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Written by JulieW
(9/3/2005 2:19 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Lord of the Pigs (Letter 13), penned by Robbin
I would go so far to say that they were infamous
I am certain that the Austen family would have known all about them.
Lets pass on some of the gossip.
The Third Duke of Bolton caused somewhat of a major scandal by keeping for years ,as his mistress, Lavinia Fenton,the actress who made famous the role of Poll Peachum in The Beggar's Opera by John Gay. I think it is fair to say she was the equivalent of one of today's superstars of the screen, and her subsequent role as the mistress of the Duke caused a complete scandal.
When his first wife died he married Lavina and she became a duchess.They had sons but ,of course, the title and his entailed estates , including Hackwood Park, could not pass to them as they were illegitimate.
On the Duke's death the title passed to his brother, the 4th Duke.
Lavinia continued in society in a limited way, tending to haunt the spas of Bath and Tunbridge wells.She died in 1760.
The title became extinct in this line 1794,caused by the death of the sixth duke without male issue.
The Bolton estates were then inherited by Jane Mary, the natural daughter of the fifth duke, whose husband, Thomas Orde, Esq., a member of the ancient Northumbrian family, assumed the name and arms of Powlett, and was created Baron Bolton, of Bolton Castle, in 1797.
He is, if you like JA's Lord Bolton who kept grandly housed pigs.
He died in 1807, and was succeeded by his son, William Orde-Powlett, the second baron.
I don't think the Powletts were the stuff of horrid novels- except perhaps for the 3rd Duke who used his first wife,an admittedly touchy woman, exceedingly ill!
They were,however a very interesting family and I'm sure the whole neighbourhood of Basingstoke knew of the family's racy history.
Lavinia has recently been the subject of a good biography( published in the UK in May this year.I'll post a link for anyone interested.
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