Harriet Elizabeth Gordon

1807 - 1859

Claimant or beneficiary


Harriet Elizabeth Gordon, daughter of Robert Gordon (died c. 1814) the Lt-Governor of Berbice and son of Robert Gordon 3rd of Esslemont, and wife of Adam Durnford Gordon (1796-1857).

  1. Harriet Elizabeth was born in Demerara on 03/08/1806 and died in Cheltenham on 29/04/1859 (Memorial, Cheltenham). She was orphaned by the death of her father in 1814 and brought up in the household of her father's cousin, Jane Gordon, and her husband Hugh Primrose Lindsay (1765-1844), a director and later chairman of the East India Company. They were said to have received £1000 a year for her maintenance.

  2. Her father's cousin, Frances Gordon, remembered her as 'having been brought up with every kind of extravagance, two governesses to herself, and everything she fancied got for her.' And 'although her money (which was mosty West Indian) decreased very much in value . . . she continued recklessly extravagant.' She married her cousin Adam Durnford Gordon 12/09/1829 and the family lived in the Azores, Madeira and then Cheltenham, squandering both her own and her husband's money. Their son Adam Lindsay Gordon, the Australian poet, was baptised in Charlton Kings, Gloucestershire, 03/12/1833, their daughter Francesca Clara Ignez Gordon was baptised 28/06/1837 St Mary Paddington.

  3. Harriet Elizabeth Gordon was living at 15 Priory Street Cheltenham 1851 aged 44 born Demerara with Adam Durnford Gordon, Professor of Oriental Languages [at Cheltenham College], and daughter Ignez 13.

  4. Harriet Elizabeth Gordon held a mortgage for the unpaid purchase money on the Elizabeth Anne plantation in British Guiana, originally £20,000 and with the unpaid part £11,449 15s 11d.  Her trustees - possibly under a marriage settlement, possibly under her father's will - were the Hon. Hugh Lindsay, Alexander Trotter and T.G. Ebrington [sic = Thomas Gerard Elrington, Adam Durnford Gordon's maternal grandfather]. The executors of Thomas Frankland admitted the mortgage claim but denied that it was in arrears and contested a 10% surcharge.  

  5. The administration of the will of Harriet Elizabeth Gordon who died 29/04/1859 at Cheltenham was granted to her daughter Francesca Clara Ignez Ratti, wife of Francois Ratti of Cheltenham Chevalier, personal effects under £200. According to the entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography for her son Adam Lindsay Gordon, the family's comfortable circumstances reflect Harriet Elizabeth Gordon's inheritance of £20,000 (presumably the West Indian mortgage) and Adam Lindsay Gordon inherited nearly £7000 from her in 1861.


T71/887 British Guiana claim no. 2369 (Elizabeth Anne).

  1. Gravestone, Holy Trinity church, Cheltenham - transcription at http://pittvillehistory.org.uk/bios/Trinity%20memorials/HOLYTRIN.001.pdf [accessed 20/05/2019]; Edith Humphris and Douglas Sladen, Adam Lindsay Gordon and his friends in England and Australia (1912); 1851 census online; .

  2. Humphris and Sladen, Adam Lindsay Gordon p. 120; Burke's Peerage (2003) Vol. 1 p. 1351; Ancestry.com, London, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906 [database online]; Ancestry.com, Gloucestershire, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1913 [database online]; Leonie Kramer, 'Gordon, Adam Lindsay (1833-1870)', Australian Dictionary of Biography Vol. 4 (1972) pp. 267-1269 http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/biogs/A040302b.htm [accessed 05/04/2011].

  3. 1851 census online.

  4. T71/887 British Guiana No. 2369; T71/1259 British Guiana No. 2369 replication.

  5. National Probate Calendar; Leonie Kramer, 'Gordon, Adam Lindsay (1833-1870)'.

We are grateful to David Alston and Eric Miller for their assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

Adam Durnford Gordon
Francesca Clara Ignez, Adam Lindsay

Associated Claims (1)

£15,074 2s 10d

Associated Estates (1)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1829 [SY] - 1834 [LA] → Mortgage Holder

Legacies Summary

Imperial (1)

notes →
Her son was Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833-1870), the Australian poet and...
sources →
Leonie Kramer, 'Gordon, Adam Lindsay (1833–1870)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, <a...

Relationships (2)

Mother → Son
Daughter → Father

Addresses (1)

15 Priory Street, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, South-west England, England