< A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z >
Eric Magnus Andreas Stanislaus (Harry) 
von Stenbock
1860 - 1895


Eric Magnus Andreas Stanislaus (Harry) 
von Stenbock
, Educ. Wiesbaden (1875), Balliol Colol. Oxford (1879). Count Stenbock, Count de Borgia, & Baron de Torpa, etc., of London, England, & Kalk, etc. in Estonia. Author, Eccentric, Practical Joker, Founder of "The Idiots Club". s.p. 1881 census describes him as a Court student. Educ. at a school in Wiesbaden (1875), Balliol, Oxford (1879), dropping out in 1881.. "THE LOST CLUB JOURNAL at http://freepages.pavilion.net/tartarus/stenbock.htm Count Stenbock: A Brief Biography by R.B. Russell W.B.Yeats called Stenbock: "Scholar, connoisseur, drunkard, poet, pervert, most charming of men." Arthur Symons saw him as "bizarre, fantastic, feverish, eccentric, extravagant, morbid and perverse". And a contemporary critic sarcastically supposed his work must be "an elaborate and screaming parody of . . . the youthful decadent, . . the affected preciousness, the sham mysticism and sham aestheticism, the ridiculous medley of Neo-Paganism and Neo-Catholicism . . ." Everyone seems to need a string of epithets to convey the extraordinary character of Count Eric Stenbock. In a short life - he died at 36 in 1895 - he so impressed himself upon his contemporaries that the legends they tell of him in memoirs and anecdotes far outstrip the attention given to his writings, the three slim volumes of verse and one book of sombre short stories. Though born near Cheltenham, he was the heir to vast estates in Estonia, owned by his family since the 18th century. He was educated abroad, but went to Oxford for four terms from 1879. His first two poetry collections, Love, Sleep and Dreams (1881?) and Myrtle, Rue and Cypress, (1883), are now impossibly rare. Many of the verses concern his doomed adoration for a Berkshire youth, Charles Bertram Fowler, who died of consumption at the age of 16. Stenbock's father died when his son and heir was still young, and his mother and new step-father had three sons and three daughters. Shy and good-humoured, Frank Mowatt should have been a good stepfather. But Eric hated him. In 1874 the family moved to Withdeane Hall, near Brighton. It is said that Eric spent part of his childhood in Russia. This foreign education - the wish of his father's family - probably made it difficult for him to feel at home at Withdeane Hall. In 1885 Stenbock inherited his ancestral domain and seems to have spent most of the next two years there, a period splendidly evoked by Mary Smith, wife of an old college friend when the couple visited him one Christmas: "Count Stenbock has his own rooms furnished in the most aesthetic style, with a lamp burning before a Buddha & an Eros and his other gods disposed in various places. When he was at Oxford, he said, he & one of his friends (who is now insane) used to try a fresh religion every week. . . He has also a number of pet snakes & lizards & toads & salamanders in his room, and - worse still - a collection of Simeon Solomon's morbid & pessimistic pictures of the Rossetti school. In the garden . . . he has a 'zoo' containing three reindeer, a bear and a fox. . . " The Count's decadent tastes were also clear from his love of exotic and vivid costume, the burning of incense and the taking of opium. But he also took delight in playing games and masquerades with the children of the house - his cousins whom he formed into an exuberant Idiots Club. He returned to England in, 1887 and soon became acquainted with many of the key figures of the day - Beardsley, Yeats, Symons and Lionel Johnson, who thought his poetry bad, but remembered him with affection. From 1890 Stenbock's health, always delicate, deteriorated badly, aggravated by his alcoholism - Johnson complained of the "devilish" mixture of drinks the Count urged on him. Stenbock became both physically enfeebled, and fatalistically obsessed with death. His last collection of poems, ominously entitled The Shadow of Death (1893), contains many hauntingly bittersweet evocations of the poet's past life and his anticipation of its end. Studies of Death: Romantic Tales appeared in 1894, ornamented with a striking frontispiece by its author. The seven stories reveal an original imagination and a spry, urbane style quite removed from the melancholy murmurings of the Count's verse. Towards the last the Count was mentally as well as physically ill. At Withdeane Hall he terrified the domestic staff with his persecution complex and his delirium tremens so scared the young Mowatts that they had to be moved to more distant rooms. On his travels he had been escorted, and with him went a dog, a monkey and a life-size doll. He was convinced that the doll was his son and referred to it as 'le Petit comte'. Every day it had to be brought to him, and when it was not there he would ask for news of its health. The Stenbocks believed that a dishonest monk - or perhaps a Jesuit - had extorted large sums of money from him under the pretence of paying for the education of 'le Petit Comte'. In the Spring of 1895 London was acting out the tragedy of Wilde. On April 26th, Wilde faced the first day of his first trial, Eric died in mother's home, Withdeane Hall. Against such a background (for the Wilde trial had reverberations at all levels of English society) his death was likely to go unremarked. Ross and Adey were of course busy supporting Oscar. From a printed programme that has survived it was very much as if the young Mowatts and their friends were rehearsing a rip-roaring farce in the drawing-room while Eric was agonising on his death-bed. Since their mother was already fatally ill (nursed by her daughter Margaret, she refused to see the rest of the family) they were perhaps only trying to keep up their spirits. He was buried at the Brighton Catholic Cemetery on May 1st (the day Wilde's jury disagreed and was discharged) "in the presence" (said the Brighton Examiner) "of a large number of relatives and friends". Before burial the heart was extracted and sent to Estonia, where it was placed among the Stenbock monuments in the church at Kusal. It was preserved in some fluid in a glass urn in a cupboard built into the wall of the church. At the time of his death, his uncle and heir, far away in Esbia, saw an apparition of his tear-stained face at his study window. On the day of his death Eric, drunk and furious, had tried to strike someone with a poker and toppled into the grate. Lucy Mowatt did not long survive her son. She died at Withdeane Hall on the 14th October, 1896." See- Stenbock, Yeats And The Nineties by John Adlard (London: Cecil & Amelia Woolf, 1969). Stenbock House in Estonia (built in 1791) is the seat of the Estonian National Government since August 8, 200 ---------------- One of these agents of change was Count Eric Stenbock. Now largely forgotten by all but a few devotees, Stenbock was a symbol of his age, a true aristocrat in a society of pretenders, a poet, writer, and ultimately waster of his talent and advantages. Lucy Sophia Stenbock Stenbock's mother Lucy Sophia was the daughter of Manchester cotton industrialist Johan Frerichs who had originally emigrated from Bremen to run his a textile business in the UK, De Jersey & Co. By the 1850's he was sufficiently prosperous to build a house in Cheltenham, Thirlestaine Hall where his family grew up. In 1858 the family visited the Italian spa town of Meran. Spa visits were very popular in the nineteenth century and Meran was made famous by the patronage of the Hapsburgs and other European nobility. It was here that Lucy, now nineteen, met the man who was to be her husband. He was the twenty five year old Erik Stenbock, Count de Bogesund, Baron de Torpa. Lucy had made a good catch. The Stenbock's were an aristocratic Swedish family with royal connections. The Count owned a small castle, Rottenstein, in Meran and was heir to vast estates in Estonia. A little under a year later they were married, March 1st 1859, at the Reformed Church in Florence. This famous church was popular with the British community in Italy; Elizabeth Barrett Browning is buried at their 'English Cemetery". That year was not all roses, however. On October 2nd Lucy's brother John died at the family home in Bremen. Four months pregnant with her first child it is unlikely that Lucy attended the funeral. On March 12 1860 her son Erik Magnus Andreas Harry was born at Thirlestaine Hall where the couple were living while the Meran estates were being refurbished. Count Erik Friedrich Stenbock But again tragedy struck. On 15 April 1861 Count Stenbock died at his Meran home aged 27. Within two years the estates in the Tyrol were sold and those in Estonia passed back to his father, Magnus, who held them in trust for the young Eric. Nothing is known about young Eric's early years. Certainly at first he lived in Cheltenham with his mother. But by 1864 she had remarried. Her second husband, Francis Mowatt, was a career civil servant who was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and eventually rose to being Permanent Secretary. To start with Eric may have been educated at home but by 1875 he was at school in Wiesbaden, Germany. Because his father's family wanted him educated abroad he seems to have moved around in Germany, Russia and Estonia until he was nineteen. Lucy's father died in 1866 and he left Eric a large sum of money which was kept in trust until his twenty-first birthday. With the estates in Estonia and the money left by his grandfather Eric was set to be a very wealthy man when he attained majority. Over the next ten years the Mowatt's had six children three half-brothers and three-half sisters for Eric. Thirlestaine Hall was sold in 1874 and the family moved to Withdeane Hall at Patcham near Brighton.

