David Lance, who made his fortune in the service of the East India Company, came to Southampton in 1789 and married Mary Fitzhugh, daughter of Valentine Fitzhugh of Bitterne Manor House. It is not known where he lived at this time but it is presumed to be in a mansion in the Above Bar area as his children were baptized in All Saints and Holy Rood Churches. In 1797 he moved to the newly-built Chessel House in Bitterne.

The novelist Jane Austen, who lived in Castle Square between 1807 and 1809, developed a friendship with the Lance family and visited Chessel House on a number of occasions. Her letters also reveal that she sometimes met Lance’s two teenage daughters at the Assembly Balls in the Dolphin Hotel.

The place and time of David Lance’s death are uncertain, but the date was about 1819. His widow and his daughter Mary moved to Paris, where Mrs. Lance died in 1835. Lance's Hill in Bitterne is named after him.

See also:

Further reading:
Stories of Southampton Streets, by A. G. K. Leonard, p59-64. (HS/h)


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