Cosmas Henry Stewart
1751 - 1815
11th June 1785
Married Catherine Moody in St Andrews, Holborn.
17th Dec 1788
Birth of son Cosmas Henry Stewart in St. Pancras.
Birth of son Richard Hardinge Stewart in St. Andrew Holborn.
5th Feb 1805
Death of son Cosmas Henry Stewart in The Shambles.
Birth of daughter Ann Shaw (daughter of Ann Shaw)
12th Oct 1809
Birth of son Henry (son of Ann Shaw)
12th Oct 1809
Birth of daughter Mary (daughter of Ann Shaw)
11 Aug 1815
Died in Madras, India..
Cosmas' position in this tree as Mary Ann's brother may not be correct.
Clearly, he had close ties with the Drewry family. (See The Stewart/Runciman Connection.)
It may be that Cosmas is a step-brother, cousin or uncle to Mary Ann and Catherine Barbara.
I lean towards the possibility that he is a step-brother - that his mother, who had been mistress to Cosmas Henry Nevill, later married the brother of Colonel Stewart.
(See, also, The Box.)
Is Cosmas Henry Stewart the natural son of Nevill of Nevill Holt?
'Cosmas Henry' is not a common name pairing.
The only other instance of 'Cosmas Henry' that I have found in Google is:
"Lady Mary Lee (d. 1758), mar. 31 Jul 1742 Cosmas Henry Joseph Nevill, of Nevill Holt, co. Leicester [1716-1763], son of Count Cosmas Migliorucci by his wife Mary Nevill, sister and cohrss. of Thomas Nevill, of Nevill Holt, co. Leicester, and 4th dau. of Henry Nevill, of Nevill Holt, co. Leicester, and had issue".
[See also and also]
Charles Stewart, 5th Earl of Traquair married Theresa Conyers (in 1745 or 46).
Theresa Conyers was the daughter of Margaret Nevill, daughter of Henry Nevill, of Holt. [Source]
Charles Stewart, 5th Earl of Traquair is the brother of the Lady Katherine who "gave the 'China bowl' .. as a christening gift to Mrs Jane Stewart for her daughter Katherine Barbara". [See ? Stewart]
(This 'Katherine Barbara' is our Catherine Barbara - the sister of Mary Ann Stewart, and we suspect sister of Cosmas Henry.)
That is to say:
If Cosmas Henry Stewart were the natural child of Cosmas Henry Joseph Nevill: he would be a young (natural) nephew of Theresa Conyers - born after her marriage to Charles.
Cosmas Henry Stewart would then be related (via Theresa Conyers' marriage) to Lady Katherine of Traquair.
However, the relationship between Lady Katherine Stewart of Traquair and Jane Stewart, mother of Catherine B. and Mary Ann Stewart, has yet to be discovered.
The tree below suggests one possibility:
It is interesting to note that Cosmas Henry (junior) also kept a mistress (Ann Shaw, see below), with whom he had children.
Also interesting to note is that, in his will, Cosmas Henry describes William Runciman (husband of 'our' Catherine Stewart) as a 'dear friend' appointing him an executor.
The Theft of a Watch
In 1774, Cosmas would be around 23 years old.
(The Proceedings of the Old Bailey - Ref: t17741019-38, 19 Oct 1774)
"Francis Dunmoll was indicted for stealing a silver watch, value 30 s. a steel watch chain, value 1 s. and a cornelian stone seal set in gold, value 3 s. the property of Cosmas Stewart, in the dwelling house of Abraham Dallain, October 5th."
It would appear that Cosmas was at least acquainted with Abraham Dallain, a 'Carver and Gilder'. (See British picture framemakers.)
The year before the theft at Dallain's house, a Richard Harding had married Katherine Dallain.
In his will, Abraham Dallain (d.1803)
"made bequests to his five grandchildren, of whom one, Abraham Harding was named as an executor".
Twelve years later an Isaac Dallain is recorded as being in partnership with a Richard Harding as Carvers and Gilders. Richard Harding "subsequently traded independently. By 1790 Harding was described in London directories as carver and gilder to the King, and on his trade card, 1791, as 'Carver and Gilder to Her Majesty', but he is not recorded after 1794".
