Haslar Heritage Group

Susan Bloxam

The Pedigree of the Bloxam Family Susan Bloxam 1802 – 1818 – An Extract from the Appendix.

Susan Bloxam 1802-1818

This is the account of a fair 16 year old young lady who now lies in the Paddock at Haslar and I wanted to share her story with you, with thanks to the National Portrait Gallery.
The Artist, Sir Thomas Lawrence – Uncle and brother of The Rev A Lawrence vicar of St Luke’s Haslar. Story, Tale from the Graveyard. The Heritage groups receives many enquiries but at the same time it is also receives information relating to Haslar and the tale of Miss Susan Bloxam born 1802 and died Nov 1818 arose from research being undertaken by a researcher regarding Miss Bloxam’s brother and a trust that was set up by him.

It transpires that Susan Bloxam had travelled from her family home at Rugby and that she was the niece of the Rev A Lawrence rector of St Luke’s Haslar and it is known and recorded that she visited Haslar in March 1818. Sir Thomas Lawrence RA (an accomplished artist) was the brother of the Rev Lawrence and therefore Susan’s Uncle and had painted Susan in the March on her arrival at Haslar, the painting being held by the National Portrait Gallery. Susan is known to have resided at Haslar from March 1818 until her sudden death on 26th November 1818. It is possible that she may have been at Haslar for treatment , or fell ill whilst visiting her uncle and possibly that she died from Consumption. Susan was buried on 3rd December 1818 in the grounds of Haslar (possibly the Paddock). Sir Thomas Lawrence wrote to a friend on the occasion of her death. ‘I have lost a sweet, good, modest, little being in my niece Susan; I lament the death of an innocent. I feel thankful that this one talent which God has given me, has, in this case, afforded consolation to my sister and her family, by perpetuating the form (painting) and expressing the nature of this lovely, lamented being, my dear Susan.’
Many females, some being nurses, who died from disease and others as kin of officers serving at Haslar and Susan lie in the Paddock – or cemetery, memorial gardens –
‘In memoriam’ Eric C Birbeck MVO

The accompanying reference to Susan Bloxam is taken out of Williams’ Life of Sir Thomas Lawrence, vol. i, page 379.
In the latter end of 1818, Mrs Bloxam lost one of her children, a young lady of sixteen, of great promise, to whom her uncle Sir T. L bore a sincere regard. He had painted her portrait in the preceding March, whilst at Haslar, and had had it engraved; and he often spoke and wrote of this niece in terms of admiration and tenderness.
On the occasion of her death, he wrote to his friend Miss Crofts, a letter, of which the following is an extract.
“’I have lost a sweet, good, modest, little being in my niece Susan; but who can for the innocent, lament the death of the innocent? It is a severe affliction to her parents, sisters, friends. I feel thankful that this one talent which God has given me, has, in this case, afforded consolation to my Sister and her family, by perpetuating the form, and expressing the nature of this lovely, lamented being, my dear Susan.”

At the foot of this Letter were the following memoranda:
Susan Bloxam, born Nov. 15, 1802.
died Nov. 26, 1818.
buried Dec. 3, 1818.
Inscription on the south side of a Tomb, erected in the Cemetery of Haslar Hospital, near Gosport, Hants.
“In the same vault lie interred the remains of Susan Bloxam, (second daughter of the Rev. Richard Rouse Bloxam, of Rugby, in the County of Warwick, D.D. and Anne his wife,) who resigned her spotless soul to her Maker, Nov. 26th, 1818, aged sixteen years. To whose beloved memory this stone is inscribed by her afflicted parents.”

Could virtue, innocence, and beauty save
Thy form, blest spirit, from an early tomb,
We had not mourn’d thy loss: but God who gave,
Call’d thee from hence, eternally to bloom ̶
In mercy call’d thee from this world of woe,
Ere sorrow’s shaft had pierced thy gentle breast;
And thy sad Parents humbly meet the blow
In pious trust, that what He wills is best.

Lines in the Memory of Susan Bloxam, by the Rev. Philip Homer, B.D. Rugby, Dec. 8, 1818.1

In Spring’s delightful hours, as some pure rose
Rear’d by the hand with fond assiduous care
And guarded nightly from the chilling air,
Begins its earlier blossom to disclose,
And every day with softer blushes glows
Stooping its lovely head with grace so rare,
From stem too delicate, too weakly fair,
While far around its sweet perfume it throws;
Such was the promise of thine early grace:
So nurtur’d fondly by a mother’s hand,
Didst thou too, Susan, fair in mind as face,
With modest downcast loveliness expand,
But now art gone to scent some earlier place
With incense pure, and near thy God to stand.

The Rev Philip Homer was incumbent of the Rugby Parish Church and a friend of the Bloxam family. Pencilled on one copy of the Pedigree is a note “vide Gentleman’s Magazine,  December 1818.”
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