Brethren Archive

Khatoon Moscow

Born: Unknown
Died: 30th May 1865
Appears in Cronin / Congleton / Lowe / Newman / Bellett / McAdam / Soltau / Maynard / Kingscote / Deck / Pollock Family Tree

Intro, Biographical Information, Notes etc:

Khatoon Constantine (widow of Yoosoof Constantine, of Bushira), 2nd daughter of Ovauness Moscow, of Shiraz.


The circumstances were enormously challenging amongst a hostile Muslim population, but some progress had been made with nominal Christians, and an Armenian widow named Khatoon, the mother of two children, professed faith in the Lord and joined the mission. She became Parnell's second wife on 21st May, 1833. The marriage of a British aristocrat to a middle-eastern woman was in those days most unusual, but Parnell felt it to be an answer to prayer.

Timothy Stunt said ...
Allow me to give you a few more details about the Armenian widow, Mrs Khatoon Constantin. She was one of two daughters of Ovauness Moscow who lived in Shiraz, Persia around the turn of the 19th century
She and her sister were born in Shiraz — some sources say Ispahan – where, according to Joseph Wolff, the Prince of Shiraz wanted them for his harem. To save them from such a fate, their parents smuggled them out of town and had them brought in a basket to Bushire where William Bruce, the British Resident arranged for them to be educated.
Khatoon's sister was married to Colonel Robert Taylor, who was the British Resident in Baghdad when Anthony Norris Groves arrived there in December 1829. She [Khatoon’s sister] had been visiting England in 1828 and travelled back to Baghdad with Groves’s party.
Khatoon, the future Lady Congleton, was married to an Armenian merchant, Yusuf Constantin (sometimes referred to as Mr. Lazar) with whom she moved to Baghdad where he died sometime before 1833. He and she were the parents of two children (Lazar Josef born c. 1824; d.1866; Miriam born c.1829; died 1853). As a widow, Mrs Khatoon Constantin was living with her sister and brother-in-law in Baghdad very near to Groves's home, where John Vesey Parnell (later the 2nd Lord Congleton) arrived 22 June 1832. By 1833, Francis Newman had left Baghdad to return to England so he was not one of the three men in the oft-related tale (based on the account in George Smith's "Life of Alexander Duff" [1879]) of three bachelor missionaries drawing lots to decide who should propose to the newly-converted Armenian widow. In fact the three unmarried men were all widowers, Anthony Norris Groves, John Parnell, and Dr Edward Cronin. Actually Groves had already made a proposal by post to Harriet Baynes in England, and in all probability Parnell's decision to propose to Mrs Constantin was not the result of a lottery, though the matter was surely the subject of prayer together. She died much later, on 30 May 1865, when Lord Congleton had been living in England for many years.
Her sister had a rather more exciting life, but I shall not trouble you with the details.
Timothy Stunt
Sunday, Mar 12, 2017 : 22:41
Tom said ...
Fascinating, thank you! Though the tantalizing reference to her sister, I feel needs further explanation!
Monday, Mar 13, 2017 : 10:39
Timothy Stunt said ...
As you ask, I shall comply!
Her sister, Mrs Taylor, had a rather more exciting life. She was married at an early age to Lieutenant Robert Taylor; when travelling in 1808 to meet her husband her ship was captured by pirates and a ransom had to be paid to get her back; she later travelled in 1829 with A N Groves overland from England to Baghdad where her husband (now Major Taylor) was the British resident and the purchaser of the 'Taylor Prism' which is now in the British Museum and contains Sennacherib's account of his conquests. Taylor returned with his wife to England and after his death she was living for a time in Boulogne where her sister Khatoon, now Lady Congleton and her husband visited her. A few years ago a book was published about Mrs Taylor's great grandson, Harry Kessler [1868-1937], Anglo-German art patron, writer and activist (Laird M Easton, "Red Count, The Life and Times of Harry Kessler", (Berkeley [University of California Press] 2002). In it, the author claims (p. 16) that Mrs Taylor (and therefore logically her sister, Lady Congleton also) was related to the Shah of Persia who visited her during his state visit to England in 1873 (eight years after the death of Lady Congleton.) So perhaps Parnell's second marriage was a little more aristocratic than some had imagined!
