She had 10 children: George John, Eliza, Tully, Fanny, Charles, Josephine, Hatty, Elenor, and Emily.

Elenor died aged 2 and John at 26, the others lived into their 70s and 80s.

Hannah Annett

Born on 24 January 1794 at Alnwick

Died 17 may 1860 at Dilston aged 66.


Married John Grey of Dilston on 27 December 1814 at Alnwick. "

Hannah's ancestors were French Huguenots on her father's side and on her mother's side were called Hardy.
Written on the back "She was married in a blue riding habit in which she rode to church"



                                                               Dilston 25 Sept 1842

My dearest Marg’t

         The slow departure of our numerous guests & the picking up of odds and ends to add  the finishing stroke to the bride’s goods and chattels, have hitherto prevented me from giving you the details you desired of the proceeding. Must I begin at the previous Saturday when Edgar’s brother arrived? Dear M-A was a little timid about seeing him, but his kind & cordial manner soon set her at ease, he is in truth one of the kindest beings & seems determined to make Mary Ann’s entrance into the family a happy one, he says she will soon be a great pet among them, & will be so much “made of” as to cause her to feel the loss of her own family circle less painful. His gift of pearl ornaments was beautiful and when he presented them he kissed her & said that he had chosen pearls as emblematic of the purity of character which he had always heard was her characteristic. He is an extremely handsome man regularly so, & sensible, amiable & worthy, but he has not quite the high order of intellect that Edgar has. Papa will maintain that Edgar is handsomer too, but that is because his expression is more intellectual. Last Sunday we had a very quiet day, wandering after church in the sunny vallies & sitting in the quiet woods, it was quite a summers day & John Garston enjoyed the scenery exceedingly. On Monday morning G.Darling G.Grey[1] & Eliza[2] arrived and at dinner Mr Green, Edgar’s other “man”. I must introduce Mr Green, he is very tall, much taller even than Edgar, looks five years older, has a fine face & thin gentlemanly figure. He resides within ten minutes walk of the cottage at a gentlemanly place, his father left a large fortune, wh. is shared by him & one sister – his mother and sister live with him, they are old and attached friends of Edgar’s & he invited Green to give him an interest in Mary Ann for he says Mrs Green is one of the sweetest of women, & they have so nice and select a circle of acquaintance that their vicinity will be a great advantage to “his little wife”. At first Green seemed indifferent, & talked to G.Darling of dogs & guns & rat hunts etc. he had just come from a large manor he has in Scotland, where he has built a shooting box. We in fact thought him just a “varmint” man, tho’ his soft gentle manner & low voice hinted at better things & a twinkling humour in his eye & sly introduction of some droll allusion bespoke a man of wit. Well, on Tuesday being Hexham shew, the two Gs [1] & Papa went off early & the other guests played about with our three schoolchildren[3] & Annie Robson arrived. G.Grey had at his arrival accosted John for Edgar, so when we saw the children coming up Edgar himself & John stood ready to receive them, when one after another they ran up, threw their arms round his neck & kissed him & never found out their mistake till the real Edgar came from his ambush & gave them a 2nd embrace! People say they are quite “two dromios(?)” but to my eyes not. Edgar is 3 inches taller & fair, whereas John is dark & ruddy. Then Charley[4] & Green & J.Garston walked to Hexham, they joined the Shew dinner & had good fun, all our friends accosting John & wishing him joy as Edgar. Green made a very good & witty speech, he is ready at public speaking & is a man of talent – they came home to a late tea, we ladies having been packing & preparing for the morrow & Edgar helping Mary Ann quiet & preventing her from over tiring herself – it was a great exertion her having to keep up the steam as “Queen of the May” for so many days, but she acquitted herself with quiet self possession.

