The Baronets Heygate

A Northern Ireland blogger posting as Lord Belmont has put up a history of the Heygate family of which John Heygate was a member. Heygate is perhaps best remembered as having alienated the affections of Evelyn Waugh’s first wife. He was also a novelist, but his works are out of print and mostly forgotten despite the fact than several of them retain their interest. He was the 4th Baronet Heygate and his succession to  the title is explained in the posting:

“SIR FREDERICK GAGE HEYGATE JP DL (1854-1940), 3rd Baronet, of Bellarena, married Flora, daughter of John Walter, in 1888;

major, the Mid-Ulster Artillery; barrister-at-law; DL, County Londonderry; Justice of the Peace; lived at Bellarena in County Londonderry and was Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Londonderry, 1887-88.

His cousin,

SIR JOHN EDWARD NOURSE HEYGATE, 4th Baronet (1903-76), of Bellarena,

married firstly, the Hon Evelyn Florence Margaret Winifred Gardner, daughter of Herbert, 1st and last Baron Burghclere of Walden, in 1930; secondly, Gwyneth Eliot, daughter of John Eliot Howard Lloyd, in 1936; thirdly, Dora Luz, daughter of John Harvey, in 1951.

He is chiefly remembered for his liaison in 1929 with Evelyn Gardner while she was married to Evelyn Waugh. Heygate and Gardner subsequently married, then divorced. He is portrayed as “John Beaver” in Waugh’s A Handful of Dust.

By the 1970s, the 4th Baronet was living alone in Bellarena when, in 1976, he took his own life by shooting himself.”

It is explained earlier in the post that the house called Ballerena, located in County Londonderry, was acquired by the family through marriage in 1851. The baronetcy, however, dates back to 1831. Heygate is also probably the inspiration for a spotty-faced announcer at the BBC mentioned briefly in Vile Bodies.

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