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Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Admiral Lord Nelson
(29 September 1758 – 21 October 1805)

Marianne Spencer-Stanhope to John Spencer-Stanhope.
November 20th., 1805. Farnely.
We begin to be impatient for more news. Think of poor Lady Collingwood—she was in a shop in Newcastle when the Mail arrived covered with ribbands, but the coachman with a black hat-band. He immediately declared the great victory, but that Lord Nelson and all the Admirals* were killed. She immediately fainted. When she heard from Lord Collingwood first he wrote in the greatest -grief for his friend, and said the fleet was in a miserable state. Perhaps that may bring him home.
Are you not pleased with his being created a Peer in so handsome a manner. Why has not Lady Nelson some honour conferred upon her? Surely the Widow of our Hero ought not to be so neglected.

Yesterday we drank to the immortal memory of our Hero. Mr Fawkes has got a very fine print of him.
* Lord Collingwood was a Vice Admiral in Nelson's fleet.

Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood

A Letter from Mrs. Fitzherbert to Mrs. Creevey.

"Nov. 6, 1805.
"Dr. Madam,

"The Prince has this moment recd, an account from the Admiralty of the death of poor Lord Nelson, which has affected him most extremely. I think you may wish to know the news, which, upon any other occasion might be called a glorious victory—twenty out of three and thirty of the enemy's fleet being entirely destroyed—no English ship being taken or sunk—Capts. Duff and Cook both kill'd, and the French Adl. Villeneuve taken prisoner. Poor Lord Nelson recd, his death by a shot of a musket from the enemy's ship upon his shoulder, and expir'd two hours after, but not till the ship struck and afterwards sunk, which he had the consolation of hearing, as well as his compleat victory, before he died. Excuse this hurried scrawl: I am so nervous I scarce can hold my pen. God bless you.

The Prince of Wales, afterwards King George IV

Correspondence from Mrs. Creevey to Mr. Creevey.

"Nov. 7, 1805.

". . . [The Prince's] sorrow [for Nelson's death] might help to prevent his coming to dinner at the Pavillion or to Johnstone's ball. He did neither, but stayed with Mrs. Fitz; and you may imagine the disappointment of the Johnstones. The girl grin'd it off with the captain, but Johnstone had a face of perfect horror all night, and I think he was very near insane. I once lamented Lord Nelson to him, and he said:— 'Oh shocking: and to come at such an unlucky time!' . . ."

Emma, Lady Hamilton

"8th Nov.

". . . The first of my visits this morning was to 'my Mistress' (Mrs. Fitzherbert) ... I found her alone, and she was excellent—gave me an account of the Prince's grief about Lord N., and then entered into the domestic failings of the latter in a way infinitely creditable to her, and skilful too. She was all for Lady Nelson and against Lady Hamilton, who, she said (hero as he was) overpower'd him and took possession of him quite by force. But she ended in a natural, good way, by saying:—' Poor creature! I am sorry for her now, for I suppose she is in grief.'"

"Dec. 5,1805.

". . . It was a large party at the Pavillion last night, and the Prince was not well . . . and went off to bed. . . . Lord Hutchinson was my chief flirt for the evening, but before Prinny went off he took a seat by me to tell me all this bad news had made him bilious and that he was further overset yesterday by seeing the ship with Lord Nelson's body on board. . . ."

From an undated letter written by Vice Admiral Collingwood to Edward Collingwood -
My dear friend received his mortal wound about the middle of the fight, and sent an officer to tell me that he should see me no more. His loss was the greatest grief to me. There is nothing like him for gallantry and conduct in battle. It was not a foolish passion for fighting, for he was the most gentle of human creatures, and often lamented the cruel necessity of it; but it was a principle of duty, which all men owed their country in defence of their laws and liberty. He valued his life only as it enabled him to do good, and would not preserve it by any act he thought unworthy. He wore four stars upon his breast and could not be prevailed to put on a plain coat, scorning what he thought a shabby precaution: but that perhaps cost him his life, for his dress made him the general mark.

He is gone, and I shall lament him as long as I live.

Originally published October 21, 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2016


As Diane and I had walked to Chatsworth House from Baslow yesterday and approached the House from the stable side, we wanted to approach the House from the bridge today, so that it would suddenly come into view - magically, enchantingly, stunningly into view. In all its centuries old glory. This meant that we needed to begin our day in Edensor, the picturesque model village built to the specifications of the 6th Duke of Devonshire with the help of Joseph Paxton. The entire village was moved over the hill from it's original location just by the River Derwent, thus freeing up the view and leaving it idyllic as seen from the House. It is said that after quickly looking through designs for the new house, the Duke could not make up his mind and chose all the different styles in the book. The result is that Edensor is a charming mix of designs ranging from Norman to Jacobean, Swiss-style to Italian villas. A few of the old houses remained virtually untouched including parts of the old vicarage, two cottages overlooking the green, the old farmhouse which now houses the post office, shop and tea rooms, as well as the Gardener’s Cottage across the road. 

After a look round the picturesque village, Diane and I headed to the Edensor's St. Peter’s Church and it’s cemetery where Kathleen Kennedy Cavendish and Deborah Mitford Cavendish rest. Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy was the daughter of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Kennedy, sister of future U.S. President John F. Kennedy, and wife of William Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington, heir apparent to the Duke of Devonshire. They married in May 1944 and, sadly, he was killed on active service, only a few weeks later. Kathleen died in a plane crash in 1948, flying to the South of France on holiday with her new fiancé Peter Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, 8th Earl Fitzwilliam. The Cavendish family considered Kick one of their own and had her buried at St. Peter's in the family plot. I very much wanted to see Debo and Kick's graves, as apparently did others, as we found this sign near the church door, which proved exceedingly helpful. 

Edensor has a unique and charming way of keeping the graveyard tidy. 

Before we left Edensor, there was time for another, more leisurely stop at the Tea Cottage. 

One last look over a fence and we headed for Chatsworth House, just a mile away. 

Would you like to see Edensor for yourself? We'll be given a private, guided tour of the village during Number One London Tours 2017 Country House Tour. Keep watching this space for more details, itinerary, pricing and reservations. 

Part Two Coming Soon!