Henry Thrale of Southwark, Esq;—to Miss Salusbury, niece to Sir Thomas Salusbury.
Nearly the handsomest man in England.
Henry was a solid respectable man who was kindly towards Hester. Hester once said that Henry Thrale only married her because other ladies to whom he proposed had refused to live in the Borough . Hester complained that she was not allowed to ride or to manage the household, and was driven to amuse herself with literature and her children. Together they had 12 children , most of which died in childhood, and those that lived to maturity were distant and gradually estranged from Hester after her second marriage . Boswell quotes Samuel Johnson as saying of Henry Thrale…
I know no man… who is more master of his wife and family than Thrale. If he but holds up a finger, he is obeyed.
In June 1777 Hester wrote the following account of Henry Thrale's traits in Thraliana …
As this is Thraliana—in good Time—I will now write Mr Thrale's Character in it: it is not because I am in good or ill Humour with him or he with me, for we are not capricious People, but have I believe the same Opinion of each other at all Places and Times. Mr Thrale's Person is manly, his Countenance agreeable, his Eyes steady and of the deepest Blue: his Look neither soft nor severe, neither sprightly nor gloomy, but thoughtful and Intelligent: his Address is neither caressive nor repulsive, but unaffectedly civil and decorous; and his Manner more completely free from every kind of Trick or Particularity than I ever saw any person's—he is a Man wholly as I think out of the Power of Mimickry. He loves Money & is diligent to obtain it; but he loves Liberality too, & is willing enough both to give generously & spend fashionably. His Passions either are not strong, or else he keeps them under such Command that they seldom disturb his Tranquillity or his Friends, & it must I think be something more than common which can affect him strongly either with Hope, Fear Anger Love or Joy. His regard for his Father's Memory is remarkably great, and he has been a most exemplary Brother; though when the house of his favourite Sister was on Fire, & we were alarmed with the Account of it in the Night, I well remember that he never rose, but bidding the Servant who called us, go to her Assistance; quietly turned about & slept to his usual hour. I must give another Trait of his Tranquillity on a different Occasion; he had built great Casks holding 1000 Hogsheads each, & was much pleased with their Profit & Appearance—One Day however he came down to Streatham as usual to dinner & after hearing & talking of a hundred trifles—but I forgot says he to tell you how one of my great Casks is burst & all the Beer run out. Mr Thrale's Sobriety, & the Decency of his Conversation being wholly free from all Oaths Ribaldry and Profaneness make him a Man exceedingly comfortable to live with, while the easiness of his Temper and slowness to take Offence add greatly to his Value as a domestic Man: Yet I think his Servants do not much love him, and I am not sure that his Children feel much Affection for him: low People almost all indeed agree to abhorr him, as he has none of that officious & cordial Manner which is universally required by them—nor any Skill to dissemble his dislike of their Coarseness—with Regard to his Wife, tho' little tender of her Person, he is very partial to her Understanding,—but he is obliging to nobody; & confers a Favour less pleasingly than many a Man refuses to confer one. This appears to me to be as just a Character as can be given of the Man with whom I have now lived thirteen Years, and tho' he is extremely reserved and uncommunicative, yet one must know something of him after so long Acquaintance. Johnson has a very great Degree of Kindness & Esteem for him, & says if he would talk more, his Manner would be very completely that of a perfect Gentleman.
Their friend Mr Pepys composed verses to commemorate their 13th wedding anniversary in 1776 . In 1779, Hester who had also lost several children, was unhappy in the thought that she had ceased to be appreciated by her husband. She became jealous of his regard for Sophy Streatfeild of Chiddingsone (1754-1835), a rich widow's daughter. In January, 1779, she wrote in Thraliana …
Mr. Thrale has fallen in love, really and seriously, with Sophy Streatfield; but there is no wonder in that; she is very pretty, very gentle, soft, and insinuating; hangs about him, dances round him, cries when she parts from him, squeezes his hand slily, and with her sweet eyes full of tears looks so fondly in his face - and all for love of me, as she pretends, that I can hardly sometimes help laughing in her face. A man must not be a man but an it to resist such artillery.
Queeney  in a letter to Fanny Burney  in 1813 wrote that she believed that Hester hated Henry. While there was no great passion, they loved and respected each other. Hester wrote that their match was …
mere Prudence and common good Liking, without the smallest pretensions to Passion on either side.
On the date of her wedding anniversary with Henry, in the first year of her widowhood, 11 October 1787, Hester wrote in Thraliana …
Why do the people say I never loved my first husband? 'tos a very unjust conjecture. This day on which 24 years ago I was married to him never returns without bringing with it many a tender Remembrance: though 'twas on that Evening when we retired together that I was first alone with Mr. Thrale for five minutes in my whole life. Ours was a match of mere Prudence; and common good Liking, without the smallest Pretensions to passion on either Side: I knew no more of him than any other Gentleman who came to the House, nor did he ever profess other Attachment to me, than such as Esteem of my Character, & Convenience from my Fortune produced. I really had never past five whole Minutes Tête a Tête with him in my life till the Evening of our Wedding Day,—& he himself has said so a Thousand Times. yet God who gave us to each other, knows I did love him dearly; & what honour I can ever do to his Memory shall be done, for he was very generous to me.
The next day, 12 October 1781, Hester Thrale wrote in Thraliana  …
Yesterday was my Wedding Day; it was a melancholy thing to me to pass it without the Husband of my Youth.
Long Tedious Years may neither moan Sad—deserted and alone; May neither long condemn'd to stay Wait the second Bridal Day!!!
|Child||Image||Born||Died||Age at death||Buried|
|Hester Maria Thrale (Queeney). Story . Family tree .||17 September 1764 Southwark .||31 March 1857. 110 Picadilly, London||92||Keith Mausoleum |
|Frances Thrale. Story . Family tree .||27 September 1765 Southwark  .||6 October 1765. Southwark .||9 days||St Leonards Church, Streatham |
|Henry Salusbury Thrale Story . Family tree .||15 February 1767 Southwark .||23 March 1776. Southwark .||9||St Leonards Church, Streatham |
|Anna Maria Thrale Story . Family tree .||1 April 1768 Streatham .||20 March 1770. Dean Street , London.||23 months||St Leonards Church, Streatham |
|Lucy Elizabeth Thrale Story . Family tree .||22 June 1769 Streatham .||22 November 1773. Streatham. ||4||St Leonards Church, Streatham |
|Susannah Arabella Thrale Story . Family tree .||23 May 1770 Southwark .||5 November 1858. Knockholt, Kent.||88||St Leonards Church, Streatham |
|Sophia Thrale Story . Family tree .||23 July 1771 Streatham .||8 November 1824. Sandgate, Kent.||53||St Leonards Church, Streatham |
|Penelope Thrale Story . Family tree .||15 September 1772 Streatham .||15 September 1772. Streatham .||10 hours||St Leonards Church, Streatham |
|Ralph Thrale Story . Family tree .||
8 November 1773 Streatham .
|13 July 1775. Brighton .||20 months||Unknown|
|Frances Anna Thrale Story . Family tree .||4 May 1775 Streatham .||9 December 1775 Streatham .||7 months||St Leonards Church, Streatham |
|Cecilia Margaretta Thrale Story . Family tree .||8 February 1777 Streatham .||1 May 1857. Brighton Railway Station.||80||St Leonards Church, Streatham |
|Henrietta Sophia Thrale Story . Family tree .||21 June 1778 Streatham .||25 April 1783. Streatham .||4||St Leonards Church, Streatham |
|Stillborn son Story .||Miscarried 10 August 1779 Streatham .||Unknown|
First-born, Hester Maria was born in Southwark on 17th September 1764, and christened at St Saviour's Church1 by Rev James Evans on 24 September 1764. She was named after her grandmother Hester Maria Salusbury Cotton . Her godparents were grandmother Hester Maria Salusbury Cotton, aunt Susanna Nesbitt  and 5 year old cousin Sir John Lade .
