Bicton Park Botanical Gardens, Bicton, East Budleigh Salterton, Budleigh Salterton EX9 7BJ, United Kingdom
St. Giles in the Wood Parish Church St Giles in the Wood, Torridge District, Devon, England
Louisa Barbara Trefusis, Lady Rolle (December 29, 1795 - November 20, 1885) was the first woman Governor of Bridewell and Bethlem Royal Hospitals in 1841. She is believed to have been the original of Thackeray's "Lady Kew". Bicton Gardens in Devon on the south coast of England, were inspired by Lady Louisa Rolle who admired Le Notre's work on Versailles and Vaux-le-Vicomte—a formal style known as jardin a la francaise. In recognition of Rolle's vision for the garden, her marble bust decorates the Orangery of Bicton. The conservatory was foregrounded as a public haven and a place for contemplation, health and casual social encounters.
Hon. Louisa Trefusis was the daughter of Robert George William Trefusis, 17th Baron Clinton (1764–1797), and Albertina Marianne Gaulis. Her siblings are Robert Cotton St John Trefusis, 18th Baron Clinton; Hon. Anne Matilda Trefusis; Charles Rodolph Trefusis, 19th Baron Clinton (the 19th Baron Clinton son, Colonel Hon. John Schomberg Trefusis is the father of Denys Robert Trefusis (1890–1929) who married Violet Keppel); George Rolle Walpole Trefusis; Colonel Robert Cotton St. John, 18th Lord Clinton Trefusis; Captain Hon. George Rolle Walpole Trefusis; Hon. Anne Matilda Trefusis e Hon. Caroline Trefusis.
On 24 September 1822 at Huish, Devon, the seat of Lord Clinton, the 28-year-old Louisa Trefusis married a 72 years old very distant cousin, John Rolle, 1st Baron Rolle (1750–1842), a British peer who served as a Member of Parliament in general support of William Pitt the Younger and was later an active member of the House of Lords.
WWhilst Rolle himself was descended from George Rolle (died 1573), of Marhayes in the parish of Week St Mary in Cornwall, the second son of the founder of the family, George Rolle of Stevenstone (died 1552), MP for Barnstaple, Louisa was descended from the latter's fourth son Henry Rolle, who had married Margaret Yeo, the heiress of Heanton Satchville in Petrockstowe parish, Devon. Henry Rolle's great-grandson Robert Rolle (died 1660), MP, of Heanton Satchville, had married Lady Arabella Clinton, one of the two co-heiresses of their nephew Edward Clinton, 5th Earl of Lincoln and 13th Baron Clinton (died 1692). On the extinction of the senior line of the Rolle-Clinton union on the death of George Walpole, 3rd Earl of Orford and 16th Baron Clinton, their heir became the descendants of their daughter Bridget Rolle (1648–1721) who had married in 1672 Francis Trefusis of the manor of Trefusis in Cornwall. Louisa Trefusis, the second wife of Lord Rolle, was fifth in descent from Francis Trefusis and Bridget Rolle, being the daughter of Robert George William Trefusis, 17th Baron Clinton, of Trefusis, Cornwall.
Rolle's second marriage also produced no children. It had been thought that his heir presumptive was his next-of-kin, Rev. John Moore-Stevens (1784–1865), Archdeacon of Exeter, younger brother of Thomas Moore-Stevens (1782–1832), JP, of Cross, Little Torrington, appointed by Lord Rolle in 1822 as vicar of Otterton, a manor adjoining Bicton purchased by Rolle's father Denys Rolle (died 1797).[nb 11] Rev. Moore-Stevens's grandmother was Christiana Maria Rolle (1710–1780), Lord Rolle's aunt, who had married Henry Stevens (1689–1748) of Cross. He married Anne Eleanor Roberts, daughter of Rev. William Roberts, fellow and vice-provost of Eton College. An inscribed white marble tablet exists to the memory of his wife and himself in Exeter Cathedral.[nb 12] His son was John Moore-Stevens (born 1818), JP, DL, MP for North Devon, High Sheriff of Devon 1870, who rebuilt Winscott House, Peters Marland, in 1865. Lord Rolle however had decided to appoint as his heir Louisa's younger nephew, the six-year-old Hon. Mark George Kerr Trefusis (1836–1907), the younger brother of Charles Trefusis (1834–1904) 20th Baron Clinton. Whether his marriage to Louisa had been by chance or dynastic design, in fact the Trefusis Barons Clinton would have had an excellent claim to be his closest kin and legal heirs. Thus Rolle had followed his family's ancient practice of keeping the estates "in the family". His will required his young heir to change his name to Rolle, which he duly performed, and to adopt the Rolle arms in lieu of those of Trefusis. However, his design to revive the Rolle family was ultimately unsuccessful as Mark Rolle (1835–1907) produced only two daughters and no son, and the Rolle inheritance passed to his male heir, his nephew, Charles John Robert Trefusis (1863–1957), 21st Baron Clinton. The Trefusis family had several generations before inherited the estates of the Rolle family of Heanton Satchville, Petrockstowe, the most junior line of the family descended from the patriarch George Rolle (died 1552), and thus added to those large landholdings the huge Stevenstone and Bicton estates. However, liquid funds were not available to meet the large death duties, and much of the Stevenstone estate was sold to meet the tax liability.
Lady Louisa Rolle died 20 Nov 1885 in Saint Giles in the Wood, Devon, England. A marble bust of Louisa exists in the Orangery at Bicton House. Louisa and Rolle shared a love of gardening and created the grand landscaped garden at Bicton, now open to the public as Bicton Park Botanical Gardens. An American traveller Elihu Burritt visited Bicton in 1864 and described her hostess in terms of great praise: "This lady is a remarkable woman, without equal or like in England...she is a female rival of Alexander the Great. The world that the Grecian conqueror subjugated was a small affair in space compared with the two hemispheres which this English lady has taken by the hair of the head and bound to her chair of state. It seems to have been her ambition for nearly half a century to do what was never done before by man or woman in filling her great park and gardens with a collection of trees and shrubs that should be to them what the British Museum is to the relics of antiquity and the literature of all ages".”
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