Steddy GRINFIELD reposes in Livorno’s Old English Cemetery since September 23rd, 1808, the day he was buried there by Rev. Thomas Hall who, right after the burial procedure, wrote in the Chapel Register:
“Steddy Grinfield Esq. of Lincoln’s Inn in the County of Middlesex, late of Siena in Tuscany, died 67 years old at his Villa of Belvedere, on Sunday the 18th of Sepr 1808, and on the 23rd following was interred in the Protestant burial-ground at Leghorn, by me – Thomas Hall”
The grave suffered damage, probably during WWII, and was then repaired. The simple inscription, one of the eight regarding people deceased in Siena, is still well legible:
“Here lies the body | of Steddy Grinfield Esqr | who died at Sienna | on the 18th of September | 1808. In the 67th year of his age.”
The e-mail exchange I recently had with Dr. Viviana Castelli, a seismology historian, added numerous and interesting details to Steddy Grinfield’s story. She found references to him in the Diario Senese by Antonio Francesco Bandini in the Biblioteca Comunale degli Intronati di Siena and generously communicated the following passages:
- “13 novembre 1795 […] /Morte del capo maestro D. Alessandro Tonini sanese e fabbriche dal medesimo eseguite / La notte del dì 10 corrente passò agli eterni riposi il signor Alessandro Tonini suocero dello scrivente, di professione capo maestro muratore di assai credito in questa città, uomo galantuomo, e cristiano romano, di più non dico se non che S.A.R. se n’è servito per la costruzione dei bottini del Pian del Lago, per la costruzione del ponte delle Taverne d’Arbia, il medesimo serviva di sua professione tutta la nobile famiglia Chigi, e Chigi Zondadari, Cav. Bianchi, la Sapienza nell’ultima sua costruzione fu l’architetto e l’esecutore della fabbrica di campagna di monsieur Grinfielde inglese nel poggio di Marciano ed altro. […]”
-  “Il penultimo giorno di carnevale torna da Livorno Odoardo Grinfield inglese che da trent’anni abita a Siena in una villetta di Marciano.”
- “20 settembre 1808 […] / Morte del Sig. Eduardo Grinfield inglese domiciliato a Siena. Suo testamento e lasciti / Ieri passò agli eterni riposi nella sua diletta villa di Marciano il Sig. Eduardo Grinfield inglese, che da trent’anni a questa parte à abitato in Siena, ha fatto testamento, ed ha lasciato alla sua governante scudi quattro cento l’anno, tutta la sua biancheria,e due stanze con due letti, mobilia a suo talento. Alla Maria Mocenni, Luisa Pecci, ed alle sue figlie, una maritata a Girolamo Gigli, e l’altra al Cav. Pecci di Camollia scudi cento per ciascuna vita sua naturale, per il resto eredi universali i signori Orr inglesi cattolici dimoranti in Livorno, che hanno per moglie le figlie della Maria retrodetta Mocenni, della robba d’Inghilterra eredi i suoj nipoti. / Elemosine assaj / Egli è vissuto da filosofo, ed ha fatto grandi elemosine in Siena, a povere famiglie, ed ogni sabbato a S. Francesco, un soldo per povero, niuno escluso.“
- “21 settembre 1808 […] / Tumulazione di Monsieur Grinfield/ Il corpo del Sig. Odoardo Grinfield è stato imbalsamato, posto in più casse, e spedito a Livorno per essere sepolto nel giardino colà esistente della nazione inglese.“
(The last extract saying that Mr. Grinfield was embalmed and put in several coffins to be sent to Livorno, a trip that took 2 days.)
