Biography of Amelia Marsh nee Cuthbert
The origin and conception of Amelia is a story that could have been a line out of a novel. The young unmarried Sarah Hopkins and her mother Phyllis had been living in India in the home of her sister and brother in law, Amelia and Richard Smith. It would appear that Richard took a liking to Sarah and things developed and before long she became pregnant with his child. As Richard was already married to Amelia, it was not possible for him to also marry her sister Sarah. Life in India was quite free and easy but never the less this must have created a few difficulties within the family. The child was born and was named Amelia (after her natural father’s wife who also happened to be her aunt). A few months later (a shining knight to the rescue) came Arthur Cuthbert. He stepped in and married Sarah and presumably from then on it was a matter of happy families, relatively speaking. It may have been that Arthur was a cousin but we don’t know for sure.
What we do know, is that Arthur certainly treated Amelia like his own child and it is possible that Amelia was never made aware of who her natural father was. We only know of these complicated family relationships because Richard Smith who did not die until 1803 mentioned it in his will.
A few years after Amelia was born, the family returned to England and this is where Amelia spent most of her childhood. Amelia's mother Sarah died in 1777 when Amelia was only about 12 years. Amelia's father Arthur continued to be overseas in India making lots of money during much of her young days but there is nothing to indicate that Amelia did not have anything other than a good childhood living in their large family home of Woodcote in Surrey. In 1785 Amelia made what appears to have been an excellent marrige to William Marsh who was a Banker and a Naval Agent. Some letters to Amelia exist from her father around this time and her marriage is noted in her father in law's diary (George Marsh ).
27th October 1785. My dear son William was married this day Thursday to Miss Amelia Cuthbert at St. Mary L'bone Chapel. Present: her father, sister, her uncles Alexander Cuthbert and Colonel Hopkins, Miss Dove and myself. Her father gave her £40,000 of which £10,000 he desired might be settled upon her, but my son desired to make it £15,000 which he settled upon her accordingly. At this time his fortune and income were equal to hers, so that if riches will produce happiness they have a very large share to begin the world with, and the greatest prospect of it. We returned to Mr Cuthbert's house in Berner Street where we met Mrs Hopkins Mr Cuthbert's mother-in-law, my son George, Mr John Marsh and his wife, and proceeded from thence to Mr Cuthbert's house called Woodcott Park near Epsom and spent several day together.
Amelia's father died only a few years later in 1788 and Amelia died in 1793, at the young age of 28, leaving three surviving children.
5th July 1793. My son's wife Amelia Marsh died in her way home from Bristol hot wells, who left him five children, the youngest of which named Sarah also died the August following and they were both buried in my vault at Gillingham, the child was buried the 5th Sept and Mrs Marsh the 12th July.
In the Gillingham Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene, there are a number of memorials to various members of the Marsh family including:
'Amelia, Wife of William Marsh Esq. (the surviving son of the above mentioned George and and Anne Marsh) Eldest Daughter of Arthur Cuthbert Esq of Woodcote Park, Surrey. Died (unlamented only where unknown) the 5th of July 1793, Aged 28 years leaving five children, namely Arthur Cuthbert, Amelia, George , Anne and Sarah, the later of whom died the 14th August 1793. Aged 5 months and is Buried in this Church with her Mother'.
Amelia's portrait exists with the inscription 'Amelia wife of William Marsh of Willie House, Hampshire daughter of Arthur Cuthbert of Woodcote, Epsom', painted by John Russell RA. A small miniature of the same portrait also exists. Another portrait by Lemuel Francis Abbott is known to have existed but its whereabouts are not known.
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