Powys-Lybbe Forbears - Person Sheet
Powys-Lybbe Forbears - Person Sheet
Birth29 Jun 1909, Rectory Farm, Streatley, Berks
Baptism14 Aug 1909, St Mary's Church, Streatley, Berks
Death10 May 2004, Raynor's, Hyde Heath, Bucks
Burial14 May 2004, The Lawn Cemetery, Chorleywood, Herts
GeneralOnly s. Piano tuner. Motor racing driver. Lt Col in R Signals in WW2.
EducationLadycross, Downside, RA Woolwich, RCM
Notes for Antony Powys-Lybbe
And Musician.  For Rosalind’s birth certificate he put his occupation down as “Singing Student of Barkers Amersham Common”.

Birth Certificate copy:
Registered in: the sub-district of Bucklebury in the Counties of Berks and Oxon
Registration No: 177 in Birth register Book No 27 for district of Bucklebury
DoB: 29th June 1909
Place of birth: Thurle Grange, Streatley, Berks
Name: Antony
Father: Reginald Cecil Lybbe Powys-Lybbe, of independent means of Thurle Grange, Streatley
Mother: Lilian Frances Gillett Powys-Lybbe, formerly Trotter
Date of Registration: 15th Sept 1909
Registrar: ??? H. Gogarty ??? (He also made the copy in 1911)
Date of Copy: 19th Jan 1911

Received into the Church at the Church of Our Lady & St John, Goring in Thames, Oxon on 2 Nov 1914.

TFPL, March 2003: I have seen his entry in the record books of the College of Arms.

TFPL, May 2004: He was the first in my line of ancestors to be born with the surname of Powys-Lybbe.  Though his father's sister and younger brothers had been born with this surname in the 1880s.

TFPL, Oct 2004: Now that he is alas no more, it is perhaps time to sketch out a biography (it felt a bit of an impertinence to do so previously).

1909: Born at Streatley, Berks.

1913 on: He remembered going in a dog-cart with a governess regularly to Wallingford and Pangbourne alternately to visit haberdashery shops.

1915 or so: He remembered going to some school in Wallingford.  He was chauffeured there by Miles the mechanic and chauffeur and who allowed him to sit in the front and take an interest in the dials and controls, fostering an inclination that lasted much of his life.

Perhaps 1917: He started at Ladycross prep school, run by "old" Roper and probably still then in Bournemouth, later moving the whole school to Seaford, Sussex.  He remembered one or two teachers, particularly Mr Herbert (whom I also remember, though in his retirement).  He also remembered one trip from Seaford to Downside, Somerset with the cricket team in some charabanc to play against Downside's prep school (then at Downside, later at Worth, Sussex and even later then refounded at Downside).  At an early age he could obviously sing well as he remembered being principal girl (or boy?) in many school performances, which he even continued at Downside until his voice broke late, perhaps at fifteen.

!922: He went to Downside.  This caused some consternation between his parents who by then were well at arms length.  His mother wished him to go to Eton but his father insisted on a good Catholic education at Downside, which as Martin relates, he had endowed with some land.  At Downside he proceeded to pass all expected exams, doing rather well in his first year in the sixth form.  But in his last year he said he spent most of the time organising some musical troupe and did little better in his exams than in the previous year.

1927 Joined the Army.  In some acrimonious correspondence between his parents around 1922 his mother thought he would have a good naval career and even reported that he agreed with her.  His father, who had been working with various charities in London at that time, suggested that the Civil Service would be ideal.  So the Army was chosen, but I know not by whom.  He told two things of the interview for this.  First he had been advised by Trafford, the then headmaster, to wear a suit supplied by Skinners the school tailor; instead he wore a suit his mother had obtained from him at a local Berkshire tailor; he was then delighted to see at the interview that all the officers were wearing clothes very similar to his and quite unlike Skinner's offering.  Second he particularly remembered being told by an interviewer that he came from a "very old family"; he gave me the impression that he thought the army must have conducted investigations of some arcane sort; but it is much more likely that Trafford had written this in his reference to the army.  He said he chose to go into the Signals because of his competence at Morse code and probably also because of his facility with sciences and practical subjects; but in this I am surprised that he did not anticipate some appreciation of an officer's role in organising and leading his unit.

Anyhow to Woolwich he went, the Shop (for Workshop) as it was called, where the Royal Engineers and the new Corps of Signals had their officers trained.  I think this was a two year course with a lot of science and some military theory.  I have his notebooks of those two years, beautifully entered up, should anyone wish to study them...

