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Anne Caldwell 1791-1874

(Mrs Marsh, Mrs Marsh Caldwell)

Born: and baptized 9 January 1791 at Newcastle under Lyme and died 5 October 1874 at Linley Wood.
Daughter of: James Caldwell (1759-1838) and Elizabeth Caldwell (nee Stamford, 1754-1831).
Anne's father James Caldwell always spelt her name as Ann without the e.
Sister of:
1. Hannah Eliza Roscoe (nee Caldwell, 1785-1854) who married Willam Stanley Roscoe (1782-1843).
2. James Stamford Caldwell (1786-1858).
3. Mary Caldwell (1789-1813).
4. Margaret Emma Holland (nee Caldwell, 1792-1830) who married Sir Henry Holland (1788-1873). 
5. Catherine Louisa Caldwell, born 6 June, baptized 15 June 1794 and died 20 August 1814 aged 20.
6. Frances Caldwell, died 14 February 1801 aged 5.
Anne married: Wednesday 30 July 1817, in St James, Audley, Arthur Cuthbert Marsh (1786-1849) son of William Marsh (1755-1846) and Amelia Marsh (nee Cuthbert, 1765?-1793).
Anne and Arthur had issue:
1. Eliza Louisa Marsh-Caldwell (1818-1913).
2. Frances Mary Crofton (nee Marsh, 1819-1906) who married Maj Gen Richard Henry Crofton RA (1818-1897).
3. Georgina Amelia Marsh-Caldwell (1820-1900).
4. Rosamond Jane Marsh-Caldwell (1823-1911).
5. Arthur Marsh, who died an infant, August 1824.
6. Martin William James Marsh (1825-1846).
7. Lady Mary Emma Heath  (nee Marsh, 1826-1902) who married Admiral Sir Leopold George Heath (1817-1907).
8. Hannah-Adelaide Loring (nee Marsh, 1828-1859) who married Edward Henry Loring (1823?-1879).

In addition to the above children Anne and Arthur also appear to have had living with them at Eastbury (in 1844 and 1849) a younger child by the name of George.  I am not sure what relation he was to them but I assume he was perhaps a nephew?

We know a lot about Anne from the following sources:
1. Narrative (Diary) of Anne Marsh-Caldwell.  This gives a lot of information about Anne's parents, aunts and grandparents and also life at Linley Wood.  However it makes almost no mention of her husband her children or her vocation as an author.
2. A large collection of individual family letters1810-20 1820-30 1830-38 1839-42 1843 1844 1845 1846-47 1848-55 1856-74
3. An extensive family collection of her diaries from the age of 16 onwards 1805 1808 1810 1811 1835 1843
4. Many books on Victorian women writers make small references to Anne, in particular books relating to Harriet Martineau and Emma Darwin. 
5. The book 'Staffordshire Women' by Pam Inder and Marion Aldis, published 2010.
6. Anne's novels.  These often appear to be based on her own experiences.
7. A large collection of documents held in the Archive of the Staffordshire Record Office in Stafford, including an inventory of Eastbury.
8. Notes published in the Staffordshire Advertiser.
9. Reviews of her novels printed in the Athenaeum.
10. We have a copy of her bookplate.
11. Her various portraits.
12. Her will.

Anne was born in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Staffordshire, 9 January 1791. In her diary she mentions many small snippets of her early life; her father James Caldwell, her mother Elizabeth Caldwell (nee Stamford) and her mother's unmarried sister Hannah Stamford.

It would appear that Anne had a very happy and enriching upbringing, by the standards of the time, living at Linley Wood with her parents and her Aunt Hannah. She learned music, drawing, languages and all the things that a respectable young lady of the day would have been expected to master.

Anne started writing when she was fairly young, as a number of letters from the Allen sisters, written in 1813, are full of praise for Anne's play 'The Enchanted Island'. At this date Anne would have been only 22 years old.  The earliest documents that exist of her writing are her diaries which run from 1805 onwards (age 14). 

