Monday, January 11, 2010

Country Homes: Euston Hall

Location: Norfolk
Famous Inhabitants: Anne Duchess of Grafton, later Countess of Upper Ossory


  1. Oh, Euston Hall! I know your focus is the 18th c., Heather, but there are a couple of very famous 17th c. tarts connected with this gorgeous house, too.

    Henry Fitzroy, the first Duke of Grafton (1663-1690) and second owner of the house, was the illegitimate son of King Charles II and Barbara Palmer, Countess of Castlemaine, Duchess of Cleveland (1640-1709), who went so far beyond being a mere Tart of the Week that she probably could have qualified as Tart of the Century. Famous for her beauty and wit as well as her notoriously promiscuous ways, she virtually ruled both the King and his court for nearly a decade, and bore six royal bastards in the process.

    But her successor in the King’s affections also has a connection to Euston Hall. Louise de Keroualle, Duchess of Portsmouth (1649-1743), was a young French lady ostensibly sent by Louis XIV to serve in the English Queen’s household. Her true purpose, however, was as a “gift” to Charles and as a French voice and spy in the English court. Arriving in London as a virgin, Louise knew her purpose, but she held off Charles as long as she could. Finally she succumbed at a riotous house party at Euston Hall, with her “bedding” being part of an elaborate staged mock-wedding between her and the King before dozens of drunken, titled guests. Despite (or maybe because of) this outrageous beginning to their relationship, Louise continued as Charles’s primary mistress until his death in 1684: another superior Tart.

    What a beautiful, evocative photograph….

  2. So what you are saying is that Euston is the essential romping ground for tarts! All the more reason to visit it, I'd say!