The builder of Avon Carrow is unquestionably one of the most fascinating characters in the West Midlands’ history.
Cecil William Boyle, who only lived to the age of 48, played international rugby union for England and first-class cricket before a rather more unfortunate feat. He was the first member of the Imperial Yeomanry, a volunteer cavalry regiment, to be killed in the Second Boer War.
It was a remarkable end to a remarkable life for the gifted sportsman, whose love for hunting led him to the Warwickshire home.
Decades before it was bought by the Profumo family, Avon Carrow was built by Boyle as a hunting lodge. It was supposed to be sold on but after his wife fell in love with the property they lived there and unsurprisingly his standing as a fearless huntsman grew.
Boyle was born in Westminster and educated at Clifton College in Bristol before playing both cricket rugby union for the University of Oxford.
In 1873 he became the first ever Oxford player to be capped for the England national rugby union team, appearing in a Test against Scotland in Glasgow.
He also played five first-class cricket matches for Oxford University with the fast bowler’s career highlight a 7/33 in his debut against the MCC at Lord’s.
He also took a first-class hattrick for Oxford University, against Middlesex.
He left university without taking a degree and chased success on the stock exchange before opting to invest his money in land in Warwickshire.
Boyle fought with the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars regiment of the Imperial Yeomanry in the Boer War and 30 of his own horses with him to South Africa
However, his life was cut short when he was killed in action in April 1900.