19th September 1830
My Dear Horatia,
I went to the Music meeting at Worcester <1> with which I was exceedingly pleased. It lasted three days, each morning there was a performance in the Cathedral & in the evening a Concert & a ball - The Bishop of Rochester <2> (being Dean of Worcester) was one of the Stewards, and he & Lady Sarah <3> shewed me great kindness & hospitality - But I had two strings to my bow, for William Digby <4> you know is Prebendary of Worcester, so I breakfasted & dined sometimes with the Dean & sometimes with the Prebendary - On two of the days the Duchess of Kent & the Princess Victoria <5> came over from Malvern <6> to hear the performance - A pew in the Cathedral was fitted up for them with scarlet cloth, & it was the little Princess's first appearance in public. She is a very pleasing child with an intelligent countenance, rather pretty - She was very attentive to the performance, tho' it was too long, such as to tire most of the audience, yet she seemed all the while quite amused & contented. The first morning's performance was the Church service interspersed with pieces of Music, & it was pleasing to see the Dss of Kent pointing out to her daughter all the places in the Prayer Book. The Duchess is a very pleasing person - After the performance the Duchess & Princess joined a large party that the Dean had invited to a collation in the Chapter House. This is a beautiful circular room, supported by a single column in the center. The tables were spread in a circle round the walls, & a smaller table encircled the column, which was for the Duchess & a few of the nobility -
The entrance was by a temporary staircase which passed out of the Deanery & entered thro' a window in the Chapter House, so that descending the staircase you had a bird's eye view of the company - 'Twas exceedingly pretty. - another door leads from the chapterhouse into the Cathedral cloisters. - But the prettiest sight of all was the cathedral itself during the performances, as it was thronged with all the gentry of the surrounding counties, & looked most brilliant particularly whenever the sun shone - The principal performers were Malibran and Braham <7> - I can't endure Braham - Mrs Knyvett <8> pleased everybody very much, did you ever hear her. Miss Cramer looked very interesting singing poor thing with her arm in a sling - I suppose you heard of the overturn of the Aurora coach, laden with musicians, two of them were killed on the spot, some more badly hurt, Miss Cramer & the rest slightly<9> - This happened at Severn Hill 7 miles from Worcester. After each evening concert there was a supper in the Chapterhouse given by the Dean. I went to 2 of the balls which were very good. You will be surprised to hear your little partner Mr Foley <10> is a very great man at Worcester: just elected Member for the County (I hear Lord Foley's <11> interest is overwhelming in Worcestershire) & he seems very much liked & I really believe is a very amiable person. I was extremely well amused at Worcester & very glad I went there - I left it by the road of Birmingham & Sheffield (smoky places!) & am just arrived here, where the races are to begin tomorrow - To hear the way the people talk of Priam you would suppose the Trojan war was about to commence. I saw Chatsworth at the distance of a mile, from Ensor bridge yesterday, & just afterwards the road ascends such bleak & rocky heaths that you might imagine yourself in Scotland, till you begin to descend into the smoky neighbourhood of Sheffield. The stables of Chatsworth are more conspicuous than the house, at least on that side, which is a fault. The weather is grown rainy, the course tomorrow will therefore try the strength of the horses as well as their speed. I have been recommended not to bet havey against Priam - The caution was needless, as I only intend to risk a shilling.
Miss Horatia Feilding
1. This was the 107th meeting of the three choirs of Worcester, Glocester and Hereford. See the "Worcester Musical Festival," The Times, 16 September 1830, p. 3.
2. George Murray, Bishop of Rochester and Dean of Worcester (1784-1860).
3. Lady Sarah Murray, née Hay-Drummond, wife of the Bishop of Rochester.
4. Rev William Digby (1777-1848), later Dean of Durham.
5. Victoria Maria Louisa of Saxe-Coburg (1786-1861), and Victoria (1819-1901), Queen of the United Kingdom (1837-1901), Empress of India (1876-1901).
6. Malvern, or Great Malvern, 9 mi SW of Worcestershire.
7. Maria Felicia Malibran, née Garcia (1808-1886), vocalist, and John Braham (1774-1856), tenor.
8. Deborah Knyvett, née Travis (d. 1876), who married the eminent singer and composer, William Knyvett, in 1826, She was renowned for her mastery of Handel's music.
9. The soprano Marian Cramer, daughter of the German-born violinist, Franz Cramer. Six of the musicians were aboard the Aurora when it suffered its terrible accient, the result of overloading and speeding down the hill leading into Severn Stoke. The accident, and the context of the Three Choirs Festival, is thoroughly explored in Robert J Bruce's 'An incident at Severn Stoke, 11 September 1830,' The Musical Times, v. 150 no. 1908, Autumn 2009, pp. 57-64. WHFT's letter provides substantial information for this.
10. Edward Thomas Foley (b. 1791), MP, cousin of Lord Foley.
11. Thomas Henry Foley, 4th Baron Foley (1808-1869).
12. Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808-1881); WHFT's half-sister.