Ivor Guest, 1st Viscount Wimborne

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The Right Honourable
The Viscount Wimborne
1906 Ivor Guest.jpg
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
In office
17 February 1915 – 9 May 1918
Monarch George V
Prime Minister H. H. Asquith
David Lloyd George
Preceded by The Earl of Aberdeen
Succeeded by The Viscount French of Ypres
Personal details
Born Ivor Churchill Guest
(1873-01-16)16 January 1873
Wimborne House, Arlington Street, London
Died 14 June 1939(1939-06-14) (aged 66)
Wimborne House, Arlington Street, London
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Hon. Alice Grosvenor
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge

Ivor Churchill Guest, 1st Viscount Wimborne, PC (16 January 1873 – 14 June 1939), known as Lord Ashby St Ledgers from 1910 to 1914 and as Lord Wimborne from 1914 was a British politician, and one of the last Lords Lieutenant of Ireland, serving in that position at the time of the Easter Rising.

Background and education

Guest was the son of Ivor Guest, 1st Baron Wimborne and Lady Cornelia, daughter of John Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough. He was the elder brother of Frederick Guest, Oscar Guest and Henry Guest and a first cousin of Winston Churchill. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge.[1] He served in the Second Boer War and was awarded the Queen's South Africa Medal with two clasps. After returning to the United Kingdom he was appointed a Captain in the Dorset Imperial Yeomanry in January 1902.[2]

Political career, 1900–1915

Hernando Fitz-James Stuart, 14th Duke of Peñaranda de Duero and Lord Wimborne on 4 June 1914 in New York City for the 1914 Westchester Cup

He was elected to Parliament for Plymouth in 1900 (a seat he had unsuccessfully contested in 1898), as a Conservative, and retained his seat in the general election of 1900. In 1904, during the controversy within the Conservative Party over adopting protectionism, Guest and other members of his family followed Churchill into the Liberal Party in support of free trade. He sat as an MP until 1910, when he was raised to the peerage as Baron Ashby St Ledgers, of Ashby St Ledgers in the County of Northampton,[3] and became Paymaster General in the government of H. H. Asquith.[4] He served as Paymaster General until 1912, and later served as a Lord in Waiting on King George V. In 1914 he succeeded his father as Baron Wimborne. At the start of World War I he was appointed to the staff of the newly formed 10th (Irish) