The 4th Duke, George Spencer, was quite a remarkable man. The first Duke to live exclusively at Blenheim Palace, he inherited the title at the age of 19 and was Duke for 59 years – giving him plenty of time to make his mark.
George was a man of taste, vigour and wealth. He oversaw important changes both inside and outside the Palace – and famously employed 'Capability' Brown to landscape the Park and Gardens. It was Brown who created the stunning views seen across the Estate today, developing the Lake and Cascades and redesigning the Great Court and the South Front.
The Duke was also interested in the latest transport developments sweeping Britain at the time. He had an additional cut dug from the Oxford Canal to the River Isis (Thames) to connect with his salt works - considerably shortening the usual journey time.
George’s wife, Caroline, was a leading light in society, but she was also aware of her duty to help the poor. She had the almshouses built in Woodstock.
There was also another important female at Blenheim Palace during George’s time as Duke; Clive of India gave him a tigress. The tigress lived in the Palace grounds in a menagerie at Park Farm, and there were regular orders made to the local butcher in order to feed her. The Palace ledgers show that the Tigress cost the same as three servants to feed.
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