THE DEATH OF LADY JERSEY in 1867

The March 1867 issue of The Gentleman’s Magazine carried an obituary for Sarah Sophia Fane Child-Villiers, Dowager Countess of Jersey:

January 26 – At 38 Berkeley Square, suddenly by the rupture of a blood vessel, aged 81, Sarah Sophia, Dowager Countess of Jersey.

            Her ladyship was the eldest and only surviving child of John, 10th Earl of Westmorland, by Anne, only daughter and heir of Mr. Robert Child. She was born March 4, 1785 and in May 1804 she married George, Viscount Villiers, who in the following year succeeded his father, the 5th Earl of Jersey, and by whom she had a family of four sons and three daughters. Her eldest son, George Augustus Frederick, died three weeks after the death of his father in 1859; and was the father of Victor, 7th Earl; Augustus John died at Rome in 1847; Frederick married to Lady Elizabeth, daughter of the 8th Earl of Athlonel (title extinct); Francis John died in May 1862; Lady Sarah, married to Prince Nicholas Esterhazy, son of his Excellency the late Prince, many years an ambassador to the Court of St. James’s, from Austria, died at Torquay in November 1853; Lady Clementia died unmarried in December 1858, and Lady Adela, wife of Lieut. Colonel Charles Ibbetson, who died suddenly in September 1860.

Osterley Park, Greater London

            The late Countess, on the death of her maternal grandfather, Mr. Robert Child, the banker, by his will succeeded to his large property, both real and personal. Owing to her mother having eloped with the Earl of Westmorland, Mr. Child carried out his determination that not a shilling of his property should go to the male heirs of the earldom, and he bequeathed his large and valuable property to the county of Middlesex and his interest in the old banking house at Temple Bar to the Countess. The deceased Lady Jersey was kind and charitable to the poor, but studiously avoided publicity in doing good to those beneath her. Many indigent families will regret her death, as well as an extensive circle of friends.

Lady Jersey, National Portrait Gallery
by Frederick Christian Lewis Sr, after Alfred Edward Chalon
stipple engraving, published 1839
            The Countess of Jersey was for many years one of the leading ladies patronesses of “Almacks” and with Viscountess Palmerston shared the greatest influence; indeed she had for more than half a century occupied the highest position in London society. She was a woman of extraordinary abilities and no female member of the aristocracy could surpass her in her knowledge of European politics. For nearly fifty years her saloons were nightly open to receive the distinguished foreign diplomatists of the day and the prominent political character of the Tory and Conservative party. The Countess’s “at homes” were however, unlike those of Devonshire and Holland houses, exclusively confined to a distinct political faction. Lord Brougham was a great personal friend of the deceased lady, and Viscount Palmerston was among her occasional visitors, even while in office. Lady Jersey was connected by marriage with the late Viscount Ponsonby, the late Marquis of Anglesey; the Earl of Bessborough and a large number of friends of opposite politics.
Entrance Hall, NT
            It was not until the death of her husband in October 1859, that Lady Jersey retired into comparative seclusion.—That is to say, sought only the society of her most intimate friends. The Countess was honoured by the personal regard of the late Emperor Nicholas, the late Kings of Hanover, Prussia, Holland, Belgium, and of George IV when Prince Regent.

 

Lady Jersey, National Portrait Gallery
by Henry Thomas Ryall, published by John Murray, sold by Charles Tilt,
 after Edmund Thomas Parris  stipple engraving, published 1833

            The interment of the deceased took place in the family vault of the parish church of Middleton Stoney, Oxon on the 2d of February, the body of the Countess having been brought to Middleton Park on the day previous. The funeral procession was preceded by the principal tenancy of the estates.

Note from Victoria: The Jersey estate at Middleton, Oxfordshire, was the family’s principal country home after its purchase in 1737, though the property had been a manor since the 13th  century. The house built there in the 1750’s and used by Sarah, Lady Jersey, for extensive entertaining, was pulled down in 1934 and replaced a few years later with a modern house designed by Sir Edward Lutyens, now made into flats. The former Middleton Park grounds are now mostly a public park.  The village of Middleton Stoney boasts one public house, the Jersey Arms.

BLOOMING AT HADDON HALL BY VICKY HINSHAW

Originally published in 2010, we’re re-running this post now because we think you may like to look at Haddon Hall’s glorious gardens on this cold December day. Victoria and Kristine revisited Haddon Hall this past September on Number One London’s Country House Tour and the gardens were stunning. Do check our new line-up of tours at Number One London for details on the 2018 Country House Tour!

 

I visited Haddon Hall on a cool early summer day and found roses climbing all over the ancient grey walls, their colorful profusion a perfect complement to the lichen-covered stone.

Haddon Hall, high above the Wye River near Matlock in Derbyshire, is typical of medieval manor houses: built of local rock with thick walls and small windows.

