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Nicholas Mosley

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The Lord Ravensdale
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
as a hereditary peer
9 February 1966 – 11 November 1999
Preceded byThe 2nd Baroness Ravensdale
Succeeded bySeat abolished[a]
Personal details
Born(1923-06-25)25 June 1923
London, England
Died28 February 2017(2017-02-28) (aged 93)
Resting placeHighgate Cemetery, London
Rosemary Laura Salmond
(m. 1947; div. 1974)
Verity Elizabeth Raymond
(m. 1974)
Children5 (including Ivo)
RelativesIrene Curzon (aunt)
Max Mosley (half-brother)
EducationEton College
Alma materBalliol College, Oxford
Military career
Service/branch British Army
UnitRifle Brigade
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsMilitary Cross

Nicholas Mosley, 3rd Baron Ravensdale, MC, FRSL (25 June 1923 – 28 February 2017), was a British peer, novelist and biographer, including that of his father, Sir Oswald Mosley, the founder of the British Union of Fascists.[1]


Grave of Nicholas Mosley, Lord Ravensdale, in Highgate Cemetery

Mosley was born in London in 1923. He was the eldest son of Sir Oswald Mosley, 6th Baronet, a British politician, and his first wife, Lady Cynthia Mosley, a daughter of George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston (a Viceroy of India and at the time of Mosley's birth Foreign Secretary). In 1932 his father, Sir Oswald Mosley, founded the British Union of Fascists and became an open supporter of Benito Mussolini. The following year, when he was only nine, Mosley's mother, Lady Cynthia, died, and in 1936 Diana Mitford, one of the Mitford sisters, who was already his father's lover, became his stepmother.[1]

As a young boy, Mosley began to stammer, and he attended weekly sessions with the speech therapist Lionel Logue to help him manage it.[2][1] He later said that his father claimed never really to have noticed this stammer, but still, he may, as a result of it, have been less aggressive when speaking to him than towards other people.[3] Mosley was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford. In 1940, his father was interned because of his campaigning against the war with Germany. The younger Mosley was soon commissioned into the Rifle Brigade and saw active service in Italy, winning the Military Cross in 1945.[4][1]

Following the war he studied philosophy at Oxford for a short time before marrying, taking to farming in north Wales before ultimately concentrating on his writing, primarily as a novelist but also producing several biographies.[1]

In 1966, Mosley succeeded his aunt Irene Curzon, 2nd Baroness Ravensdale, his mother's elder sister, as Baron Ravensdale, thus gaining a seat in the House of Lords; he did not use the title.[1] On the death of his father, on 3 December 1980, he also succeeded to the Mosley baronetcy of Ancoats. In 1983, two years after his father's death, Mosley published Beyond the Pale: Sir Oswald Mosley and Family 1933–1980 in which he proved to be a harsh critic of his father.[1] He called into question his father's motives and understanding of politics. The book contributed to the Channel 4 television programme Mosley (1998), based on Oswald Mosley's life. At the end of the serial, Nicholas is portrayed meeting his father in prison to ask him about his national allegiance.

He was a half-brother of Max Mosley, former President of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA).[5]

Mosley died on 28 February 2017 and is buried in the western side of Highgate Cemetery.

Personal life[edit]

Mosley married twice and was the father of five children. On 14 November 1947, he married firstly Rosemary Laura Salmond (divorced 1974, died 1991), daughter of Sir John Maitland Salmond and the Honourable Monica Margaret Grenfell,[6] and they had four children:

In 1974, after a divorce, he married secondly Verity Elizabeth Raymond, daughter of John Raymond, and had one son:

  • Hon. Marius Mosley (born 28 May 1976).[6][1]


Coat of arms of Nicholas Mosley
The Coronet of a Baron
An eagle displayed ermine
Quarterly 1st and 4th, sable a chevron between three Pickaxes argent (Mosley); 2nd and 3rd, argent on a bend sable three Popinjays or collared gules (Curzon)
Dexter: a Raven proper; Sinister: a Popinjay proper collared gules
Mos legem regit ("Custom rules the law")



