Elvaston & the Earl of Harrington

According to Mr Harry de Spencer Kingdon ‘ views in regard to the origin of the ?purebred? Mastiff , Elvaston may be considered as  one of the four ancient seats of the breed in its purity . Two of these four are said to be extinct [sic 1882] and so there remains only the Lyme Hall and Elvaston breeds in their legitimacy . MB Wynn’ foundation brood Norah  was sired by Captain Cox’ Lion [or Hector] out of Captain Cox’ Nelly , a granddaughter of the brindle & white Rose of Elvaston castle , born in the 1850s .

Elvaston castle , nearby Derby city , was designed by James Wyatt and built about 1817 for the 3th Earl of Harrington , Charles Stanhope [1753—I829] , who was a distinguished soldier . He served with the British army during the American War of Independence and attained the rank of general in 1802 . From 1805 to 1812 he was commander-in-chief in Ireland ; he was sent on diplomatic errands to Vienna and to Berlin .

His son Charles Stanhope (see pic above at left) , 4th Earl of Harrington [1780—1851] was known as Lord Petersham until he succeeded to the earldom in 1829. He was very well known in society owing partly to his eccentric habits; he dressed like the French king Henry IV, and had other personal peculiarities . Viscount Petersham was a Regency buck , educated at Eton from 1793 until 1795 when he entered the Coldstream Guards . In 1799 he became Captain of the Prince of Wales' Light Dragoons ; in 1803 Major of the Queen' Rangers ; and in 1807 Lieutenant Colonel 3rd West India Regiment.

Chatsworth , seat of the Duke of Devonshire [Cavendish] situated at the East border of the Peak district and overlooking the Derwent ; at right ~ a countryside view featuring an old fashioned Mastiff in companionship of some mongrels made by the well known English a fine animal and landscape painter Charles Towne of Wigan near Liverpool , some 60 miles north west of Chatsworth ~ Matlock  .

Although in 1812 Charles Stanhope was placed on half pay, in 1814 he became Colonel . Also in 1812 he was a Lord of the Bedchamber to King George III until 1820 , then from 1820 till 1829 to King George IV. Viscount Petersham' manners were affected and he spoke with a kind of lisp . Never seen in public before 6.00 past meridiem 'Beau' Petersham was a trendsetter . He attracted the attention and friendship of the Prince Regent who emulated his clothes , his tea drinking and his addiction to snuff . Lord Petersham' sitting room contained canisters of tea in great variety and an equally wide range of snuff . He owned 365 snuff boxes and used a different one on each day of the year . Tall and handsome , Lord Petersham was said to resemble Henry IV ; a flattery he emphasized by growing a small pointed beard . He designed many of his own clothes and his fashions , however odd , were quickly copied .  He gave his name to the Petersham overcoat , of which the Prince Regent ordered one for each day of the week , and to the Harrington hat . Viscount Petersham was famous for his brown coach , clothing , and his servant' livery .

Petersham was almost fifty when he succeeded to the Stanhope family title . He finally married in 1831 to Maria Foote , the Covent Garden actress seventeen years his junior . Their affair had met with the old Earl' disapproval and had been the gossip of London and Derbyshire for several years . The 4th Earl of Harrington renamed Elvastle Castle as the Hall of the Fair Star , dedicated to the chivalrous pursuit of love . The new Countess , Maria Foote, was in her element in this make believe world of chivalry.

An advert for chewing tobacco often confused with the smokeless tobacco snuff , users did not chew snuff but put small amounts between cheek and gum , allowing the nicotine to absorb into the bloodstream  ; the subject being a stocky Bloodhound of a Mastiff-like bulk  . At right ~ an extremely short footman touches his cap to his social superiors , two rather dissipated looking dandies , Lord Petersham aka the Earl of Harrington & Sir Lumley St George Skeffington [1771-1850] baronet, fop, playwright and 'devoted man of the theatre' who belonged to the circle of Carlton House , town residence of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent George IV , nearby Trafalgar Square .

After reading in a nutshell the life story of this peer , it may seem easy to understand breeding & owning Mastiff stock by such nobility was certainly NOT a major part of their repective lives and it's not inappropriate to assume that livestock part of managing a large estate , was mainly , if not to say entirely,  into the hands of capable keepers &/or domestic kennelmen at those large halls .