Inside Wollaton Hall, just off the Great Hall you can find The Cassandra Room.
This room is dedicated to Cassandra Willougby who first came to Wollaton at the age of seventeen to help her brother Francis restore his family's inheritance.
Cassandra, her elder brother Francis and her younger brother Thomas were the children of Francis Willougby (then spelt Willughby) and his wife Emma Barnard of Middleton Hall near Tamworth in Staffordshire. Francis was a noted naturalist and ornithologist and he worked with his children's tutor John Ray on the published works Ornithologia and Historia Piscium. Francis died in 1672 and later his wife Emma married Josiah Child, Governor of the East India Company. The three children moved away from Middleton Hall, Josiah Child became their step-father and guardian and benefited from their inheritance until they became of age. The elder son Francis moved away to live with his aunt and then to the family property of Wollaton Hall. When he was 19 he asked his sister to come and live with him there. She arrived at Wollaton, aged 17, with her pet magpie and great hopes for the future..
Sadly, Francis Willoughby died in 1688 aged only 20 and Cassandra's younger brother Thomas went to live with her at Wollaton and they set about restoring the old hall which had been damaged by fire in 1642, when Sir Percival Willoughby lived there.
As well as playing a great part in the restoration of Wollaton Hall, Cassandra also took on the organisation of her father's natural history collections and also wrote the history of her family.
The room, created jointly by Nottingham City Museums and Galleries and the Dragon Breath Theatre, tells the story of the first hundred years of Wollaton Hall. It is very much an interactive exhibition, with objects than can be handled, wearable costume and gorgeous paper sculptures by artist and set designer Trina Bramman.
Cabinets of Curiosities which can be explored.
Above Cassandra's father Francis Willougby the Collector, the wording is...
'My father Francis, the Collector. Here are found some of my father's collections of nature, mathematics, games and curiosities, organised by my brothers and myself.'
Replica period costume
There is a table full of little paper sculptures
which as well as telling the story of Cassandra's family and its connections with the locality
are also meant to engage the visitor in how they feel about their own family and how important family is.
Were you wondering what happened to Cassandra? She stayed at Wollaton until she was about forty three years old when she married her cousin James Brydges, Baron Chandos. She became Lady Chandos on her marriage and later in 1717 the Duchess of Chandos. She died in 1735 and is buried at St Lawrence's Church, Whitchurch in London.