Nicknamed Queeney. Sometimes she was affectionately called 'Nig', 'Niggy', 'Tit', 'Birdey'2 or 'Hetty'. Dr Samuel Johnson affectionately called her 'Sweeting' and gave her a cabinet for the storage of curios . Samuel Johnson was devoted to Queeney and referred to her in a 1771 letter as "Sweet, dear, pretty, little Miss". Johnson followed Queeney's life with affectionate interest and anxious concern.
Queeney was subject of Beryl Bainbridge's excellent book, According to Queeney .
She is also characterised as being a child prodigy, and was immensely tutored. Aged four, Queeney was already studying the dramatic structures of the Iliad . She studied Italian.
Hester Lynch Thrale wrote…
Doctor Johnson has undertaken to teach my eldest Daughter Latin and has actually undertaken & begun his Work. Fanny Burney, Author of Evelina  is to learn with her of the same Master— Mr Thrale 3 says it is better to teach each of them than a Thousand pounds added to their Fortune. Dear Creatures! How earnestly do I wish them Success! they love one another and will improve by studying together—what a Master they have too! Happy Rogues!—
In 1776 Queeney wrote her first verses . In July 1779 Hester Lynch Thrale wrote in Thraliana …
Queeney produced a mock-solemn covenant, headed “
Streatham December the 8th at night, 1774”, signed by Hester with her full name and her seal, and witnessed by “Sam. Johnson, LL.D.” and “Hester Lynch Thrale”, in which she promises to work for two full hours at her Italian every day as Mr. Barretti  shall instruct her.
And I promise further, that, whether I am in good humour or out of humour, I will be in earnest and very attentive to my lesson, as if I were in the very best humour, nor will I look about me with a vacant and weary countenance, so that the said Mr. Barretti (alias Taskmaster) shall have no reason, no, not the least shadow of a reason to complain of my disattention, unwillin[gn]ness, and reluctance.
Baretti left Streatham  a month later.
She is known to have studied Hebrew from around 1798, and on 21 June 1805, she wrote to her mother that she would never to have dared to learn Hebrew if she had not been told that…
the Illeterate and Itinerant Preachers of Methodism up & down, all study Hebrew, to torment the clergy
On Queeney's 16th birthday in 1780, her mother wrote in Thraliana…
It is this day given me by God to see my first born offspring, my dear Hester,—sixteen Years old— virtuous in Heart, prudent in Behaviour, pleasing in Person, & accomplished in Knowledge. What more would I have! & yet I often catch myself complaining.—Oh God forgive my foolish repining Spirit; and give me Grace to be thankful for, & to enjoy the Blessings I do not deserve. We always have a Dance on her Birthday for the Servants, and they shall have it this Year too—in spite of past Sorrows. Mr Johnson's Birthday is the next day to hers, & we keep them together, &. fill the Summer House  with Food, Fiddles &c, today being Sunday, the Balls must be tomorrow & Tuesday. Sure nothing will ever happen that will keep me from rejoycing on the 17: & 18 : of September, the Birthdays of my Daughter & my Friend.,—.
Oh Lord accept my grateful and Heartfelt Thanks for having lived to see her attain this proximity to Womanhood, & permanent Duration. She is however still delicate in her Health I think, & mightily tormanted with Worms.
On 17 September 1803, Hester Lynch Thrale wrote…
Here is Miss Thrale's Birthday come round again, the weather beautiful, & I hope my heart grateful for having lived to see my eldest child 39 years old—& just now not unkind at all—She has written once or twice this year, & in the last Letters some Compassion was exprss'd fo Mr Piozzi's Sufferings—They are indeed very great—Well! God bless her, & him.
Her mother's entries in her diary indicate that they did not get along and that Queeney bore little affection for her mother.
Hester Maria was described as smart and shy but cold and proud. Both Queeney and Hester were dear close friends with Fanny Burney .
On 1 January 1782 her mother wrote in Thraliana …
I was reading something of Swift  one Day & commending him as a Writer—I cannot endure Swift replied my eldest Daughter … every thing of his seems to be Froth I think, and that Froth is dirty. She is a prudent Child indeed, I would wish to consult her on every occasion: so much sound Judgment, so little Vanity, such proper Notions of this World, & such Aspiration after a better have I yet never seen in a Creature of her Age: The Marquis of Caermarthen son to the present Duke of Leeds, & elder Brother to. I this Cuckoldly Marquis4, appeared to me to be the Person most resembling her for Perfections of Body & Mind:—beautiful, pious, wise and well accomplished was the late Lord Caermarthen. Hester is however deficient enough in the petite morale: not caressing, not even attentively polite; never appearing pleased either with herself or Companions, She will not I fancy be a sought-for Character.
Queeney first met Viscount Admiral George Keith of Elphinstone  in 1796, and they were much later married on 10 January 1808. Queeney was 44 at the time. They lived in Tulliallan Castle , and had a London home at 110 Piccadilly. Keith is said to have made more in prize-money than any other naval officer. Queeney was Keith's second wife.
Hester Lynch Thrale wrote of Admiral Elphinstone in her Thraliana in November 1796 - even though she could not have known that she was writing of her future son-in-law Admiral George Keith Elphinstone who was responsible for trapping the Dutch Fleet in Saldanha Bay on 19 August 1796. She wrote…
Our capture of the whole Dutch Fleet at once without firing a Gun is a great event indeed.
Again she wrote on 7 October 1804
Good News! great News! we have got at the French & drubb'd them heartily:.
Again the victory was Lord Keith's, this time over the French fleet in Boulogne harbour between 2 and 3 October 1804.
Georgina was married twice. Firstly, to the Hon. Augustus John Villiers, son of the Earl of Jersey, and secondly to Lord William Godolphin Osborne, brother of the eighth Duke of Leeds. Georgina was the last direct descendant of Henry Thrale, as she died childless in 1892.
In 1832, together with her other sisters, she founded the Thrale Almshouses .
Queeney lived the longest of the children, to age 92, dying on 31 March 1857 at home: 110 Picadilly, London W1.
She was buried in the Keith family mausoleum at Overton Kirkyard, Tulliallan, Fife, Scotland.
Whilst on a family holiday in Wales , in July 2001 we took a day trip to Tremeirchion to visit the grand country house Brynbella  that Hester and Gabriel Piozzi  built, and also to see their final resting place at the village church.
At the Church we met a lady who told us that a couple of weeks previously the BBC had been filming with Beryl Bainbridge  about the Thrale family. Surprised and a little excited I spent the next few weeks searching the BBC’s web site every few days. After about a month I found a BBC news article  reporting that Beryl Bainbridge’s new book According to Queeney was the bookmakers favourite to win the 2001 Booker Prize .
I could not believe it. After a year researching the family history of my family - a family so obscure that the only other Thrale's I had ever met were aunts, uncles or cousins - we were to be on the television and be the subject of a book by a major author, and in for the Booker Prize to boot! It was hard to believe.
That was how I discovered According to Queeney.
A little more Internet searching, and I discovered a book signing on 12 September 2001 at the London bookshop Hatchards . I quickly booked leave from work, there was some surprise among my colleagues that a colleague would be absent from a staff meeting to attend a book signing in Mayfair! I was surprised too, I had never been to a book signing before. It was the 12 September 2001, the day after the terrible terrorist attack on the Pentagon and the World Trade Centre in New York. Several people bought the book to send to friends and relatives in America. Beryl kindly signed a book for me, I asked her to inscribe it “To David Thrale in memory of Kenneth” (my late father Ken Thrale).
I imagined that she hadn't met a Thrale and that she would be surprised and make some comment. However, things didn't go at all how I thought. I could never of imagined that she would reply, “How do you spell Thrale”? I replied, “As in Queeney Thrale”. As I watched Beryl, I could see the penny drop!
 At the Silvermoon Women’s Book Club  on 26 September 2001, Beryl talked about the book and answered a few questions. She described how when signing up for a three book contract she had committed to writing a book on the Titanic and on the Crimean War, and then on the spur of the moment - with no idea about what the third book would be about - she came up with a book about Samuel Johnson.
