Edith Vane-Tempest-Stewart, Marchioness of Londonderry

Edith Vane-Tempest-Stewart, Marchioness of Londonderry

Edith Vane-Tempest-Stewart, Marchioness of Londonderry DBE (3 December 1878 – 23 April 1959) was a noted and influential society hostess in Britain between the two World Wars.


Born as Edith Helen Chaplin in Blankney, Lincolnshire, she was the daughter of Henry Chaplin (later the 1st Viscount Chaplin). After the death of her mother in 1881, Edith was raised largely at Dunrobin Castle, Sutherland, the estate of her maternal grandfather, the third Duke of Sutherland.

On 28 November 1899, she married Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, who later inherited his father's title in 1915, whereupon Edith became known as "The Marchioness of Londonderry". They had five children, the firstborn of whom, their only son, became the 8th Marquess in 1949, at which point Lady Londonderry became known as "Edith Vane-Tempest-Stewart, Dowager Marchioness of Londonderry". One of her son's daughters, Lady Annabel Goldsmith, also became a noted London socialite.

ocial work

In 1914, after the outbreak of World War I, she was appointed the Colonel-in-Chief of the Women's Volunteer Reserve (WRV), a volunteer force formed of women replacing the men who had left work and gone up to The Front. The Reserve was renamed in July 1914 to be the Women's Legion, and was considerable in size by the end of the War, comprising tens of thousands of volunteers.

Lady Londonderry also aided with the organisation of the Officers' Hospital set up in her house, and was the first woman to be appointed to be a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the Military Division, upon the Order's establishment in 1917.


. [ [http://www.heritageisland.com/Newsletter/Newsletter_April_2006.pdf Heritage Ireland Newsletter, April 2006, p5] ]

After she created her garden and the death of her husband, she gave the gardens to the National Trust in 1957. She died of cancer on 23 April 1959, aged 80.

She was mentioned in Tim Pat Coogan's book on Michael Collins to have possibly been one of Collins' paramours while he was in London in 1922, suing for peace with the British government and hoping to end the Anglo-Irish War. Lady Londonderry's friendship with Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald, although platonic, was also a source of gossip in her time and has since become an iconic friendship of English social history. [cite book
last = Kershaw
first = Ian
coauthors =
title = Making Friends with Hitler: Lord Londonderry and the British Road to War
publisher = Penguin
date = 2004
pages = pp. 17-19, 65-6, 108, 128
month =
isbn = 0 14 30.3706 6

Lady Londonderry also wrote or edited several books, among which are "Henry Chaplin: A Memoir" (1926), "The Magic Ink-Pot" (1928), "Retrospect" (1938) and "Frances Anne: The Life and Times of Frances Anne, Marchioness of Londonderry, and Her Husband, Charles, Third Marquess of Londonderry" (1958).


Further reading

* De Courcy, Anne. "Society's Queen: The Life of Edith, Marchioness of Londonderry". London: Phoenix, 2004. ISBN 0-7538-1730-6 (Originally published as "Circe: The Life of Edith, Marchioness of Londonderry". London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1992. ISBN 1-85619-363-2 )

External links


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