Nottingham Castle’s most flamboyant resident, a true Regency rebel!
Jane Kirkby was a tenant at the Castle from the early 1790s to 1825 and earned a reputation for being a well-known charitable and hospitable Nottingham resident in her day.
She was flamboyant, often seen in public wearing either a large white hat with black feathers or alternatively a large black hat with white feathers. She used a sedan chair or promenaded the streets with the train of her dress being carried by her servant Mr Church. As an independently wealthy, unmarried woman, she was treated unfavourably by the Nottingham press who referred to her as eccentric and peculiar.
Miss Kirkby was celebrated for her hospitality, particularly her breakfasts and oyster suppers. These lavish events would see the seafood served in barrels enveloped in white satin, and a bag attached to the chair of each guest as a receptacle for the shells. Miss Kirkby also kept pets during her time at Nottingham Castle including “lap-dogs and a large ape”!
Connection: Lived in the apartments in the Caste for over 30 years during the Georgian Regency. Born: January 1745 Died: 14th April 1825 Did you know? The bones of a large primate was found during the excavation work for the building of the new Nottingham Castle visitor’s centre. Could this be the remains of Miss Kirkby’s great ape?