The Duke's Daughter & the Manchester Apoethecary.
HOW Lady Barbara Fitzroy, thedaughter of the Duke of Cleve? land, and a granddaughter of Charles II., came to live in the house of a Manchester apothecary is shrouded in mystery. Her father was the son of Charles H. and the notorious Barbara Villiers, Lady Casticmaine, whom the "Merry Monarch " created Duchess of Cleveland. He was named Charles after the King, and when his mother died in 1709, he succeeded her as first Duke of Cleveland. Lady Barbara was one of the three daughters by her father's second marriage, but how she came to be disowned by her mother, as set out in the curious inscription on her gravestone in the choir of the Collegiate Church, is unknown. There are two brass plates upon the stone. The upper one bears the arms of Charles IL with the bar sinister and this inscription :?
" Lady Barbara Fitzroy
Eldest daughter of the
Most Noble Charles
Duke of Cleveland and Southampton
Died January 4th 1734."
Upon the lower plate are the arms of the Dawson family, and the following inscription :—
"Here are deposited the remains
of William Dawson, Esq, who died
On the 17th of August 1780,
And in the 60th year of his age.
He desired to be buried with the above
Named Lady, not only to testify his
Gratitude to the memory of a kind
Benefactress, aitho' he never
Reaped any of those advantages from
Her Bounty to his Family, which
she intended ;
But because his Fate was similar to her's
For she was disowned by her mother,
And he was disinherited by his father."
whose sad story has been preserved in the ballad "Jemmy Dawson."
“My Lady Barbara Fitzroy that lived with Mrs. Dawson, and Mrs. Mort were both buried this week," wrote a friend to John Byrom. “My Lady has made Mr. Dawson her heir, if he can but come at the money," Mr. Dawson did not " come at the money" as he caused to be recorded upon the gravestone, forty- , six years after Lady Barbara's death. The father who disinherited him was an eccentric person, and was buried by his own express direction in a " cuffed shirt and cravat, a night-cap of brown fur, a striped morning gown (orange and white), deep crimson-coloured silk waistcoat and breeches, white silk stockings and red morocco slippers. In his bosom was placed a folded piece of white paper, which enclosed two locks of hair cut from the heads of two boys for whom Mr. Dawson had a great regard. They were the sons of a gentleman named Cooper, who was his steward and with whom Mr. Dawson lived. To this person he left his estate."
Several years before his death the elder Dawson engaged an engraver to inscribe the plate he proposed to have placed over his remains, and this he kept in his room until his death. What a story lies hidden here! A king's granddaughter, either driven from her home or leaving it of her own accord, and seeking refuge in the family of a Manchester apothecary! Why did she come to Manchester? How did she make acquaintance with the Dawsons? Those are questions to which no answers can be found. Nor do we know why her host and entertainer was disinherited by his father. This William Dawson was an apothecary, Lady Barbara died a few months before and the father of the luckless " Jemmy " her father, and it is therefore not imDawson who was executed in London for probable that she had no fortune to his share in the 1745 Rebellion, and bequeath to Mr. Dawson.