Wilfrid Scawen Blunt

Wilfrid Scawen Blunt

Blunt, Wilfrid Scawen, 1840-1922, English poet and political writer. After retiring c.1872 from the diplomatic service, he began a career of travel and political crusading. He wrote several works championing Indian, Egyptian, and Irish independence. His poetry, noted for its emotional force, includes The Love Sonnets of Proteus (1880) and The Wind and the Whirlwind (1883).

See his diaries (1919-20).

Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (17 August 184010 September 1922) was an English poet and writer. He was born at Petworth House in Sussex, and served in the Diplomatic Service from 1858 to 1869. His mother was a Catholic convert and he was educated at Stonyhurst and at St Mary's College, Oscott. He is best known for his poetry, which were published in a collected edition in 1914, but also wrote a number of political essays and polemics.

In 1869, he married Lady Anne Noel, who was the daughter of the Earl of Lovelace and granddaughter of Lord Byron. Together they travelled through Spain, Algeria, Egypt, the Syrian Desert, and extensively in the Middle East and India. Based upon pure-blooded Arabian horses they obtained in Egypt and the Nejd, they co-founded Crabbet Arabian Stud, and later purchased a property near Cairo, named Sheykh Obeyd which housed their horse breeding operation in Egypt.

In 1882 he championed the cause of Urabi Pasha, which led him to be banned from entering Egypt for four years.New International Encyclopedia Blunt generally opposed British imperialism as a matter of philosophy, and his support for Irish causes led to his imprisonment in 1888.

Wilfrid and Lady Anne's only child to live to maturity was Judith Blunt-Lytton, 16th Baroness Wentworth, later known as Lady Wentworth. As an adult, she moved permanently to the Crabbet Park Estate in 1904 with her husband and children, obtaining part of the property and a few of the horses as a gift or bequest from Wilfrid.

Wilfrid had any number of mistresses, among them a long term relationship with the courtesan Catherine "Skittles" Walters, and eventually moved another mistress, Dorothy Carleton, into his home, an event which triggered Lady Anne's legal separation from him in 1906. At that time, Lady Anne signed a Deed of Partition drawn up by Wilfrid. Under its terms, unfavorable to Lady Anne, she kept the Crabbet Park property (where their daughter Judith lived) and half the horses, while Blunt took Caxtons Farm, also known as Newbuildings, and the rest of the stock. Always struggling with financial concerns and chemical dependency issues, Wilfrid sold off numerous horses in order to pay debts, and constantly attempted to obtain additional assets. Lady Anne left the management of her properties to Judith, and spent many months of every year in Egypt at the Sheykh Obeyd estate, moving there permanently in 1915.

Due primarily to the maneuvering of Wilfred in an attempt to disinherit Judith and obtain the entire Crabbet property for himself, Judith and her mother were estranged at the time of Lady Anne's death in 1917, and thus Lady Anne's share of the Crabbet Stud passed to Judith's daughters, under the oversight of an independent trustee. Wilfrid filed a lawsuit soon afterward. Ownership of the Arabian horses went back and forth between the estates of father and daughter in the following years. Wilfred sold yet more horses in his control, mostly to pay off debts, and shot at least four in an attempt to spite his daughter, action which required intervention of the trustee of the estate with a court injunction to prevent him from further "dissipating the assets" of the estate. The lawsuit was eventually settled in favour of the granddaughters in 1920, and Judith bought their share from the trustee, combining it with her own assets and reuniting the stud. Father and daughter briefly reconciled shortly before Wilfrid's death in 1922, but his promise to rewrite his will to restore Judith's inheritance never materialized.

Bibliography

  • Sonnets and Songs of Proteus (1875)
  • The Future of Islam (1882)
  • Esther (1892)
  • Griselda (1893)
  • The Quatrains of Youth (1898)
  • Satan Absolved: A Mystery (1899)
  • Seven Golden Odes of Pagan Arabia (1903)
  • Secret History of the English Occupation of Egypt (1907)
  • India under Ripon (1909)
  • Gordon of Khartoum (1911)
  • The Land War in Ireland (1912)
  • Collected Poems (1914)
  • My Diaries (1920)

See also

Sources and External links

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