SIR Ashley Ponsonby – a former Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire – has died aged 89.

Sir Ashley was renowned for his kindess, impeccable manners and a sense of duty. He remained in good health until a short time before his death on June 15.

Sir Hugo Brunner, Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire from 1996 to 2008, said: “He was a lovely man. He took his duties very seriously as Lord Lieutenant but not himself.”

His funeral was held at St Mary’s Church in Wootton-by-Woodstock yesterday.

Sir Ashley was the Queen’s representative in Oxfordshire from 1980 to 1996, attending more than 2,000 appointments in the role.

In 1993, he became a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, an honour as a personal gift of the Queen. From 1977, he and his wife, Lady Martha, lived at Woodleys near Woodstock.

Ashley Ponsonby was born in 1921, the fourth of five children and only son of Charles Ponsonby, Conservative MP for Sevenoaks from 1935 to 1950, and Winifred Gibbs.

Educated at Eton and Oxford, Sir Ashley’s four terms at Balliol College, in 1940 and 1941 were unsatisfactory as the war was on and he was not a natural student.

But he was awarded his degree 56 years after leaving the university.

He also received an honorary doctorate from Oxford Brookes.

From 1941 to 1946, Sir Ashley served with the Coldstream Guards. For the last two-and-a-half years of the war, he was in the 2nd Battalion, serving in North Africa and Italy.

In February 1944, he narrowly escaped death at Monte Ornito, Italy.

He was wounded by a sniper’s bullet and was awarded the Military Cross for his “outstanding gallantry and devotion to duty”.

This included encouraging his men in the face of great danger.

In 1947, he joined merchant bank Helbert Wagg and in 1950 he married Martha, younger daughter of the 6th Marquess of Ormonde.

Sir Ashley’s four sons, four daughters-in-law, 11 grandchildren and numerous friends, were said to be the centre of his life.

Sir Ashley succeeded to his father’s baronetcy in 1976 and his eldest son Charles now succeeds.

Sir Ashley was also on the finance committee of the Church Commission, and on the Council of the Duchy of Lancaster.

A memorial service will be held at Christ Church, Oxford, on September 14 at 2.30pm.