BOOKS, Eighteenth Century, English Houses, library, royal life

A little bit of Althorp


One of The first things I bought this year was a stunning hardback cover of Althorp: The story of an English House by Charles Spencer.

What a great addition to my bookcase and I have actually put it on my desk. This is an absolute treasure for my book collection.

It is just OH SO GORGEOUS 😍😍😍

Charles Spencer 9th Earl inherited the estate as his grandfather’s eightieth birthday was in 1972 and the local paper in Northamptonshire took a photograph of him, Charles and his father.

Charles Spencer was based in Sandringham and Althorp was known as very Edwardian. It was a 2 hour drive from from Park House and Charles articulates that it is the most English of settings.

“His memory of those days included his grandmothers sitting room with beautiful, deep blue, hand painted frescoes and formal furniture that reflected her cool and natural aristocracy; a slice of sophistication in an otherwise stolidly traditional English stately home.”

See above.

His grandfather dominated the rest of Althorp.

And pores over the family records in the Muniment Room. Medieval household accounts, letters from leading Jacobean political figures and reminiscences of Victorian house parties all stored together.

The Muniment room is now gone in which it’s contents with the British Library much of it waiting to be catalogued.

One interesting fact is his father had to sell the great Holbein of Henry VIII to finance his education. He sold it for 10K pounds.

During his childhood his sisters and him rarely stayed the night at Althorp when his grandfather was there. If they did it was in the night nursery.

This is the Wooten Hall, painted by the early eighteenth century artist John Wooten.

Wooton painted all these works in 1733, in his studio in Marylebone, London, before they were transported to their permanent home at Althorp.

He was known as the best painter of horses in England.

This is the picture gallery. Chairs by the fireplace, bookcases against the wall, side tables positioned near the wall to give it a finish.

“In 1508 Althorp was bought by John Spencer for only 800 pounds and the house that you see today had its heart constructed as the family’s Northhamptonshire base.”

It had actually been catalogued in the Doomsday Book as “Olletorpe” which meant Ollas Thorpe. Ola was a Saxon Lord. And interestingly “Thorp” is a Scandinavian name. His grandfather called it “Awl Trupp”.

When Charles inherited the estate in 1992, the BBC Pronunciation Department sent him a letter saying that they would like to see it rever to the correct pronunciation. And gave him strict guidelines on how it should be pronounced.

It was called Antwerp by an American presenter and he believed Diana would have enjoyed that…..

CHARLES II BY MARY BEALE

The portrait of another monarch was also in the Picture Gallery – Lady Jane Grey the nine days queen painted by Lucas de Heere.

It is still at Althorpe.but in a different room. And shows

Lady Jane Grey at the age of 16 a year before she was executed sitting in a room at Broadgate, her family’s home In Leicestershire. Reading a religious text pretty in a red velvet dress. She showed her devotion to Protestantism whilst the Catholics were the ones involved in her execution.

This is a Tudor lady where they would like to “use the length of the gallery for exercise.”

They re call the Picture Gallery as being ‘a fine room for walking about in” – they always had breakfast there.

In 1695 the neighbouring nobility and gentry gathered to dine there in which they had come to pay their respects to William III, as he in turn had come to secure the support of Robert Spencer, Second Earl of Sunderland and master of Althorp.

 

In the History of England they quote:

 

“It seems strange that William should, in the course of what was really a canvassing tour honoured with such a mark of favour a man so generally distrusted and hated as Sunderland. but the people were determined to be pleased All Northamptonshire crowded to kiss that royal hand in that fine taller which had been embellished by the pencil of Vandyck and made classic by the muse f Waller, and the Earl tried to conciliate his neighbours by feasting them at eight tables all blazing with plate.”

299 years later, Charles Spencer give a dinner party in that same room for his 30th birthday.

In the Picture Gallery, between the Windsor Beauties and War and Peace is a tiny door cut neatly into the oak panelling. Harley ever used but leads to a staircase that joined the Pink Suite, a guest bedroom to the rest of the house. His great aunt who was Margaret Douglas-Home was the youngest of six children who lived at Althorn from 1910 onwards.

