THE COMPOSER’S FAMILY
Ann Kammell was only 34 when she was left a widow with four young children. She was not left penniless. The house (or half a house) in Half Moon St was in a fashionable part of London, a few minutes’ walk from the grand houses of her husband’s aristocratic patrons. He had been treated as a gentleman. Musical skill, and, also importantly, good manners, had made it possible to by-pass the complex rules of society.
But who was Ann Kammell? What would her own position in society be? She was the daughter of a soldier from Somerset who married her mother in a clandestine wedding at the Fleet Prison. It would be interesting to know how she was treated fifteen years earlier when she had arrived, pregnant, at George Pitt’s grand country house, Stratfield Saye. Was she a visiting servant or was she a Lady?
There may have been no earnings from performances in the last year or two of her husband’s life but there was income from investments, despite the disaster of 1776. The annuities from Thomas Anson and George Pitt ceased at Kammell’s death but the property and its contents must have been worth far more than the majority of common people in the city possessed.
Ann’s sister Lydia had recently married a German merchant who was a member of the Caledonian Lodge of freemasons. This had many members who were German, or from other European countries, in trade and generally middle class, as well as some gentlemen. Anton Kammell had been a member of the Pilgrim Lodge, which also had members from Europe who were in trade. This was the kind of social class Ann and her family would belong to.
It was the end of a life but the beginning of another. Fortunately, it is possible to find some evidence of what became of Ann and her children, and to follow their story into the nineteenth century. Anton had not left them destitute. His name would be remembered for the next two generations at least – and, perhaps, the music would emerge for another rather extravagant flowering.
Kammell’s name is still given in the Land rent register for Half Moon Street for 1785, but is crossed out.
The 1785 Land Tax register for Half Moon St. Kammell’s name has been faintly crossed out.
A year after his death Ann moved to 21 Queen’s Gardens, Kensington. She may have been looking after her father, William Edicatt, as well as her own family. He died in September 1786 and was buried at St George’s Hanover Square on 16th September 1786.
In October 1787 Ann Kammell is listed in an insurance document as Ann Kammell, widow, in Mount St, sharing a house with an undertaker called Stone. (London Metropolitan Archives. MS 11936/349/536273). Mount St is now in the heart of Mayfair, but before the 1820s it was made up of the premises of tradesmen and workshops of all kinds.
On 12 December 1787, Ann Kammell married Richard Tanner at St George’s, Hanover Square. This record is not available on ancestry.co.uk but is listed on findmypast.co.uk.
In the first years of her new marriage she would have been looking after her young children, but as apprentices they would gradually move away to live with their new masters.
There is only one Richard Tanner listed in ancestry.co.uk who could be Ann’s second husband, born 28th December and baptised at the Temple Church, 11th January 1749 (1750 in the new style calendar)
Ann died in 1821 at the age of 69. and was buried at St George’s, Hanover Square, on 8th August, 1821.
ELIZABETH ROSANNA (b. 1772)
Kammell’s only surviving daughter at the time his will was made (18/3/1784) was Elizabeth Rosanna Kammell. She was born in 1772.
In the will Elizabeth was left “three hundred pounds, four percent bank annuities”, and Kammell ordered that “the same to be transferred to her on the day of her marriage provided she marries with the consent of my said wife Ann Kammell”. If she were to marry without her mother’s consent the money would be added to the residue of the estate and passed to the sons.
Clearly aware of the financial reality Kammell states in his will that his children should be apprenticed to “some trade as my said wife and executors shall think proper.” Being apprenticed would mean that they were legally bound to work in a trade and learn its skills, with a possibility of earning a living after several years of hard work and discipline. This must have been an alarming prospect when their father had lived as a gentleman and been the friend of wealthy gentry and aristocracy.
“Eliz. R Kammell” was apprenticed as a child’s coat maker in Monday 21st July 1788. Her Master is given on the list of indentures as “Eliz. Harris St Marylebone Middx.”
Elizabeth Harris, as tax payer for her house, may have been a spinster or widow running a small genteel business in her home. A Sarah Gidley was apprenticed to Elizabeth Harris as a staymaker on 19th July 1783 and an M C Hilliar also as child’s coat maker on 15th March 1785. This latter record gives Eliz. Harris’s address as Newman Street. The tax records for Newman St in 1783 and 1791 for example confirm her address as 43 Newman St. This street runs between Oxford St and Wigmore St and would have been a very respectable area, with clergymen and gentry (indicated by “Esquire”) as neighbours.
Elizabeth Rosanna, aged 16, would have lived with Mrs Harris, but, presumably, her brothers would still have been living with their mother and her new husband in the parish of St George’s, Hanover Square.
Elizabeth Rosanna Kammell, now 21, married Edward William Gilbert at St George the Martyr, Queen Square on 6th July 1793. On the wedding register Elizabeth seems to have spelled her middle name Rosina, though on most documents the spelling is Rosanna. Both Elizabeth and Edward are “of this parish”.
Edward William Gilbert, as his will shows, was a japanner. There was a fashion for japanning at the time – a form of highly polished lacquer or varnish, often decorated with brightly coloured designs. Large items of furniture could be japanned, as well as trays and small boxes made of papier mache.
Edward and Elizabeth Gilbert had a son, born in 1794. The baptism record shows him to have been born in Fetter Lane, which is in the City of London, off Fleet Street. He was baptised at St Dunstan’s in the West, which was a medieval church in the middle of Fleet Street, close to the end of Fetter Lane. In the 19th century the old church was demolished to allow Fleet St to be widened and a new church was built on the old churchyard.
This suggests that Gilbert’s business at the time was in the City, presumably in Fetter Lane.
When he died, five years later, his address is given as Devonshire St, Queen’s Square. This is now Boswell St, and runs from Theobalds Rd to the south-east corner of Queen’s Square. Devonshire St was a smart street of artists and aristocracy, and that area, around Queen Square was also known as an area of bookshops.
The church where Edward and Elizabeth had been married is only a few doors away from Devonshire St, on the south west corner of Queen Square.
Edward’s will, leaving his estate entirely in the hands of his “dear wife Elizabeth Gilbert” makes no mention of their children.
The witnesses were Benjamin Winter and John Brooks and the will was proved on 14th March 1799.
Elizabeth’s brothers George Anthony and John Christian had both been apprenticed as japanners, in 1788 and 1792 – before Elizabeth had married Edward Gilbert. They were both apprenticed to Thomas Bennison. Bennison’s business, according to the 1818 London Guide and Street Directory was in Devonshire St, which was also Edward Gilbert’s address.
According to Country Life (vol. 135 p. 1004) there were more than forty japanners in London in 1800 “including Scott and Boswell, wood japanners of Clerkenwell Green and Thomas Bennison, japan furniture manufactory of 8 Devonshire St.”
The Bennison business lasted at least until 1832, when Thomas Bennison’s widow, lodging house keeper, of 7 and 8 Devonshire St and late of Carshalton Surrey, was listed as a prisoner in The Court for the Relief of Insolvent Debtors.
At the time of Edward Gilbert’s death it is probable that he had his own business and property, but with some connection with Thomas Bennison. George Anthony and John Christian may have still been working with the Bennisons, so the two brothers, their sister, and her husband would all have been living in close proximity, in business, but in a smart and artistic quarter.
A few years later John Christian had his own workshop in Wardour St.
On 18th October 1804 “Elizabeth Rosanna Gilbert of this parish widow” married James Brown of the Parish of St James Westminster at St George, Hanover Square. Elizabeth’s death certificate reveals that James Brown was a “clerk in the late Duke of York’s office”, the administrative department of the army. The office was in St James, near what is now the Mall, where the monument to the “grand old” Duke of York, who died in 1827, now stands. James and Elizabeth would have been living a short walk from his place of work.
At this time her son Edward George Antonio would have been ten, so it has to be assumed he would have lived with his mother and her new husband.
