Louisa Stuart first met her husband, Henry, the 3rd Marquis of Waterford, in 1839 at the Eglinton Tournament where she was greatly impressed by his courage and skill at jousting. Henry had inherited great wealth at the age of fifteen and had grown up to be rather wild. The phrase ‘to paint the town red’ refers to his painting a pub’s porch red and being fined £100 for his efforts!
Despite his reputation for drunken carousing Henry was actually very shy. So shy that he proposed to Louisa via a letter to her mother written by his sister! Lady Stuart was appalled by the idea of a union between her younger daughter and the wild Marquis of Waterford and was set to refuse. Louisa however, prevailed and she and Henry were married in 1842.
The marriage was successful but tragically Henry was killed in a riding accident in 1859 and childless Louisa had to leave Curraghmore House in County Waterford, Ireland. Louisa took up residence in Ford Castle, inherited by Henry from his Grandmother, and set about making improvements. She showed great concern for the welfare of the tenants of the estate and in 1860 commissioned the building of a school. She also provided housing for her tenants, a nurse for Ford Village and founded a temperance society.