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Henry Cort's pension


Upon the representation of Mr. HDundas (Lord Melville), the Treasury by warrant granted him a similar pension of £200 which he enjoyed until his death in 1800.

From Weale collection, Vol 3 leaf 205

In 1794 the lords of the treasury, on the representation of Mr Pitt, granted Cort an annual pension of £200, which by deduction was reduced to about £160.

From original (19th century) DNB entry on Cort.


There is probably truth in both these accounts.


We can take it the pension was the Government's response to the 1791 petition, which requested a Government appointment for Cort.


Pitt seems to have passed on the request to Dundas, who decided a pension was the best solution.


The deduction, considered stingy by some, was probably intended to pay some of Cort's outstanding debt to the Crown.



1800 collection for widow


£300 collected by the Iron Masters shortly after my husband's death, in the hands of Sir Robert Wigram.

†† Item in will of Henry Cort's widow Elizabeth, 16 August 1813


This is the only record I have found of this collection.


Sir Robert Wigram was one the signatories of the 1791 petition.


The ODNB lists several investments he made in the affairs of the East India Company and its associates, but I haven't yet found a reason for a special concern for Henry Cort's dependants.



Widow's pension


The indigence of the widow and her family is well known and my opinion is that they are real objects for national relief.

Opinion of Navy Comptroller Sir Andrew Snape Hamond, in response to petition by Henry Cort's widow, 1801.

Cash paid to Mrs Elizth Cort, out of Money arisen by the sale of Old Stores being for her Pension between the 23 May 1800 & 25 March 1802 At the rate of £125 per ann Agreeable to His Majesty's Sign Manual dated the 4 May 1802.£230.2.9

Entry in Navy Treasurer's Account Book, 31 May 1802


I discovered the payment record by accident: the only one I have found for any pension paid to Henry Cort's family.



1812 collection


£400 collected by the Iron Masters in the years 1811 & 1812 paid by Mr. Thompson of Chepstow, 1812.

Item in will of Henry Cort's widow Elizabeth, 16 August 1813


The inception of this collection is well chronicled, but this is the only record I have seen of what happened to it.


"Mr Thompson of Chepstow" is well documented as a former clerk at Cyfarthfa.



Richard Cort and his sisters


RICHARD CORT, the only surviving son of the late Henry Cort, of Gosport, in the county of Southampton, iron manufacturer, on behalf of himself and three sisters, aged from 68 to 73 years (Mr. Roebuck).

Summary of petition to House of Commons, presented4 July 1856.

On 20th June 1855, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister Lord Palmerston, Richard Cort was granted a pension of £50 in the Civil List and his two unmarried sisters had their pensions increased to £19 p.a. and eventually to £30 and, in 1859, to £50 p.a.

From Mott/Singer, Henry Cort: The Great Finer, p79.


So much for the Government's response to the furore of the 1850s.


The year quoted by Mott/Singer must be wrong.The Old DNB says the pension was granted in 1856.


But their entry also says the unmarried sisters' original pensions had been granted on their mother's death in 1816.This is hardly credible, since her will was not proved until 1826.


Pensions were evidently requested on behalf of three sisters, but granted to only two.It is likely that one had died in the interval between the request and the grant: though it could be that Palmerston ignored the claims of a widowed or married sister.


There is also a query about the age, identity and marital status of the three sisters.



Related pages


Cort's birth

A navy agent

Cortís first wife

ďCortshipĒ of second wife

Cortís promotion efforts1783-86

Generosity of friends 1789-94

1791 petitioners

Cortís twilight years

Illness of Cort's son

Publications about Cort

Memorials to Henry Cort

Images of Henry Cort

Henry Cortís character

Cort's children and descendants

Standon in Hertfordshire

Significance of the Melville trial

Parliamentary Inquiry 1811-12

The furore of the 1850s

1856 accolade

Cortís patents

Refutation of allegations of conspiracies against Cort

Society of Arts

Main sources of information

Contemporary documents

Navy sources

Chancery files


Life of Henry Cort