What I found out very interesting is this story:

 

The day Charles had guests over he was going through some leather bound volumes that were in relation to the house. One of them were a book of press cuttings from the mid nineteenth century kept by his great great grandfather Frederick, 4th Earl Spencer.

this is what the article said:

“One morning, the Dean came down to breakfast with the family and rather frostily complained to the then earl that in future he would prefer it if he was left undisturbed after retiring for the night. My ancestor asked the dean to expand. It transpired that the Dean had been awoken by a figure dressed as a groom entering his room, holding candles, who had gone round the bed, checking all the candles, who had gone round the bed, checking all the candles were properly snuffed out.”

The exact description of the ‘groom was agreed upon that it was the ghost of the previous earls favourite servant – whose job was to go round all the rooms at night, after everyone had retired, to check that no flame was still burning.

After Charles read it, he didn’t think anything of it, until one Sunday evening, he was helping his guests down with the luggage of the exact same room, The Oak Bedroom, when a lady said to him “I swear that someone came in here last night.” Now Charles didn’t think anything of it because he just thought it was someone going to bed late, or a guest having trouble looking for their room.

The lady continued to say “And the strange thing is he was holding a candelabrum and wearing an old uniform – a cloak.”

He said back to her well I have had a broad range of guests here at Althorn but no one dressing up like that!

So Charles decided to run up to the housekeeper who was cataloguing articles for a new museum she had created showing off some of the more historic items that had been put in storage rooms. He was about to take down a grooms cloak when instead he actually grabbed a footman uniform, and he thought ‘if she is lying, this will catch her out.’ He raced back down stairs and shows the clothing to the guest, Almost…. she said, but it was longer – more like this…. and she described in DETAIL the clothing of ‘an early nineteenth century Spencer groom.’

 

 

With the Oak Bedroom it was where John Spencer the first earl married his sweetheart in secret. This is another story that caught my eye, as

John Spencer’s father was called John, who was the favourite grandson of the Duchess of Marlborough, she had a fortune so large that she actually lent money to the Bank of England.

This financial power, the quick tempered matriarch was determined was not to go to her grandson the third duke of Marlborough but to his younger brother John. who died young through “over-abundance”.

Horace Walpole was slightly more sharp witted in pin pointing the main causes of his early demise, when writing to Sir Horace Mann in 1746; Jack Spencer, old Marlborough’s grandson and heir is dead, at the age of 37 and in possession of 30K pounds a year merely because he would not be abridged of thee invaluable blessings of an English subject.

The 12 year old John was left beneficiary to the GREATEST inheritance in the kingdom, spending it on diamond buckled shoes and building Spencer House.

So the only pressure on a young man with this amount of wealth was to marry, in order to ensure the money stayed in the direct family line.

When it came close to his 21st birthday Georgiana Poyntz was to be the chose one. She wasn’t an heiress. Georgiana was SO in love with him, according to a letter she wrote to her friends, and saying he was ‘handsomer than an angel’. She stayed at Althorp for the summer and they got engaged. They were to be wed, and John and Georgiana had planned to marry at Althorn on Christmas Day with nobody else knowing. Th wedding party convened in the Oak Bedroom which was occupied by Johns mother and step father. Those present were Georgiana’s  mother, brother and a Mr Holloway who conducted the service.

After the service they went back to the party that was going on in ALTHORP as though nothing had happened, in this kept hidden a secret marriage ended a famous happy one!

 

 

In 1688 a lady called Evelyn had this to say about Althorp.

“The house/palace is a noble uniform pile in form of a half H, built f brick and freestone, the hall is well, the staircase is excellent, the rooms of state, galleries, offices, and furniture such as may become a great prince. It is situated in the midst of a garden, exquisitely planted and kept and all this in a park walled in with hewn stone, planted with rows and walks of trees, canals, and fish ponds and stored with game.” Spencer, C, Althorp: The story of an English House, 1998, London, Penguin Group.

This account relate to the time of Second Earl of Sunderland Robert Spencer. This was the period where he was secretary of state to Charles II, James II and William III.