She decided to found the subject matter very daunting and explained that it took awhile to get feeling for the age. Her research involved reading only contemporary documents. No recent books were read. The book starts when Johnson was aged 57. She found Hester Thrale  to be extremely clever & vivacious. She explained that Johnson lived at Streatham Park  for 17-18 years.
In answer to the question of how much of the book was her imagination, Bainbridge explained the lengths that she goes to ensure accuracy and that all the characters were real people. In answer to my question about the Letters to Ms Hawkins, Beryl explained that whilst Miss Hawkins was a real life character, the letters were Bainbridge's creation. She went on to describe the size of Henry Thrale's coffin . It was an enjoyable - but wet- evening. Beryl Bainbridge came across as a down-to-earth and witty person.
Enough rambling, on to the book. Well I must offer the caveat that this is my first book review and that thus far I have only read about two-thirds of the book. The book chronicles they years during which Johnson and the Thrales lived together as a family unit. The book is 'faction', i.e. a dramatised account of real historical people and the events that really happened to them.
In my amateur research I have often thought that accounts I have read of the relationship didn't ring true. Some completely sideline Henry Thrale, when I always felt that Johnson had a deep respect for Henry Thrale and regarded him with great affection, and always deferred to him as the head of the family. I thought that Johnson valued being part of the Thrale family, and obtained from the family a sense of belonging, support during his bouts of illness and depression, care for his well being and tolerance of his anti-social ways. A bit like a mother treats a child, Henry and Hester would ensure that Johnson was cared for and made more respectable in appearance. There was of course an extraordinary connection and affection between Johnson and Hester Thrale, but I'm not convinced it was the great passion that others have speculated on.
Throughout the book, I have been impressed with the accuracy and attention to detail. Little stories and accounts are accurately included, such as Baretti's  views on tin pills, as well as the events of wider public interest, like the visit to the Court of French Queen Marie Antoinette . I have also been impressed and heartened that Beryl Bainbridge has portrayed the relationships in the way that I had imagined them, rather than the way that some other commentators have portrayed the relationships. Above all the book is a really good read that isn't too hard going.
The story in the book isn't recounted in chronological order. I found that slightly distracting. Obviously I had the advantage of knowing who the people in the book were. This definitely made the book easier to follow and comprehend. Most readers will not have the benefit of this knowledge, perhaps a glossary of the characters may have been useful?
In summary even if you have no prior interest in Johnson or the Thrale family, this book passes my acid test with flying colours, it is a good enjoyable read. If you do have an interest in the history - and you probably do if you are reading Thrale.com it is accurate and unlike all the other family history documents I have read, gives a real insight into the lives and personalities of our predecessors that is absent from the usual dry historical accounts of events and dates.
A very big thank you to Beryl Bainbridge from all Thrale's everywhere - now go and buy it . The first chapter of According to Queeney can be read on-line .
Shortly after the books publication, the BBC broadcast According to Beryl , a television documentary on Beryl Bainbridge and her book According to Queeney.
On 6 October 2001, BBC Television broadcast According to Beryl. Their hour-long account of the family arrangement enjoyed by Samuel Johnson and the Thrale family of Streatham , seen through the eyes of Beryl Bainbridge , author of the book on the same subject, According to Queeney .
The programme starts - like the book - with Beryl Bainbridge discussing Samuel Johnson's post mortem and reading from the original hand written post mortem record.
Beryl Bainbridge always does a painting after each book, and this one is called “The Latin Lesson”. It shows a painting of Samuel Johnson , Beryl Bainbridge and her editor - who once taught Latin to her, as Johnson once taught Queeney  Latin. Stuck on to the painting are reproductions of James Boswell, Tetty (Johnson’s wife), Mr & Mrs David Garrick and Hester Thrale , the one closest to his heart, and Queeney with the Pope.
Bainbridge visits Johnson's Gough Square house and talks about Johnson's mannerisms, Joshua Reynold's portrait of Johnson. She describes the Johnsons Court household and the event when Johnson was in deep despair - near to insanity - and was rescued by the Thrales who then took Johnson to live with them at Streatham Park. An oil painting of Streatham Park is show, as is Robert Edge Pine's portrait of Hester Thrale. Joshua Reynold’s portrait of Henry Thrale is shown. A further portrait of Thrale is also shown. Bainbridge describes how Johnson was introduced to the Thrales through their friend Arthur Murphy .
Bainbridge goes to Streatham - now a London Suburb - and goes up a hoist crane, comparing an old map of Streatham Park, whilst describing how it was at that time. Bainbridge talks of Johnson's happy family life with the Thrale family at Streatham Park. Actors read from parting letters between Johnson and Hester Thrale .
Streatham Society On this site stood STREATHAM PLACE the villa of the Thrales in which Dr SAMUEL JOHNSON frequently stayed between 1766 - 1782
Bainbridge talks to the Streatham locals, some of which know of Thrale and Johnson. She sees the Mulberry tree left from Streatham Place under which Johnson liked to sit and Hester Thrale's pet Spaniel dog - Belle - was buried. A miniature drawing of Hester Thrale is shown. Bainbridge talks about Thrale's 12 children . The portrait of Hester and Queeney  is shown, as is an engraving of Hester Thrale and Samuel Johnson. On the Streatham Council estate many of the buildings are named after Johnson's contemporaries, Burney House, Boswell House, Levett House, Garrick House, Boothby House, and Chesterfield House.
Bainbridge talks about why her work
According to Queeney looks at Johnson through Queeney's eyes.
In Southwark, Bainbridge meets Ken Thomas (from Bristol) the archivist for Scottish Courage  Brewery. She sees and original plan drawing for Thrale's huge Southwark brewery . The walk past the Anchor pub and talk about the brewery. A drawing of the brewery is shown.
Site of Anchor Brewery List of Brewers The Monger Family 1616-1670 Josiah Child 1670-1693 Edmund Halsey MP 1693-1729 Ralph Thrale 1729-1758 Henry Thrale 1758-1781 Barclay, Perkins & Co 1781-1955 Courage Ltd 1955 - 1986.
They walk to Southwark Cathedral  near to where many of Thrale's children were buried. She talks about Lucy Thrale , and how she was called Lucy Elizabeth Thrale - Elizabeth being the name of Johnson's late wife. Bainbridge also talks about Henry Thrale's two near bankruptcies .
Bainbridge talks about Johnson’s padlock which was sold in 1807 with Hester's possessions after her death. Bainbridge puts forward her idea that this wasn’t a sexual domination thing but to chain Johnson - at his request - during periods of, uncontrollable, near insanity.
Bainbridge goes to St Leonard’s Church Streatham . She meets Rev. Jeffrey Wilcox and sees the gravestone of Susannah Thrale  inside the church. They see Henry Thrale's mourning tablet  and talk about his gluttony. They visits the churches’ underground burial crypt and see Henry Thrale’s very large leather decorated, lead-lined coffin and the plaque which is inscribed:
Henry Thrale Esq. Died 4 April 1781 aged 53 years.
The events following Henry Thrale’s death  and Hester's later passion for and remarriage to Gabriel Piozzi  were discussed. A further portrait of Hester Thrale was shown. The infamous parting letters exchanged between Johnson and Hester Thrale  made shortly before Johnson’s death are read by actors.
Bainbridge discusses the scandal of Hester’s marriage to Gabriel Piozzi and "
wonders what the fuss was all about! and why?" Bainbridge discusses the six year break with Queeney.
Bainbridge sees Johnson’s death mask in the National Portrait Gallery. Bainbridge visits Brynbella  in Wales to talk about Hester’s happy life with Piozzi here for about 20 years. She talks of Hester’s total devotion to Piozzi and wishes she could have been brought up in a house like this.
