Egerton Bagot Byrd Levett-Scrivener
Captain Egerton Bagot Byrd Levett-Scrivener (1857-1954) was a Royal Navy Flag Lieutenant and aide to Vice Admiral George Willes in the Far East. He was later promoted to Captain, and following his retirement became Bursar of Keble College, Oxford University. Born Egerton Levett, he changed his name to Levett-Scrivener on an inheritance from his aunt of Scrivener family properties at Sibton Abbey, Suffolk, which he later managed. Levett was married to the daughter of English diplomat and ambassador Sir Harry Smith Parkes.
Egerton Levett was the son of Col. Richard Byrd Levett of Milford Hall, Staffordshire and his wife Elizabeth Mary (Mirehouse) Levett. Egerton Levett entered the service of the Royal Navy, where during a posting as aide to Admiral Willes in 1884, he met Mabel Desborough Parkes, the daughter of Ambassador Parkes, who was then serving as British ambassador to China and Korea. Levett and Miss Parkes were married in 1884, and in 1885 their son Evelyn Harry Byrd Levett was born, prompting Ambassador Parkes to write "one of his happiest letters... written in January 1885 to his daughter, Mrs. Levett, on the memorable occasion when he became a grandfather."
In 1889, Levett inherited the Sibton Abbey Manor from his aunt. The property, which was the only Cistercian abbey in East Anglia, had been in the Scrivener family since its purchase in the early seventeenth century by John Scrivener, son of an Ipswich barrister and bailiff grown rich in the wool trade. The Scrivener family later purchased 20,000 acres (81 km2) from the Duke of Norfolk to add to their Suffolk holdings. After inheriting Sibton Abbey, Egerton Levett changed his name to Levett-Scrivener in accordance with his aunt's wishes.
In 1890, six years after their marriage, Levett's wife Mabel was killed in a fall from her horse. A year later, in 1891, Levett married in Bristol his cousin Mary Millicent Mirehouse. (Levett's mother was a Mirehouse, and his brother Richard Byrd Levett ultimately also changed his name to Richard Walter Byrd Mirehouse on succeeding to Mirehouse family property at The Hall, Angle, Pembrokeshire, where by-then Richard W.B. Mirehouse served as High Sheriff of Pembrokeshire as well as Lieutenant Colonel of 4th Batt. North Staffs Regiment.)
Levett-Scrivener became an avid agriculturalist and farmer on the Sibton Abbey estate. He improved the farmland, and studied the manorial records of the Sibton properties, which were still in family hands, and shared them with historians. Levett-Scrivener tracked the produce grown on the farms, the cost of labor and the rentals accruing to the Scrivener owners. He also opened the Abbey periodically to county historians and antiquarians so they could investigate the ruins of the once-wealthy abbey, which had fallen during the Dissolution of the Monasteries to the Howard family.
The Levett-Scrivener family has longstanding ties to the Royal Navy. Egerton Levett-Scrivener's son Evelyn Harry Byrd, named in part for his grandfather Parkes, also joined the Royal Navy, where he rose to the rank of Commander. Among the ancestors of the family is another Royal Navy stalwart, Admiral William Bligh, captain of the ill-fated HMS Bounty during its mutiny.
Royal Navy Commander Egerton Levett-Scrivener died in 1954. He had two siblings, and the three were baptized at the Berkswich, Staffordshire, church where their father Levett-Scrivener worshipped as a child.
The Levett-Scriveners, and most of their Scrivener relatives, are buried at St. Peter's Church in Sibton, near Yoxford, Suffolk. Among the descendants of Egerton Levett-Scrivener is a branch of the Joly de Lotbiniere family of East Anglia. In 2005, the Levett-Scrivener family felt compelled to purchase the local village post office and shop facing closure in this quiet corner of rural England.
- The Navy List, Great Britain Admiralty, Corrected to The 20 December 1881, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode, London, 1881
- Monument to Elizabeth Mary Levett, Church of St Thomas, Walton on the Hill, Staffordshire,Flickr
- Stained glass memorial to Col. Richard Byrd Levett, died 1888, Church of St Thomas, Walton on the Hill, Staffordshire, Flickr
- Sir Harry Parkes in China, Stanley Lane-Poole, Methuen & Co., London, 1901
- Ambassador Parkes's wedding present to his daughter on her marriage to Egerton Levett was a tiger claw necklace from Peking, where Parkes lived.
- The Life of Sir Harry Parkes, Vol. II, Stanley Lane-Poole, Frederick Victor Dickins, Macmillan & Co., London, 1894
- Egerton Levett's mother was Elizabeth Mary Mirehouse, whose mother was the daughter of the Right Rev. John Fisher, D.D., Bishop of Salisbury and his wife Dorothy Freston Scrivener. Dr. Fisher commissioned John Constable to paint his canvas entitled Salisbury Cathedral. In appreciation, Constable painted the Bishop and his wife in the canvas. The daughter of Constable's friend and patron Dr. Fisher married John Mirehouse, Common Serjeant of London, whose daughter Elizabeth Mary married Col. Richard Byrd Levett of Milford Hall. Elizabeth Mary Fisher's sister Dorothea had married John Frederick Pike of London, and she had inherited the ancestral Scrivener lands at Sibton Abbey, which she left to her nephew Egerton Bagot Byrd Levett.
- An Index to Changes of Name, William Phillimore Watts Phillimore, Edward Alexander Fry, Edw Alex Fry, Phillimore & Co., London, 1905
- Visitation of England and Wales, Vol. 3, Joseph Jackson Howard, Frederick Arthur Crisp, England College of Arms, London, Privately Printed, 1895
- "Parkes, Harry Smith". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
- The Plantagenet Roll of the Blood Royal, Mortimer-Percy Volume, Marquis of Ruvigny and Raineval Staff, Reissued by Heritage Books, 2001, ISBN 0-7884-1872-6, ISBN 978-0-7884-1872-3
- Sibton Abbey Cartularies and Charters, Part Four, Philippa Brown, Boydell Press, 1988
- Rural England: Being an Account of Agricultural and Social Researches Carried Out in the Years 1901 & 1902, Vol. II, Henry Rider Haggard, Published by Longmans, Green, and Co., London, 1906
- Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History, Suffolk Institute of Archaeology, Vol. VIII, 1894
- Baswich Baptisms, 1880 to 1905, berkswich.org.uk
- Gravestone Inscriptions, St. Peter's Church, Sibton, Suffolk
- Close the post offices and village shops die as well, The Daily Telegraph, 27 October 2006, telegraph.co.uk
- The Levetts of Staffordshire, Dyonese Levett Haszard, Milford, Staffordshire, privately printed