Tracing the disparate ancestries of four great families


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Biography of Frank Scott Haydon

Biography of Frank Scott Haydon by Alan Bell

Haydon, Frank Scott (1822–1887), record scholar, was born on 12 October 1822, the eldest son of Benjamin Robert Haydon (1786–1846), the painter, and his wife, Mary Cawse Hyman. He was baptised at Paddington, Middlesex, on 13 July 1829, Sir Walter Scott being a godfather (whence came his second name) and Mary Russell Mitford a godmother. He was educated, on his impecunious father's borrowings, at a school at Wappenham, Northamptonshire, and then at Cambridge University, where he entered Gonville and Caius College in 1840 but migrated to Jesus College in January 1842. He came high both in mathematics and classics, but his university career was embarrassed by his father's irregular payments and he took the pass degree of BA in 1845. In that year Haydon secured a nomination from Sir Robert Peel to one of the Public Record Office clerkships, at £80 per annum, with prospects of improvement. He briefly took up a customs appointment in 1846 but soon returned to the junior clerkship of his original department. He was promoted senior clerk in 1860 and assistant keeper in 1885.

Much of Haydon's work was concerned with the calendaring of the patent rolls* and he had a high reputation in the office for his palaeographical skill. His other main work was an edition for the Rolls Series of the Eulogium historiarum (3 vols., 1858–63): he worked on this out of office hours and was paid an editorial fee.

Haydon married on 14 October 1858 at Merton, Surrey, Ellen Mary (1829–1861), second daughter of Edward Rayne of West Barnes. They had a daughter, Ellen Mary Middleton (b. 1859), who survived him, and two children who died in infancy. From 1854 he was custodian of his father's very extensive manuscript diary, which he annotated discreetly and accurately; it descended to his daughter and was eventually published in full in 1960–63.

Haydon had the reputation among his Public Record Office contemporaries of being ‘superior and temperamental’, and his sight had been troubling him before his death. He shot himself through the brain on 29 October 1887, at his home, Southey Lodge, Kingston Road, Wimbledon, in circumstances which recalled his father's suicide.

a series of administrative records compiled in the English Chancery, running from 1201 to the present day.

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