Archive for January 2011

John Dando's Letter to the Countess - Famous Friday

Category: Famous Connections

Signed picture of the Countess of Huntingdon at Rodborough Tabernacle - click for a larger versionJohn Dando, the elder, my 6 x great-grandfather, was involved in the Calvinistic Methodist movement during the 18th century Evangelical Revival. He was not only acquainted with, but offered hospitality to the famous preacher, George Whitefield, when he was staying in Dursley, Gloucestershire.

Whitefield became the Countess of Huntingdon's personal chaplain and with his assistance the Countess founded the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion, a Calvinistic movement within the Methodist Church.

Although John Dando was a hat maker, it was because of him that a group of Calvinistic Methodists moved from Stancombe to Dursley and established a Tabernacle (a type of Non-Conformist church), which was completed in about 1760.

In 1771, John wrote to Selina, The Countess of Huntingdon. The original letter is kept at The Countess of Huntingdon's Archives, The Cheshunt Foundation, Westminster College, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 0AA. F1 Series No. 141.

In 2008, my parents went to Cambridge and viewed the letter. It's not known whether John Dando ever met the Countess in person but he certainly knew Whitefield.

Read more about John on his family page.

Sports Centre Saturday: Robert Stuart King's England Call-up

Category: Famous Connections

Ireland 0 - 13 England. That was the score on 18th February 1882 when the England football team played Ireland for the first time and this victory remains England's largest ever win. The 1881-1882 season was the 11th season of competitive football for England but it was the Irish team's international debut and the friendly game took place at Knock Ground, Bloomfield, Belfast.

The game was also a first (and last) international appearance for Robert Stuart King, later to become Rev. Canon Robert Stuart King, who was studying at Oxford University at the time. Robert played in the half-back position and was one of seven who became the 90th players to appear for England. He played for the full 90 minutes of the game and was aged 19 years and 320 days.

If anyone has further information or pictures about the match, or about Robert himself, please contact me.

Robert Stuart King was related to me by marriage, being the husband of the daughter of my 2 x great-grandfather on my 'Dando' side. You can see Robert's family page at

[Why Sports Centre Saturday? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Daily Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]