The story of a community
The Sarells of Constantinople is an incomplete attempt to record in a manageable form the lives of the various members of the Sarell family and their first cousins. It is incomplete on two counts, firstly that no account is anything like a complete biography of the person concerned, and secondly that a number of members of the family do not get an account at all, because I have been unable to recover their story. Having said that, I hope that what is recorded is of interest to the reader, and that if on occasions it is repetitive from one account to another, I trust that you will bear with me in that each account is designed to stand alone.
The period covered is predominantly from the Napoleonic Wars to the First World War, although individual lives obviously predate this and continued beyond 1918. But the Sarell presence in Constantinople starts during the Napoleonic Wars with the arrival of James Sarell, and ends with the death of Helen Sarell in 1919. After the death of Helen, the Sarell family continued to have a property in Istanbul, which was only sold in 1960. Some of the Mavrogordato cousins continued to live in Istanbul into the 1930s, but by that time the family was not longer centred on Constantinople/Istanbul. Then of course in 1969 our branch of the family returned to Turkey when my father, Sir Roderick Sarell, was appointed as the British Ambassador to the Republic, and whilst it makes an interesting postscript to this story, it does not fall within the bounds of this account.
It is worth pointing out that the Sarell Family, prior to the move to Constantinople, had been an Exeter family for the previous two hundred and fifty years at least, but by the end of their time in Constantinople, the family was spread out from Britain, to Australia, South Africa, Cyprus, Greece, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Germany and Holland. Some were British subjects, others were nationals of these countries. In the First World War, a great-grand child of Richard Sarell would die for the British Empire in one arena of the war and for the Austro-Hungarian Empire in another arena. Evelyn Culling lamented the loss of the pre-war Europe describing it thus:
“Socially, for example, Europe was in a sense, one large family, with many houses. In London, Paris, Vienna, Rome – even Petersburg and Berlin – were social circles inter-allied by marriage, business, or friendship, and from capital to capital, from house to house, the members of those circles passed …. There was a cosmopolitan relationship which war, when it drew its iron rings round the nations, strangled instantly. The members of that European family found themselves in opposing camps and the war was to be to the death”
This account hopes to provide the reader with some understanding of the lives of the different members of the family through out this interesting period.
The information in this account comes from a variety of sources. Apart from documentary material, I have been able to rely on information and assistance from my father, Sir Roderick Sarell, my aunt Angela Cruickshank and Barbara Seabrook, the daughter of William Sarell, all of which has helped to provide a fuller picture of the Sarell family.
There is an amount of various documentary evidence that has been retained by the family over the years, such as baptism certificates, marriage certificates, and others obtained from the Public Record Office. There are various letters predominantly from Philip C. Sarell, but also to and from other members of the family which have been useful. Copies of various documents that have been acquired from the Ongley wings of the family and the Nugent wing of the Baltazzi branch, also helped to build up a picture of these branches of the family. In addition there are the unpublished diaries and journals of Henrietta Iwan Muller, which provide a first hand account of certain events pertaining to the family, the unpublished 1914 – 18 war journal of Ida Sarell, and the unpublished memoirs of May Wurmbrand.
There are, also, a number of published sources, such as the Foreign Office Lists, the Dominions Office and Colonial Office Lists, Who’s Who, the Commonwealth War Graves Lists, and Kelly’s Directories which have provided useful information. Furthermore the back copies of The Times have on occasions provided stories which were relevant. There are also some published books which are useful sources: Evelyn Culling wrote and published her autobiographical account of the First World War in 1932 under the title “Arms and the Woman”, a copy of which is held in the British Library; Heinrich Baltazzi-Scharschmid published an account in German of the Baltazzi family in Austria, called “Die Familien Baltazzi-Vetsera im Kaiserlichen Wien”. Unfortunately I do not read German and therefore it has not been as useful as it might have been in providing accounts of the Baltazzi family members. There are numerous books on the events surround the Mayerling Tragedy but the one that I have used was “Mayerling: the facts behind the Legend.” Because it provided information on the various members of the family, “A History of the Levant Company” by A.C.Wood provides the only account of the Company’s history, and even that is scant in regards to the relevant period. For later periods, “Storm Centres of the Near East 1879 – 1929” by Sir Robert Windham Graves KCMG, and “Life on the Bosphorus” by William J.J. Spry - segment - were both useful, as was “The Whittalls of Turkey 1809 -1973”. At a late stage David Barchard who is writing about Crete in the nineteenth century provided some useful information on Henry Sarell Ongley.
Finally I have spent a considerable amount of time on this project, and would like to thank my wife, Ange for being so supportive.
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Born 1758: Died 1817.
Sarah Sarell travelled out from England to Constantinople in 1810 to join her three sons who were merchants in the Levant Company. In so doing she became the most senior member of the Sarell family to be associated with Constantinople.
Sarah Sowton was born in Devon, and baptised at St Mary’s Major in Exeter on the 20th December, 1758. She grew up in Exeter, and on the 20th May 1781, she married Philip Sarell, a Fuller and Freeman of the City of Exeter, in the Sarell family’s Parish Church of St Mary’s Steps in Exeter. Her father, and her father-in-law, Richard Sarell were the witnesses to the marriage of Sarah to Philip.
Sarah and Philip had five children together. Their eldest child, James was baptised on the 5th May 1782 at the Church of St Thomas the Apostle. In 1784, their eldest daughter, Charlotte was baptised on the 4th June at the Church of St Mary Steps. Elizabeth was baptised on the 22nd October 1786, at St Thomas the Apostle, Richard on the 19th September 1791, at St Mary Steps, and the youngest son Philip in 1795. The family were living in the parish of St Mary Steps during this period, but St Mary Steps and the neighbouring parishes of St Edmunds, on the bridge and of St Thomas the Apostle on the west bank of the river seem to have been served by the clergy of St Thomas the Apostle. Certainly there was no incumbent solely at St Mary’s at this time.
In September 1796, Sarah’s younger daughter, Elizabeth, died and was buried from St Mary Steps, on the 7th of the month.
The wars with France were to have a devastating impact on the wool trade in Exeter, and this would have had an impact directly on the Sarell family since they were fullers and in the wool trade therefore. As a consequence of this, the traditional family career prospects for the three sons were closed. The family appears to have left Exeter between 1796 and 1803 as a consequence of this collapse in the wool trade.
The eldest son, James, was able to enter the Levant Company, and travelled out to Constantinople where in due course, he was sworn in as a freeman of the Company on the 15th July 1803. In due course he was joined by his brothers and then his mother, Sarah travelled out to join them in 1810.
Unfortunately, shortly after Sarah’s arrival in Constantinople, her eldest son died in 1811.
Sarah Sarell wrote the following letter which provides a good insight into her life in Constantinople.
“Constantinople March 13 1812.
Mr Joseph Brown. London,
The long period that has elapsed since my departure from England, and my not having written according to your polite request, is an omission for which I scarcely know how to apologise, but trust you will have the goodness not to impute either to inattention, or disrespect, what was occasioned only by the melancholy and unfortunate event, which so soon took place after I arrived in this country, and event which must cloud some part of every day of my future life with sorrow. I have however one consolation which is, that my beloved deceased son ever conducted himself prudently, so equitably towards all, with whom he had connexions, that he is universally spoken of, with respect and esteem. My now eldest son Rich’d who succeeded his brother, I believe, and trust you will find equally punctual and attentive to your interest, and to the interest of all his correspondents. My youngest Philip who left England a few months before myself, continues here, and promises to do very well, he is settled in the counting house with his Brother dependant on him for a few years, till time and experience may render him fit to conduct business. We all live very comfortably together, my children are dutiful and affectionate, and I should have been very happy had it pleased the Almighty to have spared my deceased son. Pardon me for relating so much of my own affairs. At present we live here in much security and peace and in many respects with as much comfort as in England, we have every luxury for the Table, much cheaper than in England, very fine poultry, the turkies the largest I ever saw, fish and fruit very fine, and plenty of good wine at a low price. The old English proverb is exactly verified here. That “God sends meat, but the Devil sends cooks,” for surely there never was in any christian country such miserable cooks, the women here have not the least ideas of doing anything in the kitchen, the cooks are all men, and for the most part Greeks from the islands, when I we first got into our House as I could only speak english, and the servants only Greek or a little Italian, we made some very droll mistakes at times. I now comprehend a little of both those languages, my son Rich’d speaks Greek like a native, also Italian and French pretty well. Philip has made some proficiency in Italian and is now learning French, and can make himself understood in Greek. The Turkish language is extremely difficult to acquire and very few learn it except those who are natives of the country. The whole appearance both of the people and the country, the variety of unusual sounds that salute ones ears, the extreme narrowness of the streets, the excessive dirt, the quantity of dogs, altogether make the place very disagreeable to a person, on arriving first from England, but a little time makes it familiar, and curiosity will find many subjects in a country and people formerly so famous in history. There are four distinct orders of persons who inhabit Constantinople, first and most numerous are the Turks who esteem themselves superior and Lords of all, the Greeks who as the original natives of the country, time immemorial before it was conquered by the descendants of Mahomet, are next to the Turks most numerous. These people in general hate and despise their Turkish Masters, yet as a conquered people they are obliged to submit, but they take every opportunity to vex the Turks when they can do it with impunity and those quarrels frequently end in the death of the poor Greek whom the Turk will surely murder if he is too much irritated. The Armenians come next under our observation those people are Christians, their ancestors were the peaceable inhabitants of the once flourishing kingdom or Armenia, which is situated about midway between the territories of the Grand Seignior and the Sultan of Persia. (Turkey and all Greece was at that time governed by the Greek Emperors,) Situated as those people were, between two such powerful neighbours, they alternatively fell a prey to both of them, but on their final subjugation and the extermination of their kingdom, thousands of the miserable exiles found an asylum in Constantinople under the government of the Greek Emperors, Since the conquest of this country by the Turks in 1443 the Armenians have gradually arisen to riches and oppulence (sic), they hold many places of confidence under the government, the coinage is wholly under their direction, as the mint is farmed out to them, their houses are most superb edifices built of stone, the gardens surrounded by high walls, within which they have fountains, statues and everything to please the eye and ear, those people when sequestered in their Houses indulge themselves in all the pride of dress, yellow boots decorate their feet, their long gowns of the finest silk, a pelisse lined in winter with fur which costs a thousand piastres a fine shawl tied around the waist, which costs from 50 to one hundred pounds sterling, the finest diamonds glitter on their fingers, and an immense calpack shelters their head. A Calpack is a covering for the head both of Greeks and Armenians, I do not know what tis manufactured of, but it is black, and sometimes black mixed with white very fine, but in shape exactly resembles an old fashioned copper boiler, whose brims being contracted much smaller than the other parts, imagine that you see one of those boilers become black and coated from smoke and placed on the head with the bottom upwards, and you will have an exact idea of this sort of hat, I should observe that the head is shaved all round the temples and behind, not a bit of hair to be seen only on the upper lip in the young, and an immense beard on the middle aged, and the old, the necks are quite exposed, as they never have a collar to the shirts.
The dress of the ladies is very little different from the men that is among the Turks, and Armenians, only that they are very careful of their hair and wear it immensely long flowing over the shoulders or braided in a number of little tresses. The Greek ladies have almost adopted the European dress, the usual employment of the females of this country is embroidery, and they execute it in the most beautiful style on muslin, with silk, gold or silver. I have two or three times been at Constantinople from which we are separated by the harbour I believe tis about a mile across, Constantinople is very much thronged with inhabitants, there are some very good houses, and the mosques make a very grand appearance, the chief thing that strikes the attention of a stranger is the bazaars, or market places, these are immense vaulted buildings of stone on each side of which are shops ranged regularly every profession has a bazar the first which I entered was the Egyptian Bazar, in that they sell every kind of drugs brought from Egypt besides colors for printing, rice, sugar, coffee and various articles in the same way, in that single market there are more than an hundred shops all exactly alike with a small room to sit in behind, as those who keep the shops are only in them during the day and return to their houses in the evening when the Bazar is shut, and secured with iron doors for fear of fire, besides those markets there are the Khans for the merchants of Persia, from India, from Barbary where all kinds of rich merchandize are deposited, and sold and in those the dealers remain during the time they remain in Constantinople. The Turks have some very beautiful manufactury in silk and cut velvets, their silk are very good and very well fancied. The velvets and silk and different colors wove in one piece and variegated in flowers and other figures, those velvets are mostly used for covering the cushions of sophas, a sopha is the great article of Turkish luxury, and very different from they are in England. A platform is raised round three sides of the room about a foot higher than the floor, and 3 feet in width from the wall, on this platform mattresses are placed all round and covered in summer with colord prints, trimmed with a deep fringe, at the back of the sofas against the wall, cushions, about a yard long are arranged, stuffed very hard with flax, in winter those cushions are covered with beautiful velvet and the mattresses with broad cloth or silk (I allude to the houses of the oppulent) in those sofas the Turks the Greeks and indeed all the people repose after dinner and take their pipe and coffee. Another singular custom of this country is the Tandour or fire table, this is a small table about the size of a breakfast table, besides the upper part it has a second table below a few inches from the floor in the midst of this is cut a round hole in which a pan containing a charcoal fire is placed, and over the table is a large blankett and quilt to keep in the heat, this table is placed in the angle between two sofas and round it the family and visitors sit in winter with their feet placed on the lower part and covered as much as they like with the coverings. This custom to a native of England has an odd appearance but becomes agreeable from use as very few of the houses have chimnies except in the kitchens, and the winters are very cold with much snow, but not long, four months is all that can be called winter. I have two or three times been in a boat up the Bosphorus or canal of the black sea the straight which parts Europe from Asia, tis not more than three miles wide at the widest part, and it is certainly not to be equalled for beauty of prospect in the world, on entering the boat you have the seraglio on your right whose fine buildings and woods rise gradually to the top of the hill The large city of Scutari is on the opposite side on the asiatic coast, and all the way for 14 miles tis a continuation of villages and towns on each side close to the mouth of the black sea, the grand seignior has some very beautiful houses on the banks of the canal, so lightly built and decorated with paintings and marble pillars that the outsides appear like some highly finished scene in the theatre, the canal in summer is covered with innumerable boats going and returning from the country houses of almost every description of people, and of parties who taking their provisions and servants make little excursions to the asiatic coast. And to increase the pleasure of the day they ascend some of the highest mountains in a kind of light waggon drawn by buffaloes, where it would be impossible for a horse to draw a carriage. These are some of the customs, and amusements of Constantinople but for all these things tis very dul here, and I hope Mrs Brown and all the family are in good health to whom please to make my respects, also to Mr Sculthorp. I remain Sir,
Your Obedient Servant S Sarell”
Sarah continued to live in Constantinople with her two sons, for the next five years. Her sons prospered with in the city and became important within the Levant Company Factory, in Constantinople.
On the 31st January 1817, Sarah Sarell died at 3.am. She was buried on the 1st February, at the “Grand Champs aux Morts”. The service was conducted by Cannon Thomas Shoolbred in the absence of a Protestant Minister.
In due course Sarah and her son James were re-interred at the Protestant cemetery at Ferikoy behind Pera, when the graves were removed from the “Grand Champs aux Mort”.
Born 1782: Died 1811.
James Sarell was the eldest child of Philip Sarell, Freeman of Exeter, and his wife Sarah. He was born in 1782, the year after Philip and Sarah had married, and was baptised on the 5th May at the Church of St Thomas the Apostle, which would suggest that the young family were living on the west side of the river in Exeter. However the parish of St Thomas the Apostle was providing the clergy for the parish of St Mary Steps on the east side of the river which is where the family were living. The two parishes and the parish of St Edmund being connected by the bridge across the Exe.
In due course, the family expanded as James was joined by two sister, Charlotte and Elizabeth, and then two younger brothers, Richard and Philip.
The family was severely effected by the wars with France at this time, and the collapse of the wool trade in Devon, meant that James and his brothers could no longer follow in their father’s footsteps and become fullers. At this time, another Exeter family, the Barings, who were also involved in the wool trade, had branched out into the London wool importing business and were also involved with the Levant Company. It is possible that through this link, the opening for James Sarell to go to Constantinople and join the Levant Company there, presented itself.
James travelled to Constantinople in the aftermath of Nelson’s victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Aboukir Bay, which resulted in the reopening of the Mediterranean to British trade. In Constantinople James joined the Levant Company, in April 1803 and on the 15th July of the same year, was sworn in as a Freeman of the Company.
James, at some point married a Greek woman called Imaragsa, by whom he had a son, Edward James Sarell, of whom there is no further record.
Four years after his arrival, James was involved in a famous and historic affair arising out of the conflicting pressures on Turkey of the French and the Russians. When Napoleon had invaded Egypt in 1798, which was then part of the Ottoman Empire, the Turks had responded with determination. The French Chargé d’Affaires and 2000 French residents were thrown into prison. But subsequently the Turkish attitude to France Britain and Russia had varied according to their progress and relative positions during the Napoleonic wars.
The route of the Austrians and Russians at Austerlitz, in 1805, enabled Napoleon to re-establish French influence at Constantinople. He sent General Sebastiani to encourage the Turks to confront the Russians, by removing the Hospodars of Moldavia and Wallachia. This was a breach of a decree of 1802, binding the Turks not to remove these officers within seven years of appointment. The Russians were furious, and when the British Ambassador, Arbuthnot, made clear the British Government’s support for the Russians demands, the Turskish authorities realised that this meant war. They prepared to seize the Ambassador, and the British Merchants and the Guardship as hostages. Arbuthnot had reliable information of this intended coup and on the pretext of a banquet on board HMS Endymion, which was the sole remaining British Man-of War in the Bosphorus, he assembled the Levant Company Merchants on board, and amongst their number was James Sarell.
Only the Captain and one merchant were in on the secret, and when night fell, the ship’s cables were cut, and she slipped away without warning to the Turks, passed the Dardanelles in safety and joined Admiral Duckworth’s squadron which had assembled of Tenedos. The Turks confiscated all British property and all British subjects were made prisoner. Arburthnot wrote to Sebastiani, the French representative, asking him to see that the Turks behaved to the women like a civilised power, and handed over British affairs to the Danish Minister Hubsch.
For the next two years Morier, the Consul General and the Levant Company merchants, including James Sarell, remained in Malta, without their wives and families. In April 1808, the Turkish government realising that the Franco-Russian pact at Tilsit, was aimed at the eventual partitioning of Turkey, wrote to Lord Collingwood, the Command-in- Chief of the Mediterranean fleet, offering to renew negotiations for peace. In September Robert Adair arrived at the Dardanelles. After three months of discussions, The Peace of the Dardanelles was signed in January 1809. It provided for the full restoration of the Capitulations and of the property of the merchants which had been sequestrated during the war.
The Levant Company merchants, including James Sarell, made claims for their losses which was the subject of somewhat caustic comments from London. A letter to them from London stated:
“We desire that you will communicate to Mr Barbour, Mr Prior, Mr Cartwright and Mr Sarell that we have given all due attention to their claims for reimbursement of the losses which they sustained in consequence of their having been brought from Constantinople by Mr Arbuthnot. On examining the statements of the gentlemen sworn to before you and on adding together the amount of the whole, we were much struck by their total discordance both in character and amount. The final statement of losses real and imaginary, including those of their correspondents, scarcely amounts to one half of the first claims which were declared to be for their own individual losses only and which they even desired us to lay before the House of Commons.”
James was joined by his two younger brothers in the Levant Company in Constantinople, after this incident. Richard was sworn in as a Freeman in 1811.
James’s mother Sarah, also joined him and his two brother in 1811, arriving a few months after the youngest son Philip. James, however, died very shortly after his mother’s arrival and was buried in the “Grand Champs aux Mort”. Subsequently he and his mother were re-interred at the Protestant cemetery at Ferikoy in the same grave.
Note: In June 2008 I visited this still visible grave and the inscription reads: “Sacred to the memory of James Sarell who departed this life on third of April 1811, Aged 29 years. – Also of Sarah Sarell, mother of the preceding, who died 31st January 1817. Aged 58 years.” - image of tomb.
James’ mother, in her letter of 13th March 1812 to Mr Joseph Brown, one of James’ correspondents, wrote:
“I have however one consolation which is, that my beloved deceased son ever conducted himself prudently, so equitably towards all, with whom he had connexions, that he is universally spoken of, with respect and esteem.”
After the death of James, it appears that the remaining family lost contact with his widow and son, Edward and apart from some correspondence from Imaragsa to London, nothing more is know of them.
CHARLOTTE ONGLEY / HARDY.
Born 1784: Died 1855.
Charlotte Sarell was the second child of Philip Sarell, Freeman of Exeter, and his wife Sarah. She was born in Exeter in 1874, and was baptised at St Mary Steps in Exeter on the 4th June 1784.
Her first husband was William Ongley, an officer in the Light Dragoons and with whom she had a son, Henry Sarell Ongley. William however died shortly after retiring from the army.
In 1821 on the 13th October, Charlotte remarried, having joined her brothers in Constantinople, where they were merchants with the Levant Company. Her second husband was Jonathan Hardy, who was also a merchant in the Levant Company.
The following year Richard, Charlotte’s brother was married to Euphrosyne Rhasi and Charlotte and her husband were the witnesses, in the British Embassy Chapel in Constantinople.
Charlotte, her husband and her son from her first marriage, continued to live in Constantinople alongside the family of her brother. But she and Jonathan had no children themselves.
In due course, her son left home to become the Consul at Crete, which was then part of the Ottoman Empire. He was appointed in 1837 to this position.
In 1841, Henry returns to Constantinople to marry Lucy, his cousin. Charlotte and Jonathan were witnesses at the wedding of her son, along with her brother Richard, who had to give his consent to the marriage as Lucy was only seventeen and therefore a minor.
Richard Sarell died in 1844 and Charlotte’s youngest brother, Philip had previously died at Smyrna in 1839, so that she was by now the eldest of the Sarell family in Constantinople.
