The 7th Lord Rodney

The celebrations for the homecoming of the 7th Lord Rodney

On Harley’s death in 1804 the house passed through his daughter's marriage to the Rodney family who lived there for the next 95 years through 7 generations. It was under the 7th Lord Rodney's ownership at the end of the 19th-century, that the house undertook a major upheaval.

The 7th Lord Rodney

Lord George Rodney inherited the estate at the age of 7 in 1864. He spent little time at the house in his early years leaving Eton to join the army; seeing active service in Egypt. In 1891 he married Hon. Corisande Evelyn Vere Guest at St. James’s Church, Piccadilly. His bride came from a noble family and it was considered a good match.

The homecoming of Lord and Lady Rodney was greatly celebrated by the local area of Leominster.  There is a reproduction of the article published in the Leominster News on the day in the Business Room and the old photograph above shows moment of their return.

7th Lord Rodney added the Victorian Bath Tower to Berrington for his wife
Lady Rodney’s bath tower, Berrington Hall, Herefordshire

Shortly after the honeymoon, a tower in rendered brick was built in the courtyard to provide bathrooms and lavatories. Corisande would not move to Berrington until a bathroom tower had been built, having been used to plumbed-in baths where she'd lived previously. There were also a couple of fires in need of repair at Berrington during the time the couple lived there, one costing around £700 in renovations (around £50,000 today).

Lord and Lady Rodney had four sons, George (1891), James (1895), Charles (1895) and William (1896) and initially enjoying the social scene of the era. However, the 4,000 acre estate never recovered from the agricultural depression of the 1870’s and the 7th Baron built up significant gambling debts. 

The 7th Lord and Lady Rodney dressed for their fancy dress ball
Lord and Lady Rodney in fancy dress

To raise cash he sold the Gainsborough’s hung in the dining room and the valuable books collected by Harley’s ancestors. More and more went, until finally in 1901 he was forced to sell the house and estate. The marriage also turned sour and Corisande filed for divorce in 1902 citing cruelty and adultery as her reasons for petition. 

Lord Rodney married again in 1903 to the governess of the Rodney children but died in 1909, in Denmark Hill aged 52.