Neston Visit, 21 April 2017
The 1805 Club were invited to pay a second visit to Neston where Emma Hamilton was christened, to coincide with the Emma exhibition at The National Maritime Museum (NMM), Greenwich by Cllr Pat Kynaston, Neston Town Councillor and Dr Geoff Wright.
We met at 12.00pm at The Ship Hotel for Morning Coffee before being taken by minibus to ‘The Jug and Bottle’ for an excellent celebratory Emma lunch, where we were formally welcomed by Cllr Kynaston from Neston and Peter Warwick, 1805 Chairman. Lunch lasted until late afternoon, concluding with a very good short talk about Emma Hamilton by Dr Quintin Colville of The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich and The Curator of Emma, Seduction and Celebrity there.
We were taken back to The Ship to relax or walk along the foreshore of The Dee Estuary, which was lovely as it was easy to think of Emma and her family having been there.
In the evening we were taken to the wonderful Neston Town Hall for The Evening Talk by Dr Colville about both Emma, the real person and Emma, Seduction and Celebrity exhibition. Neston Town Hall was packed with local people, which showed how pleased they were to have Dr Colville come to speak. Neston Council had worked with NMM to put on an excellent exhibition to look at. We were given a most interesting illustrated presentation, that told the real story of Emma from a child in Neston, her time in London and especially about all the years she was in Naples and when she was so valuable to England and The Royal Navy due in large to her close connections with The Queen of The Two Sicily’s and her family. Without Emma’s help the British Fleet would not have been victualled and able to sail to win The Battle of The Nile – the victory that transformed Nelson into a super hero.
After Peter Warwick had thanked Dr Colville, Dr Wright said he had something to present to Dr Colville that he needed to explain first. He told us about connections of Emma’s forebears The Kidds of Moor Hall in village called Madeley, Cheshire where they were Yeoman farmers. He then mentioned Charles Greville, who took Emma in when she was in dire straights and later sent Emma aged twenty-one with her Mother to Naples because he had connections with Madeley too. Charles Greville is descended from Faulke Robert Greville 1642 – 1710 but another descendent is Dr Colville. It is possible that Dr Colville, Charles Greville and Emma Hamilton all have forebears from Madeley that may have met over 200 years ago. One could have heard a pin drop in Neston Town Hall as Dr Wright presented Dr Colville with a framed Family Tree for him for posterity.
We were then treated to refreshments with food that would have been available 200 years ago whilst mingling with the locals – a lovely end to a very special evening. All returned to The Ship to reminisce over the fantastic day that we had enjoyed.
On Saturday morning we attended a service at St Mary’s Church, Neston where Emma was baptised. The font she was christened in is still there but the original church fell down and was rebuilt in Victorian times. The Sea and Marine Cadets were in attendance with us which was lovely. On entering St Mary’s we all gathered by the font where Peter Warwick spoke and then laid flowers before Rev Dawson led a special service including a 18th century hymn that Emma may have known.
After the service we went to Ness where the Memorial Anvil placed by 1805 to mark the 200 years since Emma’s death. Cllr Kynaston laid flowers to mark this visit. After we returned to Neston Town Hall for a very jolly Saturday lunch before all went their own ways to home.
We are all very grateful to Pat, Geoff and helpers as well Neston Town Council for making the 1805 visit so successful, interesting and most enjoyable.
Dr Quintin Colville delivery his talk about Emma
Dr Quintin Colville receiving his Greville family tree from Dr Geoff Wright (the family tree with kind permission from Quintin and Geoff is included at the end of this report)
1805 Club Chairman Peter Warwick meeting the Sea Cadets outside St Mary’s
Cllr Kynaston laying flowers on Emma’s anvil monument