Correspondence from Lady Dartrey (later Cremorne)

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 HAM/1/11
  • Dates of Creation
  • Physical Description
      50 items. Condition: a number of sheets are torn and fragile, HAM/1/11/10 has been censored with some text cut out.

Scope and Content

Lady Philadelphia Hannah Dartrey née Freame (c.1740-1826), later Lady Cremorne, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the granddaughter of William Penn. In May 1770 she married Thomas Dawson, who was created Baron Dartrey of Dawson's Grove, Co. Monaghan, in the same month. He was elevated to Viscount Cremorne in 1785, and created Baron Cremorne of Castle Dawson in 1789. She was a former Lady in Waiting to Queen Charlotte. A number of the letters are written by Lady Dartrey's long serving servant, Mrs Polfrey, on her behalf when Dartrey found it difficult to write as she was suffering from an eye complaint. Hamilton visited Spa with the Dartreys and kept a diary of her trip there (see HAM/2/1).

The correspondence in this sub-series relates to a variety of subjects including news of family and friends such as Elizabeth Carter and Mrs Delany. Dartrey writes of a near accident while travelling in her coach, noting that one of the postilions was drunk and fell off his horse as he was conducting her. She writes of not knowing what to do and of the second postilion leading them to Uckfield 'amidst the laughs of the Townsfolk' (HAM/1/11/3). She informs Hamilton that she will now have to let this servant go. Dartrey invites Hamilton to visit her and notes an expected visit from Princess Dashkova, whom Hamilton and Dartrey met at their visit to Spa in 1776 (see HAM/2/1). She seeks Hamilton's advice on Royal protocol (HAM/1/11/5), and writes with advice on Hamilton's wish to resign from Court, asking her to delay her decision (HAM/1/11/7). Other correspondence in the sub-series is concerned with subscriptions, Lady Dartrey's leaving Queen Charlotte's service (HAM/1/11/9), and the problems Dartrey is having getting a book from the bookseller for the Queen. She discusses the Royal family including the King's return to health and the ensuing public celebrations (HAM/1/11/41). She writes in detail of a woman who has fallen on hard times and who has been referred to her by Lady Spencer (HAM/1/11/16) and on Hamilton's engagement and the wealth of John Dickenson Senior. Dartrey writes about the increasingly poor health and eventual death of her son and the final letter in this sub-series refers to a disagreement between Hamilton and Lady Wake (HAM/1/18/8) and of Dartrey refusing to meet Hamilton as it would be 'mutually distressing' (HAM/1/11/50).


The correspondence has been arranged in chronological order.