Jonathan Hardy became the Vice-Consul Chancellor in Constantinople on the 4th June 1845, a post he would retain through out the rest of Charlotte’s life.
An indicator of the esteem that Charlotte and Jonathan Hardy were held in by their family, can be gauged from the names that her son and his wife gave their children, the eldest daughter was named Charlotte and the eldest son was named Henry Hardy Ongley.
Charlotte died in 1855 at Constantinople. Jonathan Hardy would outlive her by ten years.
He retired on the 7th February 1856, but continued to play an important role as the uncle to the children of Richard Sarell. He is recorded as being present at the wedding of Richard Sarell and Anna Maria Wilkin in 1857, at the wedding of Euphrosyne Sarell to James Crawford in 1862 and at the wedding of his great niece Helen Baltazzi to Albin Vetsera, in 1864. Jonathan Hardy was also remembered in Eliza Alison will in 1863, in which his niece left him five hundred pounds.
When Jonathan Hardy died on 2nd September 1866, Henrietta Iwan Muller recorded in her journal:
“I received a letter from Anna Maria, announcing to me the death of dear Mr Hardy, which has grieved me exceedingly as I was truly fond of the dear old gentleman and he of me.”
With the death of Jonathan Hardy the last link between the Levant Company and the Sarell family was broken.
Note: In June 2008 I visited the graves of Jonathan Hardy and Charlotte, curiously in separate cemeteries of Constantinople. In the Feriköy Protestant Cemetery the inscription on the grave of Jonathon Hardy reads: “Here rest remains of Jonathon Hardy Esq. Born Nov. 29 1785. Honoured as a Merchant of the Levant Company for his integrity. Respected as Vice Consul and Cancellier for his fidelity; beloved by his Countrymen and friends of other nations for his virtue, gentleness and pleasant wit. He departed this life in the faith of CHRIST Aug.14.1866.” - image of tomb. Similarly the inscription on the grave of Charlotte Hardy in the English Cemetery at Haydarpaşa reads: “Sacred to the Memory of Charlotte Hardy, Beloved and devoted wife of Jonathon Hardy Esq. HMB Vice Consul and Cancellier of this residence. Died 4th August 1855 Aged 71 years.” - image of tomb.
Born 1791: Died 1844.
Richard Sarell was the second son and fourth child, of Philip Sarell, Freeman of Exeter and his wife Sarah. He was born in Exeter and baptised at St Mary Steps on the 19th September 1791.
The economic effects of the wars with France, resulted in the wool trade in Devon collapsing, and since Philip Sarell, Richard’s father was a fuller, involved in the production of cloth, the impact was severe on the family. Richard’s eldest brother, James, travelled to Constantinople and was sworn in as a Freeman of the Levant Company there, in 1803 and when Richard was older enough, he followed his brother to Constantinople.
In 1811, Richard was sworn in as a Freeman of the Levant Company, at Constantinople. Philip, his younger brother was now working alongside him. But his elder brother James died in the same year, shortly after their mother Sarah had joined her sons in Constantinople.
A colleague in the Levant Company Factory in Constantinople, left the city towards the end of 1811, and entrusted his affairs to Richard. A clear demonstration of the respect, that Richard had gained in a short space of time, in the Factory.
Richard lived with his mother and brother together in Constantinople, and became fluent in the various languages necessary for the conduct of business in the city, namely Greek, French and Italian.
|In 1817 Richard’s mother,
Sarah died and was buried in Constantinople. Both Richard and his brother
Philip were by now established merchant in Constantinople and members
of the Levant Company. He was also, along with his brother, involved in
banking and Messrs Sarell & Co. is recorded as having handled money
for amongst other Lady Hester Stanhope, during these years. Coutts of
London described Richard as a Banker and “our Correspondent at Constantinople”
when he opened an account with them in London in 1825.
In June 1819, the Levant Company Factory in Constantinople was having problems with the Ottoman Authorities who were imposing a double duty on made mocha coffee on the merchants. Also a consignment of iron belonging to the British merchants, had been impounded in an attempt to force the merchants to pay the increased tariff. The Levant Company Factory approached the British Ambassador, Sir Robert Liston, for assistance in these matters. The Ambassador was not hopeful of a speedy resolution to the problems, and was not prepared to go to the lengths that the Factory members were requesting. However he did disclose that the British Government had authorised him to seek a revision of the various tariffs and that he was entering into negotiations on this matter, and would resolve the outstanding issue of the iron as part of these negotiations.
In 1821 It was against this backdrop that the Levant Company made Richard the treasurer of the Constantinople Factory. It was a significant position within the Company, and indicative of his standing amongst his fellow British merchants. He took over the position from his predecessor Mr T.Black, on the 30th June 1819, after the accounts had been examined by two other members of the Factory, Mr Wright and Mr Ray.
Richard had, in due course married, but his first wife died leaving him a widower. But on the 15th April 1822, Easter Morning, Richard married his second wife, Euphrosyne Rhasi the daughter of the late Demetrius Rhasi. His two witnesses were his sister Charlotte and his brother-in-law and fellow member of the Levant Company, Jonathan Hardy.
The following year Elizabeth the first of Richard’s children was born and was named after his eldest sister. On the 25th May, 1824, Lucy his second daughter was born, and she was in due course be followed two brothers and five sisters.
In 1825, the Levant Company was wound up, but Richard and his family, his brother, and his brother-in-law and sister continued to live in and work in Constantinople and would remain significant members of the British Community.
In 1827, the British Embassy was withdrawn from Constantinople, after the battle at Navarino. Sir Stratford Canning entrusted Richard Sarell with looking after the British commercial during the absence of the Embassy. Over the next three years until the restoration of diplomatic relations in 1831, Richard was the Chargé d’Affaires in Constantinople. In recognition of his difficult role during that period, he was presented with a gold snuff box with a portrait of King William IV on it. A letter from Sir Robert Gordon at the Foreign Office accompanied the gold snuff box, to the Ambassador stating:
I have great pleasure in transmitting to Your Excellency, by His Majesty’s command, the accompanying Gold Box, with His Majesty’s Portrait, to be presented to Mr Sarell, as a Testimonial of his Majesty’s gracious approbation of the services which Your Excellency has reported Mr Sarell to have rendered to the interests of His Majesty’s trading Subjects during the absence of the British Embassy from Constantinople.”
Richard Sarell was subsequently appointed to the post of Vice-Consul at Constantinople.
In the aftermath of this period, Richard’s family continued to grow. Eliza as Elizabeth was know, and Lucy, had been joined by Philip James, in 1825, Charlotte in 1826, and Richard in 1829. Now Euphrosyne was born in 1831, followed by Alice Fanny in 1835, Harriet in 1835 and finally Helen in 1836.
Richard’s second daughter Lucy married her cousin Henry Sarell Ongley in 1841, and then Eliza married Theodore Baltazzi in 1842. This second marriage is indicative of the standing of Richard and his family, in Constantinople as Theodore Baltazzi was the richest banker in Constantinople, and was the banker to the Sultan.
On the 18th February 1844, whilst on a trip to London, Richard died from a diseased heart. He was staying at 42 Gower Place. His death was announced in the Times.
Back in Constantinople, Richard’s widow Euphrosyne continued to bring up their children, with assistance from her daughter Eliza and her husband, and also from her brother-in-law Jonathan Hardy. In later life Helen, the youngest daughter lived with Euphrosyne, as her companion, in their house in Büyükdere [half way up the Bosphorus coast].
Euphrosyne eventually died in 1884 at the age of 85, and was buried according to the rites of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Born 1795: Died 1839.
Philip Sarell was the youngest child of Philip Sarell, freeman of Exeter and his wife Sarah. He was born in Exeter in 1795, the youngest of five, when the family were living in the parish of St Mary Steps, by the river Exe and in the hub of the commercial heart of the city.
By the time Philip was born, the impact of the war with France, was resulting in a collapse of the local Devonshire wool trade. His father was a fuller and therefore the impact must have been severe. It appears that the family left Exeter shortly after Philip was born. His eldest brother James travelled to Constantinople in the early years of the nineteenth century and was sworn in as a freeman at the factory in Constantinople in 1803. Philip followed James and his other brother, Richard out to Constantinople and was in turn followed by his mother shortly afterwards and then by his sister in due course.
In Constantinople, his brother James, died shortly after Philip’s arrival. Philip however entered the Levant Company factory where Richard was by now a freeman himself. Philip in due course also became a freeman of the company and a successful merchant, having learnt various of the languages necessary for commerce, such as Greek, Italian and French.
In 1825 the Levant Company was wound up, but Philip along with other members of the Sarell family continued to live and prosper in the Ottoman Empire. Philip and his brother Richard are recorded as bankers handling accounts for clients of Coutts who were in the Ottoman Empire at this time. But whilst Richard remained predominantly in Constantinople, Philip appears to have moved to Smyrna at some point, Smyrna being the other major trading port with British trade in the heart of the Ottoman Empire. Smyrna had a sizeable British Community at this time. The Whittall family had been there since 1809, and there were others such as the La Fontaine family, the Maltass family and the Wilkin family, all of who would rub shoulders with the Sarell family over years. The Community lived outside the city in the village of Bournabat, and within Smyrna in the district between the amin street and the harbours edge.
It was in Smyrna, in 1839, that Philip passed away, being survived by his brother Richard and his sister Charlotte.
ELIZABETH BALTAZZI / ALISON.
Born 1823: Died 1863.
Elizabeth Sarell was the oldest child of Richard Sarell, a Levant Company merchant and his second wife Euphrosyne Rhasi. She was born in Constantinople in 1823 and grew up there. She was known by the abbreviated form of her name: Eliza.
On the 5th February 1842, Eliza married Theodore Baltazzi, who was twenty-five years her senior. As Eliza had not yet reached the age of twenty-one, she required the consent of her father to marry, and although Theodore Baltazzi was considerably older, he was also a very successful banker and Richard gave his consent to the marriage. The marriage took place in the Chapel of the Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Sublime Porte, and was witnessed by amongst others, her two younger brothers Philip and Richard.
Almost immediately after her marriage, Eliza became pregnant, and her first child was born on the 16th December 1842 in Constantinople, and subsequently baptised at the Ambassador’s Chapel, on the 29th.
Theodore Baltazzi was at the time of his marriage, a subject of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, following the ceding of Venice to the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1815. This was because prior to this, the family had in the previous century managed to become
citizen of the Republic of Venice, an important safeguard for successful Christians in the Ottoman Empire.
Theodore had trained as a banker in Paris, and had returned to Constantinople, where he had entered his father’s bank. In due course he became banker to the Sultan himself and became the richest person in Constantinople.
Apart from the properties that Theodore Baltazzi had in Constantinople, he was also a landowner in the Dardanelles, and Hungary. In Smyrna (Izmir), on the eastern Aegean coast, which was a significant town and had a historical link with the Baltazzi family, Theodore had a house on the waterfront on the edge of town. The view was described by Henrietta Iwan Muller who visited it in 1861. “There is a lovely view from her house. A viseo expanse of sea with high hills one each side: frigates steamers constantly coming in and going out.”
Eliza bore another nine children during her marriage to Theodore, although the youngest was born just after his death. In 1847, Helen was born, followed by Mary, known as Bibi, in 1848. In 1850, Alexander, their first son was born. The following year Hector, their second son was born. Aristides was born on the13th January 1853, and their fourth daughter, Eveline was born on 25th September 1854. Lolo, which was short for Charlotte, was born on the 11th November 1856, and the youngest son Harry was born on the 5th August, 1858, at Therapia.
In 1860 Theodore obtained Austrian nationality as opposed to just having a Austro-Hungarian passport and being a subject of the Empire. He was also appointed knight of the Franz Josef Order. He was in his early sixties.
But Theodore died in the same year, leaving Eliza, pregnant with their daughter Julia who was born on the 12th February 1861. Eliza was in her mid thirties and a very rich widow. Her husband had left each of his children six million gold francs, and Eliza was also left sufficient.
The eldest of Eliza’s children, Lizzie was nineteen, in 1862, when she married Albert Llewellyn Nugent, in the same Chapel, that Eliza had married Theodore and where Lizzie had been baptised. Eliza gave her consent to the marriage, which was required because Lizzie was not yet twenty-one, and therefore still a minor.
In 1857, Charles Alison, who had a varied career with the Embassy throughout the Ottoman Empire, appeared back in Constantinople. In February of that year he was Secretary at the Embassy, and then became the Chargé d’Affaires from December of that year through to July 1858. In October 1859 he moved to Syria, still part of the Ottoman Empire, and then in April 1860, he was appointed as the Envoy Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Teheran.
Charles Alison had a reputation as a very flamboyant character from his early day as a Dragoman in the Embassy of Stratford Canning. He was not overawed by the Ambassador and there were numerous tails of his antic circulating in Constantinople from his time there. On one occasion having been sent for by Sir Stratford Canning, he entered the Ambassador’s study. However Sir Stratford Canning was busy, talking with one of his foreign colleagues, and Charles Alison was left standing. Where upon he jumped onto a side table and sat there swinging his legs, until the Ambassador hastily asked him to take a chair until he could attend to him.
Charles Alison had also kept a caique up at the Therapia Embassy, and the costume of a Turkish Caiquedji [boatman] in which he dressed up and then cruised the Upper Bosphorus offering his services to any particularly attractive ladies, and refusing any fare.
Charles Alison and Eliza obviously knew each other, and had probably known each other form when Charles Alison was first attached to the Embassy at Constantinople. But throughout most of this time Eliza had been married. However after the death of Theodore, Eliza was now free to marry again and Charles Alison was still single.
In Paris, at Her Majesty’s Embassy Chapel there, Charles Alison married Eliza Baltazzi on the 27th February 1863. But sadly, the marriage was not to be a long one.
Eliza was not well, as she travelled to Cairo with her daughter Helen, arriving there on 28th October. Henrietta Iwan Muller was living there at the time and renewed her acquaintance. She records in her journal “I have heard today that the Doctor considers her in extreme danger. What a kind friend she has been to me, what a kind generous friend she has been to … everyone! Oh I feel dreadfully out of spirits… fearing that I may soon hear some melancholy news then to dear Mrs Alison, oh what a loss it will be for many if anything happens to her.”
Henrietta kept in close contact with Eliza, who was living at the Hotel d’Orient in Cairo. Over the next few months, she visited her and wrote letters for her, and kept her daughter Helen, company as well. But despite a slight recovery, Eliza’s health was failing.
On the 10th December, Eliza’s mother, Euphrosyne Sarell arrived at her daughters bedside, with her brother Philip and youngest sister Helen. Nizza Crawford, another of her sisters arrived on the 13th.
Eliza was obviously concerned as to the future well being of her nine unmarried children, who were all still minors, and also very rich in their own rights. She asked Albin Vetsera the First Secretary of the Austrian Embassy to look after them as their guardian, and gave her consent also to his future marriage to Helen.
On Christmas Eve, Eliza signed her last will, witnessed by both the Austrian and British Consuls.
Henrietta Iwan Muller records the Christmas Day:
“The singing has gone off very well. I shall never forget this day. What solemn thing is a death bed scene. Dear Mrs Alison has received the sacrament and we have all partaken of it with her. I have played Pestal with her which she liked very much and asked me to play it again. We sung the Evening hymn Thy Will Be Done, which seemed to comfort her – I am thankful to have seen her once more, it may be the last time!”
Eliza died at 4 o’clock on Sunday 27th December 1863. The family stayed up with throughout the night.
Henrietta visited them on Monday 28th :
“I went to see the Sarells, was received most kindly by them all: the old lady said that she quite considered me one of them, and that when I went to Constantinople I was to look to her home as my home. She took me in to see the dear departed one, the body indeed was there, but the spirit had flown upwards, she looked an angel so placid, not changed at all. She had on a white skirt and a beautiful white muslin embroidered jacket with valencienne and a white cap with lace. She looked beautiful.
“She was buried this afternoon at 3 o’clock, in the pretty English burial ground at Cairo, by her express wish. I was told that many carriages attended the funeral. The Consul General and the Vice Consul and co. Poor Mrs Nugent is expected either tonight or tomorrow and all is over. How sad for her, why did they not send for her before? Because they either could not or would not see poor Mrs Alison was in such danger.”
Lizzie Nugent did arrive and the next day, the will was read in the presence of Philip Sarell, Nizza Crawford, Helen Sarell, Her mother Euphrosyne Sarell, two of her daughters, Lizzie and Helen, Leonidas Baltazzi the Austrian Consul Micscke, by the British Consul Graham Dunlop.
Eliza’s will left nothing to her children, who were already amply provided for by their father. But to her sisters, Lucy and Nizza and her two brothers, Philip and Richard, she left five thousand pounds sterling each. To two other sisters she left fifteen hundred to Harriet Pilgrim and another hundred to her oldest son Harry, and to her youngest sister Helen she left one thousand pounds sterling. She also left her uncle Jonathan Hardy five hundred pounds.
In addition to this she wrote off the debts that various people had with her and then the remainder of her property and personal effect went to her husband Charles Alison, though her clothes went to Nizza.
Other members of the family continued to arrive in Cairo, Dr Richard Sarell got there on New Years Day and Lizzie’s husband arrived in the first week of January. The family remained in Cairo throughout January 1864, no doubt sorting out the implementation of Eliza will. Henrietta records being given “a most magnificent cashmir shawl which belonged to dear Mrs Alison. It is worth one hundred and fifty to two hundred pounds. What a pity I have not a beautiful figure to show it off, but never mind, it is so handsome, such a fine one that the beauty of the shawl will make up for the defects in the person.”
On Monday the 4th February, the Sarell family left Cairo. Henrietta went down to see them off.
“I went to the railway to see all the family of Sarells off, such a setting off as ever I did see, 30 large boxes, I hope they will all arrive safely without losing anything, for now it is the fashion in Egypt to lose things out of one’s boxes, or sometimes the box itself.”
LUCY AND HENRY SARELL ONGLEY
Henry Sarell Ongley was the only son of Charlotte Sarell who had married William Ongley. After his father died, Charlotte travelled to Constantinople and married Jonathan Hardy, who like his maternal uncles, was a Levant Company merchant, and Henry grew up in the city along side the family of his uncle Richard.
Lucy Sarell was the second daughter of Richard Sarell and his second wife Euphrosyne Rhasi. She was born at Constantinople on the 25th May 1824.
The Sarell family were well respected amongst the British community in Constantinople, and Richard had for a period of time been the Chargé d’Affaires when the embassy had been withdrawn in 1827, and subsequently he had been appointed as a Vice-Consul in the city. The family at this time was living, not only in the Pera district of Constantinople, but also at Therapia, further along the European shore of the Bosphorus.
With these connections, on the 14th March 1837, Henry was appointed as H.M. Consul in Crete, then part of the Ottoman Empire, and went to live in Canea (Hania). His Commission was signed by William IV.
With Crete being part of the Ottoman Empire, and therefore the Consulate coming under the jurisdiction of the Embassy at Constantinople, there were sufficient reasons for Henry to travel to Constantinople and to see his family. But it was also periodically a turbulent time, with the struggle for Greek Independence never far from the surface, and in 1841 there was a major rebellion against Ottoman rule in Crete. Henry, however had good relations with the Governor of the island, Mustapha Naili Pasha, who had put down various rebellions with the assistance of the Egyptian forces of Mehmet Ali but from 1840 onwards Mustapha Naili Pasha had served the Sultan rather than the Khediveas Crete returned to direct Ottoman rule.
Lucy was by now growing up, and on the 25th August 1841, with her fathers consent because she was only seventeen and therefore a minor, she married her cousin Henry, at the Ambassador’s Chapel in Constantinople.
In Crete, Henry and Lucy were to live at Canea or rather at Chalepa which was the country suburb of Canea, and about one and a half miles from the port on the west side of the Akrotiri headland. They would spend the next seventeen years there. In that time Lucy would give birth to nine children: the twins, Charlotte and Caroline, in 1842; Mary in 1843; Henry Hardy in 1845; Eugene in 1846; Alfred James in 1851; Charles Jonathan in 1852; Lucy in 1855 and Mina Augusta in 1857.
Of their children, all but the young Lucy survived their childhood in Crete. Lucy died in 1857, on the 5th June. She was only two years old.
Henry had established good relations with the leading Ottoman Pashas governing the island, and in particular, with the Governor, Mustapha Naili Pasha and other members of his family. In 1850, Sultan Abdul Mecjid visited Crete, and had kind things to say about Mustapha Naili Pasha, but the following year on 5th October, a steamer arrived from Constantinople with orders from the Sultan, recalling Mustapha Naili Pasha. Henry reported this move Viscount Palmeston, with the assessment that it was viewed with regret by the Christian population of Crete. Mustapha Naili Pasha’s son, Veli Pasha remained on the island as Lieutenant Governor until the new Governor Vamik Pasha arrived in November, and then he left to take up a new post in Bosnia. It might have been the tensions between Cairo and Constantinople that led to the removal of the Governor, given his early relationship with Mehmet Ali and the Khedive.
Veli Pasha returned to Crete as Governor, and resumed the good relations with Henry Sarell Ongley. He was a man of liberal outlook, with family connections amongst the Crete Christian Community. His mother was a Christian and daughter of a priest. He had for a brief spell been the Ottoman Ambassador in Paris during the Crimean War and had a liberal and modernizing outlook, which upset both the Greek Nationalists and the Muslim fundamentalists.
During the Crimean War the Ottoman Government, in return for the assistance given to it by Britain and France, had issued the Hatt-i Humayun, which gave Christians full civil rights on an equal footing with Muslims. Veli Pasha was an enthusiastic proponent of the decree but found that in attempting to implement it, it destroyed his career. Henry Sarell Ongley became a close confidant of the Governor over the next few years as he abolished slavery, and revoked the death penalty.