He was certainly motorised during that time, possibly a little Morris 8 which he was certainly driving later.  I have no idea how seriously he took his course, but he claimed not to be that enthusiastic though in the passing out list (in The Times) was definitely in the upper half.  He had vaguely hoped that the army would send him to university, Cambridge was not uncommon, but he said he did not pass out well enough for that (there is a contradiction here in that when he retired a couple of years later he could easily have sent himself to Cambridge; perhaps he had not worked that out when he complained of the injustice in later life).
He made a few lifetime, or at least for their lifetime, friends at Woolwich, Basil Pinsent and Hugh Winterbourne at least, Charles Barker was forgotten but found again some forty years later, much to both of their pleasures.

1929, 29th August, Gazetted on 30 Aug 1929
: Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant and sent to Catterick for proper Signals training.  Here he met up with James Haigh who really was to have been his greatest lifelong friend.  James had been to Cambridge and joined the army after that and was soon posted to serious scientific matters, almost certainly to do with radar.  In addition he spent much time with a local motor-cycle club which he attended in the Morris 8 - no-one seemed to care about that, though.

1930. During some part of his army training his father died.  He was not there,  He was allowed a short exeat for the funeral but had to leave early and missed the burial.  Towards the end of his life he went to the trouble of finding where his father had been buried and asked me to make a diversion on a journey to see it.  He had prepared an old jam jar half full of water and into which placed a rose; he gave me this memorial and I struggled both to find a place in my car where it would not fall over and to drive cautiously enough so that there was no spillage.  We found the grave with no great trouble, he paused for a few moments in front of it and we then continued to our real destination.

1931 or so: Posted to the Signals depot at Bulford, Wilts, a few miles to the north of Salisbury.  He made only two comments on this, first that he was particularly astonished at the ability of one captain to do absolutely nothing all day long and second that he really had nothing to do.

1932, 17th February, Gazetted on 16 Feb 1932:  After a while at Bulford he resigned his commission, aged 22 and a half.

1932-37: Obviously he was able to resign because he was his father's heir and had inherited what remained of the family's fortunes.  Much later, when he was about to marry mother, her relations were concerned at the apparently playboy existence of her intended and caused some investigation to be made of his finances.  He was then living in a substantial house with a modest fleet of servants including a butler.  I have been told it was found that he was living off half his income so there was obviously a competency left of the family affairs.
But this shows how he lived.  He managed the estates through his father's solicitor, Theobald Mathew (later Director of Public Prosecutions), who dealt with all the agents, etc himself.  He took up motor-sport, both hill-climbing and track-racing.  He engaged in various athletic activities: I have heard of sailing and skiing.  He toured around Europe, certainly reaching Rome on one occasion.  I do not know what part music had to play in this but it cannot have been far away, and would have had massive encouragement from mother, herself a very competent young musician.  His scrap books of that period tell only of motor-racing, though this does include his attendance at the events of SODS, a local club and of which his account of the various meetings survives.  He took his motoring seriously, enough to spend a couple of months in London at Alvis' workshops to learn what he could of how to maintain the beasts himself.  In retrospect he did not think much of this workshop and later in the 30s had changed his allegiance to Thomson and Taylor a very competent firm of racing and touring car tuners with workshops within the old Brooklands, Surrey motor racing circuit; T & T made at least one of Cobb's land speed record breaking cars and probably a few of his Brooklands record-breaking specials.

Mead House: I have left out the saga of the move from Rectory Farm, the house he was born to and, one way and another, lived in until his father died.  His parents had formally separated around 1921 and certainly by 1922.  The agreement between them was that each parent should each have the children, he and his sister Ursula, for half the holidays.  In order, I suspect, to get his mother out of Rectory Farm, it was let, though his father did plead poverty.  A few years later his father returned there, saying that he rather enjoyed living in the countryside, to which my father commented to me, that he would since there were fifteen people waiting on his every need.  When his parents separated his mother had purchased a small house which she did up and then sold, moving several times; it was at these that he spent, with his sister Ursula, half his holidays.  His father certainly spent some of the time in the South of France, reading books, or so he reported to me in terms of incredulity.  But in the holidays his father would book places on cruise ships and they would go round Europe in these; possibly the experience so horrifed him that this was the reason why we were never taken anywhere near such monsters.  He did report that he became quite competent at deck quoits.  He also said that once or twice he did not accompany his father and Ursula on the expeditions at port.  Though he did remember going to a bull-fight which, in retrospect at least, convinced him that it was never to be seen again.

