Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Charles Mercie Master of the Ceremonies

Charles Mercie opened his public dance academy at number 5 Argyle Buildings, now street, in October 1790. He had probably been giving private tuition for some time prior to that.

No 5 Argyle Street

Sometime around 1791/2 he had visited Paris to update his knowledge of the latest French dances, he paid a further visit to Paris in the spring of 1795.

It seems around this period he was appointed Master of the Ceremonies at the Guildhall which the Corporation maintained as an alternative to those provided at the Rooms for the fashionable company and from most of which they and the families were excluded.

A Modern Ball at the Guildhall

In 1798, Mercie had intended relinquishing the post but worried that no one else seemed to be stepping into the breach. He approached the Mayor and arranged terms on which he would conduct the season's balls. Unfortunately, the Mayor left Bath shortly afterwards without letting the other members of the corporation know what he had done. In the meantime, they had approached James Marshall a local bookseller to undertake the role. A compromise was reached and Mercie and Marshall became joint Masters and the first of the City Assemblies was arranged for Monday, December the 31st.

By 1800 Charles had moved his dancing school to 15, Henrietta Street.


  1. I live in Australia and was very interested to find this short article about Charles Mercie - known to me as Charles Mercy (1760-1847) and my 5th great-uncle.
    Charles Mercy was born on November 23, 1760, in Newland, Gloucestershire, to John Louis Mercy and Elizabeth Davies. He married Elizabeth Wyatt and they had two children together. He then married Mary Blagrove and they had 14 children together. Many of his children died in infancy. He died on August 15, 1847, in Hackney, Middlesex. In Hackney he lived in Church Street, probably at Fleetwood House, and was a school teacher.
    I would be very interested to know about your sources for his time in Bath and his travels to France.
    Sue Barnett

    1. Hi Sue
      Great to hear from a relation.
      Most of this article is based on advertising and articles in the Bath newspapers of the period and in particular the Bath Chronicle.
      You can access copies of the Chronicle at the British Newspaper Archive

      If I can be of further help just let me know.

    2. Thanks for the tip Ian. It's a very interesting blog. Congratulations.