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Subject: The Cottage Countess
Date: Sat, 1 Feb 2003 07:35:31 EST


For those who like a bit of mild scandal in the peerage:

On 29 Sep 1789 John Jones bought a cottage and a small holding in Great
Bolas, Shropshire. On 4 Apr 1790 he, then aged 36, obtained a marriage
licence at Lichfield to Sarah Hoggins, dau of a small farmer (CP says
Clergyman) aged 17.

But it turns out that he is actually fact Henry Cecil Lord of Burleigh,
nephew and heir presumptive of the 9th Earl of Exeter, and still married to
his first wife Emma Vernon, by whom he had had three children and whom had
eloped with a Rev William Sneyd. In easter 1790 Henry recovers £1,000
damages from the Rev Sneyd for criminal conversation (adultery). Emma later
marries him

Henry does correct his bigamy by obtaining an annulment from Emma (Act of
Parl. 10 Jun 1791), followed four months later by a church wedding to Sarah,
their first issue was born another four months later.

They lived at Great Bolas for two years until his succession to the peerage
made her a countess. (The Cottage or the Peasant Countess) She died in 1797
and was bur at Burghley House. He went on to marry a third wife.

Tennyson has a poem on the them called _The Lord Burleigh_

Adrian


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