Tag Archives: catholics

Monday 13 February 1804. A fine party at Swanbourne

With her husband sailing towards Copenhagen as Captain of the Ganges, and soon to fight alongside Nelson in the glorious battle of that port, Betsy Fremantle was busy keeping house at Swanbourne in Buckinghamshire. The following diary account of a party at Swanbourne would not be out of place in Jane Austen’s novels.

Swanbourne, 13th February. Monday. Lady Buckingham arrived soon after nine o’clock with Lord George, Lady Mary and Mr. Martin. We breakfasted in the Library and she admired much the House. She saw all my brats and was very civil to old Mrs Fremantle who had not seen her for some years. She left us at eleven and the moment she was gone I was busy in clearing my room for this evening’s dance, preparing the supper table &c. We dined in Capt. Fremantle’s dressing room. Miss Chaplin came in the morning and little Harriet Howard who I asked to please her Mamma and is the ugliest little ape I ever saw.

Did Betsy Fremantle ever expect her diaries to be read? If she did she might not have called poor little Harriet Howard “the ugliest ape I ever saw”! Lady Buckingham is Richard Temple’s mother, Lord George and Lady Mary his brother and sister. Mr Martin is Abbé Martin, an exiled French catholic priest. His mother, sister and the Wynne sisters are all Catholics (Betsy Fremantle was Betsy Wynne before her marriage).

the_misses_harriet_and_justina_wynne_from_a_drawing_at_helensburghBetsey & Justina

The party began at eight:

We all dressed after dinner and our company began to assemble at eight o’clock—Miss Heslop, Miss Bennett and her brother, five Miss Pouletts and their brother, General Poulett was ill but paid me a great compliment by sending all his children—Mr. and Mrs. Howard, Dr. Millner, Wodley, the Blicks, Capt. Brown, Mr. and Mrs. Harman, five Lowndes, a Mr. Oddy and another friend they brought, in all we were thirty-four. Dancing was kept up with much spirit and thirteen couples had just room enough in the Library. We supped at twelve, our table in the dining room held twenty-two, the rest were in the Dressing room. Supper was very good and all went off better I expected. Dancing soon recommenced and was kept up till half-past four; I was so lame I could not dance and played Casino with Mrs. Fremantle. Everybody seemed much pleased with the party… Mr. Wodley was a great treat.

It is amusing that a Miss Bennett is mentioned as this might have been a scene out of Pride and Prejudice. Among the five Miss Pouletts was Anne Lucy who was falling in love with my brother Lord George.

26 February 1836. Accidental Death of a Catholic at Stowe

John Broadway (1771-1836) was clerk of the works to the Duke and the Duchess at Stowe of Buckingham and Chandos until his death there in 1836. He was a first-class steward and a family friend.

His untimely death was a great shock. Anna Eliza, the Duchess, wrote to her cousin Captain Percy Grace with the news:

We experienced a dreadful shock a Month ago from the awful death of poor Broadway who fell from a trap Door a height of twelve feet upon a Stone Pavement & was instantly killed close to the Room where we were at breakfast. It is impossible to describe the effect it had upon us all & I trust the awful lesson of the uncertainty of this life will be of lasting benefit!

Broadway was one of the last remaining Catholics at Stowe. The Duke’s mother was a Catholic and, even though his father was Protestant, he was a great supporter of the Catholic cause—as Richard (the Duke) was also. In Richard’s parents’ time, there were a good number of Catholics at Stowe including the librarian Charles O’Conor, an excommunicated Irish priest. After the death of Richard’s father, Catholic worship was outlawed at Stowe—though the family remained loyal to its friends and estate workers who practised the Catholic faith.

Broadway was buried a few miles from Stowe in the graveyard at Holy Trinity Church, Hethe, Oxfordshire.

john_broadway_grave-scaled500Of your Charity
Pray for the Souls of
John Broadway
Who Died at Stowe, 26, Feb. 1836
Aged 65 Years
Alexander Broadway
Son of the above Who Died at York
23, June 1851, Aged 46 Years
and Martha, his wife
Who Died at Edinburgh 24 June 1880
Aged 74 Years