At last month’s meeting of Worksop and District u3a, Susan Deal gave an informative talk about the Portland Druce Case – a scandal of the 19th century and its connection with Welbeck Abbey.
The story centred around the widow Anna Maria Druce who was convinced her late father in law had led a double life and was also the 5th Duke of Portland. The 5th Duke of Portland was an eccentric character, who disliked being seen. He was responsible for the tunnel building programme at Welbeck Abbey and used elaborate means to obscure his activities and movements there and at his London residence. He died childless several years and the title, money, Welbeck Abbey etc passed to various relatives.
Anna Maria wanted to prove the theory in order to have a claim on the late Duke’s estate. Anna Marie’s plan was to open her father in law’s grave as she believed it could be empty. The case lasted years, going through several courts and involved false witnesses, unknown illegitimate children and other scandals, before Herbert Druce eventually consented to the exhumation of his father’s remains. This was done at the end of 1907.
The coffin was opened and it was found to contain the well preserved remains of TC Druce, who was immediately recognisable.
The next meeting will be on Thursday 21st September, when the speaker will be Stephen Booth, an award winning UK crime writer.
The group’s monthly meetings are held at the Civic Centre in Carlton. Doors open at 1.30pm with tea and coffee and the speaker starts at 2.00pm. All are very welcome. If you would like further information then check them out on Facebook, search for Worksop & district u3a, or contact Sam on 03000 309960.