Ernest Gammell was the 8th child and youngest son of Lt. General Andrew Gammell and Martha Stageldoir. He was born on 27 January 1808, probably in London and was baptised on 19 May 1813 at St Giles in the Fields, Holborn, London. He was only a boy when his father died, and we do not know how or where he was educated. Unlike his brothers, he did not join the Army when he was of age but appears to have from the start led the life of a gentleman of leisure. This was made possible by the fact that in 1823 he was presented by his grandfather, James Gammell the banker, with the barony and lands of Portlethen, in Kincardineshire, Scotland. Portlethen was an estate of about 830 acres and included the village of Portlethen, situated on the coast, halfway between Aberdeen and Stonehaven, but there was no residence on the property, and it comprised merely houses and agricultural land. The estate had been purchased by James Gammell in August 1816, expressly for the purpose of presenting it to his youngest grandchild, and he duly handed it over to Ernest in 1823, some two years before his death.
As far as we know, Ernest took little interest in his lands, other than presumably the income there from, as he lived the whole of his life in England. He did however become involved in a long-running court case against The Crown over who owned the salmon fishing rights off the coast of Portlethen. This was presumably because he earned an income by letting the rights, whereas the Crown wished to establish its ownership so that it could receive that income. The case was not finally resolved in favour of The Crown until long after Ernest’s death.
We do not know the date or place of his first marriage, but it was to a lady called Elizabeth (surname unknown). There were no children of his marriage, and Elizabeth died at the age of 38 of dropsy in Chelsea on 8 November 1846.
On 12 March 1850, Ernest married for the second time. His bride was Rosa Ann Bertram, daughter of Charles Bertram, a wine merchant in London, and the wedding took place at the parish church of St. Marylebone. Rosa was born in 1923, so some 15 years younger than Ernest. They had no children and Ernest died of acute influenza not long after they were married, at Twyford in Berkshire on 23 February 1855, leaving his entire estate, including the lands of Portlethen to his wife Rosa. He is buried in Reading Old Cemetery.
After Ernest's death, Rosa married for the second time, on 20 August 1857 in Hampstead, to a surgeon by the name of James Taylor and they had five children. Rosa died on 14 December 1901 in Berkshire, but the probate still referred to Portlethen.