The programme is interspersed throughout with Bainbridge’s readings from According to Queeney.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching this documentary. I am happy to provide other enthusiasts with a copy of the programme solely for their enjoyment - for non-commercial and non-broadcast purposes only. All I ask is the cost of postage and a blank DVD disk. If you would like a copy, please ask me .
A one-off film in which author Beryl Bainbridge chronicles the extraordinary relationship during the 18th century between Samuel Johnson and Hester Thrale, the wife of rich London brewer Henry Thrale, which forms the basis for her latest novel, According to Queeney.
Johnson lived with the Thrales for most of the last 20 years of his life, during which time Hester nursed him through his bouts of melancholia and gout - until she ran off with her daughter Queeney’s Italian singing teacher.
Director Udayan Prasad; Producer Anthony Wall.
Hotly tipped to win this year’s Booker Prize and yet, surprisingly, not in the shortlisted six, Beryl Bainbridge’s novel According to Queeney is generally considered to be one of her best. It brings to life the last 20 years of the extravagant figure of 18th-century scholar and wit Samuel Johnson, and explores one of his less well documented relationships – with rich brewer Henry Thrale and his wife.
Director Udayan Prasad came across the story independently and had begun to develop a film on the subject when he discovered Bainbridge was writing about it, too. They joined forces for this poignant and amusing tale.
The Thrale Almshouses, were built on Streatham High Road next to the police station in 1832 by Hester Maria Thrale , Susannah Arabella Thrale  and Cecilia Margaretta Thrale  - the three remaining daughters of Henry Thrale . The almshouses provided subsidised lodgings for four poor widows or single women who had "
attained an honest old age" in Streatham.
QUATUOR MULIERIBUS, QUÆ IN HÂC PAROCHIÂ PAUPERES SENECTUTEM HONESTAM ATTIGERINT, HENRICI THRALE QUATUOR NATÆ HAS ÆDES DOMICILIUM POSERUNT. A.D. MDCCCXXXII.
In his 1920 book Dr Johnson and Mrs. Thrale, A.M. Broadley speculated that the expression "
quatuor natse" is probably accounted for by the fact that the original parties to conveyance were the three daughters and Henry Merrick Hoare, who married Mrs. Mostyn, a widow at the time of its execution.
This was comprised in deed, 17 August 1832 (enrolled); endowment consists of £1,480 4s. 1d. consols  and £866 13s. 4d. consols, being the benefaction thereto of Thomas Arthur Bertie Mostyn, by deed poll, 5 October 1860, producing together £58 13s. 4d. yearly.1
The almshouse were demolished in 1930 when the land was sold for redevelopment.
In their place, eight new homes, designed by Cecil M Quilter, were erected at 27 Polworth Road, Streatham SW16 2HA. Map » 
In 1939, following the death of Lady Edith Robinson, the wife of the Streatham Conservative Association, it was decided to erect additional accommodation in her memory and £1,000 was raised which covered the cost of building two new almshouse on the Polworth Road site.
The homes are still in use  as social sheltered retirement housing, managed by the Thrale Almshouse & Relief in Need Charity. There are nine one bedroom houses for single women.
Frances was born on 27 September 1765 in Southwark  and was Christened on 3 October at St Leonard's Church, Streatham . Named after Mrs. Thrale's sister, Frances only lived ten days after birth dying of infant diarrhoea.
She died on 6 October 1765 in Southwark and was buried on 8 October 1765 (no monument) at St. Leonard's Church, Streatham. During and after the birth Mrs. Thrale  was under great stress from rushing around as Mr. Thrale successfully pursued a position in Parliament  after Alexander Hume had died leaving a position open. Mr. Thrale announced his running four days before Frances was born.
Named after his father, he was also described in his mothers journal as being very intelligent for his age. He had an attractive personality, was lively, dutiful and loving.
One entry described his physical appearance as …
Strong made, course and bony: - not handsome at all, but of perfect Proportion; and has a surly look with the honestest and sweetest Temper in the World.
Don't scream so, I know I must die.
By age three Henry had apparently already memorised many facts about religion; able to recite the different heathen Gods, the muses, his Catechism, grammar facts, and various other trivia. Around the age of eight 'Harry' had developed into an avid reader and been a person of a forward nature to which his mother had to warn him on what was appropriate conversation topic. He attended St Thomas's School (he refused to board).
Henry died at Brewery House  in Southwark between 3 and 4 o'Clock in the afternoon of the 23 March 1776 aged ten. The day before he died he went with a family party to the Tower of London  jumping in an out of '
every Mortar till he was black as the ground'. The next day he breakfasted with his father's clerks, bright as a berry. Later during the he suffered intense pain. A physician administered a medicine Daffy's Elixir . As he became desperately ill, his mother rushed to his bedside where he lay in agony. He spoke to his nurse and said
"Don't scream so, I know I must die".
It is a total extinction of the family. I would have gone to the extremity of the earth to have preserved this boy.
The cause of death has been speculated as being a ruptured appendix or fulminating septicaemia or meningitis. Today these would be treated with antibiotics with expected cure, but during the time a child often died within hours of a serious infection. He was buried on 28 March 1776 in St Leonard's Church, Streatham  and has a monument.
Samuel Johnson, learned of his death, in a letter received whilst having breakfast with James Boswell and Miss Porter on 25 March 1776. Johnson exclaimed:
Sir! one of the most dreadful things that has happened in my time!
What is it Sir?.
Why Sir Mr. Thrale  has lost his only son. It is a total extinction of the family. He'll no more value his daughters than … why sir, he wishes to propagate his name … I would have gone to the extremity of the earth to have preserved this boy.
His mother  slowly recovered from his death, although it is known that her disappointment in the behaviour of her friend Herbert Lawrence2 following her son's death led to the ending of their friendship . In contrast, although Henry Thrale  lived for a further five years after the death of his son, his father his father never really recovered from his death.
Born on 1 April 1768 in Streatham , and named after Lady Anna Maria Salusbury (née Penrice) 1718-1759.
Wonderfully passionate and intelligent.
Christened on 17 April 1768 at St Leonard's Church, Streatham . Anna Maria was the first Thrale child to be christened in the Streatham rather than at The Borough in London. Her service was held at St Leonard's, close to Streatham Park, the rector, James Tattersall, officiating. Mrs. Salusbury was again a godmother, and the other was Thrale's aunt Anne, the widow of Richard Smith, who had come with her nephew on his courting visit to Offley Place  nearly six years before. Jeremiah Crutchley  was Anna's godfather.
Anna Maria Thrale was described as very thin, not very pretty, but wonderfully passionate and intelligent. She lived mainly with her Grandmother, who would spoil her. In her Children's Book her mother described her thus…
Remarkably small bon'd & delicately framed, but not pretty, as she has no plumpness … her spirit uncommonly high, wonderfully passionate from the very first & backward in her Tongue tho' forward in general Intelligence: She could kiss her her hand at 9 months old, & understand all one said to her: could walk to perfection, & even with an Air at a year old, & seems to intend being Queen of us all if she lives which I do not expect she is so very lean.
On 20 March 1770 aged almost two Anna died from meningitis in Dean Street , London. On the same day Her mother's Children's Book described Anna as having died from
"a dropsy of the brain". Since she suffered for awhile the sickness may possibly have originated in tuberculosis. She also may have lacked sweat glands, a rare congenital condition.
She was buried on 23 March 1770 in St Leonard's Church, Streatham and has no monument.
She acquired her name after Johnson insisted on her being called Elizabeth, in Memory of his late wife Elizabeth (known as 'Tetty). Lucy was very pretty and wonderfully active with her feet although not very talented concerning matters of grammar and English.
Lucy died aged four on 22 November 1773 due to a brain abscess caused by an inflammation of both middle ears and mastoids resulting from a cold. She was buried on 26 November 1773 at St. Leonard's Church, Streatham without any monument.
Susannah was born on 23 May 1770.
She had crooked legs and an umbilical rupture which made her irritable. Because of this she was called 'Little Crab' by the other children and 'Gilly' by her father from a Gilhouter, the Cheshire word signifying an owl.
