2 February 2014

Who was Miss Carter of Fersfield, Diss, Norfolk?

In April 2012, I noticed a set of political autographs which came up for auction on the site below: 


One of those political signatures (top right) is a cut-off letter in William Pitt's handwriting that he sent from London on June 7, 1804 to a certain mysterious Miss Carter who was then at Fersfield, Diss, Norfolk.

When I checked a modern map of Norfolk, there is indeed a Fersfield Road just outside of Diss. So who was Miss Carter? Her name appears nowhere else in the life of William Pitt, and to my knowledge, he did not have any colleagues or affiliations with anyone by the name of Carter. The letter was postmarked soon after Pitt became First Lord of the Treasury for the second time.

I wonder what became of the rest of the letter? This is just another mystery in the life of William Pitt.

1 comment:

  1. She was almost certainly related to Samuel Carter, rector of Fersfield:http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=fZSNUcPL8AYC&pg=PA474&lpg=PA474&dq=%22samuel+carter%22+fersfield+norfolk&source=bl&ots=5lnaQ9ZDOM&sig=oZW8Iy3J1V62zWR07zwX5HaFfL0&hl=en&sa=X&ei=2e7vUsWLN9GBhAey9YHwCw&ved=0CBwQ6AEwAA

    Carter was from Trinity and there was no doubt a connection with the constituency of Cambridge University. I'd guess this had something to do with Pitt's reelection for the University after being reappointed Prime Minister in May (when was he reelected? I can't recall offhand). Carter, incidentally, was at Cambridge 1774-78 so Pitt might well have known him personally. Why he wrote to Miss Carter (presumably either a sister or daughter) rather than Carter himself I couldn't say though!