I am also thankful to Dr. Castelli for pointing out two not-to-be-missed passages from well known diarists of the time. The first extract is from Mrs. Piozzi‘s Observations and reflections made in the course of a journey through France, Italy, and Germany, published in London in 1789. Hester Lynch Piozzi arrived in Siena on October 20th, 1786 and after briefly describing the city and the people, she provides a snapshot of Mr. Greenfield (vol.1, p.375):
- “[…] There is, mean time, resident in the neighbourhood an English gentleman, his name Greenfield, who has formed to himself a mighty sweet habitation in the English taste, but not expensive, as his property don’t reach far: he is however a sort of little oracle in the country I am told; gives money, and dispenses James’s powders to the poor, is happy in the esteem of numberless people of fashion, and the comfort of his country people’s lives beside; who, travelling to Sienna, as many do for the advantage of studying Italian to perfection, find a friend and companion where perhaps it is least expected. […]”
The second excerpt is from Dr. Nicholas Brooke’s Observations on the manners and customs of Italy…, printed in 1798:
“[p.2, Letter II] Siena, March 27, 1794.
- The Country from Leghorn to this city, through Pisa, is highly cultivated, and may be called a delightful garden, abounding not only with all sorts of grain, but also with every kind of fruit natural to the climate. I this day dined with Mr. Grinfield, brother to the General, a worthy man; he seems perfectly happy, and eats heartily, but makes no use of salt, pepper, or any sauce, and never drinks any thing but pure water. His dress is very plain, with this peculiarity, that his neck is uncovered both in winter and summer (perhaps he is freer from colds than those who carry a load of cravating about their necks). His house is about two miles from this city, which is occupied sometimes by his friend, a Lady, the wife of a Nobleman of Siena, to whom he is cicisbeo, or cavalier servente; at other times he takes his abode at her house. As you have not been in this country, I must explain to you, that these friendships, or name them what you will, are common all over Italy: and the married ladies do not blemish their character by having such a friend; but it would be considered as prudish if they were to live excluded from this custom. The Husband is perfectly satisfied, because he is cicisbeo to some married lady himself. Such connections are rarely broken, but often continue for life. The gentleman goes every morning to visit the lady in her own apartment, and there receives notice to what sort of amusement he is to accompany her in the evening; for whether she goes to public places, or to private families, he must be her companion. Nor are unmarried gentlemen exempted from these occupations; but young ladies are not so privileged, which makes them more desirous of matrimony. I must, however, say, that this kind of connection is not entirely confined to the Italians, for some of our English in Italy have willingly caught the infection. This custom is surprising, when we consider that the Italians were some years ago the most jealous people in Europe. […]”
[Note: a note on this same book (Letter XLVI, p.171) unlocked the identity of Amelia Evans-Barry as the authoress of Maria, a Persian slave]
We now know that Steddy Grinfield was living 2 miles out of Sienna, in a ‘contrada’ named Marciano, in his Villa Belvedere. This house is also cited by the well known Repetti‘s dictionary (Dizionario geografico fisico storico della Toscana) in vol.3, p.58:
- “[…] Marciano da il nome a varie ville signorili, e grandiosi palazzi di campagna. Tali sono la bella villa di Marciano della casa Spannocchi, il magnifico palazzo giá Corti, ora Gori; la villa Borzacchini, ora Staderini, i casini Alberti, Borghesi, quello edificato dall’inglese Grinfield, chiamato il Belvedere di Marciano, ecc.[…]”
The property is also briefly cited in the book Atti della Societá Toscana di Scienze Naturali, Residente in Pisa, vol.3 (1877):
- “Gl’individui di Marciano li trovai nella collezione del Soldani con la L. peregra Müll., e vi era scritto di mano dell’illustre Abate. „ Terra calcarea alba, aliquando flavescens, indurata, saepe friabilis, maxime conchylifera, et ut videtur lacustris, vel etiam fortasse ex fragmentis fragilium concharum in pulvere redactis vel in aqua salutis orta. Effossa est prope puteum, de quo actenus in vicinio Urbis Senarum, in summitate collis (Marciano) in proedio Domini Grinfield nobilis Angli„.“
I collected some more data from disseminated information about other English families living in the same area of Siena as the Brownings, Walter Savage Landor and William Story. In vol.285 of The Living Age (1915), p.554, Marquess Edith Marion Peruzzi de’ Medici, daughter of the sculptor William Wetmore Story, remembers her youth (1850s) while she and her family were living at the Villa Belvedere or Villa Orr:
- “In the late fifties the Villa Belvedere Marciano, near Siena, became for five years our summer house. From the terrace garden, looking across a valley of olives and vines, we could see the grim square Villa Alberti where the Brownings lived; then Villa Borghese, for a time occupied by Tommaseo – the patriot whose inscription to Mrs. Browning on Casa Guidi makes him dear to all Anglo-Saxons – which afterwards became the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Black and their clever daughters; and Villa Bargagli in a grove of trees, where the Crawfords came for a month or so. Or nearest neighbours were Count Gori Pannilini and his family. My father soon discovered in the persone of the tutor of young Giulio Gori that rare kindred spirit Enrico Nencioni. […] These years at the villa, guests came and went; Charles Sumner, Charles Ellot Norton, Hawthorne, Odo Russell amongst the number left their record behind them. […] My father […] had a few lines from Robert Browning saying that he was bringing Mr. Landor down from Florence at once, sure of the warm welcome he would meet with at the Villa Belvedere. When we heard the wheels of the carriage grindling on the gravel path, we went to the front door just as Browning’s strong vibrating voice called out «Here we are, I have brought Mr. Landor to you!» and Mr. Landor exclamation of «God bless my soul, what a charming place this is !» […] Mr. Landor remained a guest at the villa for over a month. […] The Brownings almost invariably came over in the afternoon to tea on the grass terrace. Mr. Hamilton Wild, the genial artist, was a constant guest at the villa, and painted a charming little picture that perished, unfortunately, in a Boston fire. […]”
On the left there’s a view of Siena from the area where Steddy Grinfield’s villa was. On the right: the group of houses, which included Villa Alberti, just opposite to Grinfield’s house.
Other two interesting citations about Mr. Grinfield are related to his studies and interests on science:
James Six, The construction and use of a thermometer, for shewing the extremes of temperature in the atmosphere, during the observer’s absence…, London, 1794, p.6:
- “[…] The scale, which is * Fahrenheit’s, beginning with 0, on the top, of that side where the mercury rises by increase of Cold, has the degrees numbered downwards […] *Because this scale is generally used in England, Signor Antonio Matteucci, who has made some of these Thermometers in Italy, from one of mine, which I sent to Mr. Grinfield of Sienna in Tuscany, added to the scale of Fahrenheit, that of Reaumur, which latter is mostly in use on the Continent.“
We also know that Steddy Grinfield owned a library containing scientific books that he lended to a certain Dr. Antonio Ambrogio Soldani, helping him out for his work (Cfr. Gli Scienziati italiani dall’inizio del medio evo ai nostri giorni, 1921, vol.1, part 2, p.393).
Finally, during the Napoleonic period, Grinfield had to demonstrate his long stay in Tuscany to avoid being expelled from the Gran Duchy by the French. Evidence of this is found on this transcription of a manuscript journal cited by the Revue Napoléonienne, voll.1-2, 1908, p.102-105:
- “[…] Od. Grinfield parte per Firenze. Odoardo Grinfield, Inglese, partì nell’istante p. Firenze, ove col certificato dl domicilio in Siena di 27 anni incirca, e di buoni costumi si portò all’Aiutante di Campo dl Gen.le, quale li disse, che si doveva fare una lista di tutti quelli che hanno piú di dieci anni di domicilio, che questi passavano p. Toscani, e che doveva andare alla Municipalità p. essere compreso in questa lista, tutto questo è estratto da una lettera scritta quà da esso Grinfield ad una sua amica dl dì 9 aple. […]”
I also found a curious letter that Grinfield wrote to the printer of the St. James’s Chronicle in 1776, probably having his brother William in mind:
Another interesting fact is that Steddy Grinfield was elected “protector” of the Sienese “Contrada della Giraffa” in the summer of 1790. (Cfr. Bandini, Diario senese (1790), Biblioteca comunale degli Intronati di Siena, D.III.6 c. 76v).
Highlights on Steddy Grinfield’s last will
A copy of Steddy Grinfield’s last will can be found online at The National Archives website, under the reference PROB 11/1499. It’s dated from Pisa, March 25, 1805 and witnessed by three Englishmen: Robert PORTER, Thomas H.(?) GORMAN and William DE YONGH. Steddy divides his Estate in two parts, one in Tuscany and the other one in the “British Dominions”. The Tuscan Estate is inherited, including debts, by Thomas ORR of Leghorn (most probably a son of the merchant William ORR who died in Livorno in 1786). Other legacies are left to the “Noble Signora Louisa PECCI, including the portrait of herself and daughters at Belvedere”, and to his “faithful servant for many years Louisa PALAGI”. He then expresses the desire, if he happens to die in Tuscany, of being “buried in the English Burying Ground at Leghorn, in the least expensive manner without other gravestone or memorial of any kind”. He then asks his heir [Thomas ORR] to burn all his “Letters, Manuscripts, Papers and especially all my annual Account Books”. As regards the Estate in the “British Dominions“, he leaves to his brother, the Reverend Thomas Grinfield, his Rectory of Saint Martin’s at Salisbury and assigns part of his interests as annuities to the “Noble Signore” Louisa PECCI, Carolina GIGLI, Octavia PECCI and to the Signora Maria MOCENNI (one of her daughters married into the ORR family). Some money is also left to three people in his service at Siena. The faithful servant Louisa PALAGI is cited often and it seems that Steddy cared very much about her. Other family members cited are the nephews Thomas and Edward William GRINFIELD, and the nieces Anna Dorothea, Eliza Maria and Emma Martha GRINFIELD, all children of his brother Thomas. Grinfield designates Thomas ORR and the elder nephew Edward William GRINFIELD as his executors.
Two brief codicils follow, the first one to add one servant to the heritage, a certain “Francis PROVEDA commonly called Scatizza”, and the second one to add Louisa VISIBELLI, eldest niece of Louisa PALAGI. Finally there’s a letter addressed to his brother Thomas, dated from Belvedere, December 24, 1807, in which Steddy explains his will and the reasons for which he left his Villa to Mr. ORR. Two other names are then cited: Mr. Thomas KETTERWELL of Chatham Place, London and Mr. William CARDALE Jr., of Bedford Row, Middlesex.
Steddy Grinfield was born on July 26th, 1742 in the parish of Ogbourne St. George, Wilts (as stated by the parish extracts cited on Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica, vol.V, London, 1838, p.358), son of Edward GRINFIELD and Ann GODDARD, who were first cousins. He was admitted at Lincoln’s Inn at 15 years of age on January 25th, 1758 and called to the Bar on February 10th, 1768 together with Francis Burton.
He inherited from his father the properties of his grandfather in 1758. In 1767 he became Fellow of the Royal Society and shortly after he emigrated to Siena. Some sources define him as ‘formerly of New Sarum, Co. Wilts’ which is an uncommon name used for Salisbury, but at present this research hasn’t allowed me to dig more onto his life in England and Italy. Steddy Grinfield died in 1808 in Siena, aged 67 years old and unmarried. As per his will he was then translated to Livorno and buried in the Old English Cemetery.
His parents had 3 other children: William (1745-1803), Colonel of the 86th Regiment of Foot, General, Commander of the troops in the Leeward and Garrihee Islands, who married Emma Maria BROCAS (daughter of Rev. John Brocas, Dean of Killala in Ireland) and, while in Barbadoes, died of yellow fever just 2 days after his wife, on November 19th, 1803 and was buried in St. Michael’s Cathedral there. Thomas (1748-1824), of Bristol, clerk and Moravian Minister, married to Anna Johanna FOSTER-BARHAM (1756-1833), of Pembrokeshire in Wales, descendant and relative of some notable colonial Jamaican families*.
Together they had two children, Edward William (1785-1864), M.A., of Lincoln College, Oxford, Author and Minister of Laura Chapel in Bath and later in Kensington, London and Thomas (1788-1870), Minister, hymn writer, scholar and poet, who married his cousin, another member of the Foster-Barham family. Both Thomas and Edward William Grinfield are found in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
The last child of the family, sister of Steddy, William and Thomas was named Anne but died unmarried and no details are available about her own life.