 

 

Charles believes the most magical painting to be in Althorp would have to be in the Picture Gallery which is called “War and Peace” by Gottfried Schalken.

 

 

In 1772 there was an announcement needing laborours to help repair the house. the ceiling in the library collapsed the next year and the floor was unsafe needing to put new ones in. George John got in contact with a Henry Holland who actually assisted with the construction of Battersea Bridge for the First Earl Spencer. He was a well known architect in London.

Holland started in 1785 repairing Spencer House and then was asked to design something to save Althorp/Spencer House. George Johns wife was a Lady Lavinia Bingham as shown above wasn’t exactly happy with Holland and didn’t like how much it was costing.

Althorp was transformed into a Georgian mansion and was classically beautiful.

Holland added a Library, Billiard Room and South Drawing Room. This was the beginning of the century in which the Library would be the dominant room at Althorp.

The library tells the story of the Spencer’s in the eighteenth and nineteenth century more eloquently.

Like me, there was one ancestor that was an avid collector of books.

And collecting early English Literature.

John, First Earl Spencer added to the family collection by buying the whole entire library of Doctor William George who was a headmaster at Eton College. Primarily, English.

George John transformed the Spencer library into the greatest private collection of books in England.

George had an interest in English Literature at a very early age.

As you can see in the picture the library room was filled with books full to the ceiling!

What I am most fascinated about was that in the final decade of his life, George John, ordered a copy of every single book published in England. ASTOUNDING!!!!!

Here we find, Frederick the fourth spencer inheriting Althorp who was a Naval Officer.

The Red Earl – John Fifth Earl Spencer was married to Charlotte Seymour, who was a great beauty and also called Spencers Fairy Queen.

Here we have the great dining room which was added to the side of the house, It is actually a copy of the ballroom in Buckingham Palace. and was created by MacVicar Anderson.

Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough had a family bible, which lists every member of the Spencer family. Naming their date of birth, place of christening, godparents, date and place of marriage, spouse, children and date of death.

but the library was sadly sold.

 

This is the Marlborough Room which was transformed int a dining room.

and this is one of the fireplaces taken from Spencer House to Altho to escape the Blitz.

Religious paintings were sold in large numbers under Raine’s management in the 1980’s.

and they had a painting which included a scene from Exodus – Moses in the bullrushes.

 

Holland’s Long Library, transformed during Raine’s redecorating spree in the 1980’s

and this is the South Drawing Room in the 1980’s, gilded to within an inch of its life.

The chapel, which was transformed in the 80’s into a humble junk room, was restored to its proper function. Full of religious paintings, the french grey of the walls was washed down rather than re painted, and the beautiful stained glass windows were bought from Wormleighton Manor in the nineteenth century.

This is a stained glass window in the Chapel, the armorial glass dates from 1588 and came Wormleighton Manor, the original Spencer family residence.

The Long library became Charles Spencer’s study andante had a busy lozenge carpet rolled back and natural colour restored, with the leather bound volumes showing their richly coloured spines off against a crisp, neutral backdrop, with sweeping views of the Deer Park.

Here is one of the pair of torcheres from Spencer House that now reside either side of the fireplace in the Saloon.

Hollands love of white was the authentic and practical solution. It had a candelabra, the room recaptured its majestic simplicity, the family portraits, an assortment of royal, and here is the Painters Passage. The moving of the china has freed of the area of where the china used to be, showing here that the Painters Passage is now displaying self-portraits. The most fascinating art forms.

There was a Sunderland Room and right next to it was The Marlborough Room, which here (above picture) is the drawing room.

They actually wanted to change it into a dining room.

The most notable collection of portraits was  picture of Georgiana, Countess Spencer with her daughter Lady Georgiana who was the Duchess of Devonshire, was done by Sir Joshua Reynolds, who actually was a close friend of the family.

These portraits of Lady Anne, and Lady Lavinia are the very essence of eighteenth – century portraiture which complements the house in all its majestic glory.

 

 

In modern times, Princess Diana who was born into the Spencer family, was the youngest daughter of Viscount and Viscountess Althorp, but she grew up in Sandringham. After her father inherited the title “Earl Spencer”, she then became “Lady Diana Spencer”. Growing up I didn’t know who she was and honestly didn’t know who she was till the day she died. I will aways remember that she passed away in 1997 the same year as my granny, so thats been etched in my mind for a while.

