The Weald of Kent, Surrey and Sussex
Hon. Victoria (Vita) Mary Nicolson [Sackville-West], daughter of Lionel Edward Sackville-West, 3rd Baron Sackville and Victoria Josefa Dolores Catalina Sackville-West
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by Philip de László, 1910

© National Portrait Gallery

Victoria Mary (Vita) Sackville-West, poet, novelist and gardener, was born on 9th March 1892 at Knole, Sevenoaks, the only child of Lionel Edward Sackville-West (18671928), and his wife and first cousin, Victoria Josefa Dolores Catalina Sackville-West (18621936), the illegitimate daughter of Sir Lionel Sackville Sackville-West (18271908) and the Spanish dancer Josefa Durán (known as Pepita).

Vita grew up at Knole House and her early experiences there, including her often difficult relationships with other Sackvilles, were to have an important bearing on her writings. In 1913 she married the diplomat and broadcaster Harold Nicholson. They lived in London and at Long Barn, a house near Knole, between 1915 and 1930 where she wrote many of her early books (including Knole and the Sackvilles in 1922 and the pastoral poem The Land in 1926 which was awarded the Hawthornden Prize) and where she and her husband developed and experimented with their first garden. In 1930 they bought the ruined Sissinghurst Castle and spent many years creating Sissinghurst Gardens including the famous White Garden, Rose Garden, Orchard, Cottage Garden and Nuttery - now run by the National Trust. Her attachment to Knole led to her publishing English Country Houses in 1940 and records her love for such houses from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. She wrote extensively about gardening including a weekly column for the Observer from 1946 until 1961.

Vita was a prolific writer from an early age. But it was in the 1930s that she published her best known work The Edwardians (1930), All Passion Spent (1931), Family History (1932) which portrayed English upper-class manners and life, and Pepita (1937) which recalls her early life and her relationships with her mother and grandmother.

Throughout her life Vita's private life led to numerous affairs including Violet Trefusis (daughter of Mrs Alice Keppel the mistress of Edward VII), Evelyn Irons and Hilda Matheson. She was also very close to Virginia Wolfe about whom she wrote Seducers in Ecuador (1924) to which Wolfe responded with Orlando (1928).

In 1948 she was appointed a Companion of Honour for her services to literatures and in 1955 was awarded the gold Veitch medal of the Royal Horticultural Society. In later life she became reclusive at Sissinghurst and in 1961 became ill with stomach cancer and died there on 2 June 1962. She was cremated and buried in the Sackville family vault at Withyham, Sussex.

After her death, her son Nigel published Portrait of a Marriage in 1973. It was based on an autobiographical manuscript found in Sissinghurst and written when Vita was 28 - in 1920

See also


Date
Type
Information
Source
 
8th Mar 1892
Born
At Knole in the Parish of Sevenoaks, Kent
www.thepeerage.com
 
3rd May 1892
Christened
At Knole Chapel in the Parish of Sevenoaks, Kent
www.thepeerage.com
 
1st Oct 1913
Married
Hon. Sir Harold George Nicolson at Knole Chapel in the Parish of Sevenoaks, Kent
www.thepeerage.com
 
6th Aug 1914
Birth of a son
Lionel Benedict at Knole in the Parish of Sevenoaks, Kent
www.thepeerage.com
 
Mar 1915
Purchased
At Long Barn in the Parish of Sevenoaks, Kent
Nigel Nicolson's
Portrait of a Marriage
 
3rd Nov 1915
Birth of a son
Unnamed at Knole in the Parish of Sevenoaks, Kent; still born
Nigel Nicolson's
Portrait of a Marriage
 
19th Jan 1917
Birth of a son
Nigel at 182 Ebury Strett, in London
Nigel Nicolson's
Portrait of a Marriage
 
1919
Vita Sackville-West at the wedding of Lady Diana Manners and Duff Cooper
Vita Sackville-West at the wedding of Lady Diana Manners and Duff Cooper
Private collection
 
Apr 1930
Purchased
At Sissinghurst Castle in the Parish of Cranbrook, Kent
Nigel Nicolson's
Portrait of a Marriage
 
2nd Jun 1962
Died
www.thepeerage.com

Ancestor's report
Descendent's report
Nicholson, Nichalson, Nichelson, Nickolson, Nicolson, Nickerson, Nickson individual records
Sackville, Sackville-West family records
West, Weste, Sackville-West individual records
The ancestral pedigree of Hon. Victoria (Vita) Mary Nicolson [Sackville-West]
    
 Thomas West
3rd Baron Delaware
m: 25th Nov 1602 St Dunstan's-in-the-West, LondonCicely Sherley 
 b: 9th Jul 1577 Hampshire
d: 7th Jun 1618
  b: 1570 Wiston, Sussex
d: July 1662
bur: 31st Jul 1662
  
