I have a new post on the English Historical Fiction Authors blog! Here is a taste…
The Hon. Frances Anne Vane Tempest was born January 17, 1800, in St. James’s Square, London. Frances Anne was admired and respected for her successes as a political and a society hostess, her business acumen, and her position in society. She capably ran estates in England and Ireland, and was known for being strong minded. Her background certainly prepared her to think for herself, to trust her own judgment, and to stand her ground. Her parents were fascinating people in their own rights.
Her father was Sir Henry Vane-Tempest of Long Newton, County Durham, 2nd Bearonet. He was born with the last name of Vane, and added Tempest by royal patent, after he inherited his late maternal uncle John Tempest’s estates in County Durham and Wynyard in 1793. This inheritance made him very wealthy, as the estates included significant coal mines. His uncle’s will required that the name Tempest be adopted. He replaced his uncle as M.P. for the City of Durham 1794-1800 and for County Durham 1807-1813. Also a sportsman, he owned a successful racing stable, including a horse named Hambletonian. (Henry gambled, and won, 3000 pounds on this horse to win at Newmarket in March 1799.) Sir Henry had a bad reputation as womaniser, and was known for having a bad temper. Henry Vane-Tempest’s father died in 1794, and he inherited the title, becoming 2nd Baronet. He had one sibling, his sister Frances, who married Michael Angelo Taylor, M. P. for the City of Durham. Frances’s marriage to Mr. Taylor caused an estrangement, but brother and sister eventually reconciled. Sir Henry also had an illegitimate son, named John, born about 1792, who apparently remained in County Durham. In April 1799, he married Anne Catherine McDonnell, Countess of Antrim.
I’m on the English Historical Fiction Authors Blog today.
Some years ago, I surprised my husband with a fishing trip in northwest Devon. We got off the train in Umberleigh, checked into a delightful hotel (with an equally delightful pub), and discovered…there was no fishing due to an unprecedented heat wave. Nothing daunted, we proceeded to explore the area. At dusk one evening, we witnessed the water rushing into a river at high tide, followed by a family of wild swans. The next day, we hopped back on the train and went on to Barnstaple. It was a fascinating town which we enjoyed exploring. My current work in process includes a gentleman who inherits a small estate in the vicinity of Barnstaple, so I decided to read up on its history. Read more HERE.
Photo of Queen Anne’s Walk from WikiMedia Commons HERE.
Mint sauce has a long history in England, traditionally served with roast lamb. Mint sauce consists of mint leaves, finally minced, and mixed with vinegar and some sugar. This is very different to the mint jelly served with lamb when I was growing up in America. This type of “sweet and sour” sauce goes back to medieval times, and similar mint sauces were very popular in France and Italy where mint was more widely used. Traditional has it that, in an effort to slow consumption of lamb and mutton to protect the wool trade (less lamb eaten meant more sheep to shear), Elizabeth I decreed that lamb and mutton could only be eaten with bitter herbs. Mint is one of the bitter herbs, and cooks discovered quickly that it pairs well with lamb and mutton. Clarissa Dickson Wright considered mint sauce to be the last culinary link with the Crusades. At any rate, mint sauce has been a favorite condiment with lamb and mutton since the 16th century. As with any popular food product, mint sauce has been tweaked over the centuries. While regular mint sauce seems to be considered essential for lamb, other sauces have been devised for use with other meats, such as a gooseberry and mint sauce recommended for port and goose.
In 1200 ENGLISH RECIPES by Ethel Meyer, she took 2 T of finely chopped mint leaves, 1T of granulated sugar (American) or castor sugar (British), and 6 T vinegar. After mixing the mint and sugar, the mixture must sit for an hour; then the vinegar can be added added gradually, mixing well between each addition. (This quantity is recommended for 4-5 people.) This seems to be the basic recipe. Some add a squeeze of lime or lemon. Some use white wine vinegar; I found another using malt vinegar. Some specify spearmint leaves, while others go with peppermint. Several recommended that the finished sauce have the consistency of thick cream. As you can see, this is a very flexible recipe and can be easily adapted to personal taste.
