In 1766 Anton Kammell was hoping to marry a rich young lady. In his letter from “Edenbourg” he wrote:
“My beauty from London, which I should marry, writes me diligently, so that I would not forget her, she is beautiful and chaste, she is 70 or 80000 gulden worth, but she does not want to leave England. In the following winter I shall already persuade her and make her to come with me to Bohemia.” (FREEMANOVA 2)
There is no clue at all to whom this rich young lady might have been. Perhaps the relationship cooled during his very long absences in Scotland (or Irland) and Kent, despite her diligent letters.
A little over a year later he married a very young lady, who might have been a beauty, but was very poor and almost certainly illiterate.
Kammell married Ann Edicatt in St Marylebone’s Church, London on 20th January 1768. He did not mention his marriage to the Count, who might not have heard that the composer had a wife and family until ten years later.
This marriage was only a month before the first of Kammell’s Benefit concerts, the concert that would present him as both a violin virtuoso and a composer, was first advertised. (The concert was postponed and did not take place until 6th May.) Kammell’s life was changing, and though his new wife was from a humble origin he was composing and raising his profile in the musical world.
One might wonder if the idea of giving a Benefit concert, from which he would earn a good income, came from the financial difficulties of the newly married couple. When the concert is considered in detail this possibility seems less likely. Kammell very quickly began to earn a good living.
Ann Edicatt (sometimes Edicott) was under twenty-one so the marriage required a licence. The licence was applied for on 19th January 1768.
The wedding bond form states that Ann Edicatt appeared personally and
“made oath that she is of the parish of Saint Mary le Bone in this county of Middlesex a spinster a minor aged seventeen and upwards.”
“Eighteen” had originally been written and crossed out. Ann had either forgotten her age or she had originally tried to say that she was older than she was.
The statement continues that she “intendeth to marry Anthony John Cammell of the same parish, a Batchelor of twenty-six years…”
It is hard to see how these could be a simple error. Kammell was actually 37, more than twice the age of his wife to be. It would be interesting to know if he was well preserved enough to pass for 26, though he did not need to be present when this document was made out. Did Ann know how old he was?
The application states that her father, William Edicatt, is her natural father and consenting to the marriage. William Edicatt signed the form, but Ann made her mark, showing that she was unable to write, unlike the rich lady of the diligent letters.
Edicott was a very rare name in the 18th century. The only Edicotts (or alternative spellings) in London are Ann’s family. The only possible “William Edicott”, in any spelling, on Ancestry.co.uk is a William Edicot baptized in Shepton Mallett on 11th February 1718. The surname is peculiar to the West Country, with other variants in Cornwall.
There several obvious questions. Who was William, why did he move to London from Somerset, and how did his daughter meet an up and coming composer?
One piece of evidence which partially answers the first two questions is an entry in the Fleet Prison notebook of Clandestine marriages. This lists the marriage of William Eddicott “of Conway’s Regiment of Foot” and “Lydia Bull” of Chelmsford Essex” In January 1747/8. (1748 in the New Style calendar. Until 1750 the year officially began in March rather than January.)
These are certainly Ann’s parents. Her mother was Lydia, the name given to her younger sister. I have been unable to trace any Lydia Bull who could be Ann’s mother.
Before 1753, when Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act brought in strict controls of marriage, it was possible to be married without a church service, banns or a license in various circumstances. These were legal marriages, but they did not need witnesses, and bride and groom could be married as young as 12 and 14 without parents’ permission. It seems very strange to us today that in London prisons were able to register such marriages for anyone who applied to them.
Ann was baptized as “Anne Edicout” on 30th September 1759 at St Anne’s church, Soho. the name given to Ann’s younger sister.
Ann’s had five siblings:
Joannah Edicott baptised 5/3/1753
Lydia Edicotte baptised 2ca2/8/1756
William Edicutt baptised 21/2/1762
John Edicote baptised 11/2/1765
Elizabeth Edicott baptised 12/7/1767.
So, Ann Kammell’s father had been a soldier. Her mother was from Essex, I have found no clue as to what they were doing in London, or how Kammell might have met Ann, other than the very simple fact that they were living in the same parish when they married. They might simply have been neighbours who caught each other’s eyes.