Edwinstowe Historical Society

by | 17 April 2023 | Heritage, Sherwood

In February, Shirley, the Chairperson, welcomed Edwinstowe Historical Society members to an illustrated talk highlighting the parts played by the Dukes of Newcastle and Dukes and Earls of Portland in the development of Welbeck Abbey, after the dissolution of the monasteries to the present day.

Sir Charles Cavendish, son of Bess of Hardwick, purchased the abbey in 1607.

Over the centuries Welbeck Abbey has been redeveloped, and has seen Dukes devoted to horses, farming, and estate improvements, also Dukes and Earls who have been avid collectors, lived expensively and found themselves in debt. Fortunately, their successors were able to restore order to the running of the estate.

On occasions there were no male heirs, so the estate passed by marriage through the female line. There were some notable females: Margaret Duchess of Newcastle, a philosopher, poet, scientist, fiction writer and playwright; Lady Henrietta Harley, Countess of Oxford who revived Gothic architecture; Lady Margaret Cavendish Bentinck, 2nd Duchess of Portland, collector and naturalist.

The British royal family, King of Siam, and Kings and Queens of Portugal, Spain and Belgium were entertained at Welbeck. Between 1914 and 1919 the army set up camp in the park, and after WWII Welbeck operated as Welbeck College, an army training college, until 2005. The 6th Duke and Duchess were involved with the creation of Harlow Wood Orthopaedic Hospital and Portland Training College.

The title Duke of Portland became extinct with the death of the 9th Duke in 1990. However, the Earldom of Portland was inherited by a male line descendant of the first Duke’s younger brother. On the death of Lady Anne Cavendish Bentinck in 2008, she bequeathed Welbeck to her nephew William Henry Marcello Parente.

The talk on 19th April, ‘Nottingham Castle’, will be presented by Cal Warren.

Meetings are held in the Church Rooms, Mansfield Road, Edwinstowe NG21 9NJ on the third Wednesday of the month at 2.00pm. The annual subscription is £12.00, and visitors are welcome at a charge of

Additional information is available at www.edwinstowehistory.org.uk and enquiries may be made to EdwinstoweHistorySoc@gmail.com.