Book Launch at Eastnor Castle

The author awaits guests at her book launch at Eastnor Castle

I was thrilled to have a launch for my book about Lady Henry Somerset at Eastnor Castle on June 11th.
The present owner, James Hervey-Bathurst, had been most helpful during my researches, allowing me to access the archives at Eastnor. His grandfather, Arthur, was a cousin of Lady Henry’s and it was Arthur who inherited the barony and most of the Somers’ family estates from the 3rd Earl Somers.
Eastnor Castle is a splendid mock-Norman Castle built by the 1st Earl Somers, on the site of a former family home, Castleditch. Some of the earlier building is apparantly buried in the large lake at the rear of the Castle. The Earl employed the famous architect, Sir Robert Smirke, to create a property which he felt was more in keeping with his wealth and status. This had been acquired by shrewd political dealings.
The Castle is open to the public for a limited time during the summer but is well worth a visit. There are many portraits by the well-known Victorian artist, G F Watts, who was a great friend of the Somers Family. My favourites are of course those of Isabel as a child with her sister Adeline and the lovely portrait of her, shortly after her marriage to Lord Henry Somerset which I have been able to use as the cover for my book. The portraits are in the Octagon Room and are well worth close study.
Eastnor is unlike many stately homes – it does give you a feeling of being a real home. James and his family still live there. One of the added bonuses of researching in the archives there was seeing the castle in regular use today. Photo shoots for Land Rover, private parties, filming in the grounds, preparations for the Big Chill and other events in the magnificent Eastnor Park – all in a day’s work for the busy staff team.
All families have interesting and note-worthy characters. Lady Henry was by no means the only fascinating personality. Arthur, for example, went on to become Governor of Victoria, in Australia and then Chief Scout of the British Empire, succeeding Lord Baden-Powell.

About rosblack

I am a freelance writer & author of 4 social history books, featuring female social reformers of the late 19th and early 20th century. In a previous life I managed a housing charity. I also give talks.
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