Henry Lumley-Savile

Henry Leoline Thornhill Lumley-Savile, businessman: born London 2 October 1923; married 1946 Presiley Inchbald (one son; marriage dissolved 1951), 1961 Caroline Clive (died 1970; one son deceased), 1972 Margaret Bruce (née Phillips; three sons); died Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire 28 March 2001.

Henry Leoline Thornhill Lumley-Savile, businessman: born London 2 October 1923; married 1946 Presiley Inchbald (one son; marriage dissolved 1951), 1961 Caroline Clive (died 1970; one son deceased), 1972 Margaret Bruce (née Phillips; three sons); died Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire 28 March 2001.

Henry Lumley-Savile might have been a great pianist but for the Second World War, when he was seriously wounded at the Battle of Monte Cassino. Instead he became a man about town, a popular escort for such celebrities as Jackie Kennedy, and at one time Evelyn Waugh's travel agent.

Henry Leoline Thornhill Lumley-Savile was heir presumptive to his brother George, the third Baron Savile. He grew up at Rufford Abbey, the former Cistercian monastery in Nottinghamshire that came into the Savile family in 1618. (Now a ruin, the abbey is in the care of English Heritage.)

He and his brother, his elder by four years, played in a nursery which still had windows of horn instead of glass. Rufford was the setting for some of the last of the great Edwardian house parties. The Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, came with his entire entourage seven years running for Doncaster Races.

Henry's father, a brilliant shot and popular host, was 70 when Henry was born in 1923, and died in 1931. Seven years later Rufford was sold. Henry's mother was convinced that, because of impending war, Britain would be invaded. Ironically, at the sale, Hermann Goering bought the famous Rufford tapestries.

The Lumley-Saviles were one of Yorkshire's largest landowning families. Each of the second Baron's children was named after a West Yorkshire town ­ Halifax, Thornhill and Elland. They were descended from the Earls of Halifax and Scarbrough ­ but, as the bar sinister in the Savile coat of arms suggests, illegitimately. Henry's great-grandfather, the eighth Earl of Scarbrough (whose grandmother was the Savile heiress), had a family by a Frenchwoman, Agnes, who had been abandoned by her husband.

Educated at Summerfields and Eton, both Henry and his brother George won the Harmsworth Music Prize at Eton. While still at prep school, Henry had composed a short opera, Il Duca Maligno. He was a direct descendant on his mother's side of Henry Purcell and a promising career as a musician seemed in store.

Leaving Eton, however, he had one week before joining the Grenadier Guards. He was sent first to North Africa and then to Italy. He was wounded at the Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944. In a letter home he wrote,

If there is anyone who really believes that war is a "creative art" (I heard it so described the other day) let him go to Monte Cassino to view his creation. Where once had stood a lovely little town at the foot of a tree-covered hill, crowned with one of the finest edifices in the world, there are now heaps of rubble, obscene in their ugliness: the trees on the hill scarred and stunted, the monastery hideously distorted ­ a scene which, with all its grisly details, Goya might have found delight in painting. If, to some, the wreck of Cassino is a masterpiece of creative art, to me it is the consummation of the loathsome monstrosities that are war.

Being in charge of the officers' mess, he looked in vain for food but could find only horseflesh and a cartload of Strega, the Italian liquor. His CO made him intelligence officer because, he claimed, he could rely on Lumley-Savile's getting a proper gin and tonic to him on the battlefield.

The experience was so traumatic for someone so young ­ it involved pouring lime over his friends' decaying bodies each night ­ that, after losing part of his elbow, Lumley- Savile never fulfilled his career as a classical musician. He did compose night-club songs, including one for the jazz singer "Hutch" entitled "Is It Just My Imagination?"

Aged 22, he married Presiley Inchbald, by whom he had a son, John. Before and between marriages, he escorted many famous women, including Jackie Kennedy and the two royal princesses. He was a director of the Rufford travel agency which looked after Evelyn Waugh ("He still owes me money," he said). He was also involved in a grand car-hire business and sold fire alarms. He loved racing. His great-uncle Henry Savile-Lumley had owned the Derby winner Cremorne. His own horse Don Quixote became the champion sprinter in the United States.

In 1961 he married Caroline Clive. She gave birth to a stillborn son. This had a traumatic effect on her and she died in 1970. Then, in 1971, he met the Canadian-born concert pianist Margaret Bruce, who had recently been widowed. With her he could share his passion for music and they married in 1972. In 1975 she bore him identical triplet sons, a chance of one in eight million births. In 1975 Henry and Margaret Lumley-Savile gave a concert together at the South Bank and the clubs of Pall Mall emptied to hear them play duets by Mozart and Beethoven.

Some seven years ago he retired from London life to live more or less permanently at Walshaw, a windswept shooting lodge on the Brontë moors.

Henry Lumley-Savile was fairly inscrutable: a man of few but well-chosen words, often delivered with deadpan wit. He held strong views, especially on politics, but he never forced them on anyone. He was very urbane, a wonderful host and loyal friend. He remained reassuringly old-fashioned and yet he was tolerant of the new. On his deathbed, in the same bedroom where he had slept as a child, he was reading Zadie Smith's White Teeth.

Celia Lyttelton

Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Diana from the Great British Bake Off 2014
tvProducers confirm contestant left because of illness
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Life and Style
Chen Mao recovers in BK Hospital, Seoul
health
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, UI, JMX, FIX)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, U...

Structured Finance

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - An excellent new instruction w...

SQL Server Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Server Developer SQL, PHP, C#, Real Time,...

C#.NET Developer

£600 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer C#, Win Forms, WPF, WCF, MVVM...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff