Obituary: Sir Joshua Rowley Bt
Thursday 27 February 1997
Before that, however, the Second World War intervened. After serving with the Grenadier Guards in North Africa and Italy, he was captured, and remained a prisoner until the war ended. On his return to England he was appointed Adjutant of the training battalion at Windsor, where he was remembered as a strict disciplinarian.
In the early 1950s he did a spell with the National Trust as Deputy Secretary. This was at a time when the trust's crusading but humane spirit had not been victimised by bureacuracy; there followed a 30-year association with the trust, as vice-chairman of its East Anglian Regional Committee, a stalwart upholder of its standards. In 1962, on the death of his father, Colonel Sir Charles Rowley, he succeeded as seventh baronet.
His zeal for preservation and his knowledge of and love of Suffolk led to the ladder of local government. In 1971 he was elected chairman of the West Suffolk County Council; the vice-chairmanship and, in 1976, the chairmanship followed of the newly formed Suffolk County Council. Rowley was responsible for the massive task of remodelling as one entity the two existing Education Departments of East and West Suffolk - by far the largest department of the council.
On his resignation in 1978, when he was appointed Lord-Lieutenant, his life became wholly devoted to his beloved county. This was but an extension of his responsibilities in his village, Stoke-by-Nayland, which he had guided with a patrician sense of duty, and a concern, shared with his wife Celia, for the welfare of all who lived in it.
Joshua Rowley's interests might be described as those of an old-fashioned country squire. There was little change in his appearance between the portrait which hangs in his house of him as a rubicund child, a gun under his arm, and the well-built man he grew into. If the land and the people came first, dogs were not far behind. Perhaps his favourite pastimes were field trials and shooting. His knowledge and understanding of the countryside, of its open spaces, its wildlife and its buildings was extensive. There were few preservation, or indeed local, societies of which he was not president.
"Old-fashioned" is perhaps a dangerous epithet, but in so far as it suggests the maintenance of high standards, without short cuts, it is apt enough. In kitchen and cellar, as well as in the careful, rehearsed organisation of royal visits, only a Grenadier's orderly room procedure was countenanced.
A man of high religious principles and unshakeable faith, he was concerned first for his own beautiful church in Stoke-by-Nayland, of which he was patron; but all Suffolk churches were to become his beneficiaries. He was an early supporter of the Historic Churches Preservation Trust. He also played a major role in the reconstitution of St James's Church in Bury St Edmunds as the new St Edmundsbury Cathedral.
A succession of illnesses during the last year of Rowley's life left him in too weak a state to combat the brutal infliction of a stroke. As he once observed in reply to an enquiry after his health, "Back to the place where we all spend so much of our time: square one."
St John Gore
Joshua Francis Rowley, local politician and public servant: born 31 December 1920; Deputy Secretary, National Trust 1952-55; succeeded 1962 as seventh Bt; chairman, West Suffolk County Council 1971-74; vice-chairman, Suffolk County Council 1974-76, chairman 1976-78; Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Suffolk 1973-78, Lord-Lieutenant 1978-94; married 1959 The Hon Celia Monckton (one daughter); died Hadleigh, Suffolk 21 February 1997.
filmFilm producers sue Warner Bros for $75m over Hobbit films
sportNapoli 2 Arsenal 0: Gunners must now face either Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid or Barcelona in knock-out stages
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
voicesJust when you thought you could find a man, get married, and have a baby by the age of 35... it turns out you’re too late, says Grace Dent
musicAs Mariah Carey and Noddy Holder rake in the royalties from their classics, why there hasn't been a decent festive hit for 20 years?
theatreAuthor Daniel Rosenthal recalls the mishaps that almost brought the curtain down on the likes of John Gielgud and Diana Rigg
lifeAs the Royal Mail plans to phase out deliveries on two wheels, it's no wonder posties are in a spin
musicThe 21-year-old beat Ella Eyre and Chlöe Howl to win the honour
lifeFull of the joys and want to help your fellow man? December isn't the time to do it
techLuke Blackall reports on precision engineered prams and babygros that monitor your child 24-7
Latest in News
Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
David Cameron explains selfie with Obama and Helle Thorning-Schmidt at Mandela Memorial
French café starts charging extra to rude customers
Krokodil in Mexico? Teenager hospitalised after 'injecting drug into her genitals'
Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
- 2 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 Is Facebook making us forget? Study shows that taking pictures ruin memories
- 5 Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
£600 - £750 per day: Cornwallis Elt : SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER- HR- ORACLE- ASS...
£23 - £30 per hour: Morgan Hunt: A fantastic opportunity has arisen within a c...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Morgan Hunt: Job Title - HR Manager Role type - Pe...