In 1817 Anne married Arthur Cuthbert Marsh. Arthur had attended Cambridge University at the same time as Anne's brother James Stamford Caldwell (graduated 1808).  In 1816 Arthur visited Linley Wood and shortly afterwards proposed to Anne.  Arthur's family were at the time very well off, his father William Marsh being a rich banker in the London firm of Marsh, Sibbald and Co (previously Marsh & Creed).  Mrs Josiah Wedgwood noted in a letter to Emma Allen, in the same year, that the match of Anne Caldwell and Arthur Marsh was a very favourable one.  I am not sure where their home was when they were married but it may have been near Hendon.  Their marriage seems to have been a happy one and they had eight children.

I do not know how large the Marsh family fortune was when Anne and Arthur married but seven years later, in 1824 the family banking firm, by then Marsh Stacey & Graham, went bankrupt due to a fraud allegedly carried out by Henry Fauntleroy (one of the partners).  Anne and Arthur lost almost all of their money and spent the next 15 years fighting off the creditors. 

Harriet Martineau, in her biography, recorded visiting Anne in the early 1830s and encouraging her to publish her first book which was "Two Old Men's Tales".  Harriet noted that Arthur gave his permission for Anne to publish but only on the condition that she published anonymously.  His reason being that if the book should be a failure then no one would know the name of the author.  The book was published in 1834 and was very successful, running to a number of editions over a period of almost 30 years.  Anne continued this success with her second book "Tales of the Woods and Fields", published in 1836, and after this completed one or two books every year.

One of Anne's friends from an early age had been Sarah Wedgwood (1776-1856) and this friendship seems to have lasted throughout their lives.  Much correspondence exists between Sarah and Anne in the mid 1840s when Sarah was helping Anne with the final editing of one of her books.  Perhaps Sarah was also instrumental in encouraging Anne to write and publish and no doubt Sarah also encouraged many of her friends to buy copies.

In 1838 Anne's father died leaving her £5,000 and a few years earlier Arthur came into an inheritance from Sophia Harding nee Smyth who had died in 1827.  Sophia had been a friend of Arthur's mothers and had married late in life to a John Harding of York Place.  John already had a family before he married Sophia.  After she had died John had attempted to take Sophia's money but in the end the court decided that it was to go to the Marsh family.

In 1842, after a time in Boulogne in France, the Marsh family moved to an estate called Eastbury, in Hertfordshire, near Watford.  The estate consisted of a mansion house surrounded by 314 acres of farm land. 

The success of Anne's books brought in much needed funds and Anne and Arthur used some of this money to put their only son Martin through Eton, and then on to Oxford.  Anne realised the value of education but in addition she saw the future of the family very much being dependant on what success Martin would be able to make with his life.  Sadly in 1846 tragedy struck when Martin died suddenly at the age of 20 while on a tour of Greece.  This devastating event was followed a few years later in 1849 by a further loss when Anne's husband Arthur also died.  A few years later Anne sold the estate of Eastbury and moved to a much smaller house; Deacons, at Ewhurst in Surrey where she could be closer to her daughters and grandchildren.

Anne's brother James Stamford Caldwell had succeeded to the Caldwell family estate of Linley Wood in 1838 on the death of their father James Caldwell.  James Stamford Caldwell never married and when he died in 1858 he left his estate in trust to the second son of his nice Mary Emma Lady Heath (who was married to Admiral Sir Leopold George Heath).  This second son, Frederick Crofton Heath (later Heath-Caldwell) was only two weeks old when the final codicil to the will was written. The will stated that Anne could live at Linley Wood for the rest of her life, as could any of her unmarried daughters.  After that the estate would pass to Frederic and then on in turn to his eldest son.

Sorting out the will was very involved but Anne eventually came into possession of the Linley Wood estate in 1860.  The event was marked by a party at Linley Wood 8 September 1860 and this was reported in the Staffordshire Advertiser the following week.  Unfortunately Anne was not able to attend but was later presented with a scroll signed by all the tenants to mark the event.  It was around this time that Anne changed her surname from Marsh to Mash Caldwell as required by her brother James Stamford Caldwell's will.

