Monday, 18 May 2015

The Rooms in Verse - the 1730s

In 1731 The Gentleman's Magazine published a poem by Lady M M "A Farewell to Bath" which contained the following:

"Lindsays and Hayes's both farewell,
Where in the spacious hall;
With bounding steps, and sprightly airs
I've led up many a ball

Where Somerville of courteous mein,
Was partner in the dance,
With swimming Haws, and Brownlow blithe;
And Britton pink of France."

Lady M M was Lady Mary Wortley Montagu nee Pierrepont (baptized May 26, 1689, died Aug. 21, 1762), one of the most colourful Englishwoman of her time and a brilliant and versatile writer.
Evelyn Pierrepont,

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
nee Pierrepont
She was the daughter of Evelyn Pierrepont, 5th Earl, later 1st Duke, of Kingston-upon-Hull, and his first wife, Lady Mary Fielding. The Pierreponts' owned extensive land holdings in Bath and the family name is recalled in the street running into North Parade. Indeed, the Lower Rooms were built, at least in part, on Pierrepont land.

Because she was often the most socially important person at the balls she usually stood in the first position in the line of dancers in country dances and would usually have danced the first minuet at the start.

Mrs Lindsay, a former opera singer, was the operator of the rooms which had been built on what is now the end of York street and Mrs Hayes, her sister, who ran the rooms formally operated by Mr Harrison which were on the site now occupied by the derelict Island Club  and know locally as Bog Island.

The "spacious hall" at Mrs Lindsay's was probably no more than 26 feet in length, 30 feet wide and 30 feet high in 1730.

"Somerville of courteous mein" is probably James, the 13th Lord Somerville of Scotland who had come to England in the 1720's and met and married, in Bath, the enormously wealthy local widow Anne Rolt, nee Bayntun.



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