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Anne Catley ( 1745 - 1789 )
Although Delaval subsequently set Anne up in good lodgings and gave her a weekly allowance she was not faithful to him; she was mercenary and there were several lovers from whom she assembled a collection of jewellery. Anne bore Delaval two children and there was another, whose father, she claimed, was the Duke of York. Eventually Delaval discovered her infidelity and threw her out, leaving her to her own devices.
At this time Anne was really beautiful, could sing divinely and act well. She commanded a tremendous salary and was constantly in the news; today she would have been regarded as a 'megastar'. In Dublin in 1763 she sang at a salary of forty guineas per night; she was a great success and the ladies of Dublin had their hair 'Catleyfied,' i.e. dressed as she dressed hers. From 1770 when she returned to England until her retirement in 1784 she both delighted English society with her singing and scandalised it with her loose behaviour. Whilst in Dublin she had met Francis Lascelles, then a dragoon. By 1780 he had become a Major-General and they were living in a handsome house at Ealing bought by Anne out of her own fortune. She became a most respected figure in the neighbourhood, and was Lady Bountiful to the poor.
Anne and Francis appear to have had ten children, the IGI records the baptisms of five of them, eight are mentioned in Anne's will:
n.b. I am grateful to Roger D. Lascelles for much of the information about Anne's children.
Her obituary in The Times (15th October 1789) reads:
Yesterday morning, at two o'clock, died, after a long and most afflicting illness, Mrs. LASCELLES, wife of General LASCELLES. - In her public character, she was the delight of the British nation and in her character of the several relative situations of mother, wife and friend, she will ever be revered by those who had the opportunity of witnessing her affectionate conduct towards her husband and her children and her generous sincerity towards those for whom she proferred friendship. To the weak and censorious, the only answer is 'Go thou and do likewise'.Anne Catley and Francis Lascelles were said to have married in 1780 - however no record of this marriage has been found. She left her entire estate (amounting to some £5,000) to her children and her will, signed Anne Cateley, makes no mention of 'my husband' although referring to 'Major General Francis Lascelles' both as the father of her children and as her executor. Furthermore, Richard Atkinson who swore the affidavit to her will refers to Anne as a 'spinster'. This, and the fact that before the Married Women's Property Act of 1882 a married woman could not, by law, own property in her own right, strongly suggests that Anne and Francis Lascelles were not married (or if they were, succeeded in keeping the fact a secret).
Anne Catley's Relatives
I hereby declare the following to be my last and only will that is to say that at the time of my death I leave to my children Francis Lascelles, Rowley Lascelles, Frances Lascelles, Charlotte Lascelles, Jane Lascelles, George Robert Lascelles, Elizabeth Lascelles and Edward Robert Lascelles all the money now and at that time belonging to me to be equally divided amongst them share and share alike and if any of my children above mentioned should die before me I hereby direct and appoint my whole property to be equally divided amongst such of them as may be living at the time of my decease and it is my desire that their father Major General Francis Lascelles will see this my last will properly and in fairly executed and that in case any of my children as and before mentioned shall not have attained the age of twenty one years at the time of my death that the said Major General Lascelles will take care that their respective shares be bought into the funds of England and that the Interest thereof if necessarily go towards their education maintenance, etc. Those children that shall be twenty one years of age when I die are to be paid their proportions immediately after my death and to all the rest as soon as they shall have attained the above mentioned age and my further will is that all my wearing apparel, watch, trinkets etc. be given to my eldest daughter who shall be living at the time of my death. Given under my hand at Little Ealing this 13th day of October 1788. A Cateley, witness Joseph Nield.Sources
I appoint the said Major General Lascelles sole executor of this my last will and testament. A Cateley, witness Joseph Nield.
In addition to the will I made yesterday I require my Executor Major General Francis Lascelles to pay to my two nephews Robert and William Fox the sum of fifty pounds each six months after my death. Little Ealing October the 14th 1788. A Cateley, witness Joseph Nield.
Appeared Personally Richard Atkinson of the parish of Ealing in the County of Middlesex yeoman and made oath that he knew and was well acquainted with Ann Cateley formerly of the parish of Saint Pancras in the County of Middlesex but late of the said parish of Ealing spinster deceased for several years before and to the time of her death and also with her manner and character of handwriting and subscription having frequently seen her write and also write and subscribe her name and having now carefully viewed and studied the papers writing hereto annexed purporting to be and contain the last will and testament and two Codicils of the said deceased the said will bearing date the thirteenth day of October 1788 and thus subscribed "A Cateley" the said first Codicil containing the words following to wit "I appoint the said Major General Lascelles my sole executor to this my last will and testament" and thus subscribed "A Cateley" the said second Codicil bearing date the fourteenth day of October 1788 and thus subscribed "A Cateley" to this document saith that he verily and in his conscience believes the whole sense or contents of the said will and codicils and the subscriptions thereto to be all of the proper handwriting of the said Ann Cateley. Richard Atkinson 22 Oct 1789. The said Richard Atkinson was duly sworn to the truth of this affidavit before me
J Nicholl, James Bush n s
The Will was proved at London with two codicils on the twenty-third day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine before the worshipful John Nicholl Doctor of Laws Surrogate of the Right Honourable Sir William Wynne Knight Doctor of Laws master keeper or commissary of this prerogative court of Canterbury lawfully constituted by the oath of Francis Lascelles Esq. the sole Executor named in the said will to whom administration was granted of all and singular the goods chattels and credits of the deceased having been first sworn duly to administer.