Letters reveal Leeds historic house’s tragic love story

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The tragic romance between two Leeds aristocrats will be revealed in a series of historic love letters this Valentine’s Day.

A special event at Temple Newsam House tomorrow will tell the story of lovers Hugo Francis Meynell Ingram and Emily Charlotte Wood, who lived at the beautiful Tudor Jacobean mansion more than a century ago.

Hugo, an MP for Stafford, and Emily, the daughter of a politician, married at St Paul’s in Knightsbridge in 1864.

Despite a twenty year age gap and their families being at odds politically, they were said to be truly in love and moved to Temple Newsam in 1869, when Hugo inherited the estate following his father’s death.

While living in Leeds, the couple exchanged a series of heart-felt and passionate love letters which still survive at the house today.

But tragically, just two years later, Hugo suddenly died, leaving Emily heartbroken and alone in the huge house.

As well as the couple’s letters, a number of excerpts from Emily’s diaries, describing her love for her departed husband following his untimely death, will also be part of this Sunday’s event.

Rachel Conroy, curator at Temple Newsam House, said: “Hugo and Emily’s story is a tragic one in some respects, but these letters also show just how much they loved each other.

“And, like so many of the items in our collection, they really give us a window into the lives of the people who have lived here at the house over the centuries.”

Councillor Brian Selby, Leeds City Council’s lead member for museums and galleries, added: “Items like these letters give us such a moving and powerful insight into what life at Temple Newsam was like.”