A Double Family Connection
John Grover’s brother Harry had come to live at The Bury, the old manor house of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. The Grovers and the Dickinsons at Apsley would have soon got to know each other, being in the same socio-economic class.
1782 - 1869 founder of the paper mills married Ann GROVER
1789 - 1874, daughter of Harry GROVER 1761 - 1835, in September 1810, at Hemel Hempstead. John Septimus GROVER (brother of Harry) would have been present.
At the time of the wedding Harriet Dickinson was still living with her parents at Bramblebury, Plumstead, Kent and John Grover living at Boveney in the far south of Buckinghamshire.
Did Harriet meet John Grover at her brother’s wedding?
We don’t now know the story but Harriet and John got married the following year in August 1811 at St Nicholas Church, Plumstead.
Harriet had married the uncle of her sister-in-law.
Harriet was twenty-four and John forty-four, twenty years her senior.
John Septimus GROVER was Vice Provost of Eton College with the living of Boveney, about 3 kilometres to the west of Eton College. The family owned the land of Boveney and John could afford a curate.
Boveney church, nestling on the banks of the Thames,
is almost within sight of Eton College but a world away in a small remote hamlet.
To reach St Mary’s, you must cross the vast Dorney Common, dodging the cattle and catching glimpses of Windsor Castle. (Friends of Friendless Churches 2022)
It seems that the Grovers had a home in Sackville Street, London.
They also used ‘The Cottage, Farnham’ as their address. At the time of their marriage John had the living of Raynham, a parish in Norfolk. This might sound odd as he was also incumbent at Boveney, but clergy could hold several livings, employ curates and be absent for months at a time. (See John Septimus Grover 1766 - 1852
The following letter gives us a good picture of Harriet.
The girls mentioned were nieces of hers, Eleanor Fanny and Eliza Dickinson daughters of Maj. Gen. Thomas DICKINSON 1784 - 1861 serving with the Bombay Army and Catherine DEANE 1786 - 1855. Harriet was obviously giving them some home education before their return to India.
Cottage Farnham Augt 26th 
Being here, dearest Eliza, I did not receive your letter till yesterday, and then too late to reply to it. I always think that delays are dangerous, therefore I should like to see you as soon as you are at liberty, for I shall I hope find enough leisure time to devote to you as I am ever likely to have. I do not mean to work with my own hands for my poor dear girls, and I have from the beginning, and I hope I shall to the end avoid anything like a bustle on their account. Preparations are making, and will go on till they go - a little in haste perhaps at last, but that is inevitable.
So dear Eliza if you come to me, you shall have me for the companion of your airings &c. But in order that you may make your own choice, I will tell you exactly how we are situated. We are obliged now to return to Eton (we came here on Saturday) because the Provost is alone in College which he does not like. About the 8th of Sepr Mr Green will come in, and Mr Grover will be at liberty - then his curate Mr Gould wishes to have his holiday and take his Wife to Dover, and in that case we intended to be here great part of the time. If therefore you would prefer being wholly at Eton, you must come to us after you have paid your other visits. I think you would like our cottage life, and I can make you very comfortable here, but you shall please yourself entirely.
My Husband I am happy to say is quite himself again and it is fortunate that he was well on Sunday, for on that morning he had a note from his Curate saying he had totally lost his voice. My good man had intended to preach in the morning - and fortunately he had brought two Sermons to choose from, so he had the whole of morning and evening duty to do and preached both his Sermons, and went thro all perfectly well. I enjoy being here without all the bustle of moving - shutting up one house &c &c.
I still think the whole quarter Cask of Malmsey (notwithstanding my abundant affection for Sir Charles) too much to send him - more than he would like. I think as many dozen pints as the half of it produces, is quite sufficient, and better than more - and I shall be very ready to take the other half, the payment for which will indemnify you for your expenses respecting it, and I hope something more. I have always said I should purchase a little Malmsey for an article of indulgence when I am old, and as I feel I am getting old very fast, and as such wine ought to be old too, I shall be glad of this opportunity to lay in my little stock. If therefore you approve this plan, you can either have it bottled and divided in London or send it down to Eton College in the Cask and it can be done there and Sir Charles' lot sent to him in London in a Hamper.
My girls are working hard at their Music, Singing and drawing; poor dears they are very anxious to make the most of the remaining time. Mrs North who I expect very soon, will I hope give me much necessary information as to needful preparations for the voyage. We none of us like to think of the "parting hour".
I think your coming here first is desirable as a measure of convenience. We could send you part of your way to Hertfordshire, and I daresay John would send to meet you, then at Nash Mill you are only six miles from St Albans where you get into the Leicester Coach and are twenty five miles forward on your journey to Bosworth. It will I think be better for your children to leave them for a time entirely - to fall into School discipline without any expectation of seeing you. Let me hear from you as soon as convenient. I am sorry my Mother does not intend to come and see us. I think she might find someone to leave in charge - it would do her good to pay these visits with you.
My Husband and the girls unite in kindest love to you and to my Mother. I remain dearest Eliza
Mr Grover thinks the Wine much better bottled in London. So if you agree to my proposal give your orders accordingly. A pretty letter from you - and the substance of Joseph's would make the offering perfect.
(Very useful having a brother in law whose business was good quality wine from Madeira! JFH)
The letter has been folded in three twice and sealed with wax. It is addressed to Mrs Phelps, Mrs Dickinson's, Bramblebury, Woolwich and bears various postmarks including one of 27 AU 1834.
Various notes have been added to this letter in other handwritings:
Negatived as relates to Sr C. Yr letter & present are to go entire.
recd fm Mrs Phelps 8 October 1834. J Brothers
2 Copies Keith on P A. E.
Winter Evenings 4 Vols J. E.
Conversations on Chemistry
Transcribed from a scan of the original in May 2016 by Penelope Forrest, born Phelps, great great granddaughter of Elizabeth and Joseph.
Elizabeth has come back to England for health reasons and going to London helps her be close to visiting physicians and specialists.
Elizabeth is collected from Bramblebury and goes to stay at the Grover’s London House, 35 Sackville Street.
Aunt Grover is just arrived to carry me to Town - the day is fine - I am totally free from pain & illness so I shall put my trust in God & hope that the expedition may prove for my benefit…….
35 Sackville Street, London.
The journey in the open carriage did me a great deal of good I think. I had missed the open air I used to be in on Deck,……
I find Mr G looking extremely well like the rest, 6 yrs older but healthy. Mr Harry G is not long for this world. He is breaking fast I am told. Our Bombay nieces are very sweet unaffected girls. As soon as we (Harriet & I) arrived yesterday, the Grovers got ready to go to dinner in B Row, & I laid upon the Sopha all the Eveng, & the girls entertained me. I was agreeably surprised with their proficiency on the Piano……….
Whitsunday 18 May 8 o'clock Eveng.
This day has been passed very tolerably, considering the dissipation of London at this season. Mr Grover is not here. He went yesterday to (Hemel) Hempstead to see his brother & returns tomorrow. Harriet, & the Girls & the servants went to church twice. We dined at 1 between the services (cold meats)…….
Mrs Grover declines negotiating for the Piano, for which I cannot blame her. She has had an éclaircissement with Mr Broadwood about their former engagement & she says it would be indelicate in her to ask him a favour………….
Transcribed in February 2022 by Penelope Forrest, born Phelps, great great granddaughter of Elizabeth and Joseph. For the full letter see link on Elizabeth DICKINSON 1795 - 1876 page.