Tag Archives: wynne

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.

6 January 1806. Too Much Kissing on Twelfth Night

harriet_and_justina_wynneThe Grenvilles’ Christmas gatherings at Stowe were want to last for the full 12 days of Christmas. Betsy Wynne made a note of the festivities:

Twelfth day kept in the most charming manner for the amusement of the children et toutes les jeunes personnes—Ld Temple being King & Justine Queen two thrones were erected—they were crowned & danced in their costume with the children as Pages bearing their trains, which had a very good effect. General Poulett as Chamberlain acted his part delightfully—Ld George Prince of Wales, &c. &c. Too much kissing was allowed. My brats danced & enjoyed themselves, Je me contentaide les admirer.

Justine (also Justina) is Betsy’s beautiful dreamy sister. That’s her on the right with her sister Harriet to the left. Lord Temple was to become the first Duke of Buckingham and Chandos. Lord George was his amorous brother. General Poulett of Addington was a family friend, but not for long.

1 January 1810: No end to the hipping and hurrahing at Stowe

At Christmas and New Year, the Grenvilles, their extended family and friends gathered at Stowe.

betsey_wynne_cutThe Wynne sisters were among them and on 1 January 1810, Betsey Wynne (above) writes in her diary:

The weather was favourable to the Day, and proved quite Spring. We all went immediately after breakfast on the Lawn at the North side of the House, where several Groups of Morris Dancers and the Bands of the Buckinghamshire Militia and of the 14th played in turns and enlivened the Scene. I was made most happy by the arrival of Tom, Emma, and Charles, and shall contrive to keep them here till after the Ball.

At one o’clock the poor people from twelve neighbouring parishes arrived for the dinner, with the Clergyman of each Parish at their head and to say Grace at the different Tables, the Colonnades and Sheds under them were filled with Tables, which held twelve each, and their dinner consisted of Soup, Meat pies, and pudding. Every thing was so well arranged that there was not the smallest difficulty, and about one thousand persons were fed.

After dinner, some racing and restling for prizes filled up the time till dusk, when the fire works began and an immense Bond fire was lighted. We remained on the Steps of the House and did not find it at all cold. Ld. Downshire and his Brother Ld.

Arthur Hill arrived just at the conclusion of the fete, and at seven we sat down to dinner, with the addition of the numerous Newman Family, and all the Clergymen, who had attended their parishioners which encreased the party to about 74, all in the Music room, the noise was great and no end to the hipping and hurrahing.