People at our places

Read the Trusted Source articles about famous people at our places...

Engraving of Queen Adelaide by Henry Thomas Ryall after Sir William Charles Ross RA, date unknown

Who was Queen Adelaide? 

Born in Germany in 1792, Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen later became the wife of King William IV and queen consort of Great Britain between 1830-1837.

Barras Nose headland, Tintagel, North Cornwall

Who was King Arthur? 

Historians and archaeologists fiercely debate the possibility of a ‘real’ King Arthur.

William John Bankes by George Sandars

Who was William John Bankes? 

William John Bankes was one of nineteenth-century Britain’s most extravagant collectors of art and antiquities, which he amassed at his country estate at Kingston Lacy in Dorset.

Violet Ann Bland was a housemaid at Dudmaston Hall in Shropshire

Who was Violet Ann Bland? 

Violet Ann Bland was the Dudmaston kitchenmaid who became a suffragette hunger-striker.

The pale green sitting room at Monk's House

What was the Bloomsbury group? 

The Bloomsbury group was a circle of artists, writers and intellectuals who embraced a culture of sexual equality and freedom, informality and fierce intellectual debate, largely at odds with their strict Victorian upbringings.

A wide open valley, with a Grecian temple with large coloums stands at the tip, surrounded by trees and under a purple atmospheric sky in autumn

Why was Lancelot 'Capability' Brown so important? 

Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown is Britain’s most famous landscape designer, who codified the English landscape style and worked at over 250 sites, for a client list that included the majority of the House of Lords. Brown learnt his trade experimenting at Stowe, making his mark on the landscape before moving on to transform the the English countryside and many aristocratic estates.

A Chelsea Interior by Robert Tait, 1857

Who was Jane Carlyle? 

Celebrity couples are nothing new. Victorian literary luminaries clustered at the home of writer Thomas Carlyle and his wife, but there was more to the woman known as Mrs Carlyle than her husband.

A painting by James Archer at Carlyles House

Who was Thomas Carlyle? 

When Thomas Carlyle turned eighty in 1875, he received a birthday tribute from over one hundred eminent Victorians. Philosopher, historian, biographer, translator, novelist and essayist, he was hailed as the voice of the age.

Margaret Elizabeth Leigh Child-Villiers, Countess of Jersey (1849-1945), Osterley Park and House

Who was Margaret Elizabeth Child-Villiers, Countess of Jersey? 

Margaret Elizabeth Child-Villiers (nee Leigh, 1849 - 1945), Countess of Jersey, was a Tory political hostess and philanthropist who became Britain’s leading female anti-suffragist.

A statue of Winston and Clementine Churchill

Who was Clementine Churchill?

Born in 1885, Clementine Ogilvy Spencer-Churchill (née Hozier) was far more than just Winston’s wife. She was a keen promoter of social and humanitarian causes, often in defiance of Winston, including women’s rights.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 - 1834). Photograph of a portrait by Peter Vandyke, 1795

Who was Samuel Taylor Coleridge? 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) was one of the great Romantic poets. He was a writer of visionary imagination, lyric intensity and philosophical profundity.

The Paved Court

Who was Reginald Cory? 

Reginald Cory (1871-1934) was a successful entrepreneur who used his personal wealth to pursue a more creative passion: gardening.

Autumn view through a woodland alley, Ashridge Estate

Who was Sydney Renée Courtauld? 

Sydney Renée Courtauld (1873-1962) was a social reformer and philanthropist dedicated to improving women’s access to education. She helped secure part of the present Ashridge Estate for the National Trust.

Edy, Chris and Clare at Smallhythe Place

Who were Edith Craig and Christopher St John? 

Actress, producer and designer, Edith Craig was a suffragette and socialist, and later director of the feminist Pioneer Players. Her partner, Christopher St John, born Christabel Marshall, was a feminist playwright, suffragette, and author.

Satan calling up his Legions, William Blake, circa 1805-09.

The Great Beast 666: who was Aleister Crowley? 

The Great Beast 666, Perabduro, Ankh-f-n-khonsu, the wickedest man in the world, Aleister Crowley was a noted – and controversial – occultist. Defiantly unconventional in every respect, he lived life according to his own dictum: ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.’

Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield by Robert Antoine Muller, 1877

Who was Benjamin Disraeli? 

Novelist and statesman, social outsider turned aristocrat; Britain’s first Jewish Prime Minister reflects the vibrancy and complexity of nineteenth century politics.

Canon Rawnsley (centre) with Beatrix Potter and her family in 1887

Who was Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley? 

One of the founders of the National Trust, Hardwicke Rawnsley helped us acquire some of our first places for the nation. Discover which places he helped to save.

Dr Wilfrid Fox on a bench at Winkworth Arboretum, Surrey

Who was Wilfrid Fox? 

Dr Wilfrid Fox (1875 - 1962) was a physician turned horticulturist whose best known legacy is Winkworth Arboretum in Surrey. However, his influence on Britain’s landscape is far wider through his involvement with the Roads Beautification Association and as a passionate advocate for tree planting.

Ferguson's Gang members Shot Biddy, Kate O’Brien and Bill Stickers enjoying a picnic, 1935

Who were Ferguson's Gang? 

Ferguson’s Gang was formed in 1927 with five core members, all of whom were women. Their aim was to raise awareness of the need to protect rural areas and they supported the organisation they considered to be the most dedicated to preserving England’s heritage: the National Trust.

Sir John Gardner Wilkinson in Turkish Dress by Henry Wyndham Phillips

Who was John Gardner Wilkinson? 

Sir John Gardner Wilkinson (1797-1875) was a nineteenth-century traveller and scholar. He was a pioneer of Egyptology, the modern science devoted to the study of ancient Egypt.

Cliveden House in Buckinghamshire

Why did Giuseppe Garibaldi become a Victorian celebrity? 

Giuseppe Garibaldi is perhaps best known for helping to unify the various states of the Italian peninsula under one monarchy in 1860. However, Garibaldi’s heroic exploits also earned him considerable admiration in England in the 1860s.

Tryfan, the Glyder Fach & Y Garn, Carneddau, Snowdonia, Wales

Who was Gerald of Wales? 

Gerald of Wales (1146-1223) was a secular clerk and prolific author of Latin texts ranging from saints’ lives to natural history.

Ernö Goldfinger

Who was Ernö Goldfinger? 

Born in Budapest in 1902, Ernö Goldfinger was a modernist architect and furniture designer instrumental in popularizing the modern movement in Britain.

The view across the garden to Hardy's Cottage, the birthplace in 1840 of novelist and poet Thomas Hardy

Where is Thomas Hardy's Wessex? 

Thomas Hardy is famous for his novels of nineteenth century rural life. Rich in description and dialect, they are written museums of a vanished culture. Hardy set them in Wessex, an imaginary region mapped onto the geography of south and south-west England.

Detail of St Herbert's Island, Derwent Water, Cumbria

Who was Herbert of Derwent Water? 

Little is known of Herbert of Derwent Water, a seventh-century hermit who lived on an island in the middle of the Cumbrian lake. But Herbert and the island named after him were the inspiration for writers as diverse as William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter.

Octavia Hill (after John Singer Sargent) by Reginald Grenville Eves, RA

Who was Octavia Hill? 

One of the founders of the National Trust, Octavia Hill helped us acquire some of our first places for the nation. Discover which places she helped to save.

A child using a quill pen in the School Room at the Apprentice House, Quarry Bank Mill

Who was Susan Horner? 

Susan Horner was a Scottish nineteenth-century writer and translator who published works on history, architecture, art, and the politics of Italy.

T. E. Lawrence, 'Lawrence of Arabia' (1885-1935) by Augustus John, RA

Who was TE Lawrence? 

The man who would become known as Lawrence of Arabia was born Thomas Edward Lawrence in 1888. Lawrence was an archaeologist and historian, before working in the Middle East as an intelligence officer and liaison to forces participating in the Arab Revolt. He was later employed by Winston Churchill to help redraw the map of the modern Middle East.

Agnes Pochin, Laura McLaren and Priscilla Bright-McLaren

Who was Laura McLaren, Lady Aberconwy? 

Laura McLaren, Lady Aberconwy (1854–1933), was a leading Liberal suffragist. She became an activist in the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies and founded the Liberal Women’s Suffrage Union.

The Hall outside the Dining Room at Standen House, West Sussex

Who was William Morris? 

Born in Walthamstow in March 1834, William Morris founded the Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain and designed some of the most recognisable textile patterns of the 19th century.

‘Love Among the Ruins’ by Burne-Jones displayed in the Great Parlour, Wightwick Manor

Who were the Pre-Raphaelites? 

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a nineteenth century art movement founded in 1848 by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and several of their friends.

Waddesdon Manor in the autumn

Who was Alice de Rothschild? 

In many respects a typical Rothschild, Alice had a powerful and independent personality which has left its mark on Waddesdon Manor.

Oil painting on canvas, Victoria (Vita) Mary Sackville-West, Lady Nicolson (1892-1962) by Philip Alexius de László de Lombos

Who was Vita Sackville-West? 

Victoria (Vita) Mary Sackville-West was a prolific fiction writer, prize-winning poet, and gardener.

Painting of the Duchess of Sutherland

Who was Harriet, duchess of Sutherland? 

Harriet Elizabeth Georgiana Leveson-Gower [nee Howard], duchess of Sutherland, was born on 21 May 1806 into the Howard family, earls of Carlisle, one of the great Whig families of the age.

Tennyson Down above Freshwater Cliffs on the Isle of Wight

Who was Alfred, Lord Tennyson? 

Born in 1809, Alfred Tennyson’s poetic career spans much of the nineteenth century. After his death in 1892, he left a literary legacy which includes many of the most popular nineteenth century poems.

George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham KG, PC, FRS, (1628-1687) after Sir Peter Lely

Criminal or minister: who was George Villiers? 

George Villiers, second duke of Buckingham (1628-1687), was a powerful courtier and politician during the reign of Charles II (1660-1685). It was during Charles’ reign that he acquired the Cliveden estate and built a mansion, part of which remains standing today.

Bardic meeting at Caernarfon c. 1894

How do you become a Welsh bard? 

There's a well-known story about Cadair Idris, a mountain in southern Snowdonia: if you sleep one night on its summit, it's said you'll wake either a bard or a madman. However, bards – or beirdd as they're usually called in Welsh – are not just figments of folklore.

Bust of Virginia Woolf by Stephen Tomlin in the garden at Monk's House

Who was Virginia Woolf? 

Virginia Woolf was an innovative modern novelist, essayist, literary critic, and central member of the Bloomsbury group.

Lady Mary Pierrepont, Lady Mary Wortley-Montagu, after Jonathan Richardson the younger, after 1719

Who was Lady Mary Wortley Montagu? 

Born in 1689, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was an English aristocrat and lady of letters. More important than her literary achievements, however, she was responsible for the introduction of the smallpox inoculation to Britain and Western Europe.