Select Tempest Miscellany

Here are some Tempest stories and accounts over the years:

Tempest Family Origins

The book Kin of Mellcene Thurman Smith had the following description of the origins of the Tempest family:

"The parish of Bracewell (in the West Riding of Yorkshire), with the adjoining hamlet of Stoke, was a part of the great fee of Roger of Poitou, who had come with William I in 1066, remaining in his hand at the time of the Domesday survey. The two great Saxon lords, Ulchil and Archil, had had to give us these lordships to this powerful Norman invader; and it was probably not long after the date of the Domesday survey that these manors were granted to Roger de Tempest.

That this man was a Norman, the name will not permit us to doubt; that he was a dependent of Roger of Poitou is extremely probable; that he was, at all events, possessed of these manors in the reign of Henry I is absolutely certain.

The name
Tempest, whatever its origin, seems to have been venerated by the family; as in the two next centuries, when local appellations became almost universal, they never chose to part with it.  It is also alluded to in their armorial bearing."

Dame Marie Tempest

Marie Tempest was an English singer and actress known as the "queen of her profession."  She was the most famous soprano in late Victorian light opera and Edwardian musical comedies.  Later she became a leading comic actress and toured widely in North America and elsewhere.  She was at times her own theatre manager during a career spanning more than fifty years.  She was also instrumental in the founding of the actors' union Equity in Britain.

She was born Mary Susan Etherington in London in 1864.  She adopted as her stage name Tempest from Lady Susan Vane-Tempest whom she referred to as her godmother.

Susan had married Lord Alphonsus Vane-Tempest in 1860 several weeks after her 21st birthday.  He held the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the Army, but was allegedly an alcoholic as well as being mentally unstable.  On at least one occasion Susan and her infant son were physically attacked by her unstable husband.  He died in 1864.

These Vane-Tempests were originally the Vanes.  Sir Henry Vane-Tempest was the son and heir of the Rev. Sir Henry Vane and his wife, Frances née Tempest. He was the MP for Durham from 1794 to 1800, replacing his uncle John Tempest from whom he had inherited the Tempest estates in Durham upon condition he adopt the name and arms of Tempest.

The Tempests in Dundalk

A photograph taken at Blackrock in county Louth in the late 1800’s shows a mother and her son filling a bag with sand on a beach.

The boy’s name was Trevor.  His father William Tempest was originally from Rostrevor in county Down which had been started by the Trevor family (which is probably where the boy got his nickname).  In fact his christened name was William Caxton Tempest, his name when he enlisted in the army at the start of World War One.

By that time his father was a Justice of the Peace in Dundalk.  He died there in 1918.

Elaine Blanche Tempest

Eleanor Blanche Tempest, born in 1853, had married into the Tempest family, being the wife of Arthur Cecil Tempest, the holder of the Tempest estate at Broughton Hall.

She was truly a remarkable woman.  Blind in one eye, she undertook extensive genealogical studies of her husband's heritage and of other families of Yorkshire. She acquired a large library of genealogical books at Broughton Hall, as well as manuscripts and other documents.  She was evidently in close contact with other antiquaries of the day and other collectors of ancient documents.

One of her major achievements was a 600 page manuscript, Tempest Pedigrees, which she worked on during the first two decades of the 20th century.  It was written in small black script, with citations in red ink and various coats of arms scattered about, in color and tracings of ancient signatures.  The sheets are crammed with information about the early Tempests, with meticulous documentation.

She died in 1928, not long after the completion of the manuscript

Broughton Hall's Revival

Henry Temple, a second son, unexpectedly inherited Broughton Hall in north Yorkshire in 1970.  His father Roger, a war hero during World War one, had maintained the Hall’s standards during the interwar years, with 22 indoor servants being employed at the house.  But standards slipped markedly after Roger died and his oldest son Stephen took over.  By 1970 the eccentric Stephen died unmarried and without children and the house had a leaking roof, a heap of debt, and death duties of 65 percent were due.  

When Stephen inherited Broughton Hall in 1948, Henry Tempest had been encouraged to emigrate to Northern Rhodesia – “banished to the colonies” according to one member of the family.   He took various jobs, including selling firewood, acting as a driving instructor, and letting warehouse space, and met his wife Joan there.  By 1961, however, as the winds of change were blowing over Rhodesia, Henry and his family returned to England almost destitute.  Henry was able to find a job as a financial officer at Oxford University.  

When Henry took over Broughton Hall, he had to sell some of the family silver, paintings, books, and even the local pub, the Tempest Arms, to keep his head above water.  Having restored the estate’s fortunes, Henry then became active in local affairs, serving on North Yorkshire county council from 1973 to 1987 and as deputy lieutenant for the county from 1981 to 1998. 

His son Roger took over the running of the estate in 1988.  Henry Tempest died in May 2017.


Return to Top of Page
Return to Tempest Main Page