I confess I’m only very VERY distantly related to Lady Jane, and then only by marriage, but she’s one of those unconventional people one would so like to have met.
Lady Jane Halliday, nee Tollemache (1750-1802)
growing old disgracefully
She was born Jane Tollemache, into a very wealthy old family. At the age of 20 she eloped to
Gretna Green with John Delap Halliday, the son of a rich tax collector on Antigua and grandson of Francis Delap (1690-1766, my 4x great grandfather), a slave and plantation owner whose name still survives as a district of that island. Fearing disinheritance or at least disapproval, the runaway couple had the pragmatic good sense to remarry formally in the following year to legitimise their relationship under English law as well as Scots. Worcester
It was a smart move. Their inherited wealth increased in leaps and bounds, and they had four children. But blood will out. Their daughter Charlotte Elizabeth Halliday was disinherited by her father for … yes, eloping to
to “enter the connubial state” without his approval! Scotland
It came out in the next generation too. Their first grandchild, Elizabeth Jane Henrietta Tollemache (whose father had taken the Tollemache name on inheriting a fortune from a maiden aunt) was considered something of a rebel. Against family advice she first married, and presumably for love, Captain Christian Frederick Charles Johnstone a man of modest means – far too modest for her as it turned out, and the marriage failed.
Lady Jane’s granddaughter then eloped, in 1823, with the rather wealthier 7th Earl of Cardigan (of Charge of the Light Brigade notoriety); but although they did eventually marry in 1826, she eloped again in 1827. This may have been with Lord Colville, described as her final intrigue, or perhaps an earlier affair. Her marriage to Cardigan finally ended in 1846, and it’s a miracle it lasted that long.
Jane herself, widowed in 1794, no doubt sailed through it all. Indeed, she lent her name to a ship owned by a Sir Richard Neve (who must have had his own reasons for naming one of his vessels after her). While tied up in
in 1796, the Lady Jane Halliday was burgled of 20 lbs of raw sugar (perhaps from her inherited interests in Britain Antigua and St Kitt’s). The sugar was valued at eight shillings, and the thief, a dock worker called William Blue, was sentenced to seven years’ transportation to Botany Bay. Seven years for eight shillings.
In March of 1802 Lady Jane remarried, against all family advice, a Mr G.D. Ferry. It was no doubt a happy marriage, but a short one; she died on 28th August the same year, having undeniably and magnificently grown old disgracefully.