The death of John Walker Jr.

Italiano | English

Cover image: Golfo di Napoli con Vesuvio visti da Sant'Antonio a Posillipo, Franz Ludwig Catel, ca. 1818–20. Thaw Collection, Jointly Owned by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Morgan Library & Museum, Gift of Eugene V. Thaw, 2009

We’re going to step into Ann Walker’s past, to have a look at an important event of her life. We know that Ann was the wealthy heiress of a huge family fortune, together with her sister Elizabeth. However, the Walker sisters only received the conspicuous inheritance after the premature death of their brother John Walker who, being the only male sibling, had previously inherited the whole family fortune after their parent’s death in 1823.

John Walker had married Frances (Fanny) Esther Penfold on July 28, 1829 and they were spending their honeymoon in Italy. More precisely, they were in Naples when John died on January 19, 1830. We’ve been tracking their journey in Italy thanks to the travelmap created by In Search of Ann Walker.

Written by Francesca Raia
Translated in English by Lucia Falzari
Transcripts by Francesca Raia
Published 10/09/2020 • Updated 01/19/2022
15
–25 min read


"Five years today since I lost my poor brother at 3 o’clock in the afternoon". Ann Walker's journal (January 19, 1835) [WYC:1525/7/1/5/1/36]. Transcript by Francesca Raia.

Going to Italy

John and Frances Walker left England a few days after their wedding and their intentions were to travel for about a year. After passing through France and visiting many towns in Switzerland, they arrived in Milan on October 9, 1829. On the arrivals record of the Gazzetta di Milano of October 11, 1829 we’ve found a “Walker, gentleman, idem [coming from Geneva] at nr. 4107" (Walker, gentiluomo, idem, al no. 4107).

John Walker's arrival on October 9, 1829 in Italy registered in the Gazzetta di Milano n. 284. “Walker, gentleman, idem [coming from Geneva] at nr. 4107" (Walker, gentiluomo, idem, al no. 4107).

That 4107 number identifies the hotel where they stayed: the Hotel Royal (or Reale) was a very popular accomodation for foreigners and nobles. Anne Lister went to see it as well, out of curiosity, while she was in Milan during her 1827 journey with Maria and Jane Barlow, but she didn’t stay there.

"Went forwards to the hotel Royale – very handsome entrance decidedly the 1st rate hotel in Milan – best street best situation – saw the apartments – large good sitting rooms with small single bedded bedrooms attached – prices as at the hotel, la ville."

Anne Lister's travel journal (August 11, 1827), transcript by Francesca Raia.

"Went forwards to the hotel Royale – very handsome entrance decidedly the 1st rate hotel in Milan – best street best situation – saw the apartments – large good sitting rooms with small single bedded bedrooms attached – prices as at the hotel, la ville". Anne Lister's travel joirnal, August 11, 1827, [SH:7/ML/TR/1/0071]. Transcript by Francesca Raia.

The Hotel Royal was located in Via dei Tre Alberghi, a street in the Bottonuto area not far from the Duomo.

The image depicts a portion of a 1827 map of the city of Milan (designed by Giuseppe Pezze). Highlighted are the Duomo and the Bottonuto district, where the Hotel Royal was located.

Five days later the Walkers left Milan heading to Genova, as recorded again by the Gazzetta.

John Walker's departure from Milan on October 14, 1829 recorded in the Gazzetta di Milano n. 289.

They reached Genova the next day and were recorded as “Walcker Giovanni, English landowner, with his entourage, from Milan" (Walcker Gio[vanni] poss[idente] inglese, e seguito, da Milano) – foreign names were often italianized and sometimes misspelled – and from there they embarked to Livorno, where they drew a bank draft for £60 on October 26, 1829 (as it can be seen on In Search of Ann Walker’s travel map).

John Walker ("Walcker Gio.")'s arrival in Genova registered in the Gazzetta di Genova n. 83. “Walcker Giovanni, English landowner, with his entourage, from Milan" (Walcker Gio[vanni] poss[idente] inglese, e seguito, da Milano).

After spending some days in Florence, the Walkers left for Naples, where they arrived in December 1829.

