Friday, July 9, 2010

Tart of the Week: Georgiana Fawkener Townshend


Another famous victim of a bad aristocratic marriage was Georgiana's own cousin, Georgiana Poyntz.  Georgiana, or 'Jockey' was born in 1763, the second of seven children who all had the Poyntz longevity.  Jockey had the misfortune of being the first daughter presented with a marriage opportunity.  The lucky man was the boring William Fawkener who was rich and therefore a perfect match for Jockey in her parents' eyes.  Jockey, however, was disgusted by the man and made her disinterest known.  Sadly though, she was forced into the marriage. 

Jockey took her mind off her unhappy marriage by spending time with her friends.  Too bad Jockey's friends had a reputation as being the 'bad crowd,' Jockey hung out with her cousins at Devonshire House. It was there that she met the rather dashing and witty Whig, Lord John Townshend.  The two fell for each other and felt comfortable enough in the lax environment of the Devonshire Set to enter into a hot and heavy affair.  By 1786 the two could no longer take the strain of the affair and revealed themselves which created some major dramz.

Fawkener flew into a fury upon realizing he had been cuckolded.  He actually even accused Georgiana of aiding the couple in their adultery.  Georgiana was enraged at the accusation and her husband was equally as upset, writing to Fawkener to stop pointing the finger at his innocent wife.  Fawkener then accused Lord Melbourne of having something to do with the affair, resulting in a duel (which he lost but not at the price of his life).  Meanwhile Jockey's parent's and aunt kept her prisoner in their home, trying to force her to give up Townshend.  Jockey never relented. 

If Fawkener was a clever man with a mind for revenge, he would have kept his married to Jockey.  However, he gave his wife exactly what she was looking for.  Fawkener sued for Crim Con (in which the Duke of Devonshire testified at the trial- I'm sure he loved that) and then had Parliament grant him a divorce.  Jockey and Lord Townshend promptly married.  Although Jockey caused a scandal, alienating herself from polite circles, I would say she found an even more advantageous marriage than her parents could get her; now she had a title!

14 comments:

  1. Ahh! I saw that there was a tart and I freaked out! We haven't had a tart for a few months! Yeah! I have not even read it yet but I am so happy. I was starting to think that the tart of the week section was being retired. So glad you posted it! I've been going nuts without the stories of these 18 century bimbos!

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  2. Jockey is very cool and, reading Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (which I will NOT call The Duchess even if it has been retitled), I was happy to see she got what she wanted in the end.

    The only part that annoys me - and this didn't change until recently - is that divorced women kept the name (and consequently shame) of their first husbands; even if they divorced on grounds other than Crim Con on the wife's part. This highlights how late sexism under the law began to alter.

    Mini rant over.

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  3. Even if she couldn't be Lady Townshend, its a much happier tale than the Dutchess of D's. A tart triumphant!

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  4. Yay for another Tart!

    Apologies for hijacking your comments for a moment, but you've received two awards for having such a fabulous and versatile blog: http://gentlewomanthief.wordpress.com/2010/07/09/a-very-proud-recipient/
    :)

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  5. What a great post. I've missed the Tarts.

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  6. Tarts. Yum. Another case against arranged marriages. Guess when you do not marry for love, you seek it elsewhere. Glad we have more options now days, though people still are tarts even though we choose our mates. Ha!

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  7. I have been reading the blog for about a year. I always would comment as anonymous. But, now, I am going to use the duchess.

    This is so sad. I'm glad she ended up getting what she wanted. How could he have said that about the Duchess of Devonshire?! I'm so glad you posted it... I was really missing my tarts!

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  8. Hahaha yes now we choose our mates and the fact that we want to be tarts!

    @Duchess, Woo congrats on the profile, it's always nicer to be able to identify a commenter!

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  9. Thanks, Heather. I'd been wanting to make a profile for a while but never actually did. So glad I did! You'll be seeing me around the blog now!

    Do you love the picture of Georgie's youngest, none other than the Princess Amelia or what?

    Congrats on another grat post...

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  10. Finally a tart again! Wondered where they've been!!!
    Excellent story. So happy she got her happy ending! You always make me addicted to browse those women's genealogy! Still, thanx a lot for your wonderful blog!

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  11. Georgiana was really brave and stubborn especially in those times! I am so glad she finds love eventually!

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  12. This is really a great read for me. Thank you for publishing articles having a great insight stimulates me to check more often for new write ups. Keep posting!

    Clover
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