She was a favourite of Johnson, who in 1777 said "I was always a Suzy, when nobody else was a Suzy". Johnson defended her as being strong and beautiful, against the opinion of her mother. Her mother described Susannah as "small, ugly & lean as ever; her Colour is like that of an ill painted Wall grown dirty." As she grew up, she was described by her mother as becoming pretty.
In July 1779 - when Susannah was nine - Hester wrote in Thraliana…
Susan & Sophy are fine Girls, and promise to be a Credit & Comfort to their Parents, neither do I yet see any Disposition in the Eldest  that need give one pain.
Susannah was knowledgeable on many things and had a talent for reading elegantly. She was able to speak French and English by age five. She attended Mrs Stevenson's school in Queens Square, London, and Mrs Cumyns's boarding school in Kensington, London.
I was always a Suzy, when nobody else was a Suzy.
On 20 January 1779, her mother wrote of her in Thraliana  …
My second Daughter Susanna1 Arabella who will not yet be nine Years old till next May, can at this moment read a French Comedy to divert herself, and these very holy days her Amusement has been to make Sophy  & sometimes Hester help her to act the two or three 1 st Scenes of Moliere 's Bourgeouis Gentilhomme : add to this that She has a real Taste for English Poetry, and when Mr Johnson repeated some of Dryden 's Musick Ode the other day, She said She had got the whole poem & Pope's too upon the same Subject by Heart for her own Amusement.—Her Knowledge of Arithmetick goes no farther than the four Rules, but She has worked a Map of Europe, and has a Comprehensive Knowledge of Geography that would amaze one.
On 14 July 1780 Hester wrote in Thraliana…
Susan is three parts a Beauty, & quite a Scholar for ten Years old: few passages in History or poetry,—I mean English Poetry—are new to her, & She is a Critick in Geography & French.
In January 1781 - when Susannah was eleven - Hester wrote in Thraliana…
Susan has a surprising turn for Letter writing; her compositions are relly elegant, & She delights—odd enough—in reading Voiture  & Sevigné . They both2 have obtained the French Accent very completely , considering they have never been out of England. I should like to treat them to with a run to the Continent.
On 17 December of the same year Hester wrote…
Susan is already taller than me, & three parts a Beauty.
In 1790, John Fuller , better known as "Mad Jack" Fuller, proposed marriage but was rebuffed. She remained unmarried.
In 1832, together with her other sisters, she founded the Thrale Almshouses .
Susannah died on 5 November 1858 aged 88 and was buried at Knockholt Church , Kent and has a monument inside the church.
dear, sweet, pretty, lovely, delicious Miss Sophy.
Sophia was a very large baby, common in overdue children. Johnson said of her during pregnancy…
This naughty baby stays so long that I am afraid it will be a giant, like King Richard.
As she grew she became very stout and…
handsome enough, though not eminant for beauty.
In July 1779 - when Sophia was eight - Hester wrote in Thraliana …
Susan  & Sophy are fine Girls, and promise to be a Credit & Comfort to their Parents, neither do I yet see any Disposition in the Eldest that need give one pain”.
Dear, sweet, pretty, lovely, delicious Miss Sophy.
Also at age four, she was memorising hymns, her multiplication tables and various Psalms.
On 6 August 1780 Hester wrote in Thraliana…
Sophy has a Turn for making Verses, bad enough to be sure, yet such a Turn shews Genius in a Girl who was nine Years old only a fortnight ago
In January 1781 Hester wrote in Thraliana…
Sophia, who is a more natural Character, finds no Entertainment in writing at all; but works hard at her Needle, and Harpsichord, and gets to spouting Fingal for her Diversion—they both1 have obtained the French Accent very completely , considering they have never been out of England. I should like to treat them to with a run to the Continent.
On 17 December 1781 Hester wrote…
My Sophy Thrale has begun to study Musik in good earnest; She will learn to play & sing very well I fancy, Piozzi has great hopes of her. Sophy is an Epitome of all the Cotton family—'tis odd that none of my children should resemble my Father.
She attended Mrs Stevenson's school in Queens Square, London, and Mrs Cumyns's boarding school in Kensington, London.
Heavens! a new Distress! my Child, my Sophia will dye: arrested by the hand of God—apparently so: She will die without a Disease—Fits, sudden, unaccountable, unprovoked; Apoplectic, lethargic like her Father. Woodward and Dobson are called: they say her Disorder should be termed Allonitus. 'tis an instant Cessation of all Nature's Pow'rs at once. I saved her in the first Attack, bya Dram of fine Old Usquebough given at the proper Moment—it reviv'd her, but She only lives I see to expire with fresh Struggles.
Oh spare my Sophia, my Darling, oh spare her gracious heaven—& take in Exchange the life of her wretched Mother!
She lives, I have been permitted to save her again; I rubbed her while just expiring, so as to keep the heart in Motion: She knew me instantly, & said you warm me but you are killing yourself—I actually was in a burning Fever from exertion, & fainted soon as I had saved my Child.
Hester  has behaved inimitably too, all our Tenderness was called out on this Occasion: dear Creatures! they see I love them, that I would willingly die for them; that I am actually dying to gratifie their Humour at the Expence of my own Happiness: they can but have my Life-let them take it !”
Sophy has a Turn for making Verses, bad enough to be sure, yet such a Turn shews Genius in a Girl who was nine Years old only a fortnight ago.
Johnson's letters show that he, and perhaps the physicians, regarded this attack of Sophia's as hysterical. On 27 November 1783 he wrote…
I had to-day another trifling letter from the physicians. Do not let them fill your mind with terrours which perhaps they have not in their own; neither suffer yourself to sit forming comparisons between Sophy and her dear father; between; whom there can be no other resemblance, than that of sickness to sickness. Hystericks and apoplexies have no relation.
Sophie's illness recurred for at least a year. It was mentioned again by Johnson in his March 1784 letters.
On 13 August 1807, Sophia married Henry Merrick Hoare (1770 - 1826). He was the 3rd son of Baronet Sir Richard Hoare  and Henry was a banker in the family firm  founded by his great great grandfather. Henry was also the 15th great grandson of King Edward I (1239-1307)  and 16th great grandson of Henry III (1297-1272) . On hearing of the wedding, which she did not attend, Sophia's mother wrote of Sophia's kindness and civility.
In return Hester gave Sophy an original Gainsborough  landscape painting. This painting was later owned by the Marquis of Lansdowne  and displayed in London at 1936 Gainsborough exhibition. On 17 October 1807, Hester wrote of the painting…
"The Subject Cattle driven down to drink, & the first Cow expresses Something of Surprize as if an Otter lurked under the Bank. It is a naked looking Landschape—done to divert Abel the Musician by representing his Country Bohenia in no favourable Light, & the Dog is a favourite's Portrait….
In 1805 Sophia sent her mother a gift of pens, to which her mother wrote some verses in response, by way of thanks .
Sophia died on 8 November 1824 aged 53. Her portrait is believed to be at Bowood House .
The other two Girls leave me tomorrow they will do very well; Sophy  has a Turn for making Verses, bad enough to be sure, yet such a Turn shews Genius in a Girl who was nine Years old only a fortnight ago. The following is one of her Attempts forsooth upon a wild Convolvulus  which She picked up here between Brighthelmston  & Rottenden.1
Fairest Product of the Field, Scent and Fragrance thou dost yield, Oh lovely, beauteous Flow’r! Thy Charms indeed are more than I can tell, They please the Sight, the Sense, the Smell, And shew thy wondrous Pow’r.—
Two other childish poem of Sophia’s  in her own hand, survive in her mother's later scrap-book, 'Minced Meat for Pyes'. One of these, on Streatham , appears in Merritt's book Piozzi Marginalia.2 The other reads as follows:
O Harriot Harriot dearest love Always Quiet as a Dove Always pretty gentle Mild Never Boisterous Rude or Wild Shun all Quarrels, shun all Strife You will find enough in Life I never will Abandon you But keep as Close as P to Q Believe me what I say is true.
