|John Pitt, 2nd Earl of Chatham|
Sunday, 15 November 2015
The Earl of Chatham’s Cellar
The Pitt family made their fortune in India and were actively involved in British politics. William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham was twice Prime Minister during the XVIII century. His second son William also became Prime Minister aged only 24, being known as “Pitt the Younger” while the elder son, John (b. 1756) inherited the title. While John was a soldier in earlier life, he filled various government posts including First Lord of the Admiralty. He was not over-successful in these posts and in 1820 he was appointed Governor of Gibraltar until his death in 1835.
The Pitts were fond of a drink, and John the 2nd. Earl was no exception. No doubt important government business was conducted under the influence, and he was famous for his hospitality in Gibraltar. Here he discovered the merits of Sherry and when his executors looked into his estate they found a cellar full of it at his London residence. They called in a leading wine merchant, Charles Bertram, to list and value the wine, which came to the sum of £599/19/0 (five hundred and ninety-nine pounds and nineteen shillings) – or the equivalent today of £52,000. That was a lot of wine for a widower with no children.
Over 2,000 bottles of wine, of which half was Sherry, were laid in over 25 bins in the cellar, in bottles and pints. Much of it came from Haurie and Cadoza except 46 bottles of Pajarete which Chatham had shipped himself. There was a fair quantity of Madeira which had been given to him, some Málaga, Port, Constantia and some liqueurs and other table wines. The Earl’s preference however was undoubtedly Sherry, generally sweet Sherry.
Information from alwayswantedtobeareiter.wordpress and Jose Luis Jimenez