The Butleigh Revel !
Old Ralph had pioneered the use of steam farm equipment in
Somerset, but the new Squire, Robert, was the real
mechanical whiz in the family.
Robert was the first person to graduate with an engineering
degree from Cambridge University (it was called Applied
Science at the time) in 1868 and helped build England’s
Great Western Railway.
In 1875, he designed and built the Grenville
Steam Carriage, a three-wheeled monstrosity that
took at least two people to operate and which
the Squire later drove to social gatherings in
the village. Still in working order, the
Grenville Steam Carriage is considered the
world’s oldest self-propelled passenger-carrying
Since 2009, it has been housed at England’s
National Motor Museum
Above, the Grenville Steam Carriage.
a few years after building the steam carriage,
Robert Neville (as he still was then) married
Gertrude Agnes Portman and began puttering
around the estate, installing steam farm
machinery, experimenting with cider production,
fish farming and generally preparing himself to
take over as
and it was him funded the Revel
Mary Albinia Berleley, author of the pageant
script, in costume for her role as Queen Morgan