aged just 18, Betsey and her family were evacuated in HMS Inconstant, captained by Thomas Fremantle, to escape the advancing French army. Captain Fremantle, 13 years her senior, clearly caught her fancy and three years later they were married by Sir William in his capacity as British Envoy.
Betsey often travelled with her new husband and nursed both him and Nelson at the Battle of Tenerife, when Nelson lost his arm and Fremantle was badly wounded. A little later she witnessed the battle at Trafalgar first hand on board her husband’s ship. The widowed Betsey, still keeping her diary, and perhapswith fond memories of her childhood in Folkingham, died aged 79 in Nice and is buried in the cemetery in Cimiez.
It seems that through this century the people who lived in the Manor assumed greater importance than the building itself and there is little recorded mention of it through this period.
THE 19th CENTURY
The trustees for the young Gilbert Heathcote, fresh from Westminster School, acquired Folkingham Manor in 1788. Gilbert, who was the 4th Baronet, belonged to a notable family, which had been ennobled in recognition of his grandfather’s service to the City of London where he had served as Lord Mayor, founder member and Governor of the Bank of England and as a Director of the East India Company.
Sir Gilbert was to have a major and lasting influence on Folkingham and developed it into a prosperous Georgian market town with a stage coach stopping point on the route between London and Lincoln. Today’s Folkingham is a testament to his endeavours with the wide Market Place leading up to the grand façade of the Greyhound Inn with its Assembly Room or Ballroom cum
Court Room. Having passed down succeeding generations of the family The Manor was finally sold in 1920 by Thomas Heathcote and a long and successful family association ended.
‘One of these houses especially interested us, a substantial stone building with mullioned windows, set slightly back from the roadway and approached between two massive pillars surmounted by round stone balls. It is not perhaps actually picturesque, but it had such a charming air of quiet dignity, and looked so historical in a mild manner, as to make the modern villa seem a trumperty affair. It was a house that struck you as having been built originally for the owner to live in and to enjoy, in contradistinction to which the ‘desirable residence’ of today seems to me to be built to sell. The stones of this old house wore splashes of gold and silver lichen. What a difference there is between the wealth of colour hues of a time tinted country building and the begrimed appearance of a smoke stained London dwelling’ James John Hissey ‘Over Fen and Wold’ London 1898