Berrington was built in 1775 by Thomas Harley, a banker and Government contractor, and is another beautiful Georgian Neo-classical mansion.
One thing which particularly makes it stand out is the red sandstone it’s built in.
Thomas Harley, with no male heir, made an influential marriage for his daughter into an impoverished aristocratic family, the Rodney’s.
Admiral Rodney was a well known seaman of the era and had achieved some fame during naval battles. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Brydges_Rodney,_1st_Baron_Rodney . However his financial affairs were in a poor state, to the point he fled the country in 1775 to avoid debtors. He already had a connection with the banker Thomas Harley and actively encouraged his son using these words in a letter dated September 1780,
‘When you see Mr Harley, who is a very old Acquaintance, remember me to him and, my dear George, if your Heart is touched by either of his daughters, indulge the flame…’
Thomas Harley’s eldest daughter and heir Anne, and Admiral Rodney’s son George were married in April 1781 and thus the Rodney line at Berrington Hall commenced.
The 7th Lord Rodney was the end of that line however.
There are numerous stories descending from the 7th Lord Rodney if you take the house tour. He was definitely a real life rake and profligate, he lost all his money to gambling mostly on the turf – horse racing – and ravaged poor Berrington house.
A butler found him one day with a crowbar trying to remove a fireplace.
He sold everything it was possible to sell and when the library’s books were all sold, he made it into a billiard room. This was then the only room which survived with fixtures and fittings intact.
My guess would be he did not like to strip it, when he would need to convince guests he might be playing with that he had enough money left to pay any gambling debts he might incur in the game if he lost.
Of course his hope would be he would not lose.
He lost the house in its entirety in 1901, and his wife through divorce the following year.
The house then passed on to another family who had made their fortune through trade, the Cawleys.
Jane Lark is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional love stories.
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