It is just possible that Richard Harding Stewart (Cosmas' second son) was named after this Richard Harding but it is more likely that he was named for the Captain Sir Richard Hardinge that Cosmas served with on the Ganges and the Kent. (It might be that Abraham Harding and the Captain are related?)
Wedding Register entry, 1785
"Cosmas Henry Stewart of the Parish of Saint Andrews,Holborn .. Batchelor and Catherine Moody of the Parish of Saint George, Hanover Square .. Spinster .. by Licence on the Eleventh Day of June in the Year One Thousand seven Hundred and Eighty Five by me G Huddesford Curate .. In the presence of Us, E Hadley, RC Perry."
Cosmas married in between two of his voyages.
In A Register of Ships, Employed in the Service of the Honorable East India Company
Cosmas is shown in the following voyages
1782 - 85: Purser on the 'Ganges' (Coast and China)
1785 - 87: Purser on the 'Kent' (St Helena & Bencoolen)
1788 - 89: Purser on the 'Kent' (Bengal)
1791 - 92: Purser on the 'Kent' (Coast and Bay)
1793 - 94: Purser on the 'Kent' (Bengal)
1795 - 96: Purser on the 'Princess Amelia' (Bengal)
1797 - 1805: Purser on the 'Earl of Abergavenny' (Bengal and China)
(See images below.)
1813 - 1815: Purser on the 'Lowther Castle' (Bengal and China)
[In 1798, Cosmas paid Land Tax on a property in Upper John Street - about a quarter of a mile north west of Piccadilly, close to Regent Street, in London.]
Note that Cosmas' last ship, on which he died in 1815, was the 'Lowther Castle' - the same ship that carried William Tillotson Drewry to Madras, in 1815. (W. T. Drewry mentions Richard Harding Stewart - Cosmas' son - as a "dear friend" in his will. ) [See, also, The Box.]
Wreck of the 'Earl of Abergavenny' (1805)
1804 - 05: Purser on the 'Earl of Abergavenny' (Bengal and China) Lost on Shambles. 5th Feb.
Cosmas is shown in the 'Return of the Ship's Company who embarked on the Earl of Abergavenny (East Indiaman) at Portsmouth on 1 Feb 1805.'
The 'S' stands for saved.
"On 5th February, 1805, the Earl of Abergavenny ran aground off Portland, and went down with the loss of 250 lives including that of the captain, John Wordsworth, younger brother of the poet William Wordsworth but their cousin, Joseph Wordsworth, who was the 3rd mate was one of the fortunate survivors." (source)
In 'The Dreadful Loss of the Earl of Abergavenny' it is reported that:
"On Thursday the 7th of February, at a quarter past six o'clock in the morning, Mr. Stuart, the Purser of the Abergavenny, arrived at the East India house, with the melancholy intelligence of the loss of the ship... Mr. Stuart, the Purser, was the first person who arrived at the House, from the ship."
Cosmas' son, Cosmas Henry junior, was also on the Earl of Abergavenny, as an East India Company cadet, when it was wrecked. Cosmas junior was one of the lives lost. Cosmas senior survived.
" …never had such a universal scene of woe presented itself at the East India House The Purser was so overcome by the frequent repetition of the sad -- sad story, that, soon after he left the India House,he fell into a strong fit. He unhappily had more than general cause for sorrow --a son -- his pride -- his hope -- had unfortunately perished in the common wreck, and under such distressing circumstances, that to relate them were to " add the death" of the survivor. He was undressed, put into a warm bed, and receiving every medical and soothing aid which humanity could suggest, was soon restored to the misfortune of memory." [Source - An imteresting read]
Divers investigating the Wreck of Earl of Abergavenny found:
"a small seal in ebony and gold with 'Cosmas' on one side and 'lisez et taisez-vous' on the other. It belonged to a young midshipman by the name of Cosmas, or his father."
'Lisez et taisez-vous' can be translated as 'Read and shut up' or perhaps 'Read and keep quiet'.
The images here are adapted from two rather unclear images 'borrowed' from the Wreck of Earl of Abergavenny Web site.
From the 'Cornell Library Journal: Issues 11-13' in Google Books.
"Finally, in late March, Captain Wordsworth, Sr., received a letter from Cosmas Henry Stewart, the purser of the Abergavenny, who on the night of the wreck had been sent ashore in the cutter with the ship's dispatches. ..."
