Lord Augustus Fitzclarence

A younger son of William IV and Mrs Jordan, writes Martin Murphy, had a natural vocation for the stage rather than the Church.

The Thames-side village of Mapledurham, though only two miles from Reading, is unusually difficult of access by road. In fiction it was the country home of Soames Forsyte; in reality it boasts a much-painted mill and, above all, the fine Elizabethan manor house of the Blount Family, once frequented by Alexander Pope and now lovingly restored.

The church, too, is worth a visit. Its unique feature is the south aisle which is railed off from the rest of the building in Catholic isolation as the burial-vault of the Blounts.

There is little outward evidence of the most flamboyant and engaging of Mapledurham characters, who lives buried in a discreet and unassuming grave on the south side of the church: Lord Augustus Fitzclarence, natural son of William IV by Mrs Jordan, and Vicar of Mapledurham from 1829 until his death in 1854.

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