Washington Singer

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Washington Singer
ResidenceNorman Court, Wiltshire, England
OccupationRacehorse owner
Spouse(s)Daphne Helen Travers
ChildrenGrant Allen Singer
Parent(s)Isaac Singer
Isabella Eugenie Boyer

Washington Merritt Grant Singer (1866–1934) was an American-born English heir, philanthropist and prominent racehorse owner.


Early life[edit]

Born in Yonkers, New York he was the third child of Isabella Eugenie Boyer and sewing machine magnate, Isaac Singer. The family moved to England when Washington Singer was still a child. He was raised at Oldway Mansion at Paignton on the Devon coast.

Equine interests[edit]

A Thoroughbred horse racing enthusiast, he won the 1905 St. Leger Stakes with the colt Challacombe, trained by Alec Taylor, Jr. and the 1932 2,000 Guineas with Orwell. The Washington Singer Stakes race at Newbury Racecourse is named in his honour.


He became a benefactor of a number of different causes and was a substantial donor to the University College of the southwest of England, which later became the University of Exeter. One of the university's buildings, which is home to the Department of Psychology, is named in his honour.

Personal life[edit]

Singer lived at Steartfield House and built a stable at the junction of Manor Road and old Torquay Road. On 21 July,1915 he married Ellen Mary Longsdon, widow of Alfred Allen Longsdon, who had been drowned at Le Havre, while driving his ambulance, earlier that year. On 25 July, 1927 they adopted Mary's youngest son, Grant Allen, in the name of Grant Allen Singer (1915-1942).

In 1906, Singer purchased Norman Court, a 20,000-acre (81 km2) estate in Wiltshire that included the villages of West Dean in Wiltshire and West Tytherley in Hampshire and the parishes of Buckholt and Frenchmoor and parts of Farley and Pitton. The estate was bequeathed to his son Grant Singer but he was killed in action during World War II at the 1942 Second Battle of El Alamein while serving with the Royal Armoured Corps, 10th Royal Hussars. Sold by his widow, in 1952 it became the private Norman Court Preparatory School.