Edward Langton Iliffe Rt Hon #67153, son of Edward Mauger Iliffe Rt Hon and Charlotte Gilding.
Born 25 Jan 1908 Foleshill, Warwickshire, England, died 15 Feb 1996, 88 years. Occupation: 2nd Baron Iliffe of Yattendon, Co. Berkshire (British Peer) &
As the Iliffe's marriage was childless, on Langton Iliffe's death, in 1996, the title passed to his nephew, Robert Peter Richard Iliffe, 3rd Baron Iliffe (b.1944).
Married 8 Dec 1938 (57 years married) to:
Renee Merandon du Plessis Lady #67157, daughter of Rene Merandon du Plessis and Jeanne de Bricqueville.
Born 15 Nov 1916 Mauritius, died 15 Aug 2007, 90 years
SOURCE: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1563144/Renee-Lady-Iliffe.h tml
Renee Lady Illiffe, who died on August 15 aged 90, was responsible with her late husband, the newspaper publisher Lord Iliffe, for rescuing and restoring Basildon Park in Berkshire.
Overlooking the Thames near Reading, John Carr of York's Palladian villa, with its Adam-style interiors, was built between 1776 and 1783 for Sir Francis Sykes, one of several Indian "nabobs" to settle in the area. Much later Basildon suffered a period of sad neglect; having been bought by a speculator in 1929 it was stripped of many of its fittings, and offered for sale to any rich American who cared to dismantle it and ship it to the United States.
When the Iliffes first saw the house in 1952 it was about to be relinquished by the Ministry of Works, further damage having been done under military occupation during the war.
"To say it was derelict is hardly good enough," Lady Iliffe wrote later.
"No window was left intact, and most were repaired with cardboard or plywood; there was a large puddle on the Library floor, coming from the bedroom above, where a fire had just been stopped in time; walls were covered with signatures and grafitti from various occupants. There was one army washroom, for six people at a time, but no other sign of modernisation. It was appallingly cold and damp. And yet, there was still an atmosphere of former elegance, and a feeling of great solidity. Carr's house was still there, damaged but basically unchanged."
Emerging from the house into the overgrown, rubbish-strewn park, Lady Iliffe remarked to a friend: "How sad, what a waste - and it could still be saved." He replied: "Why don't you?"
At a time when building materials were still rationed and the fate of many similar houses was demolition, Lady Iliffe persuaded her husband that they should take up the challenge.
The Iliffes engaged an enterprising firm of local builders and, after cutting out the dry rot, mounted an expedition to Panton Hall in Lincolnshire, where Carr had also worked. The house was to be used as a temporary store for crops before being pulled down.
They were excited to find that many fittings similar to those lost from Basildon were still in place.
A deal was struck with the farmer in a nearby field: anticipating a seaside holiday with his children, he gleefully accepted £100 for two lorry-loads of salvaged material, including a couple of marble chimney-pieces and 10 mahogany doors. So precise were Carr's measurements that the Panton doors fitted the Basildon sockets exactly.
Gifted, energetic and practical, Lady Iliffe applied a remarkable flair for interior decoration to the arrangement and furnishing of the house.
She involved herself in every aspect of the work, making curtains and rugs, scrubbing the dirt from a newly-acquired carpet, and climbing a ladder to nail red felt to the walls of the octagonal drawing room, enthusing her butler, cook and maid to assist her in these tasks.
The great country-house dispersal sales were a source for much of the furniture, with other pieces being acquired from various salerooms.
The drawing-room was hung with pictures bought by Lord Iliffe, a discerning collector of Italian religious paintings, which his wife preferred to portraits of "other people's ancestors".
By her subtle, but not slavish, evocation of Basildon's original grandeur and atmosphere Lady Iliffe contributed in no small measure to the mid-20th-century revival of interest in Georgian taste.
She and Lord Iliffe lived happily at Basildon for 25 years and, after presenting it in 1978 to the National Trust, along with a handsome endowment, remained there as tenants. The property currently attracts around 50,000 visitors a year.
Lady Iliffe was born Renée Merandon du Plessis on November 15 1916 on Mauritius.
