Nelson & His World

Risden Home: Admiral John Moresby's Daughter?
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Author:  jesse [ Wed Nov 26, 2014 7:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Risden Home: Admiral John Moresby's Daughter?

Recently a friend found in the British Library the 1897 play Nelson's Enchantress (about Lady Hamilton and Lord Nelson), which was written by Risden Home, a pseudonym. I am trying to discover who "Risden Home" really was.

The author is in places described as the daughter of an admiral; Bernard Shaw mentions in his review of Enchantress, ”Of England, Home, and Beauty" that the author may be Mrs. De Lacy Lacy, but I have been unable to discover anything about her. Two sources (at least) refer to Risden Home as the daughter of Admiral Sir Geoffrey Hornby and granddaughter to Admiral Phipps Hornby. The admiral who succeeded Phipps Hornby was Sir Fairfax Moresby. His son was Admiral John Moresby (who named Fairfax Bay and Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea), the father of Elizabeth Louisa Moresby.

Elizabeth was born in 1862. She was 35 when Enchantress was on stage. In 1924 she wrote (as E. Barrington) the novel The Divine Lady (about Lady Hamilton), which was turned into the film in 1929. She moved to British Columbia in 1919 and became a prolific author before her death in 1931.

Now, could Elizabeth Moresby have written Nelson's Enchantress in 1897? If not, then two English Admirals of the Fleet possibly had granddaughters who each wrote a work on Lady Hamilton, an interesting thing in itself.

Elizabeth Louisa Moresby wrote under several names, including Lily Adams Beck. If I could find biographic material on Elizabeth Moresby, or descendants, that might help. Here is an article about her:

Author:  jesse [ Thu Nov 27, 2014 1:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Risden Home: Admiral John Moresby's Daughter?

This subject was discussed here two years ago under the heading "Buford Bridge?" and in the thread the article from New Zealand identifying Risden Home as Mrs. De Lacy Lacy was mentioned. This is really a mystery and I hope a reader here can give further clues. One would think that if Risden Home were Mrs. De Lacy Lacy there would be more information available. I looked up the family of Admiral Geoffrey Hornby and it does not appear that one of the two daughters married a Lacy. One daughter was Mrs. Fred. Egerton who wrote a biography of him in 1896. I have not yet obtained it to see if it references Mrs. Lacy.

Author:  Galiano [ Thu Nov 27, 2014 9:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Risden Home: Admiral John Moresby's Daughter?

I'm in British Columbia; would you like me to check some local archive if I can?

Author:  jesse [ Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Risden Home: Admiral John Moresby's Daughter?

Yes, indeed. Thank you. I just got hold of the entire text of Mrs. Fred. Egerton's biography of her father, "Admiral of the Fleet: Sir Geoffrey Phipps Hornby, a Biography." It contains no mention of the names or marriages of his three daughters! The biography was published in 1896, after his death a year earlier.

So the possibility exists that Risden Home was really Elizabeth Louisa Moresby, the daughter of Capt. (later admiral) John Moresby.

Author:  Galiano [ Fri Nov 28, 2014 2:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Risden Home: Admiral John Moresby's Daughter?

I made myself clear as mud didn't I :-) ... when I said "some local archive" I was wondering: is there is a specific one you'd like me to look in if I can get to it?

Author:  jesse [ Fri Nov 28, 2014 4:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Risden Home: Admiral John Moresby's Daughter?

Anything that might be helpful in finding out if she had written it. She was a well known writer. Did she ever write about her life in England or her family, for instance.

Author:  tycho [ Fri Nov 28, 2014 8:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Risden Home: Admiral John Moresby's Daughter?

It's a long shot but do you have the name of the publisher? Many of the old publishing companies had very extensive archives and might have kept a record of payment to the author using her real name instead of her pseudonym.

Author:  jesse [ Fri Nov 28, 2014 9:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Risden Home: Admiral John Moresby's Daughter?

Anna, the pseudonym that is unknown is Risden Home's. The play was not published. I obtained a copy of the typewritten transcript of the play from the British Library. On the typewritten document the play is The Enchantress, on the first page handwritten “J Forbes-Robertson, 22 Bedford Square.” Stamped on it is “#38, Lord Chamberlain’s Office. Name of Play Nelson’s Enchantress, Avenue Theatre, London. Date of License, Feb 4, 1897.

What I am hoping is that there is biographical material about Lily Adams Beck/Elizabeth Moresby that will give some information. I also plan to read the book The Divine Lady and compare it to the text of the play. The film does have some similarities, but it is a screenplay, and after all they all deal with the same subject.

It seems a bit curious that a writer as prolific as Beck/Moresby, with so interesting a life, would not have generated a biography.

So I hope someone here has clues. Rae Rae Franchi, do you have any ideas?

Author:  appear [ Fri Nov 28, 2014 5:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Risden Home: Admiral John Moresby's Daughter?