“20 Quirky Facts About British Food.” https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=interesting+british+food+facts
Love to Know. “List of Bitter Herbs.” http://herbs.lovetoknow.com/List_of_Bitter_Herbs
Meyer, Edith. 1200 ENGLISH RECIPES. Originally published 1898: Murray, London. Published 2010: Salzwasser-Verlag, Bremen, Germany. GoogleBooks: https://books.google.com/books?id=Sb5LF9ztzFgC&pg=PA199&lpg=PA199&dq=how+to+make+traditional+english+mint+sauce&source=bl&ots=xeAyxn309w&sig=0Mg9MmYR6OlWKVJHtlLrHdDrHog&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CDUQ6AEwBDgoahUKEwj2j6f9xpfIAhWOuB4KHV9RA_U#v=onepage&q=how%20to%20make%20traditional%20english%20mint%20sauce&f=false
Dickson Wright, Clarissa. A HISTORY OF ENGLISH FOOD. 2011: Random House Books, London.
Castles, Customs, and Kings: True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors, Volume 2
Edited by Debra Brown and Sue Millard
An anthology of essays from the second year of the English Historical Fiction Authors blog, this book transports the reader across the centuries from prehistoric to twentieth century Britain. Nearly fifty different authors share the stories, incidents, and insights discovered while doing research for their own historical novels.
From medieval law and literature to Tudor queens and courtiers, from Stuart royals and rebels to Regency soldiers and social calls, experience the panorama of Britain’s yesteryear. Explore the history behind the fiction, and discover the true tales surrounding Britain’s castles, customs, and kings.
I am so honored to be included in this volume!
Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/Castles-Customs-Kings-English-Historical/dp/0996264817
Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Castles-Customs-Kings-English-Historical/dp/0996264817
Visit these fantastic sites in the Blog Hop (they are coming live at different times so check back if you can’t find it the first time!):
1. Whisky vs Brandy http://huntersjones.com/2015/09/29/whiskey-vs-brandy/
2. Hunting the Wren in Wales and Ireland http://juditharnoppnovelist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/hunting-wren-in-wales-and-ireland.html
3. Archery in Tudor England http://www.linkytools.com/click_linky.aspx?entryid=8960148
4. A Curious Variant on Wassail http://www.linkytools.com/click_linky.aspx?entryid=8960621
5. 17th Century Marriage Day Customs http://www.shapingthefacts.blogspot.com/
6. Harvest Moons and Customs http://www.linkytools.com/click_linky.aspx?entryid=8962474
7. 17th Century Medicine http://www.linkytools.com/click_linky.aspx?entryid=8961953
9. A Quirky Look at the History of Nursery Rhymes http://www.linkytools.com/click_linky.aspx?entryid=8962600
9. Animals on Trial http://www.linkytools.com/click_linky.aspx?entryid=8961874
10. What was it like to live as a 16th century nun? http://www.linkytools.com/click_linky.aspx?entryid=8962444
11. Historical Custom: The Flitch of Bacon Custom http://www.linkytools.com/click_linky.aspx?entryid=8961380
12. Michaelmas in Medieval Britain http://www.linkytools.com/click_linky.aspx?entryid=8962619
13. The Peculiar Custom of Electing Kings http://www.linkytools.com/click_linky.aspx?entryid=8962286
14. Queen for a Day-of Bride Crowns of Gold and Myrtle https://annabelfrage.wordpress.com/2015/09/30/queen-for-a-day-of-bridecrowns-in-gold-and-myrtle/
15. Deadly Cat Customs http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/deadly-cat-customs.html
16. “Name that Member”: Weird Parliamentary Customs https://alwayswantedtobeareiter.wordpress.com/2015/09/30/name-that-member-weird-but-wonderful-british-parliamentary-customs/
17. Sweating with the Mohocks http://www.madamegilflurt.com/2015/09/sweating-with-mohocks.html
18. The Evil Eye and Vampires: Superstition in the Ottoman World http://www.kathryngauci.com/blog-06-feb-11-2015-evil-eye-vampires-superstition-ottoman-world/
19. Megaliths in the Popular Imagination http://mark-patton.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/negotiating-with-unexplained-megaliths.html
20. Odd Medieval Celebrations http://lanawilliams.net/home.html
21. The Unusual Marriage Customs of Medieval Ireland http://empowell.blogspot.com/2015/09/polygamy-divorce-more-unusual-marriage.html
My giveaway is now closed. A winner will be drawn and contacted. Good luck to all who left a comment. Watch this space for an announcement of the winner!
