Susanna Harriot Gordon (née Hope)

13th Jun 1768 - 18th Jul 1839

Claimant or beneficiary


Susanna Harriot Hope was born 13/06/1768 and baptised 09/07/1786 at All Saints Derby, where her father Charles Hope was the Rector. At All Saints on 22/05/1786 at the age of 17 she married Joseph Seymour Biscoe. Their daughter Mary was born the following year and they lived for the first seven years of their married life in Derbyshire.

In 1793 they moved to Shoreham House near Sevenoaks in Kent, taking the lease of the property from Robert Home Gordon, a school-friend of Biscoe to whom he had been reintroduced by Richard Lee (q.v.), the son of his guardian Robert Cooper Lee.

Susanna and Robert Home Gordon began an affair which lead to their elopement in October 1794 and a scandalous public divorce case.

Robert Home Gordon was born in Jamaica c. December 1765 and spent most of his early life in Britain living off the profits of his family's Jamaica sugar estates. Following the elopement, Joseph Biscoe sued Gordon for £10,000 for "criminal conversation". He was finally granted a divorce in 1796 and went on to marry Stephana Law (q.v.).

It is possible that Susanna never saw her daughter Mary after leaving Biscoe - Mary was brought up by her father's sister, also called Mary, and in 1807 married Sir Robert Harry Inglis. However, in her will Susanna left both money and effects to her daughter.

No record of the marriage of Susanna and Robert Home Gordon has been found but a codicil to Robert's will implies they were married by 1812.

Robert died in Brighton in 1826. Susanna died in Westminster in 1839.

A portrait of 'Harriet Hope' by the artist Joseph Wright of Derby (also a family friend) from before her first marriage was auctioned by Christie's in 2009. The stretcher of the portrait reportedly carries the name 'Susannah', and no daughter named Harriet appears in online family trees.


Life details from a vivid and thoroughly researched account of the marriage and divorce of Biscoe and Susanna Harriot Hope: Anne M. Powers, A Very Regency Scandal.

Baptism and first marriage of Susannah Harriot Hope at batch nos. C03587-2 and M01623-2.

Deaths of Robert Home Gordon and Susanna Harriot Gordon at, England & Wales, FreeBMD Death Index, 1837-1915 [database online].

Portrait of Harriet [sic] Hope by Joseph Wright of Derby at Sale 7714 Lot 85: Wright portrait of Harriet Hope.

We are grateful to Anne M. Powers for her assistance in compiling this entry.

Further Information

Maiden Name
Name in compensation records
Susannah Harriet Gordon
(1) Joseph Seymour Biscoe (2) Robert Home Gordon
With (1) Mary (1787-)

Will of Susanna Harriot Gordon widow of Brighton Sussex proved 08/08/1839. PROB 11/1915/37.

She asked to be buried at Brighton in the same grave as her beloved husband Robert Home Gordon of Embo N.B. and of Cromwell and Home Castle estates in Jamaica. She left her daughter Mary Inglis 200 guineas and personal effects. She left to Sir Orford Gordon the portrait of her husband by Joshua Reynolds, and to her brother Robert Hope of Derby the interest on £4000 for life. The estates of her husband in Jamaica passed under his will, apparently to Sir Orford Gordon.

Associated Claims (3)

£7,503 4s 8d
£2,461 9s 4d
£5,981 17s 6d

Associated Estates (4)

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 [EA] - 1832 [LA] → Lessee
1832 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Owner
1829 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Tenant-for-life
1829 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Tenant-for-life

Legacies Summary

Cultural (1)

'Portrait of Miss Harriet Hope', by Joseph Wright of Derby. There has been some ambiguity about the sitter in this portrait, sold at Christie's in 2009. 'Wright painted portraits of Harriet's... 
notes →

Relationships (2)

Wife → Husband
Notes →
The two divorced amidst a public scandal in...
Wife → Second Husband

Addresses (5)

Brighton, Sussex, South-east England, England
Derby, Derbyshire, East Midlands, England
Westminster, Middlesex, London, England
Albemarle Street, London, Middlesex, London, England
Shoreham House, Sevenoaks (near), Kent, South-east England, England