On August 17, Lord Lloyd Tyrell-Kenyon, 6th Baron Kenyon, passed away at the age of 72 following a short illness. His great-great-great grandfather, the second Lord Kenyon, was the College’s namesake and one of its original benefactors.
The family’s connection to the College is rather informal — the Kenyons have hosted students in England and receive the alumni magazine. According to Thomas Stamp ’73, College historian and Keeper of Kenyoniana, the nearly 200 years of contact show that Kenyon College and Lord Kenyon are connected by more than just name.
The second Lord Kenyon, the original benefactor for whom the College is named, never actually stepped foot in Gambier. He came to meet Philander Chase after Lord Gambier introduced them when Chase was in Britain soliciting funds to found an Episcopalian seminary in Ohio. Lord Kenyon made a promise of funds that allowed Chase to proceed in founding the institution that would become Kenyon. According to the sixth Lord Kenyon, the second Lord Kenyon saw funding Chase’s project as a way to raise his clout amongst the Anglican Church’s ecclesiastical elite. While Lord Kenyon was active in the politics of England at this time, he saw supporting Chase’s venture as a way to increase his involvement with the Church.
The sixth Lord Kenyon visited the school named for his family twice in his life, most notably in October of 1999, when he came to campus to deliver the Founders’ Day Address on the 175th anniversary of the College. In his address, he talked about the first time he came to Kenyon, on a road trip across the United States that he took after graduating from Cambridge University in 1969.
“Although the College was closed for the summer holiday when we arrived, everybody we met made us feel very welcome and nothing was too much trouble,” he recounted in his address.
Lord Kenyon and his wife, Lady Sally Kenyon, visited Gambier in 1999.
“When they were here, I think they were very taken with Kenyon,” Stamp said. In particular, Lady Sally, a florist, was enamored by central Ohio’s unique flora. “Lord Kenyon shared her passion for plants,” Stamp said. “He had the largest collection of [varieties of] viburnum in England.”
In addition to his passion for plants, Lord Kenyon was an active councillor on the Wrexham County Borough Council, representing Overton. He was also a member of the Clwyd South Conservative Association. According to an obituary in The Leader, a local newspaper in Wrexham, Wales, he served the area for 26 years.
By speaking at the 175th anniversary of the College’s founding, the sixth Lord Kenyon was carrying on a tradition started by his grandfather, who came to campus for the College’s centennial celebration in 1924. His father continued the tradition by coming for the College’s sesquicentennial in 1974 and again in 1984 for the dedication of Olin Library.
“The original Lord Kenyon certainly never set foot in Gambier, so it’s fascinating and really kind of cool that that connection, even on a sort of casual, informal basis has been maintained over the course of nearly 200 years between the original benefactor’s family and the College,” President Sean Decatur said. The sixth Lord Kenyon is survived by two sons, Lloyd Nicholas Tyrell-Kenyon and Alexander Simon Tyrell-Kenyon. Lloyd Nicholas, his eldest son, is now the seventh Lord Kenyon. With the College’s bicentennial just five years away, it remains to be seen if he too will make the journey to the college that bears his family’s name.