentry written in 1853 but all of her cousins were. I wonder why.

It shines a whole new light onto her poetry.


Subject: Mrs. Simcoe & Mrs. & Miss Hunt
Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2014 01:27:20 -0400

This information is from abt 1780-1871

1)  Traditions & Recollections by Richard Polwhele 1826
Wolford Lodge Oct 13 1790   Mrs.Simcoe to R.P.
"begs to inform him that MISS HUNT has at last, at the solicitations of her friends, consented to have her name affixed to the Verses on Dunkswell Abbey.  She desires it may be inserted

"MISS HUNT, daughter of Doctor HUNT rector of Stoke Doyle in Northamptonshire."

The poem and reference to #2,3 & 4 below can be seen @

2)  English Poetry 1579-1830 Spenser and the tradition
Written during her extended visit with L/Gov Simcoe & Mrs Simcoe after an outing to the ruins of an ancient Abbey in Devonshire, Sept. 1786.  see Traditions & Recollections  "she hath for some months been at Admiral Graves."

3)  The General Evening Post  (9 Nov 1786)
"Miss Hunt would seem to have a powerful advocate as her poem appeared in at least 5 periodicals (twice in the universal magazine) before being collected in the anthology of Devonshire & Cornwall poets." 
Miss Hunt was not from Devonshire or Cornwall, the topic of her poem was.

4)  Poems Cheifly by Gentlemen of Devonshire & Cornwall (1792)
Miss Hunt is described as the 'daughter of the late Dr. Hunt, Rector of Stoke Doyle, Northamptonshire.'

5)  The European Magazine Volm.8    Monthly Obituaries  Dec. 1785
"Lately the Rev Rowland Hunt DD upwards of fifty years Rector of Stoke Doyle near Oundle Northamptonshire"

6)  The Gentleman's Magazine Volm. 90  1801
Obituary of Remarkable Person's    Bill of Mortality
"At Bath in her 69th year Ann widow of the late Rev. Rowland Hunt DD Rector of
Stoke Doyle  Northamptonshire."

7)  British History Online  Parish of Stoke Doyle  as well as
8)  The Victorian History of the county of Northampton Published in 1930 by St. Catharine Press
A memorial to Katharine d 1760 wife of Dr. Rowland Hunt rector can be found at St. Rumbalds aka All Saints Church in Stoke Doyle.

9)  Traditions & Recollections
Correspondence  Badock writes to Mr Moore Canon of Exeter  Sept. 27, 1786
He speaks of Miss Hunt's impressive qualities, abt. her Dunkswell Abbey poem and of her being just 20, if so

So ....  Rev Rowland Hunt DD (Doctor of Divinity) was born abt. 1730-35  & d. 1785
he may have been married twice:  1st to Katherine d.1760,  2nd to Ann b. 1732 d. 1801
Mary Ann Hunt was b. abt  1764-1766 therefor Ann is her mother and she did reside in Bath, Somerset.

I have found reference to Rowland Hunt being their son, but no other children such as Caroline or Edward.
I have found reference to Rev Rowland Hunt's brother Edward and his children.  I think that the Caroline & Edward Hunt mentioned as children of Rowland & Ann Hunt were Edward's children. 
 I have no idea who the Joseph Hunt from the attchmt is,  I see no relation. 
Captain Ward Hunt MD is from further descendants of the Hunt family.

10)  Found @ open
The Victorian History of the county of Northampton c1930 
"the editor credits assistance from, (among others) Mrs. G.W. Hunt and Captain Ward Hunt MD"
Mary Caroline Hunt (d. unmarr. 1847)  daughter of Rev. Edward Hunt younger son of Thomas Hunt of Boreatton.
Mary Caroline contributed greatly to the repair of the church in 1844.
I believe this is Miss Caroline, called by her second name to avoid confusion w her cousin Miss Mary Hunt.

11)  Northamptonshire Records Office
Edward Hunt of Oundle inherited Wadenhoe Manor through his mother, sister of Phillip Ward d. 1752.
Phillip Ward bought the manor in 1735.
Thomas Welsh Hunt d. 1824 murdered while on honeymoon in Italy
then to his Aunt Mary Hunt d. 1835
to cousin Mary Caroline Hunt d. 1847  and so on....

