Percival Bayzand served as Sisi’s groom for many years until 1881. Born in Oxford his father William had moved to the city from London six years before Percival was born. William ran the Maidenhead Inn in Turl Street before switching to the Lamb and Flag, St Giles’s Street when Percival was aged two. After taking over he inserted an advertisement to that effect in Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 8 September 1849, adding: ‘Well-aired Beds, extensive Stables, and Lock-up Coach-houses.— Dealer in Hay, Corn, &c.’
William was described as the employer of one man, and lived at No. 12 with his wife and six children and two house servants. Percival was a scholar at this time.
By 1861 Bayzand was calling himself a ‘hotel keeper’, while his eldest son, also William, was a cab proprietor. The same year he gave up the inn and started to work as a janitor for the university.
By the time the 1871 census was taken Percival was working as a jockey, before he joined Empress Elisabeth as her groom.
He went to Vienna to work for Empress Elisabeth and was recorded with Empress Elisabeth in Ireland. But the stiff, demanding fences were too much for Bayzand and he had several falls, the last of which led to him giving up as groom. Percival must have moved back to Oxford, where his family lived, and he died in Headington, east of Oxford, aged 50.
Picture © L. and R. Offer