Gasparo Grimani (1729 - 1801)
According to the story handed down through the family, Gasparo was born in Venice of the noble and ancient Grimani family.
There are two books which contain versions of his flight from Venice¹, both written some time after his death by his descendants.
Research has however failed to confirm this, and other documents suggest that he came instead from Bologna.
It seems Gasparo had intended to become a priest and studied in Rome, but fell foul of the Church for reasons unknown and fled from Italy about 1755.
In a letter to the Pope about 1779 he pleads for reconciliation.
Gasparo married twice. His first wife was Antonia Fabbri, daughter of ..... Fabbri of Lyon.
They were living in London in 1769, when Gasparo was imprisoned for an unpaid debt of £17 which he claimed he
did not owe, and in 1773, when he and Antonia were godparents at an Italian christening. Gasparo taught physics as well as languages.
In 1774 he displayed a model of London and Westminster which he had made, and later the same year he was displaying his model in Paris.
They had two children: a son, Guglielmo or William, born about 1759 and a daughter, Maria Rosalba, born in Livorno, Italy, 27 June 1763, said to have been kidnapped in Paris and never found.
Antonia is said to have fallen ill shortly after this and died in Paris about 1776. After this Gasparo travelled a
lot, for a while making a living from exhibiting a model of Rome he had made. This 'plan-relief' still exists and is at the
Museum of National Antiquities of Sainte-Germain-en-Laye near Paris, but is not on display.
William also married twice. He first married Elizabeth Magdelene Vuagneux in St.Pancras, London, in 1783. Their children were William (1785, died aged 2 weeks), Elizabeth Magdelen Cecelia (1786 - 1793),
James Marriot (1788, also died young?) and two more daughters, both brought up by Lady Percival², Francesca Brigitta Florenza (1790), and Belina Rosetta (1791). Elizabeth died in 1792.
William's second marriage was to Belina Dickerson in St. Pancras in 1796, by whom he had three further children, William Mayow (1797), Ann Catherine Parbridge (1799) and Mary Eliza (1801),
but they separated in 1802, and William declared publicly that he would not be responsible for her debts. Belina went blind and ended up in the Lewisham Poor House, where she died in 1856.
William and his two daughters ran a ladies' boarding school in Lee, Kent, (now south-east London), from about 1810 until 1822, where they taught "French language and manners". The actress, Fanny Kemble, wrote about the school in her memoires³.
William signed the Lee Petition of 1814 against slavery.
He was known as Monsieur Grimani as he was mistakenly thought to be French. His daughter, Belina, was a lovely singer. For a short time she was lady-in-waiting to Queen Caroline. She never married and died young.
Her sister, Francesca, married Thomas Hornby, and their son, Edmund Grimani Hornby (1825 - 1896), became Chief Judge of the Supreme Courts of China, Japan and India and Judge Consular Consort of Constantinople. He was knighted in 1862.
William died in May 1842 at Euston Square, London.
Cecilia was born about 1760. She was reputed to be a 'great beauty'.
Gasparo's appeal for reconciliation with the Catholic Church seems to have failed, as on 6 August 1781 he was remarried at St.Pancras Old Church (Church of England).
He was 52, she was in her twenties. Their first child was baptised in London in 1782, but they also lived in Paris (about 1784 - 1788) before settling in Bath, at 5 St James' Street in 1791/2 and at 11 Portland Place in 1800.
Gasparo, described as Professor of mathematicks, exhibited his models of London and Westminster and of Rome as well as one of Versailles at various London venues from 1780, also in Paris and latterly in Bath.
In 1792 Gasparo was a member of the Bath Loyalist Association, whose purpose, in the wake of the French Revolution, was "to preserve liberty, property and the constitution of Great Britain against republicans and levellers".
He also had several books published, two of which are listed in the British Library catalogue⁴. Both are dedicated to the Duchess of Devonshire⁵.
Gasparo (also known as Gaspar or Jasper) made his living as a teacher of French and Italian as well as displaying his models. He died in Bath 27 July 1801, aged 71.
His obituary in the local paper described him as 'a linguist and father of the promising young actress of that name at our theatre'.
After their daughter Julia's marriage in 1805, Cecilia moved to London to live wiith her son, Francis, and later to her other daughter's, Cecilia (Smith), in Strabane, Ireland, where she died, aged 77, 8 March 1838.
