Lady Elizabeth Dickins sighted!

March 27, 2011 at 8:58 am (people, places, research) (, , , , , )

Ah, just gotta love these 19th century published memoirs! Here is one, entitled Further Recollections of a Diplomatist  where the biographer has gone “on to Castle Ashby…” Sir Horace Rumbold describes being “at first much bewildered by the size of the beautiful old Jacobean pile, with its intricate passages and long, creepy galleries. But although a thoroughly haunted-looking house, no uncomfortable traditions appear to attach to Castle Ashby.”

He goes on to talk of the inhabitants: “We spent upwards of a fortnight here, our host taking a great fancy to the boy, and to the quaint German patois songs they had been taught to sing in parts by one of their nurses. Lord Northampton [the 3rd marquess; son of Spencer and Margaret] was already then in the very last stage of decline, but his conversation was still delightful, and, like his gifted sister, Lady Marian Alford, he was an admirable draughtsman, and worked with pencil and brush to the very last. Artistic gifts are indeed hereditary in the family, for staying in the house was old Lady Elizabeth Dickins [or Dickens, I see the name spelled BOTH ways…], Lord Northampton’s aunt, who used to amuse the children with very clever pen-and-ink sketches which she did, for choice, kneeling by the table, although then considerably past eighty.”

One letter, written in 1824, from Augusta (Emma’s sister) to Lady Elizabeth discusses her “scratches” and “sketches”. What precious items these would be to locate — but I am on the trail…

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