American Viscountess

When I married into the British Aristocracy it was the start of a wonderfully exciting journey, if a little daunting. I became a Viscountess – and for an American girl from a small town outside Chicago, it was quite a shock. I live with my husband, Luke – heir to the Earl of Sandwich- and our family at Mapperton House in Dorset.   Mapperton is a glorious sandstone house house dating originally from the 1540’s. It is known as Britain’s Finest Manor House and is filled with wonderful treasures collected by Luke’s ancestors.   Living in a place like this is a joy and but also a challenge and every day we’re aware that we are preserving a very special part of Britain’s heritage.   Mapperton has opened up an extraordinary new world for me and I can’t wait to share it with you all – so if you love castles and manors and stately homes as much as I do, please join me as I head off to some of the Britains most spectacular historic homes … On these trips, I’ll be meeting other owners who live and manage these large houses and estates as well as some of the fantastic people who work there too.   With them I’ll be exploring the history, the landscapes, the innovations of generations past and present.   I’ll be sure to roll up my sleeves and help with a few jobs along the way. So please join this American Viscountess as I journey into the countryside in search of some of Britain’s Finest Historic Houses.

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Episodes

Sunday Jul 03, 2022

In this latest instalment of American Viscountess, Julie tackles the never-ending task of restoring the lime plaster panels at Pitchford Hall, one of England’s finest Elizabethan half-timbered houses. And visits the stables which have been repurposed as workshops – Julie catches up with sculptor, Michael Potter and joins Sophie Francis for a lesson in the ancient craft of willow weaving. The crowning scene of this visit to Pitchford is Julie restoring the lime plaster on the worlds oldest tree house where Queen Victoria spent time in 1832. Please support the production of American Viscountess by becoming a Patron at https://www.patreon.com/americanviscountess.

Sunday Jun 26, 2022

When Pitchford Hall was sold in 1992, the contents of the family home were put up for auction. It was heartbreaking to witness – but now, with the family back at the Hall – they are focussing on a worldwide hunt for the treasures of the collection. In this episode of American Viscountess at Pitchford Hall, Julie hears about the search and helps hang one of the most treasured paintings, and meets Violet Roberts, who has kept the spirit of Pitchford alive for over 30 years.   Please support the production of American Viscountess by becoming a Patron at https://www.patreon.com/americanviscountess.   American Viscountess is co-produced with Aonia.com (aonia_culture on Instagram and https://www.aonia.com) - art and culture online courses, lectures and more.     It is made in association with Historic Houses (@historic_houses on Instagram and https://historichouses.org) - the  UK’s largest collection of independently owned historic houses and gardens.    American Viscountess is sponsored by Le Chameau (@lechameau1927 on Instagram and https://lechameau.com) - master boot makers since 1927!

Sunday Jun 19, 2022

This time on American Viscountess, Julie visits a hidden gem of a country house in Shropshire, close to the border with Wales. Pitchford Hall is considered England’s finest Elizabethan half-timbered house.   The recent history of the Hall is a turbulent one – in 1992 it was sold and lost to the family who lived here. But by extraordinary determination and endeavour over 25 years they have returned to Pitchford. With her husband James, Rowena Colthurst, whose mother inherited Pitchford in the early 1970s, has worked tirelessly to get the family home back – but now, they’re faced with the enormous task of recovering the building from years of neglect… Julie explores the derelict areas of the hall in need of restoration and out of the estate visits the sacred place where Pitchford derives it’s name.   Please support the production of American Viscountess by becoming a Patron at https://www.patreon.com/americanviscountess.

Sunday Jun 12, 2022

Rockingham Castle FINALE! During her visit to Rockingham Castle in Northamptonshire, Julie hears how one of the giants of British literature - Charles Dickens stayed at the castle in the mid-nineteenth century, visiting his friends, Richard and Lavinia Watson. He dedicated his novel, David Copperfield to them and even performed plays of his works in the Long Galley and Panel Room. Julie is then given a tour of the garden by James Saunders Watson which culminates in planting a tree to mark the 950th anniversary of the castle and the year of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. Please help the production of future American Viscountess episodes and vlogs by becoming a patron at https://www.patreon.com/americanviscountess  You can find out more about Rockingham Castle on their website: https://www.rockinghamcastle.com

Sunday Jun 05, 2022

In Part Three of American Viscountess at Rockingham Castle, Julie is given a lesson in planting the perfect English rose on the site of the original Norman castle keep; and explores the parish church, just outside the castle walls, which was rebuilt following the English Civil Wars. Julie finds past Montagu family connections in the church and is overwhelmed by a very special document related to the historic Montagu family home, Hinchingbrooke. Please help the production of future American Viscountess episodes and vlogs by becoming a patron at https://www.patreon.com/americanviscountess You can find out more about Rockingham Castle on their website: https://www.rockinghamcastle.com

Sunday May 29, 2022

In this episode of American Viscountess at Rockingham Castle, Julie joins James Saunders Watson as he uncovers nearly 1,000 years of architectural history. From the imposing Norman gateway, to the destruction of the English Civil Wars to the Victorian reimagining of a charming building at the end of an ancient cobbled street - there are fascinating stories to be told in every corner of this Northamptonshire castle. You can find out more about Rockingham Castle on their website: https://www.rockinghamcastle.com

Sunday May 22, 2022

Julie visits Rockingham Castle in Northamptonshire. A royal fortress for 500 years, following the Norman Conquest of 1066, Rockingham was visited by successive Kings and Queens of England. The Castle is now the beautiful home of James Saunders Watson and his family. Julie tours the interior of the castle; the Great Hall, Library, Panel Room, and Long Gallery, all of which have evolved to the needs and tastes of each generation who have lived here. Some surprise family connections are revealed as well. 

Sunday May 15, 2022

In this fourth instalment of the Hinchingbrooke series on American Viscountess, Julie, with her father in law, the 11th Earl of Sandwich and his sister, Lady Kate Hunloke are venturing outside in a gale of wind to explore how the immediate grounds of the house have changed since the time when the Montagu family lived here. Then in the warmth of the library, the trio discuss the stunning stained glass windows which show generations of Montagu heraldry and how the family has adapted to the loss of the house in the mid-twentieth century.

Sunday May 08, 2022

During my visit to the former Montagu family home, Hinchingbrooke House in Cambridgeshire, I join my father in law, John Montagu, the 11th Earl of Sandwich and one of his sisters, Lady Kate Hunloke to explore the upper floors of the house. Here, they find the nursery where they spent many hours as children and the family bedrooms with views which once stretched out across meadows and fields. Hearing the memories and childhood stories has a powerful effect on me, who finds the experience intensely emotional. Please support the production of American Viscountess by becoming a Patron at https://www.patreon.com/americanviscountess.

Sunday May 01, 2022

This time on American Viscountess, Julie visits Hinchingbrooke House in the east of England with her father-in-law, the 11th Earl of Sandwich and one of his sisters, Lady Kate Hunloke. Hinchingbrooke was the ancestral home of the Earls of Sandwich from 1627 until 1955, when the family moved to Mapperton House in Dorset. Now a school, the house has been transformed, but in this intensely emotional visit, Julie imagines how the house once was as she hears some of her father-in-laws childhood memories of living at Hinchingbrooke in the 1940s and early 1950s.   Please support the production of American Viscountess by becoming a Patron at https://www.patreon.com/americanviscountess.

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