Little Nestons most famous resident has to be Lady Emma Hamilton (April 26, 1765 - Jan 1815) who is best remembered as the mistress of Horatio Nelson.
Born "Emily Lyon" in 1765 at Swan Cottage, Ness, she was the daughter of a Wirral blacksmith called Henry Lyon who died soon after her birth and a Maid called Mary Kidd. There was some speculation that she was illegitimate, her mother claimed to have married Henry at Great Neston in June, 1764. As Henry died shortly after his daughter's birth this could possibly have been the cause for the speculation.
By all accounts Emma was an exceptionally beautiful woman. In her teens she was sent to London to work as a nursery-maid but her looks quickly won her fame and she became a celebrated model for fashionable painters most notably, George Romney. Having met Lord Nelson they were lovers from 1799 until Nelson's death in 1805. It is interesting to note that Lady Emma Hamilton died in 1815 in Calais, aged fifty, penniless ten years after her beloved Nelson. Had it not been for the generosity of some of Nelson's friends she would have died in a debtor's prison.
Swan cottage where she was born stands at the top of the hill opposite the Wheatsheaf Inn. The building was built in 1724 and comprises of a pitched slate roof with parapeted gables, 5 pot chimney stacks flush to each gable. It is 2 storeys high with an attic added later. The walls are whitewashed cement on brown brick with drip moulds to window heads. The windows are a mixture of modern UPVC replacements and old timber sash frames. The building still bears a date plate of 1724 and a modern plate with the name 'Swan Cottage'. The building is private property and should be treated as such.