Businesswoman and entrepreneur Sarah Newman has found love again — with an English lord. The self-made millionaire has been dating Lord Henry Digby, owner of the spectacular Minterne House in Dorset, which is set on 1,600 acres of land, for over a year.
Minterne House has been home to the Digby and Churchill families since 1620, although the current building was constructed in 1905.
The vast gardens are among the finest in Britain. Minterne was home to the first Sir Winston Churchill and still contains the original Churchill tapestries and furniture.
Lord Henry Digby, an ancestor of the current owner, was captain of the HMS Africa during the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Letters, paintings and prizes from that time are still at Minterne and his portrait hangs in the hall.
While Minterne House is not open to the public, it is licensed to host events for up to 160 people, including weddings.
In 2010, the current Lord Henry’s father, Lord Edward Digby, came to attention when he defended Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey, who had been accused of “over-glamorising” the lives of servants.
In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, he wrote: “The idea that Victorian servants were downtrodden is nonsense. I still get letters from people telling me that their grandmother had such happy memories serving in my house.”
He claimed the only beating his father ever administered was to someone who was rude to a servant. When Edward Digby died aged 93 in 2018, Newman’s new partner inherited his titles as ‘12th Baron Digby’ and ‘Baron of Offaly’.
The former Dragons’ Den star is no stranger to wealth, having once had the Midas touch when it came to business.
She moved to Ireland in 1994 when she founded Needahotel.com, which she sold in 2006 for an undisclosed figure, believed to be in the region of €50m.
At one point she owned a seven- bedroom home on Shrewsbury Road and built Chalet Grace, named after her daughter, in the Swiss Alps.
Over the next two decades, however, she endured divorce, bankruptcy, the very public breakdown of her engagement to Kilkenny hurler DJ Carey, depression, a stroke and, most recently, long Covid.
In March of this year, Newman confirmed to this newspaper that she gave a statement to gardaí more than 10 years ago regarding Carey’s sister, convicted swindler Catriona Carey.
The statement related to concerns she had about the collapse of a company, DJ Carey Enterprises, she ran with the nine-time All Star hurler.
Catriona Carey, who appeared in court last week charged with road traffic offences, is being investigated for alleged fraud after 39 people came forward with claims she conned them out of hundreds of thousands of euro as part of an alleged mortgage scam.