Should I explain that Rectory Farm had a double life?  As purchased in 1907, doubtless in contemplation of marriage, it was "Rectory Farm" a medium sized farmhouse with 150 or so acres, lying below Thurle Hill.  It was then extended to accomodate a substantial household.  His mother then thought that "Rectory Farm" was not quite appropriate for its new existence so it was renamed to "Thurle Grange".  I suspect that it reverted to Rectory Farm when his father reoccupied it in the mid 1920s.
I think part of the reason why his father moved back into Rectory Farm was because his brother Dick had divorced his wife who had left him for a Mr E Macleod, just recently (2006) found to be Earnest McLeod.   Doubtless this was a bitter blow for Dick who later decided to start a new llfe in Canada and leave his children in England in the care of his elder brother, Reginald (or Reggie as he seems to have been known).  (A story has been passed on to me that Dick was so unhappy at his planned fate that he spent his last few hours crying under the table in the company of his children.)  So these three children had to be accommodated somewhere in the holidays and Rectory Farm was the natural choice.  Indeed the elder son (if not all of them) of these three was present at his uncle's death.

Anyhow in 1930 at the death of my paternal grandfather, his wife (for she remained such) immediately took up occupation, and possession, of Rectory Farm, doubtless reverting it to Thurle Grange.  She organised the funeral ("no flowers" but this was disobeyed with s large wreath by Lady Rose, widow of Hardwick, with whom my grandfather had established a significant relationship, even visiting my father together with her when he was at Downside) and it was conducted, I gather, with military dispatch.  She then decided that she must move, probably because too many neighbours knew the preceding history and somehow Mead House was bought in Bradfield, little more than ten miles away.  My grandmother established herself there, with her many dogs though it did not take many years before she moved out, leaving my father alone in this large country house - though not quite of mansion size.
After all this I should add some words of what my father thought of his parents.  It must have been traumatic living through the split and then the dual house period.  His sister Ursula once told me of their parents continually rowing during a some stay in a house in London "for the season" (I have yet to discover what the "season" was).  Of his mother my father said that she was an excellent mother though she thought that negroes really lived in trees and belonged there.  Of his father, he said, with a degree of scorn, that he was a perfect Edwardian gentleman who never did a thing; while this was not totally true for the war and post-war period, it certainly described much of his father's life.  But there remained some devotion to his father and a painting was always close to either my father’s study or, on the landing, to his bedroom.  (This painting is tremendously dull and I recently put it on near-permanent loan with my sister-in-law Anne who gained the impression from my father that his father had been hard-done-by by his wife.)

1937 Marriage of our parents, the start of a remarkable relationship.  I do not know how long they had known one another beforehand but they were near neighbours, living no more than a mile apart in Bradfield.  I did hear that at one stage my father played the piano for his prospective mother-in-law's choir, conduct that much later he would have strongly eschewed.

1938: the first child born, me!  After her death I was given some remarkable documents that indicated that he was over the moon at his first offspring and ordered a fur coat to celebrate (I wonder if this was was from John Cobb who was a noted fur dealer and whom my father knew well?)  Much later father enquired of me where the fur coat was that mother had had when she went into a nursing home; while he did not explain the reason for this question, I suspect it was the same coat.

1938, 29th October, gazetted on 28 Oct 1938, reappointed 2nd Lt in R Signals.  I suspect this was in anticipation of being called up as he once gave me the date of his call-up, when I was a boy at Ladycross, and I remember it as September 1939.  Certainly he was around for my birth two weeks later as we have his excitied notes on that, above.

1939: War broke out and immediately he joined up as a second lieutenant.  We stayed at Mead House at least until well after Martin was born.

1939, 13th November, gazetted on that day: “2nd Lt A Powys-Lybbe (44124) to have seniority 1st Aug, 1939.  This indicated that he was under military orders from 1st August.

1941 (?) Somehow he was in Dunkirk and got injured.  Mother used to say that it was from a stone as he came out of a cinema; father said that it was a motoring accident when he or the driver of the other vehicle went the wrong way round a French roundabout (did the French have roundabouts then?  They are not to be found in all countries.)  Anyhow he was concussed for a week and the usual effect of concussion is that you remember nothing of the preceding events. So some days before the main evacuation of Dunkirk he was invalided to England and put in some hospital in Middlesex - where he still had to correspond with his solicitor man of affairs, as I know from a letter the solicitor wrote that refers to the hospital stay.