If we can believe the newspaper article published in 1897, 'Mrs Lacey's father or step-father' was born about 1807/8 or thereabouts as he was nearly 90 years old.

Author:  jesse [ Fri Nov 28, 2014 7:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Risden Home: Admiral John Moresby's Daughter?

Sir Geoffrey Hornby died in 1895, age 70. Admiral John Moresby was born in 1830. His father, Sir Fairfax Moresby, was born in 1786 and died 1877.

This is from J. F. Bosher's "Imperial Victoria Island, Who was Who, 1850-1950": , page 130: Her identity is uncertain. Nowhere does she appear in British census records with the rest of the family... Admiral Moresby's family was recorded only in 1891 and only as four unmarried daughters: Ethel.., Georgina.., Hilda.., and Gladys. They all lived in 1891 in The Grange...southwest Sussex...."

Here is the link to Bosher's book and page: ... by&f=false

Clearly Lily Adams Beck was a mysterious person who used numerous pseudonyms. She wrote the book The Divine Lady in 1924, so there is no doubt as to her interest in Lady Hamilton.. Was there another daughter in Admiral Moresby's family who was married in 1891 and thus not in the census?

Author:  Mark Barrett [ Fri Nov 28, 2014 11:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Risden Home: Admiral John Moresby's Daughter?


As usual I can't resist a challenge. I am about 100% certain that I have the solution to this conundrum - so here goes.

It was reported variously that Risden Home was the daughter/stepdaughter of Admiral Hornby. AND that she was Mrs de Lacy Lacy.

Well in fact I am certain that both are correct.

Firstly - what has caused some confusion is that she was not the daughter/stepdaughter of Admiral Sir Geoffery Hornby, but ADMIRAL SIR WILLIAM WINDHAM HORNBY. I don't know how/if those 2 are related but that can be looked into another day.

Various obituaries of W W Hornby say that he married 2 widows, Augusta Paterson in 1849 and Catherine Howard in 1897. And they refer to his stepdaughter Augusta Matilda who was married to Charles S de Lacy.

Well in 1876 an Augusta Matilda Paterson married a Charles Sethward de Lacy Lacy. So Mrs de Lacy Lacy was obviously his stepdaughter from his first marriage.

I think that is pretty much proof positive.

There seems to be at least one other work where she used her pseudonym (Risden Home) and also one or two where she used her actual name (de Lacy Lacy)

I think that has taxed my brain enough for tonight so will leave it there for now!! :)


Author:  jesse [ Sat Nov 29, 2014 12:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Risden Home: Admiral John Moresby's Daughter?

Thank you Mark Barrett! This is why this forum is so excellent.

If anyone wants the play Nelson's Enchantress, please send me a PM.

Author:  appear [ Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Risden Home: Admiral John Moresby's Daughter?

Very well done. What a puzzle this has been, I am so pleased that you finally solved it!

Using your findings, I looked up Augusta Matilda Paterson, she did indeed marry Charles Sethward De Lacy Lacy. She was born in 1841 in Truro, Cornwall and died Dec 1917 in Whitechurch, Hampshire.

Sir William Windham Hornby was born on 23 Jul 1812.
This would have made him 85 when the article was published, therefore the age was not far out. His father was Geoffrey Hornby and his mother was Georgiana Byng.

Again, well done. :D

Author:  jesse [ Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Risden Home: Admiral John Moresby's Daughter?

And Charles Sethward De Lacy Lacy was admitted in 1873 to the Royal College of Physicians in London. So Risden Home was the wife of a physician.

So indeed it's the case that two admirals had daughters/stepdaughters who wrote on Lady Hamilton. Quite fascinating.

Author:  jesse [ Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Risden Home: Admiral John Moresby's Daughter?

The daughter of Augusta Paterson and Charles Sethward De Lacy Lacy was Helen, who married Robert Hippisley Cox. More from the web:

Their son was Antony Dacres Hippisley Coxe who served in the Second World War and rose to the rank of Lt-Commander. He also worked as a freelance journalist and wrote numerous books, including "Haunted Britain", "A Book About Smuggling in the West Country, 1700-1850","Galley Wise" with his sister Tacina and "The Book of the Sausage" with his wife Araminta. He helped prepare plans for the Festival of Britain in 1951, during which he organised the first tightrope walk across the Thames, worked for the B.B.C.'s Oversees Monitoring Service, was head of press and publicity for the National Farmers Union and later head of media at Shell International.

Antony loved going to the circus as a child and became a noted circus historian; he organised the first international exhibition of Circusiana at Simpsons of Piccadilly in London in 1948, was a member of the International Union of Circus Historians, wrote "A Seat at the Circus" and donated his collection of circus memorabilia to the Victoria & Albert Theatre Museum in 1978, of which he had been a devoted supporter. He also trained a troupe of performing cats called Coxe's Catrobats! Antony died in 1988 aged 75

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