the second wife of James Rattray was born 29th April 1788 in London probably not far from St Martins in the Fields, where a brother was buried the year before.
She was one of the children of Charles Wright who married Ann Ainsley and died leaving a young family which had to be brought up more or less in various charitable institutions.
She was "brought up in the Asylum for Female Orphans on Charity and from thence came to be Shopwoman to the Testator who afterwards married her" (Affidavit of John Rattray 16/3/1826.
Elsewhere it is stated "Mrs Rattray was educated at the Freemasons' Female Charity School".
Mrs Burn thinks that the family were brought up at the Foundling Hospital but this seems very doubtful having regard to the wording of the above extracts.
There is an interesting relic of this period of her life now (1906) in the possession of J Stanley Mitcalfe (who took it from the Family Bible of the Johnson's formerly in the possession of Miss Mary Johnson) in the shape of a Sampler worked in the Asylum and dated about 1797. It has on it "The gift of Jane Wright to a friend".
A similar relic is now (1906) in the possession of Francis Rattray Bergh. It is a "housewife" of four pockets worked back and front. At the back partly faded
"Go like your feavenly farther (sic)
"Feed the poor and carry comfort
"to the sick man's door. Pity the
"widow be the Orphan's friend
"and if you cannot give them
"worked in the
This was given by Mrs Burn.
Note: This Sampler measures 12½" x 3½" contains four pockets and folds into four. It is in good condition, well worked and the threads still retain their colours. It is now in the possession of M.D.B. R.F.B.
Jane Rattray Bergh died a few months after her husband i.e. on the 29th March 1825, Tuesday, "of inflammation of the stomach" at the Bond St. Shop and was buried with her husband.
She had been ill for sometime and the business had the previous month been sold to John Sheldon Johnston who in an Affidavit 16/3/1826 stated that she had said to him when her husband died "I have now nothing to live for except to see my poor child well brought up tho' I fear I shall never see that" referring to her poor state of health and not, as was afterwards suggested, to her want of confidence in her relatives.
Copyright © Anthony Hickson