One of the first effects of the Haat-i Humayun, was that a sizeable number of Muslim converted to Christianity. This was in breach of Shari’a law and under Shari’a law it is punishable by death, and there was considerable anger and unrest amongst certain sections of the Muslim community that these conversions were being allowed.
There was also unrest amongst the Christian Community at increased taxes that were being raised to pay for the building of a road from Canea to Rethymo and the provision of street lighting in Canea and Candia. Into this situation, enter Monsieur Derché, the French Consul who along side the Greek Consul, were keen to undermine the Governor, whose closeness to Henry Sarell Ongley, they perceived to be a problem.
In the spring of 1858, things came to a head, with demonstrations and calls for Veli Pasha to be recalled. There were also accusations of corruption levied at Henry Sarell Ongley, and a petition sent to the Embassy at Constantinople. Subsequent investigations showed these allegations to be totally unfounded.
By June 1858, the Ottoman Government was aware that events in Crete were getting out of hand, and dispatched Admiral Ahmet Pasha to the island. Within a few days of his arrival, he informed Veli Pasha that he was dismissed from his post. Veli sought Henry Sarell Ongley’s advice and in following it, ignored the instruction, but withdrew to his country house.
On 5 July, events came to a head, when a young Christian murdered a Muslim shop keeper. He was caught and taken to the Governors House where the crowd demanded his execution. Admiral Ahmet Pasha, consented. Veli Pasha raised his objection but was told by the Admiral that he was no longer the Governor.
Veli Pasha sought the view of Henry Sarell Ongley, who continued to assert that Veli was the Governor, and in so doing implied that he had the support of Britain. But the situation was extremely critical, with the Admiral accusing Veli of being a revolutionary. The Embassy in Constantinople was also concerned about Henry Sarell Ongley’s actions, and decided that it was imperative to remove him, and dispatched Henry Longworth to replace him and to investigate his conduct.
In the meantime, Veli Pasha had to seek refuge in the Ongley’s house as he feared that the Admiral would send soldiers to seize him and forcibly remove him from Crete. However when his replacement arrived on 13th July, with the necessary papers, Veli Pasha and his family left Crete.
On 23rd July Henry Longworth arrived in Crete. On the same day, Henry Sarell Ongley, with Lucy who was pregnant and his family left for Constantinople, with the prospect of his career in ruins. He did not know that the British Ambassador Sir Henry Bulwer Litton had written on 10th July that “…it would be a bad thing to give Mr Ongley another consulate.”
Longworth’s investigation, far from indicting Henry Sarell Ongley, disclosed that Consular and business accounts were all in good order and to the benefit of the British Government, and that the overwhelming majority of merchants had only good things to say about him. He concluded by saying:
“Mr Ongley, though an indifferent sort of man, had some bitter enemies here and that will explain the number of unfounded calumnies of which he has been the object.”
As Henry’s name was cleared he was given charge of the Consulate at Jassy in Rumania, from September 5th but it is unlikely that he went there as he held this post only till December 6th of the at year. He was also appointed as the Consul for the Morea (the Peloponnese) from the 28th September 1858 and the family moved to Patras, where on the 19th November, Percy was born.
Henry and Lucy would have another three children after Percy, Albert Hugh, in 1861; Frederick in 1862 and their youngest Evelyn Helen Victoria in 1865.
In 1861, their oldest son joined Henry, working in the Consulate as a clerk, and would continue to do so for the next four and half years.
Although the Ongley family was not in Constantinople, they continued to keep in touch with Lucy’s sisters in the city. For example, Caroline is recorded as being present at her Aunt Nizza’s wedding to James Crawford in March of 1862, and there is evidence of close links between the families over the years, from a number of different sources.
In Patras, meanwhile, a tragedy had struck the family on the 1st October 1862, in that Alfred the third son had died; he was eleven years old. It fell to his father, as it did when Lucy had died in Crete, to record the death in the Consular records.
The family was growing up and Henry Hardy Ongley, the oldest son moved to Resht in Persia to be the Acting Consul there, in 1866. His uncle, Charles Alison who had married Lucy’s late sister, Eliza in 1863, was the Minister in Teheran, and this move was closely related to the family connection.
In 1870, Charlotte married Francis Stafford O’Brien, at Patras, the civil part of the ceremony taking place in Henry’s office on the 12th December, and was conducted by him, although the religious ceremony had taken place on board the H.M.S. Enterprise, on the 30th November. Francis Stafford O’Brien was at this time a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy and might well have had an influence on the education of Frederick the youngest son who would spend a year as a Naval Cadet.
Henry retired with a pension on 1st October 1874. But the activities of his eldest son, who had resigned from his post in Teheran in 1872, were to cause considerable problems for the family. Charles had taken up a commission in the First West India Regiment in 1875, and Frederick was a Naval Cadet, when a financial crisis hit Henry Sarell Ongley to the extent that he had to commute his pension into a lump sum in July 1875. Charles resigned his commission in embarrassment at his father’s insolvency, and to a large extent broke off relations with his family. Frederick’s naval career was also ended at this time. The cause of the financial crisis was down to Henry Hardy Ongley, who apparently created the crisis either by persuading his father to commute his pension or placing him in a position of having to do that to resolve the crisis.
After Henry’s retirement, the family appears to have moved to Cyprus. Frederick would become a clerk in the Cyprus High Court Justice and Commissioners Office in 1879. His sister Evelyn was living at Limasol when she married John Culling in 1884, and it is fair to assume that this was the family home. Certainly Caroline, who never married, continued to live in Limasol till her death in 1932.
Henry died in 1892, on 25th December probably in Limasol and Lucy died in 1904. Whatever the cause of the problem in 1875, the tear in the family was never repaired in their lifetime.
PHILIP JAMES SARELL.
Born 1825: Died 1864.
Philip James Sarell was the third child of Richard and Euphrosyne Sarell, and was born in Constantinople in 1825.
At the age of twenty-five, Philip was appointed Assistant Interpreter to the Embassy in 1850. Having grown up in Constantinople and with a Greek mother, he was fluent in many of the languages of this cosmopolitan city.
In 1854 Philip was sent to Omer Pasha’s Head Quarters in Bosnia and subsequently accompanied Mr Colquhoun, the British Consul-General at Bucharest, on his Mission to this region, where concerns were being raised as to the treatment of Christians in this part of the Ottoman Empire.
Back in Constantinople the following year, Philip was then attached to Brigadier-General Mansfield who was the Military Attaché.
In 1856 Philip was promoted and became one of the Interpreters of the Embassy, which in Constantinople were known as Dragoman,
At the end of 1863, Philip travelled with his mother and sister Helen to be at the bedside of his dying eldest sister Eliza, in Cairo. They arrived on the 10th December and stayed with her till she died on the 27th.
Eliza left five thousand pounds sterling to her brother, Philip, in her will, so that when he returned to Constantinople he was a very wealthy man. However he was not to enjoy this wealth for long.
On the 18th October 1864, Philip drowned in an accident in the Bosphorus, off Therapia.
Henrietta Iwan Muller who had been in Cairo at the time of Eliza death, recorded in her journal:
“I have heard accidentally this week of the death of Mr Philippe Sarell who was drowned in the Bosphorus. A friend of Mr Thuemins had it in the newspaper. What a mercy it is not Dr Sarell! That is one consolation for us old maids and old bachelors, that however much we may be regretted, no one is ever worse off by our Death and some people may even be gainers by it. It has made me very low spirited for I like Philippe Sarell and poor Mrs Sarell must feel dreadfully having lost the two eldest branches of the family in the course of 10 months.”
Note: Philip Sarell is buried in Haydarpaşa cemetery - partial listing, views.
Born 1826: Died 1900.
Charlotte Sarell was the fourth child of Richard Sarell and Euphrosyne Sarell, and was born in 1826. Her father was an influential and important member of the British community in Constantinople and the following year was made the Chargé d’Affaires when the Embassy was withdrawn from the Ottoman Empire.
Along with her brothers and sisters, Charlotte grew up in the Pera district of Constantinople, and Büyükdere.
In 1844, Charlotte’s father died whilst in London. He had become highly respected both amongst the British community and amongst the banking community in Constantinople. His eldest daughter, Eliza, had married Theodore Baltazzi, the richest banker in the City, in 1842, which was an indicator of the circles that the family were moving in at this time.
On the 8th January 1853, Charlotte married the nephew of Theodore Baltazzi, Epaminondas, at the Embassy Chapel in Constantinople. She was, by now, in her mid twenties.
Epaminondas was like his uncle, a banker, but was based in Smyrna (Izmir). The Baltazzi family had considerable property both within the Ottoman Empire and elsewhere in Europe, but the base of the family was in Constantinople and Smyrna.
Charlotte would travel between her properties and also to capitals of the Europe. In October 1866, she was in Paris with her sister Nizza, and was called upon by Henrietta Iwan Muller, who was passing through on one of her many travels.
In 1882, after the death of her sister Harriet von Pilgrim, Charlotte and Epaminondas adopted her youngest son Gisbert who in turn assumed the additional name of Baltazzi.
Epaminondas died in 1887 leaving Charlotte a not inconsiderable fortune.
In 1900, Charlotte, who was in Cannes, became very ill. She was unable to hold down any food and became increasingly worse. Gisbert and his wife arrived by her bedside, and they were joined by Charlotte’s niece, Fanny Sarell. Fanny was a trained nurse from London. She had three doctors looking after her, but they could do nothing.
She appeared to get slightly better and Philip Sarell writing to his father, Charlotte’s brother, stated:
“It is a just comfort to think that she died painlessly and that the distressing symptoms and the complete inability to assimilate any food seem to have disappeared during the last fortnight.”
Charlotte died on the 3rd May 1900 at Cannes. Her adopted son Gisbert was the main heir to her fortune.
Dr RICHARD SARELL.
Born 1829: Died 1900
Richard Sarell was born in 1829, the fifth child of Richard and Euphrosyne Sarell, and their second son. He grew up in Constantinople where his father was an influential person within the British Community, having been a leading member of the now defunct Levant Company.
In 1842, Richard was one of the witnesses at his eldest sister wedding to Theodore Baltazzi, the banker and richest person in Constantinople. This marriage in itself indicates the standing of Richard’s father at the time. Unfortunately on the 18th February, 1844, his father died whilst in London.
Richard went to Paris to continue his education, and studied at the Sorbonne from 1847 to 1851. His initial interests were Chemistry, Natural History and Botany, which he studied in his first year there. However in 1848, he started to study Medicine and continued to do so over the next three years. Amongst other aspects that he studied were surgery, midwifery and medicine.
In 1852, Richard went to the University of Edinburgh to continue his studies. Whilst there, he lived at 31 Gayfield Square.
He completed his studies in July 1853, having done his thesis “On the Deciduous Membrane”, and having passed his exams on the 14th and 15th July.
It was often the case at this time, for Medical Graduates from Edinburgh, to spend some time in Paris, after their qualified as doctors. It would seem that Richard probably did this, firstly because of his previous links with Paris, and also because
Anna Maria Harriet Mary Louisa Wilkin was living there with her father, who was teaching at the Sorbonne. Anna Maria had been born in Paris on 31st July 1833, and was four years younger than Richard. There may have been a family connection through Smyrna as well, but what is certain is that Richard started to court Anna Maria. Then in 1857, they married on the 16th April, in Constantinople at the Ambassador’s Chapel.
Constantinople, and in particular Pera, was a crowded city with very narrow streets. Even the Grande Rue in Pera was so narrow, that in places two two-horse drawn cabs could not even pass. Consequently the most common form of transport was on horseback for men, with ladies being carried in sedan chairs around the city.
It was around this time that Richard purchased the hunting lodge at Şişli [archive views of the neighbourhood]. It was registered in Anna Maria’s name because the Turkish laws at the time prohibited foreign men owning property outside the city limits.
The following year on the 2nd January, Anna Maria gave birth to the first of their children, the twins, whom they named Euphrosyne and Harriet. The following month they were baptised at the Embassy chapel.
Richard was now practising as a doctor in Constantinople, and was making a reputation for himself. In due course he would become known as the pioneer of scientific surgery in Constantinople, and hold the post of Professor of Clinical Surgery at the Imperial Ottoman School of Medicine.
In 1859 Anna Maria gave birth to their third daughter, whom they called Alice Charlotte, after two of Richard’s sisters. Alice was born on the 24th February, and the following year on the 9th May, Agnes, their fourth daughter was born.
Their fifth daughter, Mary was born on the 9th September 1861, but died seven months later on the 16th April. Anna Maria was already pregnant again when Mary died, and on 3rd November gave birth to Fanny.
In 1863, Anna Maria was expecting again in the November, and gave birth to Lilo on the 30th of that month. Lilo was named after Richard’s sister Eliza who was desperately ill in Cairo at that moment. Richard’s mother, his elder brother Philip, and sisters Helen and Nizza, had all gone to Cairo to be with her, and Richard set out after them, after ensuring that his wife and young daughter were well and settled. However by the time he arrived in Cairo on New Years’ Day, his sister had already died, and been buried in the British Cemetery in Cairo.
Richard inherited five thousand pounds from his sister, which must have been a very considerable financial cushion for him and his young family. Although he was a well respected doctor in Constantinople, he was not and would never be a financially astute person and he had already had to borrow money from his mother in 1860.
In October of 1864, Richard’s brother, Philip, was drowned in an accident off the village of Therapia, on the Bosphorus.
Throughout 1864, Constantinople and much of the Middle East was suffering from a Cholera epidemic, however Richard’s family was not affected, and none of them contracted the fatal illness.
On the 17th February 1866, Anna Maria gave birth to their first son, whom they called Philip. He was baptised at the Embassy Chapel on the 25th April, and his godparents were his grandmother, Euphrosyne Sarell, his aunt Helen Sarell, his uncle Charles Alison, who was the Minister Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary at Teheran, and Charles Hanson the acting Chaplain to the Embassy.
The birth of Philip, the first son after six daughters was a cause of some celebration, and a clock was presented to him as the first son.
Richard was now well established in Constantinople as a leading Medical figure in the community in Constantinople. Obviously being part of an established British family in the city helped, but he also was playing a major role in his own right as can be seen by his presence on the committee set up to raise funds for the establishment of the Crimean Memorial Church at Pera, in the latter part of the 1860’s. He was one of only four lay members of the Anglican congregation, who served alongside the Rev. C.G. Curtis, along with E.G.Herbertson, G.Laurie and F.W.Smythe.
Constantinople was and would remain for many years, a city very prone to fires. The density of the buildings in the city and in Pera in particular, and the propensity to use wood as the major building material meant that fires would often devastate large tracts of the city. In 1867, Richard was to loose his library in such a fire that swept through part of Constantinople. But although he lost his books, none of the family was hurt by the fire.
In 1869, on the 15th May, Anna Maria gave birth to their seventh daughter, Gertrude who was born at Scutari on the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus.
In 1871, their second son was born. Henry Sheldon Sarell was born on the 5th April, and baptised onboard H.M.A.S. Antelope on the 9th July.
Richard registered himself as a Doctor of Medicine with the British Medical Directory in 1871, though of course he had been practising for some time in Constantinople, by now. The British Medical Directory had not been in existence when Richard had qualified as a Doctor in 1853, and obviously its significance was only just becoming apparent to Richard.
Their third son was born at Therapia on the 30th June 1872. He was named after Frank Wilkin, whose full name was Francis William Wilkin. Their son was baptised William Francis Sarell at the Embassy Chapel, on the 11th August.
The following year their fourth son Arthur was born on 5th November, but he died the following July on the 17th, at Pera. Arthur was their twelfth child, and Anna Maria had been either pregnant, or nursing a bay child for most of her married life. The following year on the 9th January 1875, Anna Maria died after falling down the stairs at their home. It is more than likely that she was yet again pregnant and had attempted to induce a miscarriage by falling down the stairs. However if so, her plan went fatally wrong.
Richard found himself in a predicament in that he had a family of ten children. The twins who were the eldest, were just seventeen, and Willie who was the youngest, was two and half. Although he had his mother and a number of sisters living in Constantinople, it was decided to send the younger children back to England to stay with relatives of their mother.
The twins stayed with their father in Constantinople, but on the 14th August 1878, Harriet died. She was buried at the British Cemetery at Scutari on the 16th. Harriet died intestate, and to put her affairs in order, Richard was bound by the Supreme Consular Court in Constantinople to do a full inventory of all of Harriet’s personal possessions and property, and to exhibit it in the Supreme Consular Court. He was also required to pay all outstanding debts that Harriet might have incurred from her estate. Failure to comply with this obligation carried a one thousand Pounds Sterling penalty for Richard, and two of his associates, Charles Privilegio and Edward Privilegio.
Richard was continuing to practise as a doctor, and in 1880 became a member of the Royal College of Physicians in London. He was still a highly respected member of the Medical Community in Constantinople.
In 1880, Richard remarried. On the 24th May, he married Thalia Varsani, who was the niece of his brother-in-law, Stephen Mavrogordato. There would always be tensions between Richard’s children and his second wife, throughout the rest of his life.
An incident happened on the 13th February in 1882, in the Albanian province of the Ottoman Empire. A British shooting party from two British ships, HMS Cockatrice and HMS Falcon, became entangled with some local Albanian shepherds, the outcome of which was that Captain Selby was fatally wounded by an axe blow to the head. His party managed to get him and his fellow hunters, back on the two ships and then headed for Constantinople. The ships surgeon, Dr Drew was extremely concern about Captain Selby’s condition, and wished to get him to Constantinople as quickly as possible. Captain Selby did not survive and on the 23rd February, he was buried with military honours at the cemetery at Scutari. The coffin was followed by the British Ambassador the Earl of Dufferin, Consul Wench and Commander Grenfell RN. Behind them came Dr Richard Sarell, Dr Drew and Dr Kellet. This was a major incident for the British Community, and not only were the British Community fully represented, but some were the Embassies of other countries as well as the Ottoman Government. Richard’s position within Constantinople.
Later in 1882, Alice, who was Richard’s second oldest surviving daughter died of tuberculosis. She had gone to Pau in France to the sanatorium there, having contracted the illness, but died on the 16th November, and was buried there.
Back in England, Philip, Richard’s oldest son had finished his education at University College School, and returned to Constantinople, and in 1883 took up a post with the Embassy. However because of tensions with Richard’s second wife, his son lived with Richard’s sister Nizza Crawford.
Richard’s mother Euphrosyne died in 1884. In her will she left the debts that Richard owed her to be repaid to her grandson Philip, obviously expecting Richard to be in a position to do so.
Richard’s financial affairs were again in a less than healthy state. He owed Leonidas Baltazzi four thousand lira, which was secured on his house, 11 Rue Serkis in Pera. In 1885 this debt was transferred to Mr Nicholson Burness and his agent Mr J.R.Thomson. It would continue throughout the rest of his life to be a cause of concern. Not because Richard was not working, he continued to be a highly respected doctor, but partly because he was not good in collecting his fees, and also because his wife drained him of money, and kept up an apartment in Paris
Against this background, Richard then received the news of his second son’s sudden death in Wellington on the 11th June 1886. In 1890, Richard would live to see the death of Euphrosyne, his eldest daughter and the surviving twin of Harriet.
Two of Richard’s daughters, Agnes and Gertrude returned to Constantinople, and Agnes remained living with Richard periodically. Gertrude left after a couple of years and returned to London in 1897. So for a brief period, Richard had three of his children, now all adults, living in Constantinople, and was able to spend time with them.
Philip too had to go to London in 1897 for a year, and in that time the crisis over the Richard’s finances intruded yet again, and Philip and Agnes found themselves in the uncomfortable position of getting drawn into the issue. Philip ended up spending considerable amounts of money to keep the house, money that he could ill afford, and yet was not receiving money from his father on a regular basis to even pay what would have been rent. Richard’s income was larger than that of his son, even without the money from private practise.
Philip eventually managed to get some control over the crisis, but, Richard and his wife were still living beyond their means, and it appears that Richard was unable to resolve the problem, which in part originated from his wife.
In May 1900, Richard was thrown into a depression by the death of his sister Charlotte in Cannes. His son was on his way to London to sort out his position with the Foreign Office, but Agnes was still in Constantinople. His wife too was in Constantinople at this time.
Over the summer the financial problem of the house continued to rumble on with his son attempting to resolve the matter, before he returned at the end of August. But on 2nd September, Richard died at Candelli on the Bosphorus.
Richard was buried at the British Cemetery at Scutari, “the funeral being conducted at the expense of the Turkish Government”. His death was noted in the Lancet which described him as “one of the best known surgeons in the Levant”, obituaries also appeared in The Times and the British Medical Journal. During his lifetime he had been twice decorated by the Turkish Government, receiving the Medjedie 2nd class, and the Osmanie 3rd Class.
After his death, his son Philip, as the chief creditor took over the debts of his father, and with the help of a loan from his cousin, Gisbert von Pilgrim Baltazzi, ensured that the house at 11 Rue Serkis remained in the family. Agnes would continue to live at the house in Şişli and occasionally at 11 Rue Serkis, after Philip left Constantinople in 1901.
Born 1831: Died 1904.
Euphrosyne Sarell was born in 1831, in Constantinople. She was the sixth child of Richard Sarell and Euphrosyne Rhasi. She was known by the abbreviated form of her name, Nizza.
Her father died whilst in London, on the 18th February 1844, when Nizza was not yet thirteen. But by this time her two eldest sisters, Eliza and Lucy, were both married. Eliza married to Theodore Baltazzi, the Sultan’s banker, and probably the richest person in Constantinople, and Lucy to their cousin Henry Sarell Ongley, the Consul in Crete.
Nizza did not marry until 1862, when she married James Crawford on the 20th March at the Embassy Chapel. The wedding was a family affair, her mother was present as were both her brothers, her uncle Jonathan Hardy, and her niece Caroline Ongley, to mention just a few.
