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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Joanna B. Horner   24 September 1863

Hamilton House. Felixstowe

24 Sepr 1863.

My dear Mr Darwin

I blame myself much for not having fulfilled my intention sooner to have written to thank you for your very kind and prompt reply to me about the Pigeons.1 Lady Napier was so very much obliged, as you just gave her the information she required.2

I have been spending about a fortnight here with Leonora and her little girls,3 and find it a nice healthy place for children, though as we are 13 miles from a Railroad it is in a very primitive state, and very dead, without much pretty scenery. The sea is always however a pleasant object, and we search for shells among the crag cliffs.

I hope that you and Mrs Darwin and all your circle have enjoyed Malvern and benefitted by it—as I think you were going there when I heard from you.4 We return to the Bunbury’s house Barton Hall in a few days where we have left Papa and Susan5   We have good accounts from Scotland where are still both houses of Lyell but we are looking forward to gathering in London early next month.6

With our united best regards to all your party Believe me dear Mr Darwin with many thanks for the trouble you took to answer my questions   yours very sincerely   Joanna B. Horner


Neither Horner’s earlier letter nor CD’s reply has been found.
The reference may be to Frances Napier, whose brother-in-law, William Francis Patrick Napier, had been known to the Horner family (K. M. Lyell ed. 1890, 2: 48).
Leonora Pertz was one of Joanna’s five sisters (Freeman 1978); she was on a visit to England from Germany with her daughters, Annie and Dora (K. M. Lyell ed. 1890, 2: 359).
CD, Emma Darwin, and their family had gone to Malvern Wells, Worcestershire, at the beginning of September so that CD could undergo a course of treatment at James Smith Ayerst’s hydropathic establishment (see ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 11, Appendix II)).
Joanna refers to her father, Leonard, and her unmarried sister, Susan (Freeman 1978). Another sister, Frances, and her husband, Charles James Fox Bunbury, lived at Barton Hall, Great Barton, near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk (Post Office directory of Cambridge, Norfolk, and Suffolk 1865). The Horners had apparently gone to stay at Barton Hall on 18 August 1863 (K. M. Lyell ed. 1890, 2: 360).
Joanna’s eldest sister, Mary Elizabeth, was the wife of Charles Lyell; another sister, Katherine Murray, had married Lyell’s younger brother, Henry (Freeman 1978). Joanna apparently refers to Kinnordy, Kirriemuir, Angus, the Lyell family seat; both Charles and Henry Lyell also had houses in London (Post Office London directory 1863). Various members of the Lyell and Horner families met in London for Leonard Lyell’s birthday party on 21 October 1863 (Ames ed. 1909, 1: 446–7).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 26 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

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

Post Office directory of Cambridge, Norfolk, and Suffolk: Post Office directory of Cambridge, Norfolk, and Suffolk. Kelly’s directory of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. London: W. Kelly; Kelly & Co. 1853–1900.

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.


News of C. J. F. Bunbury and the Lyells.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joanna Baillie Horner
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 166.2: 269
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4305,” accessed on 15 November 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11