Montreal Park was originally built by Jeffrey Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst (1717-97) in the 1760s, to mark both his return from America and his Canadian successes as commander-in-chief of British forces. This home passed to Jeffrey Amherst’s nephew, William Pitt Amherst (1773-1857), in 1797. Like his uncle, William Pitt played a variety of important (yet often unsuccessful) roles in global affairs. Despite his lack of success on the international stage, however, in 1823 Amherst was appointed to the role of Governor-General of India. Accompanied by his wife Sarah (1761-1838) and their eldest son Jeffrey (1802-1826) and daughter Sarah Elizabeth (1806-1876), Amherst travelled to India and began what would become a highly problematic tenure as a colonial governor. He declared war with Burma in early 1824 and mounted an attack on Rangoon. Two expensive years of fighting only yielded the territories of Arakan, Tenasserim and Assam. In 1828, Amherst returned home to Britain with his wife and daughter, his son having died in India. Soon after returning to England, the Amherst family began rebuilding their country house, Montreal Park in Riverhead, Kent. This case study explores this period of return and questions the different outcomes that stately house-building achieved for imperial families.
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