On Dits from Ramsgate

Ramsgate Sands by Frith 1864


From The Letter Bag Lady Elizabeth Stanhope
Whilst on a visit to Ramsgate, Mrs Stanhope and her party were contenting themselves with whatever gaieties the place afforded, and on May 31st, 1807, Marianne Stanhope sent her brother an interesting account of the conditions prevailing there at that date.

Nelson’s Crescent.

Just now I think you would be very miserable here, for the wind is very high and whistles at every corner, the sea is rough and everything looks blowing. The night before last was dreadfully tempestuous, and all yesterday morning was very stormy, but it cleared out, happily for us, in the evening, so that we were able to take a turn on the pier.

That famous pier! The only thing worth seeing, I think, either in or out of Ramsgate, for you must know I have now seen almost all the lions:—that miserable forlorn Mansion, East Cliff, ci-devant Lord Keith’s; the elegant little cake house of Mr Warne, who is going to Russia; the soi-disant cottage of Mr Yarrow, in the romantic vicinity of Pegwell Bay, celebrated, I am told for its fisheries; and last, though certainly not least, the splendid and deserted King’s Gate. The building is very classic and elegant, but surely Tully’s Villa must be a very different thing in the sweet Campagna of Italy, than placed on such a barren cliff. Poor fellow! Could he look out of the Elysian fields (for there, I suppose, we must place him) I think he would not admire the change of situation!

There is a regiment of Irish Dragoons here. The Colonel has just left them to take possession of a large fortune, and another officer has gone to Ireland to give a vote. Both the Irish and Germans have very good bands which often play before our windows etc. this is the only gaiety there is.

I am sure all the pleasure of this place must depend upon the company; when you have society that you like, what spot will not appear pleasant?

We are not too well off in that respect as you will think when I have described our acquaintance.

Our greatest intimate is Lady Jane Pery (1), Lord Limerick’s daughter, who has had so many complaints she is unable to move from her chair, though full of life and spirits. Lady Conyngham (2) is the great lady of the place, a nice, civil old woman. We were at a party at her house where we met all the natives. Her daughter, Miss Burton, is 6 ft. 4 in. in height and ugly in proportion, but very agreeable. To-morrow we are going to a party there where we are to meet everybody, for you must know that even in this small society there is an improper set. Lady Dunmore (3) and her daughters, Lady Virginia Murray, and the married one, Lady Susan Drew (4), sisters to the Duchess of Sussex (5) and Lord and Lady Edward Bentinck (6); their two daughters are visited by very few proper people, but both these houses are the rendez-vous of the officers. Lady Sarah Drew had a ball the other night.

At Lady Conyngham’s, we are to meet all these.

Miss Bentinck (7) is a great beauty; there has been a long affair between her and Hay Drummond, which is at last broke off by the lady. She had been sent to the Duke of Rutland’s to be out of his way. Drummond contrived to introduce himself to the servants as her maid’s beau, by which means he slept in the house and was able to walk with her before breakfast and late at night. At last her brother, who was shooting one morning early, and knew Drummond by sight well, found them out and gave the alarm. The Duke sent Miss Bentinck home directly, and they were to be married in September, but lo! she has changed her mind.

1 Cecil-Jane, sixth daughter of the 2nd Baron Glentworth, who was created Viscount and Earl of Limerick in 1803. She married, in 1828, Count John Leopold Ferdinand Casimir de la Feld, a Count of the Holy Roman Empire.

2 Francis Pierrepont-Burton, 2nd Baron Conyngham, who, on inheriting the titles and estates of his uncle, assumed the surname and arms of Conyngham, married, in 1750, the eldest daughter of the Right Hon. Nathaniel Clements, and sister of Robert, Earl of Leitrim. She died in 1814.

3 Lady Charlotte Stewart, daughter of Alexander, 6th Earl of Galloway, married, in 1759, John, 4th Earl of Dunmore.

4 Susan, third daughter of the 4th Earl of Dunmore, married, first, in 1788, Joseph Tharpe, Esq. of Chippenham, Cambridge; secondly, John Drew, Esq.; and thirdly, in 1809, the Rev. A. E. Douglas.

5 Augusta, second daughter of 4th Earl of Dunmore, married, at Rome, the 4th of April 1793, Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, and was re-married to H.R.H. the following December at St George’s Church, Hanover Square.

6 Edward Charles, second son of William, 2nd Duke of Portland, and Lady Margaret Cavendish Harley, only daughter and heir of Edward, 2nd Earl of Oxford. Lord Edward Bentinck married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Richard Cumberland, Esq., and had one son and three daughters. He died in 1819.

7 The three Miss Bentincks were: Harriet, married, 1809, Sir William Mordaunt Sturt Milner, Bart.; Elizabeth, married, 1812, Captain Henry Wyndham; and Charlotte married Major Robert Garrett.

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