Sir George Reresby Sitwell, 4th Baronet

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George Reresby Sitwell

Birthdate: (83)
Birthplace: London, England
Death: 1943 (83)
Locarno, Switzerland
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir Sitwell Reresby Sitwell, 3rd Baronet and Louisa Lucy Sitwell
Husband of Ida Emily Augusta Sitwell
Father of Dame Edith Sitwell, DBE; Sir Osbert Sitwell, 5th Baronet and Sir Sacheverell Sitwell, 6th Baronet

Managed by: Michael Lawrence Rhodes
Last Updated:

About Sir George Reresby Sitwell, 4th Baronet

Sir George Reresby Sitwell, 4th Baronet (27 January 1860 – 9 July 1943) was a British antiquarian writer and Conservative politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1885 and 1895.

Sitwell was born in London, the son of Sir Sitwell Reresby Sitwell, 3rd Baronet and his wife Louisa Lucy Hutchinson, daughter of the Hon. Henry Hely Hutchinson. His father died in 1862 and he succeeded to the baronetcy at the age of two. He was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford. He was a lieutenant in the West Yorkshire Yeoman Cavalry.

Sitwell contested Scarborough seven times, losing twice in 1884. He was elected Member of Parliament for the constituency at the 1885 general election, but lost it at the 1886 general election. After regaining the seat in the 1892 general election, he lost it again in the 1895 general election.

A keen antiquarian, Sitwell worked on the Sacheverell papers, and wrote a biography of his ancestor, William Sacheverell and published The Letters of the Sitwells and Sacheverells. His collection of books and papers are said to have filled seven sitting-rooms at the family house, Renishaw Hall, in Derbyshire. He researched genealogy and heraldry, and was a keen designer of gardens (he studied garden design in Italy).

In 1909 he purchased the Castello di Montegufoni, near Florence, then a wreck inhabited by three hundred peasants. Over the next three decades he restored it to its original design, and took up permanent residence there in 1925, writing to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Chancellor of the Exchequer to explain that taxes had forced him to settle in Italy. He remained in Italy at the outbreak of war, but in 1942 moved to Switzerland and died at Locarno at the age of 83.

Sitwell married, in 1886, Ida Emily Augusta Denison, daughter of William Henry Forester Denison (later 1st Earl of Londesborough). In 1913 he refused to pay off her many creditors, and saw her prosecuted and imprisoned for three months. He was succeeded by his elder son Osbert, who described him vividly in his five volume autobiography. Sir George's other two children were the writers Edith and Sacheverell Sitwell.

Sir George Sitwell (father of the famous writer Dame Edith Sitwell) was a very bizarre man in many ways. He was a keen gardener (he actually studied garden design) and, annoyed by the wasps in his garden, he invented a pistol for shooting them. After he moved to Italy to avoid taxes in Britain, he refused to pay his new wife’s debts which resulted in her spending three months in prison. He was such an avid reader and collector of books that he had seven libraries in his home. Other eccentricities included paying his son an allowance based on the amount paid by one of his forebears to his son during the Black Death, and trying to pay his son’s Eton school fees with produce from his garden. But perhaps most bizarrely, Sir George had the cows on his estate stenciled in a blue and white Chinese willow pattern in order to make them look better. This is the notice that Sir George hung on the gate of his manor in Derbyshire, England: “I must ask anyone entering the house never to contradict me or differ from me in any way, as it interferes with the functioning of my gastric juices and prevents my sleeping at night.”


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Sir George Reresby Sitwell, 4th Baronet's Timeline

London, England
September 7, 1887
Age 27
Yorkshire, England
December 6, 1892
Age 32
London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
November 15, 1897
Age 37
Age 83