Isabella Georgiana Katherine Cecil was born in 1853 in Rutland, England. Her father, William Alleyne Cecil, was the 3rd Marquess of Exeter. Following her marriage to William Henry in 1884, she became Lady Isabella Battie-Wrightson and moved to Cusworth in 1891 when William inherited the Hall. Following William’s death in 1903, Isabella managed the Hall and estates along with other houses and lands around the borough on behalf of her son Robert Cecil Battie-Wrightson.
During the First World War, Lady Isabella converted a house into a hospital in Wothorpe, Lincolnshire, close to the Cecil family home, Burghley House. The hospital was known as ‘Lady Isabella Battie-Wrightson’s Convalescent Home for Wounded Soldiers’. Annie Middleton, a nurse who had cared for Lady Isabella’s children Robert and Barbara at Cusworth Hall accompanied Isabella in her convalescent home venture and served as the Matron of the hospital.
As well as her hospital venture, Lady Isabella also used her organisational skills to fundraise for the Red Cross Society in Stamford. The Mayoress of Stamford put on an exhibition of war relics, and close by Lady Isabella ran a stall selling fruit, vegetables and flowers to raise funds. A later fete organised by Lady Isabella raised £420 alone! Lady Isabella passed away from pneumonia in October 1917. The hospital closed in the same month but reopened in January 1918. Throughout the course of the war, Lady Isabella’s hospital, equipped with 14 beds, treated 80 soldiers.