The two witnesses were both French. “P Didier” was almost certainly Peter Didier, born in 1773, who ran a publishing company with his father in law, Didier and Tebbett, at 75 St James St. They were publishers of children’s books and pioneers of children’s board games and jigsaws. The Didiers were a Huguenot family, protestant refugees from France who had been in London throughout the 18th century.
This suggests that Elizabeth Rosanna had contacts with the world of creative arts, middle rather than working class, with a husband who was a civil servant. She must have been relatively well off, with her inheritance from her father and whatever property she had been left by Edward Gilbert.
It is not absolutely certain what happened to Elizabeth Rosanna’s son, Edward George Antonio Gilbert.
Before birth, marriage and death certificates were introduced in 1837 the only records of people’s lives and deaths might be parish record books, which give very little information. It is often impossible to be completely sure who is actually who.
There are 25 Edward Gilberts born between 1790 and 1799 recorded in the birth, baptism and census records of ancestry.co.uk. All of these can be matched with later information, marriages, census and deaths, with the exception of Edward George Antonio. There is only one Edward Gilbert in the marriages, censuses and other records, who cannot be matched with absolute certainty with the record of a birth.
Though it is impossible to prove that this Edward is Edward George Antonio the probability must be very high.
This Edward Gilbert was, like Elizabeth Rosanna’s second husband, a civil servant, a clerk in the Royal Ordnance Office at the Tower of London, the department which managed military property of all kinds.
Edward George Antonio was ten when his mother remarried in 1804. Five or six years later his step-father would have been responsible for finding him a job, so this connection with these military offices could be seen as a reason for identifying this Edward Gilbert as Kammell’s grandson. Though it may be pure coincidence, and coincidence can be dangerously misleading, it is also tempting to assume that this Edward was Edward George Antonio because his family would later have very strong musical connections.
In 1824 this Edward Gilbert married Tabitha Hosier at St Dunstan’s in the West, where Edward George Antonio Gilbert had been baptised, He would have been 29. He would, presumably, by this time, have been living away from his mother and step-father for some years. St Dunstan’s was in Stepney, just to the east of the Tower of London, where he worked.
(Could the name of the first witness on this document be Henry Kammell, who would have been Edward’s uncle, if this is, indeed, Edward George Antonio?)
Edward Gilbert is listed in the 1838 “Royal Kalendar”, the directory of royal officials, as a junior clerk in the Royal Ordnance Office at the Tower of London. Though this sounds a fairly minor post, it was a very large department and, like James Brown’s position, was probably a responsible, respectable, and well-paid job.
In 1825, when their daughter Tabitha was born, they lived in Camberwell, south of Southwark. In 1841 Edward and Tabitha were living in Ann’s Place in the parish of St Mary, Newington, which is just south of the river. This would have been within easier walking distance of the Tower of London, by way of London Bridge, than Camberwell.
Edward’s death in 1850 was reported as far away as Scotland:
Montrose Brechin and Arbroath Review 5th July 1850: (also in Oxford Chronicle and Reading Gazette 6th July 1850):
Deaths June 23rd – “At Stadhampton, near Oxford, after a short illness, Edward Gilbert Esq, late of Her Majesty’s Ordnance Office, Tower, London.”
The death certificate gives his occupation as “Clerk in the War Office”. The “War Office” did not officially come into existence until 1857, but it must have been a phrase that was popularly used to describe what was at the time a group of several separate establishments.
What was Edward Gilbert doing in Stadhampton, a small village in Oxfordshire? Had he been visiting a relation? The only person named Gilbert in Stadhampton in both the 1841 and 1851 censuses was Mary Gilbert, a widow, born in Abingdon in about 1771. If this Edward Gilbert is not Edward George Antonio it would be reasonable to suggest he had been visiting his mother – but there is no Edward Gilbert listed in ancestry.co.uk with a mother named Mary who is not otherwise accounted for. Perhaps Mary Gilbert was an aunt?
