On this day: A Lucky Escape for George!

Our team of research volunteers have been delving into the archives to learn more about Charlecote and the Lucy family. In this short post, we look a little more into George Lucy (1714-86) and a will that was written on this day in 1723…

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It’s hard to believe today, but George’s destiny was supposed to be as the Rector of Hampton Lucy, and not as the owner of the Charlecote Estate!

His uncle, Reverend William Lucy, had succeeded to the Charlecote Estate in 1721, when his childless brother, Colonel George Lucy, died. When William himself died in 1723, the succession would normally have gone to his younger brother, Fulke. However William had little time for his brother, who was a heavy drinker and gambler, but was fond of his sons, Thomas and George, and had taken them under his wing to ensure they were well educated and not badly influenced by their father.

Oil painting on canvas, The Reverend William Lucy (1673/4 -1723)byJonathan Richardson the elder (London 1665 ¿ London 1745). A three-quarter-length portrait, seated to right, wearing clerical dress, of theRector of Hampton Lucy and Prebendary of Wells Cathedral. His gloved left hand is on astick and a hat and glove are held in his right. He married Frances, daughter of Henry Balguy of Derwent, Derbyshire and succeeeded to Charlecote in 1721.

Oil painting on canvas, The Reverend William Lucy (1673/4 -1723) by Jonathan Richardson the elder (London 1665 – London 1745).  The Rector of Hampton Lucy and Prebendary of Wells Cathedral.

 

When he wrote his will on 28th January 1723, he disinherited his brother in favour of his nephews. Fulke was already in receipt of an annuity of £150 (about £13,000 today) from his brother, to be paid for the rest of his natural life, and this was reconfirmed in the will along with an inheritance of £500 (£43,000 today) on condition that Fulke would not mount a legal challenge, in which case he would lose both the annuity and the inheritance.

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Stir Up Sunday

This Sunday we’re going to be ever so busy in our Victorian Kitchen. Well, it is Stir Up Sunday!!!

Traditionally, this is the day you should all be preparing your Christmas baking. Or more specifically, stirring up your Christmas pudding mix and filling your kitchen with the festive smell of spices and dried citrus peel!

pomander in victorian kitchen at charlecote

Stir Up Sunday dates back to the Victorian times and always falls on the last Sunday before Advent. It is linked to a bible passage ; “Stir up; we beseech thee, O Lord.” Families would attend the church service on Sunday morning and then head home to start in their kitchen. Continue reading

On this day… 1842

We all know that lovely feeling. You’ve been on a very long journey and are almost home. You can’t wait to get back to the place you know, get the kettle on and settle in. Just imagine how you’d feel if you’d been away for 2 years.

Our Mistress of Charlecote, Mary Elizabeth, embarked on an adventure – a Grand Tour of Europe – in 1840. She ventured to many places including Rome – where she was unimpressed with the cleanliness of their suite of apartments – Paris and Zurich! It wasn’t all joyous, as you will pick up from reading the memoirs of Mary Elizabeth.

Here is the account of their emotional return to Charlecote…

At last, on the 20th of May 1842 our carriage rumbled under the Charlecote Gatehouse followed by the chaise out of which climbed Spencer and Aymer, their two sisters and the nurse carrying darling Berkeley who was scarcely ten months old. How great was our thankfulness at returning to the dear old place after nearly two years. Home, sweet home, there is no place half so dear to me, but my eyes did not remain dry when I though of the deaths of two most dear and lovely boys, no longer here, and when I went to the nursery grief filled up the room of my absent children.

Mistress of Charlecote, Chapter 3
1829 – 1843 Dark Leaves in the Wreath

Home sweet home - Photo by Becky and shared in our flickr group

Home sweet home
– Photo by Becky and shared in our flickr group

You can find this book, Mistress of Charlecote, for sale in our Servants’ Hall and Pantry shops. But do pop back here from time to time as we love to share the stories of Charlecote in our ‘On this day’ series.

Famous faces amongst our visitors

In the past month we’ve had some visitors to Charlecote and they’ve caused us to do a double-take! We’re sure we’ve seen their faces before, perhaps they’re regulars… no. Could they be… why yes… famous faces indeed!

Our teams were very excited to recognise TV’s Grand Designs presenter, Kevin McCloud and then, only a week later, the actor Oliver Ford Davis.

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Over the years we do spot famous faces from time to time – in fact there are a number of famous people who live in our local area. Just take a look at this article by the Coventry Telegraph.

telBut it would seem that Charlecote has allured famous people to its gates for a long time. We all know that Shakespeare is alleged to have been in our park and Elizabeth I called in on a tour of the Midlands. But did you know that our Victorian Mistress of Charlecote, Mary Elizabeth, also greeted a number of very distinguished guests? She recounts the tale of Scottish novelist, poet and playwright, Sir Walter Scott’s visit in 1828 within her memoirs…

A quirky Staffordshire Pottery figurine of Sir Walter Scott, from the collection at Attingham Park.

A quirky Staffordshire Pottery figurine of Sir Walter Scott, from the collection at Attingham Park.

 

…Sir Walter Scott and his daughter Ann paid old Charlecote a visit, so early that we were in bed and were awoke by the ringing of the front door bell; and don’t I remember our hurry to get dressed when we heard who it was that had arrived and were waiting for permission to see the house!

When we went down he and Miss Scott were intently surveying the pictures in the Great Hall. I see him now in my mind’s eye, advancing to meet us with the most genuine expression of benevolence and shrewd humour in his face, his hair white as snow and his eyebrows very thick and shaggy, his crippled foot giving him  a limping gait. He remained with us for about two hours; … he seemed delighted with the place.

Mistress of Charlecote.
Chapter 2. 1824 – 1829: The Married Lady

So the next time you’re visiting Charlecote, take a moment to see who is standing next to you in the restaurant queue, you might just be surprised…