On Wedy morning we arose at the rational hour of 8, it was a misty morning, but broke out to be a bright balmy day, one to tempt one to loiter out of doors without a bonnet. The gents had breakfast in Papa’s study  (William[2] had joined us the night before) the ladies breakfasted in dressing gowns in the Schoolroom, & dressed at leisure, at ½ past ten Edgar led the bride into the drawing room where all the guests were waiting, the five bridesmaids followed & proceeded to arrange on the gentns’ breasts the favors wh were previously placed on the table in silver baskets, the gloves being in another. Now for the dresses. I ought to give it in newspaper fashion! Well then –

The Bride. A rich worked muslin above white sattin the waist demi high trimmed with plaitings of muslin & rich lace, sleeves & neck also lined, lace habit shirt & collar & lace cuffs – white sattin shoes. Kid gloves with silver embroidery a white Brocade shawl and white french chip bonnet with ostrich feathers & lace fall – the bonnet was extremely becoming, a rare attainment in Bride’s bonnets - & the fair bride looked quite her best. The five maids were all alike in clear muslins, white silk drawn bonnets & clear cardinal capes, lined with white silk & trimmed with narrow french “ruching”. Black kid shoes – the only exception was that Fanny’s dress was worked like her sisters the others tucked all up the skirt. When the carriages drove up Papa & Mary Ann & Fanny[5] entered first, a roomy close carriage wh Edgar has got for their wedding tour. Next came ours (open) containing Edgar, John Garston, Annie Robson & the three lesser sister bridesmaids, next a post chaise with Eliza and Mr Green while G.Darling followed up with Wm, Charley & the two Georges. I omitted to state above that Eliza wore her worked muslin above pink sattin to distinguish her as a matron from the officials. They all said the group at the altar was beautiful, little Emmy enveloped in her folds of white drapery looking Green said like a little Cherub hovering near her sister. The church was half filled with respectably dressed people, & a merry peal of bells & firing of cannon announced to me from afar that the ceremony was concluded. In the meantime, my occupation of receiving Mr & Mrs John Carr, Mrs Major Johnson & Anne Cargill, kept me up to the sticking point, & prevented my giving way to feeling wh. if alone I shd. have indulged, but wh. the eye of others sends back to the secret recesses, there to await a more private opportunity of venting itself. The half hour before breakfast was very easy. Mr Priestman came home with them, & all lauded the bride’s “heroic” behaviour. At breakfast she wore her hair dressed as usual, & her only ornaments were the handsome pearl earings & spray.I had made it my request that speeches shd be forbidden, & Edgar had written two versess of amusing rhyme, to the effect that the groomsmen, as masters of the ceremonies gave notice to “all men & women by these presents” that tho’ toasts would be allowed “ad libitum” yet speeches were strictly forbidden – the rhyme was “we strictly do prohibit ‘em “. That smiles were expected from all the attendants on the lovely bride, but tears were disallowed, & that whichever had dared to shed a tear, must submit as a punishment to have it kissed off by the aforesaid bridesmaids. This was regularly engrossed, signed and sealed by G.Grey, J.H.Garston, & C.G.Grey – the men in office, & put up over the chimney piece. Next came the Breakfast. Margaret Hutchinson had kindly made enquiry in London & written us word how wedding breakfasts are conducted by the renowned   “Gunter” the royal confectioner! So we flattered ourselves that all was “selon les regles”. First the tea & coffee are not set on the table (you had better tell Mrs Howey this) but made by attendants on a side table in the room & handed on salvers, two cups at once, with toast or teacake, ours was made in the entrance hall to save heat & bustle in the room, & there was so little used that it was better out of the way. Then the “Bride’s cake” on the centre of the table is not cut at all, but a small cake is placed on a side table wh is cut by the head groom’s man, & handed round in silver baskets when the fruit is being eaten. Next the fruit is not set about the table in separate bowls or dishes as at a dessert, but heaped up in masses -  on salvers high above the other dishes – these were all instructions from the “west end” wh. Mrs Howey wd like to know – so as I have so little time I depute you to tell her & I know she will consider it the same as if I wrote. A cold round of Beef & a whole cold Ham were in the side table with two immense loaves of brown & white for those who like plain fare, & chose to ask for it. Our kind neighbour Mr Cuthbert had not only supplied me with Blackcocks, pineapples, melons, grapes &c &c &c but sent over one of his gardeners who is used to “decoration” with nearly a cart load