Correspondence from Lady Frances Harpur

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 HAM/1/16
  • Dates of Creation
  • Physical Description
      102 items. Condition: a number of sheets are torn and fragile and HAM/1/16/5 has suffered some fire damage.

Scope and Content

Lady Frances Harpur née Greville (1744-1825) was a cousin of Mary Hamilton's, the daughter of her aunt, Elizabeth Greville née Hamilton, and her husband, Francis, 1st Earl of Warwick. She was the sister of Charles and Robert Fulke Greville (see HAM/1/5/3) and married Sir Henry Harpur in 1762. Lady Frances Harpur died in 1825.

The correspondence in this sub-series relates to general news of family and friends, charity, religion and issues with servants. Harpur misses Hamilton's company and on hearing that she is to stay once more at Bulstrode with the Duchess of Portland, she writes that she wishes the Duchess 'would interest herself with her shells and fossils' (HAM/1/16/16). She describes how she spends her time in London, attending lectures, riding in the Park and meeting the Prince of Wales. She also writes of the subscription for Hannah More's 'Milkwoman' poems. She describes attending Handel's Messiah at Westminster Abbey. In HAM/1/16/39 Harpur writes about her friend Mrs Rundell (see HAM/1/8/6) and suggests that Hamilton should make her acquaintance whilst visiting Bath. She talks of her cousin Jane Holman (see HAM/1/4/3) whom she believes has married out of her 'class' (HAM/1/16/75).

Harpur discusses the King's health and the prospect of a Regency (HAM/1/16/49). She has a low opinion of the Prince of Wales and wishes that he would behave with more respect and affection towards the King and Queen and 'not change the ministry' if a regency is voted for. If the King was to recover and found there to be a new Ministry, she does not think he would recover from the shock. Harpur also writes of the return to England of Sir William Hamilton (see HAM/1/4/4) with his new wife, Lady Hamilton. She discusses the family's wish to distance themselves socially from Lady Hamilton and provides an unflattering description of the famous 'Emma'. She expresses her disappointment with her: she had expected 'much elegance of figure & manner. She has neither' (HAM/1/16/62). Harpur discusses the death of Sir William Hamilton, and the return to England of Robert Hamilton - the son of Frederick Hamilton (see HAM/1/4/1-2) - allegedly with a women he is not married to (HAM/1/16/70). She also writes with news about an attack on the Duke of Cumberland by one of his servants (HAM/1/16/73-4). Other letters are concerned with her relations regiment in Lisbon and the capture of Napoleon.


The correspondence has been arranged in chronological order with undated items placed at the end of the sequence unless dates could be inferred from their content, context or physical characteristics.