Martha Lytton-Cobbold of Knebworth House
Joining The Duchess on this latest episode is the wonderful Martha Lytton-Cobbold of Knebworth House. Martha and the Duchess enjoy an incredible conversation, discussing Knebworth’s historic ties to writers like Edward Buwler Lytton and Charles Dickens, we hear the incredible story of one of the nation’s greatest suffragettes, Martha elaborates on the challenges and importance of empowering women in heritage, and we hear amazing tales about the many the rock and roll luminaries that have performed on the iconic grounds.
Have you ever watched Bridgerton, The Crown or Downton Abbey and wondered what it's really like to be a Duchess? If so, this is the podcast for you.
“Taking this on as a woman, many people will believe that what you’re doing isn’t correct. It’s important to think about your decisions, but make them, and stick to them.” - Martha Lytton-Cobbold
“There are still struggles. There are still issues that need to be addressed. Women need to be treated more equitably.” - Martha Lytton-Cobbold
“I found the whole journey of coming from a different world into aristocracy as incredibly daunting.” - The Duchess of Rutland
“”With all heritage property, they were built for people to come together. They weren’t built for a single family. They come alive when people are there.” - Martha Lytton-Cobbold
“As the wife of the owner of a stately home, people do expect you to make the wrong decision. People do expect you to fail. But you can only do one thing: succeed.” - Martha Lytton-Cobbold
About the Guest:
Martha Lytton-Cobbold was born in Alabama, and studied Art History and Journalism in NYU. She married her husband Henry Lytton-Cobbold and has two children. Martha is the first female president of The Historic House Association.
A manor house residing at Knebworth dates back as far as 1346. After the site was purchased by Sir Robert Lytton a grander estate was built roughly around 1500. Some of the best known residents of Knebworth include writer and politician Edward Bulwer Lytton, as well as the suffragette Constance Lytton. Although steepled in history for hundreds of years, Knebworth’s cultural significance has peaked in the modern day with its legendary concerts. Looking through a list of Knebworth performers is akin to reading members of the rock n roll hall of fame: Pink Floyd, Metallica, The Rolling Stones. But Knebworth does not just have notable performers, but notable performances: Led Zeppelin had their final concert here, Queen performed with Eddie Mercury for the final time at Knebworth, the legendary Oasis standing gigs occurred on the estate, and so on. As a result, Knebworth in the modern era continues to attract tourists with its historical pedigree, pop culture appeal, and beautiful landscape.
About the Host:
Emma Rutland, The Duchess of Rutland, did not always stride the halls of stately homes. Born Emma Watkins, the Duchess grew up the daughter of a Quaker farmer, in the Welsh marsh countryside. She trained as an opera singer in the Guildhall School of Music, and worked as a successful interior designer before meeting her future husband David Manners, the 11th Duke of Rutland, at a dinner party. Their marriage in 1992 would transform Emma Watkins into the 11th Duchess of Rutland, thrusting her into the world of aristocracy, and handing her the responsibility of one of the nation's great treasures: Belvoir Castle. While simultaneously running the day to day operations of the castle, and raising five children, The Duchess became fascinated with the history and importance of the other stately homes of the UK. Join The Duchess as she embarks on a wonderful journey through time, to learn more about the incredible homes that have defined Great Britain and, most importantly, meet the other extraordinary women who work tirelessly behind their doors to preserve their history and magic for future generations.