Join Friends’ Chair Sarah Finch-Crisp for an illustrated talk on the early life of Lydiard’s last lord in residence, Vernon Henry St.John (1896-1974). She will be drawing on previously unseen family correspondence, local recollections and national news coverage with more than a whiff of scandal. The talk will be followed by afternoon refreshments.
Sarah will explore the consternation and suspicion which followed the death of Vernon’s father, the 5th Viscount Bolingbroke in 1899, which was to have a profound impact on the life of his young heir and set the Bolingbroke’s apart from their peers. The image of an appealing and shy young child in a sailor suit with his hair in ringlets stares out from many family photographs but Vernon remains a little known figure.
What was it like to grow up at Lydiard Park, largely unschooled and immersed in rural life, until the inevitable call-up papers dragged him into the ghastly reality of World War I? This is the first of several events in 2024 inspired by the life of Vernon St.John who died 50 years ago in 1974.