Trade Winds

I have been going into some detail researching the 4th Earl of Carnarvon as he appears in my next book. As usual, I get easily distracted. Henry Howard Molyneux Herbert, to give him his full name, was deeply involved in Victorian politics and held the post of Colonial Secretary in two conservative governments, initially under Lord Derby and then under Benjamin Disraeli. As Colonial Secretary, Lord Carnarvon decided to buy himself a yacht in order to carry out his duties.




It was called the “Marcia”, 165 tons, 94 ft 5” long, 20 ft 5” broad, 10 ft 6” deep; designed and built by Camper and Nicholson, Gosport. Naturally it came with bills, for wages, repainting, for harbour charges and so on but undeterred, it was followed a few years later by a second yacht, the “Alruna”.


This was a period when Britain was using its powers of persuasion (the navy) and trade entrepreneurship to negotiate its own terms in the world. As Prime Minister Disraeli had the unenviable task of trying to balance the books, curb his Admirals’ expansive desires whilst managing and even increasing Britain’s area of colonial influence. Elsewhere in the world the USA was recovering from its own civil war, France was evolving painfully into its next Republic and for the moment there was a balance between the emergent Prussian Empire and the Austro-Hungarian federation of an Empire.

Trade winds1


The importance of the trade winds in the development of trading routes had first been recognized by the Portuguese in the 15th century. Britain’s powerful navy and their relatively sophisticated understanding of these winds became the key components in the success of England’s merchant fleets as they crossed the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans.


England’s success in the 19th century was built largely on the trade strategies established in the 18th century by one of England’s most able Prime Ministers, Robert Walpole, (1676-1745). Described by his peer Edmund Burke as “the ablest Parliament man, and the ablest manager of a Parliament, that I believe ever lived”, and despite a myriad of public and private faults, Walpole was commended for being “an intelligent, prudent, and safe minister”. He certainly heralded a period of unprecedented growth within the British Empire leading to an enormous trade network that still survives in part today.




Across the Atlantic, similar “honourable” attributes were applied to the First President of the USA. A “systematic, orderly, energetic,”  man, Washington’s farewell  address, drafted with Alexander Hamilton, reflected on the nature of politics and was such a powerful speech that it has provided a fulcrum for reflection for over 200 years. In his turn he also heralded the emergence of what would become, 150 years later, an immensely powerful political and economic State.


Now, on both sides of the Atlantic, political debates are once again dominating the agenda with trade as one of the key areas of argument.  Some things just never really change but conversation and sitting together to discuss the challenges together, must be the more far-sighted way to proceed.

44 Responses to “Trade Winds”
  1. Judy Harder says:

    Lady Carnarvon:
    I am truly intrigued about your new research.

    The Yacht Register specifically, as my ancestor was
    the 9th Earl in England. His name was Lord Lindley.
    I have done my search and was unable
    to learn more. He was married to my Great Grandmother Jane Dunn. So his last name might be Dunn.

    If you happen to see any reference to him, I would greatly appreciate any information you might find.

    Thank you so much. I love your blog.
    Judy Harder

  2. Linda Olds says:

    I’m looking forward to your next book. I enjoyed your book about Almina, 5th Countess of Carnarvon. It combined facts with the feeling of a novel, making it very interesting. I enjoy this website too! Thanks for sharing.

    • Lady Carnarvon says:

      Thank you – have you tried the book Catherine which follows on from Almina? It takes you through the Second World War

  3. Paula Carter says:

    Whew! Complicated information you have before you! And bravo to you for sifting through all of it. What an intelligent and brave lady you are delve into such a formidable task! Seriously, this is a huge responsibility, and I have to admire you for taking on all the research and writing you have already done ( and making it entertaining and understandable) and then persevering into the next part. Truly, Highclere Castle is more than beautiful; it is an entity in itself which you and yours are nurturing so beautifully. Thanks to you.

  4. Mary-Carolyn Lawson says:

    Lady Carnarvon,

    It must be wonderful to live in a house full of historical documents and racks of wonderful old maps. I should leave the house only of necessity. This blog is going to leave, however. I’m going to forward it to my congressman and our two senators. Attention, Americans! Follow suit, please. They need to know how everyone feels about this very vital issue. If we don’t get it right this time, our economy may wind up in a shambles; unrepairable for all time.

  5. Lady Carnarvon says:

    The maps are extraordinary – there seems sometimes no beginning or end to different projects..

  6. Lorraine Duszczynski says:

    Lady Carnarvon, you are doing Highclerc Castle a great honor by documenting all that you do. I appreciate all that you bring to us. As an avid Downtown Abbey fan, it helps to understand all that went before.

    • Lady Carnarvon says:

      Downton has brought many people together, it gives pleasure and perhaps pause for thought (or my dogs would think paws for thought!!!)

  7. Merna Bailey, Atlanta, GA USA says:

    I echo what Linda Olds says. Looking forward to your next book. My interest in Almina and Catherine stemmed from my love of Downton Abbey. However, the real life events in Almina’s and Catherine’s reign at Highclere was more interesting because of the actual historical facts. I think I would have had much better grades in history class if the history books could have been written in such a manner!