Steddy’s father, Edward, was also of Ogbourne in Wiltshire but later in life he went living in Salisbury with his wife (and cousin) Ann. Not much is known about Edward, who died in 1759; his wife Ann GODDARD was born in 1716 and lies buried in Eltham, Kent. She was daughter of Thomas GODDARD (d.1731), Canon of Windsor from 1707 to 1731 and Anne BEALE (d.1727). Edmond GODDARD (b.1701), a brother of Ann, was father to another Anne GODDARD (d.1789), wife of William JAMES (1720-1783), 1st Bart. of Eltham, M.P. for West Looe in Cornwall, Naval Commander and Director of the East India Co. The Severndroog Castle in Greenwich (London) was built by her as a memorial to her husband one year after his death.
The GODDARD connections are not yet finished: Edward Grinfield’s step-mother, Anne BEALE (d.1727) was also a descendant of this family through her mother, another Ann GODDARD (1661-1681), daughter of James GODDARD (1615-1678), of Marston. An interesting family link is also furnished by Anne BEALE’s own step-mother, the mother of her husband Thomas GODDARD, the Canon of Windsor: Elizabeth SMITH, sister of John SMITH (1655/56-1723) of Tedworth, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Speaker of the House of Commons.
Returning to the GRINFIELDs, Edward’s father, Steddy’s grand-father, was William GRINFIELD (1673-1714), of Rockley House and Ogbourn St. Andrew, M.P. for Marlborough, Wiltshire in 1698-1700, who married Mary GODDARD (d.1751), a sister of the Canon of Windsor thus an aunt of his son’s wife! William and Mary GRINFIELD had 4 sons and 4 daughters, of which 3 sons and 2 daughters died without posterity. William’s father, another William GRINFIELD (d.1692) had been twice Mayor and Alderman of Marlborough. Rockley Manor, which then was inherited by Steddy, was first bought by William in 1674.
The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol.78, part 2, 1808 informs the readers about Steddy GRINFIELD’s death in Italy with these words:
“Sep, 18. At Sienna, in Italy, Steddy Grinfield, Esq. F.R.S. brother of the late General G. and formerly a barrister-at-law of Lincoln’s Inn.“
(*) The FOSTER family of Jamaica and the Moravian Mission:
Anna Joanna F.-B. (1756-1833), wife of Steddy’s brother Thomas, was daughter of Joseph FOSTER-BARHAM (1729-1789), of Hardwick, co. Salop (Shropshire) and Dorothea VAUGHAN (1721-1781) of Pembrokeshire, Wales. Joseph was born in Jamaica, son of Col. John FOSTER (1681-1731) and Elizabeth SMITH and had a brother William.
The following excerpt comes from a now defunct website, probably managed by the African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica (http://www.anngel.com/history-moravian.htm), still available on Google’s cache:
The initiative for the establishment of a Moravian Mission in Jamaica came from the two brothers, William Foster and Joseph Foster-Barham, who owned estates in western Jamaica. The brothers lived in England, where they came under the influence of the Moravian Church. They sought religious instruction for their slaves and applied to the Governing Board of the Moravian Church in Britain for missionaries to be sent to Jamaica – pledging to support them financially. Their request was approved, and three missionaries arrived in Kingston on December 7, 1754
Initially, the missionaries lived at Bogue, which was one of a cluster of estates in the parish of St. Elizabeth owned by the Foster family. Later, the Foster brothers presented the missionaries with seven hundred acres of land situated in the parish of St. Elizabeth, about ten miles from the Bogue estate. In 1756, the place was opened as a separate mission station and given the name Carmel. The missionaries also decided to cultivate provision grounds and to keep a cattle-pen at Carmel so that they could better support themselves. In order to do this, the missionaries became slave-holders and Carmel was worked by thirty to forty slaves. It was a decision that the Moravian Church was to later regret deeply.
For further information: Jamaica Province of the Moravian Church (Wikipedia).