12)  same ref as # 11  Manor of Stoke Doyle
1687 to Sir Edward Ward Chief Baron of the Exchequer, sons Edward & Phillip Ward d. 1752
the manor was to be sold and divided amongst sisters and/or their descendants
however the Manor was obtained by Rowland Hunt by 1789
Jane eldest daughter of Sir Edward Ward married Thomas Hunt d.1753, their son Rev. Rowland Hunt DD Rector of Stoke Doyle d 1785, his son is the above mentioned Rowland Hunt d. 1831.

13)  The Gentleman's Magazine Volm. 131  June 5 1822
"The Rev Edward Hunt MA.  He was of Pembroke College, Oxford MA in 1784.  In 1786 he was presented by Rowland Hunt Esq. to the rectory of Stoke Doyle co. Northampton;  and in 1807 by Sir J. & Lady Pocock, to the rectory of Bennyfield in the same county."

14)  The Gentleman's Magazine  Historical Review  Volm. 197
1855  Deaths
"June 21 at Sattara Bombay Presidency, aged 52 Edward Hunt Esq. late Lieut. 1st Gren. Bombay NI second son of the late Rev. Edward Hunt Rector of Benefield and Stoke Doyle, Northamptonshire.

15)  1871 Census  Walcot Parish, Bath  @  20 St James Square
Sophia Hunt head of household unmar 74 yrs old landowner born in Stoke Doyle
Maria Hunt  sister unmar  71 yrs  landowner b. Stoke Doyle
Thomas Hunt brother unmar  64 yrs. landowner b. Stoke Doyle
John Hunt brother unmar 64 yrs. Lieut Colonel HM Bengal Army Retired List b. Stoke Doyle
Samuel Dolby  servant  single  23 yrs.  Footman  b. Apethorpe Lodge
Francis Dolby   servant  single  21 yrs.  Housemaid b. Apethorpe Lodge
( Samuel & Francis are siblings of my Great Grandfather Joseph Dolby b 1842 @ Apethorpe Lodge)

16) Northamptonshire Mercury  Nov. 28, 1874
"Thomas Hunt Esq. Nov. 26 at Bath St James Square in his 84th year the eldest son of the late Edward Hunt MA Rector of Benefield."

17)  Directory of Northamptonshire  1874  Stoke Doyle
The Villas property of Misses Hunt, Thomas Hunt Esq. and Lieut. Col. John Hunt
Rt Hon George Ward Hunt MP owner of the Manor House.

Chapter 6 : Wadenhoe history in the 19th century  by Julia Moss
1835 from Thomas Welsh Hunt (died tragically in Italy) to his father's sister Mary d. 1835 then to Mary Caroline Hunt.
In 1835 Mary Caroline Hunt provided Caroline Cottage for a school.
In 1844 major repairs to Wadenhoe church paid for by Mary Caroline Hunt and Sophia Hunt (and others)
In 1847 Mary Caroline Hunt died.

19)  Titchmarsh Manor Aldwinkle
Not related to Hunt family other than close proximity
briefly...   By 1463 Lenton - 1627 to 1723 to Elmes Spinkles eventually to Elizabeth Posthuma Gwillim,  married Lieut. Col. John Graves Simcoe and were dealing with the property in 1784 and 1788.

I am currently, or I was before this, researching the Lenton family, John Lenton b. 1785 Gretton is the grandfather  to my great grandmother Mary ELizabeth (Chapman) Dolby b 1856 in Benefield daugh. of William Lenton b. 1824 in Benefield and Betsey Ann (Lenton) Chapman b. 1828 in Gretton.
My Lenton/Chapman/Dolby families had lived in and around this area of Northamptonshire for many generations.

I hope this clarifies the conflicting information abt. the Mrs. & Miss Hunt whom cared for the Simcoe children during the Canadian years.
Members of the Hunt family had continued to contribute to Canadian History.
Please do let me know what you think. 
Thank you.



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