     
 Henry Cecilia Lucy Robert 
 b: 3rd Oct 1603
d: 1st Jun 1628
 b: c 1605
d: February 1638
 b: c 1608 b: c 1610 
            
Great-Great-
Great-Great
Great-Great-
Great-Great-
Grandfather record
  
  
   
 Henry West
4th Baron Delaware
m: 7th Mar 1624Isabella Edmunds
Baroness Delaware
 
 b: 3rd Oct 1603
d: 1st Jun 1628
  b: 1607 Brussels, Belgium, daughter of Sir Thomas Edmunds
  
  
 Charles 
 b: c February 1626
d: 22nd Dec 1687
 
    
Great-
Great-Great
Great-Great-
Great-Great-
Grandfather record
   
   
   
 Charles West
5th Baron Delaware
m: 25th Sep 1642 Highgate, LondonAnne Wild
Baroness Delaware
 
 b: c February 1626
d: 22nd Dec 1687
  b: c 1630 daughter of John Wild
d: May 1703
bur: 18th May 1703
  
        
 Charles Horatio Cecilia John Anne Henry Sophia 
 b: 1645
ch: 16th Jun 1645 Hampstead, London
d: 22nd Jun 1684
 b: 1646
ch: 25th Oct 1646 Hampstead, London
d: before 1687
 b: c 1649 Wherwell, Hampshire b: 1651 Wherwell, Hampshire
d: 26th May 1723 New Palace Yard, London
 b: c 1656 Wherwell, Hampshire b: 1657 Wherwell, Hampshire
ch: 28th Mar 1657 Wherwell
 b: 1661
ch: 6th Apr 1661 Hampstead, London
 
                
Great-Great-
Great-Great-
Great-Great-
Grandfather record
   
   
   
 John West
6th Baron Delaware
m: June 1691Margaret Freeman
Baroness Delaware
 
 b: 1651 Wherwell, Hampshire
d: 26th May 1723 New Palace Yard, London
  b: c 1655
d: 31st Jan 1737/38
  
  
 John 
 b: 4th Apr 1693
d: 16th Mar 1766
 
    
Great-
Great-Great-
Great-Great-
Grandfather record
   
   
   
1st marriage Lt.-Gen. Sir John West
1st Earl De La Warr
m: 25th May 1721Lady Charlotte MacCarthy 
 b: 4th Apr 1693
d: 16th Mar 1766
  b: c 1695 daughter of Donogh MacCarthy, 4th Earl of Clancarty and Lady Elizabeth Spencer
d: 7th Feb 1734/35
  
      
 Charlotte Henrietta Cecilia John Diana George Augustus 
 b: 2nd Sep 1725 Wherwell, Hampshire b: 25th Jun 1727 Wherwell, Hampshire
d: 24th Feb 1817
 b: 9th May 1729 Wherwell, Hampshire
d: 22nd Nov 1777
 b: 12th Feb 1730 Wherwell, Hampshire
d: March 1766
 b: 9th Aug 1733 Wherwell, Hampshire
d: 7th Feb 1776
 
             
Great-Great-
Great-Great-
Grandfather record
   
   
   
 Lt.-Gen. John West
2nd Eaerl De La Warr
m: 8th Aug 1756Mary Wynyard
Countess De La Warr
 
 b: 9th May 1729 Wherwell, Hampshire
d: 22nd Nov 1777
  b: c 1735 daughter of Lt.-Gen. John Wynard
d: 27th Oct 1784
  
           
William Augustus  Francis  Charlotte Augustus Septimus Henry Georgiana Henrietta Frederick Amelia 
b: 24th Apr 1757 Wherwell, Hampshire
d: January 1783
  b: 24th Sep 1759  b: 13th Dec 1761 Wherwell, Hampshire b: 5th Jan 1764 Wherwell, Hampshire
ch: 25th Jan 1764 St. Mary's Church, Marylebone, London
 b: 11th Nov 1765 Wherwell, Hampshire b: 23rd Dec 1766 Wherwell, Hampshire
ch: 11th Feb 1767 St. Mary's Church, Marylebone, London
 b: 1767
d: 22nd Mar 1852
 b: 1770 Wherwell, Hampshire
d: March 1770
 
  John Richard Thomas Hollis            
  b: 28th Jul 1758 Wherwell, Hampshire
d: 28th Jul 1795
 b: 27th Sep 1760            
                 
Great-
Great-Great-
Grandfather record
   
   
   
 John Richard West
4th Earl De La Warr
m: 2nd Apr 1783Catherine Lyell
Countess De La Warr
 
 b: 28th Jul 1758 Wherwell, Hampshire
d: 28th Jul 1795
  b: c 1760 daughter of Henry Lyell and Catherine Allestrec
d: 27th May 1826
  
