Ravenscourt, which was sadly demolished in the 1980s

A wealthy man, by the time of his death in 1974 Howlett owned Ravenscourt, Buckland Farm, Ampress Farm, Battramsley Farm and Newtown House and Farm in Portmore. Due to his abiding interest in fishing, he also owned a stretch of the River Test, where he often took clients fishing.

“He was the gaffer, but we never had a salesman like Howlett.”

Walt Glasspool
Lord Montgomery presenting a cup to John Howlett’s bull at a show in June 1961. LMGLM: 1997.128

Howlett built contacts with the heads of many of the major automotive firms, including Daimler, Rolls Royce and Leyland Motors. Once made, he nurtured those contacts, taking people to play golf or holding shooting and fishing parties at Sowley. Tony Martin recalls “undoubtedly the real friendship between John Howlett and the Spurriers [of Leyland Motors] got us over many a small difficulty which could otherwise have blown up.”

His interests also extended to farming and in 1960 his prize-winning herd of pedigree Guernsey cows gained the coveted Supreme Male and Female Championship Award of the Royal Agricultural Society.

View the gallery below to see photos of Howlett’s family life.

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