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When Lord Clinton’s debts mounted he sold the Manor of Folkingham to Richard Wynne in 1690 and so began a hundred year association. This family, with its ancient royal connection to the Welsh Princes formed a powerful Roman Catholic dynasty that became linked in marriage to the Earl of Ancaster, resulting in a branch of the family moving east to Lincolnshire in 1678.


The second Richard Wynne of Folkingham left for Venice in 1734 on the death of his wife and then shortly after married his mistress, who due to her rank of birth remained on the margins of Venice society after the death of her husband. One of his daughters from this union, Giustiniana, was considered a great beauty (although the picture belies that), who shared a forbidden love affair with a Venetian patrician, Andrea Memmo.
The relationship was conducted largely by coded letters, though not entirely for the 22 year old Giustiniana found she was expecting a child. For solace she turned to a family friend, Casanova, who willing provided it in his own inimitable way, before she finally and discreetly gave birth in a convent. The child was taken in by an unknown family and was never seen or heard of again. Back in society Giustiniana’s infatuation with Memmo waned. Adopting a more conventional stance she married into society, becoming Countess Orsini-Rosenberg, only to be widowed two years later, leaving her time to become a well-respected author. A large bundle of her letters to Memmo, many in code, were discovered in the 1990s in a house on the Grand Canal and from this source Andrea di Robilant, wrote the historical work, A Venetian Affair, which was published in 2004.

The third Richard Wynne, Giustiniana’s brother, shared his sister’s colourful flair for life and married Camille de Royer. He spent a good deal of his life in Folkingham and The Manor House witnessed the formative years of his four daughters. The second daughter, Elizabeth (known as Betsey and pictured), was born in 1778 and when financial pressures caused Richard to sell the Manor ten years later the family set off on the Grand Tour of Europe. The young Betsey, who kept a diary for most of her life, left a tantalising trail of historical and personal comment in 41 manuscript volumes. The Wynne Diaries were published and provide an interesting personal and historical narrative of her times.
The Grand Tour eventually took the Wynne family to Naples, where the English Mediterranean Fleet was harboured. Here they made the acquaintance of Sir William and Lady Hamilton and Admiral Nelson. When
THE 18th CENTURY