Inheritance: The Lost History of Mary Davies

Pages: 304
Subject: History, Biography
Imprint: Oneworld

Inheritance: The Lost History of Mary Davies

A Story of Property, Marriage and Madness

Leo Hollis

The tragic story of madness, forced marriages and a forgotten heiress.

9781786079954 (6 May 2021)
RRP £18.99 / US$27.95

The Book

In June 1701, a young widow, Mary Grosvenor wakes up in a hotel room in Paris and finds a man in her bed. Within hours they are married. Yet three weeks later,  Mary fled to London and swore that she had never agreed to the wedding. So begins one of the most intriguing stories of madness, tragic passions and the curse of inheritance.

Inheritance charts the forgotten life of Mary Grosvenor, born in London during the Great Plague of 1665, and the land that she inherited as a baby. This estate would determine the course of her tragic life. Hollis restores this history of child brides, mad heiresses, religious controversy and shady dealing. The drama culminated in a court case that determined not just the state of Mary's legacy, but the future of London itself.  Today, Mary's inheritance is some of the most valuable real estate in the world; and her family, the Dukes of Westminster.

Additional Information

Subject History, Biography
Pages 304
Imprint Oneworld


About the Author

Leo Hollis is the author of two acclaimed history books: The Phoenix: The Men Who Made Modern London, and Stones of London, as well as the international bestseller, Cities are Good for You. He speaks about the history of cities internationally and has presented TEDx talks in London and Ghent and in 2021 at the Venice Architectural Biennale. He has written for the New Statesman, Guardian, Financial Times. He lives in London and is the senior editor at Verso Books.


‘A tour de force of biography, history, politics, philosophy and experimental science.'

- The Economist on The Phoenix: The Men Who Made Modern London

‘Hollis is excellent on history...this is an imaginative book that finds a convincing new way to tell the story of one of the most written-about cities in the world.'

- Independent on The Stones of London