Lytham’s new squire is looking forward to maintaining a proud family tradition as he follows in the footsteps of his grandfather.
Hugo Bryan, 26, inherited the ancient title following the death of James Hilton and despite currently being based in the south of England, is keen to build on his grandad’s good work and reputation.
Mr Hilton, who died in October, aged 90, was married to his wife Penelope for 63 years.
Their daughter Katherine, mother of new Squire Hugo, is now Lady Bryan, wife of High Court judge Sir Simon Bryan, who grew up in Blackpool.
Both attended Cambridge University but never associated there and actually met some time later on a blind date in Lytham.
Hugo said: “I have many happy memories of visits to Lytham to see family and very much look forward to carrying on his charitable work in the Fylde as Lord of the Manor, and taking a keen interest in local projects.
“We are all still very much grieving my grandfather and taken up with the process of organising personal aspects of his passing. I do, however, have every intention of continuing the work of the late Squire, not only in ensuring that the traditions of the ancient Manor of Lytham live on, but also in striving to bring together the community of Lytham.”
Mr Hilton, who was renowned for his deep affection for Lytham and backing for many good causes, bought the title more than 40 years ago from Harry Clifton, the last of the family who occupied Lytham Hall up to the 1960s and long owned much of the south Fylde land stretching north to Squires Gate.
The original intention was for the Lytham title to pass to Mr Hilton’s son Marcus, but he died in his 40s in 2008 and the inheritance passed to Marcus’ nephew Hugo, who is a land and planning manager currently based in the
He said: “Although I do not live in the area, both sides of my family have their roots embedded in Lytham and the town holds many of my fondest and earliest memories.
“I hope that at some point in the future it may be possible for me to return to the town and play a more active role as my grandfather did.
“I am looking forward to forging relationships with members of the community in the New Year.
“As patron of several churches, I will be looking to offer my support to the clergy and parishioners and am also particularly interested in continuing to preserve and if possible extend the impressive collection of historic records at the County archive office.”
Mr Hilton’s funeral at St Cuthbert’s Church, Lytham, was preceded by a horse-drawn carriage procession, above, and there were glowing tributes to him from leading figures in the town.
Peter Anthony, general manager of Lytham Hall, which is now managed by the Heritage Trust North West, said: “James Hilton was very proud of his precious Lytham and was always keen to ensure it kept its traditional charm.
“He ensured the ancient title ‘Squire of Lytham’ continued to live on by purchasing it from Henry Talbot de Vere Clifton in the 1970s. By him doing this, it meant the tradition of this title is not lost and can live on.”
Marion Coupe, chairman of Lytham St Annes Civic Society, said: “Mr Hilton took his responsibilities seriously and did his best to support initiatives which helped to care for our town. His ownership of the Clifton archives which are lodged in Preston has been very important as so often such papers are sold off to outsiders and not available for research.”