26 Brunswick Square

Google streetview of 26 Brunswick Square
26 Brunswick Square

Google Streetview

If you take a stroll around Brunswick Square today you will notice in the top corner number 26 which is now divided into 12 flats or 13 if you include the garden flat. However, when it was built in 1830 it was intended as the sole residence of one family. Advertised in the Morning Advertiser on 11th November 1830 as being “a splendid freehold mansion with uninterrupted marine views, suitable for a nobleman or family of distinction”.

Newspaper cutting from 11 November 1830
11th November 1830 Morning Post

The distinctive family who moved in were the Gores. Quite when they moved in isn’t clear but they were certainly resident from the mid-1830s until 1904.

So, who were the family who spent over 70 years residing in the house?

Sir Ralph Gore, an Irish nobleman, married Lady Grace Maxwell in 1802 when he was 44 and Grace was 30. They had three daughters and a son.

The Gores were a prominent part of the Brighton social scene and mixed with a number of other residents of Brunswick Square. They attended the Grand Ball in 1831 for the Duke of Sussex’s birthday and hosted balls and dinner parties aplenty, all recorded in the local newspapers. Sir Ralph was also a great sportsman. There are vivid descriptions in the local press of him at the age of 74 chasing hares across the fields of Falmer, Bevendean and Kemptown with up to 60 other horsemen.

Like his father, son St George Gore, the youngest in the family, was also a keen sportsman. Described by the Berkshire Chronicle as ”a fine built, stout, light haired, resolute looking man” he gained great notoriety for a three-year expedition he made to America in 1854 at the age of 43. He certainly didn’t skimp, spending approximately 500,000 dollars, about 14 million pounds in today’s money. His retinue comprised 27 vehicles, over 100 horses, eighteen oxen, 40 men, including mountain guide Jim Bridger, and his own large striped tent with a brass bedstead!

He claimed to have killed 2,000 buffalo, 1,600 deer and 105 bears. He was criticised by one observer for the wholesale slaughter of so many animals. M C Meiggs wrote to the secretary of the interior commenting, “we punish an Indian for killing a settler’s cow for food...how can such destruction of the game be permitted...”. The government, however, took no action against Gore.

Photograph of a tourist sign showing the Gore mountain range
Sign at Gore Range, Colorado, named after St George. The man in the picture is his guide, Jim Bridger
HMdb.org The Historical Marker Database

St George Gore never married and died in 1878 aged 67.

The eldest daughter, Grace like her mother, married Frederick Dundas MP on 2nd June 1847 in Hove. They were both 42. Interestingly, the maiden name of Maria Cunnyngham who lived at number 10 Brunswick Square was also Dundas and perhaps a relative of Frederick, maybe the pair met at one of the many gatherings which the families attended.

The other two sisters, Martha Elizabeth and Elizabeth Esther, both lived at number 26 until their deaths, Martha in 1894 aged 88 and Elizabeth in 1904 aged 94. Elizabeth in the last years of her life was attended to by Dr Willoughby Furner who lived at number 13 Brunswick Square (The Regency Town House). Both sisters were engaged in local life and were recognised as great philanthropists.

Many servants worked for the Gores during their time at number 26, sometimes as many as twelve at any one time. At the funeral of Elizabeth in 1904 one report commented on Ann Boorman who had worked as a housemaid for the family for nearly 40 years.

Elizabeth left £38,461 19s 4d in her will, approximately £5.7 million in today’s money.

The house was advertised for sale following Elizabeth’s death and initially failed to sell.

Newspaper cutting of the Brighton Gazette of 1 December 1904
Brighton Gazette - Thursday 01 December 1904

However, records show that in 1911 Fredericka Eleanor Griffiths-Masten was living at the house with 4 servants. She was still resident when she died in 1929 aged 73.  She was married to Joseph Griffiths Masten although he wasn’t always present at the address.

So, for at least 70 years the house was inhabited by the Gore family. St George, Martha and Elizabeth never married and Grace was 42 when she married Frederick Dundas. There were no children to inherit their wealth. Indeed Elizabeth, the last surviving sibling, left her fortune to Arthur Mountague Bernard. What was his connection to the Gores?

Arthur, born in 1852, married Katherine Mary Gore in 1881. Katherine, the daughter of the Reverend William Francis Gore, was born in New South Wales, Australia. Her father was a clergyman with a claim to fame of having built a church organ in Yandilla. He had arrived in the 1840s from Ireland just when the colony was opening up to new settlers as opposed to relying on convicts for labour.

Photograph of the Yandilla homestead
Yandilla Homestead situated on the Gore highway photographed in 1884
[Photograph from Hume Family Collection, Fryer Library, University of Queensland]

Although research has not been conclusive it is perhaps safe to assume that Katherine Mary was related to the Gores who resided at number 26.

Katherine’s father William Francis had brothers called Ralph and St George, names that run in the family. There is the Irish connection and most importantly she, or rather her husband, inherited Elizabeth Gore’s money. Arthur and Katherine both died in 1927 and left their effects to unmarried daughter Theodora.

Research by Jill Vigus (October 2023)

Return to Brunswick Square page