Saturday, November 22, 2014



"Belvoir Castle  (pronounced Beaver) stands high on a hill overlooking 16,000 acres of woodland and farmland."

(Do you know how much bigger that is than the Vatican or the country of Monaco?)


One of the most beautiful estates in he midlands of England.  Around 6 minutes on this video you get to the interiors.  Weddings are just one of the enterprises of the estate these days but it appears that shooting is the main activity that people come to the estate to pursue.

Thursday, November 20, 2014



"What's more, the research bolsters the theory that high-quality sleep may have led to the evolution of modern humans, said study leader David Samson, an anthropologist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Chimpanzees build their beds—called nests—in tree canopies using branches that they harvest from specific tree species. They spend about eight to nine hours a night on these platforms..."

Sunday, November 16, 2014



Hi Missy,

Over a decade ago I almost had an affair with a not yet totally divorced man.  He spent near no time talking about his ex-wife to be and he admitted he wasn't 100% sure which way it would go. I thought he was trying to be as honorable as can be and honest.

I was crazy about him and I struggled to keep things closer to friendship than an affair.  He was living separate of her and traveling without her quite a bit.  The children were in college.  He said they had been united in raising the children.  They were rich enough to send the children to all private schools.  The children had left home and were adults.  I knew they all got together for family occasions and also took vacations as a family but I ended all contact with him when he admitted he was going on a vacation with only her.  I was so sure that after all those years together they owed each other a second chance but I was secretly devastated.  My girlfriends told me I had to hold out to be number one in a man's life.

There were a few things he said over many months time though that gave me a certain impression of her.  Controlling for sure.  Always had to have her own way.  Greedy and materialistic.   He wanted to quit a job he hated and that's when she got them in more debt.  And until then no career of her own. He seemed under appreciated.

So the other day I was waiting for the carpet cleaner and bored.  I decided to check him out on the Internet where I learned yes they were now divorced.  The divorce must have come through about a year or so after I ended it with him.  The shock was that about that time she had also graduated from a school and is now "a well regarded practicing psychotherapist" who has written a hot sex novel.  (He never said "My wife is in college right now as we plan to uncouple.")  There was a picture of her wearing a sexy Cougar skin dress!  I can't say that I'd ever imagined what she looked like, but I had once seen him out with a different woman, and so I always thought that woman was his wife.  Not!

I read an excerpt of the novel and some reviews.  It was about a woman who was traveling in Europe and had an affair with a man half her age.  It sounded like it could be autobiographical. In the non-fiction bio she mentioned a dedication to ALL her EX HUSBANDS and EX BOYFRIENDS.  (How many has she had since she got a divorce and went wild?  He was her first marriage and in youth!)  I'm not in this woman's league and don't want to be.  That was why he was charmed with me.

I'm sorry I cancelled him from my life, even though I still think they clearly weren't done with each other at that point.  I have missed him. I'm wondering if I should try to get in touch with him.

Call me Judy in Los Angeles



Judy, it seems to me that most of the time when an almost affair ends all has been said and done.  For all you know he may have had a woman in every coffee house on Ventura Blvd in the Valley.  When he told you he was going to Europe, maybe he was actually in town and at that Jeri's deli where all the Israelis hang out!  Was there any reason why he could not get in touch with you if he wanted to?  For instance did you change your phone number or move?  I think men who are motivated will make some effort.  I don't mean stalking or hiring a private eye, but an effort.

If he could have just picked up the phone or sent you a card after his divorce, let it be.  If you made it impossible for him to find you and his address is on the Internet send a simple card.  Not a torrid poem.  Not a long letter.  Not something illustrated with roses or hearts.  Write "Was thinking of you the other day" and your home phone number.  Then, don't wait for the phone to ring.

Friday, November 14, 2014



page  86


Using rent books, the author was able to learn that Hilda Lezard had moved into "The Hall"  a property owned by the estate in one of the close-by towns owned by the estate, in 1939. 

It was a stone and slated 17th century manor house in the center of the village at Eastwell and included a stable, gardens, and lawns on about four acres of property.  It had five bedrooms, servants quarters, dining, drawing, smoking, and billard rooms.

Don't know what her living situation was with her husband, perhaps they also had a manor house, but somehow, I don't think so.

Rent was about 350 pounds, (about 14,300 pounds in today's money).  HIlda had paid, upon moving in, an additional 10 pounds for the installation of electric light.  At John Henry Montagu- Manners - 9th Duke of Rutland's death,  Hilda owed the estate 370 pounds, a year's rental.  The implication was that she could not afford to live there or had been allowed to fall behind in payments (while her husband was absent abroad) and let me, Missy, say, the implication is that as a mistress she no longer had to pay rent.  If indeed she ever had actually taken money out of her own pocket.