   
 Catherine Georgiana George John 
 b: 29th Aug 1788 Wherwell, Hampshire
ch: 2nd Oct 1788 St. James, Westminster, London
d: 7th Mar 1824
 b: 26th Oct 1791 St. James, London
d: 23rd Feb 1869 Withyham, Sussex
bur: 3rd Mar 1869 St. Michael's Church, Withyham, Sussex
 
      
Great-Great-
Grandfather record
   
   
    
 The Right Hon. George John Sackville-West
5th Earl De La Warr
m: 21st Jun 1813 Knole, Sevenoaks, KentLady Elizabeth Sackville
Countess De La Warr
 
 b: 26th Oct 1791 St. James, London
d: 23rd Feb 1869 Withyham, Sussex
bur: 3rd Mar 1869 St. Michael's Church, Withyham, Sussex
  b: 9th Aug 1795
d: 9th Jan 1870 17 Upper Grosvenor Street, London
bur: 19th Jan 1870 St. Michael's Church, Withyham, Sussex
  
          
George John Frederick  Reginald Windsor Elizabeth Mortimer Mary Catherine Lionel William Edward Arabella Diana 
b: 25th Apr 1814
d: 15th Jun 1850 Withyham, Sussex
bur: 1st Jul 1850 St. Michael's Church, Withyham, Sussex
  b: 7th Feb 1817 London
d: 5th Jan 1896 London
bur: 18th Jan 1896 St. Michael's Church, Withyham, Sussex
 b: 23rd Sep 1818
d: 22nd Apr 1897 Latimer House, Chesham
bur: after 22nd Apr 1897 Chenies, Buckinghamshire
 b: 22nd Sep 1820 London
d: 1888 Sevenoaks, Kent
bur: 5th Oct 1888 St. Michael's Church, Withyham, Sussex
 b: 1824
d: 6th Dec 1900
 b: 19th Jul 1827 Sevenoaks, Kent
ch: 30th Aug 1827 Cambridgeshire
d: 3rd Sep 1908
 b: 27th Oct 1830 Cambridgeshire
d: 30th Sep 1905
 b: 10th Jan 1835 London
d: 10th Feb 1869 46 Grosvenor Place, London
 
  Charles Richard                   
  b: 13th Nov 1815
d: 23rd Apr 1873 Cause of death: drowned himself in the River Cam
bur: 1st May 1873 St. Michael's Church, Withyham, Sussex
                   
                     
Great-
Grandfather record
   
   
   
 William Edward Sackville-Westm: 7th Aug 1860Georgiana Dodwell 
 b: 27th Oct 1830 Cambridgeshire
d: 30th Sep 1905
  b: c 1835 daughter of George Dodwell
d: 23rd Feb 1883
  
     
 Mary Elisabeth Cecilie Victoria Lionel Edward Charles John 
 b: 17th May 1862
ch: 17th Jun 1862 St. Andrew, Marylebone, London
 b: 18th Feb 1865
ch: 6th Apr 1865 St. Andrew, Marylebone, London
 b: 15th May 1867 Knole, Sevenoaks, Kent
ch: 13th Jun 1867 St. Andrew, Marylebone, London
d: 28th Jan 1928
 b: 10th Aug 1870
ch: 7th Sep 1870 St. Andrew, Marylebone, London
d: 1962
 
           
Grandfather record
   
   
    
 Lionel Edward Sackville-West
3rd Baron Sackville
m: June 1890Victoria Josefa Dolores Catalina 
 b: 15th May 1867 Knole, Sevenoaks, Kent
ch: 13th Jun 1867 St. Andrew, Marylebone, London
d: 28th Jan 1928
  b: September 1862 Paris, France, Birth certificate: "fille de père inconnu"
d: 1936
  
  
 Victoria (Vita) Mary 
 b: 8th Mar 1892 Knole, Sevenoaks, Kent
ch: 3rd May 1892 Knole Chapel
d: 2nd Jun 1962
 
    
Parental record
   
   
   
 Hon. Sir Harold George Nicolsonm: 1st Oct 1913 Knole Chapel, Sevenoaks, KentVictoria (Vita) Mary Sackville-West 
 b: 21st Nov 1886 British Legation, Teheran, Iran, son of Sir Arthur Nicolson, 1st Baron Carnock and Mary Catharine Rowan-Hamilton
d: 1st May 1968
  b: 8th Mar 1892 Knole, Sevenoaks, Kent
ch: 3rd May 1892 Knole Chapel
d: 2nd Jun 1962
  
    
 Lionel Benedict Unnamed Nigel 
 b: 6th Aug 1914 Knole, Sevenoaks, Kent
d: 1978
 b: 3rd Nov 1915 Knole, Sevenoaks, Kent, still born b: 19th Jan 1917 182 Ebury Strett, London
d: 23rd Sep 2004
 
Family record

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