The rebel son who inherits Longleat

(Photograph omitted)

AT THIS time of year, most of Britain's hippies are being thrown off other people's land. But yesterday, Britain's premier hippie, Lord Weymouth, inherited one of England's finest stately homes and became the seventh Marquess of Bath.

That the new Marquess's relationship with his father was strained was not surprising, in view of his unconventionality. But the bitterest blow to his father - who died yesterday of cancer, aged 87 - was his plan to turn the grounds of their home, Longleat, into an pounds 80m holiday village.

The late Marquess made Longleat famous when he opened Europe's first safari park, complete with lions, in 1966 after inheriting huge debts with his title. But he balked at his eldest son's latest scheme.

The new Marquess, 60, with long hair and heavy beard, joined the Center Parcs leisure group to draw up the plan, and is now awaiting a decision from the Department of the Environment, which is considering it following a public inquiry.

But the tensions with his father, from whom he inherits a share of the pounds 140m estate, were nothing new. It was these strains which led him to change his name from Alexander Thynne to Thynn in 1976, in an effort to distance himself from the rest of the family.

It was entirely in keeping with the man who has kept himself in the forefront of the nation's great misfits. In his younger days, his Wessex Regionalist Party was dedicated to the establishment of a world government based in the Sinai peninsula. But, approaching his thirties during the 1960s, he hit his stride. After his 'anti-marriage' in 1966 came the anti-divorce, followed by another marriage, to Anna Gael, a Hungarian actress. The marriage, which survives, was unusual. His wife based herself in Paris and returned to Longleat only one week each month.

The distance between them allowed the Marquess, a self-confessed polygamist, to indulge in countless highly-public affairs with 'wifelets', known as the 'loins of Longleat' in the tabloids. His passion for women is equally evident in his Kama Sutra room at Longleat, which features his murals of ingenious performances of sexual intercourse.

Obituary, page 14

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there