Gentle George, a religious family man

Sir George Crewe was a pious family man © National Trust Images

Sir George Crewe was a pious family man

Sir George Crewe, 8th Baronet
Owner of the Calke estate, Sheriff of the county
Calke Abbey

An able and serious minded man with a strong social conscience, he accepted his place in the life of the county and devoted himself to fulfilling his duties as a Christian landlord and a country gentleman. A religious man, Sir George devoted himself to rebuilding the church in the park which was completed in 1826 and is the church you see today.

A noble landlord

George found much to put right after his father’s eccentric regime. He reformed the management of his estates, put the mansion into good repair, and in 1838 recorded that ‘under God’s blessing, after 19 years labours…I have at last cleansed the Augean Stables of Calke jobs, Calke turkey and Calke extravagance’. Kitchen and cellar were brought under control and registers of every kind of consumption were put in place. As a landlord he had the reputation of being both just and generous, and devoted much time and money to the well-being of his poorer tenants.

Dear diary

George kept a detailed diary for most of his busy life, giving an insight into his relationships with his family, servants and tenants. He writes about his ‘dear wife Jane’ who had 8 children;

“This morning at 9 o’clock precisely my Dear Lady Crewe brought me a child – a son. From the previous delicate state of her health and also from the circumstance of our having been married nearly five years with but one hope of ever having that blessing, a family..."  November 18th 1824

Led by conscience

In public life he was a man of strict principle who did not hesitate in doing whatever his conscience told him, no matter how different it was to the customary way of doing things. He soon gave up hunting as a frivolous pursuit which might take up too much of his time. In 1821, as Sheriff of the country, he discontinued the Assize Ball because he thought it was unseemly for ladies and gentlemen to amuse themselves on the eve of the day on which others were tried for their lives. In 1827 he refused to subscribe to a plate for the Derbyshire Yeomanry to race for because he considered it would encourage betting.

Neither a prig nor a puritan

Despite his pious ways and solitary ancestors he and Lady Crewe gave the county great balls and parties and most of the paintings by the British and Netherlandish artists that hang at Calke were purchased by him. Never strong, he suffered from chronic bad health, and died suddenly in 1844 aged only 48.

Want to learn more about Sir George? Why not visit us and pick up his diary in the shop?