Concept

Wilfrid Scawen Blunt

Summary
Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (17 August 1840 – 10 September 1922), sometimes spelt Wilfred, was an English poet and writer. He and his wife Lady Anne Blunt travelled in the Middle East and were instrumental in preserving the Arabian horse bloodlines through their farm, the Crabbet Arabian Stud. He was best known for his poetry, which appeared in a collected edition in 1914, and also wrote political essays and polemics. He became additionally known for strongly anti-imperialist views that were still uncommon in his time. Blunt was the son of Francis Scawen Blunt, of Crabbet, by his wife Mary Chandler. Blunt was born at Petworth House in Sussex, home of his aunt's husband Baron Leconfield. He served in the Diplomatic Service 1858–1869. He was raised in the faith of his mother, a Catholic convert, and educated at Twyford School, Stonyhurst, and at St Mary's College, Oscott. He was a cousin of Lord Alfred Douglas. In 1869 Blunt married Lady Anne Noel, daughter of the Earl of Lovelace and Ada Lovelace, and granddaughter of Lord Byron. Together the Blunts travelled through Spain, Algeria, Egypt, the Syrian Desert, and extensively in the Middle East and India. Based upon pure-blooded Arabian horses they obtained in Egypt and the Nejd, they co-founded Crabbet Arabian Stud. They later bought a property near Cairo named Sheykh Obeyd to house their horse-breeding operation in Egypt. As an adult Blunt became an atheist, though he underwent episodes of faith. His writings and some of his friendships show he gained a serious interest in Islam and became immersed in its reformist strands. Blunt had supposedly become a convert to Islam under the influence of al-Afghani. He agreed before he died to see a priest, Fr Vincent McNabb, and receive Communion, so fulfilling a prediction of Sir William Henry Gregory, as recalled by his wife: "You will see Wilfrid will die with the wafer in his mouth." In 1882, Blunt championed the cause of Urabi Pasha, which led to him being barred from Egypt for four years. Blunt was generally anti-imperialist as a matter of belief.
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