The last chapter of this book primarily focuses on Princes Diana and the legacy that she left behind. I highly recommend this book for your collection and you can find it on AMAZON for $51.67 or on the World of Books Australia website for $11.49 how cheap!!!!

 

 

I hope you liked reading, as I used some of the words from the book for those that don’t want to buy it, but want to catch a glimpse for free.

It is an absolute stunning picture book, and really dives into the life of the Spencers. I want to buy The Spencer Family: A Personal History of an English Family next time!!! It is $23.86, and It is on my book list!!!!

 

Love

 

Emmalisa

 

xx

BOOKS, Courses, History, library, writing

Historical Fiction Writing with Universal Class – with City of Joondalup – Whitfords Library


INTRODUCTION

What Is Historical Fiction?

I thought I would first show the definition of Historical Fiction to pinpoint what we are looking at exactly.

Historical, adj. 1. Of, relating to, or of the character of history. 2. Based on or concerned with events in history.

Fiction, n. 4.a. A literary work whose content is produced by the imagination and is not necessarily based on fact. b. The category of literature comprising works of this kind, including novels, short stories, and plays.

Writing historical fiction is simply writing a story that is set in the past which is usually during a significant time period. For example, the Victorian Period is the period during Queen Victoria’s reign. I find this period particularly interesting and a favourite.

The main thing that I will learn in this course is to do research to come up with the correct setting based on facts. It can also include real people but does not necessarily have to.

When You are writing fiction, it is very important to do your homework so that you can really pinpoint the mannerisms, costumes, conditions,  etc, in order to make the novel authentic. In fact, they also say that historical fiction novels can take years to write because of the amount of research you have to do when writing.

Historical writing includes historical figures placed in imaginary situations

Fictional characters placed in actual, factual historical periods of time or situations

(for example, you can place your fictional character “Alexandra” in Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812); or you can have variations of both.

For example, you could place historical figures in settings they have been proven to have been in or fictional characters in fictional settings in a real period of history.

To recap, historical fiction is writing that is fictional but in which elements from history play the main roles.

When you choose to write historical fiction, you are doing two things at once – you are both the historian AND the storyteller. You are going to tell your readers what happened at the time and what it felt like.

We are going to explore the genre.

We will discuss the various subgenres, the types of characters and settings you may want to explore, character motivations, conflict, plot, plot mapping, editing, and pacing, plus agents, queries, and so much more.

You will walk away at the end of this course feeling as though you know exactly what you want to write and exactly how to write it.

I have submitted my Introduction online and written what book I want to write and then did a multiple choice exam at the end.

You may have to be a member of the City of Joondalup library to access the course.

It is under Online Resources in the Spydus catalogue.

Xx

Emmalisa

Note: 📝 This is through onlineclasses.com

UniversalClass.com

There iare500+ courses to choose from and 6000000 Lessons delivered!

Oh! How I want to do Journalism!

I will possibly do a Book Review of The Governess Game in the near future! As that is the featured photo on my post!

❤️

BOOKS, Lady, library

My current list of Library Books – Girrawheen Library – City of Wanneroo


Today I went to the Girrawheen Library which is a part of the City of Wanneroo here in Western Australia. I picked up FOUR books which I will be listing in this particular blog.

You will find the first book really shows that it is the type of novel I would DEFINITELY read. Just look at the FIRST WORD! But it is BOOK FIVE of the “The Selection Series”.

The Selection Series is a series of five young adult novels written by Kiera Cass. It focuses on The Selection, a competition for the current king’s heir for a hand in marriage. Source: Wikipedia

A selection can ONLY have ONE winner. A PRINCESS only has one HEART. ❣

When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illea to hold her own selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty five suitors but as events at the palace force her even further into the spotlight she realised that she might not be content remaining alone.

She still isn’t sure she will find the fairy – tale ending her parents did twenty years ago but sometimes the HEART has a way of surprising you…….

