Charles Bathurst, 1st Viscount Bledisloe

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The Right Honourable
The Viscount Bledisloe
Formal portrait of a man in his sixties in uniform
Formal portrait of Lord Bledisloe in uniform.
4th Governor-General of New Zealand
In office
19 March 1930 – 15 March 1935
Monarch George V
Preceded by Sir Charles Fergusson, Bt
Succeeded by The Viscount Galway
Member of Parliament
for Wilton
In office
15 January 1910 – 15 October 1918
Preceded by Levi Lapper Morse
Succeeded by Hugh Morrison
Personal details
Born (1867-09-21)21 September 1867
London, United Kingdom
Died 3 July 1958(1958-07-03) (aged 90)
Lydney, Gloucestershire
United Kingdom
Nationality British
Political party Conservative

Charles Bathurst, 1st Viscount Bledisloe GCMG KBE PC (21 September 1867 – 3 July 1958), was a British Conservative politician and colonial governor. He was Governor-General of New Zealand from 1930 to 1935.

Early life

Born in London and educated at Sherborne School, Eton and then University College, Oxford, where he studied law and graduated with a BA in 1890.[1]

Member of Parliament

Bathurst worked as a barrister and conveyancer and in 1910 entered parliament representing the Conservative Party as MP for the South or Wilton division of Wiltshire. After serving as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food, Bathurst was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 1917, and raised to the peerage as Baron Bledisloe, of Lydney in the County of Gloucester. He remained in parliament until 1928, serving as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries from 1924 onwards, and was a member of the Privy Council from 1926.

Governor-General of New Zealand

After leaving parliament, Lord Bledisloe was created a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George and appointed the fourth Governor-General of New Zealand, an office he held from 1930 until 1935, proving to be extremely well liked and respected. His social conscience was much appreciated during the Depression era, as was his insistence that his salary should be cut as were the salaries of public servants at the time. Bledisloe also contributed to improved PākehāMāori relations, purchasing the site where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed and presenting it to the nation as a memorial. In 1934, the site was dedicated as a national reserve. The dedication ceremony attracted thousands of people, both Māori and Pākehā. Bledisloe continued to take an interest in the site even after his term expired and he returned to England. Bledisloe also contributed to the recognition of the Māori King Movement by developing a friendship with King Koroki and Te Puea Herangi, and his willingness to use the title "king" without reticence.[1]

Bledisloe also promoted various causes and events by the presentation of trophies, the most famous of these being the Bledisloe Cup, the trophy for an ongoing rugby union competition between New Zealand and Australia, first awarded in 1931, and currently contested annually.[1]

In 1935, he was awarded the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal.[2]

Upon returning to England in 1935, he was made Viscount Bledisloe, of Lydney in the County of Gloucester.[1] He continued to serve on a number of committees and councils, was awarded honorary doctorates from the universities of Bristol, Edinburgh and Oxford, and was made a fellow of University College, Oxford. On his 90th birthday he endowed the Bledishoe Gold Medal for Landowners of the Royal Agricultural Society of England to be awarded annually for the application of science or technology to some branch of British husbandry. [3]

Lord Bledisloe died, aged 90, at Lydney on 3 July 1958, and was succeeded as Viscount Bledisloe by his eldest son, Benjamin Ludlow Bathurst.


He was a freemason. During his term as Governor-General (1930-1933), he was also Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand.[4]


Upon its formation in 1888, Bathurst was invited to become President of Lydney Rugby Football Club. He held this position for 70 years until his death and was succeeded as by his eldest son, Benjamin Ludlow Bathurst. The Bledisloe Cup and Bledisloe Park sports ground are both named for Bledisloe.


  • 1867–1910: Charles Bathurst
  • 1910–1914: Charles Bathurst, MP
  • 1914–1917: Captain Charles Bathurst, MP
  • 1917–24 October 1918: Captain Sir Charles Bathurst, KBE, MP
  • 24 October 1918 – 1926: The Right Honourable The Lord Bledisloe, KBE
  • 1926–1930: The Right Honourable The Lord Bledisloe, KBE, PC
  • 1930-1 January 1935: His Excellency The Right Honourable The Lord Bledisloe, GCMG, KBE, PC
  • 1 January – 28 June 1935: The Right Honourable The Lord Bledisloe, GCMG, KBE, PC, KStJ
  • 28 June 1935 – 1958: The Right Honourable The Viscount Bledisloe, GCMG, KBE, PC, KStJ


Arms of Charles Bathurst, 1st Viscount Bledisloe
Charles Bathurst Arms.svg
The arms of Charles Bathurst consist of:
A dexter arm in mail enbowed, holding in the hand all Proper, a club with spike Or.
Sable two bars ermine, in chief three crosses pateé Or.
On either side a bull guardant Gules, ringed, and a line therefrom reflexed over the back Or.
Tien ta foy


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Marshall, Russell (22 June 2007). "Bledisloe, Charles Bathurst 1867 – 1958". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Retrieved 11 November 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Official jubilee medals". Evening Post. 6 May 1935. p. 4. Retrieved 2 July 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Bledisloe Gold Medal for Landowners". RASE. Retrieved 17 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "VICE REGAL GRAND MASTERS - WHO AND WHY?". Kent Henderson Freemansonry.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Levi Lapper Morse
Member of Parliament for Wilton
Succeeded by
Hugh Morrison
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Charles Fergusson
Governor-General of New Zealand
Succeeded by
The Viscount Galway
Sporting positions
New office President of Lydney Rugby Football Club
Succeeded by
Benjamin Bathurst
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Bledisloe
Succeeded by
Benjamin Bathurst
Baron Bledisloe