Wentworth, Lady Fannie (1853-1878)

Lived in Essex Cottage on Central Hill at the time of her death on July 13th, 1878

She was the first wife of Lord Byron’s grandson Ralph Gordon Noel King-Milbanke, 13th Baron Wentworth, later 2nd Earl of Lovelace.

Born Fannie Heriot in 1852, she was the third daughter of Reverend George Heriot, Curate of St Anne’s in Newcastle. The couple were married on 25 August 1869 at St Peter’s Church in Eton Square. They appear, with their baby daughter, on the 1871 census living at 7 Cranley Place in South Kensington but they separated later that year. Their daughter Ada Mary Milbanke (1871–1917) was brought up by her aunt, Lady Anne Blunt.

Lord Wentworth petitioned for divorce in August 1872, naming two co-respondents, Captain Jules Robert Bowen Buscarlet, a young Frenchman serving at Tyneside in the 35th Royal Sussex Regiment of Foot, and Don José de Argaiz, First Secretary at the Spanish Legation. Lord Wentworth further alleged that he was not the father of the child born to Lady Wentworth on 12 February 1873, later falsely registered by her as his child, since ‘I had no sexual intercourse with the mother of said Infant for more than eighteen months preceding its birth.’ The child was a boy and had been named after its putative father but died when it was only a few months old. Lord Wentworth seems to have been unable to prove any of his allegations and his petition was dismissed on 3 December 1873.

Lady Wentworth died on 13 July 1878, aged only 25. According to her obituary in The Times, she died at her residence in Norwood and ‘had been in declining health for the last two years.’ (Extract from www.19thcenturyphotos.com/Lady-Wentworth-126317.htm)

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