wansteadhouse.com

Characters

Sir Josiah Child (1630-1699) Sir Josiah rose through the ranks from apprentice to eventually become Governor of the quasi-governmental East India Company which had its own army and navy. After buying the Wanstead House estate in 1667 he laid out its magnificent gardens and first planted the extensive avenues of trees fanning out in all directions which were a trademark of the location. When he died in 1699,  he was buried at St.Mary's Church.

Sir Richard Child (d.1750), later 1st Earl Tylney and Viscount Castlemaine Sir Richard rebuilt the main house in grand Palladian style at a cost of £360,000. A man very much aware of his power and status. Despite getting stung in the South Sea Bubble of 1720 (a mad rush for over-inflated shares in companies exploring the South Pacific) he remained a wealthy man and hosted in grand style at the new house. He also made extensive improvements to the grounds during his tenure, clearing away the formal geometric lines in favour of more natural unpredictability.

John Tylney, 2nd Earl Tylney (d.1784) Spending much time abroad, especially Italy, he collected rare works of art and other treasures to put on display at the house.

Sir James Long (d.1794), later Sir James Tylney-Long Already wealthy through ownership of the Long estate, he was bequeathed the glittering Tylney estate via the female line when the 2nd Earl Tylney died without issue. Taking the name Tylney-Long he took a keen interest in the Wanstead estate and carried out a number of changes including some provision for the rebuilding of St.Mary's Church, completed 1790.

Lady Catherine Long (1755-1823) Wife of Sir James, she was to see his legacy and that of his ancestors almost totally wiped out before her death during the breakup of the estate.

James Tylney-Long (1794-1805) Son of Sir James Tylney-Long he died at the age of 10 or 11 before he could come into his full inheritance.

Catherine Tylney-Long (1789-1825) Eldest child of Sir James Tylney-Long, the vast estate passed to her at the age of 15 when her younger brother James died in 1805. She swiftly became the focus for any number of would-be suitors including the Duke of Clarence, later King William IV. Described as charming and very petite, after rejecting all other hopefuls in favour of William Wellesley-Pole her fate was sealed. Within just 12 years she would see her wealth and status reduced to virtually nothing, her marriage in tatters and her 3 children taken away.

William Wellesley-Pole (1788-1857), later William Pole-Tylney-Long-Wellesley, later 4th Earl of Mornington  Very definitely the villain of the piece, a man of ill-repute and notoriety characterized at the time as a 'fop' or 'dandy'. He married Catherine Tylney-Long in 1812 almost certainly for the money, squandered the inheritance then fled abroad. After returning, he was challenged in court for attempting to sell off 2000 trees in the park while the estate was in the hands of his receivers. In 1828 after the death of Catherine, he remarried, this time another independently wealthy woman who by 1847 was claiming Poor Relief. Wellesley-Pole died alone and in poverty himself in 1857. His wife and three children are all buried in the Long family crypt at Draycot, Wiltshire but he is not, a gesture which says it all.