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The Lovesick Earl of Craven
He loved and lost a Queen, but had a Very Clever Horse!

William Craven, 1st Earl of Craven -  Nash Ford Publishing
  • William Craven was the son of a rich merchant who was lord Mayor of London. He inherited his father's fortune at the age of only 10!
  • He became a soldier and fought in Europe. Because he was very brave, the King made him Lord Craven.
  • The sister of King Charles I of England was the Queen of Bohemia, but she had been thrown out of her kingdom. Lord Craven went with a big army to try and get it back for her. He was kidnapped once and wounded twice!
  • He fell in love with the Queen of Bohemia. He spent a fortune trying to help her, but she never did get her kingdom back.
  • Lord Craven also gave King Charles lots of money during the English Civil War, but he stayed in Europe. As a reward, he was made Earl of Craven. 
  • When he came back to England, the Queen of Bohemia came too. There were rumours that the two had got married. The earl planned to build her a huge palace at Hamstead Marshall, but she died before work began. He had to live there alone.
  • The Earl also had a house in Drury Lane in Westminster, near London. When the plague came, he fled on his horse to his Berkshire lands. The horse stopped at Ashdown and he decided to build another big house there. He also had a big mansion at Caversham.
  • The Earl was ashamed of leaving London though. He went back to the city in 1665, to help people when plague had spread across the whole city.
  • The Earl was very interested in ways of fighting fire. He became and expert and used his knowledge to help fight the Great Fire of London in 1666.
  • The Earl died in 1697. His family continued to be Earls of Craven and to live at Hamstead Marshall. 


    Nash Ford Publishing 2004. All Rights Reserved.