Following the death of Thomas Adams, notary of Alnwick in 1813, the Eshott Estate and the bulk of his wealth passed to his brother Alexander, a very rich man in his own right and owner of the Acton Estate near Felton. What happened to this immense combined fortune from this point left a paper trail that traversed the globe before landing in the hands of a supposed completely unrelated builder of Newcastle upon Tyne by the name of William Mather. Instrumental to this story is an extraordinary gentleman by the name of Thomas Naters, an international man of mystery indeed!
An account of the funeral procession of Alexander Adams is recounted in the Durham County Advertiser on 12 April 1817:-
“On Tuesday morning last the remains of the late highly respected Alexander Adams Esq of Newcastle, and of Acton, in Northumberland were conveyed from his house in Northumberland Street, in Newcastle, in a hearse with six horses, attended by relations and several private friends. In three mourning coaches, with four horses each, and a great number of gentleman’s carriages, and were interred at the family burial vault in Felton church. Before the procession arrived at Felton, it was met by several carriages from Alnwick, with the relations and private friends from that part of the country, and also by the numerous and respectable tenantry of the deceased. An immense concourse of persons were assembled in the church upon the occasion.”
at of Princess Charlotte who died later the same year.
Where there's a Will
William alas did not live long enough to enjoy his fortune and died in Calcutta on 24th October 1818 aged just 40. His estate was to pass to Thomas, but where was he?, and more to the point who on earth was he?
An International Man of Mystery
Preparing himself for future eventualities Thomas wrote his own Will whilst in residing in Newtown, Long Island, New York in 1822, where one obituary states he had built a fine residence. In it he named William Mather, son of Joseph and Mary Mather of Newcastle upon Tyne as his sole heir and executor. Surely this is the one and the same William Mather left £10 for mourning by Barbara Carter in her will of 1818, to which Thomas Naters was primary beneficiary?
“The possession of so much wealth deprived him of repose and peace of mind – and being beset by various charitable and religious institutions he squandered his wealth according to his whims rather than the exercise of any good judgement. He became weary and disgusted, and without taking leave of his friends, suddenly departed for Europe. His intention was to find some solitary abode where he might conceal himself and his riches from mankind, for he had become a complete misanthrope”
The Tax Bill from Hell
The Big Question
- In 1818 William Mather is mentioned in the Will of Barbara Carter, mother of William Adams, and to which Thomas Naters is main beneficiary.
- In 1830 the first child of William Mather and Margaret Lawson, baptised on the 12th February at St Andrews, Newcastle upon Tyne is named Thomas Naters Mather (died July of the same year).
- The second child of William and Margaret baptised at St Andrew the 14th June 1831 is named William Adams Mather.
- Third child of William and Margaret baptised 13th March 1883 at St Andrews is named Charles Thomas Naters Mather.
- Fourth child baptised 13th March 1834 at St Andrews is finally named Joseph after William’s father.
All in all a most unusual naming pattern if his subsequent benefactor was neither unknown nor unrelated to him!
Was Thomas Naters cousin or just a friend to William Adams?
Was William Adams related to William Mather, hence the bequest by Thomas to a relative of his initial benefactor?
Were they all related?, and was Barbara Carter the common denominator?
This post probably ask more questions than it answers but as they say on the X Files “The truth is out there”, I just wish I could find it!
William Mather and his heirs (his line died out with his sons) were closely associated with the estate of Longridge, near Berwick, but again that is a story in its own right so has not been covered here.