Born at 1pm on 15 September 1772. Penelope was born with a blackened face and unable to breathe properly. She survived just 10 hours, and died just before midnight the same day.
It was said that Mrs. Thrale had driven herself to total exhaustion during her previous pregnancy  and had not recovered by the time Penelope was born.
Penelope was buried in St. Leonard's Church, Streatham  without any monument.
His mothers' Children's Book records that she had suspected that Ralph was imbecile since 31 December 1773 and that Dr Pott the surgeon confirmed this in April 1775, suggesting that the cause was congential . Ralph was said by Hester1 to have suffered from confluent smallpox .
During the last few months of his life, Ralph's state overshadowed the life of the Thrales taking everybody's mind off the fact that Frances Anna  was born two months earlier.
Ralph died of a brain disorder that caused his head to enlarge. Doctors now think that the cause of death was either congenital hydrocephalus , where there is an increase in the fluid in the ventricles of the brain, or hydrancephaly, where the a bag a clear fluid between the brain and skull distort the shape of the head.
He was buried in St. Leonard's Church, Streatham  and has a monument.
Born on 4 May 1775 at Streatham , she was named after Mrs. Thrale's niece, daughter of Mrs. Plumbe, Frances Plumbe Rice.
Sadly, Frances died of influenza at Streatham on 9 December 1775 aged seven months. At the time, most of the Thrale family had come down with the sickness but all recovered except Frances and her wet nurse who also died a few days later. Mrs. Thrale took the death as being normal in that during the time, infant mortality was high and death was always half expected with birth.
She was buried in St. Leonard's Church, Streatham  without any monument.
In July 1779 - when Cecilia was two - Hester wrote in Thraliana …
Cæcilia improves daily and is a lovely girl of the fair delicate kind … their is not a fault to find with either of them3 person or Mind; and I thank God who gave them me, their health is excellent.
On 28 March 1783 Hester wrote in Thraliana…
poor Cæcilia has got the Hooping Cough.
On 14 April 1783 she again wrote…
On 30 December 1789 - when Cecilia was twelve - Hester wrote in Thraliana…
Cæcilia grows more amiable, She has some fondness, & much flexibility: Amica di ognuno, Amica di nessuno7. should be Cæcilia's Motto. we teize her, & say She is like her own favourite Spaniel, who fawns upon everybody, & upon ev'ry body alike—but She says Phillis has her Distinctions.
On 29 April 1787 Hester wrote of Gabriel Piozzi's relationship with Cecilia in Thraliana…
The little Cecllia is his Darling, & while She is at School will honour us with her Visits no doubt, but her Tenderness will end there I trust, as her Spirit is the same to that of her Sisters. Well! never mind, my heart is vastly more impenetrable to their unmerited Cruelty than it was when last in England. Let them look to their Affairs, & I shall look to mine: the World is wide enough I'll warrant it for Miss Thrales and Mrs Piozzi.
Cæcilia improves daily and is a lovely girl of the fair delicate kind.
On 3 January 1791 - when Cecilia was fourteen - Hester wrote in Thraliana…
Every body tells me that Cæcilia Thrale improves, & so I think She does; tho’ not because they say so: were She less altered for the better, no less would be said about her perfections I suppose. but She has lost much of the savage Manners She brought from School: is tamer, & handsomer, and grows very like what her Sisters were when they lived with me.—The Exterior is best tho’ with Cecilia; her Mind recovers more slowly than her Person, from a severe Shock certainly given to Both in the Year 1783 by the Hooping Cough & Measles together, when her younger Sister lost that Life which was preserved to this Girl only by Sir Lucas Pepys’s5 extreme Skill & Care. She will however be a fine Woman, with Accomplishments & Beauty & Virtue enough to accompany forty or fifty Thousand Pounds—although her Memory is far from strong, and her Spirit of Application to any Study much too weak ever to attain at Eminence I think.
Her Temper when unthwarted is sweet, but She arms against opposition even instinctively; and will do nothing because She is commanded, but the contrary, while the same surly Independent Soul inhabits her Bosom with equal Rapacity to obtain, and Rage to appropriate, as in the hearts of any of her Family. Cecilia seems however to love Mr Piozzi—in her way of loving—but no one accuses her of partiality towards me I believe, whose Company She studiously avoids; & I therefore say nothing, but provide Refuges for her to recur to, that are no less improving Companions than myself—while She has Miss Weston, Miss Williams, Miss Lees, or Dear Siddons  only for Confidents—She can hear of nothing but Literature, so I care not.
The Greatheeds too, so much her favourites! with whom can She be better? We keep no Company but that by which something must be obtained to a Young Mind, of Knowledge or of Virtue.—
Three weeks later, on 27 January 1791 Hester wrote in Thraliana…
Here's my Birthday returned; the first I have spent at Streatham for many Years, and quite the happiest I ever did spend there: Our daughter who lives in the house with us—Cecilia—much improved, & growing handsome as well as tall & rich; good as her Neighbours too, for ought I see; though without much Love of Study, or Regard for me, all goes well between us; and her Papa8 as She calls him, has a very solid kindness & true Goodwill towards her. I find he is of Opinion that Cator is no honest Guardian to those Girls, but I suppose they would rather be robbed by him, than saved by us.
On 1 September 1794 - when Cecilia was seventeen - Hester wrote in Thraliana…
Cecilia does not indeed trouble herself to disguise her Sentiments, She has, and She shews She has, an ineffable Contempt for us both9; but why do I say of us? She despises every body, I know, except her own Sisters & her Father's Family (I suppose‚ twas they taught her to hate us so, She was only indifferent to us till She knew them—but ’twas an easy Lesson to any of the Family), Cecilia is however a very charitable Girl, and loves the poor : which will produce her many Blessings I humbly hope, and certainly will cover a Multitude of Faults—for the rest, one can only say with Andromache—
Youth and Prosperity have made her vain10.
In 1784 when her mother  left England Cecilia was left with Miss Nicholson.
In the summer of 1786 she moved to Mrs Stevenson's school in Queens Square, London.
Cecilia was admired by many, including Samuels Rogers who met her at Edinburgh  and Streatham.
On 6 June 1795 aged 18, Cecilia ran away and on 8 June 1795 was married in Gretna Green  in Scotland to John Meredith Mostyn (1775-1807). On 9 June, Cecilia wrote a letter to Hester which said…
We arrived safe here yesterday evening after an amazing long journey as you know & faster even than the mail—we were married immediately, stay here all today & set out on our road to Llewesog Lodge tomorrow
Hester Thrale’s account of this in Thraliana was…
“Oh Lord! Oh Lord! Mosty & Cecilia are run away to Scotland sure enough, and here is M r Piozzi  in an Agony about his Honour wch he fancies injured by the step, Susan  & Sophy  are in Care for the Money which they unjustly fear is endanger’d ; Miss Thrale 12 behaves best, & I suffer most—on Acct of her Health & Youth & Inexperience—Oh my poor Cecy!—for the 1st five Minutes I knew not but Drummond might have tricked her off with him pretending to be the other: but No, She is in safe & honourable Hands, and happy with her Dear Mostyn at Llewessog Lodge, where all seem rejoyced to receive & court her Attention.—This Business then is happily over, & I might sleep if Nervous Complaints did not hinder me—for now the other Girls are kind & good, & stuff Cecy, so do I, with bridal Presents; and nobody is otherwise than happy & content.
'Fedele & costante, felice e contento13' as my Master says.
Her Temper when unthwarted is sweet, but She arms against opposition even instinctively; and will do nothing because She is commanded, but the contrary.
On June 17 1795 Cecilia wrote to Hester, from Llewesog, that she had been…
frightened into fits on her wedding night, and that her husband had kindly and considerately got Dr. Haygarth to prescribe for her at Chester. 'I am got quite well now & am learning to behave better & an only as usual not to hurried & flurried but left to myself by Dr. H’s orders & then I shall soon be as good as he himself could wish.