Timothy Stunt
Monday, Mar 13, 2017 : 14:28
Susan Harvard said ...
My book 'Theodore & Eliza, the true story', due to be published shortly, includes more information about Mrs Taylor. Her story may have been the inspiration for the marriage of my eponymous protagonists, when Theodore was appointed to Mocha in Yemen, as 'British Resident in the Arabian Gulph'. Theodore's illegitimate son Dr. Frederick Forbes stayed with the Taylors in 1838. In a letter to his half-sister, written in July 1838, Frederick describes how he has just arrived in Baghdad from staying with Col. Robert Taylor’s son in Basra. When he reached Baghdad, he tells her, he was received ‘very kindly’ by Col. Taylor the British Resident, whose ‘family consists of his wife, an Armenian by birth but educated in England, and two daughters just come out'...etc.
In 1808, Mrs Taylor was quite a celebrity. Her husband was assistant to Samuel Manesty, British Resident in the Persian Gulf at Bushire. The pirate fleet had intercepted a convoy which included Manesty’s Ship La Minerva, bound for Bombay. Taylor’s wife and baby son were on board when the ship was attacked by around fifty pirate dhows. After attempting to outrun them and putting up a spirited resistance lasting two days, they were overwhelmed. Most of the crew and passengers were said to have been put to the sword and thrown overboard. But Mrs Taylor and her baby son were spared. The pirates took them back to Ras al-Khaimah, where she was put up for sale by the Jowassim chief and bought as a prize for ransom. Taylor's boss is said to have paid her Arab purchaser 1,000 Maria Theresa Thalers to release her. Her infant son survived to grow up and she and her husband had several more children in the course of his long and distinguished diplomatic career.
The story of Rosa Taylor’s kidnap, ransom and release was well-publicised, and the grisly details of the deaths of the captain and his crew, though unsubstantiated, were widely circulated. She was evidently a courageous woman and had helped in the attempt to repel the boarders by filling cartridges for the defending crew. She was still the talk of the town when Theodore arrived in Bombay from England later in the year.
Saturday, Jun 30, 2018 : 20:09
Timothy Stunt said ...
Wonderful! Who would have thought that Lord Congleton's sister-in-law was such a plucky survivor?.. Great that your researches into another sparky Armenian girl have opened up a whole tableau of people and events of which I, for one, would have never been aware. When will your book on the Forbes family be published? Timothy Stunt
Saturday, Jun 30, 2018 : 23:57
Susan Harvard said ...
Sorry not to have replied sooner. I am expecting the printer's proof shortly and print copies should be available later this month. The ebook will also be available on Amazon.
Monday, Nov 5, 2018 : 23:17 said ...
Rosa Taylor was my great great grandmother and her son in question my great grandfather. Have found the information very interesting and would like to know more
Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 : 03:17
Graham watson said ...
James Best Taylor was my great great grandfather and Rosa who you call Mrs Taylor was obviously my gt gt gt grandmother. There is an awful lot we still dont know. There is a whole room in the Museum of London dedicated to the Taylor's, including the Taylor Pyramid which my great grandmother gave to them.
Sunday, Jul 21, 2019 : 14:20
Timothy Stunt said ...

There is an underwater pyramid in Rock Lake (Wisconsin) which they once thought of naming the Taylor Pyramid after an archaeologist Victor Taylor. This is the only Taylor pyramid known to me. Mr Watson says that there is a room in the Museum of London dedicated to the Taylors including the Taylor Pyramid. If he is referring to the Taylor Prism (a hexagonal clay baked cylinder providing us with Sennacherib's account of his earlier conquests), this was bought from Robert Taylor's widow in 1855 by the British Museum, where it is today. It can be viewed online at     Timothy Stunt

Monday, Jul 22, 2019 : 03:34

Add Comment: