Muriel Brassey 1872 – 1930

MurielBrasseyMuriel Brassey (Sackville). 1872-1930. Lady De La Warr. Daughter of Annie Lady Brassey and Sir Thomas Brassey. Muriel accompanied the rest of her family on their famous voyages on the steam yacht Sunbeam and in Annie Brassey’s books was usually referred to by her nick-name ‘Munie’. In 1891 Muriel married Viscount Cantelupe, who in 1896 became the 8th Earl De La Warr. From 1891 until 1892 the couple lived at Sackville House with the 7th Earl De La Warr, while the Manor House was renovated.

In 1892 Viscount and Viscountess Cantelupe moved into Bexhill Manor House and Sackville House was converted into the Sackville Hotel. As lady of the manor she took a interest in the town, she sponsored the first Rowing Club regatta in May 1893 and presided over the meeting where the club colours of green, white and red were chosen. She was taken by the fashion for cycling and in 1896, when the Cycle Chalet and Bicycle Boulevard were established on De La Warr Parade, she purchased her first bicycle. During the Boer War she was the local representative of the Soldiers and Sailors Families Association.

Muriel had three children, Myra, Avice and Herbrand. The marriage ran into difficulty in 1898 due to the Earl’s infidelity, but Muriel stood by her husband who was going through a financial crisis at the time. In 1900 the Earl began a relationship with Miss Turner, an actress from the Kursaal, and was not living with his wife. In 1902 Muriel was granted a divorce and was given custody of the children. They moved to Normanhurst Court at Catsfield to be with Earl Brassey. It is said that Sackville Lodge, which used to stand on the top of Galley Hill, was built as a residence for Lady De La Warr in 1903.

After the death of the 8th Earl in 1915 the manorial court was held on behalf of Countess De La Warr until the 9th Earl came of age in 1921. Lady De La Warr was a supporter of women’s suffrage and a supporter of the Labour Party, which may have been an influence on her son the 9th Earl De La Warr, Bexhill’s first Socialist mayor. She became interested in spiritual matters and became a follower of Theosophy, becoming a friend of Annie Besant (1847-1933), the president of the Theosophical Society after the death of its founder Helena Blavatsky.

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