White Hart Crest of the Royal County of Berkshire David Nash Ford's Royal Berkshire History

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Shaw House Feature

The Duke of Chandos gains a Wife
at a Newbury Inn

Lord Omery remarked, on 15th January 1745, "Of her person & character people speak variously, but all agree that both are very bad. " He was speaking of Anne, Duchess of Chandos. She was the daughter of one John Wells of Newbury (& St. Marylebone) whose arms appear as azure, three fountains proper, on her hatchment at Keynsham Church. She was chambermaid at the Pelican Inn, Newbury, and married to Jeffries the Ostler there. There is a story about the Duchess told by an old lady of Newbury, who was ten years old at the time.

Henry Bridges, 2nd Duke of Chandos, while on his way to London, dined at the Pelican Inn in Newbury, with a companion (it has been claimed that the Inn was the Marlborough Castle, but this is incorrect). After dinner there was a stir and a bustle in the Inn Yard. The explanation came that "A man is going to sell his wife and they are leading her up the yard with a halter round her neck". "We will go and see the sale, " said the Duke.

On entering the yard, however, he was so smitten with the woman's beauty and the patient way she waited to be set free from her ill‑conditioned husband, the Inn's ostler, that he bought her himself. She was his mistress for some years. In August 1738 his wife died, and by 1744 the ostler was dead also, and the two were finally married at Mr. Keith's Chapel, Mayfair on 25th December 1744.

Notes & Queries 1870
4th Series, Vol. 6, p.179


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