Charles Spencer is certainly busy at the moment as his family home of Althorp is undergoing extensive renovations. The works has prompted the Earl to go through various rooms where he’s been unearthing unseen treasures.
One of these was an incredibly poignant family artefact as it was a tribute to his great-great-grandfather Frederick Spencer that had been left by his great-great-grandmother, Adelaide Spencer. Charles spoke of the age gap between the two and that when Frederick had died at the age of 59 in 1857, his widow dedicated a lot of her remaining life to making sure his memory was preserved.
The plaque had originally been placed in a chapel that Frederick had built in order to allow his “poorer neighbours” a place to worship, which paid for from his wages as “Lord Steward to Her Majesty”.
Sharing more on Frederick and Adelaide’s relationship, Charles explained: “This week, while sorting through the attics at @althorphouse I came across this plaque. It reconnected me with the marriage of my great-great grandparents, Frederick and Adelaide Spencer, in the 19th century.
“This was Frederick’s second marriage (his first wife died young), and Adelaide’s first. There was a large age gap between the pair, and after Frederick died suddenly at Althorp aged 59, I’d heard that the young widow Adelaide devoted a lot of energy to preserving her late husband’s memory. So, it was good to find tangible proof that this family folklore was true, in the shape of this plaque.”
Rounding off his history tale, he added: “Adelaide, incidentally, was very worried about being wrongly assumed to be dead, when her time came – so she had a bell attached to her coffin, in case she came round after burial. She died aged 52, and the doctors were right in their judgement that she had truly died, as her bell never rang…”
Charles also shared a duo of portraits that represented the two lovers, as fans headed to the comments to share their interest in the story of his family dynasty.
One noted: “I love old portraits – even after so many years, you can see a family likeness,” while a second added: “More interesting finds in the attic of Althorp. Sad that Earl Frederick Spencer died two days after Christmas. On the bright side Adelaide his second wife sounded totally devoted to preserving his memory. Bring on more historical artefacts and treasures.”
A third penned: “How wonderful to have such a rich history to delve into… I must say though, to my mind’s eye, your attics are more like a vast acreage than a corner up in the roof, it sounds an Aladdin’s cave,” and a fourth commented: “What an amazing history held within the attics at @althorphouse… truly fascinating!”
The finds come shortly after the Earl’s wife, Karen, reassured followers that the renovations weren’t going to be too wide-ranging when she shared a stunning selection of photos of the “quirky” doors.
One worried fan said: “I say leave the door alone. Houses even grand ones settle into what they are meant to be. Perfect is so overrated and sterile,” while a second wrote “Please don’t go for straight lines and knock all the idiosyncrasies and character out of a truly remarkable historic splendor!!!”
Karen quickly reassured them that the quirky doors aren’t going anywhere, responding with: “Not to worry, we won’t be attempting to make the door, or any others straight if they aren’t. That’s part of the charm.”