Tom Beggs had a full house for his talk on Scrabo and the Londonderry family, we nearly ran out of seating! He looked mainly at the life of Charles, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry, whose monument Scrabo Tower is, escapades in his military career, his two marriages, his coal mining business, his political career and his interaction with the tenants on his Irish estate.

Known as the Fighting Marquess, or Fighting Charlie, the Marquess took part in more cavalry charges than any other officer and fought a number of duels. Ambassadorial duties, playing a supporting role to his older half brother Viscount Castlereagh at Vienna, running his investments in coal mining and the leadmines at Conlig, Charles led a full and busy life ably assisted by his second wife Frances Anne Vane Tempest. They had six children, the eldest of whom married into the Marlborough family, making Charles and Frances Anne the grandparents of Winston Churchill.

The tower, built in 1857 of local dolerite and sandstone and designed by the office of Lanyon & Lynn, was left unfinished as they ran out of money. Underneath the foundations a casket contains coins, newspapers of the day and the names of the contributors to the memorial fund, headed by Napoleon III. Charles was succeeded by Frederick, son of Catherine his first wife, and who was in turn succeeded by his half brother George, son of Frances Anne.

The Mount Stewart property is now owned by the National Trust but Lady Rose Lauritzen, grand daughter of the 7th Marquess continues to live there for part of the year.