On 11 October 1796 Hester wrote in Thraliana about an alleged illegitimate child sired by Mostyn …
Cecy Mostyn is a foolish Girl, & cannot rule her own Household — all our unfashionable Neighbours cry Shame! to see Mason her Maid with Child by the Master of the Mansion & the Gay Mistress protecting this Partner in her Husband's Person because it is the Way She says; & all those who understand genteel Life think lightly of such Matters. When I offered to speak my antiquated Sentiments upon the Subject, She forbid me (smartly) to say another Word about it; & told my Maid that if Mrs Piozzi plagued her any more concerning such Nonsense She would leave the House into wch She never came to say the Truth except for mere Conveniency.
They had three boys. The first died at birth on 28 August 1797 after her mother was in labour for
"Three Days and Nights in Torture".
The second was Henry Meredith Mostyn, also known as Harry, who was born in November or December 1799. Henry Mostyn had a distinguished career in Royal Navy and died in 1840.
The third was Thomas Arthur Bertie, born 11 July 1801, named after Bertie Greatheed, second son of Samuel Greatheed, Whig  Member of Parliament for Coventry and Lady Mary Greatheed. Bertie was a man of science interested in the latest inventions; and a writer. He wrote a play called The Regent in which he persuaded Sarah Siddons to take the leading part, but she miscarried on stage and the play was withdrawn. Thomas died early in life.
On 12 October 1804, Cecilia miscarried a girl after falling from a horse.
Cecilia visited her mother at Brynbella and on 21 October 1804, Hester wrote of the visit in Thraliana…
Cecilia Mostyn has been here on a Three Days Visit & made herself as it appeared to me, studiously agreeable. cecy complains of her Husband grievously, accuses him of gross Avarice and rough Behaviour—scruples not to confess her dislike of the Man & her Resolution to live with him only till The Boys go to School: yet something says to my heart that half of this is Fable, & spoken with Design of some sort to dig out how far I should grieve at, or resnt his Treatment of her if it was absolutely & truly what She represents. I listn'd however with Expressions of Wonder only, & just such Indignation as one could not avoid—Cecy is false as Water— and since She told Mr Mostyn long ago that I wished his Neck broke when such a word has never cross'd my Tongue—what will she not say now? I do not like a Tête a Tête with any but Truth-tellers—& what this fashionable Lady says, must be taken with a Grain of Salt. The worst is I cannot sleep since the Visit—such staring tales has She related—& of poor Susan  too!! Who can believe as fast as Cis can talk??—
Cecilia and John Mostyn separated in 1805, once the boys were placed in Mr Davies' Streatham school. Cecilia took residence in Cheltenham, whilst John went to live in Bath for the health-improving spas. They were reconciled, but they separated again in Autumn of 1806. John Mostyn died of Tuberculosis  on 19 May 1807 in Bath.
In 1832, together with her other sisters, she founded the Thrale Almshouses .
Cecilia died on at Brighton Railway Station on 1 May 1857 aged 80. She was buried in St. Leonard's Church, Streatham  and has a monument. Her collection of curiosities and relics of Mr. Thrale and Dr. Johnson was sold at Silwood Lodge, Brighton, in the autumn of 1857.
In July 1779 - when Henrietta was one - Hester wrote in Thraliana …
“Harriett is brown, rosy, fat and stout—their is not a fault to find with either of them1 person or Mind; and I thank God who gave them me, their health is excellent”.
She is a pretty creature!
On 17 December 1781 Hester wrote…
Harriet much resembles the young Rices I think—She is a pretty creature!
On 28 March 1783 - four weeks before she died - Hester wrote in Thraliana…
my youngest child Henrietta is ill”.
On 14 April 1783 she again wrote…
She was ill before 22 March 1783, as that day Sanuel Johnson wrote…
I hope, Harriet is well”.
On 31 March 1783, Johnson wrote…
I hope to hear again that my dear little girl is out of danger”.
Henrietta died at Streatham Park on 25 April 1783 aged four. In Thraliana, Hester wrote…
Henrietta’s Death however was inevitable; She came home with a slight glandular Swelling in her Neck which was succeeded by the Measles & Hooping Cough: these united fell very heavy on an Infant so tender, & falling on her Lungs particularly, produced an Abscess which was the immediate Cause of her Death.”.
Surprisingly - by today's standards - during the period of her illness and death Hester was in Bath whilst Henrietta and Cecilia were in Streatham.
She was buried in St. Leonard's Church, Streatham  and has no monument.
In 1779 Hester Thrale wrote in the Family Book…
"I think I am again pregnant".
She had a difficult pregnancy, which she prayed was a son. During most of the pregnancy she was confined to the house. On 10 August 1779, she was a few days away from being full-term, but problems with the Clerks had arisen at the brewery. In Thraliana , she wrote1…
Mr Thrale wished me to go, nay insisted on it, but seemed somewhat concerned too, as he was well apprized of the Risque I should run. I went however, & after doing the Business I went to do, beg'd him to make haste home, as I was apprehensive bad Consequences might very quickly arise from the Joulting &c. — he would not be hurried … no Pain, No Entreaties of mine could make him set out one Moment before the appointed hour — so I lay along in the Coach all the way from London to Streatham in a State not to be described, nor endured; — but by me: — & being carried to my Chamber the Instant I got home, miscarried in the utmost Agony before they could get me into Bed, after fainting five Times.
The stillborn child was a full term, perfectly formed, boy. Henry's inaction seemed to have caused, or contributed to the loss of his last chance to have a male heir. John Perkins who was present at the scene in the brewery, said that Henry seemed to be…
It is likely that the son was buried in St. Leonard's Church, Streatham  and had no monument.
In 1774, the Thrales went with Samuel Johnson  on a tour of Wales.
In September 1775 Hester, Henry, Queeney Thrale  (Hester and Henry's eldest child) together with Samuel Johnson and Joseph Baretti  went to Paris. On the 27th they narrowly escaped serious injury during a coaching accident .
On 19th October the party were admitted to the Court of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette at Fontainebleau, and enjoyed dinner and an evening at the theatre with them .
Johnson’s  perfect unconcern for the Lives of three People who would all have felt for his, shocked and amaz’d me.
The Banks of the Seine  however are surprizingly beautiful, & the whole Country carries an Air of Fertility that is inexpressibly delightful: to see Cherries, Apples, Grapes. Asparagus, Lentils & French Beans planted in large portions all around one, & inviting the Traveller to partake the Bounties of the Nation is so perfectly agreeable that one frets to see so many People beg, where one is morally certain nobody can starve.
These Reflexions are interrupted by the Recollection of a Frightful Accident which befel the Carriage in which were Mr Thrale, Baretti  and the Girl : their Postillion fell off his Horse on a strong Descent, the Traces were broken, one of the Horses run over and the Chaise carried forwards with a most dangerous Rapidity, which Mr Thrale not being able to endure till somebody came up—jumped out with intent to stop the Horses for Baretti & Queeney—however he only hurt himself & they went on till Sam1 came up. who had been miserably embarrassed with a vicious Horse which had retarded him so long, and afterwards flung him. This was therefore a day of Distress, & my Master2 found himself so ill when we arrived at St Germains that the Surgeon he sent for, advised him to go on to Paris & get himself bled & take a good deal of Rest which he hoped would restore him. He left us therefore at St Germains &
Mr Baretti kindly went with him to give him Assistance & pet us some Habitation to receive us at Paris. Dr Johnson’s perfect unconcern for the Lives of three People who would all have felt for his, shocked and amaz’d me,—but that, as Baretti says, is true Philosophy; Mrs Strickland did not give it so kind a Name, I soon her Indignation towards him prevailing over her Friendship for me. We slept at St Germains where we had excellent Beds, & on the next day I perceived Queeney had hurt her Side in yesterday's Scuffle, but how much Reason have I to rejoyce that no more Harm befel her.
