St Osyth's Priory - To Marry a Duke
|The Priory from inside.|
To Marry a Duke was inspired by an actual place, St Osyth’s Priory, a few miles away from where I live. This is the best preserved
mediaeval building inEurope. The Priory used
to be open in the summer to members of the public but the current owners
stopped all this about 25 years ago.
|St Osyth's Priory|
was fortunate that the local historian allowed me to spend the day looking
through original documents, letters and plans and then invited me to accompany
her when she took a private coach party on a tour of the house and grounds. It
would seem that in order to retain his grant the owner has to allow three coach
parties a year to visit his home.
descriptions and names of the rooms are accurate, they all existed in the
Regency and indeed most of them still do. I made every effort to get the
history correct so a reader is getting a true picture of the Priory as it was
the Regency section of the building was demolished in the early 19th century
and then parts of it rebuilt and this is what remains today. There is no longer
a gatehouse and long drive and the ornamental lake has also gone.
as you will see from the pictures I've included, the Priory is still
magnificent and well worth a visit if you're in the vicinity. The local church
is also beautifully preserved from that time and is, as I described, no more
than a stone's throw from the front of the Priory.
Priory was surrendered to Henry VIII in 1539 by Prior Colchester and the King
gave it to Thomas Cromwell, the Earl of Essex, and it never reverted to the
Crown. Thomas Darcy bought the Priory and other estates for the princely sum of
£3974. 9s 41/2d the same year he was created Lord Darcy of Chichester.
Elizabeth was entertained here by Darcy’s son. After he died the Savage family
inherited it and it was allowed fall into decay.
|Front view of St Osyth's Priory|
the Earl of Rochford moved in and bought some Poplar treesLombardy and four or five of them are still
growing in the park. These were the first to have been planted inEngland.
George III went to inspect the camp at Colchester stayed at St Osyth. Rochford was also a personal
friend of George II and 111.
Allegra Witherton and her brother, the Duke of Colchester, are not based on any
historical figures. I always wanted to write a romance about an aristocratic
woman and a hero who is in trade - most Regency stories have the roles
reversed. Jago Tremayne and his daughter Demelza, my hero and his daughter, are
from Cornwall somewhere I lived for two years and my
children were small and still have a fondness for.
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