The informant named on the death certificate is Elizabeth Jacobs, who was illiterate. The only Elizabeth Jacobs in the 1851 census for Stadhampton was the wife of Thomas Jacobs, an agricultural labourer. It can only be assumed that Edward Gilbert was staying in the village when he became ill and that this Elizabeth Jacobs was someone who was available to travel to the local register office to register the death. She need not have had any personal connection with the deceased.
Later census records show Edward and Tabitha’s son Edward (1824- 1880) to have been a “Professor of Music.” He married Caroline Mary Sale in 1866.
Edinburgh Evening Courant 1st August 1866:
“Married at St Paul’s Church, Camden Town, London, on the 24th July, Mr. Edward Gilbert of Peckham, only son of the late Edward Gilbert Esq. of Her Majesty’s Ordnance Office, Tower of London, to Caroline Mary, only child of late Charles Sale Esq, of Derby and cousin of the Lady Sale.”
Charles Sale was an “ale and porter merchant”, in Derby. Though this was what would be looked down on as “trade”, Sale was keen to emphasise that he had much smarter connections. The wedding notice rather pretentiously mentions that his daughter was the cousin of Florentia, Lady Sale, who was famous at the time for travelling with the army in Afghanistan. Her husband, who must have been Charles Sale’s brother, had been Major General Robert Henry Sale. He was killed in India in 1845.
The 1851 census shows that Caroline Mary’s mother was a “professor of music and dancing.” This is one of several musical connections in the Gilbert family.
Edward and Caroline Mary’s first son was Newton Edward Sale Gilbert (1868 – 1916), the second was Erasmus James Denby Gilbert. Neither son married. Newton Edward Sale Gilbert died in the Warneford Asylum, Oxford, and is buried at Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry, Erasmus James Denby Gilbert was a solicitor. At one point his business had been declared bankrupt. A newspaper item in 1909 reports that he had been arrested for being drunk and disorderly, but he claimed he had taken stimulants as a treatment for consumption on an empty stomach. He is the last known possible descendant of Anton Kammell. He died in Brighton in 1923. (Caroline Mary Gilbert died after giving birth to a daughter who also died, in 1870. In 1871 this Edward Gilbert (possibly Anton Kammell’s great-grandson) and his two surviving children were living with his sister, Tabitha.
Edward (possibly Edward George Antonio) and Tabitha Gilbert’s daughter, also Tabitha (1826 – 1889), married Richard David Limpus, organist of St Michael’s, Cornhill, and the founder of the Royal College of Organists. Tabitha, as Mrs Limpus, was a concert vocalist. An item in The Musical Times March 1st 1868 mentions her performance at an event in Brentford.
“Mrs Limpus was very successful in her songs, “Sing on sweet bird,” and a canzone “Ben e ridicolo.”
They had no children.
In 1871 the Limpus family, with the younger Edward Gilbert and his two sons, a servant, an organ blower and errand boy, a nurse (for Edward’s sons) and two German students, lived at 41 Queen Square, a few doors away from Devonshire St, were Elizabeth Rosanna Gilbert’s first husband, Edward, had had his business.
40 and 41 Queen Square in 1882
Edward and Tabitha had a younger daughter, Matilda (1832- 1907). She married twice. Her first husband, William T Snosswell, according to the 1871 census, was a retired civil servant in the admiralty, which echoes the profession of Edward Gilbert and James Brown. Her second husband, whom she married in 1879, was Matthias Erasmus Wesley, brother of the composer Samuel Sebastian Wesley, and son of the composer Samuel Wesley and his much younger mistress, Sarah Suter. They had no children. Matthias Erasmus was a civil engineer, but he was also musical and had been involved with Richard Limpus with the development of the Royal College of Organists. He became the Honorary Secretary of the College after Richard Limpus’s death in 1875.
Though it cannot be considered to be evidence that these were the descendants of Anton Kammell it is extraordinary what a significant musical family it was.