He1 gave himself no concern about accidents, which he said never happened. Nor did the running away of the horses on the edge of a precipice between Vernon and St. Denis, in France, convince him to the contrary, "for nothing came of it," he said, "except that Mr. Thrale leaped out of the carriage into a chalk-pit, and then came up again looking as white!" When the truth was, all their lives were saved by the greatest Providence ever exerted in favour of three human creatures; and the part Mr. Thrale took from desperation was the likeliest thing in the world to produce broken limbs and death.
19 Octr 1775 The Morning was spent in Dressing, the Noon in going to Court, and the Evening was got rid of at the Play. We saw the young Princess Elizabeth dine first—her Attendant was only Madam de Guemené, who took her Plate from her to give it the page &c., but another Gentleman carved for Elizabeth is youngest Sister to the King, about twelve Years old or so, not handsome but passable, if She not so pinched in her Stays as makes her look pale & uneasy to herself. All Children through this Nation I perceive are thus squeezed and tortured during their early Years, and the Deformity they exhibit at maturity repays the stupid Parents for their Pains. The Princess herself suffers in Compliance to her Country's Taste.
The King & Queen dined together in another Room. They had a Damask Table Cloth neither course nor fine, without anything under, or any Napkin over. Their Dishes were Silver, not clean and bright like Silver in England—but they were Silver: their Plates, Knives, Forks & Spoons were gilt. They had the Pepper & Salt standing by them as it is the Custom here & their Dinner consisted of five Dishes at a Course. The Queen eat heartily of a Pye which the King helped her to, they did not speak at all to each other, as I remember, but both sometimes turned & talked to the Lord in waiting: The Queen is far the prettiest Woman at her own Court, & the King is well enough—like another Frenchman.
The Queen is far the prettiest Woman at her own Court, & the King is well enough—like another Frenchman.
Monsieur & Madame dine together in another another Room; it is a mighty silent ceremonious Business—this dining in publick. They likewise sat like two people stuffed wth straw; and only spoke to enquire after our Niggey , about whom the Queen had likewise before been very inquisitive. She would have our Names written down, & was indeed very [condescending but] troublesome with her Enquiries. [I got to another Corner of the room & heard a Gentleman say: That is the pretty English Woman I am sure by her blushing.] The Count & Countess D’Artois were the next Couple to be stared at, and at them also we stared our fill. The Countess is a little mean figure but has a pretty face enough & is the only one wife has brought a Child, so he will probably be Heir to France1. When we had looked at these great Folks till our Eyes aked, we returned to our Lodging, changed our Dress, and finished the Evening at the Theatre, where we had a Comedy incomparably performed: 'tis a new Piece, full of Repartee & Jokes new & old;—but the Action!—I am sorry to see the French beat us so in powers of Performance on a stage. I think however it is the only thing they excel us in & that must be my Comfort.
There were no Diamonds at all at Court but the Queen’s Earrings, & She had no other Jewels on her Head—a pair of Pearl with a picture on each were all that looked like Ornaments of expence—her Gown was Gawse adorned Flowers—& a sort of Tree in her Head, which is extravagantly high. The Women attendants eminently ugly; not a Face which did not disgust—and the Shape such as might be expected from the management of it during their Infancy—few Ladies here escape some kind of Deformity. The Court Dress is not like ours, but plaited with a particular Fold upon the Hoop, which is large & sloped, they all have their Trains borne, and those who have English Silks are accounted the best dress’d. No more time to write a Word this Night.
20 Octr 1775 begins. This Morning we drove into the Forest as they call it to see the Queen ride on Horseback. We were early enough to see her mount, which was not done as in England by a Man’s hand, but the right foot is fixed in the Stirrup first & then drawn out again when the Lady is on her Saddle. The Horse on which the Queen rode was neither handsome nor gentle, he was however confined with Martingales  &c. & richly caparison ’d with blue Velvet & Silver Embroidery : the Saddle was ill contrived—sloping off behind—& a Pommel so awkward that no Joyner could have executed it worse,—there was a Handle by the Side I saw. While we were examining the Furniture and Formation of the Horse, the Queen came to ride him, attended by the Duchess de Luignes2, who wore Boots & Breeches like a Man with a single Petticoat over them, her Hair tyed & her Hat cocked exactly like those of a Man, Her Majesty's Habit was Puce Colour as they call it her Hat filled with Feathers and her Figure perfectly pleasing. She offered her Arm to the King's Aunts who followed her to the Rendezvous in a Coach, as they were getting out, but they respectfully refus'd her Assistance. Our Conductor now told us that this was the Time to see the Apartments of the Palace as the Royal Family were gone out a' Hunting. We therefore drove to the Castle, and saw the Rooms, which exceeded in Richness and Splendour all we had yet seen, unless the Hotel de Bourbon because of its newness, & the cleanliness of its Furniture, might be put in Competition with it. In the great Gallery however which is adorn'd by Pictures of Primaticcio , & Sculptures of Cellini , & through which all the Family & their Attendants pass to & from Mass &c., there are Shops erected on each side for Trinkets, Millinery, Books & all manner of things—particularly Trusses for Deformity—which are indeed sufficiently wanted.
Never did I see so glittering a Spectacle! as no corner of the Theatre was left empty, and no one admitted who was not gayly & splendidly dress'd. Among the women however none tower'd so high in Diamonds & plumage as the Russian Ambassadress, whose Companion was as handsome as her Principal was magnificent.
The Dogs & Horses of the King was our next Exhibition, the Staghounds are beautiful indeed & chiefly of English Breeds; the Horses, (except half a Dozen kept a L'Anglois, as the Groom called it,) had no Stalls to stand in, & but 3 foot & a half Space—they were a wretched Collection indeed—of ugly, blind & lame—add to this that they are all Stone Horses, & vicious of Course. So much for the Kennel & Stable.
20 Octr 1775 continued. The Evening was filled up by dressing & continued going to the Play—not the little Theatre belonging to the Town but the fine Playhouse erected in the Castle for the Entertainment of the King, Queen, &c., who must not go to any other—except incog : None but people of the highest Quality, and those who belong to the Court of course, could be admitted into this honourable Groupe: we therefore had applied some Days ago to the English Ambassador3 that we might be placed there under his Protection. Johnson  and Baretti  thinking themselves not brilliant men enough to shine at such a Shew remained at the Lodging—and we were stuck in a Side Box over against Monsieur and Madame, neither of whom—for I watched them—ever uttered a Single Word during the whole Representation which lasted four long hours. The Queen had no mind to dress after her Morning's ride they told us—so sat upstairs incog : just opposite to us & over the heads of the Brother & Sister. Never did I see so glittering a Spectacle! as no corner of the Theatre was left empty, and no one admitted who was not gayly & splendidly dress'd. Among the women however none tower'd so high in Diamonds & plumage as the Russian Ambassadress 4, whose Companion was as handsome as her Principal was magnificent. Nine ambassadors were present besides the Pope's Nuncio, & nothing vexed me but the want of Light to see the Pomp I was surrounded with. Sixteen Candles were all we had to shew ourselves off to one another with, but the Stage was sufficiently illuminated. The piece was Musical & very tender, I well acted of Course, & the principal performer was a Man who had retired on the fortune he had made by Acting, & now only returned to the Stage to amuse the Queen for the few Nights She passes at Fontainebleau . The Crowd was extreme tonight, the heat & Stench excessive, yet Queeney  bears it all. We go to Paris again tomorrow.
In a letter to Mr Levet, Henry Thrale said that "
the Queen was so impressed by Miss5 that she sent one of the Gentlemen to enquire who she was". Hester said "
They sat like two people stuffed with straw, and only spoke to enquire after our Niggey". The next day after seeing the Royal kennels and stables and Queen Marie Antoinette riding in the forest, Henry Thrale wrote "
The dogs were no good at all, the horses not much commended, the stables cool, the kennel filthy." Later at Versailles  Mrs Thrale noticed in Queen Marie Antoinette's royal apartments that the close stool was placed uncurtained by the Queen's bed.