R. D. (Robin) Chancellor (1921-2010)

Published on 01 January 2011 in Obituaries

Robert Duff (Robin) Chancellor died on 27th October 2010, after a short illness, in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He was aged 89. He had a Buddhist funeral in Chiang Mai on 2nd November 2010. His ashes will be returned to England for burial in the churchyard in Stoke Bruerne, the village in Northamptonshire near Stoke Park, the listed country house where he lived for many years. He purchased the two derelict Inigo Jones pavilions, dating from 1630, in 1954 and restored them; he lived in one of the pavilions, a former chapel, the main house having been destroyed by fire in 1886.

Robin was born in London on 24th October 1921, the son of Lt Col. Sir John Robert Chancellor (sometime head of that Scots gentry family of Shieldhill, Lanark- shire) and Mary Elisabeth Howard, and was educated at Eton and Trinity College Cam- bridge. His father’s diplomatic posts included the appointments of First Governor of the self-governing colony of Southern Rhodesia (1923-28) and High Commissioner and Commander in Chief for Palestine and Transjordan (1928-31). Robin’s youth was spent in these former colonies, from which his love for warm climates undoubtedly derived. He detested the English winters. Rec- ollecting his past, he liked to recount the fol- lowing anecdote. During a visit to Israel he studied the former Governor’s palace from all angles and was finally asked by a policeman what he was up to. He replied dryly: ‘I spent part of my youth in these buildings – my father was the Governor of Palestine’; and after that he was invited inside and allowed to look around. It was in Jerusalem, at eight years old, that he contracted measles, causing his eyesight to be permanently damaged.