Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Many Generations of Manchester Stupidity
William Angus DrogoIgnaza Montagu, 9th Duke of Manchester (1877-1947), was a politician, soldier and one of his generation’s most notorious bankrupts. Styled Lord Kimboltonfrom 1877 to 1890, he first enters the Henry Poole & Co ledger books as Viscount Mandeville; a title he held until 1892 when he inherited the Dukedom aged fifteen. Educated at Eton and Trinity College Cambridge, the 9th Duke took the Liberal Whip in the House of Lords and eventually became Deputy Chief Whip. He was also Captain of the Lancashire Fusiliers.
The Duke’s financial embarrassments were inherited from his spendthrift ancestors the 7th and 8th Dukes. The 7th Duke and his Duchess Louise (named the double duchess because she subsequently married the love of her life the Duke of Devonshire) were in the Prince of Wales’s Marlborough House set and decimated the family fortune hosting house parties for the future King Edward VII at his country seat Kimbolton Castle. Though the 8th Duke married Cuban-American heiress Consuelo, she did not bring the expected dowry and fell foul of the Prince of Wales having briefly served as his mistress.
On his accession, the 9th Duke allegedly went down on his knees to the Prince of Wales to beg forgiveness for his mother the Dowager Duchess Consuelo and regain royal favour. However, he was a spendthrift. He married another American heiress Helen Zimmerman of Cincinnati whose father bought them Kylemore Castle in Co Galway as a wedding present but their ruinous entertaining cost the couple dear. The 9th Duke regally entertained house parties such as a famous weekend at Kylemore when the Duke and Duchess of Connaught and their entourage shot over as thousand pheasants on a 1903 shoot.
In 1908 the 9th Duke was forced to sell-off his lands in Ireland. Kylemore Castle was mortgaged during World War I to pay off debts and sold in the 1920s. He was named in the Peerage and MP Ledger as a bankrupt in 1915: an announcement echoed and recorded by Poole’s clerks in the ledgers underlining a debt of over £400. A further family seat Tandragee Castle’s contents were auctioned off in 1926. Kimbolton Castle and its contents including masterpieces by Holbein, Titian, Rubens, Van Dyke and Reynolds were preserved but the Duke spent the remainder of his life abroad evading creditors, seeking out wealthy consorts and attempting to extract money from wealthy acquaintances. MORE