CASTLES, CUSTOMS, AND KINGS True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors was released last week on Monday, 9/23/13 (the second anniversary of the English Historical Fiction Authors blog). It’s a great book, and I’m very proud to be a part of it! Please take a look at it. You can see it here on Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Castles-Customs-Kings-Historical-ebook/dp/B00FCEJ10Y/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1380747176&sr=1-1&keywords=castles+customs+and+kings+true+tales+by+english+historical+fiction+authors ) where it is available in print and Kindle formats. Don’t miss it!
First, Let me say that I am proud to be a tourist. I love to visit new places, and I’m always taking pictures where ever allowed. A huge dream-come-true for me was my first trip to England. Another was when my mother accompanied us on a later trip. She and I had talked for years about visiting England together, and it was so wonderful when my husband suggested that we take her with us when we made another trip.
My mother and I had the opportunity to visit Hampton Court Palace on a lovely day.
We went all over the palace, and thoroughly enjoyed it all, looking for the initials of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn that were overlooked when he redecorated after her death, walking in the beautiful gardens, the William and Mary rooms, and all. It was a delightful day, a memory that I cherish.
However, Hampton Court is so much more than a wonderful place to visit. Its history is fascinating. In the 13th century, there was a manor house at Hampton, which was acquired by the Knights Hospitallers of St. John Jerusalem. They used the site to store produce, basically as a barn. As time went on, it was noticed that this was a convenient location between the royal palaces at Sheen and Byfleet, so new construction was done to improve accommodations for royal guests in transit. The property was leased out to tenants of increasing importance. Henry VII’s Lord Chamberlain Giles Dubeney leased the property in 1494 (before becoming Lord Chamberlain) because of the site’s convenience to London. As he rose in prominence at court, he began receiving visits from members of the royal court who required suitable accommodation. After his death in 1508, the next tenant was Thomas Wolsey who acquired the lease in 1514.
During Wolsey’s tenure at Hampton Court, the estate was transformed out of all recognition. In a five-year period, he expanded a private home into a grand palace. He lavished money on the place, establishing luxurious rooms for himself, and magnificent accommodations for Henry VIII, Katherine of Aragon and Princess Mary. The palace was laid out in a design of two eight pointed stars side by side, from an Italian Renaissance design. Fabrics, plate, everything was ostentatiously of the best, to the point it caused talk that Wolsey’s palace was grander than the king’s court. In 1528, Wolsey gave the palace to Henry VIII, in a bid to save himself after he fell from grace for failing to procure Henry’s divorce from Katherine of Aragon. (Wolsey’s coat of arms can still be seen at Hampton Court.)
Henry VIII also devoted time, attention and money to Hampton Court Palace. His building program expanded Hampton Court into a modern and lavish royal palace, complete with the Great House of Easement (a multiple lavatory which could seat 28 people)with piped-in water that flowed through lead pipes, and a huge kitchen. Henry’s fondness for outdoor pursuits resulted in pleasure gardens, a hunting park kept filled with game, bowling alleys and tennis courts. An eight-acre tiltyard had five towers for spectators to watch jousting. Henry provided for accommodations for his children and for courtiers, servants and guests. A beautiful chapel was constructed as well. (I think this is my favorite part of Hampton Court.)
After Henry’s death, his surviving children used Hampton Court. However, it was in such good and modern condition, little additional work was done. Mary Tudor spent time at Hampton Court with her husband, Philip of Spain. Elizabeth I used it as a place to welcome and impress foreign diplomats and delegations. Under the early Stuarts, it was used for relaxation and as a party palace. Cromwell also enjoyed it. Under William and Mary, however, major changes were completed.
William III thought the palace should be razed and a new one built. He and Mary hired Christopher Wren to do the work. Wren’s original plan demolished all but the Great Hall. Unfortunately for his plans, time and money did not allow for such a drastic scheme. Ultimately, a remodel was the result. Construction stopped in 1694 when Queen Mary died, and did not resume until 1697. William III increased the pressure to finish, and brought in Wren’s assistant William Talman to get it done. Hampton Court Palace evolved from the modern Tudor palace that was Henry VIII’s pride to an elegant baroque structure with moldings and fireplaces carved by Grinling Gibbons. Amazingly, it also came in under budget! William III also commissioned the yew tree maze sometime around 1690-1700, which has been and is still a draw for visitors.
After William III’s death, Queen Anne used it for hunting and as a country home, but preferred Windsor Castle and the palace at Kensington. After her death, the Hanoverians took over. George I spoke no English and spent most of his time back in Hanover. His wife, the queen, never came to England. His son and daughter-in-law, the Prince and Princess of Wales (later George II and Queen Caroline) took great interest in Hampton Court and the Queen’s Apartments were finally completed-a painted ceiling, magnificent furnishings and an elegant state bed resulted in a magnificent suite of rooms. Unfortunately, as the result of multiple issues, the King banned the Prince of Wales from the royal palaces in 1717. George I held court and Hampton Court Palace for a brief period, and did finally reconcile with his son. However, St. James Palace became the chief official residence of the king, and Hampton Court was seldom used between 1719 and the death of George I in 1727.
George II and Queen Caroline returned to Hampton Court, and George II constructed rooms for his son the Duke of Cumberland. However, this was the last time Hampton Court was used by the royal family as a home. George III chose not to live there. Subsequently, other than the royal suites, the palace was divided into individual units used as “grace and favor” residences by persons granted rent-free homes there after giving great service to king or country. Former residents include the Duke of Wellington’s mother Lady Mornington and his sister. Hampton Court Palace was listed in Regency era guide books as a popular excursion destination, with the park, gardens, maze and State Apartments available for viewing. (In 1803, it cost 1 shilling to view the State Apartments.) Queen Victoria threw Hampton Court open to the public, and during her reign interest in the surviving Tudor parts of the palace rose. Money was spent on restoring and conserving the palace.
In the 20th century, tourism at the palace was a primary focus which resulted in various activities and exhibitions and improvements. A fire in March 1986 damaged the Kings Apartments. The repairs resulted in a recreation of William III’s King’s Apartments, with various items that had been removed being returned including art, tapestries and furnishings. Other areas were refreshed and restored. While there are still some ‘grace and favor’ residences at Hampton Court, more of the palace is now available for viewing. The Royal School of Needlework is also located at Hampton Court Palace, which is well worth a visit all on its own. The Queen still retains certain privileges, and it has been used for state occasions, such as the state dinner given by visiting Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands for Queen Elizabeth II and the Queen Mother in 1982.
Historic Royal Palaces website: Http://www.hrp.org.uk
Edgar, Donald. THE ROYAL PARKS. London: W. H. Allen & Co., 1986
Feltham, John. THE PICTURE OF LONDON FOR, FOR 1803: Being A Correct Guide to All the Curiosities, Amesements, Exhibitions, Public Establishments, And Remarkable Objects, In And Near London. Originally published London: R Phillips (Preface is dated August, 1802). Reprinted by Nabu Public Domain.
Phillips, Charles. THE ILLUSTRATED ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ROYAL BRITAIN. New York: Metro Books, 2010, 2011.
Picture of the Royal Chapel is from Wikimedia Commons http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b6/Hampton_Court_Palace%2C_Chapel%2C_by_Charles_Wild%2C_1819_-_royal_coll_922125_313698_ORI_2.jpg/381px-Hampton_Court_Palace%2C_Chapel%2C_by_Charles_Wild%2C_1819_-_royal_coll_922125_313698_ORI_2.jpg
The Castles Blog Hop is a celebration of the release of CASTLES, CUSTOMS AND KINGS True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors. The official release day is 9/23/13, but it is available for purchase from Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Castles-Customs-Kings-English-Historical/dp/0983671966/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1379798386&sr=1-1&keywords=castles+customs+and+kings) and other sites. Please don’t miss out!
In honor of the release of our book, I am including a giveaway. I have a copy of CASTLES OF BRITAIN AND IRELAND by Rodney Castleden (with a surprise or two!) for one winner in the US or Canada. This is a beautiful book, filled with wonderful pictures and fascinating details. This giveaway is open from 9/23/13 until 10/1/13. Please leave a comment for a chance to win! Don’t forget to leave your contact information. Good luck!
Visit these other fine blogs which are also in the Castles Blog Hop. Who knows what treasures await?
As part of her Verity’s Lie blog hop, I am delighted to announce my very first guest poster! Author Grace Elliot is joining us today, with a fascinating post about coffee houses in the Georgian era. Grace is the successful author of historical romance novels, including her new book Verity’s Lie, and a regular contributor to the English Historical Fiction Authors blog in addition to maintaining her own blog. Be sure to check out the links below after enjoying her post. Take it away, Grace!
Coffee Houses – the Georgian Equivalent of Facebook?
by Grace Elliot
In the 18th century coffee houses were big business – much like today! A bit like the roll social media plays in the modern age, coffee houses were places for like-minded people to meet and debate issues or conduct business. In the previous century King Charles II recognised and was intimidated by the potential within coffee houses to organise rebellion and tried to ban them as:
“places where the disaffected met, and spread scandalous reports concerning the conduct of His Majesty [Charles II] and his Ministers”
Their history is such that it took just over two decades from coffee being available outside the Ottoman Empire, for a rash of them to appear all over Europe. England’s first coffee house opened in Oxford in 1652, and by 1675 there were over 3,000 countrywide! Indeed, coffee houses were the fore-runner of the private gentlemen’s clubs that became so popular in the late 18th century.
The popularity of coffee houses lay not so much in the hot beverages they sold, but as a meeting place. Each house had a distinctive clientele who gathered there to hear the latest news or gossip. By 1739, in London alone there were 331 coffee houses catering for various political groups, lawyers, doctors, stockjobbers, writers, artists or the like. A Frenchman, Antoine Prevost, visiting London commented that coffee houses were “the seat of English liberty”, a place “where you have the right to read all the papers for and against the government.” They also served another social function as a place to have mail delivered, to collect lost property or read newspapers.
One of the most famous coffee houses was Garraway’s, near the Royal Exchange in London. In the 1800’s you could purchase four ham sandwiches and a glass for sherry for two old pence, or feast on a pot of tea, six slices of bread, two crumpets and a muffin for a cost of ten pence plus a two pence tip for the waiter. But, men went there to do business, rather than dine. At Garraway’s people of quality met to buy and sell books, paintings and shipments of tea, coffee or wine. This was done by the famous “inch of candle” sales – a bizarre system of auctioning goods where the successful buyer was the last person to place a bid before a candle stub burnt out.
Coffee houses were great social levelers when men of different classes could meet. It was not unusual for a physician to meet his patient there, or a lawyer his client. Added to that the coffee houses were often gloomy, poorly lit places with smoky atmospheres – they were the perfect places to meet people without arousing suspicion.
In my latest historical romance, Verity’s Lie, the hero wishes to intruct a spy, so what better meeting place than a coffee house!
Excerpt from ‘Verity’s Lie’.
Needham’s Coffee House was a place of business rather than pleasure, and the rooms were decorated accordingly. In the hearth hung a cauldron of coffee from which the servers filled their jugs. Clean sand on the floor, and a candle lit each wooden table; the patrons preferring their transactions to be conducted in the anonymity of gloom.
Ryevale entered this thick atmosphere of tobacco, coffee and coal smoke, the sickly smell catching at the back of his throat. Like so many shadowy monoliths, an assortment of merchants, lawyers, physicians and stock-jobbers sat hunched around tablets, deep in conversation.
Giving his vision time to adjust, Ryevale ducked to avoid a beam and crossed to his favorite corner booth with a view of the door. Sitting, he placed a document on the table and ran a finger down a column of figures, as if there to meet to his broker.
“Coffee, my lord?”
“Thank you, Williams. Most kind.”
“Very good, I’ll see to it myself.”
Williams was Needham’s proprietor; a man both unobtrusive and tight lipped, his character reflected in the coffee house’s reputation for discretion. A well-dressed man wearing a pristine white neckcloth slid into the seat opposite, a copy of the Spectator clamped under his arm. His skin glowed with the freshly scrubbed appearance of a man come directly from the barber, a man who took pride in his appearance. Ryevale looked up and nodded.
“Coffee for me as well, Williams.”
“Of course, Mr. Hanley.” Williams melted backwards.
“Good of you to come at short notice. I appreciate it, Hanley.”
A serving wench brushed past the table, casting doe-eyes at Ryevale, who smiled back absent-mindedly.
“Anything in the news?” he asked, nodding to the Spectator.
“The usual from abroad: Napoleon’s antics on the run…another ambush…that sort of thing.” Hanley had a cultured voice with an aristocratic twang.
“How is business?”
“Stocks are booming, despite the unsettled situation.”
Hanley grinned. “After inside information?”
Williams approached with a coffee jug and two cups. “Here we are, your lordship, Mr. Hanley.”
“Thank you, Williams.” Ryevale pressed a shilling into his hand.
“My lord.” Williams discretely withdrew.
Once alone with no one to overhear, Hanley leaned across the table with a glint in his eye.
“Enough small talk. I take it you need information?”
Hanley smiled as he poured the coffee. “Good. Town has been dull lately; a diversion would be welcome.”Author biography and links:Grace Elliot
Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. Grace lives near London and is passionate about history, romance and cats! She is housekeeping staff to five cats, two sons, one husband and a bearded dragon (not necessarily listed in order of importance). “Verity’s Lie” is Grace’s fourth novel.
Verity’s Lie – Synopsis:
Charles Huntley, Lord Ryevale, infamous rogue…and government agent.
In unsettled times, with England at war with France, Ryevale is assigned to covertly protect a politician’s daughter, Miss Verity Verrinder. To keep Verity under his watchful eye, Ryevale plots a campaign of seduction that no woman can resist– except it seems, Miss Verrinder. In order to gain her trust Ryevale enters Verity’s world of charity meetings and bookshops…where the unexpected happens and he falls in love with his charge.
When Lord Ryevale turns his bone-melting charms on her, Verity questions his lordship’s motivation. But with her controlling father abroad, Verity wishes to explore London and reluctantly accepts Ryevale’s companionship. As the compelling attraction between them strengthens, Verity is shattered to learn her instincts are correct after all – and Ryevale is not what he seems. So if Lord Ryevale can lie, so can she… with disastrous consequences.
Subscribe to Grace’s quarterly newsletter here: http://bit.ly/V7T6Jd
Grace’s blog ‘Fall in Love With History’ http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com
Grace on Twitter: @Grace_Elliot
Grace’s author page on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Grace-Elliot/e/B004DP2NSU/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Tomorrow, my very first guest blogger will be posting. Grace Elliot is a talented historical fiction author with four books to her credit, a contributor to the English Historical Fiction Authors’ blog, and has her own blog Fall in Love with History (http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com). In her other life, she is a veterinarian! I know you will enjoy her post, so please be here tomorrow! Don’t forget to share!
Best known as one of the feared Lady Patronesses of Almack’s, she was born Sarah Sophia Fane in March 3, 1785, the eldest daughter of John Fane, the 10th earl of Westmorland, and his wife Anne Child (or Sarah Anne Child), the only child of the banker, Robert Child. Disapproving of the marriage because Anne eloped at age 17 to Gretna Greene in 1782, with John Fane, her father Robert Child changed his will so that his estate would bypass her and go to either her second son or her eldest daughter. Robert Child died the same year of his daughter’s marriage, so Sarah Sophia was born an heiress. There is no indication of what Sarah Sophia’s relationship with her parents or siblings was. Her mother died when Sarah Sophia was eight.
Sarah Sophia married George Villiers, Viscount Villiers, on May 23, 1804, at home in Berkley Square. However, there were several hints of an elopement to Gretna Green for her. Many of the sources I found were careful not to cite the place of marriage. (This may be a result of confusion with her mother, both being named Sarah. It is also possible that Sarah Sophia and George did elope but also had a ceremony to satisfy family or convention.) By all accounts, she held him in great affection. George became the 5th Earl of Jersey and 8th Viscount Grandison in 1805. Sarah Sophia had inherited the Child fortune and property, including Osterley Park, at birth, and took control when she came of age in 1806. In an age of women as chattels, Sarah was unique in that her inheritance made her the senior partner of Child & Co., a position she held for over 60 years. She took an active interest in the bank, visiting the premises, checking profit and loss statements, and intervening in employee issues. The couple had five sons and three daughters, seven of whom survived to adulthood.
Sarah Sophia, also known as Sally, became a leader of the “Ton”, and wielded a great deal of influence in Society. Sarah Sophia was considered a great beauty. She made a name for herself by being extremely rude and behaving theatrically. She chattered incessantly, acquiring the nickname of “Silence.” Determined to stand apart from her mother-in-law, the scandalous Frances, Lady Jersey, who was mistress of the Prince of Wales, Sarah Sophia made a great show of personal virtue, although she apparently throve on gossip. In spite of her affectations, she appears to have been regarded with affection by many of her peers. In a letter written in 1816 to her brother, General Alexander Beckendorf, Princess Lieven described Lady Jersey as one of her “most intimate friends.” (Princess Lieven also said in a later letter to Prince Metternich that “…Lady Jersey has the most dangerous tongue I know.” Written in 1823, it would appear that there had been a falling out.) Although she called herself Sally, one of her nicknames in Society was “Queen Sarah.” When Lady Caroline Lamb published her novel GLENARVON in 1816, Lady Jersey was supposedly the inspiration for the character of Lady Augusta. As a result, “Queen Sarah” banned Caroline from Almack’s, effectively ending Caroline’s social career.
Sarah Sophia and her husband entertained at their home in Berkley Square, and Middleton Park in Oxfordshire. They seem to have spent little time at Osterley Park in Middlesex. Sarah Sophia is supposed to have introduced the Quadrille to Almack’s in 1815. She was a noted political hostess for her husband, who legally added the name of Child in 1819 to become George Child-Villiers, Earl of Jersey. An avid hunter and racing aficionado, her husband held offices in the households of William IV and of Queen Victoria. Sarah Sophia was interested in politics, and not shy about expressing her opinions. She apparently switched from Whig to Tory views by the 1820’s. She supported Queen Caroline against George IV when he tried to divorce Caroline, wearing a portrait of Caroline in public. Sarah Sophia also spoke openly against the Reform Bill of 1832.
George died October 3, 1859, followed shortly by their eldest son. Her grandson (her oldest son’s son) inherited the title. After her husband’s death, she continued to entertain and take an interest in what was going on around her, especially charitable concerns including the establishment of schools on the family estates to assist tenants and laborers. She died of a ruptured blood vessel, according to her obituary, at Berkley Square on January 26, 1867, at age 81, outliving her husband and six of her seven children. Both Lord and Lady Jersey were buried at Middleton Stoney, Oxfordshire.
Lady Jersey’s fame lived on after her, and she appears in Regency romance novels by many authors, including Georgette Heyer, frequently as a character. She will also be seen in my upcoming novel, due out later this year.
[This is an expansion of some information I posted on Goodreads on Oct. 20, 2011 in the Historical Info for Historical Fiction Readers group.]
Gronow, Captain Rees Howell. Reminiscences of Captain Gronow. Originally published 1862: Smith, Elder & Co., London; republished by IndyPublish.com, McLean, VA.
Quennell, Peter, ed. The Private Letters of Princess Lieven to Prince Metternich 1820-1826. 1938: E. P. Dutton & Co. Inc. NY. (P. 283)
Robinson, Lionel G. Letters of Dorothea, Princess Lieven, during her Residence in London, 1812-1834. 1902: Longmans, Green, and Co. London. (P. 29)
This week, the English Historical Fiction Authors’ blog is celebrating its one year anniversary! Author Debra Brown, who spearheaded this blog, has written a great article providing some highlights, the top ten posts and other items of interest. (One of my posts is number 3!) Be sure to take a look at the various posts-there is truly something for everyone, from food to fashion to politics and war. There is also a great giveaway of books by associated authors to celebrate this milestone. Please go HERE http://englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.com/ and check it out! You’ll be glad you did!