Chester House. Formerly Manchester House, the home of Mary Ann Clarke, the notorious mistress of the Duke of York, brother of the Prince Regent. She came to live here in 1804 and sold appointments in the Army with the alleged connivance of the Duke, its Commander-in-Chief. Whilst living in Exmouth, she lived in luxury but ultimately died in disgrace and poverty in Paris in 1813.
Mary Anne Clarke (born Mary Anne Thompson 3 April 1776 – 21 June 1852) was the mistress of Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany. Their relationship began in 1803, while he was Commander-in-Chief of the army. Later in 1809, she wrote her memoirs which were published. She was the subject of a portrait by Adam Buck, and a caricature by Isaac Cruikshank; ten days after the latter's publication, the Duke resigned from his post as Commander of the British Army. In 1811, she commissioned Irish-born sculptor Lawrence Gahagan to sculpt a marble bust of her; this is now housed in the National Portrait Gallery, London.Through her daughter who married Louis-Mathurin Busson du Maurier, Clarke was the ancestress of author Daphne Du Maurier, who wrote the novel Mary Anne about her life.