Sir Samuel Haslam Scott Bt. (1875-1960)

Sir Samuel Haslam Scott Bt.

Written by Jean Warburton

Occupations: Businessman and Philanthropist

Life and family

Samuel Scott was born Samuel Schott on 7 August 1875 in Ashton on Mersey, the family name being changed to Scott in the late 1880s. He was the eldest of three children and had a sister, Jane Millicent (1879-1964) and a brother, Francis Clayton (1881-1979; DCB). His father was James William Scott Bt. (1844-1913; DCB), a cotton spinner and manufacturer, who was the son of John George Schott (1816-1858) a merchant whose family came originally from Frankfurt and Sarah Anne Kinder (1815-1895). On 16 April 1874, James Schott, as he then was, married Anne Jane Haslam (1849-1922) daughter of John Haslam (1818-1876), a cotton manufacturer, and his wife, Jane (1817-1899). Samuel Haslam was educated at home because of indifferent health and then went to Oriel College, Oxford obtaining a BA and then MA in 1902. After leaving Oxford, he went to Art School in London.

On 4 April 1905 at the Parish Church in Paddington, Samuel Scott married Carmen Estelle Heuer (1879-1919) daughter of Edmund Nicolaus Heuer (1845-1902), a merchant and his wife Annie Sarah Jardine. They had three children: Mary Margareta (1910-1960); Anne Katharine Sibella (1912-2008) who married Jocelyn Wiseman Fagan Morton (1912-1987), the son of Sir James and Lady Morton of Dalston Hall, Carlisle; and James Philip Edmund (1915-1942). James Scott was a Captain in the Kings Royal Rifle Corps Infantry and died on active service in Libya on 31 May 1942. As the eldest son, Samuel inherited his father’s baronetcy in 1913. Dame Carmen Scott died in London on 8 February 1919.

On 8 March 1920 in Bromley, Kent, Samuel Scott married Nancy Lilian Anderson (1881-1935), daughter of William Anderson (1843-1910), wine merchant, and his wife, Mary. Samuel and Nancy had one son, Oliver Christopher (1922-2016) who married Phoebe Anne Tolhurst (1926-2016) and became a renowned radiobiologist. Nancy Scott, during the First World War, had been a nurse at Endell Street Military Hospital and it was thought that the strain of her service affected her health and led to her early death on 15 August 1935. Less than two years later on 17 January 1937 in Chippenham, Wiltshire, Samuel Scott married Marion Dorothy Garnett (1888-1978) daughter of the late Charles Garnett (1867-1931) a cotton spinner and manufacturer and his wife, Mary, of Hall Garth, Carnforth. They did not have any children.

Samuel Scott grew up in Bolton and remained there after his marriage to Carmen in 1905. Increasing concerns about Carmen’s ill health led him to purchase Linthwaite, Windermere in about 1913. In 1916, his main home became The Yews, the house his father had purchased on the Storrs Hall Estate in 1896. Samuel died there on 23 June 1960 and is buried in Holy Trinity Churchyard, Winster, near Windermere where Marion joined him after her death on 21 December 1978.


Samuel Scott’s father founded the Provincial Insurance Company Ltd in 1903 in Bolton mainly to provide the opportunity of a career for his son, Francis, as he had shown an interest and potential in business matters. Samuel had intended to devote himself to literature and the arts. Despite this, he was appointed a director of the Company of which his father became Chairman and his brother, company secretary. After the death of Sir James Scott in 1913, Samuel became Chairman, a position he retained until 1946, and Francis became managing director. Samuel, from an early stage, was actively involved in the daily management of the Company, partly because Francis was often away due to ill health. The two brothers were, in effect, partners in the business, Samuel making a vital contribution to the management of the company. It was said in his obituary in the Westmorland Gazette of 1 July 1960 that in the formative years of the business he was the guiding hand to a greater extent than was probably realised by staff in later years.

In the 1920s, Samuel withdrew from active involvement in the daily management of the Company and his role became one far more appropriate to that of a chairman. He supported his brother who was the driving force behind the growth of the Company but he took a broader view of the Company’s development with his disciplined and objective approach providing a balanced and humane perspective. He still attended the Board and the Finance, Marine and Foreign Committees but widened his business interests to become a board member of a publisher in London and he became involved in the International Association for the Promotion and Protection of Trade.

Both Samuel’s and Francis’ wives suffered ill health and doctors advised a moved from Bolton. The two brothers proposed to relocate the Company’s offices to the better air of Westmorland in 1913 but Sir James would not agree. Samuel had become concerned about poor living conditions in towns and unemployment in the countryside and saw wider benefits of moving the Company to Westmorland. After Sir James’ death later the same year, the head office finally moved to Sand Aire House in Kendal in 1919. The Company steadily expanded in terms of both volume and types of insurance becoming one of the leading insurers in the British market with also a substantial international organisation. The Company is now part of the AXA group. Samuel used his wealth from the Company to fund not only time to pursue his literary interests but also his philanthropic objectives.


Samuel Scott had two areas in which he was an active philanthropist – medical and landscape preservation, mainly in connection with the National Trust. In 1945, he became President of the Bolton Royal Infirmary. Six years later, he endowed the Sir Samuel Scott of Yews Trust which, whilst it has wide general charitable objects, funded and continues to fund medical research. He was also Chairman of the Westmorland Cancer Company which promulgated Sambord’s theory of virus causation.

