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Lord Revelstoke

Liam Collins recalls the 'crazy flying' specialist who inherited the title and Lambay Island on his brother's death

The 6th Lord Revelstoke, who has died at the age of 83, was a noted flying enthusiast whose family, the Barings, have owned Lambay Island off the coast of north Co Dublin since 1904.

James Cecil Baring, born on August 16, 1928, was the youngest son of the 4th Lord Revelstoke and inherited the title and the island with its small 'castle' and teeming wildlife on the death of his elder brother John (the 5th Lord Revelstoke) in 2003.

A flying enthusiast who, according to legend, was a specialist in "crazy flying" and held a deep "suspicion of all regulation of private flying", was able to come and go to his island retreat --which has its own airstrip as well as harbour -- at will.

The family have always protected their privacy, requiring sailors to obtain an official permit to land on the island. However, one local group of kayakers who got permission to visit the gardens were quite surprised to find Lord Revelstoke tending to his planting, and he engaged them in pleasant chit-chat about the island and why it is so special to the family.

According to one of them, they asked if it was true that there was a herd of wallabies on the island -- and they were told by Lord Revelstoke that it was. The herd is supposed to be descended from marsupials which were sent to the island when Dublin Zoo became overcrowded.

However, neither of the sons had as much interest in the island as their father, Rupert Baring, the 4th Lord Revelstoke, who lived much of his life on Lambay and died in Dublin in 1994.

The 4th Lord was a godson of Sir Edwin Lutyens, who designed the 'castle' and often visited the island. Rupert, who was educated at Eton and Cambridge, had the distinction of being the last man in England to be sued for 'breach of promise'. His case led to a change in the law.

Visitors to the island during that period included Sir John Betjeman and the film maker Michael Powell, who wrote the screenplay for his film Black Narcissus, while staying there.

The 6th Lord Revelstoke was educated at Eton before joining the RAF, which he left in 1959. He established a recording studio in Regent Street in London which was used by bands such as The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix in their early days.

He then went into aircraft broking and had the agency for the Marchetti SF260 trainer, a plane later bought by the Irish Air Corps.

He later moved to Provence in France in the early Seventies with his first wife Nini and their two children. They later divorced and he married Sarah Stubbs, with whom he had two daughters. This marriage was also dissolved.

He was an early devotee of the internet, and over the years invested considerable sums in various internet ventures, mostly in Russia and Eastern Europe.

The 6th Lord Revelstoke is succeeded by his eldest son, Alexander, who becomes the 7th Lord Revelstoke.

Sunday Independent