David Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron Redesdale

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About David Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron Redesdale


David was the father of the Mitford sisters:


David Mitford, the third Lord Redesdale, was the father of the famous 'Mitford Girls': Nancy, Pam, Diana, Unity, Jessica and Deborah. A sharp tongued, strongwilled man of impeccable good looks. As a young man, according to the artist Helleu, he was "all khaki except for the eyes", tanned with sandy hair and piercing blue eyes. he and his soon to be wife Sydney Bowles, were so beautiful, "they were like Gods walking the earth". He fought among the Northumberland Fusiliers in the Boer War, losing a lung. Before inheriting the title or Lord Redesdale, David was employed by his father in law, Thomas Gibson-Bowles, at the publication The Lady, which Bowles founded along with Vanity Fair. He also owned a shack in Canada, where he would prospect for gold, in a town called Swastika, which ironically would be where Unity would be conceived. His children delighted in his humor and his famous rages. He was known for claiming that White Fang was the only book he ever read, claiming he found "it so frightfully good" he never bothered to read another book. (Probably an undiagnosed case of dyslexia was the real cause of his abomination of the written word.)His dislike of his daughters aesthete friends was also well known and many, especially in the case of Nancys friends, delighted in being called a "Swinbrook Sewer". His wife Sydney later remembered that he was actually using the South African word for 'pig', or soer pronouced "sua". But she wondered if it was "worse being called a sewer or a pig." He became a much lampooned charachter in his daughters books and is shown as shades of Uncle Matthew in a Nancy Mitford novel. David was also prone to 'roaring' at his daughters after building and moving into Swinbrook House, much loathed compared to the lovely Asthall, which had a barn converted into a library which also housed a piano. This is where his daughters learned about books and art and music, paving the way for 4 best selling authors, in Nancy, Diana, Jessica and Deborah. David passed a way shortly after his 80th birthday. He had been living apart from his wife for many years, parted by political differences and broken down by his daughters many scandals. He enjoyed a last visit with his wife and daughters, Diana Lady Mosley and Deborah Duchess of Devonshire, before passing on March 17, 1958. He was buried next to the church at Swinbrook, where decades earlier he had donated pews from his winning at Grand National.

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David Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron Redesdale's Timeline

March 13, 1878
Gloucestershire, England, United Kingdom
February 6, 1904
Age 25
November 28, 1904
Age 26
Belgravia, London, England
November 25, 1907
Age 29
Wilbury, Wiltshire, England
Age 30
June 17, 1910
Age 32
Belgravia, Westminster, England
Age 35
September 11, 1917
Age 39
Burford, Oxfordshire, England
March 31, 1920
Age 42
Asthall Manor, Oxfordshire, England
March 17, 1958
Age 80
Northumberland, England, United Kingdom