Day 3. Heart of Stone – the Story behind the Story. 🦔🦔

“Matchmaking mamas seemed to regard Robert as dangerous, and they made a point of keeping their daughters well beyond his reach. This caused him no concern. Widowed for three years, he had no wish to marry again. It took him no time at all to set up another pretty young courtesan as his mistress in an apartment on Harley Street.

Every few weeks he would receive a summons from Mr Stafford. It soon became clear to Robert that someone was watching his daily habits.

“My colleagues tell me your instruction goes well,” he remarked on one of Robert’s calls. “Oh, and we see you have a new mistress.” “

I’ve always been interested in history and genealogy. Mother’s maiden name was Dumaresq, which is as unusual as it looks. Its from Jersey, and the Dumaresqs “married well”. No money, sadly, but lots of connections and LOTS of “rogues and vagabonds”.

Long before the days of the internet, if you were interested in your family tree, you started off searching in the old Births, Marriages and Deaths registers, then at Somerset House. You could then also find a lot of ancestral records in the offices of the various Mormon churches. Many of them had (or have) Genealogy Centres. No computers, but lots of microfiches to sort through. (remember them?)

But – sooner or later, you got drawn to the Society of Genealogists in London. They had a MASS of printed records, and an enormous Card Index with several million records. While poking around, I found a copy of this, with a couple of Dumaresqs in the index!! The Society office is still down a cul-de-sac behind an old building near the Barbican.

The “Plantagenet Roll”
FIVE Volumes!!

This is part of the same set of records that showed Danny Dyer to be descended from Edward III (as is a third of the population of the UK, so it really IS nothing special!)

A lot of the earlier links in these books are distinctly dodgy, so caution is needed, but here is a link to the first volume:

A quick search of the pdf shows lots of Fenwicks, Maynards, Osbornes and Harris’. If you want some fun, click on the link, than on Control F, and put your surname – or ANY name in, and search. You may well be surprised.

And – remember – you MAY find that you are Danny Dyer’s cousin!

My Great Grandfather, Henry William Dumaresq appears in the book (He was a Major in the Royal Engineers and married a peer’s youngest daughter) – so it was easy to trace things back and lo, and behold – what to I find but Robert Rochfort, Earl of Belvedere. For some years, nothing happened, but then I found this!

“Some Celebrated Irish Beauties of the Last Century”

Chapter 1 is about Mary Molesworth, and tells something of the tale of what a total bastard her husband was. Not for nothing was he called “The Wicked Earl”.

More research – and there it was. The story I wanted to write!!

Robert Rochfort’s home, Belvedere, is a national monument and is open to the public. Its an amazing place, and also contains the largest folly in Ireland “The Jealous Wall”. I recommend a visit if you are ever in Ireland.

When I went, the management gave me permission FREE  – to use this picture of Robert for the cover. “Ah, just give us a mention in the book. That’ll be grand!”

Only in Ireland!

Only £0.99 all week!

My publisher, Crooked Cat Books, have been transformed into Darkstroke! They are open to submissions, too, particularly if you write in any of the “Dark” genres or tropes.

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