Charles Shaw-Lefevre, 1st Viscount Eversley

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The Right Honourable
The Viscount Eversley
Charles Shaw-Lefevre, Viscount Eversley.jpg
Lord Eversley in the 1860s.
Speaker of the House of Commons
In office
Monarch Victoria
Preceded by Hon. James Abercromby
Succeeded by Sir Evelyn Denison
Personal details
Born 22 February 1794 (1794-02-22)
London, England
Died 28 December 1888(1888-12-28) (aged 94)
Nationality British
Political party Whig
Spouse(s) Emma Whitbread (d. 1857)
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge

Charles Shaw-Lefevre, 1st Viscount Eversley GCB, PC (22 February 1794 – 28 December 1888), was a British Whig politician. He served as Speaker of the House of Commons from 1839 to 1857. He is the second-longest serving Speaker of the House of Commons, behind Arthur Onslow.

Background and education

Shaw-Lefevre was the son of Charles Shaw-Lefevre by his wife Helena, daughter of John Lefevre. His younger brother, Sir John Shaw-Lefevre, was a senior civil servant and one of the founders of the University of London, while his nephew, George, was a Liberal politician. He was educated at Winchester[1] and Trinity College, Cambridge.[1][2] In 1819 he was called to the Bar, Lincoln's Inn.[1]

Political career

Shaw-Lefevre was the son-in-law of the sister of Lord Grey,[1] the Whig Prime Minister, which advanced his career greatly.[citation needed] A Whig, he was Member of Parliament for Downton from 1830 to 1831,[1][3] for Hampshire from 1831 to 1832[1][4] and for North Hampshire from 1832 to 1857.[1][4] During the 1830s he was chairman of a committee on petitions for private bills and of a committee on agricultural distress. His report from the latter position was not accepted by the House of Commons but was published as a pamphlet addressed to his constituents. He acquired, says the Encyclopædia Britannica, "a high reputation in the House of Commons for his judicial fairness, combined with singular tact and courtesy." When James Abercromby retired as Speaker of the House of Commons in 1839, Shaw-Lefevre was put forward as the Whig candidate and defeated the Tory candidate Henry Goulburn by 317 votes to 299.[5] He was sworn of the Privy Council at the same time.[6]

Shaw-Lefevre remained speaker until 1857, by which time he was second-longest-serving speaker ever, after Arthur Onslow, who held the post for more than 33 years.[5] On his retirement in 1857 he was elevated to the peerage as Viscount Eversley, of Heckfield in the County of Southampton.[7] He attended the House of Lords infrequently, with his last recorded speech in July 1873.[8]

Other work

Shaw-Lefevre was director of the insurance company Sun Fire Office from 1815 to 1841,Recorder of Basingstoke 1823-35 and Chairman of Hampshire Quarter Sessions 1850-79. He also served in the North Hampshire Yeomanry Cavalry from Lieutenant in 1821, and was twice Lieutenant-Colonel in its command in 1823-27 and 1831.[9]

In 1857 he was appointed Governor of the Isle of Wight, which he remained until 1888.[1] He was also an ecclesiastical commissioner and a trustee of the British Museum.[5] In 1885 he was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB).[10]


Lord Eversley married Emma Laura (d. 1857), daughter of Samuel Whitbread and Lady Elizabeth Grey, in 1817. They had three sons, who all died in infancy, and two daughters. The family lived at Heckfield Place in Hampshire, which was previously the seat of his maternal grandfather. Lady Eversley died in June 1857. Lord Eversley survived her by over thirty years and died in December 1888, aged 94. He is buried at Kensal Green Cemetery, London.[11] As he had no surviving sons, the title became extinct on his death. The Eversley title was revived in 1906 in favour of his nephew, George Shaw-Lefevre.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Charles Shaw-Lefevre, 1st and last Viscount Eversley of Heckfield
  2. "Shaw-Lefevre, Charles (SHW810C)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. House of Commons: Dover to Dulwich and West Norwood
  4. 4.0 4.1 House of Commons: Hackney to Harwich
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). [ "Eversley, Charles Shaw Lefevre, Viscount" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. The London Gazette: no. 19739. p. 1113. 4 June 1939.
  7. The London Gazette: no. 21981. p. 1103. 24 March 1857.
  8. Hansard 1803–2005: shaw-lefevre contributions in Parliament by Charles Shaw-Lefevre
  9. [1]History of Parliament article.
  10. The London Gazette: no. 25486. p. 3060. 3 July 1885.
  11. Paths of Glory. Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery. 1997. p. 89. |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Bartholomew Bouverie
Alexander Powell
Member of Parliament for Downton
With: James Brougham
Succeeded by
James Brougham
Thomas Creevey
Preceded by
John Willis Fleming
Sir Thomas Baring, Bt
Member of Parliament for Hampshire
With: Sir James Macdonald, Bt 1831–1832
Sir William Heathcote, Bt 1832
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Hampshire North
With: James Winter Scott 1832–1857
Sir William Heathcote, Bt 1837–1849
Melville Portal 1849–1857
Succeeded by
William Wither Bramston Beach
George Sclater-Booth
Political offices
Preceded by
Hon. James Abercromby
Speaker of the House of Commons
Succeeded by
Sir Evelyn Denison
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Lord Heytesbury
Governor of the Isle of Wight
Succeeded by
Prince Henry of Battenberg
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Eversley