Sunday, October 04, 2009

Sundays Art: Nevis Island and Historical Landmarks

I just could not help myself after reading Erika Robuck's "Receive Me Falling" Nevis Island is lingering in my mind. I found some really interesting historical landmarks that I just had to share. If you would like to see more on Nevis Island check out the photo gallery.

Eden Brown Estate

Located in the countryside, about 30 minutes from Charlestown, the Eden Brown Estate was originally a sugar plantation, but cotton was grown there until the mid-1900's. But the circa 1740 plantation, with a great house and other outbuildings has a history unlike many of the other plantations, and some believe it is haunted. A duel took place at the house in 1822, the night before the wedding of Julia Huggins, between her betrothed and the best man, who was her brother. A recent discovery of an old letter has shown that the bridegroom survived, and he went to propose to another woman. However, her father forbade her from marrying a "murderer." As the story goes, Julia spent the rest of her days as a recluse in the house, and can still be heard today as she wanders through the ruins.

Nelson Wedding Site
On the grounds of the Montpelier Plantation-under the branches of a silk cotton tree-Lord Horatio Nelson wed the Nevisian widow Frances Nisbet on March 11, 1787. Prince William Henry, who eventually became King William IV, gave away the bride at this well-known affair. The marriage certificate is carefully preserved at St. John's Fig Tree Church. The entrance pillars to the estate are still there but the original Great House has been gone for many years. Two hundred years later, on March 11, 1987 a group of hoteliers in collaboration with the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society organized a week of activities to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Lord Nelson's association with Nevis. As part of these activities, the marriage of Lord Nelson and Frances Nisbet was reenacted at the site with a great festivity reminiscent of 1787.


  1. I wonder if they were aware of the irony of celebrating the re-enactment of a disastrous marriage! I guess it was all the time she spent on gorgeous, sultry Nevis, but Fanny always felt cold in England; no matter the weather she was forever bundling herself up in very un-sexy flannels, according to Lord Nelson. Of course that was the least of the Nelsons' marital problems. Enter Emma Hamilton, stage left!

  2. I am not sure Leslie I am in the dark about Fanny and Lord Nelson. I am just now starting to get into them and who the heck they are. I included it because it rang a bell to me but which bell I am not sure. Did Emma marry Lord Nelson?

    I love the insight Leslie you always have great comments.

  3. I don't have nearly Leslie's knowledge of their relationship, but I can still throw in an opinionated two cents. :) No, Nelson did not marry Emma Hamilton. Both were married to other people (Nelson to Fanny, Emma to Sir William Hamilton) at the time they embarked on their affair. Leslie can correct me if I'm wrong, but their affair was looked down upon by society not only because they were each married to other people at the time, but because Emma was seen as a "lower class" sort. But Nelson adored his Emma until the day he died. I'm sure Leslie can add a lot more fact/detail about their relationship, since she conducted so much research about the two of them for TOO GREAT A LADY.

  4. Oh oh, Lizzy, just another reason why you have GOT to read Leslie's (Amanda Elyot's) Too Great A Lady: The Notorious, Glorious Life of Emma, Lady Hamilton! I LOVE Emma and Nelson's story; it is one of the greatest love stories of all time. And everyone disapproved of them, including the King of England, who would not allow Emma to be presented at St. James, even though she was the wife of an ambassador...but they loved each other so much that they did not care what the public thought, despite the fact that it put both of their reputations down the gutter.

  5. See I knew I was missing something, the character Meg in "receive me falling" is a decedent of Fanny. I just new between you three that I would put it together.

    I know I want to read it soooo bad.

  6. My other 2 pals beat me to the punch, Lizzy! And they're both right.

    Fanny refused to divorce Nelson even as his affair with Emma Hamilton made an international mockery of their marriage. They met in Naples in 1793 when Nelson had been sent to ask the King of Naples for aid (men and ships) during the siege of Toulon. Emma's husband, Sir William Hamilton, was Britain's ambassador to the Court of the Two Sicilies (the kingdom of Naples). But the queen of Naples, Maria Carolina (an older sister of Marie Antoinette) was the real power in the kingdom. Her husband, King Ferdinand was an uneducated oaf who cared only about hunting and F-ing anything that moved.

    Emma and the queen were confidantes. So it was Emma who went to the queen and explained Nelson's situation when the diplomats couldn't get things moving fast enough. Nelson and Emma corresponded for years after that and I surmise that each had a bit of a crush on the other. They didn't actually see each other again until after Nelson's stupendous victory at the Battle of the Nile (August 1, 1798). His ship (and his body) got quite damaged and he limped into the port of Naples to repair the ship and to recuperate. Naples was then an ally of the British. Emma and Sir William Hamilton threw a huge victory party for Nelson, but he was so exhausted that he collapsed after the celebration and was ill for weeks afterwards. Emma nursed him back to health, wrote his correspondence for him ... and it was then, as they really got to know each other that I think they fell in love.

    However -- Emma was very happily married. And she had a bit of a sordid and bawdy backstory when it came to her relationships with men (passed from one to another, and one of her lovers had been Sir William's nephew, Charles Greville, who foisted her onto Sir William in exchange for being named the childless Sir William's heir in the older man's will). She had worked very hard for years to show that she was capable of being a faithful wife. So I don't believe that Emma hopped into bed with Nelson at the first opportunity. He had cheated on Fanny in the past, but he really fell in love with Emma. Yet she agonized about cheating on Sir William. I am certain that Sir William surmised what was happening, especially as he and Nelson were close friends, and given that he was pushing 70 and had lost almost all interest in sex, more or less turned his gaze, or gave Emma and Nelson his tacit permission to become lovers.

    They also lived together as a trio after that which absolutely scandalized Europe. Allie is right ... read Too Great A Lady It's all in there! :) And, amazingly, it's all true!

  7. Wow, I can not believe, once again Leslie you have proven that history is sexy and down right better than anything fiction. A juicy story that has my ears perked up. Now you guys are making it worse I really want to read Too Great A Lady: The Notorious, Glorious Life of Emma, Lady Hamilton!


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