                                

The property is listed in the Domesday Survey conducted shortly after William the Conqueror took over England. The Domesday Book was a great survey completed in 1086, a sort of census. William wanted to know who the landholders were and what taxes he could collect from them, so his clerks looked for property holders from the time of Edward the Confessor. The judgment of the assessors was final and there was no appeal. The name Domesday comes from the Old English word dom (same root as doom in modern English) meaning accounting or reckoning. The book of this census is known by the English as ‘Domesday’, that is the Day of Judgment.

                                     

Many of the finest English Country Houses evolved from ancient foundation structures of which few traces remain. Rebuilding, remodeling, and redecorating have been beloved preoccupations for centuries. Houses were altered by almost every generation to incorporate the latest technological improvements or to enhance the size, style and beauty of their surroundings. The richer the family members, the more they rebuilt over and over again.

 

                                   

 

The Haddon estate came into the Vernon family through the marriage of its heiress in 1170 to Richard Vernon.

The oldest and best-preserved old houses usually are passed down in a family through the female side. History repeated itself when in the mid-1550’s, Dorothy Vernon eloped with Sir John Manners, a son of the Duke of Rutland, against the wishes of her father. But despite his opposition to the match, Haddon Hall soon became the property of the Manners family, which has owned it ever since. It was, however, a secondary residence to the Rutland’s primary estate, Belvoir (pronounced Beever) Castle.

Since secondary residences were visited rarely, there was little urge to remodel to wife’s property.  This pattern is repeated many times throughout the history of various stately homes. Cotehele in Cornwall and Chiswick near London are two more excellent examples. The romance of Dorothy Vernon and Sir John Manners was the basis for the 1902 novel Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall by Charles Major, popular author of historical romances including When Knighthood was in Flower (1898). Major altered parts of the story and his novel was further enhanced when it was made into a movie starring Mary Pickford in 1924. The story has also inspired a play and an opera.

 

 

Haddon’s exterior is typically medieval, severe and somber, yet softened by lovely gardens.

 

 

 

 

                                      

                                      

 

Inside, many rooms are open to visitors.  In 1370, Richard de Vernon built the banqueting hall to house forty to fifty people. The house and continued to grow in subsequent centuries, both in number of inhabitants and in number of rooms and outbuildings.

                              

 

                               

 

The long gallery was added later and is typical of those found in Tudor and Elizabethan era houses, designed to replace cloister-style open air walkways. One strolled back and forth in the long gallery to take daily exercise where it was somewhat more protected.

Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, Haddon Hall was ignored and fell into disrepair. Not until the 1920’s was major restoration begun. It continues today under the direction of Lord and Lady Edward Manners. Haddon Hall is often used in films and stood in as Prince Humperdink’s castle in The Princess Bride.

Whether it was the elopement story or the abundant roses, I found Haddon Hall very romantic and great inspiration for the imagination.

Previously published in 2010.

AND A GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL – THE COUNTRY HOUSE TOUR

I’m pleased to say that Number One London’s Country House Tour was a resounding success and that a good time was had by all! Our group was the perfect size – eight like-minded people traveling together through Derbyshire in search of houses, history and a whole lot of fun.

Of course, the Tour included stately homes, amongst them were –

Kedleston Hall
Haddon Hall
Sudbury Hall

Along the way, we met house stewards and curators who provided our group with private, behind-the-scenes tours –

Wentworth Woodhouse

And we were fortunate enough to be joined by author Catherine Curzon, who spoke to us about the Georgian Royals over lunch at Chatsworth House

Our group stayed in the historic Old Hall Hotel in Buxton, below . . .

which provided us with atmospheric accommodations and memorable meals

                          

In addition to stately homes, we were also able to study examples of historic fashion and furnishings

We found photo opportunities around almost every corner

And a few of us were lucky enough to find the new Jane Austen ten pound note

Victoria Hinshaw and Sandra Mettler

I’ll be doing future posts on the individual sites we visited, but I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who joined me on this Tour for making it so memorable, and so much fun!

If you’d like to join me on the next Country House Tour, this one with an Upstairs, Downstairs twist, please visit Number One London’s Tour website for complete details of the April 2018 tour.

A TOUR GUIDE IN ENGLAND: WATERLOO 2017 – PART 4

What better place to spend Waterloo Day than in London? More precisely, at Apsley House. Well before the day, I had planned to meet my old mates Dawn Wood and Andrew Clark at Apsley House, where they were slated to do a series of talks on Regency dress and Napoleonic uniforms over the two day weekend.

Upon walking through the front door of the House, I saw one of the house guides, Alex, who I’ve known for some time now. We chatted for a few minutes and then I headed up the stairs to the Striped Drawing Room.

Upon reaching the landing, I spied a bloke in full Napoleonic uniform – it was my pal, Michael Paterson, who is a part of the City of London Portsoken Volunteers re-enactment group.

“Michael?”

“Kristine? What are you doing here?”

“Where else would you expect me to be on Waterloo Day?”

“Ah, right. Silly question.”

