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Linley House, 1 Pierrepoint Place, Bath
The Bath Festival Office, which several decades ago was the scene of some strange experiences, can be found at Linley House, 1 Pierrepoint Place, Bath. The building was named after the musician and manager of London’s Drury Lane Theatre (from 1774) Thomas Linley (Born 17 January 1733 – Died 19 November 1795) who lived there for a time with his family*.
Pierrepont Place was developed around 1744 by John Wood the Elder and James Leake on what was the former Abbey Orchard. I am unsure when the Linley family first took possession of it or how many of their musically talented children may have stayed there. Thomas Linley and his wife Mary had twelve children, seven of which followed in their father’s footsteps and developed theatrical or musical careers.
Elizabeth Ann Linley (Born 7 September 1754 – Died 28 June 1792) was a singer and the eldest daughter of Thomas Linley. She eloped to France with the playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan (Born 30 October 1751 – Died 7 July 1816) on 18 March 1772.**
Thomas Linley the younger (Born 1756 – Died 1778), also known as the ‘English Mozart’ for his compositions was the eldest son.
Mary Linley (Born 1758 – Died 1787) was a singer and married the playwright and satirist Richard Tickell (Born 1751– Died 1793) in 1780
Samuel Linley (Born 1760 – Died December 1778) was the second son. He was an oboe player and midshipman aboard HMS Thunderer.
Maria Linley (Born 1763 – Died 1784) was a singer who performed at Drury Lane.
Ozias Thurston Linley (Born 1765 – Died 1831), an organist and an eccentric. He was a graduate of Corpus Christi College, Oxford and a minor canon of Norwich Cathedral.
William Linley (Born 1771 – Died 1835) retired from the British East India Company in 1810 and dedicated himself to writing, singing and composing.
There is a story, which I do not think has any real evidence to back it up, suggesting that Horatio Nelson first met Lady Emma Hamilton whilst she was a maid in the Linley household at 1 Pierrepont Place***. Amy Lyon (or Emma Hart) (Born 26 April 1765 – Died 16 January 1815), later Lady Emma Hamilton was famous for being Lord Nelson’s mistress. It has been said that they may have met in 1781 whilst he was convalescing at 2 Pierrepont Street after catching a bout of Malaria. (Once he was well again he was given command of the frigate HMS Albemarle on 5 August 1781). If Emma was there in Bath she was not likely to be in the Linley household as I suspect that they were in Royal Crescent by 1772. Early in her life she was however a maid to some of the actors and actresses at the Drury Lane Theatre, so she may have met some of the Linleys.
The author Andrew Green wrote the following account of haunting like experiences reported at the Festival Office at 1 Pierrepoint Place, Bath. 'Some members of the staff have been puzzled to hear during the afternoons, the sound of footsteps going upstairs to what they are assured, is an empty room. The unseen visitor never returns but visitors calling to discuss the programme of the Festival have also commented on the noise. In 1962 a former occupant of a flat in the house admitted that she, too, had often heard the arrival of the invisible caller as had a friend of hers. The footsteps always stop outside the door of the flat but on the frequent occasions when the door was opened there was never anyone there.'
*The Linley Family lived first at Abbey Green, then 1 Pierrepont Place and finally at 11 Royal Crescent, Bath
**A phantom coach and horses that reputedly haunts the Royal Crescent is thought re-enact the elopement of Elizabeth Linley and Richard Sheriden, who eloped from No 11 in 1772.
***Lady Hamilton is thought to have lived for a while at 6 Edward Street in Bath around 1810.