You might have noticed we’ve been a little quiet, but this is because we have EXCITING NEWS! Following our sneaky preview a couple of weeks ago that we have forthcoming research progress we can now reveal that we have sourced a huge new archive of material regarding Kings Weston and the family that once lived there. We are delighted that the present Lord and Lady de Clifford have asked KWAG to transfer their family records, those of the Southwell family and their heirs, to the Bristol Record Office to form part of the public collections there.
We have been very privileged in being able to go through the large volume of material and there are some really exciting finds coming out of it already!
Amongst the hundreds of correspondence there is a wonderful and almost unbroken set of letters sent by Katherine Southwell to her Son Ned (Edward Southwell III). She relays all the tittle tattle from court and goings on at Kings Weston to him as he travels Europe for two years before returning to Kings Weston to started remodelling the gardens and house.
We are continuing through these as we type, but there we are particularly excited by the confirmation that the landscape designer Thomas Wright can now be directly identified as working at Kings Weston in 1762. We know too that the carriage drives were laid out around Kings Weston Hill in 1831, and this delightful excerpt of Katherine’s letters comes from 1749 and sent from Downpatrick, the Southwell’s most important Irish estate:
“…above them is a fine ruined Cathedral, near it is such a round tower as as Killkenny. Your Papa has walled and planted the churchyard belonging to it between that and the almshouse Mr Trotter has planted a grove which, when grown will be very pretty, in the middle of it the statue of Jupiter which went from Kings Weston, who is now called St Patrick, and now with his companion Vesta, now St Bridget, is had in great veneration by the poor Irish who rub their beads and say their Ave Marias before them”