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loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Saturday, July 15, 2017

a duchess finds fellowship with rooks

thanks british library flickr
yes, I know they're ravens not rooks
you try finding PD images of rooks
Princess Frederica Charlotte of Prussia (1767-1820) became the Duchess of York upon her marriage to George III's son Prince Frederick, the Duke of York.  As we so often hear about the lives of the supposedly exalted, that didn't make for a happy ever after (not that her life had been all that happy before).  Having fallen out of love, and without hope of children, the couple separated; the Duchess retired to Oatlands Park in Weybridge, surrounding herself with pets.  Here's what a history of the
Oatlands estate records of her:
* * *
Her Royal Highness had an eccentric taste for keeping pet-dogs, and near the grotto there were between sixty and seventy small upright stones, inscribed with the names of an equal number of dogs, which were buried here by direction of the Duchess: she extended her kindness even to the rooks, which, when driven from the neighbouring fields, experienced a marked protection on this demesne, where, finding themselves in security, they soon established a flourishing rookery. This humane trait in the character of the Duchess was thus commemorated by Lord Erskine:

"At Oatlands, where the buoyant air
Vast crowds of Rooks can scarcely bear
What verdure paints returning spring!
What crops surrounding harvests bring!
Yet swarms on every tree are found,
Nor hear the Fowler's dreaded sound.
And when the Kite's resistless blow .
Dashes their scattered nests below,
Alarmed, they quit the distant field,
To seek the Park's indulgent shield;
Where close in the o'ershadowing wood
They build new castles for their brood,
Secure, their fair Protectress nigh
Whose bosom swells with sympathy."

-- Timbs, J. Abbeys, castles and ancient balls of England and Wales, their legendary lore, and popular history. Re-ed. by A. Gunn. London: Frederick Warne & Co., 1872. 147.

I found an article on the dogs' graves.  Here that is.

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