Sir George Trevelyan: brief biographies

Sir George Trevelyan, Bt: obituary

The Daily Telegraph, 9 February 1996

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Sir George Trevelyan, 4th Bt, who has died aged 89, was dubbed "the Hippies' Champion" for his promotion of 'alternative spirituality' in the 1960s.

Trevelyan was an early enthusiast for such practices as holistic healing, harnessing the power of crystals and ley lines, paneurythmic dancing, meditative chanting, as well as communal living and organic farming.

As the years passed he found himself reluctantly cast in the role of elder statesman of the 'New Age' movement, which he thought was dominated by Californian charlatans and scruffy caravan-dwellers.

Daily Telegraph obituaryHis own beliefs were aristocratic and eclectic, encompassing Arthurian legend, Christian mysticism, and a dualist concept of a Lord of the Cosmic Intelligence battling with the Dragon of Materialist Thinking.

His efforts were rewarded in 1982 when he received the 'Alternative Nobel Prize', endowed by a Swedish philatelist, for his work toward 'healing the planet'.

The son of Sir Charles Trevelyan, 3rd Bt, George Lowthian Trevelyan was born on Nov 5 1906. The family claimed its coat of arms derived from that of Sir Trevillian, a Knight of the Round Table. Sir Charles served in both of Ramsay MacDonald's administrations, and was brother of the historian G M Trevelyan.

Young George was educated at Sidcot School and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he read History, and was master of the 'Trevelyan Man Hunt', a bloodless Lakeland chase founded by his historian uncle, in which humans took the place of both hares and hounds.

The Trevelyans were aggressive agnostics. Anyone showing the slightest symptom of religious conviction was dismissed as "pi". George Trevelyan's early career gave little indication that he would establish himself as a spiritual guru. He trained as a furniture maker and taught at Gordonstoun and Abinger Hill School.

At the age of 36, Trevelyan attended a lecture on Rudolph Steiner's Anthroposophy. "I have no doubt", he later opined, "that this event in my life was staged by higher destiny, and that the time was ripe for a leap in consciousness".

Any such leap was postponed by the Second World War, in which Trevelyan served with the Home Guard, before teaching for two years at No 1 Army College, Newbattle Abbey.

Afterwards Trevelyan was appointed warden of the adult education centre at Attingham Park, Shropshire. He took an active part in shaping every course; from chamber music and 'The Great Country Houses of England' to 'Finding the Inner Teacher' and 'Death and Becoming'.

In 1958 he succeeded his father. Meanwhile, Birmingham University and the local council, which funded courses at Attingham Park, looked increasingly askance at Trevelyan's mystic bent. In 1971 he left to found the Wrekin Trust, a forum for spiritual voyagers, and was its president until 1986.

Trevelyan had a friendly glint in his eye, but could be disconcerting on first acquaintance. "And what are you doing?", he would ask strangers.

His books included A Vision of the Aquarian Age (1977) and Exploration into God (1991).

Trevelyan married, in 1940, Editha Lindsay-Smith, who died in 1994. The heir to the baronetcy is his brother, Geoffrey Trevelyan (born 1920).


Sir George shared the Daily Telegraph obituary page of 9th February 1996 with:
Most Rev Derek Worlock, progressive archbishop
Sidney Hicks, founder of the Animal Welfare Trust

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