The life of Lady Armstrong

Lady Armstrong in the foreground with the royal guests at Cragside, 1884

A loving, caring and independent lady, we're shining a light on Margaret Ramshaw, wife of Lord Armstrong.

Designing Cragside

Having a keen interest in gardening, flora, fauna and geology, much of Cragside’s landscape you see today was designed by Lady Armstrong, as it had been at the couple's first home, Jesmond Dene. On the estate, Lady Armstrong was considered just as important a figure as her husband; in fact it was her that greeted the Royal party when they visited Cragside in 1884. She also played an integral part in the running of the estate, and alongside her husband formed great relationships with many of their staff. In 1906, after her death, a magazine commented “the late Lady Armstrong was often up and around the estate at six in the morning, in order to see… wishes were carried out.” 

Helping the local community

Throughout her life Lady Margaret worked tirelessly to improve education and healthcare, taking a particular interest in a local sick children’s hospital where she donated a lot of her own money. She also worked with deaf, blind, and women’s charities to name a few. A newspaper obituary noted “during her long lifetime Lady Armstrong became as distinguished for her modesty and generosity as her husband. She was a cheerful helper in all efforts of a charitable or philanthropic character.” 

An independent lady

When her husband was away on business or busy working, Lady Margaret carved a life out for herself. Having a close circle of friends around her, she would throw parties with music, dancing and games, or would take regular trips to London to see exhibitions, concerts and the opera. Lady Margaret was a spirited person in her own right, taking great interest in many things beyond home life.

Discover more

Cragside was as much Lady Margaret’s vision as it was her husband’s. Their spectacular landscape vision and home full of invention is the perfect backdrop to their story. Visit us to find out more about their fascinating life together that spanned 58 years.