For full, detailed, description of the wreck see Deep distresses : William Wordsworth, John Wordsworth, and Sir George Beaumont ...
Cosmas appears to be mentioned a number of times in The Letters of John Wordsworth
William G. E. Stewart
Another survivor of the Abergavenny wreck was William G. E. Stewart. He had been the second mate on the Abergavenny on two previous voyages to India in 1801 and 1803. Cosmas had already been purser on two earlier voyages in 1797 and 1799.
Was William G. E. Stewart a relation of Cosmas?
William's father was Duncan Stewart, 6th of Ardshiel, 10th Chief of Clan Appin; his mother Ann Erving (daughter of John Erving of Connecticut) [Source: Stirnet]
William's grandfather was Charles Stewart, 5th of Ardshiel, who led the Stewarts of Appin in 1745. He fled to France after Culloden, and died 15th March 1757. (He is the chief for whom Alan Breck Stewart collected rents. See Kidnapped, by R. L. Stevenson, chap, ix.) [Source]
It is quite possible that Charles Stewart, 5th of Ardshiel, is the colonel referred to as uncle to Catherine Stewart, whom we have written into the family tree as sister to Cosmas. If Catherine is not his sister, it is still likely there is a relationship.
The tree below outlines a possible relationship if the Colonel is Charles of Ardshiel:
William G. E. Stewart had nine siblings one of whom was the Reverend James Haldane Stewart. Source)
William George Irving Stewart m. Mariana Agell y Blanco [Source] - in Peru had issue - 3 daughters [Stirnet]
William George Erving Stewart was buried at St Pancras, 25th March 1829.
Cosmas had 3 children with Ann Shaw (while his wife Catherine Moody was still alive).
In 1806, they had a daughter, Ann Shaw.
In 1809, twins, Mary and Henry Shaw.
Given the date of birth of the daughter, Ann, it could be that the relationship with the mother began just after the death of Cosmas' son in the Shambles shipwreck.
Did Ann claim as Cosmas' Widow?
In 1821, a Mrs Ann Stewart, Purser's widow, applies to the HEIC for financial help and receives a £30 pension for herself for a year and a £10 pension for a child - until the child is of a 'prescribed age'.
In 1821, Ann's oldest child would be 15 and probably too old to be a dependent.
We believe the female twin, Mary, had died and the boy, Henry, would be 11 (born Oct. 12th, 1809).
In 1822, Mrs Ann Stewart receives only pension for herself - but for life. Presumably, in the preceding year her pension claim had been processed and her child had come to an age (12?) when not considered as a dependent.
The next pension record we have for a purser's widow is Mrs C. H. Stewart in 1827. Assuming this is still Ann, her pension has been reduced by £5 - maybe because her son has now left home?
London Times 8 Jan 1816 - Obituary
"At Madras on 11 Aug (1815), universally regretted, Cosmas Henry Stewart Esq, of the
HEIC ship Lowther Castle".
In another announcement (in the image) his name is spelt as Cosmo.
(One of the passengers on the voyage out to Madras was William Tillotson Drewry.)
The main will was written on the 7th September, 1798 (before his son died in 1805).
It appears to have been written on board ship while he was purser of The Earl of Abergavenny.
He give his address as Fitzroy Square, London, and leaves everything to his wife Catherine Stewart.
He mentions both his children (Richard Harding Stewart - with no 'e' initially but in a codacil as Hardinge).
Cosmas first nominates 2 friends as executors and later deletes one leaving:
"and I hereby request of my dear friends William Runciman Esq of Chandos Street Covent Garden and xxxxxxxxxxxxx [crossed out by CHS - note in margin] London to act jointly with my dearly beloved wife Catherine Stewart as my Executors"
In London, March 13th 1813, he amends his will: "I hereby request nominate and appoint Mr William Runciman of Birchmore, Bedfordshire and Mr William Williams of Mincing Lane, London, together with my dearly beloved wife Catherine Stewart to be my exors to the above written will and testament hereby revoking my former nomination of Mr John Mackenzie which I have crossed out myself. C H Stewart No 8 Hatton Garden London"
A second codicil is written on the same date saying that on the death of his wife everything goes to his son Richard Harding Stewart of the War Office, London.
Note: Richard Harding Stewart and William Williams are the gentlemen who prove the will of Samuel Drewry and that RHS is mentioned as a friend in, and is an executor of, William Tillotson Drewry's will.
