Sir Cordell Firebrace

Sir Cordell Firebrace (1712—1759) subscribed to Kirby’s Twelve Prints and Historical Account. He was one of the two MPs for Suffolk at the time, representing the county from 1735 until 1759. He was considered a reliable Tory and consistently voted against the Whig government, although he rarely gave speeches and never held high office. His grandfather had been a vintner in London, and his father lived in Leciestershire. However, his mother, Margaret Cordell was form Long Melford in Suffolk. Her father, Sir John Cordell had been an MP, as was her brother Sir John Cordell. He died from a fall from a horse in 1704, and Margaret and her sister inherited the estates. The Long Melford land passed down to Sir Cordell Firebrace, who at the time of Kirby’s book was estimated to have an annual income of £3500 and cash of £30,000. He could afford the book.

Melford Hall

Melford Hall is now owned by the National Trust. They have a portrait of the unfortunate John Cordell,

Sir John Cordell

and a miniature of Sir Cordell Firebrace.

Sir Cordell Firebrace

Perhaps a better sense of the interests of this Suffolk country gentleman is obtained from this picture, that is also still in Melford Hall.

Sir Cordell Firebrace’s Dogs by a Dead Hind

Sir Cordell Firebrace had the good fortune to marry a rich widow, Bridget Evers (née Bacon) and there is also a miniature portrait of Lady Firebrace at Melford Hall, painted to celebrate her marriage.

Lady Firebrace

Samuel Johnson dedicated a poem to her, although it is possibly not one of his greatest efforts.

To Lady Firebrace

At length must Suffolk beauties shine in vain,
So long renown’d in B—n’s deathless strain?
Thy charms at least, fair Firebrace, might inspire
Some zealous bard to wake the sleeping lyre:
For such thy beauteous mind and lovely face,
Thou seem’st at once, bright nymph, a Muse and Grace.

4 thoughts on “Sir Cordell Firebrace

  1. Chamberville

    A great name, Cordell Firebrace — it sounds like a character in a book, intentionally chosen to represent a certain type of gentleman. And how cool to have Samuel Johnson pen a verse in one’s honor — the lady must have been thrilled.

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