The death record

On Portale Antenati, the ancestry portal created by the Italian Ministry of Culture together with the Archive Central Management, we have found John Walker’s death record, dated January 20, 1830 (you can see it also here, page 85). It clearly shows that John was recorded as Giovanni Walker, while Frances is mentioned as Fransisca Penfold. The record states that John died at midnight at his abode in Naples, at Riviera di Chiaia nr. 276. The death was reported to the registrar by two employees of the British Consulate in Naples, but unfortunately there is no mention of the cause of death. However, in her diary Ann Walker mentions Mariana Starke’s work “Travels on the Continent. Written for the Use and Particular Information of Travellers”, so it could be reasonable to hypothesize that John decided to stay in that area of Naples also for its healthier climate.

"Mrs. Starke in her account of Naples says 'the houses on the Chiaja [Chiaia] are less dangerous than those in the quarter of S. Lucia [Santa Lucia], because further removed from the tufo mountain; but their situation is too bleak for persons afflicted with tender lungs'."

Ann Walker's journal (January 19, 1835), transcript by Francesca Raia.

In the diary of Miss Caroline Walker - one of Ann’s relatives - there are some details about John’s health that could support such a move. Apparently, just the day before his death John had been seen by five physicians who reassured him that he would recover by and by. Unfortunately events took a different turn and, after being cherished by one of Ann’s letters bearing good news from Halifax, John laid down to rest, but he never woke up.

This death certainly signified a capital event in Ann Walker’s life, even though it’s unclear how this might have also influenced her then-future relationship with Anne Lister.

The full transcription

The year 1830 on the day twenty of the month of January at seven p.m. in my presence, Cavalier Emmanuele dell’Abbadessa Eletto and registrar of the Chiaja [Chiaia] district in the municipality of Naples, the province of Naples, introduced themselves D. Raffaele Santorelli from Naples, ------- age forty-eight, qualified as employee of the British Consulate, abode in Vico Vacche alla Corsea di Riv[ier]a, and D. Salvatore Ferone of Naples, age thirty-five, qualified as usher of the same Consulate, abode in strada S. Maria di Palazzo nr. eighteen, who stated that on the day nineteen of the aforementioned month of the current year, at midnight, Mr. Giovanni [John] Walker, of Halifax Yorkshire England age twenty-five qualified as landowner, died at his abode in Riviera di Chiaja [Chiaia] two-hundred and seventy-six, son of D. Giovanni [John] Walker age fifty Landowner abode in England, details about his mother not given, husband to Donna Francisca [Frances] Penfold , age twenty-three abode in Riviera di Chiaja [Chiaia] two-hundred and seventy-six, without children.

For all the lawful compliances I went to the abode of the deceased person, together with the mentioned witnesses, and there I could acknowledge his death. Afterwards I have drafted this certificate, which was recorded on both rolls; read the above to the informants, on the day, month, year as above, it is signed by myself and by the aforementioned persons

Raffaele Santorelli

Salvatore Ferone

dell’Abbadessa Eletto

Pasquale Guglielmi Caci"

John Walker's death record, n. 47, 1830, English translation by Lucia Falzari.

“L’anno mille ottocento trenta il dì Venti del mese di Gennajo alle ore Diecinove avanti di Noi Cavalier Emmanuele dell’ Abbadessa Eletto ed Ufiziale dello Stato Civile del Circondario di Chiaja [Chiaia] Comune di Napoli, Provincia di Napoli, sono comparsi D. Raffaele Santorelli di Napoli; --------- di anni quarantotto di professione [consultivo] del consolato Britannico domiciliato Vico Vacche alla Corsea di Riv[ier]a e D. Salvatore Ferone di Napoli di anni trentacinque di professione usciere del Consolato medesimo domiciliato strada S. Maria di Palazzo n. dieci otto I quali hanno dichiarato, che nel giorno dieci nove del mese suddetto anno corrente alle ore Ventiquattro è morto nel domicilio l Signor D. Giovanni [John] Walker, di Halifax Yorkshire Inghilterra di anni venticinque di professione Benestante domiciliato Riviera di Chiaja [Chiaia] duecento settanta sei figlio di D. Giovanni Walker di anni cinquanta Benestante domiciliato in Inghilterra, ignorandosi l’indicazione della Madre, marito di Donna Francisca [Frances] Penfold di anni venti tre, domiciliata alla Riviera di Chiaja [Chiaia] n. duecento-settanta sei senza figli.

