Character Interview with Benjamin Redbourn, The 16th Earl of Crofton

First a short introduction from Rebecca Cohen, the author of The Crofton Chronicles. Hello Rebecca, can you please tell us where we first meet your character?

Benjamin Redbourn, 16th Earl of Crofton, is the many-great grandson of the 1st Earl of Crofton from my historical series The Crofton Chronicles. Ben has his own contemporary series (Modern Crofton) which has a lot of historical detail thrown in from 400 years of his family’s past. We first meet him in Saving Crofton Hall where he is trying to save the family home from being repossessed from the bank.

Excellent, welcome My Lord, can you tell me your full name?

Rt Hon Benjamin Redbourn, 16th Earl of Crofton, or as I prefer Ben. My little sister calls me Benny occasionally, but often much ruder things… little sod that she is!

Where and when were you born?

At Crofton Hall, and I’m 34. According to my mother, I’m named after the family friend, who also happened to be a doctor, and he helped deliver me when I decided to escape the womb unexpectedly.

The inspiration behind Crofton Hall, Hatfield House in Hertfordshire

Tell us a little about your parents

My father, Alan, was the 15th Earl, he died a few years ago now. My mother, Elena, is a wonderful woman but got us into a tight spot (meaning we owed the bank several million pounds due to her gambling issues). I love her, but she’s a menace, and is far too keen to share embarrassing stories about her children.

Do you have any siblings?

I am the oldest of three. Catlin and Harry are my little brother and sister, and they sway from being wonderful human beings to be right royal pains in my arse. There does not seem to be a middle ground.

How would you describe your childhood?

I spent long idyllic summers playing in the grounds of Crofton Hall and was at boarding school during term time. I loved my time at Eton, I made some of my best friends there. It’s not for everyone, but I treasure my memories of the place.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I was always going to the Earl of Crofton – I was the viscount from birth. It was only a matter of time. My best friend is the Duke of Marchent, we grew up together with the same expectations from our families, and so that made it normal for me.

So our readers can visualise you a little better … what colour are your eyes?


And what does your voice sound like?

I went to Eton, I’m terribly posh… the sort of British accent that makes me sound like I’m about to lead the troops into battle on horseback

Do you have any physical traits that stand out such as scars or tattoos?

No, I’m sans scars and tattoos. I briefly thought about it but I don’t have the patience to sit still long enough for a tattoo artist to work their magic. I’m not a fan of needles either…

How about any annoying habits or quirks?

Ashley, my beloved, might disagree, but really my worst trait is an attachment to custard. Although, I do admit I am a bit of a flirt, but I don’t act on it these days… if you’ve met Ashley you’d understand why no other man is more perfect for me

What three words would others probably use to describe you?

It used to be Randy Lord Redhorn but I’m not that man any longer. Now days I hope loyal, loving and single-minded are a better way to describe me.

It sounds like you have some stories to tell so let’s delve back into your past ,what is your greatest regret so far?

Not a what but a who. I dated a man called Greg when I was at Cambridge, he was my first boyfriend and it did not end well, sending me into a self-destructive spiral. It’s all a bit of blur, certainly most of the people I slept with were, and if it wasn’t for some good friends of mine who knows where I’d have ended up. For years, I didn’t want a permanent partner in my life, and I nearly lost my chance with Ashley, but he’s a wonderful man and we’re perfect together.

Which leads nicely into relationships, do you believe in the existence of soul mates and/or true love?

Not in the written in the stars and predetermined way. I love Ashley, but it didn’t happen overnight. He’s actually friend of my little sister and I met him years before. Boy, did he grow up nicely! But we had to get to know each other. He’s the man I want to spend the rest of my life with, but we’ve had to work for our happy ever after,

What do you look for in a potential lover?

Before Ashley, I’d have said any warm body would do. I’m bisexual, I’ve had both male and female lovers, and was never one to discriminate.

What is you biggest secret?

Well, I suppose that’s me intending to propose… but I’m having trouble figuring out what to do, and I want something special … so keep it quiet from Ashley, promise?
(Rebecca’s note: Ben gets his act together in Below Stairs at Crofton Hall, coming Summer 2022)

Who would you die for, or otherwise go to extremes for?

My family, including Ashley, and a handful of very close friends. Redbourn men are loyal to those they love, whether that’s fraternal, romantic or platonically.

Who is the most important person in your life?

Surely you’ve pick this up by now, Ashley Niven!

Let’s turn to some general questions, what is your favorite colour?

Red – I have a ruby ring that has been worn by every earl for over 400 years.

What is your most treasured possession?

Crofton Hall… since I nearly lost her.
(Rebecca’s note: Saving Crofton Hall is Ben’s story of saving his home and falling in love with Ashley

Do you like to read?

Yes, and I’m eclectic in my tastes. Love a bit of Agatha Christie and PG Wodehouse, but Hemmingway and Byron are up their too. Can’t stand bloody Tolkien though, and there is nothing Ashley can do to convince me otherwise. Terry Pratchett is how I like my fantasy; the rest takes itself far too seriously!

What makes you laugh?

I love a sarcastic dry wit, I am British after all. Not a fan of slapstick, I need my humor to be born out of intelligence

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Not be an unfaithful prick. Low bar I know. Actually, someone who takes the time to see the real me, not the affable fop I like to present to the world. And on a purely shallow nature, I love a shapely pair of legs (you should see Ashley in doublet and hose!)
Rebecca’s note: Ashley and Ben dress up as Elizabethan gentlemen in Making History at Crofton Hall LINK

Do you like yourself?

I do now, but it took a while to come to that conclusion. I can still be a bit of an idiot, but a likable one.

Looking towards the future, where do you see yourself in 5 years?

We opened up Crofton Hall to weddings and plan to extend into various other things like a filming venue, tours etc. I want to ensure that we’re never in the position again that we might lose Crofton Hall. I’m quite happy settling down and playing lord of the manor, I’d like to get Ashley down the aisle with maybe a couple of little ones running around (via a surrogate).

If you could choose, how would you want to die?

At home, peacefully in my sleep, in my very old age!

And finally Ben, some quirky details for our readers. What do you have in your pocket?

Nothing that would ruin the lines of my suits… my tailor would kill me.

What is your greatest extravagance?

I spend a lot of money on clothes, and I am a sucker for a good face cream. I’m a bit of a hedonist and like nice things in general.

Lastly, who would you like to invite to your fantasy dinner party?

Anthony Redbourn and Sebastian Hewel. Anthony was the first earl and Sebastian, his lover. They went to great lengths to be together and I would love to hear the story direct from their lips. Sebastian played his twin sister to fool the court, and later became a renowned Shakespearean actor – the romance of it all makes me go weak at the knees.
(Rebecca’s note: You can read Sebastian and Anthony’s story in the Crofton Chronicle’s, starting with The Actor and the Earl

Thank you for joining us Ben. If you would like to read more then follow the links below and best of luck to Rebecca Cohen on her new release!

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