Cosmas was buried on the 11th August, 1815, in St Mary's churchyard, in Fort St George, Madras.
The images below are from
" A register of ships, employed in the service of the Honorable the United East India Company" by Charles Hardy.
The first five of the images suggest that the second name of Cosmas and Catherine's second son honoured Cosmas's captain of the time.
It is very likely that the Honourable East India ships going to China via India were taking opium from the east of India to Canton in China - a very profitable trade which eventually resulted in the Opium Wars when China tried to stop the imports.
The Lowther Castle Voyages
Cosmas was probably Purser on the Lowther Castle's first voyage in 1811.
We know that Cosmas sailed as Purser on the Lowther Castle in the 1813 and 1815 voyages.
The image on the right is 'borrowed' from the " West Africa Study Circle"
The photo is by Trevor Hearl, 1993, and is published by Trevor Hearl for the St Helena Link.
A purser's life in the 18th century
From 'The First Fleet - The Real Story' by Alan Frost.
(About the colonisation of Australia. James Lochart was the purser on the 'flagship' Sirius)
"James Lochart had been purser on the Europe during its voyage to India and he followed Phillip into the Sirius. A purser's life was often an uneasy one. He was responsible for dispensing the ship's provisions and clothing ('slops') for which he did not pay directly, but whose value was charged against his account, to be reconciled at the end of a voyage. To this end, he was required to keep precise records of what he dispensed daily to each officer and man. He was also required himself to pay for 'necessaries' for the ship - such things as wood and coal, oil, candles, hammocks and beds, again for later reconciliation. When in foreign ports, he was able to purchase items, but had to keep strict records, including evidence that he had bought at prevailing market prices. If it happened that these prices were above those in the Navy Board's schedules, he was not compensated for the difference. Likewise, if items were lost through shipwreck or enemy action, he was not compensated."
[The Earl of Abergavenny shipwreck must have been a double whammy for Cosmas.]
"In order for him to have some profit, the purser was entitled to serve food at 14 ounces to the pound rather than 16 ounces, a practice that the seamen naturally resented, as they saw themselves the being deprived of proper amounts. And there was always the suspicion that the purser might be further injuring them by dispensing even shorter rations, since the more rations he had left over at the end of a voyage, the more money he could make by selling them back. It was also usual for him to buy stocks of tobacco for private sale to the men. The Navy Board required him to give large sureties, and he was frequently obliged to borrow money from friends and merchants in order to get his business started, with his financial returns being months and even years away. Pursers were thus prime candidates for bankruptcy.
James Lochart had been his 'own master at fourteen years of age'."
[The first record we have of Cosmas as purser is when he is 31.]
The Hebrew Document
A printed form in Hebrew with a wax seal, also in Hebrew, with some details entered in English.
It is a shipping document certifying that a consignment of 60 barrels of salt beef and tongue shipped to India are prepared in accordance with the requirements of Jewish ritual law.
The document is dated 1813 and the name of the ship is the Lowther castle.
The Captain of the Lowther Castle, (William) Crowder, mentioned in the document, died at Canton, China (in his 32nd year), so the voyage to which this document relates is the voyage before that on which Cosmas died.
The Captain who took over from Crowder was Charles Mortlock
"It is clear that in many respects Charles was not his own master, but an agent for the collective Mortlock-Thomas interests. John Mortlock and James Thomas had lost heavily .. and looked to Charles’ turning in £10,000 a trip to bale out them, and also Emelia and Elizabeth and their sisters, whose jointures had been placed on the line presumably to hold off external creditors. There was nothing unfair in this; Charles' positions in Command would have been bought at great expense and were in a sense family investments."
"After ineffectually trying to ban it, John Company capitulated over Private Trade and settled for regulating it rather than forbidding it, shrewdly presuming that if allowances were laid down per rank, at least seniors would stop juniors overdoing their entitlement. In early nineteenth century regulations even the midshipmen were allowed a ton of private freight each. Third Mates got three tons, Seconds six, the Chief Mate eight, and the commander, as above, a mighty fifty-six tons of space on shipboard to stow what would fetch a mighty profit at the end of a voyage. "
The document in the box is another corroboration of the Stewart/Drewry link.