Per esecuzione della legge ci siamo trasferiti, insieme coi detti testimoni, presso la persona defunta, e ne abbiamo riconosciuta la sua effettiva morte. Abbiamo indi formato il presente Atto, che abbiamo inscritto sopra i due registri; a datane lettura a’ dichiaranti, si è nel giorno, mese, ed anno, come sopra, segnato da Noi e da’ medesimi

Raffaele Santorelli

Salvatore Ferone

dell’Abbadessa Eletto

Pasquale Guglielmi Caci."

John Walker's death record, n. 47, 1830, transcript by Francesca Raia.

John Walker's death certificate, detail. © This record image is displayed under the permission of the National Archive in Naples. Image protected by copyright. Portale Antenati, Chiaia (Naples) death records, 1830.

According to the honeymoon travel map of In Search of Ann Walker, on December 29, 1829 we have the earliest sign of the Walkers being in Naples: that day John drew a bank draft of £50 from the Falconnet bankers. Apparently they had some issues in finding a suitable accomodation at their arrival in town, but later on they could move to Riviera di Chiaia nr. 276, which was the Hotel Grande Bretagne, next to the town villa today.

Naples, view of the Villa Comunale and the Chiaia beach from the current Piazza Vittoria. Unknown author (1835).

"I suppose this hotel to have been in the Chiaja [Chiaia] which comprehends a public garden called the Villa Reale and considerably more than half a mile in length."

Ann Walker's journal (January 19, 1835), transcript by Francesca Raia.

John Walker was buried in the cemetery known at the time as the Cimitero degli Inglesi, within the churchyard of Santa Maria della Fede (in the Vicaria town area). This burial place was created in 1826 thanks to the then British Consul in Naples, Sir Henry Lushington. It was expanded by the half of the 19th century and was officially dismissed in 1892, when the whole town area went through a deep renovation. From that year on, the members of the British community in the area have been buried in the new British cemetery, in Via Nuova del Campo 25, in the Poggioreale town area. According to information provided by the modern British Cemetery staff, on that occasion most of the remains buried there were reduced and moved into a communal ossuary at the new site, marked by a commemorative headstone in remembrance of those formerly buried at Santa Maria della Fede. It is credible that this also involved John Walker’s remains, although we have found no document supporting this hypothesis.

Mrs. Walker

On further research, we have found in the National Archive in Naples the passport certificate of Mrs. Walker (Signora Walker) issued in those days. The young widow left Naples the month following her husband’s death – the document bears the date of February 19, 1830 – and she wasn’t travelling alone, as the papers show that "Signora [Mrs] Penfold and Signora [Mrs] Edwards" were with her, as well as two staff persons: a Maria [Bell] and a certain Giovanni Baroncelli.

Passport of Frances (Fanny) Esther Penfold Walker, John Walker's wife. © This document is displayed under the permission of the National Archive in Naples. The Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ref. 6414. Image protected by copyright.

Based upon the information provided by In Search of Ann Walker, both "Signora Penfold" and "Signora Edwards" were actually Miss: Miss Catherine Penfold was Frances’s sister, and Miss Delia Edwards was John’s cousin. At the time, travelling with relatives and friends was quite common even during a honeymoon. Anne Lister’s journal – as it happens – gives us a further insight. Anne was then residing in Paris with her aunt Anne from 1829, and she used to receive regular updates from her sister Marian about what was going on in Halifax. Thanks to Anne we know that it should have been John’s sister Ann accompanying him and Frances on their honeymoon, but the young woman had declined such invitation, so his cousin Delia Edwards went with them:

"Then read my letter from Marian Shibden dated Wednesday 15th instant 3pp. and the ends – [...] 'the Walkers leave Crownest on Tuesday I suppose Mr. Walker will be married immediately on his arrival in the south, and as they are going for a year, I fancy they set off directly for Paris' – Marian declined sending any letter by him – Miss W- [Walker] (his sister) declined going so they bring Miss Edwards (his cousin) with them."

Anne Lister's journal (July 20, 1829), transcript by Francesca Raia.

