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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Salt & Sons   17 July 1867

Shrewsbury

17th. July 1867

Dear Sir

You will have been anxious to know we doubt not how the Mount house & Gardener’s cottage stand as to prospect of sale & the present arrangements.—1 The house is at present let temporarily terminable by a month’s notice to Mrs. G. B. Watton with a view to keep it aired &c at the rate of £11 a month you paying the taxes. Wynne the gardener has been allowed to retain the cottage rent free but he is quite incapacitated for work. His wife and sons have had charge of the house until Mrs. Watton occupied it & have kept that and the grounds in order. They ask for some allowance as they cannot live in the house earning nothing and it seems reasonable something should be allowed them for work done if not for the future though of course they do not expect gardener’s wages but desire to leave the matter in your hands. Their wages were £5.10/— a month.2 Mr F & Mr. C. Parker3 have been here to day & it is proposed to advertise the property for immediate sale offering the house first in one Lot, & if not sold then the whole property in four Lots. Lot 1 the gardener’s cottage, Lot 2 the House, (described as being capable of being made into 2 good Dwellings) but excluding the kitchen garden which would be severed for a separate building lot and excluding the Hill Head Bank field above the house.

Lot 3 the Kitchen garden with an approah by St. George’s Church.

Lot 4 the Hill Head Bank field

Lots 1, 3, & 4 we should be sanguine of selling & the mode proposed would we think be the most likely way of selling lot 2 and would be more within the compass of an ordinary buyer.4

As regards Wynne Mr F Parker suggests that if the property is sold something should be given to Wynne in one sum as finally settling with him. If not all sold you would know what is likely to be wanted from him for the future but he desires that you should express your wishes on the subject.

Both Mr F. & Mr. C. Parker would attend the sale for which a separate valuation would be forwarded to you & we should suggest a discretionary power as to the price of the lots should be left with them. A duplicate of this letter will be sent to each branch of the family & we shall be obliged if you will express any views that occur to you

We are Dear Sir | With Great Respect | Your obliged & faithful Servants | Salt & Sons

C R Darwin Esq

Footnotes

The Darwin family residence, The Mount in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, was to be sold following the death of Susan Elizabeth Darwin, CD’s sister, in 1866 (Freeman 1978). The house had been advertised for sale by auction on 30 November 1866 (Shrewsbury Chronicle, 16 November 1866), but only four portions of land near The Mount had been sold then (Harris 2004).
Mrs G. B. Watton was probably Mary Anne Watton, a widow who later lived for a time at her brother’s residence, Mount House, near the Mount (Census returns, Frankwell area, Shrewsbury, 1871). George Wynne was left £10 in Susan’s will; a codicil added that those in her service at her death should receive half a year’s wages in addition to any amount owed to them (Susan Elizabeth Darwin’s will, Probate Registry, York). Wynne and his wife Margaret had three sons, John, Arthur, and Ambrose (Census returns, 1871, Frankwell area, Shrewsbury). See also the letter from E. A. Darwin, 17 [July 1867].
Francis and Charles Parker, CD’s nephews.
In the event, all the remaining Darwin property at The Mount was bought by Edward Henry Lowe for £3450 (Harris 2004).

Bibliography

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1978. Charles Darwin: a companion. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

Harris, Donald F. 2004. Notes on the real-estate and financial affairs of Dr. Robert Waring Darwin of Shrewsbury. Typescript deposited at Cambridge University Library.

Summary

Discusses proposed sale of house and provision for Wynne, the gardener, and his wife.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-5583
From
Salt & Sons
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Shrewsbury
Source of text
DAR 177: 10
Physical description
4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5583,” accessed on 10 August 2020, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-5583.xml

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15

letter