Monday, 16 December 2019

Sloane Birthplace

In December, 2013, I paid a visit to the location of Sir Hans Sloane's birthplace.

Incidentally, as many will be aware, one of Prince Andrew's subsidiary titles is Baron Killyleagh.

Sir Hans Sloane Bt.  Photo Credit: The Royal Society

I have already written about the royal physician and pre-eminent collector, Sir Hans Sloane, 1st and last Baronet.

Victorian House on the Site of the Sloanes' original Dwelling

He was born in 1660 in the Sloane family's thatched house at Frederick Street, within a stone's throw of the Castle.

I photographed the location and a carved stone inscribed "1637, "GS", "MW", and "Rebuilt 1880".

The following article, written by W R Sloan, was published by the Royal Society in 1980:-
Any street urchin in the small town of Killyleagh in the south of County Down will tell the curious visitor that Sir Hans Sloane was born in an old thatched house there, convenient to the castle. 
Over its doorway was a keystone, or as the Scots would have called it a marriage stone, with the date 1637 and the initials ‘GS’ and ‘M W ’. 
The house was demolished about 1860. 
Its replacement of 1880 has since also disappeared, but what purports to be the old keystone, or more likely a copy of it, now decorates the wall of a nearby car park. 
Around that stone has grown a complex legend, now almost sacred dogma in the area, which can best be read in St John Brooks’s biography (1) of the man who was to succeed Isaac Newton as President of the Royal Society. 
We are asked to suppose, or indeed believe, that ‘GS’ stood for George Sloane, and that he was the father of Alexander and grandfather of Sir Hans: but a different view begins to emerge from a study of the first Census (1659) which described Alexander Sloane as the ‘chief resident’ of Lisnagh with eleven English and eleven Irish tenants. 
Significantly there is no reference to any Sloane in Killyleagh.
First published in November, 2013.

No comments :