Their children were:
Francis James Grimani *** was baptised in London 18 July 1782. See next.
Julia Ann Grimani *** was born in Paris in 1784 and named after Lady Suffolk, by whom she was partly brought up, and of whose daughter, Lady Catherine,
she became a close friend. She became an actress, starting at the Theatre Royal in Bath (1800 - 1803), then Haymarket, London (1804) and Liverpool, where she met her husband, Charles Mayne Young, and where they were married in 1805.
They played together in Manchester, where their son, Julian Charles, was born in 1806, and where Julia died 10 days later at the age of 21. Charles Mayne Young went on to be a very famous actor.
Charles Grimani was baptised in Bath, 30 September 1791. Sometimes he is given a middle name, Ricketts, but this is not on the baptism record. A clerk in the Peninsular War against Napoleon, he lived in Newington, Cornhill and Blackheath.
In 1822 he married Sarah White Finch and they had four children, Julia Caroline (1823), Charles Augustus (1825), Laura Elizabeth (1826, died 1827), and Emily Jane (1829, died aged 8 months).
Charles Augustus may also have died young. Charles was a bankrupt schoolmaster in 1827. Sarah died in 1831, aged 38.
Charles then married Emily Hannah Finch, Sarah's sister and author of "The Martyr" (1848). They had one daughter, Emily Sarah (1840, died 1841).
In 1844 Charles was a bankrupt commercial traveller, living in Old Kent Road. They also lived at Fareham, near Portsmouth, where Julia Caroline died in 1853. Emily ran a school for
young ladies there with her sister (1854). Charles died in 1855 at Southwick. Emily seems to have run a ladies' school in nearby Portchester (1863) and in Fareham (1865). She died in Fareham in 1873.
James Frederick Grimani was baptised in Bath, 18 December 1793.
William Grimani was buried in Bath 23 Jan 1796 (age not recorded).
Cecilia Mary Grimani was baptised in Bath 25 December 1800. Like her sister she became an actress and married James Oswald Smith, also an actor, at Shoreditch, London, 15 July 1822. James was ordained, and became Rev. James Smith at the Free Church of Derry, Ireland and Rector at Strabane, (1835 - 1860).
They had 9 children: Oswald (1825), James Julian (1827), Cecilia Ann (1828), Henry Scott (1830), Francis (1831), Frances (1834), Julia Catherine (1835), Edward (1838) and Charles (1839). James died in Strabane 29 February 1870. Cecilia died there 14 March 1880.
¹ 1) "A Memoir of Charles Mayne Young" by Julian Charles Young (London, 1871)
2) "Sir Edmund Hornby - an Autobiography" (London, 1928)
² mother of Spencer Percival, Prime Minister assassinated in 1812.
⁴ 1) "A Topographical and Historical Description of Ancient and Modern Rome" (Bath, 1783)
2) "The Ladies' New Italian Grammar" (London, 1788).
The Notre Dame Library has in the special collections rare books "Calepin ou Grammaire philosophique, ou Esquisse des moeurs du dix-huitième siècle ou Tout ce que l'on voudra" (Bath, 1792)
⁵ Georgiana Cavendish (1757 - 1806)
Francis James Grimani *** (1782 - 1867)
Francis was baptised in Marylebone, London, 22 May 1782 but also lived in Paris and Bath. He became a Civil Servant (Excise Office) and lived at 17 Great Winchester Street, London (1808).
Living in Islington, he married Elizabeth Parry, the daughter of Roger Parry and Elizabeth Read, at All Hallows, London Wall, 1 July 1810. Francis was 28, Elizabeth 31.
They lived at 33 Westmorland Place, City Road (1813) and at 48 Strand (1821). Francis painted several miniatures, some of which were exhibited at the Royal Academy, including one of his wife.
Their marriage produced no children, and about 1822 Elizabeth ran off with Mr. John Lancaster Lane, lieutenant of the 73 Foot. Francis tracked them down and challenged Lane to a duel.
A scuffle ensued, resulting in Lane's landlady being accidentally shot in the leg and Francis and Lane both ending up in court.
Elizabeth lived to the age of 64 and died at 11 Colebrook Row, Islington on 13th July 1852. Her death certificate describes her as "the wife of Francis Grimani". No evidence of a divorce has been found.