"Then read my letter from Marian Shibden dated Wednesday 15th instant 3pp. and the ends – [...] 'the Walkers leave Crownest on Tuesday I suppose Mr. Walker will be married immediately on his arrival in the south, and as they are going for a year, I fancy they set off directly for Paris' –Marian declined sending any letter by him – Miss W- [Walker] (his sister) declined going so they bring Miss Edwards (his cousin) with them.". Anne Lister's journal (July 20, 1829), [SH:7/ML/E/12/0059]. Transcript by Francesca Raia.

Catherine Penfold joined her sister Frances in Naples only after John’s death, travelling with their brother James (although apparently only for a part of the journey) and with a Mr. Giovanni Baroncelli, a staff member who was also recorded on the passport. The 1831 Walker's papers show two payments related to the previous year: a small amount to James Penfold, and nearly £160 to the Italian chaperon. We have no knowledge of the role played by Mr. Baroncelli - whether he was a staff member or some other family acquaintance - but what we know for certain is that he and Catherine Jane Penfold got married shortly after their return to England on Oct. 1 in the parish of St. James, Westminster, in the county of Middlesex.

Frances Walker eventually reached home in England in June and sadly she gave birth to a stillborn child on Oct. 10. She married again in Halifax after two years with Courtney Kenny Clarke, but she died only a few years later: Frances Esther Clarke passed away on August 7, 1838 in Penzance, Cornwall and was buried in Madron the following week on August 13th.

How to cite this article

Francesca Raia, Lucia Falzari, 2020. “The death of John Walker Jr.”, Anne Lister Italia (accessed: month day, year)


Sources:

Anne Lister. (July 20, 1829). [Diary page, 16 April 1829 - 28 February 1830]. LISTER FAMILY OF SHIBDEN HALL, FAMILY AND ESTATE RECORDS, INCLUDING RECORDS OF ANNE LISTER, DIARIST, (SH:7/ML/E/12/0059), West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, England, United Kingdom.

Anne Lister. (August 11, 1827). [Travel journal, 15 June - 12 August 1827]. LISTER FAMILY OF SHIBDEN HALL, FAMILY AND ESTATE RECORDS, INCLUDING RECORDS OF ANNE LISTER, DIARIST, (SH:7/ML/TR/1/0071), West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, England, United Kingdom.

Ann Walker. (January 19, 1835). [Diary page, June 1834 - February 1835]. RAWSON FAMILY OF SOWERBY, FAMILY AND ESTATE RECORDS (WYC:1525/7/1/5/1/36), West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, England, United Kingdom.

Financial records (1831-1839). WALKER FAMILY OF CROW NEST, HIPPERHOLME-CUM-BRIGHOUSE AND SCOTLAND, RECORDS (INCLUDING WEST INDIES ESTATES), (CN:99/2), West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, England, United Kingdom.

(Digital Collection) England, Cornwall parish registers : COLLECTION RECORD, 1538-2010 / Cornwall Record Office. Parish registers for St. Mary's Church, Penzance, 1789-1984, Burials, 1813-1901; Marriages, 1837-1901; Banns, 1874-1881. FamilySearch.

In Search of Ann Walker: John Walker Jr. and Frances Esther Penfold’s honeymoon travel-map.

The National Archives in Naples and Portale Antenati, Chiaia (Naples) death records, 1830.

The National Archive in Naples. The Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ref. 6414.

Il Tufo Giallo Napoletano, Osservatorio Vesuviano.

Gazzetta di Milano, dalla C.R., Stamperia di governo, 1829, numeri 284 e 289.

Gazzetta di Genova, stamp. dell'Istituto e della Gazzetta Nazionale, 1829, n. 83.

British Cemetery in Naples.

Acknowledgments:

To In Search of Ann Walker, for sharing with us the information about Walker and Penfold families as well as the Walkers expense notes, including the payment to Mr. Baroncelli, and for supporting us in this research.

Thanks to the Packed with Potential team, for calling us into this research.

To Mr. Piacentino, Manager of the British cemetery in Naples.

The National Archive in Naples for the authorization to display the images of the two records.

The Ministry of Culture and the Archives Central Management, for displaying the Neapolitan records on Portale Antenati.

To Irene Trotta for the design and management of visual content.