of Dalias, geraniums & all sorts of choice flowers. Also his massy silver ice pails & ice for the man to prepare ice creams !!! So the table was splendidly set out with no trouble to any of us! At the head we had a raised ornamental Grouse pie, foot a cold Turkey the corners were cold game, creams, jellies fancy pastry & nick nacks of confectionery preserved ginger, dried cherries etc. all was in glass bowls but the meat & game. In the centre was the cake, raised on an epergne stand & wreathed with Dalias, on each side of it (down the middle) was a flat fancy basket raised on glass stands, these were instead of salvers for the fruit & the light edges being interwoven with geraniums, petunias & scarlet verbenas, it looked even prettier, in these the fruit was heaped up quite in a pyramid, then down past them again were high sponge cakes decorated with sugar flowers, lambs & other appropriate emblems! Everyone seemed to be appetized (Edgar said it was terribly hungry work getting spliced) the grouse pie disappeared from the face of the earth & all the rest of the viands were reduced to mere chaotic wrecks of matter! The debris being removed & nothing left but the row down the middle, of cakes, fruit,confectionery etc.,dessert plates & spoons were set on (but no wine glasses) the two pails with different sorts of ice were handed round while Champagne was freely circulated, there was a decanter of Sherry on the sideboard, but no one asked for any. The prohibition concerning speeches had an excellent effect, for instead of every toast being prefaced by a nervous lacrymose grave speech the puzzle was how to announce the toast without making a speech wh. gave rise to a great deal of fun, Edgar enquiring of the authorities “how many words were by law allowed to constitute a speech”, & humorously counting his fingers to see that he did not infringe the rule. On returning thanks for the health of Bride & Bridegroom, he stood up, making Mary Ann stand also & holding her hand he said “It  was fortunate for them that speeches were forbidden, for no words could have adequately expressed their thanks & gratification” & sat down amid “loud cheers” – the Georges and Green, who are up to sporting details, led the way in cheering, in measured clapping & hurras, as practised at their fishing clubs! – I shd. have stated that Edgar looked nobly well, he was dressed in a blue coat with the buttons of the “Order of the Knights Templars”[6] & his two largest Greek crosses suspended by blue ribbons, white casimere trowsers & Mary Ann’s embroidered vest (silver grey you know). He was in brilliant spirits & his easy cordial manner took off all the ceremony. Mary Ann looked extremely well, she had enough of nervousnes to give her an additional bloom & “interest”, and was in exceedingly good spirits, Edgar talking cheerfully to her all breakfast time & sustaining her, as one may say, made her appear even gay. Mr Green made a very witty speech in returning thanks for the bridesmaid’s health, alluding humorously to his having discovered that the bridegroom had two spare wedding rings in his pocket “on approbation”, proposing that he & his fellow groom shd. seize the favorable oppy. & try if they wd fit any of the fair damsels present! The five maids were ordered to stand up while their healths were drunk, upon wh poor little Emmy being frightened took refuge under the table, wh gave rise to the invidious remark that the Champain had circulated with such effect that some of the bridesmaids were found below the table !! On the whole every one said they never were at so cheerful & happy a wedding! Or had seen a “happy couple” evince so little of stiffness, all being easy & at home – abt. 2 the table broke up & we wandered about the garden etc. till the pair went to change their dresses for travelling. Mary Ann “went off” in her India washing silk, long white scarf shawl, coarse straw bonnet with rose col. trimmings, Edgar wore a smart shooting coat & trowsers, & glengarry cap. They both looked very nicem & not wedding like. The maid[7] went on the Rumble behind. Jim drove them as far as Prudoe, & there post horses met them for Chesterlestreet, by way of Ravensworth vale, avoiding Newcastle, they went only to Durham that evg & next day to Seaton Carew, where we have heard from them comfortably established in bathing quarters for a time. Edgar says Mary Ann has borne all her previous fatigues valliantly & is quite strong and brilliant, he never saw her lookimg so well, I shd tell you that Edgar had long cast a covetous eye on “Pincher” wh Papa had refused to observe, being very much attached to the dog but on their going off he deposited Pincher at the feet saying to Edgar “there, be kind to him and make him like you” Pincher drooped & lost his appetite the first day, but has now recovered himself & has attached himself so closely to his new master that he whines if he loses sight of him for a moment[8].

