Barbara St John

Croome Barabara St John portrait image

Following the loss of his first wife, Lord Coventry remarried in 1764. Like his first wife, his new bride Barbara St John, was also a great beauty.

Barbara St John and the 6th Earl seemed completely in tune with each other.  The new Countess of Coventry took an active part in tracking down rare plants for the garden, she was also interested in birds and animals.

She helped create the menagerie at Croome which was accessed through a wood which is now cut in two by the M5 motorway.  The menagerie featured Sparrows of Paradise, Red-headed Parakeets, a Snow Bird and Silver Pheasants.  The 6th Earl and the Countess spent forty happy years together.

Barbara brought with her a substantial dowry at a time when Lord Coventry's expenditure was getting a little out of hand.

White doves on the fireplace in the old library
Croome Doves on fireplace
White doves on the fireplace in the old library

The new model dairy, the menagerie and the model farm at Croome were all gifts to Lady Coventry from her husband and she received the income from the farm as 'pin-money'.

The Countess had a great sense of fun.  The new garden buildings and parkland at Croome provided the ideal setting for boating parties, summer picnics and firework displays.

When Lady Coventry died on 25 November 1800 it is said Lord Coventry lost much of his former enthusiasm for life and his interest in Croome faded visibly.