But Nizza marriage to James Crawford, was cut short by his death. By the end of 1863, Nizza was already a widow.
Nizza’s sister Eliza had been widowed in 1860, with the death of her husband Theodore Baltazzi. But in 1863 she had remarried, this time to Charles Alison, who had been the Chargé d’Affaires in Constantinople, for seven month as at the end of 1857 and the first half of 1858.
He was now the Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary at Teheran. But Eliza was very ill, and though she travelled to Cairo, she was extremely ill. It was clear that she was dying. Her mother arrived with her brother Philip, and youngest sister Helen, on Thursday 10th December, and Nizza joined them on Sunday 13th December. Nizza stayed there with Eliza, till she died on the 27th December.
A consequence of Eliza’s death was that her brothers and sisters inherited a considerable amount, since her own children had been amply provided for by their father. Nizza alone inherited five thousand pounds sterling, a very sizeable sum in those days, as it still is. Nizza was also one of the executors of the will of her sister, along with Charles Alison her husband.
Nizza continued to live in Constantinople, which was her home-town, and most of her family, were still living there. But as with other members of her family, Nizza would also travel extensively through Europe. In October 1868 for example, she was in Paris with her sister Charlotte Baltazzi, and was called upon by Henrietta Iwan Muller.
In 1883, her nephew Philip Charles Sarell, returned to Constantinople, after his education in England. He along with his younger siblings had left Constantinople after the death of their mother in 1875. Now that he had returned to work at the Consulate, he stayed with his aunt rather than with his father, who had subsequently remarried.
In 1884, Nizza’s mother died in 1884, and Nizza received one hundred pounds, plus some other capital. This was less than her sister Fanny Mavrogodato received suggesting that Nizza was still well off despite the death of her husband.
Philip continued to live with Nizza until he was moved to Sulina [postcard views] in Rumania, in 1901. But 1900 must have been a difficult year for her, since in that year alone she lost her sister Charlotte in May, and then her brother Richard, Philip’s father, in September and then in April 1901, Philip left Constantinople. Now in Constantinople she had only one sister, Helen her niece Agnes, and the children of her sister Fanny.
On the 12th January 1904, Nizza died in Pera. She was buried in the cemetery at Haida Pasha.
In her will, she left her nephew Philip, a silver canteen and Venitian glassware for a table setting of forty-eight, an indicator of the life style that Nizza had enjoyed during her life.
ALICE FRANCES MAVROGORDATO
Born 1835: Died 1887.
Alice Frances Sarell was born with her twin sister Harriet, on the 18th May 1835 in Constantinople. Fanny as she was called, was the seventh child of Richard Sarell and Euphrosyne Rhasi.
Her father died when she was eight, but Fanny was brought up in Constantinople along with her brothers and sisters. Her eldest sister Eliza, was by this time married to the richest banker in the city, and her uncle Jonathan Hardy was the Vice-Consul Chancellier at the Embassy.
When Fanny was only seventeen, she married Stephen Mavrogordato, a banker who was nearly thirty years her senior, and a widower. Because Fanny was still a minor, she needed to have the consent of her mother for her marriage, and since this was given, it may be assumed that the family consider this to be a good marriage. It certainly was not the only marriage in the family to involve a considerable age difference. The marriage took place in the Embassy Chapel on the 29th January 1853.
The outbreak of the Crimean War in 1853, meant an influx of British Naval Officers and Army Officers through Constantinople and the area around the Bosphorus. There was contact between these officers and the local British Community. For example Stephen and Fanny Mavrogordato along with one of Fanny’s unmarried sisters (either Nizza or Helen), were invited to dine on board HMS Queen by Captain Michell on the 10th December 1854. In return they invited Captain Michell and senior Lieutenant Whyte to visit them in Constantinople. No doubt there were many such visits by civilians to the officers and of the officers to the local British Community, during the war years.
Fanny was not quite married a year when she gave birth to her first child George. He was born on the 4th January 1854. Over the next fifteen years she would give birth to ten more children. Frosso was born in 1855, Mary in 1856, John in 1858, Alexander in 1859, Theodore in 1861, Nicholas in 1862, Elizabeth in 1863, Philip in 1865, Constantine in 1867 and Charles in 1869. Two of her children, Philip and Constantine died in their childhood, within days of each other in September 1868, they had both contracted diphtheria.
Frosso was named after Fanny’s mother, it being a diminutive form of Euphrosyne which was her real name, though she was always called Frosso. Theodore was named after Fanny’s brother-in-law Theodore Baltazzi, the husband of her eldest sister Eliza, who had died in the previous year. Elizabeth was named after Eliza, who was terminally ill at the time of Elizabeth’s birth. Philip was named after Fanny’s eldest brother, who had drowned in the previous year.
The family was rich and lived in a palatial building on the top of the hill at Therapia, on the European side of the Bosphorus. But Stephen and Fanny also travelled throughout Europe and Henrietta Iwan Muller met them in Berlin in the October of 1866, whilst on her travels.
In 1880, Stephen’s niece, Thalia married Fanny’s brother, Dr Richard Sarell. Stephen is listed as being present, and as the marriage took place in Constantinople in the Embassy Chapel, it is likely that Fanny was there to see her brother get married, for the second time. But it was not a successful marriage.
On the 4th October, 1887, whilst in Paris, Fanny died. She was only 52. Stephen Mavrogordato died on 10th May 1872.
HARRIET VON PILGRIM
Born 1835: Died 1880
Harriet Sarell was born with her twin sister on the 18th April 1835, in Constantinople. Her father was a leading member of the British Community in the city and a former member of the Levant Company. In 1821 he had married her mother Euphrosyne Rhasi, and had had six other children before the birth of the twin.
In 1844, whilst in London, her father died, but the Sarell family remained in Constantinople, and were very well connected. Harriet’s eldest sister was by now married to the richest banker in the city, and her uncle was a Vice Consul in the British Embassy.
At the age of seventeen, Harriet married Adolph Pilgrim, a German diplomat and received her inheritance as her dowry. At the same time her twin married Stephen Mavrogordato. This appears to have been Adolph’s second marriage, and he already had had a family by his first wife. Certainly, there was a son
Harriet had two sons with Adolph. The eldest Harry was born on the 23rd August 1863, and the younger Gisbert was born on the 17th November 1864.
In 1869, on the 14th August, Adolph was ennobled and the family took the prefix “von”. This indicates that Harriet’s husband had a very successful career.
In 1880, on the 29th April, Harriet died. Both her children were still minors. Harry was sixteen and Gisbert was fifteen. Harriet’s sister Charlotte and her husband Epaminondas Baltazzi, ensured that the children were looked after and adopted Gisbert in 1882.
Born 1836: Died 1919.
Helen Sarell was the youngest of Richard Sarell and Euphrosyne Rhasi’s children. She was born in 1836 in Constantinople, and grew up there. When she was seven her father died, whilst in London, and as her sisters and her brother Richard, grew up, married and left home, Helen became more and more her mothers companion. This was more so after the death of her eldest brother Philip in 1864, as she was now the only unmarried child of her mother.
In 1863, when her eldest sister, Eliza, died, Helen inherited a thousand pounds, which although not as considerable as that which some of her married sisters inherited, still represented a considerable fortune to someone who was still living “at home”.
When Helen’s mother died in 1884, Helen inherited from her, the house at Büyükdere, along with her personal property, silver, and jewels as well as the residue of the money from the sale of Euphrosyne’s property in Pera, after six hundred pounds had gone to two of the other sisters.
With these inheritances, Helen was able to continue to live comfortably in Constantinople. Her sisters, Charlotte and Nizza, were living in the city as was her brother Richard. In addition there were the children of her sister Alice Fanny, who continued to live in the house at Therapia, and where Helen spent much of her time.
From 1908, onwards, Helen made various amendments to her will, which give a fascinating insight into which members of the family she was in close contact with. However, it is also the case that the members of the Baltazzi branch of the family would be unlikely to be left anything, given that they had great wealth in their own right. Of the children of her sister Lucy Ongley, only Eugene and his sister Mina O’Brien, are mentioned. Of the children of her brother Dr Richard Sarell, Agnes, Philip, Gertrude, and William are mentioned, as are the Richard’s grandchildren, Richard and Nizza, who were William’s children, are specifically mentioned. Of the children of her sister Alice Fanny Mavrogordato, George, Frosso, Mary and Elizabeth, Charles and Nicholas are all mentioned. The will and various amendments also mention some of the Fanny’s grandchildren, Bernard, Joseph and Christine, who were the children of Christine, Arthur who was the son of Alexander Mavrogordato and Vivian who was the daughter of Theodore.
In 1911, Helen travelled from Constantinople to stay with her nephew Philip C.Sarell, who was now the British Consul at Dunkerque. Having married in 1905, he and his wife Ida now had two young children, having lost their eldest son earlier in the year. Helen was not the easiest of house guests, being so used to running her own affairs, she often intruded into Ida’s running of the house.
With the outbreak of the 1914 – 18 war, Helen and niece, Agnes found themselves designated as hostile aliens, in Constantinople, as the Ottoman Empire joined the side of Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empires. But they were not maltreated. Also of course the Mavrogordato family was still in Therapia, so Helen and her niece were not completely cut off from the rest of the family. Agnes moved in with her aunt, Helen, as the military had taken over her family home at Şişli, for the duration of the war, and the aunt and niece lived together in the house on the Rue Serkis. It would also appear that her nephew Harry Von Pilgrim, who was a German National, was in touch with Helen and no doubt was able to assist her during the war years. Certainly when Helen amended her will in 1916, she makes reference to Harry, in the codicil.
In September 1918, whilst they were living together, Agnes died. It fell to Helen to make the initial arrangements concerning the house at Şişli, when the military returned it to the family of her late brother. Helen ensured that an estimate was made of the damage done to the house, and a claim was drawn up in November 1918.
But by now Helen was an elderly lady, in her eighties and on the 9th June 1919, Helen too passed away at the Sarell family home of 11 Rue Serkis.
After her death the house at 11 Rue Serkis was sold, and the proceeds split between the descendants of Dr Richard Sarell, although it would not be until the 1960’s that the last property at Şişli would finally be sold. The Mavrogordato branch of the family was now the last remaining branch of the family living in Constantinople.
AGNES ELIZABETH SARELL.
Born 1860: Died 1918.
Agnes Sarell was born on the 9th May 1860 in Constantinople, and was the fourth child of Anna Maria and Dr Richard Sarell. She was christened in the Chapel of Her Majesty’s Ambassador at the Sublime Porte on the 1st November 1860.
Agnes was fourteen when her mother died from falling down stairs, on the 9th January 1875. With the death of Anna Maria, it was decided that the younger children should be brought up in England by maternal relatives. The older children stayed in Constantinople.
Her father’s marriage in 1880 to Thalia Varsani, resulted in tensions between the children and their father.
Agnes had returned to England by 1886, when her brother Henry died suddenly at Wellington. Agnes rushed to his bedside, and was with him when he died. But rather than stay in England, Agnes returned to Constantinople where she taught English to the children of the British Community. She appears to have initially lived with her father before moving in with her aunt, Helen Sarell.
After the death of her father, in 1900, and the resolution of his debts by his son Philip, Agnes lived at 45 Büyükdere Caddesi in Şişli. This house that had been bought for her mother in the 1850’s. When it was bought, it was outside the city, but by now the Constantinople had grown and Şişli was now just a district.
When her brother Philip married Ida Campbell at the Crimean Memorial Church in Constantinople, Agnes was one of the official witnesses to the marriage. But she herself would never marry.
During the 1914-18 war, Agnes remained in Constantinople, though the house at 45 Büyükdere Caddesi was requisitioned by the German Military. Agnes then went and lived with Helen Sarell, her aunt, at 11 Rue Serkis. Though they were British Citizens, and therefore hostile aliens, they were not mistreated by the Turkish Authorities.
On the 23rd September 1918, Agnes died at 11 Rue Serkis. She was buried at the cemetery at Ferikoy, since there were restrictions on the British Community which meant they could not cross the Bosphorus to Haida Pasha.
Born 1862: Died 1906.
Fanny Sarell was born in Constantinople on the 3rd November 1862, just after the death of her young sister Mary, who had died barely a year old. Her mother was Anna Maria, who had married Dr Richard Sarell in 1857. Dr Sarell was at this time, becoming an established medical authority in Constantinople.
Fanny was baptised on 8th February 1863 in the Chapel of Her Majesty’s Ambassador at the Sublime Porte.
The family continued to grow after Fanny’s birth, so that by 1874 she had six sisters and four brothers. But her youngest brother Arthur died, before he was one. And then when Fanny was only twelve years old, her mother died from a fall down the stairs. The effect was traumatic for the family, because not only did the children loose their mother, but in due course they were sent to England to stay with relatives of their mother’s, the Dillworth Fox’s.
Over the next few years, Fanny was to loose three sisters and a brother. Harriet died in 1878, Alice in 1882, then Henry died in 1886 in Wellington then finally Euphrosyne died in 1890.
It was against these circumstances that Fanny trained to be first a nurse and then a midwife. A profession that allowed her some independence and an income. However the income was not such as to allow her to buy her own house or flat and consequently she lived in rented rooms. She would also have to seek assistance from her brother on occasions.
Working on the hospital wards, in Birmingham did not agree with Fanny, she found the work tiring and she longed for the clean country air, and to get away from the industrial pollution of Victorian Birmingham.
In March of 1898, Fanny suffered from an illness which seems to have affected her heart in some way and she had to leave work, and take a period of convalescence. Initially she stayed with some friends near Stroud before she travelled down to London, where her brother Philip met her and helped her across the city. Then she travelled on to her friend Mrs Heale. But this was a brief interlude.
In 1900 when her aunt Charlotte was taken ill at Cannes, Fanny travelled down to her and was there with her cousin, Gisbert, Charlotte’s adopted son, when she died on the 3rd May.
Later the same year her father died in Constantinople, but it would appear that she had not been close to him for many years.
Back in London, Fanny was now living with Miss Davidson at 9 Sunderland Terrace. In the winter of 1904/5, Fanny was extremely ill. Her cousin Ernest Iwan Muller kept her brother Philip aware of how she was doing. That time she pulled through, but the following year, she was again very ill and this time, she did not recover. She died on the 15th January 1906, at 9 Sunderland Terrace. The cause of death was congestion of the lung, no doubt caused by the polluted city air that Fanny had so wanted to get away from.
Born 1863: Died 1934.
Eliza Sarell was born on the 30th November 1863 in Constantinople. She was the seventh child of Anna Maria and Dr Richard Sarell. She was duly christened in the Chapel of Her Majesty’s Ambassador at the Sublime Porte on the 1st March 1864.
Lilo (Lee-lo) as she was called by all the family went with the other young children of the family to stay with maternal relatives after the death of her mother in February 1875.
Initially she had lived with the Dillworth Fox’s, but after Louie, the youngest of the Dillworth Fox’s married Hugh Fox of Tonedale on the 24th July 1890, Lilo went to live with them. Initially she went to help with their three children; Alizon, Cecilia and Harry, and then in due course to be their governess.
In 1901, Louie Fox who had developed tuberculosis, died on the 2nd September. She had spent some time prior to her death under the care of Dr Andrew Scott Smith at the hospital at Ubley.
After Louie’s death, Lilo continued to be the children’s governess and in due course married Hugh on 9th January 1906.
Lilo and Hugh became the central focus for the Sarell family in England. With her brother Philip and his young family having moved to Dunkerque in 1908, she would see more of them and during the 1914 – 18 war, they would periodically come over and the children stayed for some quite lengthy intervals, when the situation in Dunkerque was deemed more dangerous. Lilo and Hugh also visited Dunkerque during 1915, and stayed with Philip and Ida, though at the time their children were in England.
In 1916, Hugh inherited his father’s house, The Cleve, at the southern end of Wellington and this was his home with Lilo, for the rest of their lives. Tonedale was then occupied by Hugh’s younger brother Gerald.
During the war Harry Fox, Lilo’s step-son was wounded, but fortunately survived.
After the war Lilo and Hugh continued to be close to Philip and Ida and visited them in Tunis in 1922, whilst Philip was the Consul-General there.
With the death of her sister Agnes, and her aunt Helen, in Constantinople in 1918 and 1919 respectively, the issue of the family properties in the city came up. The house at Şişli was an ongoing problem and along with her brothers Philip and William and her sister Gertrude, Lilo was required to liaise with solicitors in Constantinople in an effort to sell the house that had belonged to her mother. These negotiations continued for the rest of her life.
|Watercolour of The Cleve by Lilo’s sister-in-law Ida Sarell|
Lilo died in February 1934, at Wellington. Her husband, Hugh survived her and lived till 1952. He died on 28th May at The Cleve. Lilo’s step children Alison, Cecilia and Harry inherited her share in the Şişli house, which was eventually sold in the 1960’s.
PHILIP CHARLES SARELL.
Born 1866: Died 1942.
Philip Charles Sarell was the eldest son of Dr Richard Sarell M.D.,M.R.C.P., of Constantinople and Anna Maria Harriet Mary Louisa Wilkin. He was born 17th February 1866, in Constantinople and christened in St Helena’s, the British Embassy Chapel in Constantinople on the 25th April. His four Godparents were, Euphrosyne Sarell, his Grandmother who was now 66 years old, Charles Alison, who was the second husband of the late Elizabeth Sarell, (her first husband being Theodore Baltazzi), his aunt Helen Sarell, and the acting chaplain Charles Hanson.
Although the eldest son, his mother had born seven daughters: Euphrosyne, Harriet Mildred, Alice Charlotte, Agnes Elizabeth, Mary, Fanny, and Eliza (Lilo). He also had four younger siblings: Gertrude Ellen, Henry Sheldon, William Francis, and Arthur Hardy.
On the 5th November 1873 Arthur Hardy Sarell the last of the children of Dr Richard and Anna Maria was born, but lived less than a year and died on the 17th July 1874. Just over six months later, on 9th January 1875, just before Philip’s ninth birthday, his mother Anna Maria died after falling down the stairs. She was only forty-one, but had had fourteen children, and was in her eighteenth pregnancy. Surviving relations in 1932 expressed the belief that it had in fact been suicide, though it may have been an attempt to induce a miscarriage that went wrong.
Bereft of their mother, the five youngest children, Eliza (Lilo), aged 11, Philip, aged 9, Gertrude, aged 6, Henry, aged 4 and William (Willie), aged 2, were taken in by Anna Maria’s cousins the Dillworth Fox’s of Wellington in Somerset. From then on Wellington remained the Sarell’s home base in England.
Louise, the youngest girl of the Dillworth Fox family married Hugh Fox of Tonedale on July 24th 1890. They had three children Alizon in 1896, Cecila in 1898 and Harry in 1900. Eliza Sarell had been 30 in 1893 would have been well known to Louie. She was also in urgent need of employment and was taken on probably by Louie to help with the children. Louie died of consumption in 1901, and in due course Lilo became their governess and then in 1904 Lilo married Hugh Fox.
Philip was educated at King Edward VI’s school in East Retford in North Nottinghamshire and then went to University College School in London in 1879. Whilst in London he stayed with his cousins, the Iwan Muller household in Hammersmith, along with his two brothers, Henry and William. For a while Philip also lodged with Madame Taglioni, who had been a famous ballerina in her day, and who knitted him a pair of red socks while he was her lodger.
Meanwhile in Constantinople, Dr Richard Sarell had remarried on 24th May 1880. His wife was Thalia Varsami, the niece of his brother-in-law Stephen Mavrogordato, and it marked the start of financial problems which became acute at the end of Dr Richard’s life.
Philip left school aged seventeen, in 1882 and returned to Constantinople, where he lived not in his father’s house but instead lived with his aunt, Euphrosyne Crawford. Constantinople in the 1880’s was a very cosmopolitan city. The Christian communities, Greek, Armenian and European, lived in the districts of Pera and Galata, and those that could afford to, had places in the villages upon the shores of the Bosphorus, such as Therapia on the European shore and Candilli on the Asian shore. This was somewhat essential since in the summer months, the city which was very congested, and became even more prone to fires and outbreaks of cholera.
Philip wished to be employed in the Consulate and had to pass an exam to obtain the position of 4th clerk in the Consulate-General. Lady Dufferin, the wife of the then Ambassador, sent for Philip, and said “Now Philip, I am very anxious for you to do well in your exam, so I have borrowed the papers for you to have a look at”. Philip declined the offer saying “Thank you very much, Lady Dufferin, but I think I can manage very well without help”. He passed the exam and took up the post from the 21st July 1883 (This post was backdated to April 1st 1883). He was then appointed as Clerk of Papers in the Consular Court from December 13 1883. The Consular High Court supervised the jurisdiction of the Consular Courts throughout the Ottoman Empire. In due course he became Clerk of Registers on August 8th 1885.
The Embassy under the Dufferins had a thriving social life which involved the British Community. During the summer months, there were Garden Parties given by the various European Embassies. The British continued to use the gardens of the burnt down Residence at Therapia. The building had burnt down only a few years before, but would never be rebuilt. Here tennis was played regularly on the courts, and attracted crowds of spectators and would be players. Philip was a keen tennis player and would often be seen on the courts, playing against colleagues and visitors.
In Constantinople, at this time there was a British Department Store which was run by the Economic Co-operative Society Ltd. Its purpose was to supply the British Community with commodities such as cognac which was not readily available elsewhere. Philip was a share holder in this Society and in 1887 was playing a major role in the internal disputes amongst the share holders. Along with other, Philip was one of the signatories calling for an emergency General Meeting to consider the issues of the appointment of a Managing Director for the Society. Later in 1887 Philip was in a minority objecting to a change in the rule, which he considered to be illegal and alongside his like minded objectors, ensured that his name was recorded as not being in agreement with the changes.
On 11th October 1895, Philip was promoted to the post of Vice-Consul at Constantinople. This was backdated to 1st April.