    Thank you so much and keep on blogging!

  8. Chrissy says:

    I agree with your conclusion – we all need to sit down with one another and talk things through – trade is very important to the global economy – and diplomacy is much better route. I love history!

  9. Jeffery Sewell says:

    From what I have read, Henry Howard Molyneux Herbert visited Australia (& South Africa) for 4 months in 1887/88. At that time Australia’s then fledging movement towards federation gained the Earl’s support. I also understand that the Earl was keenly interested in our (Australia’s) and other colonies’ defence. Of course, despite the Earl’s role as Colonial Secretary (and later as a Royal Commissioner on the issue of the Defence of the Empire) forming part of my homeland’s history, it must be conceded that his work for Canada was his greatest legacy.

    I await with interest your novel and look forward to reading more about this exceptional man. In that regard, I note that at the beginning of your blog, you referred to the Earl “appearing” in your next novel, so I assume he may not be the main subject of your book.

    From what I am aware of the Earl, he lived an amazing life. Public speaker for animal rights at age 7, travelling at age 8 to Turkey for a Sulran’s coronation, work as a magistrate, statesman, Colonial Secretary, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Royal Commissioner and Earl of Carnarvon, to name but a few achievements. I have no doubt that you could compile a most interesting novel devoted solely to the 4th Earl of Carnarvon, himself.

    I would be particularly interested in your considerations of the Earl’s roles in Ireland and South Africa. With respect to Ireland, some commentators have concentrated on what was obviously a sensitive and courageous stance against his own party on the Irish Church Disestablishment Bill whilst others concentrate on the Earl’s (shall we say) “difficult” relationship with Charles Parnell and Lord Salisbury over Irish Home Rule. Then there exists the “failed” attempt to implement in South Africa what was so successfully achieved in Canada. And of course, the resultant Boer war.

    I also believe that the Earl had a great interest in archeology. Although it is my understanding that the Earl’s interest appears to have been concentrated on Britain’s archeology, I assume that he was a major influence on the subsequent generations of Canarvons and their interest in archeology – particularly his eldest son, George. As they say “the rest is history”.

    • Lady Carnarvon says:

      Jeffrey you have an amazing grasp! My next book is a colour photographic book and it looks back into windows of the past: weekends in fact. I do consider an Australian here in 1866 as well as Home rule in 1886.

      I have started another book to “Walk in time through Highclere” which does look at archaeology here, bit I will be in trouble with everyone if I do not finish this one!!!

  10. Brooke Toles-Johnson says:

    Dear Lady Carnarvon,

    As a history buff, I find all your entries interesting and fun to read. I enjoyed Almina…..thanks for suggesting the subsequent book, Catherine…..can’t wait to find it!

    I’m starting to research my own family ancestry, which for the most part heralds from early 1600’s in America. Prior to that most families came from England and Wales. I love English history and feel I must have been there in some past life! My 12 great grandfather was 1st Earl of Bath Bourchier in 1470, my 10 great grandfather Thomas Chase was Baron of Hundridge in 1520.

    A trip to Great Britain to learn more about these historical families is planned. Top on my list is to visit Highclere Castle! Thank you for making all so accessible!

  11. Patti Olson says:

    Dear Lady Carnarvon:

    I have read both your books and now I am excited that there will be a third one! Do let us know when it will be published! I also was able to tour the castle last summer – it was a remarkable experience after watching the TV series and reading both of your books beforehand. Thanks for the continual delight that you provide in your blog!

  12. Marilyn Slagel says:

    Lady Canarvon,
    Off the subject of maps and trading, but I’m curious. Who will live at Highclere after you and your husband are gone? I visited the castle in 2014 and may never get back to England, but I fell in love with it.

    • Lady Carnarvon says:

      I hope we will be here for the next 20 or 30 years ! Thereafter is the challenge of the next generation (and my stepson) and how they work hard for the house and heritage. I cannot worry about it, so I don’t ! In my view, I do my best each day, and work with the great people around me here at Highclere. It is all about kindness and happiness and whilst I plan for the future of the house and its community, I live in today .

  13. John J says:

    Dear Lady Carnarvon
    I can’t wait for book three. I’ve read Almina and I’ve got Catherine to read. The maps and log books very interesting. Have you thought of putting them on display?

  14. Lorraine Greenfield says:

    How fascinating researching for the new book must have been, especially the maps, I love looking at maps, especially old ones, can’t wait for the new book.

    • Lady Carnarvon says:

      The maps are just beautiful – they are in a large old wooden box – I suspect there are more…

  15. Charlotte Cole says:

    Dear Lady Carnarvon,
    You continue to share the most interesting perspectives of your family! I love the photographs of the nautical charts, maps and ship’s log. It takes a great deal of time to piece the parts of history together, but it is a treasure for us, and for your family….ancestral records are often in “bits” and need a patient family member to make sense of them. The perspective from Highclere reaches even beyond Egypt and Central Europe, and is so very interesting!
    Thank you for sharing your discoveries!