“CHARMING”

“CAPTIVATING”

and filled with JUST the right amount of SWOON!

NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author, Kiersten White

Continue reading “My current list of Library Books – Girrawheen Library – City of Wanneroo”

BOOKS, Lady

Two FREE Regency Period books on Kindle to download by the end of the year


TWO FREE BOOKS on Amazon, Google Books, Apple and Kobo

Continue reading “Two FREE Regency Period books on Kindle to download by the end of the year”

BOOKS, Lady, writing

“A Lord Sotheby’s Influence” Bundle


The first three full novels in Catherine Gayle’s Lord Sotheby’s Influence series, available NOW in a single box set bundle on Amazon.

ONLY 83 cents right now on Kindle, and I bought it for a dollar something…..

Continue reading ““A Lord Sotheby’s Influence” Bundle”

BOOKS, Lady, personal development, self help

Know Who You Are. Live Like It Matters


Know you who are: live like it matters, is a christian filled book written by a former professional American football quarterback and current professional baseball outfielder in the New York Mets organisation, Tim Tebow. It is a ‘homeschoolers interactive guide to discovering your true identity.’

“Tim Tebow played college football for the University of Florida, winning the Heisman Trophy in 2007 and appearing on BCS National Championship-winning teams during the 2006 and 2008 seasons. Tebow was selected by the Denver Broncos in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft and spent two seasons with the team. He also played for the New York Jets in 2012. Additionally, he had pre-season stints with the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013 and 2015 respectively. In 2016, Tebow announced he would pursue a career in professional baseball and signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets on September 8.”  Source: Wikipedia

know who you are

In Know Who You Are. Live Like It Matters, he shares the wisdom he’s learned—not from what the world says, but from what God says in His Word.

There are 36 sessions that Tim shares with you to share his deep-rooted faith with those that need just a little encouragement, and want the need of a purpose-filled life.

Tim’s Guide has 4 Parts with 9 Lessons in Each part

Part 1: Who Are You? (Learning about the source of your identity)
Part 2: Don’t Sweat It; God’s Got It (You’ll uncover guidance when the going in life gets tough)
Part 3: Others Matter (Relationships are important.)
Part 4: Live Bigger (Learning why and how to live in a way that impacts eternity.)

Topics include:

* Building godly character
* Maintaining great relationships
* Standing out from the crowd
* Doing things that matter in the big picture

but we are going to cover only the following which is Part 1 of the book, on asking a simple question.

Before we get started with Part 1, here is a note from Tim:

“You and I have something in common. We may share similar traits I don’t know about, but here’s what I do know: I was homeschooled, just like you! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate my parents for making a personal investment in my education. One of the things I loved about being homeschooled was being able to focus on the things I was passionate about and how much time it left for things I loved, like sports and exercise.

Here’s something you may not know: my mom and dad decided to homeschool my two brothers, my two sisters, and me before people even knew what homeschooling meant. At the time, some people thought they were nuts. Some wondered if homeschooling was evenlegal! But despite the challenges they faced, it was worth it. Mom and Dad’s careful and thoughtful instruction helped educate my siblings and me. Each one of us was even blessed to receive a college scholarship!

I know being homeschooled may not be the easiest thing in the world, so I wanted to write a book just for you. I’d like to encourage you in your studies by offering some lessons I’ve learned in my personal journey, lessons I want you to be a part of. I want this book to be about you: digging deep to find out who you are and what that means in real life.

You may or may not know this already, but writing is powerful. In fact, an esteemed professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin studied the impact of journaling. Through a handfulof studies, this expert found that expressive writing in a personal and meaningful way positively impacts health, well-being, and self-development. It can put us in a better mood. It can help us process tough situations. It can challenge us to make good changes. It can pave the way for a more impactful future.

Knowing how journaling can be a great tool for self-reflection, I decided to write Know Who You Are. Live Like It Matters. just for homeschool students. You may think you don’t like writing or that it doesn’t come easy for you. That’s okay! As we travel together through the course of this book, writing will become easier. And you may even discover it’s one of your passions!

