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The Duchess of Alba



Alba means White, so it is appropriate that Jaqui White should have a question about a Duchess of Alba, on whose identity genealogists may be able to shed light. From the southernmost tip of Texas, Port Isabel (who's that woman?), she writes:

"My father's ancestral home was Glassenbury Park, near Cranbrook, Kent, England. It was and remains a lovely moated home, built in 1490, although the family goes back to King Henry III. There are swans floating pastorally in the moat, suits of armor stand in the Great Hall, and the sheets on the beds are thick cream-coloured linen, so stiff with starch and immaculately ironed that I am sure they would stand alone in the corner.

On the estate is an avenue (I would call it more of a country way, but locally it is referred to as an avenue) lined with magnificent trees, probably oaks. It is said the processional for the wedding of the Duchess of Alba wound down this lane, with the trees full of lit candles, illuminating the proceedings.

I have never researched the participants of these happy nuptuals, but I assume they took place in the fifteen or sixteen hundreds. Although the family appears in the classic reference on Peerage and Landed Gentry, the exact title of which I cannot remember, I have never looked up Alba. I feel sure that the Duchess of Alba married into the family. My notes on the subject I cannot unearth at this moment, but the names in this reference book are Roberts and Roberts Atkin. My father was John Drew Atkin, named for an Uncle, and of course I was named for my father, hence Jacquelyn Drew Atkin.

I remember so vividly the absolute breathtaking beauty of the avenue of gigantic gorgeous trees, and imagined them covered with candlelight for such a happy occassion of a wedding. At the time (1968) I wondered who the Duchess of Alba was, and still do..."

Ronald Hilton - 5/22/01


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