The Lucy Pedigree

We have a wonderful team of very keen and knowledgeable volunteers. In this post Frank, a room guide who works on Tuesdays, is looking into the Lucy family pedigree and a rather interesting letter!

There is in the Warwickshire Record Office, a letter to George Lucy from Francis Martin dated August 24th 1933. Who was Francis Martin and what was it about?

The clue is in the library!


Charlecote volunteer Len exploring the bookshelves in our Library.

Under the top of the small square table in the north side of the room is the Morocco-bound pedigree on vellum of the Lucys prepared by the College of Arms. The College of Arms was founded in 1484 and is the official heraldic authority for England, Wales, N. Ireland and much of the commonwealth. You can find out more about them on their website which will help in understanding the context.
Francis Martin was the Windsor Herald from 1819-39 and George Harrison Rogers-Harrison was Bluemantle Pursuivant from 1831 to 1849 when he also became Windsor Herald. Pursuivants are junior Officers of Arms.
Francis Martin’s letter to George Lucy was in reply to George’s enquiry to the College of Arms for producing the Lucy pedigree. After apologising for the delayed reply due to illness, Martin gives a detailed response and salient points from the letter hereunder in a script approximating the original handwriting.

“I have transcribed a faithful copy of the Black Book in regard to the Lucy Pedigree. It is by no means a book of authority although reasonably useful when it corroborates with other evidences. There are many erasures and corrections in this book and particularly in the Lucy Pedigree which shows that points were doubted by the compiler.

On the whole, I would rather abide by Dugdale’s Warwickshire. The compiling of genealogies was his profession. He was the principal officer of this corporation and although there may be some discrepancies in his numerous printed and manuscript works, I have no doubt he did his utmost to obtain the correct authorities for all his compilations…..I shall be happy to forward your wishes in regard to an emblazoned Vellum Book of your family down to the present time…….. Will you send me any rough draft of the Pedigree with your own corrections and additions that I may get an estimate of the probable expense of the work in the engraving and painting? I presume you would wish to have a large shield with all the quartering which you are entitled to bear, on one leaf of the book, an emblazoned title page and the arms of each family with those of their wives where they can be obtained and small shields under each marriage.

There then follows proposals for contacting and meeting and is signed:-

Yours very sincerely respectfully, Fra’s Martin Windsor.

Obviously an estimate was prepared and accepted by George Lucy and the book completed in 1836.
From information there was subsequent correspondence from George Harrison Rogers-Harrison including an invoice for £200.

The book has several pages of blank vellum at the back and a study of the entries would be interesting. The shields would have been the source for some of the painted shields in the Great Hall painted by the Lucy girls, Ada, Constance and Joyce. The College of Arms would also have provided Thomas Willement with copies of the artwork to help in making the stained glass windows in the Dining Room and Library.

pedigree title page1
In his letter, Francis Martin mentioned an emblazoned title page, and a transcript of this page is shown below together with the text in various fonts and a mixture of upper and lower case.

“The genealogy George Lucy of Charlecote (sic) in the County of Warwick Esquire, sometime representative in Parliament for the Borough of Fowey in the County of Cornwall. Lineally documented from and representative of the Ancient and Knightly Family of Lucy, seated at Charlecote in the time of King Henry the Third, shewing also his descent from Edmund Ironsides and William the Conqueror, Kings of England. Compiled from the records of the College of Arms, London, Parish Registers, Family Deeds and other Authentic Evidence by Francis Martin Windsor Herald MDCCCXXXVI (1836) and George Harrison Rogers-Harrison Bluemantle.

lucy pedigree2


Our Library is full of delights! You can find out more by joining a talk on the library at Charlecote later in the year.
We are currently planning talks where we can show you some of the books from the library. We are anticipating a one hour talk followed by a break for drinks and cake followed by a further talk. The dates have not been set yet but they will be most likely by in November/December 2015. Keep and eye on our website and twitter for further details nearer the time.


Preserving the pages: Selling books to conserve books!

In July, we’re raising money for the Library through our 2nd Hand Book Shop. From 1st July-8th July 2015 all proceeds from the 2nd hand bookshop will go directly to our book conservation fund.

But why do we need to raise money for the Library? Or more specifically, for conservators?


We have 3,500 books in our library. They are more than shelf fillers. They’re a very special part of our collection. Many of the books are full of handwritten inscriptions and annotations. These little notes were written by the members of the Lucy family who read the books.

In amongst the Racing Calendars and novels are some very special gems. Did you know that we have a Shakespeare Second Folio, an illuminated 14th Century Book of Hours and a copy of Erasmus given by the author to King Henry VIII?


