This tale of the Vane Tempest Stewarts, the family name of the Marquesses of Londonderry, was entertainingly unfolded in what Ron Tempest, the lecturer, described as a News of the World family history. And a family history it was, going back to origins at the time of the Norman Conquest. An old family, aren’t they all, particularly well documented, as most are not.
The family settled in Yorkshire in 1080. The lecturer described a three part family starting with Tempests who were involved in the wars of the next 600 years. Unfortunately they appeared to be remarkably consistent in choosing the losing side. They were, however, especially successful at entering into profitable marriages, as a result of which, the family rose again.
The next part of the family was the Stewarts who also showed a talent for picking the wrong side. Marriages came to the rescue, and the acquisition of more land, and the coal that lay beneath, once more restored their fortunes. By the end of the 18th century Vane had become part of the name.
It seemed that if the men were a little questionable in their behaviour, the women seemed to be of stronger stuff. Frances, Marchioness of Londonderry, became the controller of the coal business. A formidable lady, once the richest heiress in Britain, if not Europe, and a close friend of Tsar Alexander I.
The Londonderrys became more political, gaining government office, and the home at Wynyard, entertained many guests. Notable were Edward, Prince of Wales, and Alexandra, and foreign dignitaries, including Bismark. It was a blunder inviting Ribbentrop.
All in all a very entertaining lecture delivered in a lively, fluid fashion, with many questions well answered.
Great Broughton Village Hall
Monday 29th September at 7.30pm