Her forebears, originally from Dijon, had made their way there from the neighbouring French island of Réunion, settling in 1854 on Mauritius, which had been taken by Britain from France in 1810.
Sugar production, the principal industry of Mauritius, had been developed by the French, who under British administration continued to account for the larger part of the island's European population.
As the prosperous owners of the Constance Manès sugar mill, three generations of Renée's family had thrived under British rule.
Her father, René Merandon du Plessis, had completed his education in England in the 1890s, lodging in a remote north country parsonage.
The eccentric incumbent infected René's speech with flat northern vowels, which mixed incongruously with his French accent but did not prevent his being called to the Bar by Gray's Inn.
After his marriage in France to Jeanne, daughter of the eminent musicologist Eugène de Bricqueville, he had returned to Mauritius to manage the Merandon property and to dabble in liberal politics.
The family home from 1921 was a beautiful and very remote 5,000-acre plantation called Chamarel, bounded on one side by a spectacular 100ft waterfall.
René was monarch of all he surveyed and dispensed justice from under a tree to the semi-wild share-croppers who lived in straw huts on the estate. The place was so inaccessible that, apart from the priest, outsiders seldom ventured there.
The eldest of four children, Renée grew up to be sturdily independent. With the collapse of the sugar industry, the family were increasingly strapped for cash.
Entertainment - swimming, sailing and tennis - came at no extra cost, and they dressed in simple cotton clothes that they had run up themselves.
Renée became a proficient needlewoman, and all her life was prepared to turn her hand to anything.
During term-time migrations to Curepipe, an upland residential area, Renée would take charge in the absence of her father. Her life changed dramatically through the intervention of her aunt Edith, René's sister.
Tall, dynamic and beautiful, Edith had somehow procured the appointment of her Dutch husband as the Liberian chargé d'affaires in London.
Thus accredited to the Court of St James's, she had soon launched herself into English society. Her second husband, from 1931, was the 1st Lord Kemsley (formerly Sir Gomer Berry), co-proprietor with his brother William, Lord Camrose, of Allied Newspapers Ltd.
Edith insisted that the impoverished René decamp with his entire family to England, where, in 1933, she found him a well-paid job with Kelly's Directories, a holding of Allied Newspapers.
Whilst her father languished in an office, Renée attended Heathfield and was "finished" in Paris, where she hungrily imbibed French culture and managed to iron out her sing-song Mauritian accent. On weekend visits to her grandfather at Versailles, she would explore the palace and park.
Cultivated and exotic, with film-star looks, she returned to London for her "coming out", and was introduced in her third Season to Langton Iliffe, whose father, the 1st Lord Iliffe, was a partner with the Berry brothers in Allied Newspapers.
The couple fell in love and they married in December 1938. With her sister Irène's marriage, a year later, to the 20th Viscount Dillon, the family's remarkable assimilation into the British aristocracy was complete.
Renée Iliffe first revealed her flair for interior decoration during the war (in which Langton served as an RAF intelligence officer), unfailingly bringing touches of warmth and elegance to a succession of temporary quarters. Afterwards they were keen to find a country house that was close to the Iliffes' Yattendon estate, their first house there proving unsatisfactory. Basildon was nearby, and indeed had been briefly owned by Langton's father in the late 1920s.
Bitterly disappointed not to have children, Renée Iliffe channelled her energies into making the perfect home for her husband, who succeeded to his father's peerage in 1960 and died in 1996.
She was a skilled and generous hostess, her genius being to create an atmosphere in which comfort was mixed with elegance, and to inject it with a sense of fun.
She was also a tireless supporter of various charities, organising a sewing-circle at Basildon that raised considerable sums for the Red Cross. As president of the Westminster branch, she helped to raise further large sums for the Red Cross at the Christmas markets held in the motor car showrooms in Piccadilly and later at Kensington.
Since 1978 she had lived in one of the "pavilions" adjoining the main house at Basildon, a converted laundry block that she had made equally splendid, if on a smaller scale. The faint French accent which she retained to the end, and her charming habit of pronouncing "donkey" like "monkey", hinted at her romantic background.