Anton Kammell’s daughter Elizabeth Rosanna died in Cheam, Surrey, on 14th June 1846 after 6 months’ lung illness and fever.
Elizabeth died on 14th June 1846, at Cheam, Surrey – late enough to have a death certificate, which gives several important pieces of information.
She is described as “Widow of the late James Brown, clerk in the late Duke of York’s office.” James Brown had been, in effect, a civil servant. The Duke of York’s Office was the administrative department of the army.
The cause of death is given as “Disease of the lungs. 6 months fever.” Her death was reported by Elizabeth Baker, present at the death.” Elizabeth Baker was a resident of Cheam, Surrey. She was illiterate. She put her mark on the certificate rather than a signature. There is nothing to suggest that she was a relation of Elizabeth Rosanna’s, and it would be hard to imagine how Kammell’s daughter, who had been married to a civil servant, could have a daughter, for example, who was illiterate. There is no certain evidence that she had any children with her second husband.
Cheam was a small village in 1846. It was only 16 miles from the centre of London, but it had not yet begun to grow into a suburb, as it did with the expansion of railways. Cheam station opened only a year after Elizabeth Rosanna’s death, in 1847.
There were many Bakers living in nearby Ewell, particularly the family of a James Baker who worked in the gunpowder mills, but this certificate specifically gives the place of residence of the informant as Cheam. The only Elizabeth Baker resident at Cheam in the 1851 census is a widow, aged 67, born at Nutfield, Surrey, a servant. Could she have been a servant at a house in which Elizabeth Rosanna died?
Elizabeth Rosanna was buried in Cheam, Surrey, on June 18th 1846.
GEORGE ANTHONY b. 1775
George Kammell was indentured to William Bennison in 1788.He
There is no trace of him until his burial at Spa Fields burial ground, Clerkenwell, in September 1828. This is listed in the index of non-comformist burials.
HENRY JOHN CHRISTIAN (KNOWN AS JOHN CHRISTIAN) b. 1777
Henry Christian John Kammell was apprenticed as a japanner to William Bennison, of Bedford St Andrews Holborn on 17th September 1792. As Edward Gilbert’s will shows the business (as Thomas Bennison) was later at 8 Devonshire Street.
On December 5th 1799 Henry married Patty Sophia Searle at St Giles, Cripplegate, London, which is just to the north of the City of London. She was born 20th August 1781 and baptised at St Sepulchre, London, 10th September 1781. The witnesses to the marriage were Samuel Searle (Serle on the baptism record) the bride’s father and R Barry, who witnessed all the marriages on that page of the register and so was probably church warden or parish clerk.
Henry John Christopher and Patty Sophia had a daughter baptised as Elizabeth Ann Camels at St Giles Cripplegate in 1800. The father’s name is given as John, the mother’s as Patty Sophia. Though the surname is misspelled the father’s trade is given in the birth register as a japanner in Cripplegate which confirms this is Henry John Christopher.
The mispelling is purely the error of whoever filled in the register as their second known child is spelled correctly, and the name is correctly spelled on all the other documents. There is no further trace of Elizabeth Ann.
John Christopher and Patty Sophia had a son, George Antonio, born 31st March 1806 and baptised nearly two months later, on 25th May 1806, at St James, Picadilly. Again, the name commemorates the child’s grandfather, and also the child’s uncle, George Anthony. He died aged 5 months.
(Westminster burials, from findmypast.co.uk)
Henry John Christopher’s first daughter must have died young as he had a second daughter, also called Elizabeth Ann who was baptised in 1811 at St Anns Westminster in 1811. The register gives the father’s name as John Christian and the mother’s as Martha. This was actually Sophia Patty. Rather surprisingly this was the name she was known by, as a Poor Law document, from much later in her life, proves.
John Christian Kammell, of Wardour St, which is the middle of Soho, was buried on 10th June 1821.
(Westminster burials, from findmypast.co.uk)
Sophia was married a second time, to Robert Hayes, a widower, on 3rd March 1829 at the church of St John the Evangelist, Westminster.
