"Lives, Loves and Letters" tells the story of the Goring family of Wiston, Sussex from the reign of King George lll to Edwardian times. The book begins with Charles, the first Goring to be born at Wiston in 1744. A country squire, classical scholar and MP for Shoreham, his letters describe country and family matters and also his worries about a possible Napoleonic invasion. As a young man he planted the beech trees on the prehistoric earthwork now known as Chanctonbury Ring.
Charles married three times. His third wife was Mary Ballard whose father Revd Dr John Ballard was a Fellow of Winchester College. Mary was an educated woman. We read about her life in Hampshire, her connections to Chawton, the Austen family, Upper Beeding and after her husband's death raising three children and running the Estate at Wiston.
Letters from Elizabeth Goring b 1799, eldest daughter of Charles, take us through the Victorian age. Having grown up at Wiston she married, aged twenty nine, Walter Trower who some years later was appointed Bishop of Gibralter. During the 1860s they lived on the island of Malta, where Queen Victoria's Navy was based. Many delightful letters from Elizabeth, her three daughters and the Bishop are included in the story. They give amusing accounts of their social lives, travels, and daily life in Malta but all the while asking for news from Wiston.
Elizabeth's much younger brother the Revd John Goring was living at Wiston at the time. He and his beautiful young wife Isabella corresponded regularly with the Trower family in the Mediterranean. Letters describe him sending butter and occasionally a live sheep from Wiston to his sister in Malta.
Their cousin John Ballard's letters are full of adventurous travelling, through Scotland and from Portugal to Spain, giving vivid descriptions of wild boar hunting and visiting the Pasha's stud in Morocco.
Isabella Goring b 1842 married thirty seven year old John Goring when she was only nineteen. They had eight children and her enchanting letters to them and her husband are loving, amusing and romantic.
These fascinating letters, and the story written around them, open a window on to the lives of the Goring family and the ages through which they lived. Their personalities shine through the words on the pages giving us, readers from later generations, a true sense of the people involved.
Lives, Loves and Letters; The Goring Family of Wiston, Sussex, 1743-1905 is illustrated throughout with family portraits, watercolours and sketches painted and drawn by members of the family.