In 1896, Ernest Iwan Muller, Philip’s cousin and good friend, travelled out to Constantinople, and visited his cousins there. After he arrived and had spent some time there. Then at the end of May, he and Philip travelled the length of the Mediterranean to Spain, to Granada and visited the Al-Hambra Palace. The beauty of this Palace had been publicised by Washington Irving’s book which had been printed a few years before.
In June 1897, Philip travelled back to London. The journey took him through the port of Constanta at the mouth of the Danube, in Rumania, and then across the Austro-Hungarian Empire and then on to the Channel and England. In London, Philip had some time to spare before taking up his temporary post in the Foreign Office on 9th August. He was sharing a flat with his cousin Ernest Iwan Muller, and was able to enjoy London, which was then hosting Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. Ernest and Philip also managed to get away for a brief holiday over to Stockholm, before Philip had to start work.
Whilst in London, he was able catch up with his cousin Lizzie Nugent and also saw her sister Helen von Vetsera.
In June 1898 Philip finished his temporary posting in London and returned to Constantinople. Back at the Consulate, it was Philip’s responsibility to produce the “Report on the Trade of Constantinople from 1893 to 1897” which was submitted first to the Foreign Office in London, in November and then presented to Parliament in December.
Philip’s father Dr Richard Sarell was still living in Constantinople, but there were financial problems caused in part because although the doctor continued to devote himself to his professional work, he was not good at collecting in the payments. In addition his second wife, Thalia, was a financial drain on his resources and insisted on keeping up an apartment in Paris.
Philip attempted to address this, but as a junior clerk in the Consular Service, he was not in a position to resolve these financial problems. In the end Gisbert von Pilgrim, Philip’s cousin and son of Harriet Sarell and Adolph von Pilgrim and adopted son of Charlotte Sarell and Epaminodas Baltazzi, helped to put matters on a better financial footing, by giving Philip a loan.
In the spring of 1900, Philip was able to take some leave, and travelled first to Rhodes, which is where he was when he received the sad news of the death of his aunt, Charlotte Baltazzi, at Cannes. He travelled on to Cannes and then to Paris with his cousin Gisbert and his wife Niouta.
Leaving Paris, he went on to London and to the Foreign Office, where he was attempting to sort out his position in the Consular service. He described his task at the Foreign Office, in a letter to his father on the 14th August, saying, “I have received the greatest civility at the F.O. and I have some hope that my affairs may be satisfactorily settled in that quarter but it has been uphill work and has required very great tact and endless worry to prevent things going wrong.”
Philip’s stay in London while primarily to remonstrate with the Foreign Office about the delay in granting a Royal Commission, may have a more complicated background.
Philip, as Vice-Consul in Constantinople, was also the Lloyd’s Agent. Probably in this connection he was libelled by some local merchants. Lloyd’s supported him and sent out a distinguished barrister, Alfred Lyttelton, to defend him. Lyttelton won the case but it may temporarily have cast a shadow over his reputation.
In London, there was one specific interview, Philip had with one of the Private Secretaries (who handled personnel matters in those days). During that interview, and no doubt in response to Philip’s complaint, the Private Secretary walked across to the window and looking out said “I seem to have been misinformed”. This would appear to have been the point at which Philip won the argument.
In fact shortly after writing to his father, on the 14th August, he received his Commission as Her Majesty’s Vice-Consul in Constantinople, as of the 7th August. Consequently he then returned to Constantinople, after visiting his sister Lilo at Tonedale in Somerset.
This achievement, however came less than a month before his father, Dr Richard Sarell died on the 2nd September. Dr Richard Sarell was buried in the British Cemetery in Scutari.
As Vice-Consul, Philip submitted a further report on the trade of Constantinople, covering the years 1899, his last report and 1900. In particular it dealt with the development of the railway network within the Ottoman Empire, and the decline in British influence and control, and the rise of German control and finance with Deutsche Bank of Berlin playing a major role. This was received at the Foreign Office in London in May, by which time Philip had moved posts.
On 22nd April 1901, Philip was transferred from Constantinople to the Black Sea port of Sulina in Rumania still as H.M. Vice-Consul. In this post he received a salary of £500 per annum and an allowance.
At the end of November 1901, Philip travelled by train from Constantinople up to Bucharest via Sofia. He then travelled on to Budapest and from there was “travelling on the Continent”, probably visiting his various Baltazzi cousins living in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Sulina came under the remit of the Consulate-General at Galatz. The Consul-General at this time was Sir Henry Trotter, and there were fierce disagreements between Sir Henry and Philip over a wide range of issues.
In 1904, Philip’s aunt, Euphrosyne Crawford died aged seventy five, in Constantinople, and he inherited a considerable amount from her, including silverware and glassware for forty eight.
Back in Sulina, a strange incident occurred at the start of January 1905, when a British vessel, the “Yeddo” docked there. The captain told Philip that he had sailed from Cardiff in November with a German gentleman on board. At Port Said, the British Consul told him that according to intelligence the coal was for the Russian fleet heading toward Japan, and that there was a Russian agent on board. The Captain conferred with the German gentleman and he stated that once out of the Red Sea, he would give the Captain orders as to where to go. The Captain reused, and the upshot was the coal was unloaded at Port Said. Philip enquired as to the name of the German gentleman, only to be told that it was Frederick Ferdinand Maximilian von Pilgrim, the half brother of Philip’s cousins Harry and Gisbert.
Meanwhile at Galatz, the wife of the Consul General, Lady Trotter had concerns about the state of the Seaman’s Hospital at Sulina, and had sent an appeal for two British trained nurses to come out and reorganise the hospital. In November 1904, two nurses, Ida Campbell and Miss Fowler, duly arrived at Galatz, where Lady Trotter briefed them on the situation in Sulina. In particular she warned them of the Vice-Consul Philip Sarell who she described as a “most interfering man and probably not quite right in the head.”
In Sulina, Ida took an instant dislike to Philip, but it did not last. In July Philip proposed to Ida and she accepted. Philip wrote to Ida’s father, John Alexander Dewar Campbell, and he wrote back saying:
“I appreciate the high compliment you have paid to my daughter in asking her to be your wife. Since she returns your affections it only remains for me to express my cordial approval. She has been a loving daughter and has a noble nature and I can safely predict that she will be a true hearted, capable and helpful wife. We hope in the not far distant future to have the great pleasure of meeting you and in the mean time Mrs Campbell joins with me in sending you our kindest regards.”
In July Ida and Philip left Sulina together and travelled to Constantinople, where they spent a month together, and Ida no doubt met the various members of Philip’s family, such as his Aunt Helen and Agnes, his sister. On the 23rd August, they left and travelled back to Sulina.
Philip Charles Sarell married Ethel Ida Rebecca Campbell at the Crimean Memorial Church in Constantinople, on the 2nd December 1905. This was witnessed by Adam Block, Leon Ostrorog, and Agnes Sarell. Agnes was now the oldest of Philip’s surviving sisters and had continued to live in Constantinople with their aunt, Helen, at 11 Rue Serkiz.
As one of the wedding presents to Philip, Gisbert von Pilgrim wrote off the loan that he had given him to solve Dr Richard’s financial problems. Philip and Ida were also given a very handsome Silver Rose Bowl and an Oak Tantalus drinks chest by sixteen Ship’s Masters from the Port of Sulina, two passengers and two agents. This demonstrated the importance of Sulina to British shipping and of Philip Sarell’s service to it
Philip and Ida set off on their honeymoon by train via Sofia to Vienna. On their honeymoon, they stayed with various of Philip’s Baltazzi cousins. Philip had no problem with this and had arranged it, but Ida was not quite so relaxed about visiting Philip’s wealthy relations.
Philip’s sister Fanny died in London in January, and he and Ida went there for her funeral, before heading back via Bucharest to Sulina. It was at Bucharest, whilst staying in the Boulevarde Hotel that Ida met the celebrated violinist M.Ysaye who had the room next to theirs. But both Ida and Philip were too tired from their journey to go and hear him play. Their paths would cross again in 1914, when he was a refugee from the Germans.
The journey to Sulina from Bucharest, involved travelling down the Danube by boat, and with the ice thawing, they left Bucharest on the 5th February.
Philip and Ida returned to Sulina, and to the first floor flat next to the Consulate and above the offices of Watson and Yowell. The following year their eldest son, Philip Hugh was born on 9th September, and then on the 28th April 1907 Philip Hugh was christened in the Crimean Memorial Church in Constantinople. He was the last Sarell of many to have been christened in Constantinople.
Philip continued to be the H.B.M. Vice-Consul in Sulina until 1908 when he was transferred to Dunkerque from the 1st April and Ida and their son Philip Hugh went with him. Philip was promoted to Consul and from 1st August, his district was extended to include the Town, the Port and the Arrondissement of Dunkerque.
In the move from Sulina to Dunkerque the Sarell family lost all their fine glassware which Philip had inherited from his aunt. It was all, but for a few pieces, broken in transit, because of way it had been packed by the servants at Sulina.
|Postcard sent to Ida’s father showing where she and Philip were living in Sulina|
For some reason the glass had not been padded and protected, and when it arrived at Dunkerque it was “unpacked” with a shovel. On the 22nd February 1909, their second son, Ivan, was born. Ivan was christened Richard, Iwan, Alexander, and was known in his childhood as “Pache”. This nickname was given him by his Godfather Ernest Iwan Muller, who called him “the Apache” which was shortened to “Pache”.
As Ivan got older, the two brothers were able to play together. In a letter to Lillie Iwan Muller in September 1910. Philip wrote: “They are getting so jolly together. Phil is evidently fully conscious of the rights of primo-geniture, but he patronises Iwan and the latter has a becomingly humble and submissive manner towards his Lordship.”
Now that Philip and Ida and their family were closer to Britain, they received numerous visits from both friends and family to their home in Dunkerque. Ernest Iwan Muller and his sister Lillie visited them on frequent occasions from London. Philip’s sisters Lilo and Gertrude also came over and so did Ida’s brothers. Philip’s aunt, Helen also visited them in Dunkerque, now that rail travel across Europe had made such journeys much easier. Unfortunately Ida did not find Helen to be the easiest of house guests.
|Philip and Ivan with their mother and an aunt|
Being closer to Britain, also meant that he was close at hand when his cousin and good friend, Ernest passed away on the 14th May 1910, Philip was able to be there and help to arrange things for the family. He was called upon later the same year, when Ernest’s mother Anna, passed away on the 8th October.
Whilst Ida was pregnant with their third child, tragedy struck the family. Little Philip Hugh developed appendicitis and died on the 28th April 1911. He was only four and half years old. He was buried in Dunkerque.
Just over a month later, on the 4th June, Ida gave birth to their daughter, Angela, who was christened Euphrosyne, Angela.
On the 23rd January 1913, a third son was born, Roderick, initially named Gisbert, Francis, Roderick, and then renamed Roderick, Francis, Gisbert. The name Gisbert was a tribute to Gisbert von Pilgrim, who had helped Philip earlier.
On the 1st December 1913, a new Commission was issued to Philip as Consul for the Departments of the Nord, Pas de Calais, and Somme, with the exception of the Town, Port and Arrondissement of Calais. It is in this situation that the Sarell Family found themselves at the outbreak of the 1914 -18 war.
Dunkerque was in the War Zone, and from the first, Philip was extremely busy, starting with a telephone call at 2.00am in the morning informing London of the violation of Luxembourg. Philip remained as the British Consul in Dunkerque, though initially it had been thought better to move it to Boulogne, the French were keen for it to stay in Dunkerque .For most of the war Ida stayed with her husband. However in the immediate aftermath of the outbreak, they felt it was wisest for Ida to go with the children to England and to stay with their aunt Lilo and her husband Hugh Fox at Tonedale.
On 6th August, Philip was authorised to requisition an Ellerman Line ship to evacuate all British subjects caught in Belgium and Northern France. On this vessel, Ida and the children travelled to Plymouth, and then they made their way to Wellington.
Ida then found herself in the strange position of trying to get back into the War Zone, when most civilians were trying to get out. Eventually on the 9th September, having pulled various strings, she managed to cross back to Calais and to meet up with Philip.
In Dunkerque meanwhile, Philip had closed up the Chalet Russe and moved into rooms at the Consulate as cipher telegrams were arriving day and night, and the telephone was the only one to London, and consequently messages were being sent via the Consulate for the Army Navy and Airmen. Into this setting Ida returned and rapidly became involved with the running of the Consulate, especially as the Vice-Consul, Mr Hall had returned to his Territorial Regiment and so there was next to no staff, until two Naval Lieutenants were allocated to assist.
Although Ida managed to go to Tonedale for brief visits during the first months of the war, it was not until Christmas that Philip was able to go and see his children there. Philip and Ida both returned to Dunkerque on New Year’s Eve. Ida felt torn between leaving the children at Tonedale and being with her husband in Dunkerque and although she wished to bring them back, the bombardments of Dunkerque meant that it would be unnecessarily risky for them.
However in the summer of 1915, Ida brought the children and her mother, back to France though not to Dunkerque, but to a little village to the south of Boulogne where Ida and the children stayed till November. This allowed Philip to see all his family more often, though the journeys were not that short. In November the family moved back to the Chalet Russe at Malo-les-bains, partly because the house they had taken was fine during the summer but cold and draughty during the winter, and partly because it would bring the family together again.
In the spring of 1916 the family suffered from ill health. Angela, then her father Philip and then her grandmother suffered from influenza. While Rod suffered from diphtheria and was carefully nursed in isolation by his mother, Ida.
As a result of this ill health in the household, and the problems it caused in the event of air raids, it was decided to move out to Wimereux for the summer. But while here, the three children all caught whooping cough.
In October the family was reunited again at the Chalet Russe and would stay there until the spring of 1917, when following an unannounced bombardment, Ida and Philip moved the family into Malo Centre to a house called “Carlos”. Less than a month later the Chalet Russe suffered a hit during a bombardment, which wrecked one side of the house. The shell ended up in the back of Philip’s chair in his study.
Over the next few months, the family were subject to numerous air raids, and bombardments, but on only one other occasion did any shells fall near their house.
Being in Dunkerque, enabled relatives and friends who were serving in the Fourth Army to visit the family. And so it was that Ida’s cousin Ralph Bourne met the family and became a favourite with Rod. But also the tragedy of the war was also close and Ralph was killed later that year. Hugh Fox’s son Harry also passed through before being wounded and sent home.
In October 1917, Philip and Ida decided that the family would be safer to move to Wimereux as there had been an increase in the bombing. Wimereux was felt to be safe as it had a number of hospitals there. But this was not to be the case.
Ida also suffered a severe illness and was hospitalised for a while, shortly after the move, probably because of the strain that she had been under for so long.
In the summer of 1918 Wimereux came under severe attack from air raids, and in August, Ida took the children back to England. They stayed at Tonedale, till Ida was able to take a house in Minehead at the end of October, and then of course the war ended on the 11th November.
On the 12th November 1918, as people were celebrating the end of the war, Philip went down to see Harry Fox and got an opportunity he could not pass up. He recorded his experience in a letter, written on the same day.
“Before dinner I met Major Brackley who commands the Handley-Page Squadron and he told me that if I would lunch at his Camp today, he would fly me back to Dunkirk. He is a little N.W. of Lille beyond Sechin. The offer was too good to lose, specially as I had considerable difficulty about transport, so I jumped at it. So I had my first flight. They rigged me out in a fur lined water-proof suit, flying helmet and goggles (I wish I could have got photographed in it).
|Rod, Angela, Ida, Ivan and Philip C.Sarell|
There were four of us altogether; the pilot with me sitting next to him, an observer in front and another officer in the back of the machine. The noise and the wind from the propellers astonished one at first and the noise made me feel quite deaf for about an hour after we reached Dunkirk. I did not feel in the least uneasy on starting. Indeed at first it was rather like motoring slowly up a steep hill and there was no sensation of moving fast at all. But the ground very quickly fell away and we saw Sechin away below us and then Lille in the distance. We skirted Lille at what I thought was respectfully. But I received my first shock when the Pilot suddenly banked the machine (which felt like keeling over in a gale of wind) and proceeded to circle right over the centre of the large town. That was really wonderful, and the whole of the large town lay like a model toy-city right under our eyes. . We went north from Lille towards Ypres and ll over the ruined flooded land of Belgium till we could see Ostend, Middlekeske and the sea; and then we went over Nieuport, the trenches the French held for so long and the Yser line we lost last year. One cannot realise the horrors which have gone on all these years in all these places now abandoned, and at rest. We saw the bridges which the Boche blew up in July 1917 when everything looked so black, the war seemed as if it never would finish and now the Kaiser is in flight and a British High Commissioner is installed at Constantinople
From Nieuport we came along the shore and right over Dunkirk. One realised how the canals and docks mark out plainly the whole outline for a hostile airman and in the moonlight he could certainly see his way to any point of the town even with all the lights darkened. We landed at Codekerque, and the pilot brought his machine down so gently that I could hardly tell the exact moment when we touched the ground.
At one part of the way from Lille we went above the clouds, and that was quite the loveliest sight I ever saw. The sun shone on the clouds and it felt as though we were motoring over a gigantic snow field. As far as the eye could reach one saw nothing but what looked like snow mountains shinning in the sun. It was delightful to see the enthusiasm of the Pilot, a mere boy as he beamed at me and shouted above the din of the engines: “Isn’t it lovely!! It’s another world up here.” – and it was. It was difficult to realise I was in a formidable engine of war: that it had bombed Louvain the night before and but for the Peace would have bombed Cologne this very night.”
After the war Ida wrote an account of the family’s life which was lodged in the Imperial War Museum in the late 1980’s, for safe keeping.
Philip was honoured by the French Government, in gratitude for his unremitting work in preventing or remedying the constant friction between the British and French Armies. On the 14th July, 1919, at the great parade in the Place Jean Bart in the heart of Dunkerque, with his old war-time friend General Balfourier, who had commanded the Dunkerque regiment during the war, as his sponsor (Parain), he was publicly decorated as a Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur.
The Italian Government also honoured Philip for his role in the war, and in 1921 made him a Commander of the Order of the Crown of Italy. Although he received the thanks of the British Government, he received no official decoration, in part because the British expected him to put himself forward, and his modesty prevented him from doing this.
The family moved to Tunis in 1920, when Philip was made Consul General from May 31st. The rest of the family came out later in that year, after Edith Bourne, Ida’s maternal aunt, had been over to stay with them and to visit her son’s grave at the Coxyde Military Cemetery.
The Sarell family was very happy in Tunis, which at that time was ruled by the French. They lived in what would later become the Ambassador’s Residence; the “House at La Marsa”. A picture of this house was painted by Ida whilst they were there.
Lilo and Hugh Fox came out to visit the family shortly after the tragic death of Ida’s brother, Ivor Campbell. Ivor was a naval engineer, and was one of those killed in the disaster of the R-38 airship at Hull in 1921. At the same time as Lilo and Hugh were staying with the family, Ivor’s widow, Muriel and daughter Margaret also were there.
Whilst in Tunis, an issue arose, that put Philip in conflict with the French Authorities. The French proposed to alter the status of the Maltese Community and for them to become French citizens. Philip as the British Consul-General objected, pointing out that the French had no authority to do this, since Tunisia was a Protectorate and still technically part of the Ottoman Empire, and consequently the Maltese Community were British Subjects. The issue did not endear Philip with the British Foreign Office, who had no desire for a conflict with the French, but the issue having been raised it was referred to the Hague, where the matter was eventually resolved, and Philip was proved right. But by then Philip had left Tunis because relations between himself and the French Authorities had become so strained because of his stand.
So in 1923 the family moved to Barcelona, when Philip was transferred there as Consul-General on 2nd November, as a result of the dispute over the Maltese, instead of finishing his career in the pleasant surroundings of Tunis.
|Ida Sarell’s watercolour of the House at La Marsa, with Angela on the stairs|
Philip had initially intended to work to the age of seventy, which was the normal retirement age when he started his career. However during his career the option was brought in of retiring at sixty-five, and he accepted this younger retirement age. But then there was a change again and the retirement age was reduced to sixty and much against his wishes and despite a strong willed attempt to resist the moves from London, he was made to retire on his sixtieth birthday in 1926.
Whilst in Barcelona, Philip was visited by amongst others, his cousin, Evelyn Culling, the youngest daughter of his aunt Lucy Ongley.
In 1924 Rod started school at Ashdown House Prep School, and Angela started at Sherbourne School. Rod’s first passport was therefore issued under the first Labour Government, and was signed by Ramsay MacDonald the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary. To Philip, however, Ramsay MacDonald remained in his eyes the traitor to his country whom he had been ordered to arrest if he appeared in Dunkerque during the 1914 -18 war. In 1926, the passport disappeared and was replaced by a new one signed by the Consul-General at Barcelona, Philip C. Sarell.
Having spent the Easter of 1926 in London, the family moved to “Castel Maria”, at Dinard in France, although by now, the children were at boarding school. Ivan was at Dartmouth heading for a career in the Royal Navy, Angela at Sherbourne, and Rod starting at Radley.
At the start of the thirties, the family moved to England, to “Braeside”, in East Grinstead Sussex. Philip’s concerns about having to retire at sixty and the impact on the family, now became apparent, as Angela finished school and had to start working, while Rod alone was financed through University.
In August 1931, Philip and Ida, received news of a fatal car crash in Scotland. Angela and a girl friend Peel, had been driving north from Edinburgh, on a poor road. Coming round a blind corner, they were forced off the road by a lorry, and overturned. Angela, who had been driving, was shaken and had some grazes, but her friend was fatally injured, and died shortly after the crash. It was clearly established that there was no fault on Angela’s part and that the blame lay with the lorry driver.
