Percy and Mary were able to afford the new place at 24 Chester Square because in late November 1845 they sold Castle Goring, a property which Bysshe’s paternal grandfather—also named Bysshe—had built in Sussex by the sea.
Erected in the 1790s, the structure features some odd architecture: One face looks Gothic—a traditional “castle”; the opposite face resembles an Italian villa. (Ah, Sir Bysshe—getting it both ways!) (Pix from the Internet.)
I did not see the place when I was in England in the spring of 1999. I’m not sure why, but I’ve read lately that although it still stands, its current owners do not welcome visitors. So I probably couldn’t have gotten close anyway.
At any rate, Mary and Percy sold it for £11,250—quite a fortune in 1845, some £1.5 million today. And in US dollars in July of 2017 (as I write this): nearly $2 million. That would suffice. She would move in to 24 Chester Square in March 1846. And she and her son would live comfortably the rest of their lives—financially, anyway.
It must have been astonishing for Mary, to live like this. She’d grown up in the always struggling Godwin household, had lived somewhat meanly with husband Bysshe, and had continued a very modest lifestyle after she, now a widow, returned to England in 1824. Her income came from writing (not much) and from the limited largesse of Sir Timothy Shelley, who, as we have seen, was bitter, bitter, bitter about her and what he viewed as the corruption of his late son.
Mary’s letters during her last few years show us that she was still reading, still writing occasional short pieces, still making brief journeys here and there, visiting.
And then son Percy found a woman he wanted to marry, Jane St John.