1942: He was posted to Northern Ireland and we either went with him or followed fairly soon afterwards.  Mead House was let (which pleased my mother as she had had some evacuees landed on her and she could not get on with them).  My father took a lease on a house near Lisburn and gave his batman some money to buy furniture, a task that was obviously executed well from the approving manner in which he described its execution.
My memories are only of one stay in Northern Ireland but my father insisted that there were two.  Anyhow Olivia was born there, causing her no little trouble at custom check points during the troubles of the 70s and 80s.
My father always described some of his time in Ireland with enormous approval.  The object of that approval was his Commanding Officer who had some genius for competent organisation (perhaps my grandfather was right, that the Civil Service was right for my father?).  My father claimed to have learned good lessons that he was able to practice for years afterwards, both in later commands and in managing his affairs after the war.

Late 1943: By then he must have risen to the dizzy ranks of captain and suitably impressed someone as he was then chosen for a Field Officer's course at Sandhurst.  We all followed, living in a small, it seemed, house in Camberley.  Montgomery was one of the lecturers there and my father, like my father-in-law, came to cordially dislike him.  I presume he ended this with a temporary, acting and unpaid appointment as a major.

1944 or so: Posted to Eisenhower's headquarters in North Africa (or was this before the Sandhurst course?).  He was obviously given some special liaison role, doing little or nothing and was once ushered into the Great Man's presence.

1944 or so: Posted to Italy and then had an chequered time there.  The pleasure of Italy was the music, he was able to go to the local opera house regularly and was thrilled by the style of music there, far more pleasing to him than the strained and perhaps cold style of English musicians; mother used to complain that he never went to the opera again after the war.  But he got into trouble with his commanding officer, an American at some, I believe, airport.  A particular crime was that he had decided to organise the telephones sensibly and use the local, Italian telephone wires.  These lines were reliable and did not require laying.  But they were not secure and it was thought that this was playing strongly into the hands of the Enemy.  Doubtless this led to full and frank exchanges of view between him and his American commanding officer.  Anyhow some very sad correspondence survives in which he was begging to be released from this posting, even offering to be downgraded a rank or two to achieve this.  But he had to stay on and certainly after the war he had a short fuse on the subject of Americans.

Sept 1945: He resigned his commission as soon as decent after the cessation of hostilities and came home.  This meant that he was back running his affairs, to which he had given mother some power of attorney which she had been executing to her satisfaction at least.  Mother could not understand why she had to relinquish her powers as she thought she had done rather well.
A few years after this mother complained to me that father had changed over the war.  She wondered if it had been the injury he had received at Dunkirk.  But she thought - and said - he was not entirely sane.  Certainly he became tempestuous but what was going on we have no idea.  If anything, I think his experiences in Italy would have been shattering and confidence busting, particularly as he seems to have been something of a blued-eyed boy up till then.

1946: He moved us all to Barkers, Amersham Common, Bucks.  At the time mother passed on that the reason was that of poverty due to taxation.  She instanced the much higher rates that were payable on Mead House (which had some cottages as well as substantial outbuildings).  Towards the end of his life father said this was not the sole, or even the, reason but that it was that he had to get away from his mother-in-law who lived the same mile or so away and obviously made a habit of regular visiting to see her many grandchildren.  He said that in retrospect he should have been able to deal with this as he so much loved Mead House.
Barkers was a much smaller property, three acres instead of twelve, six bedrooms instead of ten or so.  The core of the house was a small farmhouse with small, low-ceilinged rooms and the family portraits could not be displayed.  School fees began to mount up as I was away at Ladycross from 1945, Martin following in c. 1948.  Income was down as some of the properties had been bomb damaged, rents were still at prewar levels while cost of living was three times higher.  And taxes were rising.  The only car was mother's little FIAT 500, a wedding present from father.  The numbers of staff slowly dropped.  One delightful piece of legislation was to disallow deductions of any estate administrative expenses, meaning that the lawyer's and agents charges came out of taxed income, leaving even less for discretionary spending.  There was an air of gloom around the place, not helped by the occasional shouting matches between our parents, usually, if I remember correctly, about money.
Eventually father decided to take the administration into his own hands and put into practice what he had learnt from his CO in Northern Ireland.  The typewriter pounded away, reams of letters poured into the front door and reams of replies poured out again.  Father even got the Post Office to collect the mail directly from the house, saving him, and us, the labour of running off to the nearest letter-box.
At the same time he continued his musical life.  Mother once told me that he was going to become a singer.  So we had the scales being practised at all hours.  A mattress was put over the inside door to his music room - and study - to lessen the noise I was told.  Some of my siblings say that his singing was in fact quite good, perhaps recalling the days of his childhood excellence; I can't say I was much impressed but then I am not musical.  And I was not surprised when it came to an end and he reverted after a few years to the piano.
In his financial affairs he soon, with his numeric abilities, mastered the tax system and found ways to make money that avoided tax.  In those days the interest on borrowings was deductible from income before tax.  So he engaged in borrowing.  He invested in life insurance policies for which he already had an agency as a result of handling the property administration.  He found that he could borrow money for, effectively, single premium life policies that he would convert to fully paid in a year.  He claimed that he could obtain a guaranteed net income of nearly 5% return on capital which was very good for the time.  I can certainly remembering him regularly walking or cycling to the station to do business in London.  He used log tables I remember and once, he said, asked for an adjournment of an auction as they had corrected their figures at the last moment and he wished to recalculate.

1948 or so: Somehow the financial strait-jacket lessened and he was able to revert to motoring.  In what order he bought the two cars, I cannot remember but buy he did.  One was an Austin saloon with occasional seats and which I remember I and my siblings working out that at least nine of us could fit in it.  Another was an Alfa 2.9 single seater racing car, made in the middle to late 1930s.
The Alfa was maintained by Thomson and Taylor again, I even believe it was bought off them.  He started racing it on small circuits such as Goodwood, bringing a T & T fitter along with him.  Eventually he was satisfied and took it to Ireland to race either in the Republic in their annual event at Curragh camp or in Northern Ireland at Dundrod (?).  As long as the Jaguars did not run, he had a modest degree of success, winning quite a few races over the following years.  Because of his methods of operating, he even made some money out of the winning races; mother, Martin and I accompanied him on a least two of the expeditions and we were accommodated in very modest style, though he esconced himself in the Officers mess at Curragh Camp.
Eventually two things happened.  First was the the Alfa became less and less competitive at these rather informal races; he commented that the Jaguars (mostly C types) could go round corners much faster than he.  Second he lost the thrill of winning.  Being an emotional man, this worked like a charm on him when he was younger and pulled him through a sometimes frustrating activity.  But once he found he no longer enjoyed the occasional win, he fairly rapidly gave up.  Though at some stage during this second motor-racing period, he had ordered a Jaguar D type at the then price, cancelling the order when they raised this by £1,000; he had reckoned that at the original price, he could make some money out of motor-racing, even at the age of 45, which he was when he finally retired around 1954.

1950s: His piano playing took up a lot of his leisure time.  He used to enter competitions for this and did quite well in them; even to my cloth ears, he was always an attractive pianist.  But I think he wanted to be a real performer, for whom people would pay to hear him and in this there was no success.  I suspect this would have been a disappointment to him, particularly in view of the ease with which mother had been performing in concert halls in London before marriage.

1956 or so: he sold his two entertainment cars.  First the 1902 F.I.A.T and second the Alfa.  Both sold well and while he regretted their demise, he had not done anything on either for some while.  I still have his notes on the F.I.A.T which he had bought in the early 1930s as a bit of a wreck from a farmer in the West Country and had made to work, running it on several Brighton Old Crocks runs.  He had restored it, after a fashion, to something like original appearance, reverting the steering wheel to a tiller which he explained to me was the jack handle off some pre-war Buick.  The same jack handle, I believe, could still be seen on the car at Beaulieu where it was on display in the 1980s.

1958: Obviously his finances improved as we moved to Breve House, about three and a half acres instead of just under three and 8 bedrooms instead of 6 (plus a room at "Barkers End") and, most important, high ceilings so that the family portraits could be displayed again.  Barkers was sold at a loss because of structural problems and fairly extensive redecoration was done to the new house.  Strikingly it had a separate study to the music room and the latter was to pay a large part in our parents' lives.
Farily soon after this he bought a ten-year old Bentley Mk VI to replace his Buick.  The Bentley was still quite smart then and he remembered writing a letter to Rolls to say that it had been quite the best car he had ever driven.

Late 1950s: Mother had complained to me of some rather secretive series of visits that father was making to London.  One of these had led his his obtaining in 1957 the ARCM, Associate of the Royal College of Music, the certificate of which he eventually had framed and which I now have.  This led to a possibly crazy set of proposals.  First he wrote to Passmore, the headmaster of Downside, suggesting that he and mother should provide expert music tuition at Downside; this came to nothing.  Second he did get a job at Beaumont, Old Windsor for two terms teaching the piano.  I was astonished at this last venture as I did not think he had the patience to work with children but one or two of his ex-pupils spoke well of this some thirty years later (when we were co-parents to boys at the surviving Beaumont prep-school).  But the job did not last, for reasons I do not know though father did mention some falling out with the head of music.

s: By now, all of his ventures to find a congenial occupation had failed.  The army had failed him twice, motor-racing no longer appealed, he was not a publicly acclaimed performer, nor was he a teacher at a local school.  Curiously his property management skills were appreciated and one large London company even offered him a directorship, which he turned down and an old friend of his had asked him to become a director of his engineering company which had also fallen through due to the friend's death.  So he lowered his sights and went for a serious course in piano tuning, which culminated in his getting some sort of job with, I think, Maples tuning pianos.  By 1968 he had had enough of working for others (again I had not expected any success in such for him) and decided to become a self-employed piano tuner in the local area.  I would imagine that his musical appreciation combined with his high technical skill made him into a good tuner, possibly a very good one but while I met a few of his customers afterwards, they never spoke of the quality of his work, merely the style.  Part of the style was to drive round in his Bentley.  More of it was to take life congenially, do one piano in the morning and one in the afternoon with an extended break in some pub for lunch.  At the same time he had concluded his property manipulations, moving (unfortunately in hindsight) from London property to some 1300 acres of bare land in middle and slightly western England.  He then wrote to two estate agents, asking both if they would chose between his piano tuning business and his property management business.  Not unnaturally each chose to manage the property business, one the four London properties that were badly let and unwise then to sell and the other the five farm holdings.  Slowly over this time he simplified his financial affairs to four income streams: farmland, shops, piano tuning and interest on money on deposit; this meant that tax returns were no longer the agony of effort that they had been.
During this time he also struggled with some of us children.  He was not a close parent, but we all were aware of the massive depressions he continued to have over the years where he would lock himself up for days in his study and speak to no-one; meals were taken after we had all eaten and he ate over-warmed food in the kitchen strictly on his own.  An over-riding concern for us children seem to be that he was determined that we were not to be like him and live off the fat of the land, we must all gain some profession and earn a living.  I was a particular problem with my lack of interest in engineering and a wish to do philosophy; Martin was for ever in conflict and Olivia married and had children very young, David had a few scrapes with his education..  Nevertheless he thought he should make it easier for us in a tax efficient way by giving us boys capital sums instead of allowances.  He provided us with £20,000 nominal in Consuls, then worth less than half their paper value, at about £8,500 each.  While this seem little enough now, it provided the price of a small detached house and even left some change, though less so for those who lived in London.  But even this was tied with strings; should we dispose of any of this, we should inform his bankers who would then inform him; I had no problem with this and proceeded to move the investment around a bit, ending with the purchase of a house, though mortgaged to fund the odd extravagance such as a car and a divorce.  However this caused more heartache for Martin as he felt he was not being trusted; yet Martin I think more than any of us did exactly what was expected: early he became, and remained as, a teacher, he was always hard working and he carefully guarded his pot of gold in a way that I certainly did not; the continual struggles between them were a sad feature of father's life.  He became more remote from all of us in those days.
Curiously at the same time I later discovered that his social life had blossomed.  He retained contact with his very old friends, particularly James Haigh; he made new ones, particularly Anthony Griffin who cleaned and restored all the portraits and was devoted to father.  He was much appreciated by the customers of his piano-tuning business.  And he and mother enormously enjoyed getting their musical friends together for small concerts at Breve House; perhaps forty could be accommodated in the music room if they squeezed up tight.
Regrettably the glories of the pictures in the sitting and music rooms obviously attracted one of his guests as burglaries started, much to my father's consternation.  Over four burglaries spread over perhaps fifteen years he lost a total of thirty-five paintings.  Only three were ever recovered.  After the last burglary, when he was on his own in the house, he decided he had had enough.  All significant items were put into store and he eventually moved to a more secure location and at the end he got local artists to make copies of the signifiant portraits, whose frames had, curiously, been left behind.
Mother's death was traumatic.  She inherited her mother's problem of early senility.  She was less and less in contact with what was going on as the years passed.  Events of decades before were retold as if they had happened yesterday.  Particularly the various fallings out between our parents were retold, perhaps to account for her sad current state.  But this was a foible that father shared, as I was later to discover: he was able to elicit sympathy too for his misfortunes.  Perhaps I am not one to have sympathy elicited from!
Anyhow mother became able to do less and less.  In the last few years father had done all the cooking and the housework for the occasion of any visitors, neither with much skill, though he did make a mean wholemeal loaf.  Mother started to wander and once we had the police call on us to see if she was with us.  Instead later that day she was found in a hotel to which she had driven and then ordered meals and service, confusing the staff who thought she was a resident there; father picked her up and sold her car.  Later still she did not know night from day and insisted on going out of the house in the middle of the night.  Eventually father could cope no longer and Olivia made arrangement for mother to go to a nursing home near her.  Even this was fraught.  Father tried every dodge to reduce the incidence of the fees on his personal finances, causing some consternation to Olivia.  Mother had to be moved at least twice as various establishments found they could not handle her.  Father never visited.  We did once or twice but it was a strain and our two boys would have nothing to do with the palpably crazy woman.  In August 1967, after six months, she died, a blessed relief.  The funeral led to more problems which are still causing waves.  After her death father became reconciled to his earlier memories of mother, always speaking affectionately and approvingly of her, perhaps putting her too much on a pedestal.  I even found him putting our two sons on a pedestal as pinnacles of good behaviour in comparison to a fretful afternoon with one of his infant grandsons; he had not even thought that our children were perfectly normal and sometimes trouble; he had this curious picture that some children really could be seen and not heard.  This idolisation of children could be seen in the only pictures he had bought, of children and to me full of sickly sentimentality.