Curiously, Patty Sophia was known as Martha. A Poor Law from 9th October 1843 explains the two names and gives fascinating details of her previous marriage. Under the Poor Law people who were destitute were the responsibility of their home parish, but in some cases it was difficult to establish which parish was responsible.
“Martha Sophia Hayes 1 Mark St
“Saith that she is 62 years of age was married to Robert Hayes in the Parish Church of St John Wesrminster 3rd March 1829 that she knew her said husband about 12 months before her marriage to him that she never knew her said husband to rent a house or to do any act to gain a settlement by any means. That she never knew him to be relieved by any parish that she does not know where he was legally settled neither doth she know any person who can prove the place of settlement that he died in Sept 1834. That since his death examinant hath not been married neither hath she rented a house or done any act to her knowledge to gain settlement.
“That about 44 years ago (she) was married to John Kammell in the parish church of St Giles Cripplegate London that about the year 1806 (soon after the burial of Lord Nelson) her said last mentioned husband took of Mr Barrett 2 unfurnished rooms in House then no 52 Wardour Street in the parish of St Anne (…) in the Liberty of Westminster in the County of Middlesex and a workshop in the yard behind the same house also in the parish of St Anne at a rent of 10/- a week for the said rooms and workshop that her said husband John Kammell rented the said rooms and shop resided in the said rooms and paid the rent as aforesaid 15 years or thereabouts until his death in or about the year 1821.
“That she dd not whilst she contd his widow do any act to her knowledge to gain another settlement until her marriage to Robert Hayes as aforementioned that she is in distress and chargeable.”
It seems reasonable to deduce that John Kammell, as he seems to have been known, had set up his own business as a japanner in Wardour Street.
HENRY JAMES b. 1780
Henry James Kammell was only three years old when Anthony’s will was drawn up, There is no trace of him after that, so it is possible that he died very young.
There appears to be no-one named Kammell in England between 1841, when the census begins, and 1911.
There is no-one called “Kammell” in the 1841, 1851, 1861, and 1871 England censuses.
The only Kammell in the 1881 census is a Sarah A Kammell, born in Hallow, Worcestershire c1860. This is almost certainly an error for Rammell, as there is a blacksmith named Benjamin Rammell in an 1855 Worcestershire directory.
There is an entry in the 1891 census for an Edward Kammell, aged 12, born St Martins, London, grandson of Edward Benson, retired butcher, but this name appears nowhere else.
There are no Kammells in the 1901 and 1911 censuses.
If all this information is correct, and if Edward Gilbert (1794?- 1851) was Edward George Antonio, the last living descendant of Anton Kammell was Erasmus James Denby Gilbert, who died in Brighton in 1923 – but, if these are his descendanst, it is remarkable that his great-grandchildren had been part of a musical family who were very active in the musical world of Victorian London and whose lasting legacy is the Royal College of Organists.
This shows only his children who survived him.
Anton Kammell (1730-1784) m. Ann Edicatt (1751-1821)
Elizabeth Rosanna Kammell (1772- 1846) m. (1) Edward William Gilbert
Edward George Antonio Gilbert (1794-1851?) m. Tabitha Hosier
Matilda Gilbert (1832 – ) m (1) in 1866 William T Snosswell (2) in 1879 Matthias Erasmus Wesley ( 1822 – 1901)
Edward Gilbert (1824 – 1880) m. Caroline Mary Sale
Newton Edward Sale Gilbert (1868 – 1916) (died at the Warneford Asylum, Oxford and buried at Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry)
Erasmus James Denby Gilbert (1869 – 1923)
Tabitha Gilbert (b. 1825) m. Richard Limpus (1824 – 1875)
George Anthony (1775 – 1828)
Henry John Christian (known as John Christian) (1777 – 1821) m. Patty Sophia (also known as Martha) Searle
Elizabeth Ann Kammell (1800 – ? )
George Antonio Kammell (1806 – 1806)
Henry James Kammell (1780 – ?)