At Highclere for the Gardens & House

January 7, 2013 at 1:47 am (diaries, estates, europe, history, jane austen, people, places, research, travel) (, , , , , , )


My dear Emma Smith was a talented artist; her diaries are rife with tales of the industry of the Smith of Suttons sisters, their pencils scratching away at their drawings.

Watching the excellent television program, Secrets of Highclere Castle, with its peek inside the walls of the actual residence used in the series Downton Abbey, I had a flash of typing that name — Highclere — while transcribing Emma’s diaries.

highclere castle

Indeed, there is brief mention in 1829, the spring of the first year she spent as Emma Austen. She has been visiting Austen family, and within days of her visit to Highclere (27 May 1829) she is also noting a stay at “Mr Lefroy’s at Ashe,” where they entertained Edward Knight, Mr and Mrs William Knight, Miss Knight, and “Mrs. Cassandra Austen at dinner”.

Watching the special, I was rather surprised that the Carnarvon family tree includes a member of the Rothschild family. I haven’t seen a lot about Almina Wombwell / Lady Carnarvon, but her father, Alfred, was the second son of Baron Lionel de Rothschild — who in 1872 purchased Tring Park, the rented estate the Austens (Emma, Edward and their first children) shared with Emma’s mother Augusta Smith and her unmarried children.

lady carnarvon

Read about the book Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey
at Enchanted Serenity of Period Films.

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