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- Lord Digby
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Born in 1846, the eldest son of 9th Lord Digby, he was educated at Harrow and then joined the Coldstream Guards, where he made his career, rising to the rank of Colonel and serving in the Sudan from 1885 to 1889. He also served as M.P. for Dorset from 1876-1885. On the death of his father in 1889, he resigned his commission and came home to Minterne. In 1893 he married Emily Beryl, daughter of Col. the Hon. Albert Hood and they had three sons and three daughters.
He became involved in local affairs, accepting the appointment as Chairman of the Board of Herrison Hospital, Charminster and serving as a J.P. and local magistrate, Chairman of the Dorchester Agricultural Society and honorary Colonel in the Dorset Regiment. He planted the rhododendron gardens at Minterne and sponsored plant expeditions to China and the Himalayas, breeding his own varieties in his glass houses and becoming a member of the Royal Horticultural Society.
The house at Minterne suffered from damp and dry rot, and in 1906 he fulfilled his promise to his wife to build a new house. He employed the architect Leonard Stokes, who had built Post Offices and was famously difficult to get on with. However, Lord Digby’s friendly and practical approach charmed him and he produced a marvellous design for his only country house which is still comfortable to live in.
He took an active interest in his estate at Geashill, and was saddened when the Irish Land Act of 1903 resulted in the end of the link with a number of his tenants, some of whom had been on the Digby estate for generations.
Geashill, King's County (Offaly)
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