‘Lost’ Wentworth Woodhouse records believed to have been destroyed in fire reveal fascinating facts about the Yorkshire estate

‘Lost’ Wentworth Woodhouse records believed to have been destroyed in fire reveal fascinating facts about the Yorkshire estate

But this city legend that sprung up in property villages because the household’s fortunes plummeted and the Grade I listed home close to Rotherham’s sale neared has by no means been correct – and a brand new analysis venture digitized the “misplaced” Fitzwilliam archives and revealed beforehand unknown information. on their life.

The parable was that the tenth and final Earl Fitzwilliam, William Thomas George, burned swathes of paperwork throughout three weeks of destruction within the park in 1972, seven years earlier than his demise and subsequent extinction of the title and male line. direct. Rumors unfold that he had thrown away priceless papers containing household secrets and techniques – however in actual fact the misplaced paperwork had little historic worth.

The household treasure, the Wentworth Fitzwilliam Muniments, had already been safely deposited within the Sheffield Archives in 1949 – the yr after the eighth Earl, Peter, died immediately in a aircraft crash, which means that the “eldest son” line had died out and the earldom handed to a cousin. The Metropolis Archives retains authorized possession of the cache and grants Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Belief workers entry for analysis functions.

Wentworth Picket Home

But the Muniments have by no means been absolutely cataloged or digitized, which suggests the method of transcription is lengthy and tough.

As a part of a long-term venture to create a web-based archive with digitized paperwork, the Belief supplied internships to 5 college students from the College of Oxford, who spent the summer time learning manuscripts courting 1700s and curating a brand new digital assortment.

The group was given particular subjects on the historical past of the home to analysis forward of deliberate celebrations of two important occasions – the three hundredth anniversary of the first Marquess of Rockingham inheriting the Wentworth Estates and the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Occasion, which the 2nd Marquess supported.

Steve Ash of the Belief’s digital workforce stated: “The scholars have been invaluable and achieved issues we by no means thought potential. For instance, Meg Burgess confirmed us a option to scan and digitize issues that was a lot quicker than the strategy our older brains had perfected.

A meals invoice from the 1740s

“Nic Nicolaou taught us find out how to transcribe scanned paperwork utilizing optical character studying software program. It additionally used synthetic intelligence software program to see the way it may present extra efficiencies. The software program solely takes seconds, relatively than hours, to learn the textual content.

“Studying previous handwritten texts is tough, phrases have been spelled in another way and folks created their very own abbreviations. The interns have been very expert at it and along with scanning over 600 particular person pages, they transcribed over 100.

“Their presence for 2 weeks additionally meant that the Wentworth Woodhouse analysis and information workforce had extra time to look the information.”

Fascinating household letters, paperwork, receipts and even an architect’s drawing of the Camellia home, at present being restored, dated 1812 have been discovered. Orders, cost information and invoices from the time the mansion was constructed revealed not solely the big variety of nails wanted and the quantity of plasterers and carpenters, but additionally that girls have been employed on the website as development staff.

Wentworth Picket Home

The bonfire of profanity?

Catherine Bailey’s e-book Black Diamonds, a narrative of the household and the massive home, covers the 1972 hearth.

She describes it as a deliberate try to destroy 16 tons of twentieth century paperwork to obscure questions of legitimacy and scandals. The papers have been saved within the Georgian secure and transported by tractor to a grove of beech bushes known as Trawles Wooden within the valley beneath the mansion.

Bailey additionally found that the non-public papers of the seventh, eighth and ninth earls had been destroyed after their deaths.

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