Born: Thirlestaine Hall, Leckhampton, Gloucs., , 12th Mar 1860 Baptised:
Died: Withdeane Hall, Keymer, Sussex, , 26th Apr 1895 Buried: Brighton, Sussex, England 1st May 1895
Family:
von Stenbock

Ancestors
[ Patrilineage | Matrilineage | Earliest Ancestors | Force | Force2 | Options ]

1.
Eric Magnus Andreas Stanislaus (Harry) 
von Stenbock
1860 - 1895
2.
Eric Friedrich Diederich Magnus 
von Stenbock
(
Frerichs
) 1834 - 1861
4.
Carl Magnus Reinold Johansson 
von Stenbock
(
von Stuart
) 1804 - 1885
5.
Theophelia 
von Stuart
(
von Stenbock
)
3.
Lucy Sophia 
Frerichs
(
von Stenbock
,
Mowatt
) 1839 - 1896
6.
John Andrew (Johann Andreas) 
Frerichs
(
Prestin
,
Barnes
) 1799 - 1868
7.
Lucy Jennings 
Barnes
(
Frerichs
) 1806 - 1850

Siblings


1.
Mary Hilda (Hilda) 
Mowatt
(
Russell
) 1865 - post 1904
2.
Francis (Frank) Herbert 
Mowatt
(
Bennitt
) 1867 - 1919
3.
Lucy Winifred 
Mowatt
1869 - post 1939
4.
Lt.Col. Charley Ryder John 
Mowatt
1873 - 1943
5.
Godfrey (Goff) Frerichs 
Mowatt
(
Frend
) 1874 - 1958
6.
Margaret (Maggie) Honor 
Mowatt
c. 1876 - 1930

Spouses




Descendants
[ Options ]

Sources

Census

Timeline


???Became an heir of
John Andrew (Johann Andreas) 
Frerichs
(
Prestin
,
Barnes
) 1799 - 1868 (will)
12th Mar 1860Born Leckhampton, Gloucs.
1861Grandson in 1861 census (census) Cheltenham, Gloucs., England
1871Son in 1871 census (census) Cheltenham, Gloucs., England
2nd Apr 1881Stepson in 1881 census (census) Patcham, Sussex, England
2nd Jun 1893Made a will (will)
2nd Jun 1893Made a will (will)
26th Apr 1895Died Keymer, Sussex
1st May 1895Buried Brighton, Sussex, England
| Top |

Hosted by
HTML generated by
SoftLinks
, copyright © 1996 - 2017 Ben Laurie
Copyright © 1996 - 2017 Camilla von Massenbach