Posted by: Christine | March 18, 2013

Wills and Radicals

I recently wrote about the death of Robert Madder and his son Thomas in 1863  and said that I would get a copy of the will of Frederick Wilmot Horton esq. Although I was unable to go on the recent trip to TNA, I asked someone who did go to get me a copy.
I wanted to know if Robert Madder had been named in the PCC will (PROB 11/2206/212). He was, and what is more, he was the first beneficiary mentioned.The fifth line down reads “I give to my Man Servant Robert Madder the sum of two hundred pounds and also all my Wearing apparel”

Will of Frederick Wilmot Horton 1855 (TNA ref: PROB 11/2206/212

Will of Frederick Wilmot Horton 1855 (TNA ref: PROB 11/2206/212

I have never come across a servant mentioned so prominently in a will. He must have been a very good servant – or perhaps he just happened to be in the room when the will was written. Was there more to their relationship?

Captain Horton then gives the rest of his household goods, plus one thousand pounds to his brother, the Rev George Lewis Wilmot Horton. He goes on to list bequests to other brothers and sisters, felllow Naval Captains, the Sailors Home in Portsmouth and his Mother’s butler (John SUTTON). The will is dated 25th October 1854 and was proved 5th February 1855. Robert Madder married 22nd March 1855 – he gives his occupation as Gentleman. Not surprising as £200 would have been worth around £10,000, and he had the clothes as well.

Marriage of Robert Madder and Mary Ann Blizard in 1855

Marriage of Robert Madder and Mary Ann Blizard in 1855

The money didn’t last long as by 1861 he and his wife were back in service – but what service! 

He was a footman and his wife was cook. They were working at Aubrey House for Peter Alfred Taylor a radical MP and his wife Clementina. Supporters of Italian reunification stayed at the house and Garibaldi visited in 1864. Aubrey House was sold in 1997 for £20 million, which at the time made it London’s most expensive house. In 1861, apart from Robert and Mary Ann, the staff consisted of only two housemaids and a kitchenmaid. I don’t know who was looking after the children, Robert Charles and Allen George. I have been unable to find them on that census.

It seems that the more I find out about Robert Madder, the more interesting he becomes. I’ll write another time about his appearance in the papers, a few years earlier.


  1. […] my last post I said I would write more about Robert […]

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