Butterfields & Cliffe Castle

You’ll be used to seeing my name pop on these posts – I post the entries, but it’s not always me that writes the content.

However, this week’s blog is focusing on the ‘day job’ for me.  I’m the Social History Curator for Bradford Museums and Galleries, and I’m lucky enough to be based primarily at Cliffe Castle, which has a fascinating history and an interesting family associated with it –  the Butterfields

One of the tasks I’ve been doing over the past year or so, is focusing on the incredibly generous bequest from Lady Rozelle Raynes.  Great-Granddaughter to Henry Isaac Butterfield, she was the last of the family, and when she sadly passed away in 2015, she remembered the museum in her will.   We talked in an earlier blog about the  Malachite Chimney piece, which she gave to the museum.  As well as the fireplace, she gave to the Museum any items that she had retained that had a Cliffe Castle or a Butterfield link

The  Raynes Bequest items include paintings, pieces of furniture, sculpture, books, documents, porcelain dinner services (over 400 pieces processed so far) and many other items, both large and small –  although the fireplace was probably the largest, and almost certainly the heaviest item to come back up from Thoresby!

Opening the boxes has been a bit like Christmas year round –  we’re never quite sure what will be hiding, waiting to surprise us, even when we think we know what the box will contain!

I wanted to share just a few things I’ve found interesting

Tucked in some documents, was this right to travel –  confirming that for quite a time, Frederick saw himself as American (he was an american consul in Ghent for a period time) – his citizenship came from his American Mother.  It gives us plenty of details about Frederick, but his travelling companions are merely listed – it was not seen as important to record their details!

This document permits Frederick to travel as citizen of the United States, along with  his wife Jessie, their daughter and a maid.

We’ve come across quite a lot of images of Marie Louise Pierrepont – Henry’s granddaughter , Frederick’s daughter and Lady Rozelle’s mother.  She has quite a distinctive face, which has proved useful in identifying her in photographs!

Marie Louise Pierrepont, (nee Butterfield) Countess Manvers as a young girl
Marie Louise Pierrepont, (nee Butterfield) Countess Manvers as a young girl
Mare Louise Pierrepont, Countess Manvers probably in the late 1920s, early 1930s

Perhaps the most touching things we came across however, were two small lockets tucked in the corner of a box.

Lockets are always a little exciting, because they so often contain images –  and these were no exception!  The top locket contained two photographs – one of a young Frederick, and one of Marie Louise Roosevelt Butterfield his mother

Marie-Louise and Frederick
Marie-Louise and Frederick

We’re not quite sure who that locket orginally belonged to, as it’s not any of the monagrams or crests we’re familiar with –  if anyone recognises it, please do let us know!

The other locket we realised however, probably belonged to Henry Isaac Butterfield.

Inside, we found a lock of hair, and a photograph of Marie Louise.   There is carved ivy on the back of the locket –  a symbol of fidelity and everlasting love.  So it is likely this locket belonged to Henry Isaac.  Whether it was commissioned before or after her death we don’t know, but the signs of wear on the outside of the locket show that it was frequently handed -and kept close.  To see those physical signs of his affection was very touching.

Having the opportunity to handle these objects and add to our knowledge of the family –  and ensure they are treasured in the future too – has been a real joy.  It’s times like these I really love what I do!

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