'A rose by any other name...'
Rosetta was formerly known as Rosewood Villa, and also Rose Villa, and a real-life Rose features in its story. One of the largest houses in Laugharne, Rosetta dates back to c.1720. It has many original features all lovingly restored by the current owners. In 1788 it was owned by John Bartlett Allen and his wife Elizabeth (nee. Hensleigh), the grand-daughter of Thomas Phillips, vicar of Laugharne. Two daughters married MPs: Catherine married James Mackintosh, whilst Bessie married Josiah Wedgwood, slavery abolitionist and potter. A son, Daniel, became editor of The Morning Post.
This photo of Rosetta was taken from Great House in October 2013.
Around the turn of the 20th century a Mr Towers-Smith lived there who was, 'an enormously large man' who stabled horses in the basement. Later, like many Laugharne houses, beer was brewed here, and prior to the 2nd World War a Mrs Morse sold paraffin and plank bread. Prior to the recent renovation a Laugharne character, John Lloyd, lived here. He kept a gun cupboard in his bedroom and there was evidence that he used a wardrobe for target practice.
The house was once owned by Lady Catherine Aylmer, a colourful character who married 4 times. She was tried for adultery in 1772,
then married the disreputable Baron Henry Aylmer 4th Lord of Balrath with whom she had a daughter Rose, before marrying a Thomas Price of Laugharne.
Rose was the subject of the famous love poem, 'Rose Aylmer', written by Walter Savage Landor (1775-1864) and published in 1806.
Ah, what avails the sceptre race
Ah, what the form divine
What every virtue, every grace
Rose Aylmer, all were thine
Rose Aylmer, whom those wakeful eyes
May weep, but never see
A night of memories and sighs
I consecrate to thee.
Landor lived in nearby Swansea in the 1790s and was a suitor of Rose. The couple loved to roam the local hills together, but in 1798, at the age of 18, Rose was dispatched to join her aunt in Calcutta, possibly to take her away from what was considered an unsuitable match as Landor Scott had a reputation as a hothead. Rose Aylmer died of cholera on the 2nd March 1800, aged 20. One theory suggests she contracted the disease from a pineapple. Her tomb is pictured above.
Walter Savage Landor once described Laugharnies as, '...creatures somewhat between men and the animals... as useful to the landscape as masses of weed or strangled boats.' But maybe that was because a Laugharne family rejected him.
Ceramicist Julie Hutton, who lives in Rosetta has created a wonderful vase which celebrates the poem, and indeed the pineapple.
Great House from Rosetta's sitting room
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