Elizabeth McLoughlin (c.1816 - 1876)
Elizabeth was born in Buncrana, Donegal, Ireland, about 1816. The family probably emigrated to Liverpool as a Catharine McLoughlin (Elizabeth's sister?) was godmother there to her first child.
They were married at St. Nicholas Church parish, Liverpool, 10 December 1833. Francis was 51, Elizabeth about 17. In 1836 they were living at Christian Street, Liverpool.
They also lived in Culmore, Londonderry, Ireland, probably from 1838 to about 1848-50.
In 1851 they were living at Good Wood House, Jersey. Francis, now aged 68, was a 'gentleman, fund holder and annuitant'. They had an Irish maid servant living with them (from Londonderry),
and the children were 'instructed at home'. In 1856 they were in Plymouth, 8 Oxford Street in 1861. Francis was now 'a retired accountant'.
Some time in the 1860s they moved to south-east London. Though retired he is reputed to have travelled daily on horseback to Somerset House in London. At daughter, Julia's, wedding in 1872 he is 'deceased of Somerset House'.
Francis died 27 September 1867 at 2 Haddington Terrace, Greenwich, aged 85. Elizabeth died at 26 Florence Road, New Cross, 18 April 1876, aged 59.
Their children were:
Julia Cattarina Grimani Born in Liverpool 20 June 1834 and baptised the same day in a Catholic church. She presumably died the same day or very soon afterwards.
James Charles Grimani was baptised in Liverpool 17 January 1836. In 1856, when he was 19, he went to Victoria, Australia, arriving there in April that year, and on 28 April in Castlemaine,
he married Bridget Burns, from Newcastle, Co. Wicklow, Ireland, giving his place of birth as Naples and his father's occupation as captain in the Italian army.
They lived at Pleasant Creek, Stawell (gold-mining country) for 5 years, then he/they spent some time in Canterbury, New Zealand, before going to Hobart, Tasmania,
where he, calling himself James Antonio Grimani, made a living as a musician (piano and violin), being billed as 'Signor Antonio Grimani of the Milan Opera House'.
On 31 December 1863 he bigamously married Annetta Turner, and the next day, 1st January 1864, he left Tasmania, presumed for Queensland.
On 6 June that year he was reported to have died on his way to Wood's Point. However the following year he is listed in the Melbourne directory, and a Mrs Grimani (which one?) was in Melbourne in 1870.
'James Antonio' next appears living in California with Bridget, and working as a musician.
He was naturalised in San Francisco in 1871. Bridget died there 20 January 1890, and James 20 November 1904. They did not have any children.
Oceana Grimani was born on the Irish Sea about 1838. She did not marry, and in 1901, at 62, she was in hospital in Kent, described as a 'lunatic'.
In 1891 she was in lodgings in Deptford, London, but in 1901 she was again in an asylum in Dartford. She died in Epsom in 1917, aged 79.
Francis Grimani *** was born in Culmore, Londonderry, about 1840. He was jailed for 3 months in April 1856 for larceny, but became a soldier. He was a sergeant major in HM 1 West India Regiment (1874),
in the 67 Regiment of Foot (1879) and foreman in the Naval Ordinance (1895). He married Sarah Ann Arkell of Bibury, Gloucestershire, where their first child was born.
Later they lived at Elson Barracks, Gosport. They had seven children, Annie Elizabeth (1874), Francis (1877), Jasper (1879), Edmund Hornby (1880), Charles (1882), Agnes Olive (1884, died 1886) and Olive Agnes (1886).
Francis died at Fareham in 1903, aged 62. Sarah died at Gosport in 1913, aged 65.
Jasper Grimani *** was born about 1842 in Culmore. His occupation was given as actor in 1861 and as comedian in 1863. He married Anna Ackrell or Stone, a widow, of Millbay Pier Hotel, Plymouth, 7 May 1863.
Anna had two daughters from her first marriage, Ada and Ellen Stone. With Jasper she had a third daughter, Carlotta (1863). Jasper's occupation was given as "victualer" in 1869 and 1870, but he was understood to have been a publican.
Jasper left his wife to live with Mary Ann Isaac with whom he had five children, Adeline Mary Ann Grimani (1869), Edmund Jasper Grimani (1870) and Francis Isaac (1872) all born in East Stonehouse (Plymouth),
and Charles Isaac (1875, died 1878) and Elizabeth Grimani (1877, died 1879) both born in London. He is now described as a painter and is also believed to have run a boxing school.
