Obituary: Lord Somerleyton: Carpet empire descendant

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LORD Somerleyton, Savile Crossley, whose family was among Halifax’s important benefactors, has died. He was 83.

He entered public service and in 1978 he was appointed a lord-in-waiting to the Queen.

In 1991 he was appointed Master of the Horse, one of the three great offices of state.

He retired from the Queen’s Household aged 70 in 1998 and a year later he received the Knights Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in the 1999 New Year Honours list in recognition of services to the monarchy.

Dr John Hargreaves, the chairman of Halifax Civic Trust, said: “He took an active personal interest in the restoration of People’s Park as guardian of this wonderful asset created for the enjoyment of the people of Halifax by his great-grandfather Sir Francis Crossley.

“It is a living memorial to the family’s association with the town which owed so much of its economic growth in the Victorian era to the carpet manufacturing business developed by the Crossleys, at Dean Clough.

“I had several conversations with Lord Somerleyton when I was writing my history of Halifax and was always impressed with his deep respect for his family’s historic roots.”

Sir Francis Crossley and his brothers John and Joseph took the family carpet company forward, expanding overseas to Europe, Australasia and America and at its height employed over 5,000 people.

Sir Francis was elected MP for Halifax in 1852 for the Liberal party and remained so until his death 20 years later. He was also Mayor of Halifax and created a baronet in 1863.

Lord Somerleyton was educated at Eton but broke from family tradition to join the Army straight from Eton in 1947. He went on to serve with the Coldstream Guards between 1948 and 1956.

He died at his home in Herringfleet where his funeral will be held on Thursday followed by a thanksgiving at St Margaret’s Church, Lowestoft, on February 15.