Samuel had enjoyed visits to Windermere as a teenager but spent more time in the area after his father purchased The Yews in 1896. He developed a passion for topography that became an expression of his affection for the Westmorland countryside and fuelled his commitment to conservation. Keld Chapel, a former chantry for Shap Abbey, was Samuel Scott’s first involvement with the National Trust; he provided the money for its purchase in 1918. He was actively concerned in the raising of funds by the Trust to purchase the Monk Coniston estate in 1930, giving £200 specifically allocated for the acquisition of Tarn Hows and the surrounding land. In 1931, a boulder was erected on a high crag above Tarn Hows with an inscription recording that the Tarns were given to the Trust in memory of Sir James Scott and Anne, Lady Scott. Fifteen years later, family friends joined Samuel Scott to buy the adjacent property, High Arnside, for the Trust to commemorate his eldest son, Philip, who had died in Libya in 1942.

Samuel Scott’s great desire to preserve the landscape led him in 1936 to buy the Glencoyne Estate of over 2,000 acres on Ullswater and then to impose restrictive covenants against development. Later, with his children, he gave the estate to the National Trust thus linking up the Trust properties from Stybarrow Crag to Gowbarrow. It was said that, with the exception of Mrs William Heelis (1866-1943; DNB), no single benefactor had ever done so much for the preservation of the scenery of Lakeland. In 1937, he gave two acres of foreshore at Windemere to the National Trust for a footpath along the lake which was linked to the gift of Rayrigg Meadow, purchased at a cost of £40,000, to the Windermere Urban District Council in permanent recognition of the coronation.


Samuel Scott’s original intention was to devote himself to literature and the arts but the call of the family business intervened to restrict that ambition. When he withdrew from active involvement in the Provincial Insurance Company in the 1920s, he was able to devote more time to literature and writing. In 1904, he published ‘A Westmorland Village. The Story of the Homesteads and Statesman Families of Troutbeck by Windermere’, having had access to the manuscripts of the Browne family who lived at Townend. Ten years later saw the publication of ‘Sir James William Scott, A Short Memoir’. Publications then became more frequent with a collection of sketches and reflections entitled ‘Vignettes of Childhood’ and, in 1926, a collection of essays, ‘The Silver Ship’ followed, in 1929, by ‘A True Relation’ which were notes on a sixteenth century manuscript. His interests were wide and in 1932 ‘Robino and other Stories’ translated from the Italian appeared. He was comfortable in different genres producing a biography of the abolitionist Thomas Day, ‘The Exemplary Mr Day 1748-1789’ and writing articles for the Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society. With his brother, Francis, he published, in 1953, ‘Personal Account: Some Recollections of Fifty Years of the Provincial Insurance Company’.

Public Service

Samuel Scott was a Justice of the Peace and served as High Sheriff of Westmorland in 1926. The other positions he held reflected his interests in the preservation of the landscape and history of Cumbria. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the National Trust, vice-chairman of the Trust’s Lake District Advisory Committee, chief correspondent of Ancient Monuments in Westmorland and Lancashire-North-of-the-Sands and served on the Council of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society being Vice-President in 1931. His particular interest in the agriculture of the county and his position as a leading local landowner led to him being Chairman of the Westmorland Agricultural Society from 1931 to 1950 and President of the Rough Fell Sheep Breeders Society from 1928 to 1950.


Samuel Scott was a man of wide and cultured interests who is mainly remembered for his generous gifts of land in the Lake District to the National Trust. These gifts, together with his writings, were the physical manifestations of his sensitive feelings and his love of the arts and beautiful things. Although perhaps a reluctant business man, he was remembered in his obituary as a Chairman whose gentle nature and mellow judgement won the respect, the confidence and indeed the love of all who were privileged to serve under him. He was said to have surveyed the human scene with perspicacious humour and he certainly took a broad and tolerant view of human behaviour in not allowing the vandalism of some his property by the few to prevent him giving the public the right to wander over his land.


Primary sources

  • England and Wales Census 1851-1911
  • Manchester Non-Conformist Marriages 1758-1937
  • England and Wales Civil Registration Marriage Index 1837-1915; 1916-2005
  • London Church of England Marriages and Banns 1754-1932
  • England and Wales Civil Registration Death Index 1837-1915
  • England and Wales Civil Registration Birth Index 1837-1915
  • National Probate Calendar Index of Wills and Administrations
  • England and Wales Select Births and Christenings 1538-1975
  • England and Wales Christening Index 1530-1980
  • Penrith Observer 28th July 1931; 17th May 1932; 21st November 1933;
  • Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette 16th August 1935
  • Dundee Evening Telegraph 9th January 1937
  • Lancashire Evening Post 13th November 1937
  • Lancaster Guardian 22nd September 1944
  • Manchester Evening News 6th January 1945
  • Westmorland Gazette 1st July 1960
  • The Guardian 29th December 2016

Secondary sources

  • UK and Ireland Find a Grave Index
  • Oliver M Westall, The Provincial Insurance Company 1913-1938. Family, Markets and Competitive Growth (1992)
  • B L Thompson, The Lake District and the National Trust (1945)
  • Sir S H Scott and F C Scott, Personal Account, Some Recollections of 50 Years of the Provincial Insurance Company (1953)
  • In Memoriam of Sir Samuel Haslam Scott (1960), Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeology Society 2nd Series Vol 6 211
  • Oliver M Westall, A Family Policy – a brief history of the first 75 years of the Provincial Insurance Company (1978)