Birth: August 1842

Place or Registered Place of Birth: Not Known

Baptism: Not Known

Place of Baptism: Not Known

Death: 3 February 1907 - Aged 64

Place or Registered Place of Death: Windsor, Berkshire

Father: Henry Paget

Mother: Henrietta Marie Bagot

Spouse(s): George Chetwynd

Date of Marriage: 9 June 1870

Place or Registered Place of Marriage: St. James' Church, Westminster, London, Middlesex

Children:

Lilian Florence Maud Chetwynd (1876-1962)
Sir George Guy Chetwynd, 5th Bart. (1874-1935)
Olive Nina Mary Chetwynd (1877-1946)

Notes:

Text copyright Valerie Martin 1999

Lady Florence Cecilia Paget, daughter of Sir Henry Paget, 2nd Marquess of Anglesey and Henrietta Maria Bagot, was born in August 1842. She became the belle of English aristocracy. Many stories have circulated regarding her elopement and after the passing of time and I have found it difficult to extract fact from fiction.

The bare bones of the story are that she was engaged to Henry Chaplin and visited his ancestral home at Blankney prior to their wedding day. She then accompanied him to the opera on the evening of the 15th July 1864. The tale that scandalised Victorian society and brought Findon into the scene begins to unfold on the following day. On the 16th July 1864 she announced that she needed to do some shopping for her trousseau. She left the St. George's Hotel in London to go to the fashionable departmental store of Marshall and Snelgrove in Oxford Street. She was alone in the carriage, which was unusual because young ladies of her class did not usually travel on their own.

The fashionable Florence, who was always generous with her favours, sailed through the store with exquisite charm to all she passed. The delightful symmetry of her tiny figure disappeared round the counters. No one guessed she was bent on a secret assignation. With a quick incline of her head and a glance in either direction, she gave a charming smile and vanished from view — into the embracing arms of her lover. This was the young buck of Victorian society, the Marquis of Hastings, who was waiting for her. She entered a waiting cab and was driven down Bond Street to Hanover Square and arrived at St George's Church by midday.

Henry Weysford Charles Plantagenet, bachelor, Marquis of Hastings, the fourth and destined to be the last Marquis of Hastings, married Florence Cecilia Paget, spinster, that day. There were no members of her family present — which was hardly surprising as they had all been invited to her wedding to Henry Chaplin. The blushing bride left the church as the new Marchioness of Hastings. The wedding party went to St. James's Place where the reception was held. Here Florence wrote to explain her action to her jilted fiancé, Harry Chaplin.

The couple then hurried away to catch a train to take them to Castle Donington. It had been a torrid and bizarre affair from beginning to end. An infamous liaison to go down in Victorian Findon history when it became apparent that her husband and her ex-fiancé were to became rivals over a racehorse trained on the Findon Downs.

I understand that Henry Chaplin first became aware of his fiancé's elopement with the Marquis of Hastings when a letter of explanation arrived at his rooms in Park Lane from his beloved Lady Florence Paget. He read that he had been jilted and the tide had turned. Emotion welled up in him — what a sordid affair. Virtually left at the altar. He was a public laughing-stock and would be a social outcast after being ditched in such a manner. He was obsessed with the thought of revenge on the Marquis of Hastings and this led to him being bedevilled with the idea of beating him to become the first to own a Derby winner.

For his part, the Marquis of Hastings was still equally irritated by Chaplin — even though their roles were now reversed in matters of the heart.

The two men became at loggerheads to win the Derby before the other. Neither Chaplin nor the Marquis possessed a horse good enough to win in the summer of 1865. The following Derby Day in 1866 came and passed with neither owning a horse that was spectacular enough to win. Still preoccupied with the fixation of owning a Derby winner before the other, they both embarked on plans for the following year.

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1851 Census:

Tewin Water, Tewin, Hertfordshire
Henry Paget - Head - Widower - 53 - 1798 - Peer - London
Henry Paget - Son - Unmarried - 15 - 1836 - At Home - London
Alexander Paget - Son - Unmarried - 11 - 1840 - At Home - London
Florence Paget - Daughter - 8 - 1843 - At Home - London
Berkeley Paget - Son - 7 - 1844 - At Home - London
Constance Finch Hatton - Visitor - 4 - 1847 - London
Mabel Finch Hatton - Visitor - 1 - 1850 - Worthing, Middlesex
The last two are clearly the daughters of Constance (nee Paget) - presumably she and her husband were overseas at the time of this Census collection.

1861 Census:

Eastwell House, Kemps Corner, Eastwell, Kent
George F. Hatton - Head - Married - 45 - 1816 - Earl of Winchelsea - Marylebone, Middlesex
Constance H. Hatton - Wife - 38 - Countess of Winchelsea - St. George's, Middlesex
George W.H. Hatton - Son - 8 - Viscount Maidstone - St George's, Middlesex
Constance E.C. Finch Hatton - Daughter - 13 - Lady - St. George's, Middlesex
Mabel Emily Finch Hatton - Daughter - 5 - Lady - St. George's, Middlesex
Florence C. Paget - Sister-in-law - Unmarried - 18 - Lady - Marylebone, Middlesex

1901 Census:

23, Portman Street, St Marylebone, London
Florence, Marchioness of Hastings - Head - Married - 58 - Living on own means - London
Olive Chetwynd - Daughter - Single - 24 - London

By 1901, Sir George and Florence had separate households in London.

Florence Cecilia Paget
Marchioness of Hastings