TREASURE DESCRIPTION: Former house of Admiral Lord Nelson, one of Britain’s greatest naval heroes, who lived there with his mistress Lady Emma Hamilton and her husband, Sir William Hamilton.
It was the only house that Nelson ever owned and lived in. He bought the house in 1801 and lived there from 1801-1803, and also in the Autumn of 1805, before his death in the Battle of Trafalgar. Nelson lived there with Lady Emma Hamilton and her husband, Sir William Hamilton. The rather unusual, ménage à trois living arrangement, scandalized British society and seemingly Lady Hamilton referred to the household as tria juncta in uno or ‘three joined in one’ (the motto of the Knights of the Order of Bath to which both Nelson and Sir Hamilton belonged). Despite spending much time at sea, Nelson was a countryman at heart and greatly enjoyed the peacefulness and charm of the area – which he referred to as ‘dear, dear Merton’. Lady Hamilton sometimes referred to Merton Place as ‘Paradise Merton’. The house was originally known as the Moat House Farm, built c. 1750 by Henry Pratt. Subsequently, it was owned by Sir Richard Hotham, a wealthy hat manufacturer; and then later, the estate passed onto Charles Greave, a partner in a local calico-printing works.
These treasures were made as part of The Building Exploratory, Wandle Treasures project. This project was part of the wider Living Wandle Landscape Partnership Scheme, funded by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.