In 1936 Rod, having been to Magdalen College, Oxford, was successful in following his father’s footsteps and entering the Consular Service, and was then posted to Persia. Angela was by now working in London, though in the following year she joined Rod for a holiday in Persia, and from her experiences wrote her book “Veiless in Persia” under a nom de plume “Angela Roderick”. Ivan was by now a Lieutenant on HMS Exmouth, having served on a number of different ships.
At the start of 1939, Rod was able to take some leave, between postings, and came back to England. It would be the last time that Philip would see his youngest son, who departed in May for Italian East Africa.
In April 1941, Philip broke his leg. He became bedridden and extremely frail. Ida looked after him at home over the next year, but although she was a trained nurse, she periodically needed help. Philip never recovered and died on 8th November 1942.
All three of Philip and Ida’s children were away at the time. Ivan was serving with the Royal Navy, Angela was in Cairo and Rod was in Basra. Angela was able to travel back to England, via Durban, to be with her mother in early 1943, but obviously the war made travel very difficult. It was impossible to cross the Mediterranean and Occupied France, so the alternative was via South Africa. But in Durban she became stuck unable to get a passage to England. Luckily her brother Iwan who happen to land in the town, managed to arrange it for her, and she arrived back with her mother six months after Philip’s death. Hugh Fox’s daughter, Alison was able to come and give some support to Ida immediately after Philip’s death.
After the death of Philip, Ida continued to live at “Braeside”. She lived to see her three children married, though as both Rod and Angela married abroad, she could not attend their weddings. She also saw the birth of her five grandchildren, and then in 1961, whilst staying with Rod and his wife Pam and their three children, Philip, William, and Charles, at Ware in Hertfordshire, she too passed away on the morning of the 21st April. She was buried alongside her husband in the cemetery at Holtye near to Ashurst Wood in Sussex.
C.J.D.S. & R.F.G.S.
GERTRUDE ELLEN SARELL
Born 1869: Died 1948
Gertrude Ellen Sarell was born at Scutari on the 15th May 1869. She was the ninth child of Anna Maria and Dr Richard Sarell. Scutari is one of the suburbs of Constantinople, which is on the Anatolian side of the Bosphorus.
She was baptised on 1st November in the Chapel of Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Sublime Porte.
After her mother’s death in February 1875, Gertrude along with the other younger children went to live with her mother’s cousin in England.
She returned to Constantinople in the mid 1890’s but left again in August 1897 to take up a career as a nurse in London. Whilst in Constantinople, Gertrude lived with relatives (Helen?) and not with her father who had remarried. But she wrote to him telling him of her intention to become a nurse and that this would mean that she would not be a burden on anyone. She hoped to return in 1899 to see him when she would have some holiday from her nurse training.
In London, Gertrude trained first as a nurse and then later she became a certified midwife as well.
By 1909, Gertrude was living and working in Middlesborough in what was then North Yorkshire, and in the summer of that year she travelled south to visit her brother Philip and his family in Dunkerque where he was now the British Consul.
|Gertrude as a child|
When her aunt Helen died in 1919, in Constantinople, Gertrude was remembered in her will and received a small inheritance. But Gertrude became very religious, and was inclined to give away any money she had to the poor or the church, though she herself was not well off by any means.
She spent the rest of her life in London. By the mid 1920s she was living on York Road in Lambeth, and had became estranged from the rest of the family to an extent, although her sister Lilo kept in contact.
After Lilo’s death in 1934, links with the family became even weaker. Lilo’s husband, Hugh continued to keep in touch as did Harry Fox, his son. Her nephew Ivan recalls that he may have corresponded with her but never saw her during this period. In fact he thinks he met her only once in his whole life, and that, when he was a small child.
By the 1940s, Gertrude was living in a single room at 15 Holmstall Avenue, in Edgware, London. She was still very religious and inclined to give whatever she had away to good causes. Apparently she was inclined to burn candles and the floor was covered with brown paper, which in turn was covered in candle wax.
Gertrude died on 2nd March, 1948, at Redhill County Hospital, Edgware, from heart failure following a fall at her home. She had outlived all her brothers and sisters.
HENRY SHELDON SARELL.
Born 1871: Died 1886
Henry Sheldon Sarell was born in Therapia on 5th May 1871. He was the tenth child of Anna Maria and Dr Richard Sarell, and their second son.
He was baptised on board the H.M.A.S. “Antelope” by Charles Gribble the chaplain to the British Embassy, and it was then recorded in the chapel of St Helena, on the 9th July 1871.
The following year his mother gave birth to another son, Willie and in the October of 1873 she gave birth again to Arthur Hardy, who only survived till the following July. Anna Maria had by now had fourteen children and was pregnant again when on the 8th February 1875, she died after falling down the stairs. It has been expressed that this might have been suicide, but it is more likely that it was an attempt to induce a miscarriage which went fatally wrong.
The result of their mother’s death was that the five youngest Sarell children were taken in by their mother’s cousins the Dillworth Foxs, who lived at Wellington in Somerset.
In due course, Henry went to school in London along with his younger brother Willie, while his elder brother Philip went to University College School. The three of them stayed with their cousins, the Iwan Mullers. Philip finished his schooling in 1882 and returned to Constantinople.
Henry moved back to Wellington to continue his education. However he never finished his education, he died on 11th June 1886. Henrietta Iwan Muller wrote in her journal:
“Thursday 10th June – Dear Henry Sarell died after a few days illness. He was taken ill on Sunday 6th.
“They thought it was only a feverish chill but he gradually got worse, became delirious. Mrs Fox went to Taunton for the best Doctor. He came on Thursday Evening to hold a consultation with the Doctor of the school, and while they were leaving the consultation, the abscess which had formed on his brain burst and the dear fellow died immediately. He was buried on Saturday. All his sisters were there, but only Agnes I think saw him alive.
“It has been a great shock to us all as he was such a dear clever boy.”
WILLIAM FRANCIS SARELL.
Born 1872: Died 1939
William Francis Sarell was born at Therapia, Constantinople on the 30th June 1872, the eleventh child of Anna Maria and Dr Richard Sarell. On the 11th August he was baptised at the Embassy Chapel in Constantinople, like so many of his relations.
When his mother died on 9th January 1875, Willie was just two and a half years old, and was the youngest of the children who went back to England to stay with the Dillworth Fox’s, his mother’s cousins.
As Willie got older, of course he started to be educated, and went to London where his brothers, Philip and Henry were. They stayed with the Iwan Mullers, who were also cousins of their mothers.
After Willie had finished his schooling in England, his elder brother Philip helped him get a job in the tea trade, and he travelled out to Ceylon. Amongst the British Community in Constantinople, the Whittall family who had been in Turkey since 1809 had links with Ceylon and the Tea Trade, so it may well have been this link that enabled Willie to get into this business. However he had to leave Ceylon because while he was there he contracted malaria. He left the island for Australia.
He arrived in Perth from Ceylon and went to Bridgetown and stayed with Jack Walter, whom he had known in England. Also staying there was Ermie Thompson, who was the young sister of Mrs Walter.
With another friend from England, Hugh Brown, Willie started farming at Bridgetown. Ermie was sent to school in England for two years, and Willie corresponded with her through out.
After Ermie returned to Australia, Willie and Ermie decided to get married, but her brother would not permit her to marry until she had turned twenty-one. On the 26th April 1906, the day after her twenty-first birthday, they were married.
By now Willie had packed in farming and was working in the office at a mill and had bought a property at Altona in Perth. Their first child, Nizza Laura, was born on the 6th February 1907, named after Willie’s aunt Euphrosyne Crawford who had died a few years previously in Constantinople.
Their second child, Richard Guy, was born in 1912, and was named after Willie’s father, Dr Richard Sarell. And then on the 2nd June 1914, their third child Barbara Mary was born.
During the Great Depression, the family lost their property, which they had had for about 20 years. It was a difficult time. The family moved to 33 Ventura Avenues in West Perth. Nizza had gone to business college and managed to get a job in a bank, and in 1930 married Wilfrid Campion, and they took over the house on Ventura Avenue, and Willie and the rest of the family moved to 15 Orl Street.
On 23rd June 1933 Ted Campion, the first of Willie’s grandchildren was born, and in 1937 his brother Simon was born.
|William’s eldest daughter: Nizza|
|Willie’s son Richard had
a job on a farm, then left Australia and went up to Thailand and had a
job on a tin mine, but then war was declared and he could not get home
Willie had various jobs throughout the Great Depression, visiting properties for an agricultural firm, and Ermie opened a guest house.
In 1939 Willie died at Perth in Western Australia. Ermie survived him until 1959, living at 11 Havelock St. West Perth. Their son Richard was killed in a mining accident in 1953, having married Enid Hunter. They had had a daughter Robin and a son also called Richard. Willie’s unmarried daughter, Barbara married Jack Seabrook in 1947 and had two sons. Nizza remarried in 1948 to James O’May.
B.M.S. & C.J.D.S
ELIZABETH, BARONESS NUGENT.
Born 1842: Died 1899
Elizabeth Baltazzi was the first child of Theodore Baltazzi and his young wife Eliza, who was not yet twenty when she was born on the 16th December 1842. Lizzie, as she was known, was baptised into the Church of England at the British Embassy Chapel in Constantinople on the 29th December of the same year.
She grew up in Pera in Constantinople, but her father, being the very successful banker that he was had a number of properties scattered across the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and she would have spent time at some of these places as well. Most notably she would have spent time in Smyrna (Izmir) as well as visiting places such as Cairo.
In 1860 her father, Theodore Baltazzi, died, leaving Lizzie and her brothers and sisters a fortune of six million gold francs each.
In 1862, on the 7th April, Lizzie married Albert Llewellyn Nugent, at the British Embassy Chapel in Constantinople. Albert would in due course inherit the title of Baron, which was an Austrian title.
Lizzie and Albert’s first child, Mary, was born at the beginning of 1863 at Southsea, in England.
Albert was in the Royal Navy and from 6th April 1863 was the Flag Lieutenant on board H.M.S. Hibernia, the Flagship of Rear Admiral Austin, based at Malta.
In December 1863, news reached Lizzie of her mother’s failing health, and she travelled with her child, to Cairo to be with her. But arriving on the evening of the 28th December, she was too late to see her mother who had died on the morning of the 27th and had been buried at 3 o’clock on the 28th, in the English Cemetery in Cairo.
Many of Lizzie’s relatives were gathered in Cairo, including her grandmother, her sister Helen, and various aunts and her uncle Philip. Lizzie was present for the reading of her mother’s will, which was read on the 29th December. Having already inherited a fortune when her father died, her mother left nothing to Lizzie and her brothers and sisters, but rather to her own brothers and sisters and her second husband.
Henrietta Iwan Muller recalls seeing Lizzie and her child on the 30th, when she went to have lunch with the Sarells. She writes in her journal:
“I lunched with the Sarells, I saw Mrs Nugent and her sweet little baby, it is a very intelligent little baby. She gives you her pocket handkerchief to smell, showing you how to smell it, she puts her little mouth to you and kisses you as much as a little baby of a twelve month old can kiss. I am afraid they let her walk too soon and that she will be bandy legged.”
Lizzie’s husband Lieutenant Nugent, joined her in Cairo, obviously taking leave of his duties on H.M.S. Hibernia, to do so. The Sarell family eventually left Cairo at the beginning of February.
Lizzie would have another five children with her husband Albert. Their eldest son, Algernon, was born on the 5th October 1865 in Westminster where the family was now living. They had two daughters Zoe and Florrie, who were born in 1869 and 1870 respectively, whilst the family was in Westminster. Their second son, Albert was born on the 12th February 1874.
The family moved out of London and to Hampshire, where they lived in The Vyne House (which is now a National Trust property) at Sherborne St John, and it was here that their youngest child Frank, was born in the summer of 1880.
The family was supported with eight servants, who lived in, at The Vyne House, and in addition to these there were others who lived in the village such as the gardeners and the coachman. The children also had a governess to teach them and to look after them. In 1881, their governess was Anna Muggenburg who was from Saxony.
When their sons were old enough, Lizzie and Albert sent them to school at Winchester, and from their they went on to various Universities.
Lizzie kept in contact with her brothers and sisters even though they moved in due course to Vienna, and elsewhere within the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The families visited each other, and her daughter Florrie kept up a correspondence with her cousin Mary Vetsera until her death in 1889.
In due course Lizzie and Albert moved the family home to Beacon Lodge at Highcliffs, Christchurch, which was then in Hampshire.
Lizzie had been diagnosed as suffering from Brights Disease, in her mid-forties. This was a disease of the kidneys and over time it became progressively worse. In March, 1899 Lizzie became critically ill and died at home on the eleventh. Her husband, Albert, outlived her by ten years.
BARONESS HELEN VON VETSERA.
Born 1847: Died 1925
Helen Baltazzi, was the second child of Theodore Baltazzi and Eliza Sarell. She was born in 1847, and baptised into the Church of England.
In 1860 her father Theodore died, leaving each of his children six million gold francs, along with other property. Helen was therefore a very rich heiress. The Baltazzi wealth came from their banking and other commercial interests in Constantinople, where Theodore was amongst other things, the banker to the Sultan. Shortly before his death he had managed to obtain Austrian citizenship, on the basis of the families connections with Venice, which was at the time part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Helen’s elder sister, Lizzie, married Baron Albert Nugent in Constantinople on the 17th April 1862, at the British Embassy Chapel in Pera. She was only nineteen years old.
In the following year Helen’s mother, Eliza married Charles Alison C.B., at the British Embassy in Paris. Charles Alison was the Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy extraordinary to the Persian Court.
Helen then accompanied her mother who was now seriously ill, to Cairo, arriving there on 28th October 1863. Her mother’s husband had gone on to Teheran. Helen and her mother stayed at the Hotel d’Orient.
As her mothers illness became more serious, they were joined by Helen’s grandmother Euphrosyne Sarell, her uncle Philip Sarell, and aunts Helen Sarell and Nizza Crawford. Her elder sister Lizzie was also there.
Eliza died on the 27th December 1863. She left nothing to her children, because they had been so well provided for by their father. But before she died she had asked Albin Vetsera the Austrian diplomat, who was with the Austrian Legation to the Ottoman Empire and a close friend of the Baltazzi family to be the guardian of her unmarried children, and that his courtship of Helen would not be unwelcome.
The following April, Helen married Albin Vetsera in the British Embassy Chapel in Constantinople, although she was still a minor and Albin was twenty-two years older than her. Amongst those who witnessed the wedding were her mother’s two brothers, Philip and Richard Sarell and Nizza Crawford. Before the wedding could take place, Albin Vetsera had to have the consent of the Austro-Hungarian Emperor to marry Helen and this was only granted at the beginning of April.
Albin Vetsera continued his very distinguished career. On 24th March 1867 the Emperor Franz Joseph raised him to the hereditary knighthood, when he was made a Knight of the Austrian Leopold Order. Then on 2nd October 1869 he was awarded the Lesser Cross of the Royal Hungarian Order of St Stephen. Shortly afterwards, on the 30th January 1870, Albin Vetsera was raised to the rank of Baron.
However he kept his pledge to Eliza Alison, to look after her unmarried children, and in 1866, requested special leave to return from Constantinople to Vienna to oversee the marriage of his sister-in-law Marie Virginie Baltazzi to Albert Graf St Julien.
Helen’s unmarried sisters would continue to live with her, both in Constantinople and Vienna, where the Vetseras had now a house. The youngest of Eliza’s children, Julia, would live all the remainder of her life with the Vetsera household, as she died in childhood on the 1st July 1869, she was only eight years old.
Before Albin and Helen went to Vienna, Helen had had four children; Ladislaus the eldest son was born in 1865. Then there were two daughters, Johanna (known as Hanna) Carolina Elizabeth, born on the 19th May, 1868, at Pera, and Mary Alexandrine who was born on 19th March 1871 in Cairo. Finally the youngest son Franz (known as Feri) was born on the 29th November 1872.
In Vienna the Vetsera family lived in a very elegant town house at 11 Salesianergasse. Helen was known as a great society hostess and of course being part of a rich family spent much of her time in society. Her brother and sisters married into the Austro-Hungarian aristocracy and her brothers became pillars of the Jockey Club, through which the family met members of Europe’s Royalty, including Edward Prince of Wales and Crown Prince Rudolph. But it was also through these interests that Helen met and became friends with the Countess Larisch, the niece of the Empress Elisabeth, and through her met the Empress and joined the Royal party at Godollo.
In 1881, Helen’s eldest son died in the Ringtheatre fire in Vienna. The young Baron was only a teenager and had his life before him.
Then in 1887, her husband, Albin, who although retired, was the Austro-Hungarian delegate on the Commission Administrating the Egyptian State Debt, died in Cairo. He was only in his sixties.
Much has been written on the next tragedy that overtook Helen. Mary, her youngest daughter, at the age of seventeen, fell in love with Rudolph the Crown Prince. Not only was he married, but also the formalised class barriers within the Austro-Hungarian aristocracy mean that even had he not been married, Mary could not have been his bride. The affair was conducted very clandestinely, with the assistance of Countess Larisch. Helen knew nothing of it.
On 26th January, Helen became very suspicious, on finding a cigarette case, which Rudolph had given to Mary. Countess Larisch lied and pretended that this was one that had been given to her, and that she had passed on to Mary.
When the young Mary went missing, on the 28th January, it was only then that the family was able to put together their suspicions. The Countess Larisch told Helen and her elder daughter Hanna, that Mary had run away, although she herself had been instrumental in the elopement plans.
In Mary’s room Hanna found a note from Mary saying “Dear Mother, by the time you read this I shall be in the Danube. Mary” Apparently Countess Larisch exclaimed that this was rubbish and that Mary was alive and well and only wanted to stop people from finding her.
Helen was distraught and lent heavily on her brother Alexander for help. Soon it was established that the Crown Prince was at Mayerling and consequently it was assumed that Mary would be there too. But at this stage could not prove that was the case. What was not wanted was a scandal, and that Mary be returned to them safely, without it getting out that she had spent time alone with the Crown Prince. However at this stage the family had no proof that Mary was with him.
On the afternoon of 29th, Helen approached the Premier, Count Taaffe, to ask for his help, after three attempts to get the Police President to take up the matter. But Count Taaffe was concerned that in the absence of any proof, it was impossible to raise the matter. However he did become concerned when Helen raised the possible implication of the Countess Larisch, who was the Empress’s niece. But the Crown Prince was expected to appear for dinner that evening.
But events had moved too fast. On the morning of 30th, Countess Larisch disclosed that the cigarette case that Mary had, was not hers, and that therefore it was a present from Rudolph to Mary. Helen, having discovered proof of the extend of the liaison, went to see the Empress Elisabeth only to be told there of the death of her daughter, and the Crown Prince together at Mayerling. Initially believing that Mary had poisoned herself and the Crown Prince. Not till the next day did she learn the real truth that her daughter had been shot by Rudolph before he shot himself.
Helen was advised to leave Vienna on 30th January by the Emperor’s General Aide-de-Camp, still believing that her daughter had poisoned the Crown Prince. But although she left, and was heading towards Venice, she stopped and then returned. During the same period, her brother-in-law Count Stockau and brother Alexander had driven to Mayerling to collect the body of Mary, and had discovered the truth, and telegraphed Helen with the instruction for her to return to Vienna, which she was already doing.
Helen was approached again by intermediaries from the Emperor and Empress, to persuade her to leave Vienna during the obsequies for the Crown Prince. She agreed but only if the request came from the Emperor himself, and after Count Taaffe had called on her that evening, she agreed to leave the following day, for Venice.
Helen returned to Vienna in March and in a letter of the 20th to her sister Elisabeth Nugent she summed up how she felt.
“My Dearest Lizzie,
I am so much ashamed of myself not having written to you up to now and particularly as you have been all for such a long long time. You see in the beginning I really could not. This thunderbolt that fell on me, felled me to the ground. You know how I worshipped Mary perhaps too much and that is why I have been cruelly punished. I can assure you that my grief is worse than ever I cannot see how I am ever to forget all this dreadful past and as long as I do so my life and my thoughts can only be full of anguish. Did not she send Florrie a photograph a short time before her death, because I think I saw her do so. She said they would be the last of herself she ever would have made. She left us three such beautiful letters childish, but also showing that faith that there must be a world the other side more beautiful than this one. That a child of 17 should quietly write “when you get this I shall be no more forgive me what I am doing. The last fortnight her nerves must have been very broken, we saw there was something the matter with her, but had no idea as I did not know they knew each other until they were both dead. I suppose it was having this secret in her breast since the 5th of Nov. because we have found out that is the day she got to know him. I spent six weeks in Venice to patch up my broken nerves and then I came back here to go and see her grave which I had not been able to do before leaving. The coming back into this house was dreadful. From morning to night she was about me (except for the few times she left the house with that bad woman Countess Larisch who knew everything and who might have saved them through a word;) that now I miss her every hour of the day. She is buried in the most beautiful spot in this world of Gods creation. A heavenly spot one can call it.
Yesterday was her birthday we went there, she would have been 18 years of age.
I give up this house in Nov. and we are going to live in England I so love anyhow for some years. ….”
Helen did not move to England. She kept up the house at 11 Salesianergasse for some years. But her position in society would never be that which it had been before the events at Mayerling.
Helen ensured that Mary, who had been buried hurriedly, immediately after the tragedy, was given a proper tomb in the cemetery at Heiligenkreuz, and that a chapel was also built there. A plaque in the chapel commemorates both Mary and her brother Ladislaus. Also the two kneeling angels, have the faces of Helen’s two deceased children. But no reference to the name Vetsera, was allowed by the Emperor, in the Chapel.
In time the family were able to start putting the past behind them. In 1897, Helen’s eldest daughter, Hanna married Hendrik, Count von Bylandt-Rheydt in Holland. Shortly afterwards, Helen travelled to London for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.
