Monuments and Memorials


No 43: Assheton, 1st Viscount Curzon (1729-1820)

The Kedleston Estate

We have seen that Sir Nathaniel Curzon, Sarah Penn’s second son, inherited the baronetcy and both the Kedleston and Penn estates. He had two sons and when he died in 1758, Nathaniel the elder son inherited Kedleston and Assheton, his younger brother, the Penn estate with the proprietorship of Penn Church.

Nathaniel gave the young Robert Adam a free hand and the result is rather more impressive than Buckingham Palace. Ruthless methods were employed. The earlier Queen Anne house was pulled down and the entire village, leaving only the church, was moved half a mile away in order to obtain unobstructed views from the house. This branch of the family still lives at Kedleston and the two branches of the Curzon family are still very much in touch after nearly 300 years, as Earl Howe is a trustee of the Kedleston Estate on behalf of the sons of the late Lord Scarsdale. Their most famous member was George Nathaniel Curzon who was Viceroy of India from 1899-1905, Leader of the House of Lords and Foreign Secretary, eventually becoming a Marquis, of whom it was said,

My name is George Nathaniel Curzon,
I am a most superior person.
My cheeks are pink, my hair is sleek,
I dine at Blenheim once a week.

Meanwhile, the Penn Estate with 39 tenants was settled on Assheton Curzon when he married Esther Hanmer in 1756. Four years later, according to a contemporary Vicar, he pulled down nearly two thirds of the old Penn House, or Penn Place as it was called at the time, and fitted up the remainder as a country house to which he could retire occasionally during the sitting of Parliament in which he held the family seat of Clitheroe in Lancashire from 1754-77 and then again between 1792-4. He went on to a long and successful career becoming Baron Curzon of Penn in 1794 and Viscount Curzon of Penn in 1802. Earl Howe still holds both these titles. He was widowed three times and died in 1820, aged 90, having held the estate for 64 years. His very fine marble monument in the chancel near the altar is by Sir Francis Chantrey.

See also No 2: Viscount Curzon 1730-1820

© Miles Green, May 2016
Photographs © courtesy Eddie Morton ARPS