Bamber Gaascoigne stands in front of West Horsley Place

Adrian Lajtha, Chair of the West Horsley Place Trust, writes:

The trustees and the whole team at West Horsley Place today mourn the passing of our founder, inspiration and friend, Bamber Gascoigne. All of our thoughts are with his wonderful wife and co-founder of the West Horsley Place Trust, Christina.

It is thanks to the remarkable vision and tremendous generosity of Bamber and Christina that our charity exists. More than preserving this remarkable place for future generations, this vision means that West Horsley Place has a mission to enrich peoples’ lives.

In 2014 Bamber found himself the unexpected heir of his great-aunt Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe; inheriting West Horsley Place, its contents and 380-acre estate. The Grade I listed medieval Manor House was on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk register, the listed outbuildings were also in a parlous state and the grounds had been long-neglected. Despite the challenge, Bamber instinctively understood the beauty, historic significance and spirit of this place and was determined to find a way to save it.

Bamber in the Geraldine RoomThe Gascoigne vision for West Horsley Place was that it should be brought back into good repair (no mean feat with £10-12 million required in repair works) and should be open for as many people from as many different walks of life as possible to come and enjoy with history, arts and nature at the heart of our activities.

Above and beyond his incredible career, Bamber was so kind, so witty and such joyous company, a wonderful story teller and a truly rare intellect. He was always delighted to meet our volunteers and visitors and be ‘hands on’ and was a huge presence in the work of the Trust. While we mourn the loss of our founder, we celebrate the achievements and legacy of this most remarkable of men.