In shore he is computed to walk 2,500 l. His wigs surprise every one, they are made of wire; literally and truly there is no hair in them.” This report is confirmed by the vivacious Horace Walpole, in a letter to Horace Mann, on February 9: “Our greatest miracle is Lady Mary Wortley’s son, whose adventures have made so much noise: his parts are not proportionate, but his expense is incredible. His father scarce allows him anything: yet he plays, dresses, diamonds himself, even to distinct shoe-buckles for a frock, and has more snuff-boxes than would suffice a Chinese idol with a hundred noses. But the most curious part of his dress, which he has brought from Paris, is an iron wig; you would literally not know it from hair — I believe it is on this account that the Royal Society have just chosen him of their body.”
“All collectors of natural curiosities love something of every species. Mr. Wortley has had a passion for all sorts and sizes of women. Miss Ashe is a sort of middle species between a woman and a fairy, and by her rarity worthy to be added even to so large a collection of amours.” This Miss Ashe was commonly supposed to be the daughter of the Princess Amelia, daughter of George II, and Admiral Rodney. Mrs. Piozzi was however doubtful of the fathering. “I should think Rodney scarce old enough to have been her feather. Her mother people spoke of as with certainty.”
Miss Ashe was a lass of spirit, as you may learn from an account of her frolics in Walpole. She was persuaded by her handsome gallant, no doubt at a great cost in varnished boxes and shoe-buckles, and together they set off for a honeymoon in Paris. Wortley, a stickler for morality, insisted on a marriage, and the ceremony was duly performed in Keith’s Chapel, Mayfair, in 1751. “Wortley, you know has been a perfect Gil Blas, and, for one of his last adventures, is thought to have added the famous Miss Ashe to the number of his wives,” says Walpole.
Twelve years later the matter got into the courts, in what manner is not clear, but we find our hero writing from Leghorn: “I was extremely shocked, and indeed more surprised, at the verdict in favour of Miss Ashe. . . . I did not mind any particulars, as she knew I was married; and I never thought it could be necessary to prove it, since it was only done that there might be something to say to the Father in case of a surprize.
Perhaps the action had to do with a voiding of the marriage, for the bride later settled down and wed a Mr. Falconer, R. N According to Mr. Wortley senior’s will, made in 1755, his son was to have six hundred a year. The reversion to this he promptly sold, yet he was soon again in money troubles.
In 1760 he was hiding in England, his whereabouts a secret even to his lawyers.
Opportunely enough, his father died on January 1, 1760, leaving, says Walpole, an estate of one million three hundred and fifty thousand pounds. The son received an annuity of 1000 l, to become 2000 l on the death of Lady Mary.
He was further empowered to make a settlement on any women he might legitimately marry of 800 l a year, and to any son of such marriage a considerable estate in the West Riding of Yorkshire was devised. Lady Mary accused her son of entering a false caveat to the will; but the circumstances are too obscure to warrant examination.
Perhaps, as he died, his thought returned to the words he had once spoken to Dr. Moore, and with them upon his lips he could go bravely into the land beyond: “Your Heaven is the most tiresome and comfortless place in the universe; and not one Turk among a thousand would go to the Christian heaven, if he had it in his choice . . . The Mussulman believe that . . . women are creatures of a subordinate species, . . . by no means worthy of accompanying believers to Paradise, where females of a nature far superior to women wait with impatience to receive all pious Mussulmen into their arms . . . ”
He was cleared after the first court hearing before the decision was overturned by the Parlement of Paris and he was ordered to pay a fine of 300 livres. He continued to sit in parliament, and wrote Reflections on the Rise and Fall of the Antient Republics ... (1759).
His father left him an annuity of £1000, the bulk of the property going to Lady Bute, the author's sister,
He led a colourful life and he received the estates of his cousin, James Montagu the son of Charles Montagu and his first wife.
Lady Bute was born in 1718, the only daughter of Sir Edward Wortley Montagu and Lady Mary Pierrepont, the daughter of the Evelyn Pierrepont, 1st Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull.
created Earl of Lonsdale, on 7 September 1761
succeeded as 4th Earl of Bute and was later created Marquess of Bute
2nd Duke of Northumberland, on 2 July 1764
created Earl Macartney, on 1 February 1768.
served as Archbishop of Armagh
Dawson, later the 1st Earl of Portarlington, on 1 January 1778.
Her eldest son, John, succeeded to her title.
Her daughter Lady Louisa Stuart
With her mother, the young Lady Louisa Stuart attended the balls, routs and soirées of London society, but she also followed the literature of the day and corresponded with friends. She had great powers of observation from an early age, and a manuscript notebook survives in which she describes her circle.
Fanny Burney often met Lady Bute and her daughter Lady Louisa and described Lady Bute as "forbidding to strangers", but entertaining and lively among friends.
Burney writes of mother and daughter on one occasion:
... both in such high spirits themselves that they kept up all the conversation between them, with a vivacity, an acuteness, an archness, and an observation on men and manners so clear and sagacious.In 1770, at the age of thirteen, Lady Louisa fell in love with her second cousin, William Medows (1738–1813), the son of Philip Medows of Nottinghamshire, Deputy Ranger of Richmond Park, and of Lady Frances Pierrepont, who like Louisa's mother was a granddaughter of Evelyn Pierrepont, 1st Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull.
Medows was then a forty-one-year-old lieutenant-colonel of the 5th Regiment of Foot, and Lord Bute considered him unsuitable and put a stop to it.
Lady Louisa was bitterly disappointed. She wrote of Medows:
He seems to have that independent spirit which fortune cannot depress or exalt. He is really a character unlike anything but himself, au reste, the most agreeable man I ever met with, and one of the most humorous.
Lady Louisa Stuart's family home at Luton Hoo in Bedfordshire, as it was in her day
Louisa Stuart does not seem to have fallen in love again, but she had at least two other pursuers. Her next was Henry Dundas (1742–1811), member of parliament for Midlothian and Lord Advocate of Scotland, later created Viscount Melville.
Dundas was a gallant and good-looking man who had been married but was legally separated from his wife. His devotion worried the Bute family, but it turned out to be brief and merely amused Lady Louisa. Her last serious suitor was John Charles Villiers (1757–1838).
He was the second son of Thomas Villiers, 1st Earl of Clarendon, and for a time overwhelmed Stuart with his admiration. Her parents encouraged the match, and she was tempted, but she finally decided that a "love match without any love is but a bad business"
As a result, she never married. In 1791, Villiers married his cousin Maria Eleanor Forbes, a daughter of Admiral John Forbes, and in old age he inherited the family's titles and estates from his older brother Thomas Villiers, 2nd Earl of Clarendon (1753–1824), who never married.
When the Earl of Strafford (1722–1791) was widowed in 1785, society gossip quickly linked his name with Stuart's, leading Lady Diana Beauclerk to remark "So Lady Louisa Stuart is going to marry her great-grandfather, is she?"
However, Stuart looked on Strafford merely as an elderly uncle, and not as a suitor, and he for his part did nothing to promote such an alliance.
Stuart later became a close friend of the novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832), a friendship that lasted from the 1790s until Scott's death in 1832. Scott regularly sent Stuart his work for her opinion, describing her as the best critic of his acquaintance.
Mary Stuart, Countess of Bute, 1st Baroness Mount Stuart (19 January 1718 – 6 November 1794) was the wife of John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, who was Prime Minister of Great Britain between 1762 and 1763.
He later became the Ranger of Richmond Park and established gardens there, the same place that Philip Medows was ranger.
Princess Amelia is remembered for adding the two white wings to the main lodge, which remain to this day. The Prime Minister, John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, became ranger after the Princess's death, and lived at the Lodge from 1761 until his death in 1792.
It was during this tenure that the name White Lodge first appeared, in the journal of Lady Mary Coke. According to her journal, Lady Mary went to Richmond Park hoping to catch a glimpse of "their Majestys" (George III and Queen Charlotte), who did "always stay at White Lodge on a Sunday".