Hanna and her husband had two children, Maria and Edouard. But in 1901, a further tragedy struck Helen and her family. Count von Bylandt-Rheydt was an attaché at the Dutch Embassy at Rome and whilst the family was there, Hanna contracted typhoid and died after a short illness.
Shortly after Hanna’s marriage, Helen moved from the house on Salesianergasse, to a flat at 10 Prinz Eugen Strasse. She also had a property, which included a farm, at Kub near Payerbach.
In 1904, Feri, the youngest of Helen’s children, married Margit von Bissingen. They were to have three children, Ferdinanda (Nancy), Alexandrine (Alitschi) and Eleonora (Nora) between 1905 and 1907.
When the First World War broke out in 1914, Feri served with the Austrian cavalry. He was a Cavalry Captain when he died on the Eastern Front in the push into the Russian province of Volhynia in 1915. He was forty-three.
Having seen all her children die before her, Helen now saw the hyperinflation that gripped Austria after the First World War, destroy her fortune. Her last few years were lived in modest circumstances at the house at Kub, and at the flat on Prinz Eugen Strasse. It was at the flat, on the 1st February, 1925, at the age of seventy-nine that Helen Baroness von Vetsera died.
She was buried in the grave of her son Feri, whose body had been brought back to the cemetery at Payerbach. Her funeral was attended by a large crowd.
MARIE COUNTESS St JULIEN / STOCKAU
Born 1848: Died 1927
Marie Virginie Baltazzi was born in 1848, the third daughter of Theodore Baltazzi and Eliza. She was baptised into the Church of England like her mother and sisters.
When her father died she was only twelve, and she inherited six million gold francs along with other property form him. Her mother died when she was only fifteen, and along with the rest of her unmarried had been entrusted to Albin Vetsera who was later to marry her elder sister Helen in 1864. They continued to live in Constantinople where Albin Vetsera was with Austro-Hungarian diplomatic corps.
In the Vetsera household in Constantinople, Marie or Bibi as she was affectionately known, had met Albert Graf St Julien. In due course they became engaged and Albin Vetsera accompanied Bibi to Vienna for her wedding in 1866.
Bibi’s marriage to Albert Graf St Julien did not last and in 1876 the marriage ended in divorce. Subsequently Bibi would marry Otto Graf von Stockau.
After the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand at Sarajevo, Bibi travelled to Paris to help her brother Hector leave France, before the hostilities started. Hector was very ill and with Bibi’s help they travelled to Bordeaux and then across into Spain, where the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador, Prince Furstenberg, was a friend of the family. Subsequently they travelled back to Austria.
Bibi survived the war and died in 1927.
Born 1850: Died 1914
Alexander Baltazzi was the eldest son of Theodore Baltazzi and Eliza Sarell, and was born in 1850.
His father died in 1860, when he was ten, and his mother on the 27th December 1863. Before his mother died, she ensured that Albin Vetsera the First Secretary of the Austrian Legation at Constantinople would look after her unmarried children, and in due course he married the eldest unmarried daughter, Helen. His father had also ensured that the money that he had inherited six million gold francs was invested in Austria
Alexander was educated in England during these years, and then followed his sister and brother-in-law to Vienna.
Whilst in England, in 1874, he along, with his brothers met Elisabeth, the Empress of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, at Belvoir Castle, where she was staying as a guest of the Duke of Rutland. Alexander and his brothers, along with others had been invited to join the local Belvoir Hunt, being keen horsemen. This introduction and love of horses were to ensure that their paths would cross again.
With his inheritance Alexander and his brothers, bred racehorses. Their success peaked when their horse, Kisber won the Epsom Derby in 1876. A few weeks later Kisber won the Grand Prix at Paris.
When the brothers moved to Vienna, they became founders of the Jockey Club, which was based on the English Jockey Club. They also spent time at Godollo, the royal residence of the Empress Elisabeth, which was a centre of hunting and horsemanship. The Empress had during her time in England, taken on an English former Cavalry Captain, William George Middleton, as her personal riding assistant. Not being neither an Austrian and nor an aristocrat, he was the subject of much teasing by the Austrian aristocrats, but the Baltazzi brothers befriended him, since they too, although rich, were more English than Austrian and not aristocrats either. This put them very firmly in the Empress’s camp.
Alexander lived at 9 Giselagasse in the centre of Vienna, and when he wasn’t riding or racing his horses, he would enjoy his time playing bridge at the Jockey Club or going to the Opera. He never married.
In 1889 when his sister’s family was plunged into the Mayerling tragedy, Alexander was there for his sister Helen. He made strenuous efforts to find out what had happened to his niece Mary, and where she had run off to with the Crown Prince Rudolph. It was even suggested that he would take her to Constantinople and marry Mary there. But events overtook them however and he was unsuccessful in establishing where she was, or who she was with, until after the events of the night of the 30th January.
Initially the Imperial Court wanted Georg Count Stockau, one of Alexander’s brothers-in-law to remove the body of Mary from Mayerling, but Helen insisted that her brother Alexander go with him and this was conceded. So the two had to retrieve the body of Mary, from Mayerling and to take it to Heiligenkreuz, during the hours of darkness.
Mary’s body had been hidden in the hunting lodge at Mayerling, between two mattresses, whilst her lover’s body had been removed and lain in state in Vienna. Alexander and Georg were under royal instruction to make it look as though Mary had left the hunting lodge alive, and to this end they had to dress her although rigor mortis had already set in. Then they had to seat her in the carriage though they could not bear to share the carriage with her and walked beside it to the cemetery, where she was surreptitiously interred.
In the autumn following the Mayerling affair, when Edward, Prince of Wales was staying in Vienna, he made a point, in front of all the members of the Jockey Club, of demonstrating his friendship with Alexander and talked to him and his brothers for some time about the tragic affair of their niece, whom he himself had described as one of the most beautiful and remarkable young women in Vienna.
Alexander never married and continued to live his bachelor life after the events at Mayerling, and the Jockey Club which he had founded, was a valuable support to the family during the years of disgrace.
On 24th November, 1914 he died and was buried with the rites of the Greek Orthodox Church, at Payerbach, south west of Vienna, in the same cemetery where his sister, Helen would later be buried.
CJDS & RFGS
Born 1851: Died 1916
Hector Baltazzi was the fifth child of Eliza Sarell and Theodore Baltazzi, and their second son.
After the death of both his parents, he was educated in England, and then moved to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, where his inheritance had been invested. Along with his brothers, he was a founder member of the Jockey Club in Vienna
In 1874 Hector married Anna Countess Ugarte, but it was not a marriage that was to last. By 1888 Mary Vetsera, one his nieces was writing to tell Florrie Nugent, the daughter of his eldest sister, Lizzie, that the news from Vienna was that “Anna and Hector want to divorce!”
The divorce came through and Hector subsequently married Clementine Krauss and in 1893 they had a son, Clemens.
Hector had a reputation as a reckless horseman and gambler, and found the life in France and Paris more to his liking, inhabiting clubs and spending time with artists and people after his own heart. He was a regular amateur jockey in all the French gallops and steeplechases. When another of his nieces, May Wumbrand, met him on her honeymoon in Paris, he was recovering from seven broken ribs following a riding accident.
Hector’s cousin Philip C.Sarell who was the British Consul at Dunkerque, was taken to one side, having been seen in Hector’ company in Paris, by a member of the Embassy, and warned of his reputation. Philip apparently responded that he was well aware of Hector’ reputation, as he was his cousin.
After the shooting in Sarajevo, of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Hector’ sister, Bibi travelled to Paris, because he was very ill. He left Paris and travelled to Bordeaux and then to Biaritz, before crossing into Spain, which was neutral. In Spain, Hector travelled down to Barcelona. Whilst in Spain Hector was the guest of the Austrian Ambassador, Prince Furstenberg, who was a friend of the Baltazzi family.
Hector had to leave Spain, to return to Vienna, as he had his money tied up in either Austria or France, and obviously could not access the money in France, since he was an Austrian. He travelled by ship from Barcelona, and although it was intercepted by the French Navy, and a number of people interned, Hector was allowed to continue to Austria because he was over sixty.
Hector died in 1916 in Austria. To the end, his enthusiasm for the turf remained undiminished.
Born 1853: Died 1914
Aristides was born on 13th January 1853. He was not yet eleven years old when his mother, Eliza died in Cairo. As with his brothers and sisters he had inherited a considerable fortune from his father, Theodore, and this money had been invested in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
After his education in England, Aristides followed his brothers to Vienna, where his second eldest sister was married to Albin Vetsera and his third sister was married to Count Albert St Julien.
Prior to going to Austria, the brothers had become familiar figures in the English Country Society, and were often found riding to hounds. It was through such a gathering, that they met the Empress Elisabeth of Austro-Hungary at Belvoir Castle, and followed this up by joining her hunting parties in Godollo in Hungary.
Aristides was, with his brothers a founding member of the Jockey Club in Vienna, and was involved with the life of horse racing and thorough breds. However his reputation grew after his marriage to Countess Maria Theresia von Stockau in 1884, when he bought out his sister-in-laws share of Napajedl estate in Moravia, and turned it into a world wide stud of thoroughbreds, importing horses from England to build up the herd. The size of the stud, can be estimated from the fact that around 150 horses were put up for auction each spring.
On the 9th March 1885, May his only daughter was born at Napajedl. But the marriage was not a happy one. Aristides was very devoted to his mother-in-law the Countess Mathilde, but his wife and sister-in-law treated their mother badly. In addition the relationship between Aristides and Maria Theresia was not a happy one, and there were bad scenes between the two.
In 1909, Aristides’s daughter, May, married Count Ferdinand Wurmbrand in Vienna, after an attempt to blackmail Aristides with threats to his daughter’s life and that of his son-in-law. But things went well and nothing untoward happened.
Apart from his interest in horse-racing, and horse-breeding, with which he was spectacularly successful, he was also interested in politics and was for a time a member of the Austrian parliament.
Aristides health began to fail, and his last years were not years of good health. In the spring of 1914 he saw his granddaughter, Etti Wurmbrand born, but at the end of October of that year, he died. He left the estate at Napajedl and his fortune, to his wife, believing that in turn this would be passed to his daughter May.
His wife outlived him and died in 1931, having lost everything by speculating for oil at Napajedl.
EVELINE,COUNTESS VON STOCKAU
Born 1854: Died 1901
Eveline was the seventh child of Eliza Sarell and Theodore Baltazzi. She was born on the 25th September 1854.
Eveline was only nine when her mother died, her father having died three year previously. She was however, as with her brothers and sisters, an heiress of a considerable fortune.
Like her brothers, Eveline had a love of hunts and horses, and became a well known figure in the hunting circles of Leicestershire.
In 1872, Eveline married Georg Count von Stockau, the first of three marriages that would link the Baltazzi’s to the Stockau family.
Her first daughter Franeiska was born in 1873 with her sister Sophie being born the following year. But the third daughter, Mathilde, was not born till 1881.
According to her cousin Evelyn Culling, Eveline was very beautiful. In 1932, Eve Culling wrote in her book that:
“In her day she had been a noted beauty and to-day her picture is to be found in the Munich Gallery of Beauties.”
Eveline died in 1901 on the 17th July. The following year her husband Georg also died.
CHARLOTTE ELIZA STAFFORD O’BRIEN
Born 23rd September 1842: Died 13th May 1919.
Charlotte and her twin sister Caroline, were the first children born to Henry Sarell Ongley and his wife Lucy, who was also his cousin. They were born on 23rd September 1842. Their father was then the British Consul on the island of Crete, and grew up living at Chalepa, near Canea (Hania).
Just after her sixteenth birthday Charlotte’s father was appointed as Consul for the Morea (part of present day Greece), and the family moved to Patras.
Both from Patras and from Crete, the family kept in contact with their grandmother, Euphrosyne Sarell and their various uncles and aunts in Constantinople and their step grandfather, Jonathan Hardy who was an influential figure within the Sarell family.
Charlotte did not marry until she was twenty-eight, which was considered very late for a woman in Victorian times, and when she did it was to Francis Stafford O’Brien, a Lieutenant with the Royal Navy, serving on H.M.S. Enterprise who was in fact younger than her by two years. The religious ceremony took place on board the ship on the 30th November and was then solemnized at the Consulate on the 12th December, with the religious ceremony performed by the Rev. H.A. Boys, and the civil ceremony by her father.
Francis continued with his naval career and rose to the rank of Commander in October 1873.
After his retirement, Francis and Charlotte lived at Tixover Hall in Rutland, and she continued to live on there after his death.
In 1889, her sister, Minna, who had married Frank’s youngest brother, Lucius Stafford O’Brien’s, came to stay, whilst she was pregnant, and her son Humphrey was born there on the 10th February.
Charlotte left Tixover in the 1890’s. Her sister, Minna and her husband had settled at St John’s, Upper Fahan in Donegal. It was here that she died in 1919 and was buried.
Born 23rd September 1842: Died 1932.
Caroline Ongley and her twin sister were born on the 23rd September 1842, to Lucy and her husband Henry Sarell Ongley. Henry was the Consul in Crete, and was living at Chalepa near Canea (Hania).
When Caroline was sixteen, her father was appointed as Consul to the Morea and was based at Patras in the Peloponnese.
Caroline kept in contact with her cousins in Constantinople, and was present at her aunt Nizza’s wedding to James Crawford in 1862.
Caroline would never marry but remained in contact with her diverse family, and after the events of 1875, would be the only person in the family to keep in contact with her brother Charles, apart from one of her nieces.
She died in 1932 in Cyprus where she had lived most of her adult life.
HENRY HARDY ONGLEY
Born 27th April 1845: Died Unknown.
Henry Hardy Ongley was born on the 27th April 1845. He was the fourth child of Henry Sarell Ongley and his wife, Lucy. He was named after his father, and his grandmother’s second husband, Jonathan Hardy.
His father was the Consul at Crete, and was living at Chalepa near Canea (Hania), and this where Henry Hardy Sarell grew up, until the family moved to Patras in September 1858, when Henry was thirteen.
From his sixteenth birthday in April 1861, Henry Hardy Sarell joined his father in the Consulate, working as a clerk. He continued to work as the clerk at the Consulate at Patras until November 1865.
His uncle Charles Alison C.B., who had married his mother’s late sister, Eliza Baltazzi, in February 1863, was the Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary at Teheran, and it was probably through this family connection that the twenty-one year old Henry became the Acting Consul at Resht in northern Persia, from the 11th September 1866. He would continue in this post until June 1869.
On 20th July 1871, Henry was appointed Vice-Consul and Translator to the Mission at Teheran and was in this post when his uncle died on 29th April 1872. Henry had also been Private Secretary to his uncle during periods of his time in Persia, which may explain the gaps in his service record with the Foreign Office.
Charles Alison funeral was reported in The Times, of 8th June 1872 which reprinted a report from the Levant Times:
“Mr Charles Alison C.B., Her Majesty’s Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary at Teheran, died on Monday night, the 29th April, from pleuro-pneumonia, after an illness of 20 days. He was attended by Dr J.Dickson physician to the British Legation, assisted by Dr. Tholozan, chief physician to His Majesty the Shah, and by Dr Baker, medical superintendent to Her Majesty’s Telegraph Staff in Persia; he was, moreover, throughout his illness, most assiduously and affectionately attended by his own sister, Mrs Hill. In October last he had a severe fall while out riding which, together repeated attacks of gout, impaired his general health very much. His funeral took place at 2 o’clock on Thursday afternoon, the 2nd inst., with most unusual honours. All the Persian Ministers of State except the Sadr’azam, all the generals and principle officers of the army, the Governor of the town, the Mayor, and the heads of the Armenian and Jewish communities, accompanied on foot from the British Legation to the Armenian Church. All the foreign representatives with their staff, all the European officials and residents, and a large concourse of people attended the funeral. Everybody was in full uniform, and the street was lined by troops the whole way, on each side. The military band, the Shah’s horses richly caparisoned, and also those of the Sadr’azam formed part of the cortege. On the next day the Sadr’azam, accompanied by the Minister of War, went to the British Legation to pay a visit of condolence, and called also on Mrs Hill (Mr Alsion’s sister). Every possible respect and attention was paid to the memory of our late chief; and it was really touching to hear among the crowd the cries of grief uttered by the numerous poor people to whom he had always extended a charitable hand.”
Henry H. Ongley appears to have been involved with the administration of a famine relief fund during his time in Teheran. This was the fund raised by public subscriptions in England and sent out to Persia. It appears that he used part of this money for the purpose of building what in Persia are known as qanats. Theses are water tunnels with air-holes every fifty yards or so, which bring the water from the mountains down to the towns. These qanats are valuable property, as it gives the owner control over the water supply.
Henry had a qanat built, outside Teheran, which was slightly lower than two existing qanats and thereby caused them to run dry. This action was not what the famine relief fund was for, but could possibly been defended, if causing the other qanats to run dry had been accidental. However Henry then sold the qanat under the seal of the British Legation and took the money.
When this became known in London, the Foreign Office issued categorical instructions that the qanat had to be bought back, because it had been sold under the Legation seal.
Henry resigned on the 11th October 1872.
Henry’s father retired from his position at Patras in 1874. But in July he commuted his pension and withdrew it as a lump sum. It has been stated that this was at the instigation of his son, Henry Hardy Ongley, who then defrauded him of it.
Henry Hardy Ongley did marry at some point during his career and had two daughters from this marriage, but after 1875, his life is unknown.
CHARLES JONATHAN SARELL ONGLEY
Born 1852: Died 14th June 1934
Charles Jonathan Sarell Ongley was born on the 10th November 1852 at Chalepa near Canea (Hania) on the island of Crete. His father was Henry Sarell Ongley, who had been appointed as the British Consul in 1837 to the island of Crete. His mother was Lucy Sarell, who was Henry’s first cousin.
Charles Jonathan was the seventh child to be born, and a further six children were to be born after him. When he was three, his mother had a daughter, Lucy, but she died aged two and a quarter, in 1857.
In 1858, when Charles was five, the family moved to Patras, where Henry Sarell Ongley was now the British Consul. Another baby, Percy, was born almost immediately the family arrived, in November of that year.
Charles grew up in Patras [postcard views] with his brothers and sisters, a large family even though death claimed one of his elder brothers, Alfred. The family was also in touch with their cousins in Constantinople where their grandmother Euphrosyne Sarell and Lucy’s brothers and sisters were living.
In 1870, Charlotte, Charles Jonathan’s eldest sister was married to Francis Henry Stafford O’Brien, a Royal Navy Lieutenant. The wedding took place in two parts, the religious ceremony took place on board the H.M.S. Enterprise on the 30th November 1870, and the civil ceremony in her father’s office on the twelfth of December.
His elder brother Henry Hardy Ongley, had by this time, secured employment first with his father as a Clerk in the Consulate in Patras at the age of sixteen, and then in 1866 he had become Acting Consul in Resht before joining his Uncle, Charles Alison in Tehran.
It is likely that Charles joined his father also in the Consulate, when he turned sixteen, But he chose not to pursue a career in the Consular service and in February 1875 he obtained a commission as a Sub Lieutenant in the British Army in the First West India Regiment which was at that time in Sierra Leon. His career as an Officer was very short lived. Before the end of 1875, Charles had resigned his commission. Events concerning his brother, Henry Hardy Ongley, and his father, had resulted in his father commuting his pension in July of 1875, and in Charles’s words becoming “insolvent”. As a result, Charles felt obliged to resign his commission.
From this point on there appears to be a rift between Charles and his family, although he kept in touch with his elder sister Caroline (Charlotte’s twin) and also his niece, Henry’s daughter.
Charles enlisted under the name Charles Jonathan Sarell into the 7th Hussars as a private, and rose through the ranks to become a regimental sergeant, ending up in South Africa.
On 16th August 1881, he married Susan Smith, still using his assumed name, at Pinetown in Natal, which was the command of the 7th Hussars. Shortly afterwards he left the army for a second time.
In 1883 Susan bore him a son, Grey Sarell Ongley, followed in January of 1885 with another Thomas de Stafford Wessels Ongley. They would have two more children, Irene born in 1890, and Aristides born in 1894. But the marriage ended in divorce. Charles lost touch with his children who remained with their mother.
In 1898, he married Emily Harriet Skinner in Barberton, but became engulfed in the Boer War, when he was made a prisoner of war, though he had not taken up arms. He was imprisoned in Capetown, and whilst there, his house was burgled.
It was at this time, that Charles lost his remaining contact with his sister and niece, and for nearly thirty years had no news from his family. Furthermore, he also lost touch with his children, though as his daughter Irene grew up she made a concerted effort to keep in touch.
After his time in the 7th Hussars, Charles, had a number of jobs in South Africa, and certainly applied for employment in Government posts. But he also became employed in book-keeping for a hotel.
With his second wife, he adopted Iris, but this caused Irene great hurt, that he should spend his time on his adopted daughter and not on her, his own flesh and blood.
In 1926, Charles’s younger brother Frederick made enquiries of the Provincial Secretary of Natal as to whether there were any descendants of Charles, and as a consequence, contact was briefly and tenuously re-established with Charles who was living at Garth House, S. Coast Junction, Natal. Contact was also made between Fred and his niece Irene.
At this time Charles describes himself, at the age of seventy-three as: “probably thanks to a clean and abstemious life and to health surroundings, I am not only still alive but comparatively strong and healthy, though getting on in years.”
At the age of 82 Charles Jonathan Sarell Ongley died on the 14th June 1934 at 360 Berea Rd Durban. He was buried at Stellawood Cemetery.
* * *
Charles’s son Grey Sarell Ongley had a daughter, Doreen, who with her Grand-daughter Michelle Frost, were intrigued by their lost family history. After the ending of apartheid, South Africa was opened up in many ways, one of which was the arrival of an Australian soap opera on the local television. The director was one Richard Sarell, the grandson of William Sarell who was Charles Jonathan Sarell Ongley’s cousin. Contact was made and through Richard, Michelle made contact with the Sarell’s in Britain, and with Peter Ongley, Frederick Ongley’s son.
