Dad and the Duke of Portland – name dropping 101

Off back to bed with SBS catchup to watch my former stomping grounds on TV. Worksop  station featured once before, but this programme was referring to the 5th Duke of Portland. I read he was known by his second Christian name, John, as all the male members of the family were named William. He was known as ‘The Tunnelling Duke’. If you take time to read his story in the links section it is incredible – and weird.

John, 5th Duke of Portland

The later 7th Duke: William Arthur Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, 7th Duke of PortlandKG known as Henry Cavendish locally features in my story (died 21 March 1977)

The 7th Duke was well-known and affectionately remembered locally by Worksop’s population. However the programme was featuring the earlier Duke of Portland’s amazing ingenuity and inventive engineering skills.

Courtesy of Picture Nottingham

My father had a nice chat with the 7th Duke in the 1960’s. It was in the amazing ballroom on Welbeck Estate, when it was still in use for special functions.

The elderly man had wandered in while the Committee and members of the Worksop Burns and Caledonion Club were happily “setting up for a ‘do'”.

As usual the ageing Duke, was dressed in his normal working gear when on his estate – like one of the gardeners in corduroy trousers, a thick knit scruffy jumper and wellies, bless him!

The Committee just assumed he was one of the Estate workers come to lend a hand!

Dad and his cronies – The Committee of the Worksop Burns and Caledonian Club, being proud, if expat, Scots, had no allegiance (or animosity) to the local landed gentry, and being unaware of his Dukedom, laughed and joked as usual as they draped the ballroom with their tartans.

Scottish dance band music (their inevitable working backround accompaniment) would no doubt be playing loudly on Dad’s tape player (the reel-to-reel type) in the corner. No doubt some rousing Scottish accordion music by Jimmy Shand and his band. That music was the bane of my childhood!

The old gardener, aka the 7th Duke, William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck,struck up a casual conversation with my Dad, which is when informed him he had the ballroom built underground especially for his wife, to whom he referred to fondly, my Father told me years later. They went on to have a nice discussion on the matter.

Anyway the old Duke seemed to enjoy himself immensely, and that was when he told my Father that romantic love story.

My Mum and Dad had their own love Story 1944-2013

Copied historical information:

But I’m confused. Although this is an underground ballroom it was not built by the eccentric Duke of Portland, who died long before. ‘The Tunneling Duke’.

I am currently enjoying reading The Underground Man, by Mick Jackson a work of fiction that Timothy Bentinck told be is based on the Duke of Portland who built the first tunnels in the family:

A fascinating Wikipedia potted history, with important link to the Bentinck heirs

And no it wasnt this Duke:Not this Duke

Now this is taking name-dropping to the extreme!Most of the information is from Wikipedia

The last Duke of Portland could not have been the correct Duke I knew of as well known for being totally eccentric, but a nice person. The Duchess of Portland was patron of our school in Retford and I remember her visiting on School Speech Day. Nice, smiling gracious lady in a nice hat.

Lady Anne Cavendish-Bentinck was born in Kensington, the daughter of Conservative politician William Cavendish-Bentinck, 7th Duke of Portland (1893–1977). Her mother was Ivy Gordon-Lennox, daughter of Lord Algernon Charles Gordon-Lennox, son of Charles Gordon-Lennox, 6th Duke of Richmond. Lord Algernon was close friends with Queen Alexandra of Denmark, who was Lady Anne’s godmother.[2]

She came from an aristocratic family rooted in the height of the Anglo-Dutch ascendancy, the Glorious RevolutionHans Willem (or William) Bentinck came to Britain from Holland with William of Orange in 1670, and was created Earl of Portland in 1689.[4] His son, Henry, 2nd Earl, was created Duke of Portland in 1716.[1]

The family accumulated property nationwide such as a large tranche of Marylebonecentral London, leading to streets Bentinck Street, Cavendish Square, Great Portland Street, Portland PlaceHarley Street, named after a line of the Earls of Oxford into which was an early marriage, and Welbeck Street, named after their seat, Welbeck Abbey in Nottinghamshire.[4]

Anne was related to Queen Elizabeth II and her surname was shared with the latter’s maternal grandmother Cecilia Bowes-Lyon, Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne; they shared a great-great grandfather Lord Charles Bentinck.[1]

Anne’s paternal grandfather, William Cavendish-Bentinck, 6th Duke of Portland (1857–1943), broke the entail of the family estates and set up a trust ensuring that she inherited them on the death of her father.[4]

Anne had one sibling, a younger sister, Lady Victoria Margaret Cavendish-Bentinck- (9 October 1918 –12 April 1950), who married Gaetano Parente, Prince of Castel Viscardo. The fact that she had no brothers meant that she became very wealthy, inheriting not only the money but also the family seat of Welbeck Abbey.[1]

As the succession to the Dukedom of Portland was strictly in the male line, Anne’s father was succeeded by his third cousin Ferdinand Cavendish-Bentinck. This title and most of those which went with it became extinct in 1990 when the 9th Duke died without a male heir. However, the earldom of Portland was inherited by a male-line descendant of the 1st Duke’s younger brother. The 12th and (as of 2016) present Earl of Portland is the actor Tim Bentinck, also known as David Archer to the listeners of the BBC Radio 4 soap opera The Archers. See my story from this link

Timothy Bentinck reminds me of Welbeck Abbey in this story:

Here are some interesting links with thanks to Tim Bentinck- relative of the Duke of Portland:

Update: I am currently enjoying reading The Under&round Man by Mick Jackson that Timothy Bentinck tells me is based on his ancestor.

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