The Cameron Family

  • 15 Jan 2012
  • Worcester People and Places
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The Commandery has been home to many notable families but none more interesting than the Camerons. Dr. Charles Cameron, the celebrated Worcester physician and his wife (Anne Ingram) lived in part of it in the latter half of the 18th century. Their eldest son, Rev. C.R.Cameron married Lucy Lyttleton Butt in 1806. she was the eldest daughter of Dr,George Butt, and the sister of the writer, Mrs Sherwood. Lucy Butt went to a school in Reading which had as pupils, Jane Austin and Mary Russell Mitford. Both Mrs Cameron and Mrs Sherwood ran schools at Wick and Lucy, like her sister, wrote books for children, some of which were greatly admired by the great Dr.Arnold of Rugby School, who quoted from them in his sermons.

The second son of and Anne Cameron was Francis, who was born at the Commandery in 1780. Always an adventurous boy, he ran to sea at 14 and served before the mast. A midshipman's commision was secured for him, and on the 18th February, 1795, Francis set off for Chatham on the Mail Coach to take up his post on H.M.S Scipio. He was in the thick of the battle at Cape St. Vincent when serving in H.M.S Prince George, and became First Lieutenaunt of H.M.Sloop Rattler - but at the age of 23, like many another young man protecting the sugar islands, he died of yellow fever at Jamaica.

The third son of Charles and Anne was Archibald Cameron, born at the Commandery in 1782. He was said to be the original of Archy Carlisle in Mrs. Henery Wood's East Lynne. At the age of 13 he was injured by a boar which ran its tusks through his knee, and the rough surgery of those days left him with a stiff leg, His health suffered when when he was young, and he could not attend a public school or university. He was articled to Mr.Mence, became an attorney in 1804, and eventually, head of a solicitor's firm.

He was to have married the daughter of James Stillingfleet, Rector of Knightwick and a Prebendary of the Cathedral, but the parents of the girl objected on the ridiculous grounds that they did not care for their daughter to marry a man whose name appeared at the foot of every notice on turnpike gates around Worcester. It illustrates the exclusiveness of the Cathedral people of that day. They kept themselves to themselves, and objected to mixing with the proffessional element, and consequently, the Church counted for little in the lives of Worcester people.

Archilbald later married in 1819  'a clean, wholesome young widow' who was Lawyer Hyde's widow. She was Mary Robert's, the daughter of the Rector of Broadway, a young lady decided views and a strong personality, ruling her household with a rod of iron, and her relations held her in great awe. She contrasted with her husband, who was most sociable, for she was constitutionally unsociable.

She made no attempt to hide her dissatisfaction with the Cathedral clergy, declaring they had neither learning or spirituality, and for a time, attended Angel Street Chapel. In later life she was attracted by the Oxford Movement, and became a pronounced High Church woman. Once a year, she gave three dinner parties on successive days: first for the Bishop and County people, secondly for leading townsfolk, and thirdly, for her husband's humble clients and friends.

Jane Cameron was the youngest daughter of Charles. Born in 1793, she became known as 'the beauty of Worcester' and the 'Belle of the Hunt Ball'. There was a love affair with Lord Deerhurst, eldest son of the Lord Coventry of the day - but the Camerons were not quite in the same class as the Coventrys, and she was married off to Captain Thomas Roberts, the brother of Mary Roberts. It was, in fact, a double wedding.

In the early 19th century a solicitor names Saunders lived in part of the Commandery. Among his clients was T.C.Hornyhold of Blackmore Park, near Malvern, a noted sporting squire, famed even in the period of Jack Mytton and Squire Osbaldeston, and the most popular man in Worcestershire. His portrait was in almost every inn and farmhouse, but he spent money like water. Mortgages piled up and his solicitor became practically the owner of the Blackmore estate. Saunders saw a way out - the Squire was unmarried, and the solicitor had a daughter: and so, wedding bells relieved Hornyhold, and his debts became his wife's dowry.