The Pringle Connection
Edward James Eliot's only child, Harriet Hester, married Lieutenant-Colonel (later General) William Henry Pringle on 20 May 1806. She was only nineteen years old but married with the consent of her remaining guardians, John (Earl of Chatham) and George Pretyman (Bishop of Lincoln). The couple were married in London, at the Earl of Chatham's house in Dover-street, by the Bishop of Lincoln. Harriet's marriage settlement consisted of more than £40,000, the first part received at the time of the marriage, the remaining portion as yearly payments.
How Harriet and William Henry met is unknown. Pringle was fourteen years older that Harriet, born in Ireland of Scottish descent (commonly called Scotch-Irish), and came from a military background. His father was Major-General Henry Pringle of Caledon, who claimed descent from the Pringles of Torsonce. Although William Henry had already been in the Army for fourteen years by the time of his marriage, not very much is known about his life prior to his marriage to Harriet. At the time of their marriage, W.H. Pringle was an officer in the Coldstream Guards. Over the next twenty years, Pringle served with distinction on the staff of the Peninsular Army (receiving the personal thanks of the House of Commons), gained the rank of Lieut.-General, was awarded a K.C.B., and invested as a G.C.B.
Sir William and Lady Pringle moved in London's high society and were often reported in the "Fashionable News" columns of the English papers. They lived at 17 Stratford Place in Marylebone where their next-door neighbor was the renowned silversmith, Kensington Lewis. They spent holidays at places like Brighthelmston and Worthing, where they regularly socialized with the King and Queen. They hosted parties and attended "elegant" balls and the Queen's Drawing Room.
William and Harriet were blessed with five children, four daughters and one son, two of whom had children of their own. (All of Edward James Eliot's descendants come from these two lines.) Their fourth child, Catherine, married Frederick Cruse and had one daughter, Harriet Margaret. She married Henry Champion, and they had at least nine children. Those lines of descent are, at present, untraced.
William and Harriet's third child and only son, John Henry, followed in his father's footsteps, becoming a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Coldstream Guards. He married Georgiana Ramsbottom and had seven children, four sons and three daughters. Six of these children lived to marry. Four of the lines survive with Eliot-Pringle descendants.
John Henry Pringle and his family spread all over the world. They have lived in places like India, America, Australia, Scotland, Imperial Russia and, of course, England. Many of his grandchildren were killed in the Russian Revolution, some lived in exile in France, some went to America, one died as a Commando in the 1942 raid on St. Nazaire, and yet another was killed in Algiers during the Bombing of Phillippeville. The Pringles travelled extensively, and you'll find members of the family buried in India, Switzerland, Malta, Italy, France, Russia and more.
Descendants of Edward James Eliot, through John Henry Pringle, have served as officers in the Army and the Navy, as MPs and Magistrates, engineers and even a Judge. The Eliot name has been passed on through many Pringle generations as a Christian name, even into the 21st century with Edward James Eliot's great-great-great-grandson, Lord Charles Eliot Jauncey of Tullichettle (d. 2007).
The Pringles' family history is filled with interesting stories. They travelled and lived during some busy times in world history, and they always seemed to become involved in noteworthy public or personal events. Read through a Victorian newspaper, and you're very likely to find a Pringle included in some type of news of the day.
Tracing the various branches of the Pringle family descending from Harriet Hester Eliot has proved challenging, since so many of them settled in different parts of the world. Unlike the Eliots of Port Eliot, the Pringles have never called one place "home" for more than a few decades, and family heirlooms and collections have been split up, donated, sold and lost. It is thanks to Lady Jauncey that almost all of the Pringle photos, pictures, and memoirs are available here for study and research. Pictures are always difficult to locate, but Lady Jauncey was kind enough to go through all of her photos, taking the time to scan them and allowing them to be included on this site.
The majority of the surviving family pictures date from the later 1860s and into the twentieth century. Only one photograph of Harriet Hester's son, John Henry, has turned up, with none of her four daughters coming to light at all. Three pastel portraits of young Harriet Hester Eliot have now been identified. Two of them still hang at Port Eliot, and one is part of the Eastnor Castle collection. Virtually no personal papers have survived or been made available to shed light on the personality of Harriet and her children, but there is always the chance that things like this will turn up over time.