LORD Feversham’s love of Ryedale and its countryside were recalled by one of his sons, Jake, at his memorial service on Saturday when more than 400 people packed All Saints’ Church in Helmsley, and stood outside, to pay tribute to the flamboyant aristocrat.
Lord Feversham, who died in March, aged 64, was, Jake told the congregation, an author, journalist, yachtsman and keen supporter of the arts, who lived at Duncombe Park, Helmsley, and had “a strong sense of duty”. He would be especially remembered for his loyalty to his friends and his respect for tradition.
Jake praised his father for what he described as, “his fine eye for beauty and his support of the arts,” adding, “we remember with affection his anarchic wit, his laughter and his love of good conversation.”
Mr Duncombe said his father had a great love of the countryside, especially Ryedale, and of its people. “We remember his independence of mind, his fairness and generosity.”
Dame Maggie Smith, the actress, read Philip Larkin’s poem, An Arundel Tomb, while Philip Aldridge read from Evelyn Waugh’s autobiography and a humorous wartime letter to his wife.
Instead of arriving to a tolling bell, the family was greeted by a full peal from the landmark tower of All Saints.
Canon Francis Hewitt, who conducted the service, with the Archdeacon of Cleveland, the Ven Paul Ferguson, said Lord Feversham had asked that there should be no eulogy or address.
“We could have held this service in York Minster, but All Saints was his church and Helmsley his town,” he said.
Lord Feversham’s family believed the readings and music at the service spoke for themselves, added Canon Hewitt.
Iestyn Davies sang Handel’s, Where’er You Walk, and the lesson was read by Sir Richard Beckett Bt. The choir, which included members of the York Minster Choir and senior choristers holding the Duncombe Badge, led the singing and later sang The Russian Contakion for the Departed, and Purcell’s Thou Knowest Lord the Secrets of Our Hearts, under the direction of Dr Richard Shephard.
Patrick Duncombe, another of Lord Feversham’s sons, read Dylan Thomas’s and Death Shall Have No Dominion. Other readings were given by the Rev David Emison, Methodist Superintendent for the Helmsley Circuit, Dom Alberic Scacpoole, of the Order of St Benedict, Ian Saggers, Lord Feversham’s estate agent, and Canon Hewitt. At the end of the service, the Nunc Dimittis was sung by Charity Mapletoft.
Among those attending the service were the Lord Lieutant of North Yorkshire, Lord Crathorne and the veteran actor, Ian Carmichael. The organist for the service was Simon Wright.
A retiring collection was held for All Saints and Mashambanzou Hospice in Zimbabwe.