Late 1970s and early1980s: around this time he divested himself of much of his property, realising that a recent change of law allowed him to transfer it without penalty of taxation.  Regrettably this led to more disputes but at least it minimised his eventual inheritance tax bill.

Shardeloes: Around 1979 he moved to Shardeloes, a grand mansion outside old Amersham where he had a maisonette - town-house - in the old stable block.  There were over 20 accommodation units, flats, etc in the premises and the tenants were also the freeholders as they owned the freeholding company of the site.  The previous occupant of his unit had warned him that the freeholding company's charges were not cheap and that this was the reason for her selling after her husband's death.  Father with his property management background thought he could deal with minor problems such as those and purchased the unit anyway.  Regrettably the rest of the occupants enjoyed the style with which they lived, were eager to maintain it and the premises and saw no problem with the consequent charges on the twenty tenants.  Father just was not on the same planet and, after a few years refused to pay one set of increases.  He continued with his deductions for some time until the other shareholders had to take action and started legal proceedings.  Father did some riposting through a lawyer but slowly realised that he had lost.  At this he gave up spectacularly.  He found a small semi in Old Amersham itself and took urgent steps to move there before he had sold his unit at Shardeloes.  And I was instructed to wind up the case with the lawyers, with him paying the final bill.  I think he spent three thousand pounds on lawyers' fees; it could have been four thousand more but an error on the part of the management company's solicitor prevented them from claiming their costs.  Finally I discovered what it had all been about: the charges unpaid amounted to no more than two hundred and fifty pounds.  Worse was to come: once he had vacated his unit at Shardeloes, leaving it very bare and uninteresting the prospective purchaser dropped his offer by thirty thousand pounds.  There was nothing I could do, the sale was completed at this figure and father was esconced in his, to me, expensive new semi-detached house.  I shuddered to think what would become of him and his new neighbours.  In fact this was to have been his last spectacular quarrel.

1994 on.  Aged 85, he finally retired from everything.  Even his piano-tuning had to be abandoned because he could not hear the higher notes.  He spent time with his friends whom he would entertain to lunch at The Crown in Old Amersham and spent his days reading the paper, doing the crossword and continuing his ever-vast correspondence.
With all else failed, he was left with an ability to write charming letters much valued by their recipients.  He had ever had a remarkable ability to write humourously and I remember mother and I being in kinks of laughter over something he had written for a children's party (which he did not attend) in the 1950s.  To some extent I encouraged this letter writing by recommending people who contacted me on matters that related to him to write to him. Quite a few really appreciated his letters and even after his funeral I was presented with a copy of a correspondence of some thirty years previously.
This literary ability was even commended to me by an in-law who said he should have become a music critic.  With his profound knowledge and appreciation of music and his ability to write creatively almost about performances, he should have made more of it.  But I cannot see him getting caught in the cut and thrust of a journalist's world.
These communication skills also surprised me once after he motor race he had won in Ireland in the early 1950s.  He was awarded the prize and got up to speak in return.  His speech was a beautifully delivered account of a notable driver who had recently died, faithfully telling of the man's charm, practices and foibles.  I was astonished, I did not know my father had this ability though I saw glimmerings of it again much later in his life.
Regrettably he too caught the disease of senility, not seen in his recent forbears because they had all died young.  But I recently found that his paternal gt-grandfather died senile, as did a maternal grandmother, both having lived to 90 or nearly there.  What was most noticeable was that he could no longer handle figures: a bank statement always confused him, though he could talk eloquently and cogently of music almost to the end.
He astonished himself that he should have survived that long.  His father had died at 48, his father's father died at 31.  Ursula reported once that she had heard from him that he was expecting do die around the age of fifty but curiously did not: instead he survived for longer than any ancestor that I know of since the early 1700s.

