Disraeli's grave at Hughenden Manor, with his wife on one side and an elderly widow friend on the other. Image Source: Flickr.
People have to hustle to make a living and Britain's famous and flamboyant prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) was no different. In the 1860s, his standard of living had mired him in debt. He turned to a wealthy old lady, Sarah Brydges Willyams, a confidante known to him since 1851. From the Bodleian Library:
Mrs Sarah Brydges Willyams was a wealthy octogenarian widow who claimed to be distantly connected to Disraeli. She befriended him in 1851, made him her executor and legatee (he eventually inherited about £30,000) and left instructions about her burial at Hughenden. The Disraelis visited her annually at Torquay. In the second half of the 1850s Disraeli wrote over 30 letters a year to her.
Visitors to Disraeli's grave at his home, Hughenden Manor, who do not know this history may be surprised to find Disraeli buried with his wife on one side and an old widow on the other. Wiki:
The Disraeli vault also contains the body of Sarah Brydges Willyams, the wife of James Brydges Willyams of St Mawgan in Cornwall. Disraeli carried on a long correspondence with Mrs. Williams, writing frankly about political affairs. At her death in 1865, she left him a large legacy, which helped clear up his debts.
- Thanks to my friend -C. who heard this story via the Antiques Road Show.