Sir Tatton Sykes
As the eldest son of the 4th Baronet of the same name, Sir Tatton Sykes was born into enormous wealth and privilege in 1826. And it was a privilege he enjoyed to the full. His was a life full of earning and spending vast sums of money, of fast horses and young women and of eccentricities. However, far from being a harmless eccentric, history has not looked favourably on Sir Tatton. These days, his actions are seen as those of a spoiled bully who needed to learn some manners.
Upon his father’s death in 1863, he inherited the Sykes baronetcy, complete with title, a generous annual income and a luxurious home called Sledmore. His very first act upon moving into his ancestral home was to order the servants to destroy all the flowers in the garden. Sir Tatton Sykes truly hated flowers. He called them “nasty, untidy things”, and his war against them wasn’t confined to his own back garden. The Sledmore estate was also home to an entire village where servants and other people lived. Sir Tatton ordered that all the flowers here be destroyed too. Indeed, if you lived on land owned by the eccentric aristocrat, the only ‘flower’ he would permit you to grow was a cauliflower.
Despite his vast wealth and comfortable surroundings, Sir Tatton grew increasingly eccentric – and unpleasant. He came to believe that it was important he maintained a constant bodily temperature. To this end, he always dressed in layers, both at home and outside. If he got too warm, he would simply take off a layer, tossing it to the floor for a servant to pick up. He even wore two pairs of trousers and would, to the alarm of everyone else, simply take off a pair if he felt his temperature was getting too high.
Sir Tatton also became increasingly paranoid as he aged. Unsurprisingly, when he married at the age of 48 (to a well-bred lady 30 years his junior!) the union was far from a happy one and soon ended, leaving the eccentric aristocrat all alone. In his later years, he refused to eat anything but rice pudding. However, maybe there was some wisdom in his ways, for Sir Tatton lived to the ripe old age of 87, dying in 1913 and passing his title and wealth onto his son, Mark, who would be far more sensible.