Birth: 28 January 1803

Place or Registered Place of Birth: Not Known

Baptism: 19 February 1803

Place of Baptism: Horsham, Sussex

Death: 11 September 1892

Place or Registered Place of Death: Watford, Hertfordshire

Father: John Thomas Capel

Mother: Caroline Paget

Spouse(s): Louisa Elizabeth Heneage

Date of Marriage: 25 April 1881

Place or Registered Place of Marriage: St. Saviours, Upper Chelsea, Middlesex

Children: N/A


Arthur Algernon Capell, 6th Earl of Essex was born on 27 January 1803. He was the son of Hon. John Thomas Capel and Lady Caroline Paget. He married, firstly, Lady Caroline Janetta Beauclerk, daughter of William Beauclerk, 8th Duke of St. Albans and Maria Janetta Nelthorpe, on 14 July 1825. He married, secondly, Louisa Caroline Elizabeth Boyle, daughter of Charles Boyle, Viscount Dungarvan and Lady Catherine St. Lawrence, on 3 June 1863. He married, thirdly, Louisa Elizabeth Heneage, daughter of Charles Fieschi Heneage, on 25 April 1881.4 He died on 11 September 1892 at age 89.

Arthur Algernon Capell, 6th Earl of Essex was baptised with the name of Arthur Algernon Capel. He succeeded to the title of 6th Viscount Malden, co. Essex [E., 1661] on 23 April 1839.2 He succeeded to the title of 6th Earl of Essex [E., 1661] on 23 April 1839. He succeeded to the title of 7th Baron Capell of Hadham, co. Hereford [E., 1641] on 23 April 1839. On 23 July 1880 his name was legally changed to Arthur Algernon Capell by Royal Licence.

Inlaws and Outlaws
by Kerry Ross Boren & Lisa Lee Boren
Arthur Algernon Capel was eldest son of John Thomas Capel by his wife Lady Caroline Paget, eldest daughter of Henry, first Earl of Uxbridge, and sister of the Marquis of Anglesey. Arthur had a lively mind and was interested in agriculture, experimental chemistry (alchemy), mechanics and watercolour painting. He was first president of the West Hertfordshire Agricultural Society, and proposed the first exhibition of the Watford and Leavesden Horticultural Society which was held in the gardens at Cassiobury in August 1864. He was Lay Rector of the Parish and president of the Watford and Bushey Volunteer Fire Brigade. Due to ill health he had to decline the Lord Lieutenancy of Ireland offered him by Sir Robert Peel.

In the 1841 census the Earl, his wife, three sons and a daughter were in residence at Cassiobury, supported by seven men and sixteen women living in the house as servants. Many more estate workers lived on or off the estate.

In the 1851 census the Earl was described as a peer and occupier of 600 acres of arable land employing thereon about 40 labourers. At the house he had four men and five women servants living in, including a William Hutchins, whose widow ten years later was living in the Park as an alms-woman, attesting to the Earl's responsibility to his staff. Thomas Hargas, the butler, was there in 1861 and still in 1871.

In 1871 the Earl, his wife, a young son (Arthur Algernon, Jr.), and a four month-old baby daughter (Beatrice Mary) are enumerated, and the staff was much larger: the butler, valet, French chef, scullery men, footman and boy, plus a governess, a nurse, housekeeper, lady's maid, nursery maid, four housemaids, laundry-maid, three kitchen maids and a still room maid.

An article in the Watford Observer described how the Earl was an authority on the sport of croquet and advised the Cassiobury set, which had such a vogue at the time, and proved very remunerative from a financial point of view. His Lordship was a popular man, and an 1891 guidebook to Watford mentioned the high esteem and respect in which the present Earl is held by his poorer neighbours, who are allowed to roam at will over the beautiful expanse of the park.

In 1890 a writer for the Watford Observer visited Arthur who was then in his eighty-seventh year. The old Earl received his guest from an old green leather chair which had once been the property of David Garrick, and was wearing a grey tweed suit with a scarlet geranium in his button-hole. Throughout his life he had suffered from neuralgia, and because of his failing eyesight he had to have the daily newspaper read to him by his wife, Louisa Heneage, whom he never tired of praising for her care and attention. He talked of his Eton days when he remembered being sent upstairs to rouse Richard Brinsley Sheridan from his slumbers after a drinking bout at Cassiobury.

Arthur Algernon Capel, sixth Earl of Essex, had an Irish mistress. Her identity was a well-kept secret, which is why she was kept in Ireland, far from prying English eyes and the scandalous tongues of the nobility. In fact, however, her name was Beatrice Desmond, and she was a member of the great Anglo-Irish family of Fitzgeralds, ancient Earls of Desmond.

The Earl's liaison with that 'Irish woman,' as she was most often referred to, was common knowledge at the time, wrote a family member. He was nearly fifty at the time, so nearly everyone in the family attributed it to mid-life crisis.

Inasmuch as Lord Arthur was about fifty years of age at the time, then his affair occurred after more than twenty-five years of marriage to Lady Caroline Jeanetta Beauclerk, and nearly a decade before his second marriage to another Irish lady, Caroline Elizabeth Boyle of County Cork.

The illegitimate son of the sixth Earl of Essex by his Irish mistress, Beatrice Desmond, was born at Castle Desmond, County Cork, in the year 1853, the exact date being obscured by the secrecy surrounding his birth. He was christened George Arthur Ingerfield Capel.

The responsibility of his up-bringing and education could not long be kept from notice. Shortly after the establishment of English divorce courts in 1857, the bastard son was brought to Cassiobury and raised as a member of the family. He was set apart by the shocks of red hair which denoted his Irish heritage.

George Capel was raised with every advantage as though he was legitimate, except that he could not succeed to the peerage of inheritance. He received the best education available in English schools and when not involved in his studies he could be found at Cassiobury, or Rayne Hall, or one of the Irish estates belonging to the sixth Earl or his relations.

His favourite place was Castle Desmond, where he could roam wild and free across the Irish countryside, unrestricted by either boundaries or conventions, neither of which he had much respect for. This too was the home of his mother's people, where the Desmonds still lived as tenants on lands which had once belonged to them.

An avid reader, his father had given him a copy of The Deerslayer by James Fennemore Cooper, which he devoured from cover-to-cover half a dozen times, and relived in his imagination a thousand. It gave him fodder for childhood games. With his young friends, especially Moreton Frewen and Florence Sullivan, he played Apaches and Mohicans in the spinney between the Bandon and the Lee, behind Innishannon, the Frewen country estate.

At an early age George exhibited signs of rebellious behaviour. In later years his grand-niece would recall: George loved only horses, and could most often be found at the stables, or riding through the Park [at Cassiobury]. He was one of the youngest members of the Old Berkeley Hunt, and fancied himself a young adventurer. He was also a superb marksman at an early age, and greatly embarrassed his father on a particular occasion in front of distinguished company by shooting off the heads of some of Cassiobury's prized imported swans.

Because of this incident, coupled with George's increasingly erratic behaviour and ungovernable temper, he was shipped off to an exclusive French school at Paris in the hopes that the experience would broaden his education. In fact, he was a good student, in spite of his propensity for mischief, and soon excelled in the French language, literature, and the arts.

Arthur Algernon Capell