Battle at “Brideshead”

The Sunday Telegraph and Mail on Sunday both carry reports of a sibling battle at Castle Howard over the running and occupancy of the estate. The North Yorkshire estate was the setting for both film adaptations of Waugh’s novel Brideshead Revisited. Waugh himself had little contact with the Castle Howard estate or the family that owns it, and aside from a day trip to house in 1937 recorded in his Diaries (p. 420) doesn’t mention any visits.

According to the Telegraph, the current occupant, younger son Simon Howard, offered to take over management of the estate several years ago when his elder brother, Nicholas, decided he would rather be a rock star. The papers report that an eviction notice has now been issued to Simon and his family. This seems more akin to a Trollope novel that to one by Waugh. On the other hand, Waugh’s novel also involved a conflicted inheritance theme. In Brideshead Revisited, Lord Marchmain changed his will to arrange that the estate pass to his daughter Julia, rather than to his elder son “Bridey”, who would have inherited in the normal course of things. This decision seemed inspired primarily by Lord Marchmain’s dislike of Bridey’s wife, Beryl.

COMMENT (28 December 2015): Here’s a drawing by Ian Hampton inspired by this dispute.

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