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Darwin Correspondence Project

From C. M. C. Darwin   14 April 1879

Creskeld, | Otley.

April 14th. 1879

Dear Mr. Darwin,

I have to thank you for a long kind letter, and will endeavour as far as I can to reply to your question about our mutual ancestor, Robert Darwin of Lincoln’s Inn— 1

My Husband and I have looked over the Pedigree, and have come to the conclusion that the said Robert never was owner of Elston, he is described as of Balderton, and died 1754— his cousin William Morgan Darwin (who died in 1762.) being then owner of Elston— Robt. Waring Darwin his son, then got the Elston Estate—2

Robert Darwin of Lincoln’s Inn was buried at Elston, and we have a portrait of him by Richardson, if you would like it photographed—3 Our solicitor Mr. Dunning also, of Parliament St. has a number of old Darwin deeds & papers, which might throw some light upon the subject—4

I cannot but imagine however, as your son says, that it is a misconception of his descendants, to call him “of Elston”—5

I have great pleasure in enclosing a note of introduction for your son Mr. Leonard Darwin to our Tenant at Elston who I am sure will be most glad to shew him every attention.6 In regard to Cleatham, we have no property there at all now, nor do we know the name of the clergyman there—7 What an interesting discovery you must have made, in finding all those old letters, and the view of the house before it was restored & spoilt—8

We have seen lately mentioned that such an admirable portrait of yourself has been published, an etching, but that it is most difficult to procure, and we shall esteem it a great favour if you could kindly tell us, where one may be obtained—9

With kind regards, | Believe me | Yrs. sincerely | Charlotte M C Darwin

CD annotations

2.2 he ... 1762.) 2.3] scored blue crayon


Jonathan Richardson’s portrait depicted Robert Darwin in his ‘great wig and bands’ and looking, according to CD, like a ‘dignified doctor of divinity’ (Erasmus Darwin, p. 4).
Simon Dunning, solicitor, had an office at 27 Parliament Street, Westminster, London (Post Office London directory 1878).
George Howard Darwin had made this suggestion (see letter to C. M. C. Darwin, 6 April 1879 and n. 2).
CD had asked whether Leonard Darwin could photograph Elston Hall (see letter to C. M. C. Darwin, 6 April 1879 and n. 3). The letter of introduction has not been found.
CD had found letters from Erasmus Darwin and a drawing of Elston Hall from around 1750 in a box owned by Robert Waring Darwin (1766–1848) that had been labelled ‘old settlements & deeds’ (see letter to C. M. C. Darwin, 6 April 1879).
Paul-Adolphe Rajon had made an etching after an 1875 portrait of CD by Walter William Ouless. See also Browne 2002, p. 424. CD had written that in the painting he looked like ‘a very venerable, acute melancholy old dog’ (see Correspondence vol. 23, letter to J. D. Hooker, 30 March [1875]. See plate in Correspondence vol. 27.


Browne, Janet. 2002. Charles Darwin. The power of place. Volume II of a biography. London: Pimlico.

Darwin pedigree: Pedigree of the family of Darwin. Compiled by H. Farnham Burke. N.p.: privately printed. 1888. [Reprinted in facsimile in Darwin pedigrees, by Richard Broke Freeman. London: printed for the author. 1984.]

Erasmus Darwin. By Ernst Krause. Translated from the German by W. S. Dallas, with a preliminary notice by Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1879.

Post Office London directory: Post-Office annual directory. … A list of the principal merchants, traders of eminence, &c. in the cities of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and parts adjacent … general and special information relating to the Post Office. Post Office London directory. London: His Majesty’s Postmaster-General [and others]. 1802–1967.


Answers CD’s query about Robert Darwin of Lincoln’s Inn.

Sends an introduction for Leonard Darwin to their tenants at Elston Hall.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charlotte Maria Cooper Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 99: 138–41
Physical description
ALS 7pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11994,” accessed on 23 June 2024,