Charles Hemery 1819-1904

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Charles Hemery with his nephew Clement William Hemery and niece Emily Hemery

Charles Hemery was born on 31 March 1819 and baptised two weeks later.

There is a letter to Charles from his father Clement sent from Jersey on the 12th October 1840, which talks about arranging insurance on wine in bottles and spirits and liqueurs in cases, to be sent on the ship Flamer to Liverpool, and to be shipped from there to Calcutta and the Cape of Good Hope respectively.

Marriage

He married in 1850 Mary Georgianna Catherine Rundle daughter of Captain Rundle HM 49th Regiment and Anne Skyring. She was born at sea. Charles was a very successful solicitor and East India Company merchant. He lived for a long time in Monken Hadley near Barnet in Hertfordshire, his house was called Gladsmuir.

Census returns

The 1861 census records Charles, occupation ‘general merchant’, his wife and four children, along with four servants, Elizabeth Arundale, aged 34, Martha Beeson, aged 21, Hannah Buckle aged 31 and Frances Healey aged 28, all born in England.

In 1871 he is described as an ‘East India Merchant’ living with his wife and three children, (Charles having left) and four servants, Mary A Collins aged 28, Catherine Seymour housekeeper aged 49, Maria Smith aged 40, and Charlotte Upton aged 21, again all born in England.

In the 1881 census we find Charles, again described as an ‘East India Merchant’ with his wife and three children, but now with seven servants, Emma Brown, aged 18, Mary Ann Collins aged 38 who was with the family in 1871, Mary A Davis aged 58, William Harwood aged 20, Mary A Mills aged 21, Mary A Mullins aged 26 and Richard Saunders aged 26. I hope it was not too confusing to have a household where wife, daughter and no less than four servants were called Mary. Often, however, as was the custom of the day, the children were known by their second names or other pet names.

In 1891 there are two visitors, A M Dodd, aged 45, born in Devon, the widowed sister of Charles’s wife Mary, and M G Rundle his niece, aged 25, born in India. There are seven servants, Mary A Collins still with the family, aged 48, cook, Mary Davis aged 68, who was with the family in 1881, housekeeper, E Sharp, aged 19, parlour maid, G Rose, aged 22, gardener, T Keen, aged 31, coachman, E Davies, aged 30, under housemaid, Emma Brend aged 36, house maid.

Charles Hemery

Finally in the 1901 census, Charles is listed as ‘grocer, tea merchant, employer’ his son John Vincent is listed as a ‘tea merchant’ the only other of Charles’ children at home was his daughter Annie and his granddaughter Annie Monica. There are still seven servants, three previously noted as working for the family before, Mary Ann Collins the housekeeper, who was there 30 years previously, now aged 58, Mary Ann Davis the cook, now aged 78, who had been employed over 20 years, and Emma Brend, aged 46, housemaid who had been there in 1891. The four other servants were Agatha Louisa Packer, aged 26, under housemaid, Thomas Kerns, 39, coachman, Annie Mary Lawrence, 22, scullery maid, and Margaret Pollard, aged 26, under housemaid.

Carteret Farm

He had inherited Carteret Farm, La Rue de Grouville, in Jersey, in 1851, as his share of his fathers estate. He rented it to the Labey family. By the 1870s the old house, sitting at the bottom of a slope and built on land with a high water table, was damp and in a poor state. It seems to have been empty between 1873 and 1884, when Charles had it demolished and rebuilt.

Letters

Two letters survive written by Charles from London to his solicitor in Jersey Mr Esnouf. (Addressed on the back of the first letter F P Esnouf Esq) The first is dated 10 March 1884, replying to a letter of the 7th. The letter reads – 'My dear Mr Esnouf, I now reply to yours of 7th inst. If Labey and Mr J H Robin are content with the plan of the new farmhouse as it is, I will waive my objection, and you can go on with it accordingly. Remind Labey that the ground floor rooms in the farmhouse used to be reeking with water so as to be perfectly uninhabitable. It is to be hoped this will not be the case with the new house. I think it will be a matter to be regretted hereafter that the rooms on the ground floor are not over 9 feet high.

Yours sincerely

Charles Hemery

The Chronique twice a week is too much as it would cost 2 ½ d a number.

The second is dated 25 March 1884, sent from London, and reads – 'My dear Mr Esnouf. I thank you for yours of 22nd inst enclosing contract for the rebuilding of the farmhouse signed by Springate and Baker of Gorey for the sum of £450. I conclude that it is all right, and therefore I authorize you to sign the contract for me. I dare say that I will agree to make the rent a lump sum of £300, which would be a concession to Labey. I hope the floor of the lower storey will be on a level with the road. This I think is very necessary to keep the house dry.

I hope to go over to Jersey on or about 11th proxo (note – next month, ie April) and stay over Easter week.

I remain, Yours very truly

Charles Hemery

A note about postage times from London to Jersey. On the back of the first letter it notes it was received on 11 March, the day after it was written.

Clementina Hemery, photographed in Vienna
The Carteret Farm datestone

Building

It seems the old Carteret farmhouse had become very damp due to the level of the adjoining road rising over the years, making the first story below road level. So Charles suggests raising the floor of the first story to the level of the road. If there is no cellar at the present farmhouse, that might mean the foundations of the old building will survive under the current house. It sounds like his objection was to the height of the ground floor rooms. He might have wanted them over 9 feet high, but does not insist on it. The building cost £450, but the rent was £300. If this was the yearly rent that is a very quick return on the cost of rebuilding. I think it must have been for a longer period as the 1927 rent was £300 and one would have expected some rise in over 40 years.

Charles decides that 2½ pence per issue of the Jersey newspaper the Chronique was too much to pay. This must have been the price including the postage to England.

It was customary in Jersey when building or rebuilding a house to add a datestone with the initials of the owner and his wife, and Charles and Mary’s is still at the farm: His wife Mary died in Amiens in Picardy in 1891. He died in June 1904 at Barnet. The couple had four children, Clementina Mary de Villier Hemery born 1851 in Kensington, died in March 1892 in Barnet, (de Villier in her name alludes to early Hemery family history, they were descended from the Seigneurs (Squires) of Villers in Normandy) At one time she travelled to Vienna in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, where she had her photograph taken.

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