Here’s what you’ll find in the following pages. Each week for the next thirty-six weeks, I offer a verse from the Bible and a lesson that helps illustrate that verse. Each teaching ends with a section titled “In Your Own Words.” This is your opportunity to reflect on what you’ve learned. You can connect what I talk about with what’s going on in your life. Use my questions as prompts to fuel your thoughts.”

Continue reading “Know Who You Are. Live Like It Matters”

BOOKS, History, writing

“How to start writing your novel” – with writer, Gabrielle Emmons


Recently I have been talking and collaborating with my very good friend, (a novelist and history enthusiast), an intelligent, studious and amicable lady who strives for greatness in her writing, Gabrielle Emmons. We have been talking a lot about writing in general and I came up with the idea of her doing a guest post on how she begins to write a novel. This is fantastic for those who are budding authors, ready for a new breathe of fresh air or something to their writing life.
I am proud to introduce her to my blog and with the upmost sincere thanks and gratefulness to have her feature on here.
You will find the full article here on her blog, Gabrielle M Emmons and you will also find that she works and keeps up with her own numerous blogs showcasing her work and authorship.
My absolute favourite blog of hers is Tea, Books and Britain because well, you know me! I have become the bit of an Anglophile! And the title is just Oh so perfect! And sums up my life basically. A cup of tea while watching “Escape to the country” or “60 Minute Makeover” has truly been the highlight of my afternoons.
Before I post her article I totally recommend for you to check out her excellent Book Review on “The Mark of the King”. This description on the back cover definitely makes me want to delve into it.

After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.

When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne’s brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?

With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king’s mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.

So, even if you haven’t clicked on that review, bookmark it or save it on your internet and make sure you get that little glimpse of a story of great and hopeful history. It truly has made me want to read it very soon!
In her Writing 101 – a new series blog post she states how we specifically have been discussing the idea on HOW to BEGIN writing a novel. It has truly been amazing talking with her about ideas and brainstorming and starting that novel in particular.
Now, let’s get started with her article which was published on September 12th 2017 on her History with Flair website. Grab yourself a drink (tea or water) and a notebook & pen or laptop. There is an activity at the end!

Many people have asked me how do I start the process for writing a novel. They have also asked me how do I find inspiration/ideas. So I thought I would do a blog series featuring writing. This is the first in the series and you can find more about it here.
So pull up a chair, grab your favorite beverage (mine is tea), and let’s get started. (Just a heads up there will be an assignment at the end of this post. But it shouldn’t be too bad).
First off, there is no one way to start the process of writing a novel. Each author has their own way of how to start that is unique to them. The key is to find one that works for you.
For example, some have a vague idea right away. Others have pictured a character or characters. Again, others have a couple of scenes already figured out.
It is all up to you.
For me, it varies. For my WWII novel set in England (which I have put on hold for now), I already had a vague understanding the plot.
For my Autumn themed story that is currently in the very early stages, I knew I wanted to have setting of the novel be during the Autumn months in MA because I love the Fall. I also knew who my main characters were.
Okay, homework time.
I want you to grab your favorite notebook and writing utensil. You can use your laptop if you prefer to type. I usually for this stage write it in a notebook and then transfer it to the computer later on.
Now, I want you to write down five ideas that could be potential stories. Don’t feel bad if you can only come up with one and two. It is a start.
The most important thing to remember is to have fun. Writing a novel should be fun.

How did you go with the activity?
I thought I would share one idea I came up with. Here is what I wrote:
Idea 5. Professor Wickman travels to London to start a new job at the City University of London. Committing his time and energy to his work and study is his priority and is all work, but through a period of time he learns to apply his work to excellence and focus on a project with his enchanting partner Lady Grosvenor from the affluent suburb of Mayfair. They eventually fall in love whilst working together and get married at St George Hanover Square.
It is not a complete idea but that is an example of ideas. First off starting with the main character, then a setting, place or particular location, the body and then the minor character fixed in there somewhere.
I skipped a whole part of what “could be” (a long plot) There could be so much more I could add to it and I am excited at the thought of creating a story again!
but I liked the idea of this so much I am thinking I am giving away a good story already! Well, that can be my next project!
Emmalisa