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|Friday, September 04, 2009|
In the West Riding of Yorkshire
, about four and a half miles east of the city of Leeds
, stands a Jacobean-era
country house which has an important link to the Regency. The house, called Temple Newsam
, stands on a large estate which has a history stretching back to Roman times. A Roman road connecting Castelford
ran across the property, and the mound which remains of this ancient "street" can still be seen on the north side of the estate. In the early middle ages it was on this property that the Knights Templar
built a preceptory, or complex of buildings, which housed a provincial community of their order. It was this preceptory which gave Temple Newsam its name. Here the members of the community worked the land to sustain themselves and to contribute to the support of the Templars. The preceptory is now gone, as is the original manor house, built by Thomas, Baron Darcy,
a nobleman beheaded by Henry VIII
in 1538, when he rebelled against the dissolution of the monasteries. The property was seized by the Crown after Darcy's death, and Henry gave it to his niece, Margaret, Countess of Lennox
. Thus it became the property of the Earls of Lennox
. In that same manor house was born Lord Darnley
, who became the ill-fated husband of Mary Queen of Scots
, and father of James I of England
After the death of Lord Darnley, who was the eldest son of the Earl of Lennox
, the property passed to his only son, King James I. In the first year of his reign in England, James granted the property to Ludovic Stewart, the second Duke of Lennox
. In 1622, the Duke sold the property to Sir Arthur Ingram. In about 1630, with the exception of the part of the house which contained the room in which Lord Darnley had been born, the old manor house was mostly pulled down and rebuilt in red brick. That is the core of the Temple Newsam House which stands today. In 1661, Sir Arthur's grandson, Henry Ingram, was created Viscount Irwin, (sometimes listed as Irvine), in the Scottish peerage, for his loyalty to King Charles I
. There were nine Viscounts Irwin
, the last, Charles, died in 1778, leaving five daughters, but no sons.
So, what is the Regency connection to this historic property?
The most fashionable bridle path
in all of Regency London was Rotten Row
in Hyde Park
. It has been a very popular setting in countless Regency romance novels all the way back to Georgette Heyer. Rotten Row is still maintained as a bridle path in Hyde Park even today. However, there have been changes made to Rotten Row over the years, so that the Row today is not the same Row along which fashionable ladies and gentlemen of the Regency rode to see and be seen.
What are the origins of Rotten Row, how did it get its name, and what was it like during the years of the Regency?
Posted on 08/07/09 at 07:07:00 by Kathryn Kane
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you are enjoying your exploration of London and will enjoy your time in Hyde Park.
You are right about Regent's Park. It was not open to the public until 1838. Green Park was open to the public during the Regency years. However, in 1814, due to the damage caused to the Park by the crowds during the celebrations of the victory over Napoleon, it was closed to equestrians, leaving Hyde Park and Rotten Row the primary venue for riding and driving in Regency London.
Good to know. I saw Regent's Park the other day, but I have yet to explore Hyde Park. Regent's Park, of course, was created later, so was not a popular destination for our Regency characters.
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Unless you like living in a swamp infested with thieves!
Despite the use of Belgrave Square, Eaton Square, or other locales within Belgravia as the address for one or more characters in recent Regency novels I have read, Belgravia did not exist in the Regency. Wishing, or in this case, writing, cannot make it so. The area which encompasses Belgravia was known as Five Fields
during the decade of the Regency, and for centuries before that. It was a marshy, muddy lowland and a known haunt of footpads and highwaymen. It was by no stretch of the imagination a posh address during the Regency. In fact, there were only a few ramshackle sheds in the fields, some used for bull-baiting or cock-fighting. Large sections of the fields were unhealthy as they were heavily saturated with brackish water.
When and how did this marshy wasteland become the
address in London?
Posted on 05/08/09 at 07:08:00 by Kathryn Kane
As they would say in the Regency, I am most gratified by your kind words. I am fascinated by all things Regency and it is fun to share the snippets of information I have acquired over the years.
I am not surprised to learn that your husband reads Austen and Heyer. Austen, in particular, was very popular with men in the trenches during WWI. They read her novels, as you do, to escape from the horrors of war to a more civilized age. I also learned recently that the novels of Jane Austen were prescribed to soldiers suffering from stress during WWI. Austen's rural settings and humorous tales of daily life helped many a soldier to recover from what today we know as post-traumatic stress syndrome.
I salute you in your work on HIV in Africa and I wish you great success in your efforts! I am glad you like my site and I hope it provides you an occasional small respite from the real world when you need it.
thank you so much for this! such interesting information and beautifully written, with great links to the maps etc. I love your site! I also started off with Jane Austen then Georgette Heyer, both of whom I read to this day, as does my husband (there are miracles in this world, after all....)
thanks again for making this great site! I live in Africa, working on an HIV project and it's lovely to be able to escape to 18th c. London....
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