Sitwell Society  Promoting the literary legacy
 
   Home      The Sitwells      Henry Moat
Henry Moat (1871-1940)
There are certain people of strong character, who, not being gifted in any special way, are always of note. One such is Henry, who being close to Sir George also endeared himself to the whole. family.  Born in Whitby he is found at The Crag in 1881 aged 10. He became employed as a footman by the Sitwell family just as they moved into Belvoir House, and recounts the date, in a later letter to Lady Ida, as being 26th October 1893. He would stay with the family until his retirement in the mid-1930's.
 

As Sir George began to travel he increasingly found Henry as his close companion, and became dependent on him  Too, the three children found him a ready shield in time of trouble, whilst he was always the strongest personality of all the servants. By 1908 we find him as Sir George's butler, and in later years in Italy Henry's huge bulk was a formidable source of protection in a quite lawless society.

Wherever the family went we find Henry. In Osbert's autobiography he is rarely absent, and his letters, from first Scarborough and then Whitby, are full of that earthy humour and sage guidance which endeared him. His last letter, dated 23rd February1940 at 7, Cliff St. Whitby was written on the morning of the day of his death. As Osbert read that letter at Renishaw, he recalled an earlier conversation of that day with Edith, each having heard a  sound of disturbance and rumblings in the pantry throughout the night.
 
Henry lived in retirement at a house in Beaulah Terrace, Scarborough, and on the wall upstairs he had written his own short biography, as had others, describing himself as valet to Sir George.

The comical was always part of Henry. His brother, from Whitby, would bring the family pet seal on a day out to see Henry, and would take it for a walk on the beach. A carriage would be waiting at the station for conveyance. As the Sitwells were lampooned by the media, so did this man attract the same fate. Henry was valuable because he could dispel any atmosphere which was too rarified or refined. In fact he helped the family to be at ease with themselves and each other. Small wonder that visitors would remark on the amiable disposition towards Henry by his employers, in retrospect the family functioned best with his freedom of expression, but more with his loyalty and discretion.