Tag Archives: Kilderbee

Thomas Coggeshall

Thomas Coggeshall (c. 1702—1768) seems to have led a pleasant life, but he left few traces during it. He did subscribe to Kirby’s Historical Account and Method of Perspective, as well as six copies Richard Canning’s book on Ipswich charities. He was a grandson of the Henry Coggeshall who invented a slide rule for lumber measurement and whose treatise on the use of the slide rule ran through many editions with varying titles. The third edition was The art of practical measuring easily perform’d, by a two foot rule, which slides to a foot….

Rev. Francis Haslewood reords Thomas Coggeshall’s monument in St. Matthew’s church thus:

Beyond whatever inheritance Coggeshall had from his father, he also inherited lands and money from his cousin John, and he died a wealthy man. The Gentlemen’s Magazine claimed he had left between £6000 and £7000, a not inconsiderable sum for the time. His will shows the interconnections between many of the local families. Coggeshall left the bulk of his estate to a cousin William, and to William’s daughter Martha, to another cousin William, and to some relatives on his mother’s side (his mother was a Cannell). As trustees for the property he appointed `Mr. John Hingestone son of my late worthy friend Mr. Mileson Hingestone and the Reverend Richard Canning son of my worthy friend the Reverend Mr. Canning of Ipswich’. He also made Rev. Canning an executor. The friendship presumably accounts for the six copies of Canning’s book that he subscribed for. Among many minor bequests to relations, he gave fifty pounds each to `Mr. Samuel Kilderbee of Framlingham and his two sons and daughter’ (Kilderbees and Coggeshalls were related by marriage a couple of generations earlier). To his `good friend’ Rev. John Clubb he gave four hundred pounds, to his `very intimate friend’ the elder Richard Canning he gave five hundred pounds. He also gave money to Elizabeth Craighton, widow of the publisher William Craighton, and to Craighton’s nephew Mr. Jackson (the widow and nephew had continued the publishing business including the Ipswich Journal after the death of William Craighton). He gave twenty pounds to Joshua Kirby and his brother William. Towards the end of the will is a long list of further friends to whom he gives 10 guineas each, including a `Mr. Gainsborough’ who is not specified further.

After a life with ‘plentiful Fortune favouring his natural love of ease’, he demonstrated in his will a great concern to pass on his fortune to friends, relatives, and charities.

Samuel Kilderbee (1725—1813)

Samuel Kilderbee was an Ipswich lawyer, now remembered chiefly for being a life-long friend of Thomas Gainsborough. He had a successful career as an attorney, in particular representing Nathaniel Acton in many legal transactions. In 1755, during the period of political turmoil in Ipswich, he was installed as Town Clerk, a position he retained until 1767. It is unclear if the Gainsboroughs had known the Kilderbees before Gainsborough’s move to Ipswich after his London training, but it is certainly possible. The Kilderbee family had been living for several generations in Framlingham, while Gainsborough was from Sudbury, on the other side of Ipswich.  Once they did meet, they became firm friends until the end, although, as with much of Gainsborough’s life, direct evidence is scanty. From Gainsborough’s letters, we know his family visited the Kilderbees from London in the 1770’s, and Gainsborough and Kilderbee made a tour of the Lake District in 1783. Gainsborough made Kilderbee `overseer’ of the execution of his will and Kilderbee visited Gainsborough on his death-bed, where he reported that Gainsborough, “regretted the dissolute life he had led, but added, `They must take me altogether, liberal, thoughtless, and dissipated.'” William Jackson said that Gainsborough’s letters to Kilderbee were `brilliant but eccentric, and too licentious to be published’, and indeed they never were.

Early on, Gainsborough painted portraits of Kilderbee (at least twice), his wife, and one of her brothers.

Later, he painted a portrait of the Kilderbee’s son, the Rev. Samuel Kilderbee.

The Kilderbee family had some interesting naming conventions. Samuel Kilderbee’s grandfather, Francis, had married one Elizabeth, the only daughter of a Suffolk apothecary called Samuel Dover. They named their sons Dover and Samuel. In due course, Elizabeth inherited from her father, and this enabled Francis, a successful draper in Framlingham, to buy some land for his elder son to inherit in his turn. Dover went on to Cambridge and success, but died without issue, and the prosperity passed to his younger brother Samuel, who had taken on the family draper business. Samuel married Alethea Sparrow (we will hear more about the Sparrows later), and they in turn had two sons, Samuel the lawyer, and his brother John, who continued the family business into another generation. Samuel’s wife Mary was the daughter of a landowner Daniel Wayth. They had one son, the Rev. Samuel Kilderbee above, who was renowned for his wit and amusing conversation, and for living beyond his, by now quite substantial, means. Fortunately, the Rev. Samuel married a widow who could contribute to the family coffers, Caroline Waddington, daughter of Samuel Horsey. Their only son, Spencer Horsey Kilderbee, married Lady Louisa Maria Judith Rous, daughter of an Earl, and went on to be an MP under the rather splendid name of Spencer Horsey de Horsey.

Dover Kilderbee and one of the Samuels were subscribers to the first edition of Kirby’s Method of Perspective, and (a) Samuel and John subscribed to the second edition of the Suffolk Traveller.