Possibly more interesting is that the current family living at Belvoir, who allowed Catherine Bailey allowed into the Muniment Rooms, also pays an archivist to work with all those family papers left behind.  He helped the author find the 1919 sale catalogue of the estate when John's father, the 8th Duke of Rutland, had to sell a large portion of the estate due to financial problems keeping it.  "The Hall" had been up for sale bit was withdrawn at the last minute. 

This was twenty years before Hilda moved in, but it seems to me that this property was considered too special to sell.  Might it have been the house used by more than one Duke for his mistress?

Saturday, November 8, 2014




What was John Henry Montagu - Manners, 9the Duke of Rutland up to until he died of pneumonia in the Muniment Rooms of Castle Belvoir?  It was 1940.  A few days before he died, he appeared to be recovering.  So he may have not known he was going to die.  In the book his doctors are portrayed accepting that he has dismissed them to continue work on his secret project.  Just as his brother who died in childhood of appendix might have lived today with medicine being so much more advanced, I can't help but think John Henry might have lived.

The Muniment Rooms of Belvoir Castle were a kind of archive space for the family letters and papers.   In some pictures of the castle you can see them as windowed rooms at the base of what looks to be a turret. The author of THE SECRET ROOMS, Catherine Baily, went into files and boxes that were on every available surface and had been left that way for years.  She worked with the family archivist as well as interviewing the servants.

pages 82-83

"What had he wanted to finish?  The one theory circulating among his servants was that it was a letter, or a package, for his mistress, the woman who broke into the Muniment Rooms a week after he died.  None of the servants I spoke to could remember her name, but a former housemaid told me that she had lived at Eastwell Hall.  It was an important lead.  Situated three miles from the Castle, The Hall belonged to the Belvoir Estate.  Whoever she was, she would have been a tenant of the Dukes."

page 87

There were also visitor books stored in the Muniment rooms. Hilda Lazard had first stayed at the castle in October 1936 and her husband wasn't with her.  Four months later she visited there again.  On both visits she waswith the guests Hubert Duggan and Phyllis de Janze, who were known to be part of the Kenyan "Happy Valley" set. (British who were living in Kenya, Africa).

"At John's funeral, 40 people had sent flowers.  Hilda's name was the last on a list.  But why did, 3 days after John was buried, did Hilda return to the caste in the dead of night and broken in to the Muniment Rooms?"

It was 1940, she was near 50 years old, but in the dark of night she had "climbed up fifteen feet up a drain pipe and then negotiated a precarious maneuver to an adjacent window ledge.  She was obviously determined to get into the castle at any cost."

She tried the window first . "According to servants this clandestine route of entry was one that she had used countless times before." 

Their affair went on for some years.

Was it to get a keepsake, or to retrieve something?

page 88

John had probably not seen Hilda in his last days.  Perhaps he was destroying incriminating love letters or perhaps there were rubies hidden somewhere for Hilda.  He was discreet.  She was not mentioned in his will.  Would he not have wanted to provide for her in some way?


Monday, November 3, 2014



1891 - 1961? or is that 1977?  Hmmm...
sorry no pic!

I first heard about HILDA LAZARD, our Mistress of the Month for November 2014 here at MISTRESS MANIFESTO, by reading an intriguing book called THE SECRET ROOMS, A True Story of  Haunted Castle, a Plotting Duchess, and a Family Secret, by author Catherine Bailey.  And oh was Violet, the Duchess, mother of John Henry Montagu Manners, plotting!  

Oh, the burden of wealth and heritage in Great Britain's upper crust during the early 20th century could crush all aspirations. 

You see, John Henry, her only son after his older brother Haddon died in childhood, was also the only heir to an immense estate, currently 16,000 acres and a lot of it has been sold!  Belvoir Castle and its properties had been in the family for hundreds of years and John Henry was on spot to be possibly the second wealthiest man in Britain. Mother didn't want him to see action in the war, be badly wounded and die, and as inheritances worked, see it all go to some other family.  Where would she live?  She wanted him to live and marry the appropriate bride and procreate.  So she plotted.

How much he knew about her plotting and when is an important question because many other aristocratic men risked their lives to serve and many of the men who volunteered from the estate died too and John Henry certainly seemed willing to see action. 

Violet may have even sacrificed the virginity of her daughter, John Henry's sister Diana, in the plot, expecting her to allow a married rich American playboy to court her in exchange for his influence in the plot.

According to Bailey, whose book is part of my research, HILDA LEZARD was born the daughter of Sir Daniel Cooper and his wife Harriet in Suffolk in 1891.  Harriet's father was Sir James Grant Suttie, the 6th Baronet of Balgone, so Hilda had family ties to the aristocracy that ran England, the peerage as it's called.

My overview:  Hilda was married four times, having tremendously bad luck with husbands.  Her first husband, who she married at age nineteen, was killed in World War I in action on the Front. Her second husband died soon after they married.  In 1918, she was on to her third husband but in the end it didn't work out.  

