Ramillies by Barbara Whitehead (book cover)

Ramillies (Methuen 1983)

Barbara Whitehead published Ramillies under the pen-name of Rosa Hill. This was her third Regency Novel the other two being 'The Caretaker Wife (1977)' and 'Quicksilver Lady (1979)'.

The ninth Earl of the Aisty is dead. Long live the tenth Earl. But who will inherit the estate, the wealth; who will inherit Ramillies?

These questions much exercised the minds of members of Yorkshire society in the year 1820. They exercised the minds of the staff of Ramillies and the lawyers' of the Aisty fortune. They did not, however, exercise the mind of the tenth Earl, one Harry Akeham, humble schoolmaster in the Midlands hamlet of Cherry Wigston - for the simple reason that Harry Akeham had never heard of the Ainsty. Within the space of a day, and a lawyer's visit, he found himself transformed from impoverished gentleman to wealthy aristocrat - transformed outwardly at least; at heart he was still Harry Akeham.

Arriving at Ramillies, the opulent country seat that is standing proof of his family's wealth and history, Harry is overcome by his new role. He is lonely and needs a companion, a friend ... a wife? But even Earls cannot always have everything they desire. Harry has much to learn and Ramillies is the scene of his education.

The house in this story, Ramillies, is based, with permission, on Castle Howard in Yorkshire. Every Visitor to that house walks past the altar from the Temple of the Oracle at Delphi, which was presented to the fifth Earl of Carlisle by Sir William Hamilton. This altar was the inspiration for part of the story. Many of the visitors to the gardents go up to the Temple of the Four Winds, which was the original of the Temple of Fortune in this book.