Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Marquis and the Mariner's Daughter

Lady Caroline Anne
For Caithness family researchers, the importance of the 4th Marquis of Ely rests on his marriage to Caroline Anne Caithness, daughter of George Caithness, which event took place on 9 December 1875 and was announced in the London Standard's Marriages column of Monday 13 December: 

According to an account in an American newspaper (see previous post on this blog) the 4th Marquis had at one time prior to his marriage been in the running as a suitor to Princess Beatrice but this did not eventuate and 'the Marquis was seen no more at court'. 

In fact it appears that the Marquis was rarely seen in England at all, spending most of his time 'abroad' and becoming well-known as 'a yachtsman'. The circumstances of his meeting with Caroline Anne Caithness remain conjecture. As the daughter of a mariner - even a respectable Master Mariner - Caroline was unlikely to have moved in the same circles as the Marquis, yet meet they did and presumably fell in love. 

John Henry Wellington Graham Loftus, Caroline's husband, was the only son of John Henry, 3rd Marquis, and was educated at Harrow and Oxford, succeeding to the marquisate at the age of eight on the death of his father in July 1857. Though the 4th Marquis was described prior to his marriage as 'young, rich and handsome and a favourite at court', by the time he died in 1889 things had changed.

The 'two jointures' mentioned would have been those to the Dowager Marchioness, the 4th Marquis's mother, Jane (who died a year after her son), and to his widow, Caroline Anne. The latter's will shows that Caroline was left fairly well-off. She survived her husband by 28 years, dying in 1917. There is a reference in the London Gazette to her attendance as one of the Dowagers at the coronation of King George V on 11 June 1911, perhaps Caroline's last public appearance.

Kearsney Abbey, Dover, Kent, residence of the 4th Marquis
at the time of his death in 1889

Built by the Dover banker John Minet Fector in 1820-22, Kearsney Abbey was described as 'a charming residence, in extensive grounds, in which the two branches of the Dour unite, forming a lake, in which there are ornamental fountains'. A manor house rather than an Abbey (it had never been a monastic building) materials from the ancient town walls and demolished churches were used in its construction. 

To be continued 

Tom Sheldon

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