Lady Elizabeth Maria Gage (1793-1857) was born Elizabeth Maria Foley. Her father Edward Foley (1747-1803) was an MP initially for Droitwich and from 1774 until he died in 1803 for Worcestershire. According to the History of Parliament website he was “a member, like his elder brother, of the fast set of gambling and racing Foxite Whigs.......... he was not a steady attender at Westminster.”
Edward’s first marriage to Lady Anne Coventry was dissolved by an act of parliament due to her adultery with Charles Henry, Earl of Peterborough.
Title page of book published in 1785 of the Divorce Trial
In 1790 Edward Foley married his distant cousin Eliza Maria Hodgetts (1771-1805). Edward was 43 and Eliza 19. Elizabeth Maria was born in 1793. Her father died when she was 10 and her mother Eliza 2 years later. On 8th March 1813 Elizabeth Maria Foley married Henry Hall Gage, 4th Viscount Gage (1791-1877) at St Georges Hanover Westminster. As she was just 20 and therefore a minor, her uncle and guardian the Honourable Andrew Foley stood in for her late father
The marriage certificate of the Honourable Henry Hall, Lord Viscount Gage and Elizabeth Maria Foley
Following their marriage Lord and Lady Gage’s activities were widely reported in the newspapers. The Sussex Advertiser 29th November 1813 announced that Lord and Lady Gage had arrived at Firle Place to the “inexpressible joy of the neighbourhood.”
On 5th January 1824 the Advertiser described a ball and supper at the Royal Pavilion that Lord and Lady Gage had attended. On 31st January 1831 they reported in Court News that Royal dinner guests to their Majesties were “more select than numerous” Lord and Lady Gage are among those mentioned.
And on 3rd February 1831 the Brighton Gazette reported on the Grand Ball at the Royal Pavilion to celebrate the Duke of Sussex birthday. Lord and Lady Gage are among the long list of guests. The Grand Ball had taken place on the 28th January. Lady Gage had given birth to her youngest daughter Fanny Charlotte on 1st December 1830.
Henry Hall and Elizabeth Maria Gage had six children: Henry Edward Hall 1814-1875, Elizabeth Maria 1816-1882, (Clara) Ann Maria 1818-(?), Caroline Harriet 1823-1888, Edward Thomas 1825-1889, Fanny Charlotte 1830-1883.
Note - the Grand Ball was on 28th January. Lady Gage gave birth to her youngest daughter Fanny Charlotte on 1st December 1830. As the baby was only 2months old Lady Gage may well have had the remnants of a baby bump disguised no doubt by corsetry beneath her dress that night.
It would appear from the newspaper reports Lady Gage was extremely well liked. Praised for her generosity to the poor and sadly lamented when she died suddenly at Firle Place in 1857.
Sussex Agricultural Express 20th June 1857