The Cameron Family

  • 7 Nov 2019
  • Worcester People and Places
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The Commandery has been home to many notable families including the Camerons. Dr. 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 Littleton Butt who, like her sister Mrs. Sherwood, wrote books for children, and numbered among admirers the great Dr. Arnold of Rugby School who quoted from them in his sermons.

The second son, Francis, was born at the Commandery in 1782. Always an adventurous boy, he ran away to sea at fourteen and served before the mast. Later a midshipman's commission was secured for him, and he was in the thick of the battle at Cape St Vincent. He became First Lieutenant of H M Rattler but at the age of twenty -three, like many another young man protecting the sugar islands, he died of yellow fever at Jamaica.

The third son, Francis, was born at the Commandery in 1782 and said to be the original of Archie Carlise in Mrs. Henry Wood's East Lynne . Despite injury and poor health as a boy, he became an attorney in 1804 and eventually head of a firm of solicitors. He was to have married the daughter of James Stillingfleet, Rector of Knightwick and a prebendary of the cathedral, but her parents objected on the ridiculous grounds that they did not want her 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.

Fifteen years passed before Archibald married the 'clean, wholesome young widow' of Lawyer Hyde. She was Mary Roberts, the daughter of the Rector of Broadway, a young lady of decided views and strong personality, ruling her housebound with a rod of iron. In strong contrast to her husband, she was constitutionally unsociable and made no attempt to hide her dissatisfaction with the cathedral clergy, declaring they had neither learning nor spirituality. 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 and Anne. 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 and she was married off to Captain Thomas Roberts, the brother of Mary Roberts.

In the early 19th century a solicitor named Saunders lived in part of the Commandery. Among his clients was T.C.Hornyold of Blackmore Park, near Malvern, a noted sporting squire and said to be the most popular man in Worcestershire; his portrait hung in almost every inn and farmhouse in the county. But he spent money like water. Mortgages piled up and his solicitor became practically the owner of the Blackmore estate.

Saunders, however, saw a way out: the squire was unmarried - and the solicitor had a daughter. And so the wedding bells relieved Honeyhold, and his debts became his wife's dowry. 

I have researched both the Hornyold family and in-depth of the Sanders/Saunders family, which both have very interesting historic connections to high profile families including Shakespeare, Talbots, and Heminges to name but a few and will add to this site in the near future..