Recognized HTML document
Previous Index Next

The Ancestry of 'Francis Galton   21

professorship in Natural Philosophy at Oxford. It is not without interest that the grandson of Savile and Sedley in the sixth degree should have founded a professorship in his turn.

,One of the most noteworthy points connected with this branch of Francis Galton's ancestry is the tendency to die out in the male line. Sir Henry Savile left an only daughter, Sir Charles Sedley an only daughter, the Colyears ceased to be in the male line, the Darwin family springing from the Darwin-Collier marriage has ceased to be in the male line, and this is true whether we follow it in either Galton or Darwin branches. The women of the stock have children, but their sons again, are childless or nearly childless. This is far too widespread a phenomenon to be the result of chance; we must probably conclude that childlessness of the male is a definite heritage :of the Savile-Sedley ancestry. It provided keen wit, courtly manners, literary power, and love of adventure, but handicapped the sons with this fatal dower.

Of Elizabeth Collier's mother I am less able to speak definitely. I have sought for families of Collier which would be at all likely to be in touch with the racing circle of Godolphin, Leeds, and Portmore. The only one I-have found was next neighbour to Gog-Magog House, a yeoman family of Collier associated with the villages of Stapleford and Stow-cum-Quy, but a few miles from Cambridge and from Newmarket. , Here a certain Elizabeth Collier was born in 1713; she is not married till the year after Mrs Darwin's birth, but no trace of the registration of that.birth has been found'. I suspect, but cannot prove, that she was the mother of our Elizabeth Collier, and that shortly before 1745, she came as governess into the household of the Dowager Duchess of Leeds, then wife of Lord Portmore, whose stepson two or three years earlier had married Mary Godolphin, the daughter of Lord Godolphin of Gog-Magog House, Stapleford. Should this be correct, Francis Galton would be a descendant of a member of a family which has produced men noteworthy both in literature and medicine. He would probably be a direct descendant of the father of Jeremy, Collier, the. famous non juror. Collier's writings are described as "clear, brilliant and incisive," the work according to Macaulay of "a great master of sarcasm, 'a great master of rhetoric." Almost singlehanded Collier purged the

' That birth is not recorded in the church registers at Weybridge, the home of the Portmores.


Previous Index Next