As one genealogy web site called The Peerage states: 

"Hilda Susan Ellen Cooper is the daughter of Sir Daniel Cooper, 2nd Bt. and Harriet Grant-Suttie. She married, firstly, Thomas Uchter Caulfield Knox, Viscount Northland, son of Uchter John Mark Knox, 5th Earl of Ranfurly and Hon. Constance Elizabeth Caulfeild, on 12 June 1912. She married, secondly, Hon. Geoffrey Edward Mills, son of Charles Henry Mills, 1st Baron Hillingdon of Hillingdon and Lady Louisa Isabella Lascelles, on 26 February 1917. She married, thirdly, Captain John Stewart Michael Wardell, son of Harold Wardell, on 30 April 1918.She and Captain John Stewart Michael Wardell were divorced in 1929. She married, fourthly, Julien Joseph Lezard, son of Louis Flavien Lezard, on 24 April 1929.

From 12 June 1912, her married name became Knox. From 26 February 1917, her married name became Mills. From 30 April 1918, her married name became Wardell. From 24 April 1929, her married name became Lezard."

So, finally, getting closer to 40, Hilda married Julian Lezard in 1929. 

I note that with Thomas Uchter Caulfield Knox, Viscount Northland, her first husband, she had two children, Thomas Daniel Knox, 6th Earl of Ranfurly who was born 29 May 1913 and died in 1988.  And Edward Paul Uchter Knox who was born 23 May 1914 and died 11 Dec 1935.  I note that her son had died before she embarked on her affair with John Henry.
According to author Baily, while Julian Lezard was away in 1939 possibly in British Intelligence, when World War II was declared in Europe, she became the mistress of the mysterious John Henry Montagu Manners - 9th Duke of Rutland, and he was mysterious enough to have a whole book written about him!

The book that was an inspiration
for this month's
 Mistress of the Month
Hilda Lezard

The book says very little actually about Hilda and John Henry's affair, though I will be sure to excerpt the telling passages.  Besides author Bailey's use of the term "mistress" for Hilda, she provides some evidence for there being financial favor.

John Henry was born in 1886.  According to various genealogical exposes he was descended from King Edward IV on his maternal line and over the centuries there were many marriages and connections with royal and aristocratic Britain. 

John Henry had a first love who had ultimately decided against him.  After that he had admitted to some that he didn't think he would ever fall in love again.   However, his mother, Violet, was busy looking for a healthy breeder for a daughter-in-law, and as time passed and her son seemed less desirable, despite all the wealth that would be his, to match-make, she even considered American heiresses as potential wives for him.

Then in 1916 John became engaged to Kathleen Tennant, a woman from a family of wealth and connections but no Title.  Her parents were against the marriage and couldn't imagine that John's parents would be pleased by the match.  John and Kathleen wrote "touching letters" and he even kept a journal of their courtship, so things looked promising.  He called her "Kakoo" and some think that she was the real reason why he never got to battle on the Western Front in WWI.  But that may have been generous of them.  In Bailey's book, we learn that after an earnest start of his marriage, John Henry was unhappy and unfaithful and also rude, maybe even verbally abusive, to his wife, and that he may have had many affairs. 

Overall, my dear readers, John Henry's personality as depicted, is, in my opinion, dull, stilted, and lacking.  I can't imagine anyone falling in love with him, but perhaps it took someone like Hilda to enliven his life. We can't always understand what a couple sees in each other.

Paying attention to Hilda, she was last seen, very shortly after Montagu-Manners died in his archive at Belvoir Castle called the Muniment Rooms, while working on a years long project of reading family letters and trying to obscure his mother's meddling in his life, trying to climb up the castle wall and into the rooms from the outside, something she'd done before to see him many times, with no success. 

So hang on to that image of a woman climbing up a castle wall to see her lover because we do not know if, soon after his death, she was trying to get in to grab incriminating evidence, a cash or gem inheritance, or what. 

It does seem that the unlucky in love Hilda stuck with her husband Julian Lezard, when all was said and done, because - if this is our Hilda Lezard - she is buried with him in a modest cemetery under a modest tombstone.  (Nothing like the amazing crypt that our previous Mistress of the Month is laid to rest in!)  Perhaps in Lezard she found the perfect husband, for - again if this is the right couple - they were married many years past her affair and he died in 1958.  Lezard was a worldly fellow, involved in British Intelligence in World War II.  Who knows what their deal was!

BILLIONGRAVES - HILDA LEZARD TOMBSTONE  in Saint Peter and Saint Paul Churchyard Great Missenden, England, United Kingdom.
She died January 2nd,1977. According to my notes, the book says she died in 1961...

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Mistresses may have first come into favor when Kings were forced to marry and find their Queens among their relations - cousins. Some biologists theorize that people are not really that attracted to others who they share a close genetic relationship with. Over time the Royal Houses of Europe became closely related. A King may have mated with his Queen to keep the wealth and power, but found his true love in someone he chose whose genetics were very different... it was even believed that "Royal Bastards" - love children - turned out to have nicer personalities.... really!