  • Spaces of the Dark (1951)
  • The Rainbearers (1955)
  • Corruption (1957)
  • Meeting Place (1962)
  • Accident (1965; filmed in 1966 by Joseph Losey[1] with a screenplay by Harold Pinter)
  • Assassins (1966)
  • Impossible Object (1968; shortlisted for the first Booker Prize in 1969 and filmed in 1973 by John Frankenheimer as Story of a Love Story)[1]
  • Natalie Natalia (1971)
  • Catastrophe Practice (1979) (Part One of the Catastrophe Practice Series)
  • Imago Bird (1980) (Part Two of the Catastrophe Practice Series)
  • Serpent (1981) (Part Three of the Catastrophe Practice Series)
  • Judith (1986) (Part Four of the Catastrophe Practice Series)
  • Hopeful Monsters (1990) (Part Five of the Catastrophe Practice Series) – which won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award.[1]
  • Children of Darkness and Light (1995)
  • The Hesperides Tree (2001)
  • Inventing God (2003)
  • Look at the Dark (2005)
  • God's Hazard (2009)
  • A Garden of Trees (2012)
  • Metamorphosis (2014)
  • Tunnel of Babel (2016)
  • Rainbow People (2018)


  • African Switchback (1958)
  • The Life of Raymond Raynes (1961)
  • The Assassination of Trotsky (1972; filmed by Joseph Losey)
  • Julian Grenfell, his life and the times of his death, 1888–1915 (1976; republished by Persephone Books in 1999)
  • Rules of the Game: Sir Oswald and Lady Cynthia Mosley 1896–1933 (1982)[7]
  • Beyond the Pale: Sir Oswald Mosley and Family 1933–1980 (1983) [8]
  • Experience and Religion: A Lay Essay in Theology (1965; first published in 1965 by Hodder & Stoughton)
  • The Uses of Slime Mould – Essays of four Decades (2004)


  • Efforts at Truth (1994)
  • Time at War (2006)
  • Paradoxes of Peace (2009)

Further reading[edit]

  • Rahbaran, Shiva (2010). Nicholas Mosley's Life and Art: A Biography in Six Interviews. London: Dalkey Archive Press.
  • Rahbaran, Shiva (2007). Paradox of Freedom: a study of Nicholas Mosley's intellectual development in his novels and other writings. London: Dalkey Archive Press.
  • O'Brien, John (1982). "It's like a story. Nicholas Mosley's impossible object". Review of Contemporary Fiction.
  • Banks, John (1982). "Slight-of-Language". Review of Contemporary Fiction.



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Trewin, Ion (1 March 2017). "Nicholas Mosley obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  2. ^ "Broadcasting with the King's Microphone". BBC News. 27 February 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  3. ^ Mosley, Nicholas (27 February 2011). "Broadcasting House interview". Broadcasting House (Interview). Interviewed by Paddy O'Connell. London: BBC.
  4. ^ "No. 37027". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 February 1945. p. 1945.
  5. ^ Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, 107th edition, vol. 3, ed. Charles Mosley, Burke's Peerage Ltd, 2003, p. 3286.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Burke's Peerage, volume 3 (2003), p. 3283.
  7. ^ Mosley, Nicholas (1982). Rules of the Game: Sir Oswald and Lady Cynthia Mosley, 1896-1933 (First ed.). Glasgow: Wm Collins & Sons & Co. ISBN 0436288494.
  8. ^ Mosley, Nicholas (1983). Beyond the Pale - Sir Oswald Mosley 1933-1980 [Volume Two of the Mosley Biography] (First ed.). London: Secker & Warburg. ISBN 0436288524.
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Baron Ravensdale
Member of the House of Lords
Succeeded by
Baronetage of Great Britain
Preceded by Baronet
of Ancoats
Succeeded by