Dorothy Heber-Percy

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Dorothy Heber-Percy (Lygon)

Death: November 13, 2001 (89)
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
Place of Burial: Madresfield St Mary The Virgin Churchyard, Madresfield, Worcestershire, England
Immediate Family:

Daughter of William Lygon, 7th Earl Beauchamp and Lettice Mary Elizabeth Lygon, Countess Beauchamp
Wife of Robert Vernon Heber-Percy
Sister of William Lygon, 8th Earl Beauchamp; Lettice Cotterell; Mary Lygon; Hugh Patrick Lygon; Richard Edward Lygon and 1 other

Managed by: Ric Dickinson, Geni Curator
Last Updated:

About Dorothy Heber-Percy

Photo: Dorothy Lygon on right with sister, Mary Lygon, and Evelyn Waugh

Lady Dorothy Lygon (22 February 1912 – 13 November 2001) was an English socialite, part of the Bright Young Things.


Lady Dorothy Lygon was born on 22 February 1912, the daughter of William Lygon, 7th Earl Beauchamp and Lady Lettice Grosvenor, daughter of Victor Grosvenor, Earl Grosvenor and granddaughter of the 1st Duke of Westminster.

Her friendship with Evelyn Waugh began in the early 1930s; to Dorothy Lygon, Waugh explained that the Lygons were only part of inspiration for the novel Brideshead Revisited; Dorothy most likely inspired the character of Lady Cordelia Flyte. According to Laura Herbert, Waugh's wife, Dorothy was "the nicest of all" her husband's friends. Waugh dedicated Black Mischief to Mary and Dorothy Lygon. Her nicknames to friends were "Coote", "Pollen" or "Poll".

During World War II, Lygon served as a Flight Officer in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force posted to Italy. After the war she moved to a farm in Gloucestershire. In the 1950s, she worked as social secretary at the British Embassy in Athens. In 1956 she moved to Istanbul, working as a governess. She then moved to the Greek island of Hydra. In the 1960s she moved back to England and worked as an archivist at Christie's.

In 1985 she married Robert Heber-Percy, the former companion/lover of the composer Lord Berners until the latter's death in 1950, when Robert inherited Faringdon House in Oxfordshire. They "parted amicably" a year later. She was instrumental in re-publishing in 2000 the lost work The Girls of Radcliff Hall. She died in 2001 aged 89.

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Dorothy Heber-Percy's Timeline

February 22, 1912
November 13, 2001
Age 89
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
November 19, 2001
Age 89
Madresfield St Mary The Virgin Churchyard, Madresfield, Worcestershire, England