Ian Anstruther

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Sir Ian Anstruther, Bart.

Sir Ian Fife Campbell Anstruther, of that Ilk, 8th Baronet of Balcaskie and 13th Baronet of Anstruther (11 May 1922 – 29 July 2007) was a baronet twice over. He inherited substantial property interests in South Kensington and wrote several books on specialised areas of 19th-century social and literary history.

Early life[edit]

Anstruther was born in Buckinghamshire, the younger son of Douglas Tollemache Anstruther and his first wife, Enid (née Campbell). His father was the son of Harry Anstruther, an MP, himself a younger son of another MP, Lieutenant Colonel Sir Robert Anstruther, 5th Baronet. His maternal grandfather was Lord George Campbell, younger son of the 8th Duke of Argyll.

His father served in the Army and then worked for the London and South Western Railway. His parents spent 14 years in divorce and then custody proceedings from 1924, and so he spent much of his youth with his mother's sister, Joan Campbell, at Strachur House in Argyllshire and her London house in Bryanston Square in London. His father's sister, aunt Joyce, better known as Jan Struther, created Mrs. Miniver.

Education and military career[edit]

He was educated at Eton, and joined the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in 1939 when the Second World War broke out. An amateur radio ham, he was quickly transferred to the Royal Corps of Signals, and was commissioned, ending up as a Captain. He read Natural Sciences at New College, Oxford, from 1940 to 1942, before returning to Catterick to train for the invasion of France. He landed with his brigade in Normandy three weeks after D-Day, and took charge of a team of signallers.

After the war, he chanced to meet Sir Archibald Clerk Kerr, a family friend, on a bus in London. Kerr (later 1st Baron Inverchapel) had been ambassador in Moscow during the war, and had just been appointed British ambassador to the United States; he asked Anstruther to become his private secretary. Anstruther readily agreed, and spent four years in America in the Diplomatic Service. He moved to Paris in 1951, to advance his ambition to become a writer. He met Honor Blake, and they were married on 7 March 1951. They had one daughter. They were divorced in 1963, and he married the architect Susan Walker (née Paten) on 15 November 1963. They had two sons and three daughters.

He was surprised to inherit an estate in South Kensington (including Thurloe Square and Alexander Square) from his aunt Joan in 1960, making him wealthy. He had bought a country estate at Barlavington, on the north of the South Downs near Petworth in West Sussex, in 1956, including 3,000 acres (12 km2) of woodland, farmland and downland. He also bought a house near St. Tropez in 1973.

As a writer[edit]

He wrote eight books, including I Presume (1956), a biography of the journalist H. M. Stanley; an account of the Eglinton tournament entitled The Knight and the Umbrella (1963); The Scandal of the Andover Workhouse (1973), exploring the iniquities of the workhouse system; a biography of Oscar Browning (1983), Coventry Patmore's Angel (1992), on Coventry Patmore and his wife Emily, and his poem The Angel in the House; and a book about Sir Richard Broun[disambiguation needed], The Baronets' Champion (2006). He also wrote about Frederic William Farrar and his novel Eric, or, Little by Little.

He undertook much of his research in the London Library in St James's Square. He donated funding in 1992 to enable it to build a new wing, which was named the Anstruther Wing. He was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and a member of the Royal Company of Archers.

Personal life[edit]

He enjoyed cars, owning an Aston Martin DB6, a Maserati, and several Porsches, but disliked excessive speed, and was occasionally stopped by the police for driving too slowly. He later traded down to a smart car.

He succeeded his cousin Sir Ralph Anstruther, 7th Baronet, in 2002, inheriting two Anstruther Baronetcies – of Nova Scotia, of Balcaskie (1694) and of Anstruther (1700). His cousin had been hereditary Carver to the Sovereign in Scotland, but the office passed instead to his second son, Toby. He also believed (almost certainly incorrectly) that he held the British baronetcy of Anstruther (1798), but its remainder (to "heirs-male of the body legitimately begotten" of the grantee) would have made it extinct on the death of Sir Windham Carmichael-Anstruther, 11th Baronet, in 1980, as most reference books, such as Burke and Debrett, have noted.

As an adult, he adhered to a fixed routine. He habitually wore a bow tie in the day, and a cravat in the evening. He walked each day in the South Downs, lunching at one of five village pubs during the week, always drinking ginger beer. He took tea at 5pm, and ate supper 8.30pm. He always dressed for dinner in a velvet suit and silk cravat, before his two Martinis. His family knew that matters were serious when he failed to dress for dinner a few weeks before his death.

He died at Barlavington. He was survived by his daughter from his first marriage, and two sons and three daughters from his second marriage. Due to differences between English law and Scottish law, one son, Sebastian (born prior to his parents' marriage), inherited the Scottish title, becoming 9th Baronet of Balcaskie and 11th Baronet of Anstruther (both being Nova Scotia or Scottish Baronetages). Obituaries to Sir Ian noted, erroneously, that the Great Britain Baronetcy of Anstruther (1798) had passed to his other son Toby (born after Sir Ian's second marriage). He left an estate valued in excess of £35,000,000.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Daily Telegraph, 22 March 2008

External links[edit]

Baronetage of Nova Scotia
Preceded by
Ralph Anstruther
Baronet
(of Wrae, Linlithgowshire, Balcaskie, Fife & Braemore, Caithness)
2002–2007
Succeeded by
Sebastian Paten
Campbell Anstruther
Preceded by
Ralph Anstruther
Baronet
(of Anstruther, Lanarkshire)
2002–2007
Succeeded by
Sebastian Paten
Campbell Anstruther