Lygon, William, 7th Earl Beauchamp (1872 -1938)

Styled Viscount Elmley until 1891, William Lygon was the eldest son of Frederick Lygon, 6th Earl Beauchamp, by his first wife, Lady Mary Catherine, daughter of Philip Stanhope, 5th Earl Stanhope. He was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford. In May 1899 he was offered the post of Governor of New South Wales, but returned to Britain in 1901, claiming that the work lacked stimulation. In 1902 he joined the Liberal Party, and between 1905 and 1915 became a member of the Liberal administrations of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman and H. H. Asquith. He was also leader of the Liberal Party in the House of Lords between 1924 and 1931. Lord Beauchamp was made Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire in 1911, carried the Sword of State at the coronation of King George V, was made Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports in 1913, and became a Knight of the Garter in 1914. Lord Beauchamp married Lady Lettice Grosvenor, daughter of Victor Grosvenor, Earl Grosvenor, and Lady Sibell Lumley, and granddaughter of the 1st Duke of Westminster, at Eccleston, Cheshire, on 26 July 1902. They had three sons and four daughters. While his homosexuality was widely known, it was finally exposed in 1931 by his brother-in-law, the Duke of Westminster, who was determined to ruin the Liberal Party, and Earl Beauchamp personally. Beauchamp was made an offer to separate from his wife Lettice, without a formal divorce, and then leave the country. Beauchamp refused, and, shortly afterwards, the Countess Beauchamp obtained a divorce. There was no public scandal, but Lord Beauchamp resigned all his offices except that of Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, and went into exile on the Continent to avoid imprisonment, spending his time at Wiesbaden, Paris, Venice, and Sydney N.S.W.. All but one of his children remained steadfastly supportive. He is said to have provided Evelyn Waugh with his model for Lord Marchmain in his novel Brideshead Revisited. When his son, Hugh, died in 1936 following a fall in Germany. Lord Beauchamp decided that he had to bring him back to Madresfield, despite the risk of imprisonment. He stayed at Madresfield for six days. The following year charges against him were dropped, and he was able to return once again to England. In 1938 he travelled to New York City to attend a reunion of the Lygon family. While in New York he became gravely ill, and on 15 November 1938, at the age of 66, he succumbed to cancer in the Waldorf Astoria hotel.
Seat / Residence(s): Madresfield Court
Stamp(s) Stamp Information
Badge: A bear collared and chained holding a ragged staff
Heraldic Charges: bear, Heraldic Charges: staff, ragged
Monogram: L L
Coronet: Earl
Monogram: B B
Coronet: Earl
Monogram: B B
Coronet: Earl
Monogram: B
Coronet: Earl
Monogram: B
Coronet: Earl