It is fitting that I publish this post today – 10th March. It is the 140th anniversary of Sarah Falcieri’s death. Sarah, my great-great-great-grandmother, was Tita’s wife officially for 25 years and was with him as his partner for about 13 years before that when they both worked as staff at Bradenham Manor in Buckinghamshire for the D’Israeli family.
My family is lucky to still own her memorial ring. And it is this single object that set me on the road to finding out about our unique genealogy and our connections to Lord Byron and Benjamin Disraeli.
It is significant for another reason. Because it is ironic that we know more about Tita than anyone else in the family and yet we have nothing that is personal to him. Sarah on the other hand is illusive to us in the records and yet here is something which is as close to her as it is possible to get. For the ring itself contains a lock of her hair.
There are only two discernable mentions of her in the records pre January 1849 when she married Tita in London. The ring therefore is a highly prized object and continues to be a source of interest and frustration as I search through archives looking for tiny scraps of her life to add to the story.
The only other tangible item that connects to her is a letter she wrote to Benjamin Disraeli in early 1875 following Tita’s death, thanking him for the pension he had obtained for her from Queen Victoria. In mentioning her husband she conveys exactly the person he was:
‘I have only one regret – that my dear husband could not have been cheered before his death by the knowledge that such an event was possible. I do not know which would have caused him the greater delight, – the idea of a public recognition of services which, though indeed faithful, no one knows better than you, Sir, were rendered without desire of reward, or the assurance of the continuance towards him by yourself personally of that kindly feeling of regard….’
You can read my book ‘A Most Faithful Attendant – The Life of Giovanni Battista Falcieri‘ by purchasing it here.