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22 CHURCH ROW

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22 Church Row’s notable residents include Henry Cavendish, George Errington and Alexander Whyte..

Henry Cavendish (1731 – 1810) lived at 22 Church Row between [ ] and [ ]. He was was a British natural philosopher, scientist, and an important experimental and theoretical chemist and physicist. Cavendish is noted for his discovery of hydrogen or what he called "inflammable air". He described the density of inflammable air, which formed water on combustion, in a 1766 paper "On Factitious Airs". Antoine Lavoisier later reproduced Cavendish's experiment and gave the element its name. A notoriously shy man, Cavendish was nonetheless distinguished for great accuracy and precision in his researches into the composition of atmospheric air, the properties of different gases, the synthesis of water, the law governing electrical attraction and repulsion, a mechanical theory of heat, and calculations of the density (and hence the weight) of the Earth. His experiment to weigh the Earth has come to be known as the Cavendish experiment, and the Cambirdge University Department of Physics is named after Cavendish.

Henry Cavendish

George Errington (1691 – 1769) was a Roman Catholic from Northumberland. He was the second son in a family of six children and named after a lawyer uncle of Gray’s Inn. He came south in 1746 or 1747 – perhaps as a result of the Jacobite rising. George became a Justice at Bow Street. As a Catholic this role should have been forbidden to him, and so he must have been discrete with his religious leanings. He was appointed Sherriff of London and Middlesex in 1759. He lived at 22 Church Row until his death in 1769. His will shows that in 1769 the main living room would have been the Crimson Damask Bed Chamber with a four-post bed. The notches that would have pinned the damask material to the panelling are still visible. The inventory details an eclectic library that included in addition to various legal texts: Warner’s and Littlejohn’s Sermons, Practice of Brewing; Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s travels and Hobbs Civil Wars. However, the estate would have gone to its entirety to his son George, leaving Jane Errington with a small dowry . Can you blame her that the inventory conveniently omitted the pantry containing all the crockery glass and plates (Inventory of 22 Church Row 1770). She lived on in Hampstead until 1797.


Until the Married Women Property Acts of 1870 and 1882 Regency legislation provided that although unmarried women had full rights over their property, the property of married women was treated as belonging to the husband, who could even leave it to others in his will. A Letter in 1855 to the Queen on Lord Chancellor Cranworth's Marriage and Divorce Bill by Caroline Norton notes that:
1. A married woman has no legal existence whether or not she is living with her husband;
2. Her property is his property;
3. She cannot make a will, the law gives what she has to her husband despite her wishes or his behaviour;
4. She may not keep her earnings;
5. She may sue for restitution of conjugal rights and thus force her, as if a slave to return to his home;
6. She is not allowed to defend herself in divorce;
7. She cannot divorce him since the House of Lords in effect will not grant a divorce to her;
8. She cannot sue for libel;
9. She cannot sign a lease or transact business;
10. She cannot claim support from her husband, his only obligation is to make sure she doesn't land in the parish poorhouse if he has means;
11. She cannot bind her husband to any agreement.
In short, as her husband, he has the right to all that is hers; as his wife she has no right to anything that is his.

The house was purchased in 1919 by Alexander Whyte, a famous Scottish minister of the Free Church of Scotlnd,was Professor of New TestamenLiterature at New College, Edinburgh, and the author of many theological books. GF Barbour’s biography notes that he held court at Church Row with the likes of Sir James Barrie (author of Peter Pan) and President Calonder.  He resided at 22 Church Row until his death in 1921, but was buried in Edinburgh. The picture below shows Mr Whyte reposing with blanket and cap in hte gardne of 22 Church Row. At he time green houses were obviously fashionable!

Whyte

 

Census and Land Tax records show the following ownership for the building.

1911               Angus
1901               Angus
1891               Angus
1881               Whiteside
1871               Bloxam
1861               Bloxam
1851               Herbert
1841               Key
1831               Heathfield
1830               Heathfield
1826               Heathfield
1817               Newman
1811               Newman
1806               Newman
1802               Newman
1796               Smalley
1791               Smalley
1788               Hodgkinson
1785               Cavendish
1782               Cavendish
1780               Holford

A letter from William Brodie Angus’s sister (not believed to be related to the Angus’s living at 20 Church Row) dated 19 September 1892 encloses a watercolour of the garden at 22 Church Row. It shows the back door, the little square window, quince tree, and lilies that can still be seen.

LetterBack of 22 Church ROw

Another letter dated 22 June 1897 details the celeberations for Queen Victoria's jubilee.