Family records preserved in our Library


‘An account of the Charlecote Burglary’


The Lucys of Charlecote By Mary Elizabeth Lucy

We’d like to make these books more accessible to all our visitors and are currently looking at different ways of doing this.

It can be quite a challenge looking after such a number of rare and important volumes! At the moment we’re trying to raise funds to enable us to look after these books, many of which need specialist care and repair from specialist conservators.

First aid for books!

First aid for books!

So if you’re visiting at this time, please do pop in to our bookshop. Take some time to look through our donated books and perhaps buy one or two knowing your loose change is making a real change for our collection. We also have a collection pot in the Library along with more information on the project and our wonderful treasures. Look out for more of our fundraising activities throughout the year!

My favourite object… #5

Here is the fifth installment in ‘Our favourite object‘ series. This post comes from our chief House Elf, Julie…

“As a House Elf I am incredibly lucky to work with all of the beautiful objects at Charlecote and trying to choose my favourite has been a real challenge. Maybe the authentic Ancient Greek vases that have survived thousands of years or what about the little locked box that we have convinced ourselves contains a treasure map? It wasn’t until I was working in the Library one day that I realised what my favourite object is. Ok, so it’s probably technically more of a fixture or fitting but the carved fireplace in this room is definitely something special.

Dating from the time the Library was built in the 1830s, to me the fireplace embodies everything that Charlecote is; the character of the house can be seen in this one object.

Charlecote Library (NTPL)

Charlecote Library (NTPL)

The fireplace is a strong, proud piece just like Charlecote itself sitting in the parkland overlooking the river. It also reminds me of the strength of the Lucy family who have managed to survive here throughout 800 years of history.

It is beautifully carved but not over the top or too showy which is just like Charlecote as a whole. Although it is a country house belonging for many years to Baronets and landed gentry, Charlecote still feels like a home. It is not palatial or ostentatious like Chatsworth or Blenheim Palace and doesn’t try to be either. Visitors often say to us that they don’t feel intimidated by the property but feel quite at home at Charlecote and could quite easily live here!

The Library has gone through quite a change with all the rewiring works!

The Library has gone through quite a change with all the rewiring works!

The fireplace has family at its centre with the coats of arms of Mary Elizabeth and George. Family is a strong theme running throughout Charlecote and the presence of Lucy family members can be felt everywhere. Whether it is the wedding favours preserved in the Drawing Room, the countless family portraits, Granny’s summerhouse in the gardens or the heart breaking memories retold in ‘The Mistress of Charlecote’, family is an incredibly important part of Charlecote Park.

Then there is the motto “live to learn, learn to live”. Such a simple phrase but so effective. It’s a motto that seems to mean slightly different things to different people. It makes me feel humble knowing that there is a lot to learn in life but I also feel inspired to take this knowledge and go out and live!

'Live to Learn - Learn to Live'

‘Live to Learn – Learn to Live’

On top of all of this though perhaps the main reason why the Library fireplace is my favourite object is that of all the things I wish I could do at Charlecote, curling up in front of a roaring fire in the Library with a good book would definitely be number one.”

Julie, House Steward

My favourite object… #2

The first in the ‘my favourite object’ series was Mary Elizabeth’s harp. In this next installment our retail assistant (and volunteer House Elf!) Rebecca takes a closer look at a rather fine painting…
“Like Ruth, my favorite item can also be found in the Drawing Room and it is the first thing you can see through the door.
The portrait was painted by John Morley, in 1972. The artist first painted the composition of the gates, then painted Lady Alice in the Great Hall.
I believe it captures the romantic notion of being a Lady of Charlecote and captures the elegance of the estate.
But for me it is more about the subject of the portrait than the actual painting. Lady Alice is one of the important ladies of Charlecote, she was the wife of the 5th Baronet Sir Brian Fulke Ramsay-Fairfax-Lucy and the mother of the current 6th Baronet Sir Edmund. When the family handed the property over to the National Trust in 1946, Lady Alice became the property historian and helped to reinstate the interiors to the way Lady Mary Elizabeth designed them. She even created the first Guidebook for the property.
Lady Alice was also an author of many books including “Charlecote and The Lucys” (1958) and wrote the introduction for “Mistress of Charlecote – The Memoirs of Mary Elizabeth Lucy 1803-1889″.
Even after her death in 1993, we still refer to her notes of the property which are safely guarded by her son.
The portrait reminds me that behind every beautiful image is a person with a story and Lady Alice’s story is just as important. We owe as much to her as we do to Lady Mary Elizabeth.”
Rebecca, Retail Assistant