Stories from Old Newspapers


Waterford News 4 May 1900

The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire in Lismore

Every Sunday when residing at their beautiful Irish seat, Lismore Castle, on the Blackwater, the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire attend morning service at Lismore Cathedral.  They occupy the front pew, and it is amusing to see how the Duke, during the Psalms, turns around and takes a long look and leisurely survey of the congregation.  He follows the service with an old quarto prayer-book, which has belonged to his family for more than a century, and he wears very large double-eyeglasses, framed with brown wooden rims.  The Duchess who is rather High Court, is extremely reverent in her demeanor.  Each invariably puts a sovereign into the collection plate.

The Duke is a very keen fisherman.  When staying at Lismore he is generally out trying for salmon by six o’clock every morning.  The fishing on both banks of the water is strictly reserved for his own use whilst he is in Ireland.  His skill and luck are not equal to his enthusiasm, and his efforts this season seem to have only been rewarded with one fish.  The Duchess who often used to handle a rod herself, seems to have tired of the sport; but the Duke now prefers it even to racing.

The Duke, in the opinion of his Irish neighbours, is hardly so robust as he was two years ago.  Whilst his face is as massive and as impassive as ever, he does not seem to walk with the same vigor as of old, but he is marvellously alert for his sixty-seven years.  It was once said of him that he forever looked mildly astonished at a world which had thrust much dignities and responsibilities upon him.   All the world knows the long and idyllic romance which culminated in the marriage of the Duke of Devonshire and the widow of the late Duke of Manchester.  The pair are inseparable.  She sits on the bank whilst he fishes, and together they ramble on foot over the neighbourhood, perpetually talking, and with the light flashes of amused laughter illuminating their conversation.  The Duchess speaks English with a strong German accent, and the Duke’s eye frequently follows her about the room, with a tenderness in his gaze which is very strange in so impassive a politician.

The Duke of Devonshire

Spencer Compton Cavendish 8th Duke of Devonshire (1833 - 1908), leader of Liberal Unionist Party (1886 - 1903).  He succeeded as Duke of Devonshire in 1891.  He was nick-named "Harty-Tarty".  For many years he had a mistress, Catherine Walters (Skittles).  In 1892 he married Louisa Frederica Augusta Von Alton, widow of 7th Duke of Manchester.