'It' girls miss out after death of drug-addicted aristocrat

It was therefore hardly surprising that when the 7th Marquess of Bristol, Baron Hervey of Ickworth, died in 1999 at the age of 44, it was after a lifetime of high-living and drug addiction, during which he was twice jailed.

And yesterday it was disclosed that a man who once boasted he was worth £35m had died leaving very little. Probate records published showed his UK assets were worth just £5,000, which was largely used for funeral expenses.

It is not know whether his two main bequests, of £100,000 to his close friend James Whitby, and £25,000 to his butler, Thomas Foley, were paid. Their whereabouts are unknown.

A family trust fund in Jersey, the contents of which have not been disclosed, was left to his half-brother, Frederick Hervey, whose sisters are the society "It" girls and gossip column favourites Lady Victoria and Lady Isabella Hervey. Lord Frederick, now the 8th Marquess, has declined to comment, but Lady Isabella said recently that the family had been left "virtually nothing".

The 7th Marquess spent his final years living quietly, renting Little Horringer Hall, on the Ickworth estate; Mr Whitby lived in a cottage near by. The estate was once owned by his family, but left to the National Trust by his father in lieu of death duties. He died from multiple organ failure due to drug addiction.

His half-brother, George Lambton - their mother was the first wife of the 6th Marquess - said there were "no hard feelings" from the family at the fact that the money had all gone.

Mr Lambton, 43, a Conservative councillor, added: "He made the most of his life; he packed more in his 44 years than most people do in their whole lives. But he definitely mellowed a bit in the last five years.''

It was a far cry from the 7th Marquess's heyday, when he spent the family fortune on drugs, parties, luxury cars, yachts and constant hedonism. His addiction to vodka is said to have begun at Harrow, but heroin and cocaine were his downfall. He was jailed for a year after he was caught with cocaine worth £1,000 on a flight to Jersey and again for 10 months in 1993 after police found cocaine and heroin at his home.

When the money began to run out, he made £ 2.3m by selling most of the contents of the 60-room east wing of Ickworth House, where he had been allowed to live by the National Trust after the death of his father. He also sold off his remaining farmland worth £4m and lord of the manor titles which had been in his family for hundreds of years.

He was following tradition. His father was a notorious party animal in the early 1930s, nicknamed "Mayfair Playboy No 1" by the gossip columns. He once gave a party that lasted 30 hours during which the 700 guests drank 1,000 bottles of champagne. In the Spanish Civil War he became an arms dealer to both sides.

Earlier Herveys were not much better. John, the 1st Earl of Bristol, a Whig MP when the title was created in 1714, fathered a large number of children and rejected his family for a man. His brother, the 3rd Earl, was a womaniser said to have a taste for nuns. The 4th Earl's daughter lived in a ménage à trois with the Duke of Devonshire and Georgina, his duchess; her daughter by the duke was born in a brothel.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own