On the back of the document, there is a note dated 4 Jan 45 (presumably 1845) to "My Dear John" suggesting that he gets the documented translated. The note is signed RHS. This is probably Cosmas' son Richard Harding Stewart. There is no John in either the Drewry or Stewart families but "Dear John" could be John Buschman. , brother-in-law to Charles Stewart Drewry.
The Lowther Castle
"he transferred to command of the 26-gun Lowther Castle, as it happened for four round-trip voyages. New into service in 1811, she was a large ship of 1507 tons and therefore a prestigious and presumably lucrative command. She embodied the straight sides that had replaced the traditional tumble-home that had spelt doom for too many Indiamen when large seas came inboard in heavy weather. She would have been smart as paint in spite of the livestock - goats for milking, chickens, all sorts - which cluttered the upper deck at the start of any voyage, .. Her husband [owner] was John Wordsworth, very probably a relation of the poet whose brother John had been lost in command of an Indiaman wrecked by its pilot off Portland Bill in February 1805. "
"Charles remained Lowther Castle’s Commander until 1822, when, after over twenty-six years ... he was commodore of the HEIC fleet ... "
"Charles’ voyages are recorded, in intimate navigational and management detail, in his logs ... in the India and Oriental Studies section of the British Library in London. For a double voyage the Lowther Castle, besides her 154 officers and ratings, might have on board a military draft of up to three hundred of all ranks from a variety of King’s and HEIC European regiments, including maybe three dozen authorised female and infant dependants; a half dozen or so HEIC Civilians or other British gentry or merchants and their families; and perhaps 50 Chinese or Indians being repatriated for whatever reason ..."
"... In 1815 at Madras, still outward bound to Whampoa, Charles embarked his brother Henry who was hoping to recover his health via a sea trip. In the event this did not happen and, granted leave in January 1816, Henry remained on board for the passage home. ... During this trip there was some unexplained trouble over Charles' purser but as he was a Wordsworth this was all handled sub rosa ..."
[This trip with the stop-over in 1815 at Madras is Charles' first voyage in the Lowther Castle. The author does not mention the death of Cosmas, though this must be in the log. (L/MAR/B/50 D-G, Lowther Castle 16.12.1814-20.9.22) Presumably the trouble with the purser ('a Wordsworth' was with Cosmas' replacement. (see reference to 'Mrs Steward' below).]
"For Charles’ first voyage in the Lowther Castle he had a John Wordsworth as Midshipman and Coxswain - presumably a sprig of the Wordsworth East India dynasty. During the voyage the Second Mate died at sea and also the Master at Arms; people were made up to fill the vacancies, as later when Charles lost his Gunner. ... A surgeon en route to a shore appointment in Madras was on board with his family; somewhere in the South Atlantic his wife died, leaving him to face a new life in India with a brood of children and no helpmeet."
"Charles seems to have become no sort of Nabob and can safely be described as middle class ... He had been left only two thousand pounds in his banker father’s will, his appointment to the Lowther Castle being described elsewhere as 'a certain fortune for a prudent man' ... Charles was clearly expected to shift for himself once his father had put up the money to install him in a command ... Even after he had left the sea there were nasty surprises, such as a £500 award against him in favour of the widow (.. a Mrs Steward) of his late purser."
[The author does not mention any Army engineers on board, but there is passing reference to: "The 34th Foot .. 'wild Irish lads drawn from Ireland's teeming gaols' .. dreaded as much for their savagery as for the disease they brought on board. Perhaps it was fortunate that the numbers for the 34th were diluted with men for the 56th."]
From the Newspaper Archive - re: the first Lowther Castle sailings
6th Feb 1811
A new ship of 1427 tons called Lowther Castle intended for the East India service
was launched at Northfleet
8th Feb 1811
A court of directors was held at the East India House
when Captain W Crowder was sworn into command of the Lowther castle destined to China
21st Mar 1811
Deal - Lowther Castle came down the river and sailed westward
27th Mar 1811
The third East India fleet for the season will consist of 19 ships
(incl. Lowther Castle, Capt Crowder – China)
|8th Apr 1811||sailed from Portsmouth with other EIC ships for China|
|5th May 1811||reported at 38 North, long 14.30 West|
|July 1811||- arrived at Cape from Portsmouth|
|27th July 1811||Sailed from Cape of Good Hope to China under convoy|
|12th Jan 1812||Left China|
|20th Mar 1812||Arrived St Helena|
|28th Mar||Left St Helena|
|14th May 1812||Arrived at Deal from China ("The China fleet has on board about 3,000,000 sterling in dollars")|
27th Aug 1812
Court of Directors was held at East India house
when ships taken up for the ensuing season were timed thus: ...
