Mary McDonald Chichester
Mary MacDonald was the second wife of John Chichester and married him in 1764 at the age of twenty-six, thirty-one years younger than her husband. Although the age gap is wide by modern standards it was not at all unusual at the time and is perhaps best explained by the fact that the Catholic Chichesters were struggling to find partners as by this time they were already closely related to all of the suitable local families who shared their faith.
A true faith
A turbulent upbringing
John and Mary had two sons and three daughters, all of whom had remarkable lives in their own rights.
- The eldest, John Palmer Chichester, joined the army and eventually attained the rank of Colonel, inherited the Arlington estate and began the process of development which resulted in the house and grounds that you see today.
- His younger brother Charles also became a soldier, rising to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel and commanding a brigade of the Anglo-Spanish Legion, being knighted and becoming governor of Trinidad.
- Catherine Chichester became a nun at the convent of Liege at the age of around ten but nevertheless was widely acclaimed as one of the finest female artists of the time dying in 1791, aged only twenty-five.
- The other two surviving daughters married Baronets: Mary married Sir George Constable of Burton Constable Hall, Yorkshire and Elizabeth married Sir George Blount of Sodington, Worcs..
- Another daughter, Ursula, was born in 1775 but died the same day.
A loyal woman
In loving memory
" This monument is erected to the best of mothers by her two surviving daughters, Mary MacDonald Clifford, wife of Sir Thomas Hugh Clifford, Bart., and Elizabeth Courteney Blount, wife of George Blount, Esq., youngest son of Sir Walter Blount, Bart., as a tribute of their veneration, love and deep affliction for their irreparable loss."