george wellington’s letters

A transcript of sad correspondence from George WELLINGTON (1781-1847), Chemist of Yeovil to his eldest daughter Mrs Elizabeth Blackaller GROVES at Blandford Forum. 

You can click on the image to enlarge it for reading.


1 – Bessie is Elizabeth Wellington GROVES, the eldest daughter of Elizabeth Blackaller WELLINGTON and Simon GROVES, Chemist of Blandford Forum, Dorset. Bessie died Tuesday, 30 April 1839, aged 12 years, cause of death ‘effusion of water on the brain’ or Hydrocephalus.

2 – Lucy is Lucy WELLINGTON the seventh child of George WELLINGTON and his second wife Elizabeth SAMSON. She was 13 years old in May 1839 and she may have been away at boarding school when she fell ill with seizures caused by ‘water on the brain’ and was brought home to her family in Yeovil.

3Leeches and blood-letting were common procedures in 19th Century medical care. The theory followed that fevers, apoplexy and headaches resulted from an excessive build-up of blood. As a chemist in 1839, George WELLINGTON would most likely have administered medicines and the two courses of leeches to his daughter. Remarkably, Lucy actually recovered, she remained single, worked as a fancy needleworker and a draper, lived a long life and died in 1899 aged 73.


4 & 7 – Mary’s dear babe is Mary Matilda VINING, the eldest daughter of Mary Webb WELLINGTON and James Tally VINING, Solicitor of Yeovil. Mary Matilda Vining died on 18 May 1839, aged 1 year. There is a large obelisk on a plinth in the grounds of Yeovil Parish Church of St John the Baptist with the inscriptions very worn. The monument was erected by James Tally VINING in memory of his wife Mary, the daughter of George WELLINGTON. She died 21 August 1842, aged 33 years. In the same vault are deposited the remains of Mary Matilda and William Richard, the infant children of James and Mary.

5 – Grandma would be Mary EDWARDS, the mother of George WELLINGTON’s first wife, Elizabeth EDWARDS who died in 1815. Grandma EDWARDS most likely travelled from her home in Shepton Mallet, Somerset to visit her family.

6 – George is George Edwards WELLINGTON, the eldest son of George WELLINGTON and Elizabeth EDWARDS. He was a Druggist and Chemist in Yeovil, in partnership with his father, and aged 31 at the time of these letters. George had married Sarah SANDER in May 1838, but fate dealt them a rotten hand, as they had only 5 years and 5 months together. George died of ‘heart disease’, most likely a heart attack, in 1843, aged 36 years at Creech St Michael, Somerset while travelling on business. Sarah died in 1852, aged 33 years. There is a monument to George and his wife Sarah inside the Yeovil Parish Church, you can view it here.


Sources: Wellingtonia, The History of the Wellington Family, by John Evelyn; GRO Indexes and documents, UK Census 1941 (HO107/0958  Folio 11/8 Page 8), Pigot’s Directories of Somerset and Dorset 1830 to 1840.


21 thoughts on “george wellington’s letters

  1. Thank you for this most informative piece of family history. I need to add Elizabeth Edwards and children to my tree. Just one question: Sarah SANDER in May 1938, George died of ‘heart disease’, ,,,,, in 1943, aged 36 years – should it read 1838 and 1843?
    I started out doing this with my husband’ family who have a very colourful history of convicts and circus’. I think I am almost there. Congratulations on your progress. Lynette

    • Thanks Lynette. Good pick-up on the dodgy dates, I’ll make the changes. I look forward to reading about your convicts and clowns. Cheers Susan
      PS I also had another date incorrect: Elizabeth EDWARDS died in 1815 (not 1835).

      • George WELLINGTON (1781-1847) married Elizabeth EDWARDS in 1803 and then married Elizabeth Jane SAMPSON in 1817.
        Elizabeth Blackaller WELLINGTON (married name GROVES) was the eldest child of the first marriage – her mother was Elizabeth EDWARDS (1772-1815).
        My great-great-grandmother was her half sister, Jane Penelope WELLINGTON, the eldest child of the second marriage – her mother was Elizabeth Jane SAMPSON (1794-1865).

        I will put some family tree info on the website when I have time. Or I can email you a more detailed ancestor report.

      • Thanks Susan, I don’t have Elizabeth Edwards children on my Ancestry site and the others who are researching the family don’t have Elizabeth Blackaller – so I will wait until you get something done. I had been trying to place her but with no results. Thanks.
        I am also gggrandaughter of Jane Penelope and I am an off shoot of Frances Sutton.

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  3. I was just looking at my tree and I have the parents of Elizabeth Sampson being Gerald Sampson and Elizabeth Groves. Wonder if there was a relationship to Simon? Do you know?

    • I think they may be related but I have not found the connection. Elizabeth Jane GROVES baptised in 29 Mar 1764, Crewkerne, Somerset, England. Her father is listed as John GROVES. I am fairly certain that Simon GROVES parents were Richard GROVES and Lucy Tanworth IRONSIDE, they were married 12 Mar 1789, Wonersh, Surrey, England. I have found some of their children (Simon, Richard, Joseph, Benjamin, Mary, George Luckham) born between Mar 1799 and Jul 1812 at Winterborne Came, Dorset, England. IGI Parish Records (Batch) Number: C16012-1. Maybe if you find more on Richard GROVES, his parents and siblings there may be a connection to John GROVES.

  4. I am a direct descendant of John Wellington, 1747 – 1827 and Molly Bowden, from Chard, Somerset, England. I have read with great interest the pages of this web site. Thanks. Richard Wellington.

    • Hello Richard, thank you for your feedback, it’s satisfying to know my writing is reaching distant family members. I would be interested in sharing my research with you. Which of John and Molly’s sons are you descendent from?

      • Hi Susan, thank you for getting back to me. I am descended from John’s son Robert Wellington 1779 – 1859 and Mary White. Their son Benjamin Wellington 1825 – 1882 and Ann Mortleman. Robert F Wellington 1855 and Sarah North Simmons c1861. And my Granddad George Benjamin Wellington and Edith Pattenden. How does this fit in with your research? Thanks Richard.

      • Hi Richard, well this is a new branch I did not have on my tree. I only had Benjamin as a “maybe” son to Robert and Mary and had gone no further on researching the link. I will email you to follow-up.

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  6. Hi Susan, I believe that prior to the Wellingtons living in Chard, they came from the villages of Sandford and Stockleigh English, in Devon. I live less than an hours drive from these villages and plan to visit in the next couple of weeks. Is there any info. you can give me to help. Or is there anything I can do to help you in your research? Please email back, thanks Richard.

    • You are correct Richard, the Wellington’s did come from Sandford and Stockleigh English in Devon. I will email you the information I have and would love it if you would let me know if you find anything when you are visiting the area. A photo of the parish church and any Wellington headstones you might come across would be terrific. Thank you very much, Susan

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