MINNA STAFFORD O’BRIEN.
Born 12th October 1857: Died 1944.
Minna Augusta Ongley was born on the 12th October 1857 at Chalepa near Canea (modern day Hania), on the island of Crete. Her father, Henry Sarell Ongley was the British Consul there, and had been for the previous twenty years. However the following year the family followed Henry to Patras in the Peloponnese, where he had taken up a new appointment as the British Consul to the Morea
Minna was the ninth child that her mother, Lucy had born, though she grew up with seven elder siblings, and saw her mother have four more after her. She, therefore, grew up in a large family in Patras.
Just before her fifth birthday, one of elder brothers, Alfred, died, aged eleven. But apart from him the rest of her siblings grew up with her.
When Minna was thirteen her eldest sister, Charlotte, married Lieutenant Francis Stafford O’Brien, who was a member of the ship’s company of the H.M.S. Enterprise. This link between the Ongley’s and the Stafford O’Brien’s would in due course lead to Minna marrying Lucius Stafford O’Brien, the youngest brother of Francis.
After her father retired in 1874, the family moved to Cyprus. Minna was now in her late teens, and in 1884, she married Lucius.
With Lucius, they had a large family: Lucy was born in 1885; Florence in 1887; Humphrey was born on the 10th February 1889, whilst Minna was staying with her sister Charlotte at Tixover Hall. Then Terence was born in 1893 and young Lucius Henry Stafford O’Brien was born in 1898.
By 1905, the family were living at Upper Fahan in Donegal, close to Londonderry. These were troubled times for Ireland and the issue of Home Rule and the fight for the Union was starting. Minna’s sister Evelyn, recorded in her book “Arms and the Woman” her own experience in Ulster in these years, and her knowledge is gained only through her sister living there. To what extent Minna and Lucius were involved is now impossible to say but Eve recorded the arms running to the loyalist households in such a way that she must have had some trusted insight.
“… law-abiding members of society had become involved in a gigantic conspiracy, the culminating point of which was the landing of arms at Larne. The organisation had been extraordinarily good, and up to the last moment the secret as to the exact spot of the landing and distribution had been kept. Then the word went round, and in a trice every car and trap in the whole countryside was at Larne; the arms and ammunition were loaded up, lists handed to drivers, and the contraband was delivered at every house in the North of Ireland which was in the occupation of loyalists. The system was extraordinarily efficient, and I well remember the innocent family party presented by some friends of mine, husband, wife and daughter, in their car, sitting placidly on seats beneath which the weapons and cartridges were stowed.”
In 1914 Lucius the youngest of her children died, and then in 1915, Minna’s husband, Lucius died too.
Minna’s sister Evelyn was involved with Le Comite Britannique of the French Red Cross and was providing a canteen for the French Army. Minna joined her sister’s enterprise and was involved with this canteen at Revigny, throughout the war.
In 1918, Minna received the sad news that so many had received over the previous four years. Her eldest son, Captain Humphrey Donatus Stafford O’Brien, M.C. and Bar, had been killed on the 14th September 1918. He had joined up with the 1st Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment, but had become attached to the newly created Royal Air Force. He was killed fighting in Mesopotamia fighting against the Ottoman Empire.
After the war Minna returned to Donegal. Her eldest sister Charlotte was there, but she died on 13th April 1919.
Minna herself died in 1946, having outlived all her brothers and sisters.
FREDERICK OLIVER JONES ONGLEY.
Born 16th November 1862: Died 1936.
Frederick Oliver Jones Ongley was born on the 16th November 1862 at Patras, the twelfth child of Lucy and Henry Sarell Ongley. Henry Sarell Ongley was the British Consul to the Morea and resided at Patras in the Peloponnese.
After his father retired in 1874, Frederick was briefly educated as a Royal Naval Cadet, no doubt in part because of the influence of his brother-in-law Francis Stafford O’Brien. But in 1879 he became a clerk to the Cyprus High Court of Justice and the Commissioners Office. Other members of Frederick’s family were also living in Cyprus at this time and continued to do so for many years.
His career progressed as he became a chief secretary in 1884, and then an auditor in 1886 and became a receiver-general in 1886 also. At the same time his Turkish was such that he passed the higher standard Turkish exam and became a translator to the High Commissioner in 1889.
In 1890 Frederick became the accountant to the Imperial Bank of Persia and in the same year he also became the Chief Clerk to the Customs.
In 1892, Frederick translated the Ottoman Land Code and became an assistant to the Director of Surveys and Principle Foreign Officer.
In 1893 Frederick became the Agricultural Commissioner and then in 1898 he also became the local commandant and coroner for Kyrenia. He had also became the agricultural assistant to the local commandant at Nicosia in 1897.
In 1899 Frederick became the Agricultural Regulator General and on 19th June 1910 he became the Registrar General for the whole of Cyprus.
Frederick was attached to the Balfour Commission on the Jewish Homeland and became the Director of land registries in Palestine from the 29th January 1921.
During time Frederick married Ethel May Bennett the daughter of Walter and Luisa Radford, who had previously been married to Noel Bennett. They had one son Peter who was born in 1919.
In the Twenties, Frederick and Ethel moved to London and the family took the house at 33 Scarsdale Villas, and lived there for the rest of the Twenties and the Thirties.
In 1926 Frederick managed to re-establish contact with his elder brother Charles Jonathan Sarell Ongley was in South Africa, and corresponded with him and his niece Irene, before Charles’s death in 1934.
Frederick’s wife Ethel died in 1931 and five years later Frederick passed away in 1936.
EVELYN HELEN VICTORIA CULLING
Born : 4th June 1865. Died 1944.
Evelyn Helen Victoria Ongley was the youngest child of Henry Sarell Ongley and his wife Lucy. She was born in Patras, where her father was the Consul.
Having spent her childhood in Patras, the family moved, after her father’s retirement in 1874, to Cyprus.
Evelyn was living at Limasol with her family when she married John Chislett Culling, a surgeon in the British Army, who was posted to Cyprus and living at Polymedia. Evelyn was only nineteen and therefore a minor and would have required her father’s consent to marry. The wedding took place on board H.M.S. Alexandria, and was conducted by the Naval Chaplain. The Rev. Pidcock on the 5th October 1884.
In the following year, Evie gave birth to their only child, a boy who was called Evelyn Claude Culling.
The Culling family continued to live in Cyprus, until 1889, when John was posted to India, and then the family moved there.
In India, Evie met Captain John Sanctuary Nicholson, and started an affair with him. Her husband found out in 1893, and was persuaded not to sue for divorce, but Evie left India and returned to England. The couple had separated formally.
However when John Culling discovered that Captain Nicholson had visited Evie in England, he did sue for divorce and was granted this in February 1896. He was also granted costs, and custody of their son.
Evie never remarried, and Captain Nicholson ceased to play a part in her life, in due course.
Over the next eighteen years, Evie would spend time with her sisters and visiting friends and relations in Europe. She was a passive sympathiser of the Suffragettes, and a close friend of hers was more active, but Evie herself, did not get involved.
Evie also became actively involved with the theatrical world, during these years, and appeared on the stage. In October and November of 1910, Evie appeared at the Kingsway Theatre in a production of “Company for George” by Warren Bell, playing the part of Mary P. Cowpit. Her friend Eva Moore also had a lead part in the play. The theatre critic in The Times of the 17th October, whilst declaring the play to be a farfetched comedy, went on to stated that “The play was well received”.
The situation in Ireland was also of great concern to her, as her sister Minna, known as Darnie, was living with her husband Lucius Stafford O’Brien in Donegal, at Fahan, which is close to Londonderry.
At the outbreak of the 1914-18 war, Evie joined the Women’s Emergency Corps in London and served on eleven committees, before she realised that she would be more use in a different, less over staffed organisation. To this end she joined Le Comite Britannique of the French Red Cross, whose London headquarters were at No.9 Knightsbridge. Working with the French Red Cross, it became apparent that what was needed by the French Army, were canteens.
In April 1915, with money raised from amongst her friends and also with assistance from her son Evelyn Claude Culling, Evie was able to take a canteen over to France. Initially it was some way back from the lines, at a spot where the walking wounded were sent from the front lines, and near where an ammunition factory had been set up.
In December 1915, Evie and her contingent handed over their canteen to the French and returned to London with the view to collecting funds to take another canteen over to France, and for it to be closer to the Front Line.
After some delays, during which time Evie and her colleagues helped out at the Canadian Hospital at Folkestone, they returned to France. Le Comite Britannique of the French Red Cross, were not keen for Eve and her colleagues to go closer to the Front Line and wanted them to stay near Paris, but they ignored this, and following information provided by the Quakers, they got clearance to got the junction at Revigny on the Meuse. This was an important distribution centre for troops going up to the Front, and especially to Verdun.
It was at Revigny that Evie and her colleagues, who included her sister Minna Stafford O’Brien, spent most of the war. Even when under severe bombardment in September and October of 1917, the canteen carried on.
The French recognised the role that Evie had played and honoured her with the Croix de Guerre, in 1919. The letter from Marshall Petain to Eve reads as follows:
March 9th 1919.
“Dear Madam -
“I have great pleasure in informing you that Marechal Petain, Commander-in-Chief of the Armies of the East, has, on my proposal, conferred upon you, as from February 27th 1919, the croix de Guerre with the following inscription:
“Mistress Culling, of the British Committee of the French Red Cross, Directress of Railway Cantees, has in the course of the campaign, unceasingly provided our soldiers with valued comfort, material and moral. Has carried on her beneficent mission under violent and repeated bombardments, in particular at Revigny, on September 5th, and 6th, and October the 4th, 5th and 7th, 1917, gaining the admiration of all by her presence of mind and indifference to danger.
(Signed ) Petain.”
Evie was presented with the decoration by General Gouraud in front of the canteen and in the presence of her colleagues since as she realised the decoration was a recognition of the role that they all had played.
After the 1914-18 war, Evie found herself in a state of limbo, until Commandant Goudau who was a member of General Gouraud’s staff asked if she would be interested in running their canteens in Syria where they were now based. With two of her former colleagues she moved to Syria and did that over the next few years.
Evie visited her cousin Philip Sarell when he was Consul General in Barcelona between 1924 and 26, and then spent some time with them again in the summer of 1938, at their home, Braeside, in East Grinstead. During this time she was living in Ramsgate, first at 6 Royal Crescent and then at 20 Southwood Rd.
Evie died during the 1939-45, having written a book about her wartime experiences called “Arms and the Woman” which was published in 1932.
Born 1856: Died 1956.
Mary Mavrogordato was the third child of Stephen and Fanny Mavrogordato, and was born on the 11th November, 1856, at Therapia.
She grew up in Constantinople and Therapia alongside her brothers and sisters, but never married. Her father was a respected banker, and the family had links with the very influential banking family, the Baltazzi.
After the death of her parents, Mary continued to live in the family house at Therapia, with her unmarried brothers and sisters. Whilst there were a number of them and money was coming into the household, it must have allowed them to have space and company as desired. But over the years, Mary’s siblings married and left or passed away so that when her eldest brother George, died in June 1924, Mary was left alone in the house, though the house actually belonged to all the heirs. Her brother Nicholas writing in 1930 to his cousin wrote:
“I pity my sister Mary very much. I do what I can to help her and she is thankful about it. I wish I could do more, but must think also of the future of my children. That big Therapia house is a white elephant. I wish it could be sold for decent price. Only rich people can keep a house like that. Members of the family like Alexander’s children might do something to save the property, but they only think of themselves. They even had the cheek to ask the other heirs to buy from them Alexander’s share. I wonder where they thought the money was coming from. They never did anything in their life for the maintenance of the property, whilst I paid thousands of pounds to keep the house in good repair and to pay the taxes to the Turkish Government.”
In May 1927, another of her brothers, John, arrived back in Istanbul with his French wife and stayed with Mary for the summer, but none of her surviving siblings were living permanently in Istanbul by now.
Mary was visited in the 1930s by Angela, who was the daughter of her cousin, Philip C. Sarell. She would recall of her visit:
“I did indeed stay with Mary Mavrogordato in Therapia in the Thirties. She lived in a sort of palace of a house at the top of the hill. Myrtle Bourke with whom I was travelling felt very unsafe and locked our bedroom door each night. It must have been a lovely house in its day. Mary had been on her brother Nicholas’s papers, and when he died she ceased to exist in the eyes of the government. She wouldn’t let us go out without an escort and often sent a young friend with us when she couldn’t come. But Turkey seemed completely safe. Ataturk had recently come to power and everything was being modernised.”
Mary continued to live in the house till she to passed away in 1956 (3 months before her 100th birthday), by which time she was the last of her generation of Mavrogordatos.
Born 1861: Died 1914.
Theodore Mavrogordato was the sixth child of Stephen and Fanny Mavrogordato. He was born on the 3rd of April 1861.
He grew up in Therapia and Constantinople along side his brothers and sisters.
When he was only seven years old, his youngest brothers died. Philip had just turned three when he died on the 19th September 1868, and then Constantine died on the 22nd. He was only one year old. The cause of these deaths is now unknown, but probably was one of a number of childhood illnesses that could be fatal at that time.
Like his brother Alexander, Theodore was living in Nicosia in Cyprus by the mid 1880s. It was here that he met Ethel Kenworthy, the daughter of James and Maria Kenworthy.
Theodore and Ethel were married on the 17th November 1886.
Four years later, they had their only child, a daughter who was christened, Frances Vivian Mary, but who was known as Vidie.
By 1907 Theodore and his family were living in Johannesburg in South Africa, which is where he was visited by his brother Nicholas.
Theodore died in1914 on the 28th July in London. His wife outlived him by another five years and then died in 1919.
Born: 1862. Died 1931.
Nicholas Mavrogordato was the seventh child of Stephen Mavrogordato and Alice Frances Sarell, known as Fanny. He was born on 7th July 1862.
After growing up in Therapia and Constantinople, he travelled a lot through Africa, Asia and Europe visiting various relatives along the way. Amongst those whom he visited were his brother Theodore and his family in Johannesburg in 1907, and his cousin Philip C. Sarell at Malo les Bains in 1913. During this period of his life he was working for the Baghdad Railway.
In 1916 he married Annamarie Mascow, on the 3rd May in Therapia. The following year their first child, Irene was born. Their second child Etienne Ralph was born in Berlin in December 1920.
The aftermath of the 1914-18 war was a disaster for Nicholas. All his money had been invested in Germany, and disappeared in the hyperinflation in the post war years.
Nicholas got the job as head of the Public Works Department in the Smyrna (Izmir) Mandate, following the defeat of Turkey in the war, but lost everything, such as his collection of oriental rugs and his souvenirs of his travels in the Smyrna fire.
Following the defeat of the Greeks by Ataturk, and the ending of the Smyrna Mandate, Nicholas was in a precarious position, and it was only in 1927 that he got a decent job again, this time as the manager the German-American Railway Syndicate in Persia, looking after the German half of the concern in the Northern Provinces.
Annamarie was not however living in Persia with Nicholas, but they had a flat in Berlin, at W. 30, Laudshutersts, where she was living. Their children both went to school in Berlin. She came out to stay with him in 1929 for a couple of months, and he would go to Berlin to spend time with them when he could. But he was conscious that he had little in the way of financial reserves to fall back on, and though he was in his late sixties, the prospect of retiring to a quiet life was one that had eluded him.
While Annamarie and the children were in Berlin, Nicholas lived and worked in Teheran. He described his life in Persia as follows “Life in Teheran is not disagreeable but I have an awful lot to do looking after my job, which is really a very important one. The diplomatic corps is very numerous and composed of very pleasant people. I go out a great deal and am on good terms with everybody belonging to Society.” Nicholas’s job was not made any easier by having to deal with a Minister of Public Works whom he described as “the most ignorant man possible for such affairs”.
Nicholas died on the 6th May 1931 in Berlin. He was sixty-eight. His wife, Annanarie survived him and was left to bring up the children, Irene who was now just fourteen, and Etienne who was only ten.
Born: 1869.Died :1931.
On the 16th December 1869, Charlie Mavrogordato was born in Therapia. He was the eleventh child of Stephen Mavrogordato and Alice Frances Sarell. He grew up in Therapia and Constantinople.
In 1885, when he was fourteen, Charlie travelled to London and visited relatives there, before travelling back by ship to Constantinople.
On the 22nd January, 1908 Charlie married Euphrosyne Rhasi, who was the daughter of his grandmother’s brother, Dimitrios Rhasi. Frosso, as she was known, was a great favourite with Society.
Charlie and Frosso had one child, a boy, but when he died the effect was that Frosso retired from Society and spent her time looking after poor children in Athens where they both lived.
Charlie died in 1931 on the 10th August in Athens. Frosso continued to live on in Athens at 39 Rue Phyllis.
HARRY VON PILGRIM
Born 1863: Died 1925
Harry Pilgrim was the oldest son of Harriet Sarell and her husband Adolph Pilgrim, a German Diplomat in Constantinople. He was born in 1863. He had an elder half brother Frederick, and in 1864 a younger brother Gisbert.
In 1869, his father was ennobled and the family became von Pilgrim.
When he was still young, his parents died, his mother outlived his father, and died in 1880.
In 1888, Harry married his first wife, Anna Siebel on the 39th November.
His elder brother Frederick started his career in the army, and his younger brother Gisbert followed his father in the German diplomatic service. But Harry developed business interests in Turkey.
During the 1914-18 war, Harry as a German National found himself in a different position to those of his mother’s relatives, who were still living in Constantinople. He was remembered in his Aunt Helen codicil of 1916, which suggests that he had been in Constantinople during the war and in touch with her, during these years, and no doubt helped her and his cousin Agnes.
After the war, Harry had various business interests in the Smyrna Mandate, which following the Greek defeat in 1922, became tied up in complicated bureaucracy.
Harry died in 1925, having married three times in his life. He had a son by his third wife who continued to try to resolve the family interests in Smyrna/Izmir.
GISBERT VON PILGRIM
Born 1864: Died 1915
Gisbert Arnold Albert Pilgrim was the youngest son of Adolph Pilgrim a German diplomat and his wife Harriet Sarell. He was born on the 17th November 1864.
His mother outlived his father and died before he was twenty one, leaving him an orphan. His aunt Charlotte Baltazzi and her husband Epaminondas, adopted Gisbert on the 13th August 1882.
Gisbert followed his father into the German Diplomatic Service, after he finished his education. In 1896 he was serving with the German Embassy in Athens, which allowed him the opportunity to travel back to Constantinople and see his family, and in particular Charlotte Baltazzi.
Gisbert had married Anna Uthermann on 23rd April 1893. Anna was a Russian of German extraction and was known affectionately as Niuta.
In 1900, Charlotte Baltazzi died in Cannes, in May. Gisbert and his wife were able to be with her, along with their cousin Fanny Sarell. They were joined, shortly afterwards by Fanny’s brother Philip Sarell, and travelled to Paris with him.
Gisbert inherited a considerable amount from Charlotte Baltazzi, and was able to assist Philip Sarell considerably with a financial loan of £2000 to resolve his father’s debts, after Dr Richard Sarell died in September of 1900. When Philip married in 1905, Gisbert wrote off the loan as a wedding present.
At the end of 1904, Gisbert was extremely ill, and had to have a kidney removed. He had to spend over a month recuperating, before he went off to Egypt.
At the start of the 1914-18 war, Gisbert was in a posting in South America. His cousin Evelyn Culling recounts in her book “Arms and the Woman”, the impact that it had.
“When war came, the lot of those Germans with enemy relations was a hard one, for the Prussians ruled all things. One of my cousins, for example, was German Minister to a South American Power. He and his Russian wife were personal favourites of the Kaiser, but his mother was English, so on the declaration of war he was promptly recalled, and his life in Germany became a nightmare. Even outside the church he and his wife were insulted and spat at, and as they were deserted by the minister of their own persuasion, and the only help they received was from the Roman Catholic priests, they became Catholics, but the poor man was so shattered by his experience at the hands of his countrymen that he eventually died, broken hearted.”
Gisbert died on the 10th December 1915. His wife, Niuta, outlived him, and continued to live in Germany after the war. The hyperinflation of those years, reduced the Baltazzi inheritance to nothing, and although she would rewrite her will periodically, in fact she had nothing to leave. On the contrary, Gisbert’s cousin Philip, would periodically send her money to help her out. She eventually died on the 14th September 1924, and was buried in Paris in Montmartre cemetery.
Notes: 1- Mr Charlie Sarell’s father, Sir Roderick Sarell worked on the family tree in the 1960s. The terms of reference have been the 4 generations from Sarah Sarell, however Mr Sarell notes that the work is incomplete, not least because some of the family left almost no information about themselves. Mr Sarell is continuing his researches through new contacts.
2- For a flavour of the late 19th century expatriate living in Constantinople and Therapia (with a degree of research potential), there is an on-line diary of Lady Enid Layard (1843-1912), whose husband (Sir Austen Henry Layard) was one of the inner circle of the English poet Robert Browning. For sections of journal covering her stay in the city click on dates between 20 April 1877 and 21 Feb 1879. References to Dr. Sorell are no doubt to Dr. Richard Sarell and interesting references to Mme Baltazzi (Charlotte) under Ballazzi and also Mrs Crawford and various aunts.
Further insights to the Levantine community of Constantinople, contemporary with the above diary, is a book, “The Turkish compassionate fund” by Mlle. Cariclee Zacaroff, where a prominent part of the organisation of this relief is done by a Mrs Arthur Hanson, a relative of Charles Hanson (as shown in this family tree), acting Chaplain to the embassy referred to in Mr Sarell’s account. The Compassionate Fund was begun by Baroness Burdett Coutts for the relief of Turkish civilians in the Russo-Turkish war of 1877, for which she was the only woman to receive the order of Medjidieh.
submission date 2004