Chairman, National Provident & Philanthropist
Lawrence Emlyn Douglas Bevan is regarded as the last of the Lofft family-line associated with Troston. He was renown for his charitable work and generosity to villagers who had fallen on hard times. He waved rents on property he owned and provided modest pensions.
His father, Frederick Bevan had been Robert Lofft’s oldest male nephew. When Robert died in 1900, the estate was put in the hands of Trustees, who included his sisters and his nephew Frederick. (The Bevans were members of a large Quaker family who in 1896 merged their network of banks across East Anglia with Barclays Bank).
Aged 55, Frederick died in 1916 and the estate remained with the other Trustees - his mother Eliza Bevan and aunts: Mrs Holden and Miss Lofft. Frederick’s eldest son, Lawrence, was born in 1903 and therefore still a minor and not regarded as a beneficiary.
In 1919, Mrs Bevan and Miss Lofft died - and Mrs Holden sold the whole estate to Mr F.W.Wateridge of Shropshire - an admired advocate of agricultural reform like Robert Lofft. Like Robert he experimented with establishing a co-operative farm with some of his employees, who agreed to put a percentage of their wages into the venture. After four years of scant returns, the entire estate was put up for sale and some of the participants received small parcels of land around Troston - others never saw a profit on their investment.
Having escaped the farming world, Lawrence went into the family banking business. He was noted for his reserved nature and prudent approach to investment.He was an early owner of a Rolls Royce. Over the years he progressed to become chairman of the National Provident Institution - another financial enterprise with Quaker roots.
He proceeded to buy back some of the estate when it came up for sale. He lived, however,most of the time in London but spent many weekends in Troston Cottage with his chauffeur. He was noted for his charitable works in the Honours List, in particular through donations to St Peter’s and St Paul’s Hospital in London.
On his death in 1972, his heir Timothy (a distant cousin) sold the last vestiges of the estate.