    • Lady Carnarvon says:

      Thank you – I always looked for treasure here and of course it was in front of me … it is the stories in the papers..

  16. Natalie Graham says:

    So fascinating to hear about the history of your family! I love maps, and could be lost for days looking at them. Thank you for sharing them via your words and pictures! 🙂

    Cheers from South Carolina!

  17. Carol Powell says:

    Looking forward to the book on Victorian history from Highclere’s and the Earl of Carnarvon’s point of view. Have been reading lots of English history books lately, currently working on Henry VI’s time and the War of the Roses. In preparation for my England adventure in August, I suppose, trying to understand the past in relation to the present. Will be glad to skip ahead to the 1800’s when your new book is available!

  18. Linda Olds says:

    I didn’t know about ‘Catherine’. I will definitely read that one while waiting for your next!

    • Lady Carnarvon says:

      Wonderful, and I hope you enjoy it! I can never decide which I prefer…Almina or Catherine!

  19. Alison B says:

    Thank you, Lady Carnarvon; I enjoy reading about the history of Highclere Castle and those who lived there. I would be easily distracted, too, with all the fun archives to explore. There are so many, it seems, that I imagine it is tough for you to decide what to explore. Have you ever considered publishing (book or blog) historical holiday dinner menus at Highclere, along with recipes, if such documentation exists? I’m from the States, but as an admitted anglophile, I’m currently taking a “Royal Food” course which includes traditions and recipes fit for a king, dating back to Henry VIII at Hampton Court Palace. I’d much enjoy knowing and preparing historical meals as documented at Highclere for upstairs and downstairs.

    • Lady Carnarvon says:

      Then this next book is utterly up your street! I really hope to see what you all think of this next book with its photos and recipes … and the present stories. I am feeling nervous!!!

      I think a blog book would be a fun book and I have not published all I have written usually because my husband thinks they are too hilarious and not serious enough… it is usually me towing a car out and getting stuck or conducting tractors etc…

  20. Sandy Lee says:

    Thanks for your efforts to make history come to life! I have asked and hinted for Catherine for my birthday. Tomorrow will tell if my daughter picked up on all my hints.

  21. What a marvelous archive of history you have at Highclere! And those are amazing maps.and yacht register…one could get lost for hours and days just flipping page after page, how to get down to writing a book? “Lord Porchester” and Porchie were also names for the Earls of Carnarvon? I have read both your books: Lady Almina and Catherine, and find them fascinating and alive with history, as are these blogs. Looking forward to your next publication!

  22. David says:

    My wife and I are the proud owners of 3 of your books (autographed by you of course). Looking forward to your next one written in your “storytelling” style. PM Disraeli, I believe, was around in the mid to late 1860’s. Which leads me to ask if one of the yachts is still in existence today?

  23. Lady Carnarvon says:

    Sadly we have no yachts but of course I have my canoe!!

  24. Victoria says:

    How very interesting all your research is. I am inclined to think that the people who lived in Highclere before you weren’t much interested in the history of neither the castle nor its inhabitants. You have done the ancestors a great service to bring new life to them.

  25. Jean N. Sozio says:

    20 or 30 years – ???? Glory – may you be there for 50 years at least! History is so interesting – we never know the story our life is knitting as you say we “live in today”. It’s the looking back that, as you say, we find the treasure. We love your talent to research and pull out the gems of history at Highclere and of Britain itself and sharing them with the world in such a clear and sometimes whimsical way where we the reader feel part of the party. Our political ancesstors (Presidents and such) from our early formation were so blessed to be led by faith of spirit and not tyrannical greed. We as a nation are blessed to have developed from that love for people vs prosperity which in itself is its own reward. Their roots are in Britain and we see these same qualities in the present day Monarchy. Such is our bond. Love people and use things – – never use people and love things. God bless you as you keep the bellows of history fueling your success ever forward. Hindsight is 20/20 and wisdom is gained by looking back. Peace always.

  26. Paul Mc Taggart says:

    This is just lovely to read 🙂 this is why I love History so much its like time traveling

  27. Amy says:

    What beautiful maps to study. I daresay you have found towns that have changed names and some communities which no longer exist, and then to relate to family history…how wonderful. I found this of particular interest because I have had a fascination with maps since childhood. Thank you for sharing.

  28. Charles Pistor says:

    Lady Carnarvon: Enjoying the blog you have been writing. I know research into the past takes a lot of patience and time. It took me eight years to write a two volume history of mine and my wife families who emigrated from England, Ireland, and Germany to the States. I adopted the same technique you use, of interspersing what was also going on in history at the time of your ancestral research. Looking forward to visiting your beautiful home on the 26th of this month (Brit Tours).

  29. Charles Pistor says:

    Lady Carnarvon: Enjoying the blog you have been writing. I know research into the past takes a lot of patience and time. It took me eight years to write a two volume history of mine and my wife’s families who emigrated from England, Ireland, and Germany to the States. I adopted the same technique you use, of interspersing what was also going on in history at the time of your ancestral research. Looking forward to visiting your beautiful home on the 26th of this month (Brit Tours).

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