Hilary Mantel is a prolific author whose works include the acclaimed Wolf Hall trilogy tracing the life of Thomas Cromwell. The first two books, Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, both won the Man Booker Prize. The third, The Mirror and the Light, has been described by the Financial Times’ critic as ‘majestic and often breathtakingly poetic’. A major character in all three is Rafe Sadler (our Sir Ralph Sadleir) who grew up in Cromwell’s household and served Henry VIII, Edward VI and Elizabeth I.
She writes of him, ‘Ralph Sadleir was a great Tudor survivor whose story should be better known, and I am proud to have been able to play a part in introducing him to the reading public. What I would like to see is a full modern biography, surely overdue - but meanwhile I can think of no better project than to conserve his family monuments’.
Dione, a distinguished artist, is married to the 7th Earl of Verulam. A mother and grandmother, she lives on the Gorhambury estate near St Albans. She was the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire in 2002 and Lord-Lieutenant of the County from 2007 to 2017. Her knowledge of the voluntary and charitable organisations in Hertfordshire is probably second to none. She says ‘There are many links between London, Hertfordshire and distinguished public servants. Ralph Sadleir is one of the most interesting because he thrived during a series of political upheavals. He might have sighed with relief when he came to Standon where he could be away from Court, he could turn his attention to the county which he represented in Parliament and for which he was Lord-Lieutenant for a time’.
After a childhood in Wiltshire, a diploma in The Fine and Decorative Arts at the V and A, working for the Winston Churchill Trust and as an assistant to a bloodstock agent, Fiona married Hugh Trenchard. His work led them to live periodically in Japan until 1995 when they came to Standon. She is a mother of four and a grandmother of five and maintains interests in racing and breeding horses as well as the arts and gardening. She writes ‘Living as I do, in a house whose original was built by Sir Ralph Sadleir, and knowing something of his illustrious character, I am delighted to support the project to refurbish his family tombs’.