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Document number: 1959
Date: 22 Feb 1830
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: BUTLER George
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA30-9
Last updated: 11th February 2012

Gayton, <1>
22 Feb. 1830

My dear Talbot,

I cannot sufficiently thank you for your very kind present of Beauvais Glass: <2> It quite surpasses my expectation both in quantity & quality; and I shall forthwith set myself at work to employ it in the most tasteful manner for the decoration of my Chancel. It was so well & so carefully packed, that it has reached me, as it could not fail to do, in perfect safety. I cannot but anticipate with a sort of malicious pleasure the embarras of the future Antiquary, when he shall set himself to trace out, from the armorial bearings of the Escutcheons, the antient [sic] families “de Gayton”. The best of the fun is, that they are just, as nearly as possible, contemporary with the “Tanfields” and other “auncient worthies” of our renowned village; whose monuments you saw in our church.

I know not, whether they do not in some quarterings tally with those, which the art of heraldic Blason has ascribed to them. As for the numerous smaller paintings; they will come in delightfully in sundry places, which I have already in my mind allotted for them.

How happy shall I be, at all future opportunities, to shew You what dignity and elegance You have conferred upon my dear Pet Church!

You will be glad to hear, that Mrs Butler <3> and her little daughter are doing as well as possible they have ventured out this fine morning in the close Carriage.

The only remaining news of the County is that the Honble & Revd George Spencer has “renounced the errors of our heretical church and has embraced the doctrines of popery!”<4> Poor fellow! he has been so long wavering about with every wind of Doctrine, and so uneasy under the influence of his ever varying Scruples, that I do not wonder at his seeking refuge in a Church, which most effectually quells them all by prohibiting the Use of private Judgement. Far better so, than if he had united himself with some Sect of protestant Fanatics and gone “ranting” about the Country to convert and to confound our gaping rustics: Their natural Antipathy to popery will, I trust, secure them from his present attempts.

Adieu! present my most respectful compts to Captn & Lady Elizabeth Feilding <5> and believe me to be,

With sincerest affection & esteem, My dear Talbot, Yours faithfully & much obliged,
Geo Butler.

W. H. Fox Talbot Esq.
Lacock Abbey,


1. Northampton.

2. WHFT had visited Beauvais in 1816 and had admired the glass there - see Doc. No: 00693. For the history of WHFT's acquisition of this glass, see Doc. No: 01761 and Doc. No: 01779. WHFT had offered the glass only recently (see Doc. No: 01951) and Butler lost no time in installing it in his church of St Mary the Virgin at Gayton in Northamptonshire, it is still visible, reinstalled near a memorial to Butler and his family.

3. Sarah Maria Butler, née Gray. She had given birth on 12 January 1830.

4. Hon and Rev George Spencer (1799-1864), son of 2nd Earl Spencer, clergyman and Rector of Brington, Northamptonshire. Converting to Catholicism in 1830, he was later known as Father Ignatius of St Paul

5. Rear Admiral Charles Feilding (1780–1837), Royal Navy; WHFT’s step-father, and a misspelling for Lady Elisabeth Theresa Feilding, née Fox Strangways, first m Talbot (1773–1846), WHFT’s mother.

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