After they had gone the party broke up into sections. Our friends the Carrs & Mrs Johnson left before dinr. But Anne Cargill & all the rest remained all night. In the evg. we had country dances, then we were called to admire the illumination of the old castle lighted up inside with tar barrells, wh. threw a lurid glare from the broken windows while the dark mass looked yet darker from a beacon blaze on the top turret – the night was so mild & the moon so bright that we went about out of doors. Mr Green came out in full force enacting a Ghost emerging from the darkness in a white sheet, purporting to be an “ancient lord of high degree” scared by the unwonted glare in his “ruined and roofless abode”. Then G.Darling entered attired as one of the maid servants, sang some Newcastle songs  & performed the part of a fortune teller, the strangers did not recognise him for some time & he was pronounced a first rate comic actor, then we adjourned to the laundry where abt. 30 people were enjoying a dance after a plum pudding & cold ham supper, after returning to the drawing room we played games till near midnight. Mr Green and John Garston quite enjoyed the sort of old fashioned “country house” evening & rendered us manful asssistance in merry making!

Next day we partly dispersed & have been dropping off ever since. Emmy is gone home with Eliza. She staid till Friday to help me with Mr Green & J.H.Garston. Mr Green became quite her shadow, he was greatly taken with her, & she found him to be a man of deep & refined feeling hidden under a careless exterior, at parting he said, he had come to serve his friend Edgar , & caring little for his reception, it was therefore the more agreeable surprize to find himself received as a friend by so delightful (he was pleased to say) a circle, he hoped sometime to return our hospitality, but in the meantime he knew the best return he cd. make wd. be to make Mary Ann’s residence in a new neighbourhood as agreeable as possible & no exertion would he spare to do so, & his Mother & sister[9] were waiting to receive her as a daughter & friend. They were from home but he wd request them to hasten their return to welcome her to her pretty cottage. So dear Margt. We have every reason to hope that the dear one is going where she will meet with kind friends & agreeable associates. It is delightful to glean from little things wh. drop from Green and J.Garston how much Edgar is beloved & admired by those who know him best. Papa remarks that John Garston, tho’ a sensible man who has travelled much & gained much knowledge, always speaks of Edgar as his superior in everything & as being quite the pet favorite in their circle.

Josey and Hatty leave me tomorrow morning. Mr Garston also when we shall be very lonely. I have entered into particulars abt the breakfast in case you see Mrs Howey as we agreed to inform one another. All the particulars abt. the Bride etc wd only do for intimate & interested friends like you & your Sister, & not for the multitude but I know dear Margt. you will enjoy hearing of it all, & I like to make you a partaker & have therefore written as I wd. not do but to one other, namely my Sister. William made himself very pleasant & Eliza was quite kind. We had a good joke for her, Mr Airy put Edgar in the Licence as upwards of 21 years of age, & Edgar jested with Eliza about it so good temperedly  saying Mr Airy required his affidavit that he really was above that age as he looked so boyish. She replied she wondered it did not go against his conscience to swear it, he said he confessed he has some scruples! So I think he stopped her remarks on that head! –


Ever dearest Margt.


                  Your affect. H E G


         Your sister will accept half this ‘tis long enough for two










Below: Letter from Hannah Grey, wife of John Grey, describing the marriage of their daughter Mary Ann, known as Tully, to Edgar Garston. She was 21, he 42. The marriage took place in Corbridge Church on 21 September 1842. The recipient cannot be identified with certainty. For more information about the Groom and other members of the Grey family see ‘Six Brides of Dilston’ by Rollo Bolton.

Notes thus: [1]


[1] Mary Ann’s uncle and elder brother were both George Grey

[2] Eliza, her older sister, married William Morrison in 1836, they lived at Pelaw

[3] Josephine aged 14, Harriet (Hatty) aged 12 and Emily (Emmy) aged 6

[4] Mary Ann’s younger brother aged 17

[5] Frances aged 19

[6] More likely the Greek Order of the Saviour

[7] Probably Fanny, chief bridesmaid

[8] ‘Pincher’ must have returned to Dilston as Josephine recalled in her biography of Hatty that, to Hatty’s great distress, he had to be put down for alleged sheep-worrying

[9] John Garston later married Miss Green

Thanks to John Thompson for this letter.