This week, the Duchess meets the brilliant Virginia Grant of Kingston Bagpuize House. In this episode, the Duchess learns about the perfect architectural symmetry of Kingston Bagpuize, we are taken on a tour through the rare fauna on the estate, and Virginia reveals what it’s really like to have Maggie Smith in your home.
“My guidance to future generations would be don’t ignore what your predecessors did. It’s so important you preserve the estates. It’s so important to realise you have this jewel and you must look after it properly.” - Virginia Grant
“These homes, this is part of OUR heritage and I mean our heritage as a country. We have this extraordinary wealth of art, of buildings, of scenery. In time, when there are houses all around them these estates will be an oasis for people to enjoy.” - Virginia Grant
About the Guest and Stately Home:
Virginia Grant is a qualified barrister and the current custodian of Kingston Bagpuize House & Garden. Virginia married Francis Tollemache Grant, son of Sir Francis Cullen Grant of Monymusk, 12th Baronet in 1993. The couple had two children together Elizabeth and Alexander and, following the passing of her husband in 2003, Virginia became responsible for the management, maintenance and development of the house, its gardens, parkland and the estate buildings.
Kingston Bagpuize House is an historic stately home that sits in the village Kingston Bagpuize in Oxfordshire. Thought to have been built originally in the 1660's, the house seen today is largely the result of remodelling done in the early 1700's. The beautiful gardens at Kingston Bagpuize House were created by Miss Raphael and contains a notable collection of unusual trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs. Kingston Bagpuize House was used as the set of 'Cavenham Park', the residence of 'Lord Merton', in the television series Downton Abbey. It was also used as 'Mrs Goddard's School' in the 2020 feature film Emma.
About the Host:
Emma Rutland, The Duchess of Rutland, did not always stride the halls of stately homes. Born Emma Watkins, the Duchess grew up the daughter of a Quaker farmer, in the Welsh marsh countryside. She trained as an opera singer in the Guildhall School of Music, and worked as a successful interior designer before meeting her future husband David Manners, the 11th Duke of Rutland, at a dinner party. Their marriage in 1992 would transform Emma Watkins into the 11th Duchess of Rutland, thrusting her into the world of aristocracy, and handing her the responsibility of one of the nation's great treasures: Belvoir Castle. While simultaneously running the day to day operations of the castle, and raising five children, The Duchess became fascinated with the history and importance of the other stately homes of the UK. Join The Duchess as she embarks on a wonderful journey through time, to learn more about the incredible homes that have defined Great Britain and, most importantly, meet the other extraordinary women who work tirelessly behind their doors to preserve their history and magic for future generations.