It would have been handy had I snapped a photo of Michael to insert here, but I didn’t. This is John Mead, also with the Portsoken, and an historical tailor who makes all of the Regiments’ uniforms. Michael was on hand to present a talk on Napoleonic soldiers, which was fabulous. He had the crowd enraptured.

Before long, Dawn found me and we caught up for a bit before it was time for her talk.

                                      

Into the Striped Drawing Room we stepped and Dawn launched into her costume presentation, enthralling the crowd with details of exactly what it took to dress a Regency lady – from the inside out. Beginning in her chemise, Dawn then described each garment she donned, giving us the history of each, detailing the materials that would have been used and the care involved in each piece.

I first met Dawn a few decades ago when she was with a re-enactment group called The Salon, now disbanded, who put on a Regency soiree for one of my tour groups at Gunnersby Park. She and I, and her husband, Andrew, have been friends ever since and they will be on hand in Bath for Number One London’s Georgian Tour, April 2018. Dawn is a modiste who recreates historic costume and dress, while Andrew is an expert on uniforms and all forms of military weapons and accouterments. Here he is in full Napoleonic kit as Captain Clark.

And here he is in mufti as Mr. Clark. Very versatile is Our Andrew.

                                      

Once the presentations were over with, I nipped off to the Waterloo Chamber, where in honour of the Waterloo Anniversary they had set a dinner table with the Prussian Dinner Service commemorating the achievements of Wellington’s life, as it would have been at one of Wellington’s annual Waterloo Banquets.

copyright Getwestlondon

You’ll find an article on the china here. Upon entering the Chamber, who did I run into again but Alex, who asked me about Wellington’s relationship with the young Queen Victoria. As I was telling him about William IV’s fateful birthday dinner, at which the King stood up and gave spleen to the Duchess of Kent in front of all the guests at table, including Wellington, a gentleman came to stand beside us and listened to my story. Then he interjected something. Then he became a part of our conversation and we chatted about Wellington for about fifteen minutes. Then the man said, “I suppose this is the point in the conversation where I should mention that I’m Graham Wellesley, 8th Earl Cowley.”

Naturally, this pronouncement caused Alex and I to look at one another like two deer caught in the headlights. What a turn up. Oh, dear.

“You’re Henry’s grandson then,” said I. He’s actually Henry’s eight or ninth great grandson, but why split heirs.

“Yes,” replied the Earl. “Fancy your knowing that.” Alex shot me a look, but kept silent. Wise man.

“May I ask you a question?” I asked the Earl.

“Of course.”

“Why has no one elaborated on the story of Henry and Anne and the kidnapping?”

And we were off again. The conversation lasted at least another fifteen minutes before the Earl excused himself and left Alex and I alone once more.

“I didn’t refer to Wellington as ‘Artie’ in front of the Earl, did I?”

“No. Not in front of the Earl. I don’t think,” Alex semi-reassured me. Really, I must stop doing that. Obviously, one never knows who one may run into at Apsley House. Speaking of which, upon returning once more to the Striped Drawing Room, who did I find but my mate, Loretta Chase. You can just see the top of her beautiful blonde head in the photo below.

Loretta and I had already seen each other several times in London during this trip and I’d invited her to join me at Apsley House on the day. Imagine my surprise when she told me that she’d never been to the House in all her visits to London. I had promised to take her on a Cook’s Tour.  I suggested we start on the ground floor and so we sashayed our way downstairs. Where I again ran into Alex.

“Leaving?” he asked.

“No, no, just giving my friend Loretta a tour of the House.”

“Oh, right then.”

“Don’t they think it’s strange that you’re giving me a tour of Apsley House?” Loretta asked as we turned a corner.

“Nope. Not in the least. I suppose they’re used to it by now.” We saw the entry hall –

and the inner hall –

and the statue of Napoleon –

and the upstairs hallway –

and several other rooms before we found ourselves in the Waterloo Chamber.

Where I showed Loretta a secret feature of the room. I wish I could share it with you, but I’ve promised Loretta that she can use it as a plot device in an upcoming book, so I can’t talk about it until that’s published. (Sorry!)

At the end of the day, I left Apsley House replete after seeing old friends and making a few new ones and headed off to dinner in the company of Dawn and Andrew, who both agree with my sentiment – where else would anyone spend Waterloo Day?

                                      

 

 

A TOUR GUIDE IN ENGLAND – THE WALK TO LEEDS CASTLE

by Kristine Hughes Patrone

Our next stop on Visit Britain’s Familiarization Trip for members of the travel trade was Leeds Castle, which bills itself as “the loveliest Castle in the world.” There’s no denying that it answers every little girl’s requirements for a fairy tale castle, although on the day we visited Prince Charming was not in evidence. Lunch was, however, as well as a tray of very welcome Pimm’s Cups and as warm a welcome as one could wish for at a fortified castle.

Do click on this link to watch a video of our walk up to the Castle and our arrival within. There’s a bit where the video goes all green – I had to put the camera down in order to remove my coat, but do hang in there, it all gets going again before too long.