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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#MuseumWeek and a mystery object

Last month, as part of TwitterUK’s #MuseumWeek, we posted a photograph of something we pass each day in the house and think little of…

This fish shaped wooden object hanging on the wall in the porch.

As found in the porch, hanging on the wall...

As found in the porch, hanging on the wall…

Any ideas what it is?

For a long time, we’d never really thought about it. As they were hanging in the porch, we thought maybe they’re just a nice decoration. Fish themed to match the ‘luce’ of the Lucy family coat of arms. Perhaps they were for hanging things on, umberella’s or canes.

It wasn’t until Ellen was helping to lock up the house with our House Elves that she had a case of de ja vu. She’d seen these before.

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underneathAny ideas?

Ellen had seen these in a shoe museum. The BATA Shoe Museum in Toronto to be precise. The shoes she spotted there were very similar looking and described as Paduka shoes, 20th century and from India, south Bengal. The exhibition tells that fish is a traditional symbol of fertility and plenty in India. As creatures of boundless liberty, fish appear as saviours in Indian myth and as avatars, or incarnations, of the deities Vishnu and Varuna.

You’ll find lots of examples of these sandals on pinterest and perhaps you have a more modern pair in your wardrobe at home?

The very similar shoes spotted in Toronto!

The very similar shoes spotted in Toronto!

And there was us thinking they were for hanging coats and canes on…

Next time you’re visiting, see if you can spot them!


Celebration Trees: ‘Made to feel special’…

We’re now in full swing with our Celebration Tree plantings. All 20 of the trees have been allocated to people who have been in touch and sharing their stories of Charlecote and celebrations they’re having in 2014.

We’re posting photos of the planting on our facebook page and a few videos on our YouTube channel – so do have a look if you have a moment.

In the mean time, it is lovely to share a blog post from Clair. She came along to Charlecote during February half term with her family. They planted a tree for her husband who is celebrating a special birthday this year!

Grow little tree, grow!

Grow little tree, grow!

I just want to say a massive thank you to National Trust! Not just for the wonderful day, but making me feel like royalty.

While I understand the theory behind the importance of customer care, I experienced first-hand the impact of it, and boy, its powerful when done well!

They didn’t have to, and without agenda, made me feel very special!


The representative from Charlecote Park that arranged our visit having a genuine passion for her work and the estate was clearly key. I’m sure she isnt deemed a fundraiser, but she was perhaps the most influencial one I’ve ever met (I’m sure unbeknown to her and maybe what made her all the more effective!)? Down to her care and attention, they now have a big supporter!

Through Facebook, I learn’t about a series of ‘celebration trees’ that they were planting around the estate. They invited people to email in stories of various celebrations they were having this year explaining why they should been involved and have a tree dedicated to them. I contacted them as my husband is celebrating a milestone birthday, and with our surname of Lucy having particular connection to Charlecote as it being owned by the Lucy family since the 12th Century (unfortunately not direct descendants) I eagerly applied. Within days I was in touch with Lisa, who excitedly planned our ‘planting event’. Nothing was too much trouble. On the day, she met us at the gatehouse and led us to the plot with her colleagues awaiting our arrival. Adam explained the type of tree it was and even involved our two year old twins by inviting them to pat down the earth, and repeat after him “grow little tree grow”. My husband was truly surprised and felt very priviledged, they didnt have to go to all this trouble, but they did!

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Our sincere thanks to Clair and her family for taking part in this very special project!

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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