He died at the age of 34, a general dealer, in Camberwell in 1878. Anna, his wife, had a milliner's business in Sidmouth (1866, 1871). Later she kept a boarding house in Hampstead, London, with her daughters, Ellen and Ada.
She died there in 1921, aged 85. Mary Ann died in Romford in 1940, aged 97. Her death is also registered in the name of Grimani, though no evidence of a marriage has been found.
Charles Grimani *** was born 1 August 1844 in Culmore, Londonderry. See next.
Julia Grimani was born in Culmore, Londonderry about 1846. She was married at St. Mary's Catholic Church, Greenwich, 26 June 1872, to Thomas Francis Hughes, a Commissioner in the Imperial Chinese Civil Service.
She had artistic talents and also wrote "Among the Sons of Han", notes of a 6-years' residence in various parts of China and Formosa, etc. (published in London, 1881). She died in London 26 January 1882.
Edmund Hornby Grimani was born 1 February 1848 in Culmore, Londonderry.
He was named after (Sir) Edmund Grimani Hornby for whom he worked as secretary in China at the age of 19.
Three years later he joined the Chinese Maritime Customs Service where he rose to the position of Commissioner. For his services he was made a Mandarin of the Fourth Class by the then Empress of China.
He was in the north of China during the Boxer insurrections and in order to save his life had to make his escape over the Great Wall.
He worked with the Customs for 30 years, during the latter part of his service being deputy to Sir Robert Hart, the Inspector-general of Customs.
He was fond of riding and also painted. Several of his drawings made in China were printed in the London Illustrated News. He did not marry, and when he died in Portsmouth in 1931,
he left a considerable sum of money, as well as some business interests in China.
Charles Grimani *** (1844 - 1926)
Charles was born 1 August 1844 in Culmore, Londonderry. The family moved to Jersey some time between 1848 and 1851, then to Plymouth, Devon, before 1861. Some time in the 1860s they moved to Blackheath, London.
Charles became a scenic artist, working in the big London theatres as well as in the provinces. His name appeared credited for the scenery on many playbills. He also painted portraits and landscapes in oils as a hobby, especially after his retiral.
Henrietta was born 20 June 1846 at 14 White Horse Terrace, Stepney, London, and baptised 17 October 1849.
The match was unpopular with both families. Their first baby was born out of wedlock. When they married at St. Peters, Regent Square, on the 28 November 1869, Charles was 25, Henrietta 23.
At this time they were living at 4 Harrison Street, Pancras, but soon they moved to south-east London. In 1871 they were at 3 Douglas Street, Deptford, in 1872 at 32 Stanley Street, Deptford and in 1874 at 44 Bowles Road, Old Kent Road, Camberwell.
They also lived at 128 Commercial Road, Camberwell (1877, 1881). Charles was bankrupt in Peckham in 1883. They were living at Asylum Road, Peckham (1899) and at 2 Burchell Road, Peckham (1891, 1901).
Henrietta died in 1904 aged 58. Charles lived latterly with his son, Edmund, at 49 Houston Road, Forest Hill, where he died 2 April 1926, aged 81.
Their children were:
Edmund Grimani was born 9 September 1869. A theatrical artist like his father, he married Clara Louise Hooper 18 March 1906 (after the birth of all three children) and lived in Peckham.
Their children were Winifred Clara (1897), Lewis Edmund (1899) known as Louis, and Charles (1902) who died aged 2 weeks. Both lived latterly with their son, Louis, at 38 Bourne Vale, Hayes, Kent.
Clara died there 11th April 1934, aged 62, and Edmund 3 July 1956, aged 86.
Julia Grimani was born 28 July 1872. A dressmaker, she married Thomas Challis in Camberwell in 1903 and had one son, George (1904). She died in Tonbridge, Kent, in 1966.
Elizabeth Emily Grimani *** was born 10 September 1874. She married Alfred Saville ***.
Charles Thomas Grimani was born 1877. He also became a scenic artist. He married Maud Brown in 1911 and lived in Peckham. He joined the 6 Norfolk Regiment in 1915.
He also played the piano and was in the Channel Islands at the time of the German occupation in World War 2. There was no issue, and Charles died in Windsor in 1941.