Although Anne had officially moved back to Linley Wood in 1860 it would appear that she may have continued living at Deacons in Surrey where she could be closer to her children and grandchildren.  The note in the Staffordshire advertiser, 8 September 1860, about the large party to welcome her back, noted that due to ill health she had not yet returned to Linley Wood and, in her place, the party was presided over by Mr Loring, presumably her nephew.  The census returns for 1861 record only a handful of servants at Linley Wood and record Anne Marsh Caldwell being present at Deacons together with her daughter Eliza and 8 servants.  The census returns for 1871 still only record a handful of servants at Linley Wood.  Presumably Anne moved back to Linley Wood after 1871 as she is recorded as dying there in 1874.   In addition to Deacons, she also appears to have kept up a London property in Lolunder St, Middlesex (or Lowndes Street, Belgrave Square).

Ownership of the Linley Wood estate was however not perfect as disagreements within the family about the will of James Stamford Caldwell resulted in court cases in 1862 and 1868, with Anne Marsh Caldwell verses her daughters the Miss Marsh-Caldwells.  Documents regarding these legal cases are in the archive of the Staffordshire Record Office (4299/4/3/1-4).  The information is so involved it is difficult to know what the cases were all about but one would have to assume that Anne's relationship with her unmarried daughters was rather strained during this period (Contested Will).

Anne had continued to write books well into her old age, and it would appear that her last book project was "Heathside Farm A Tale of Country Life" which is noted as having been edited by her.  It was published in 1863 when she was 72 years old.  To date I have identified 30 books by Anne and these run into more than 100 editions, being published in England, France, Germany, Holland and the USA.  Reviews of many of these were published in the Athenaeum.  Copies of these books are rare but can be obtained via . One difficulty in identifying them is that Anne continued most of the time to publish anonymously.  Most of her books simply state "By the Author of Two Old Men's Tales and Emilia Wyndham...", however those published in America often state "By Mrs Marsh" or "By Mrs Marsh Caldwell".

In her later life Anne estimated that she had received about £5000 in total from her writing career.

Anne had a stroke in April 1873 (noted in the diary of her grandson Arthur Heath).  She died, 5th October 1874 aged 83, at Linley Wood.  By her will she left most of her estate, valued at £10,000, to her three unmarried daughters, the Miss Marsh-Caldwells.  Her daughter Mary recorded the following entries in her diary:
Tuesday 6 October.  Heard from Linley Wood that my dear mother is gone!  She died last night quite calmly - as if she slept!
Wednesday 7 October.  Leo and I went to London and hence to Linley Wood where we stayed till Tuesday.
Tuesday 13 October.  The funeral took place on Saturday 10th at Talke on the Hill Church.  The vault is in the Church Yard.  We all followed with Richard Crofton, Leo and H Loring, my Arthur who joined us on Friday, Nele Loring & Frank Holland.  It was all most beautifully arranged, most touching, most comforting.  Leo & I came back on Tuesday, Arthur & Nele with us, as far as Bletchley, from which station he went on to Cambridge.  We left Nele in London and came home finding our two sweet girls ready to greet us.

In the archive of the National Portrait Gallery in London there are some black and white photographs of a large portrait of Anne.  One photograph is of the front of the portrait while the other is of the back and shows a number of labels, one of which confirms that the portrait was sent to the International Exhibition of 1871.  The portrait is recorded as being painted by Margaret Gillies (1803?-1888?).  The photographs were sent to the NPG by Herr Brandegger in 1926.  Present whereabouts of this portrait is not known?

The small miniature of Anne was in the family up until 2000 and showed her with fair hair tied up at the back in a small bun.  It appears to have been drawn from a silhouette.

Photographs of another portrait exist in the family but again the whereabouts of the original is not known.

A memorial stone commemorating Anne, her husband Arthur and their son Martin, can be found behind St Martin's Church, Talke O'Th'Hill.  It is rather hard to read as the letters are formed in lead and have unfortunately, over the years, been dropping off the head stone.  A memorial plaque also exists in the nearby church of Audley.  Another memorial plaque also exists in the Gillingham Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene in Kent.