McCalmont, Harry, Leslie Blundell (DNB12)

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McCALMONT, HARRY LESLIE BLUNDELL (1861-1902), sportsman, born on 30 May 1861, was only son (in a family of three children) of Hugh Barklie Blundell McCahnont (1836-1888), barrister, of Lincoln's Inn, Uving at Hampton Court, by his wife Edith Florence, daughter of Martin Blackmore of Bonchurch, Isle of Wight. From Eton, Harry passed in 1881 into the 6th foot, and in 1885 was gazetted to the Scots guards, from which he retired in 1889. Meanwhile he became heir of an immense fortune left him by his great-uncle, Hugh McCalmont, of Abbeylands, co. Antrim, who died unmarried on 20 October 1887, leaving an estate valued at 3,121,931l. The residuary estate, amounting to about 3,000,000l., was left in trust to pay 2000l. a year to his grand-nephew for seven years after the testator's death, and then the capital and interest were to be transferred to the heir. In 1894 McCalmont thus came into possession of some 4,000,000l. A keen sportsman, he engaged largely in racing, yachting, and shooting. He purchased from John James Robert Manners, seventh duke of Rutland [q. v. Suppl. II], the Cheveley estate at Newmarket, where game was very plentiful, and he delighted in hospitality and benevolence. On the turf McCalmont placed himself under the guidance of Captain Machell [q. v. Suppl. II]. One of the first horses he owned was Timothy, who in 1888 carried his colours (light blue and scarlet, quartered ; white cap) to victory in the contests for the Gold Cup and Alexandra Plate at Ascot. From Machell he purchased for 500l. the Wenlock mare Deadlock, who, bred to Isonomy, produced in 1890 the colt Isinglass. During the four seasons this horse was in training he won the huge sum of 57,455l. — as a two-year-old 4577l., at three years old 18,860l., at four 31,498l., and at five 2520l. This is the largest amount won by any one horse on the English turf. In 1893 Isinglass was successful in the Two Thousand Guineas, Derby, and St. Leger ; the following year he won the Princess of Wales's Stakes of 10,911l., the Eclipse Stakes of 9285l., and the Jockey Club Stakes of 11,302l., and in 1895 he carried off the Ascot Cup. At the stud Isinglass became the sire of two 'classic' winners — Cherry Lass, who won the One Thousand Guineas and Oaks in 1905, and Glass Doll, who won the Oaks in 1907. One of his sons. Rising Glass, ran second in the Derby and St. Leger, and won the Jockey Club Stakes as his sire had done. Among many other good horses that carried the colours of McCalmont were Suspender (winner of the Royal Hunt Cup), Amphora (winner of the Stewards' Cup at Goodwood), and St. Maclou, who won the Lincolnshire Handicap, beating Sceptre, finished second in the Cambridgeshire, and won the Manchester November Handicap in 1902.

McCalmont, who was elected a member of the Jockey Club in 1893, was returned as conservative M.P. for the Newmarket division of Cambridgeshire in 1895 and was re-elected in 1900. At the time of the latter election he, as colonel of the 6th battalion of the Royal Warwickshire regiment, was serving in Capo Colony and the Orange Free State during the South African war ; for his South African services he was made C.B.

On 16 Jan. 1902 ho moved in the House of Commons the address in reply to the King's speech. On 8 Dec. 1902 he died suddenly from heart failure at his house, 11 St. James's Square, and was buried in the churchyard at Cheveley.

He was twice married: (1) to Amy, daughter of Major John Miller, who died in 1889; and (2) in 1897 to Winifred, daughter of Sir Henry do Bathe. He left no issue, and the bulk of his fortune passed to his second cousin, Dermot McCalmont, son of his father's first cousin, Colonel Sir Hugh McCalmont, K.C.B. Cartoon portraits by 'Spy' appeared in 'Vanity Fair' in 1889 and 1896.

[Burke's Landed Gentry ; The Times, and Sportsman, 9 Dec. 1902 ; Ruff's Guide to the Turf; Baily's Mag. 1895 (portrait); H. Sydenham Dixon, From Gladiateur to Persimmon; Badminton Mag., Feb. 1903.]

E. M.