The random—and not so random—musings of a quirky Regency romance writer.
No one with that many people in her head can possibly be normal...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

~Regency Wednesday~ Speaking of Deception, Only My Timing Was Off

While writing Deception, I made reference to a certain historical person of note. At the time, I thought it was fine. Later, I looked up more info on that person and realized I could not make reference to a man who had yet to come into his fame. Who was that man? 

"Golden Ball" Hughes 

Golden Ball was best known for the significant inheritance he received from his stepfather, Admiral Sir Edward Hughes, in 1819. At the time, Golden Ball was plain old Edward Hughes Ball. Eventually, he took on his stepfather's name, becoming Edward Hughes Ball Hughes. It wasn't long before he became known as "Golden Ball" Hughes.* 

With £40,000 per annum, he was easily one of, if not the, richest man in Regency England. He made something of a name for himself as a gentleman of fashion and, according to the many sources I've encountered, was an all-around pleasing gentleman. Accounted quite a handsome man, he was nevertheless rejected by more than one young lady of Society. Apparently, no amount of money could overcome his plebeian roots.

His unfortunate love life came to an end in 1822 when he met Maria Mercandotti, a 15-year-old Spanish dancer. They caused a minor scandal in 1823 when little Maria failed to appear at a performance and rumor suggested they eloped. However, they had secretly married with the permission of her mother and Lord Fife, who rumor suggests was her natural father. As I read this, all I can think is, "How romantic!" 

I have scoured the internet for a print of Ball Hughes that I could include in this post and come up short. I found one on another site; the page may be of some interest to my readers, so I'll at least post the link to that. You have to scroll down quite a bit to reach the print of Ball Hughes but the page is all about Prinny's set so the whole thing is worth a look. Enjoy! 

Further reading: The Beaux of the Regency, Volume II, p 159, by Lewis Melville (1908); The Story of the London Parks, p 255, by Jacob Larwood (1881) 
*Disclaimer: There are differing versions of Golden Ball's parentage. Above, I have presented Melville's version as the accurate one. However, other sources claim Ball's uncle was Admiral Sir Alexander Ball and his father a slop-seller in Ratcliffe Highway. Melville maintains that these writers were wrong and that Ball was the son of Captain Ball of the Royal Navy. Golden Ball's widowed mother married Admiral Sir Edward Hughes but produced no more children. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Golden Ball is the brother of my 3 x GGM Catherine Ball Lee, who married firstly, Rev. Francis Lee, secondly Captain Hon. George de Blaquiere and thirdly, I believe, a Thomas Jenkins. My interest is in the marriage to de Blaquiere.

I do have documents outlining Catherine's acrimonious divorce from Rev. Lee, who cited my 3 x GGF as co-respondent. The marriage of Catherine an de blaquiere produced a child in 1811.

It was interesting to read the information you provided on The Golden Ball and wondered if you have any further information on the family.

Kind regards,


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