The Earl of Haddington, landowner and authority on the paranormal – obituary

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The thirteenth Earl of Haddington, who has died aged 74, was a landowner, conservationist, photographer and explorer of the paranormal.

The Earls of Haddington are an important Scottish dynasty, descending from the feudal baron Walter de Hamilton, additionally an ancestor of the Dukes of Hamilton and Dukes of Abercorn. The household seat of Mellerstain in Berwickshire is a flippantly castellated masterpiece by Robert Adam with one of many best views in Britain.

None of Haddington’s noble predecessors may have had extra grace and originality or been held in better affection by those that knew him, detached as he was to age or any type of classification. His father, the twelfth Earl, was eulogised as Chaucer’s “verray, parfit gentil knyght”. The identical utilized to his solely son.

As a hereditary peer Haddington sat for 13 years within the Home of Lords till reform disadvantaged him of his seat in 1999. Opponents of this measure  argued that it turned a uniquely different  legislature into one among mundane conformity, as if a preciously preserved bio-diverse meadow had been changed by a pesticide-drenched mono-crop.

Haddington exemplified the loss. Amongst his recreations he listed beekeeping, holding finches and “cerealogy”, by which he meant an professional information of crop circles. But this was solely the tip of the iceberg. Amongst his many expertise have been ballooning and the development of hovercrafts, in one among which he explored an Amazonian tributary. Each actions signalled his curiosity in physics and mechanics.

His therapeutic powers, assisted by means of rock crystal, gave him a Merlin-like presence within the Home. Many swore by his remedy, which he  disbursed on request, at exhausting bodily value, to friends, peeresses and employees alike. When Andrew Festing painted his official group portrait of the Lords debating the 1995 Queen’s Speech, his pal Haddington jovially agreed to pose for the joke determine of “the slumbering Earl” on the federal government aspect.

John George Baillie-Hamilton  was born at Mellerstain on December 21 1941. His father, a Lord Lieutenant of Berwickshire and distinguished veteran of each World Wars, was a famous horseman and forester. His mom was the Catholic Sarah Cook dinner, who performed an essential half within the formation of the Edinburgh Pageant. His sister, Woman Mary Russell, was a maid of honour on the  Coronation.

Haddington’s marked transcendentalism first confirmed itself when he was two. He was terrorised by the ghost of a German pilot killed in a bomber-aircraft crash on the Mellerstain property. His silence precipitated grownup concern however he dared not betray its trigger. At Ampleforth his japes have been legend, and he broke the college file for the punishment of writing strains. Bomb-making concerned one near-fatal detonation; however his launch of an industrial amount of laxatives into the college reservoir failed to attain the specified disruption.

He survived the course because of Father Walter, his housemaster, a droll sympathiser with the anarchic tendencies of youth. His training was accomplished on the College of Excursions and Trinity Faculty, Dublin, each conducive to his adventurous spirit: he was a champion slalom skier and a ferocious opening bowler for the Oakland Raiders, Trinity’s cricket workforce, with whom he toured Australia.

After college he hitch-hiked the world, exercising his expertise for pictures, which he exploited professionally in London on his return. An enduring achievement was his photographic reflection on Sir William Keswick’s Henry Moores on the moor at Glenkiln, Dumfriesshire. Sir William was the primary patron to position trendy sculpture within the wild,  and Moore at all times thought of Glenkiln, which included figures by Epstein and Rodin, one of the best siting of his work. The gathering has now been withdrawn because of vandals. Haddington’s e-book of pictures, Glenkiln (Canongate), is its memorial. One other impressed task, commissioned by Sir Jocelyn Stevens, was to instil among the magic and thriller of Stonehenge into English Heritage’s guidebook.

In 1975 Haddington saved the world well-known  Border Bows firm, offering premises at Mellerstain for its manufacturing facility. It ensured he was probably the most educated member of Scotland’s Royal Firm of Archers, the monarch’s official bodyguard north of the border.

His curiosity within the paranormal  alerted him early to the corn circle phenomenon. He was a sponsor of The Cerealogist journal, initially edited by his pal John Michell, the radical-traditionalist creator and antiquarian; and he may inform at a look whether or not a circle was paranormally real or trodden by hoaxers.

Haddington succeeded his father in 1986 and loss of life duties compelled him to promote the household’s East Lothian house, Tyninghame, and a part of its property. In one of the best custom of such sporting naturalists as Lord Gray of Fallodon, Main the Hon Henry Douglas-Residence (BBC Scotland’s “Hen Man”) , and the good conservationist Sir Peter Scott, Haddington, a first-rate shot and fly fisherman, in 1997 based the charity Save Our Songbirds (SOS) with its accompanying journal The Hen Desk.

SOS later merged with Songbird Survival, of which he was a director. In all these exploits he was vastly supported by his second spouse, Jane Heyworth, whose father, John Heyworth, created the Cotswold Wildlife Park at Burford. Collectively they shouldered the more and more heavy tasks of managing Mellerstain, a home open to the general public, and the rest of the Tyninghame property, and each performed a full half in Border affairs. Amongst a number of public places of work Haddington was Vice President of the Border Union Agricultural Society, Honorary President of the East Lothian Angling Affiliation and Patron of Kelso Rugby Membership.

His son, George Edmund Baldred, succeeds him as 14th Earl. Haddington married first, in 1975, Prudence Hayles (dissolved 1977); and, secondly, in 1984, Jane Heyworth, who survives him with their son and two daughters.

The thirteenth Earl of Haddington, born December 21 1941, died July 5 2016

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