Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Forgotten Radnorians - Sir Harford Jones

With a collection of his papers recently selling at Sotheby's for £217k, Presteigne born Harford Jones (1764-1747) can hardly said to be forgotten by those with an interest in the history of Iran and Iraq. An adventurer, linguist, agent of the East India Company, jewel merchant, author and ambassador to the court of the Shah of Persia, Harford Jones spent the years between 1783 and 1811 in places that feature prominently in today's headlines; Basra, Baghdad and Tehran.

Of course Radnorians will be interested in his local connections - what for example happened to the three children, by his Armenian mistress Maria Gorjee, brought back to Boultibrooke by his wife?

In his recent book on Radnorshire politics Keith Parker describes Harford Jones as pompous, yet many will surely sympathise with his enlightened political standpoints. Jones was a supporter of parliamentary reform and of the cottagers in their struggle against the enclosure of the commons, he also opposed tithes and was a campaigner against the abolition of the Court of Great Sessions.*

* Many people seem to think that an independent Welsh legal system ended with the laws of Hywel Dda. Infact the Court of Great Sessions was a separate and powerful Welsh institution until it was abolished in 1830.

4 comments:

Lendrum said...

I was interested to come across your note on HJB. I have traced the lives and descendants of two of the three children that he had with Maria Goorjee. These are Frances (c1789-1855) and Ann (1787-1856). Of the third child, Howell (1793-aft 1816) he is known to have returned to Basra in 1816. What became of Maria Goorjee is not known.

My family is descended from the second daughter, Frances.

old radnor said...

Thanks for the information Lendrum - did any of the children have any further connection with Radnorshire?

TC said...

None that I am aware of.

Frances and Ann travelled from Basrah to Britain with their father Harford Jones in 1795 at the ages of 6 and 8 and were brought up by his wife, Sarah (nee Gott) at the Whittern in Herefordshire. They were sent to Bombay in 1808 where they both married officers of the East India Company. They returned with their families to England in the late 1820s and settled in England.

old radnor said...

Thanks TC - that would be The Whittern in Lyonshall I guess