William Fox-Pitt races to court over capital distribution at Rushmore Estate
William Fox-Pitt
When Major Michael Pitt-Rivers passed away in 1999, the family’s Rushmore estate was inherited by his male lover William Gronow-Davis, the businessman vowed to continue the conservation work Pitt-Rivers had devoted his life to, which included the restoration of the estate’s Larmer Tree Gardens.

The millionaire went so far as to defy the odds in 2009 that, despite the recession, he spent thousands of pounds erecting a 65ft folly in the grounds of the 7,500 acre estate in Dorset. 

However five years on, Mandrake understands that Gronow-Davis is taking cost-cutting measures to ensure its future.

According to a high court document, the businessman has applied to have the estate’s capital distribution held in the estate rather than split among the other beneficiaries who are made up of 23 of Pitt-River’s descendants - including the Olympic equestrian William Fox-Pitt. Fox-Pitt, along with his extended family, are listed as defendants in the case. While the equestrian declined to comment, citing the case as a “house matter,” a spokesman for the Rushmore estate insists that this is move agreed by all trust members. “They are applying to the court to have the trust varied to ensure the upkeep on the estate.”

Gronow-Davis began his relationship with Pitt-Rivers after the landowner’s marriage to George Orwell’s widow Sonia Brownell ended in 1965. Prior to this he was put on trial for buggery in 1954, in a case that led to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967.

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