Last Updated on May 13, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 476
Father Mackworth, the resident priest at Ravenshoe, who engages in nefarious schemes to prevent Ravenshoe from becoming the property of a Protestant heir. He dies after confessing his plots and begging forgiveness of the heir he has dispossessed.
Charles Ravenshoe, the second son of Densil Ravenshoe and his Protestant wife. When Charles’s mother dies in childbirth, Densil promises her that her son will be reared as a Protestant. He is reared by Norah, the gamekeeper’s wife, along with her own son, William. To prevent Charles from inheriting Ravenshoe, Father Mackworth says that Norah switched the babies in her care and that William, a Catholic, is the true heir. Charles then becomes a servant and later enlists in the army to fight in the Crimea, where he is wounded. Charles finally learns that he is the true heir to Ravenshoe. He then marries and shows great leniency to William.
Densil Ravenshoe, Charles’s father, who as a young man goes off to London and falls in with Lord Saltire, an atheist. He finally returns to the church but marries a Protestant woman.
Adelaide Summers, the ward of Lady Ascot. Charles falls in love with Adelaide, but she runs away with Lord Welter, Charles’s cousin. She is a vain young woman and not worthy of Charles’s love.
Lord Welter, Charles’s cousin, a wild and dissolute young man with whom Charles carouses when they are both at Oxford. He becomes Adelaide’s lover, and she and Welter live by gambling. Eventually, they are married.
Mary Corby, the daughter of the captain of a ship that goes down in the bay at Ravenshoe, leaving her an orphan. A good and sweet girl, she becomes the ward of the Ravenshoes. She falls in love with Charles and eventually marries him.
William Horton, Norah’s son, who is reared with Charles. Father Mackworth says that William is the true heir to Ravenshoe and William takes over the estate when Cuthbert, the elder son, dies. In the end, William and Charles become good friends.
Lord Saltire, an atheist and a good friend of Densil Ravenshoe. Later, he meets Charles and becomes fond of him. When Lord Saltire dies, he leaves a large sum to Mary. Thinking that Charles has died in the Crimea, he leaves the rest of his fortune to Lord Welter and Adelaide.
Cuthbert Ravenshoe, Densil’s elder son, reared as a Catholic. He dies by drowning.
Ellen Horton, William’s sister who, it later turns out, is really Charles’s sister. Ellen runs away to become a nun, taking with her the evidence that Charles is truly the heir of Ravenshoe. She later produces this evidence and then returns to her nursing duties.