Lowther Castle (with the Warley) for China direct to be afloat 2nd Jan 1813,
sail to Gravesend 16th Jan 1813, stay there for 30 days and be in the Downs 8th April 1813.
26th Dec 1812
Court of Directors was held at East India house
when the following captains were sworn into the command of their respective ships:
Captain W Crowder, Lowther Castle for China direct ..
17th Mar 1813
Dispatches were finally closed at East India House
and delivered to the pursers of the undermentioned ships:
Lowther Castle - Captain W Crowder for China direct
|26th Mar 1813||Sailed from Portsmouth, Lowther Castle etc under convoy|
|11th Apr 1813||Arrived Teneriffe|
|15th Jun 1813||Arrived Cape of Good Hope; Departed 24th Jun 1813|
|21st Oct 1813||- death of Wm Crowder at Canton, China, in his 32nd year of age, Capt. of HEIC ship Lowther Castle)|
|1st Mar 1814||left Canton|
|10th May 1814||rounded Cape Horn|
|26th May1814||Arrived St Helena – left 2nd Jun 1814|
|6th Aug 1814||Lowther Castle arrived from China; Lowther Castle at the Downs ("the China ships have bought 2,200,000 lbs of tea")|
1st Oct 1814
Court of Directors was held at East India house
Lowther Castle to go to Madras, Prince of Wales Island and China. Capt : ... (none stated)
9th Dec 1814
Court of Directors was held at East India house
Capt C Mortlock sworn in to command Lowther Castle to Madras, Prince of Wales Island and China
11th Feb 1815
Deal - Lowther Castle came down the river outward bound
12th Feb 1815
Lowther Castle ready to sail from Portsmouth for Madras and Bengal with fleet
|1st Mar 1815||Lowther Castle sailed for the East Indies, Cape of Good Hope, and the South Seas under convoy|
|20th Mar 1815||Lowther Castle, Capt Mortlock, which sailed from Portsmouth with the fleet for India was off Coronna – all well|
|18th Apr 1815||The Company’s outward bound regular ships (incl. Lowther Castle) sailed from Madras|
|13th May 1815||The Lowther Castle outward bound was safe in lat 13.55 S long 27.20 W [more probably: lat 13.55 N long 127.20 W]|
|11th Aug 1815||(at Madras) death of Cosmas Henry Stewart Esq, of the HEIC ship Lowther Castle"|
|25th Aug 1815||Lowther Castle expected to sail for China today|
|4th Sept 1815||Lowther Castle at Penang and was expected to sail in a few days for China|
|20th Jan 1815||Lowther Castle left China|
|23rd Mar 1816||At St Helena (left 26th)|
|9th May1816||Lowther Castle (Mortlock) arrived off Portland|
In the third voyage, above, the Lowther Castle is reported to have left Madras on the 18th April, 1815; then is reported 'safe' at sea in May; and then on the 25th August (two weeks after Cosmas' reported death in Madras) is recorded as leaving for China.
On 10 April 1815, one of the most powerful eruptions in recorded history began at Mount Tambora, on the island of Sumbawa in Indonesia. It created a tsunami and threw a mountain of volcanic debris and ash into the atmosphere. After the eruption, the seas as far away as East India [off Madras] contained rafts of floating pumice and in the earth's upper atmosphere the ash affected the world's weather for years.
"The eruption was followed by between six months and three years of increased steaming and small phreatic eruptions. The eruption column lowered global temperatures, and some experts believe this led to global cooling and worldwide harvest failures, sometimes known as the Year Without a Summer."
International Genealogical Index / BI
COSMO GORDON STUART
Christening: 01 MAR 1767 Saint Martin In The Fields, Westminster, London,
Father: JAMES STUART ; Mother: ELIZABETH
COSMO JAMES STEWARD
Birth: 30 Jan 1776
Christening: 02 Feb 1776 Saint Anne Soho, Westminster, London, England
Father: JAMES STEWARD; Mother: MARY