So there we have it, a life of sadness, of frustration, of quarrels and lack of any real accomplishments.  But also a life of remarkable skills and talents that were never used to their full.  But within all this a life of friendship with long-standing and loyal friends who valued his company.  Perhaps the most remarkable feature of his character was a certain adaptability; having been brought up to considerable privilege and living in a Big House, he was able to see all that go and lived happily in a small semi in the back streets of Amersham.

From the London Gazette:

30 Aug 1929:  “The undermentioned Gentlemen Cadets, from the Royal Military Academy, to be 2nd Lts. 29th Aug. 1929: — ... ROYAL CORPS OF SIGNALS. ... Antony Powys-Lybbe.”

21 Apr 1950: Territorial Efficiency Decoration to Maj (Hon Lt-Col) A Powys-Lybbe.

25 Jul 1950: Lt (War Subs Maj) A Powys-Lybbe, TD AMIEE to be Maj wef 1st Jan 1949.

2 Oct 1959: “Maj A Powys-Lybbe, TD, AMIEE (44124) having exceeded the age limit ceases to belong to T.A. Res of Offrs, 7the Oct 1959, and is granted the hon. rank of Lt-Col.”

His death index:

Name:                   Year of Birth:  
GRO Reference:  DOR  Q2/2004 in CHILTERN HILLS  (3271D)  Reg L11D  Entry Number 251

On 19 July 1937 he and Gilbert May, a farmer, possibly plus an engineer, embarked on the Highland Princess for Lisbon, portugal.  This could have been for a motor race as he was once invited by the Portuguese to appear there.

In 1937 he arrived at Southampton from Lisbon, Portugal, occupation: “none”, age = 28.

TFPL, April 2022: from the Ireland, Belfast & Ulster Directory for 1947

  Ulster Towns: DUNMURRY, Co Antrim.

  “Powys-Lybbe, Capt., Gowanhill, Drumbeg”

We had certainly been threre from c.1940 to c.1943
Arms Generally notes for Antony Powys-Lybbe
As RCL P-L plus the Trotter-Brown quarterings.
It is looking likely that he is the heir general of William Trotter of Horton Manor, Surrey.
Armorial Blazon notes for Antony Powys-Lybbe
Quarterly: 1st & 4th LYBBE: Ermine a bend between two lions rampant gules, 2nd & 3rd POWYS: Or a Lion's gamb erased between two cross crosslets fitchée in bend sinister gu.
Blazon source notes for Antony Powys-Lybbe
Royal Licence to his father (and grandfather) of 1907.
Notes for Antony & Rosemary Priscilla (Family)
From a certified Copy of the marriage Entry:

Registered No: 17 of the book for the district of Wokingham (for 1937)
Date: 27th Nov 1937
Husband: Antony Powys-Lybbe, aged 28, Bachelor, Gentleman of Mead House, Bradfield
Wife: Rosemary Priscilla Ferrand, aged 25, Spinster, of The Old House, Bradfield
Father of Groom: Reginald Cecil Lybbe Powys-Lybbe (deceased), Gentleman
Father of Bride: Guy Ferrand Ferrand, Gentleman
Marriage place: The Roman Catholic Church, St Mary's Woolhampton
Celebrant: W A Bloor, SB
Witnesses: Lilian Powys-Lybbe, Muriel Ferrand
Registrar: N A Champ

Their marriage from FreeBMD on the BMD indices is:

Surname   First name(s)   Mother/Spouse/Age   District  Vol  Page
Marriages Dec 1937   (>99%)
Ferrand Rosemary P Powys-Lybbe Wokingham 2c  1215
LYBBE Antony P Ferrand Wokingham 2c 1215
Powys-Lybbe Antony Ferrand Wokingham 2c 1215
Last Modified 2 Apr 2022Created 14 May 2022 by Tim Powys-Lybbe
Re-created by Tim Powys-Lybbe on 14 May 20220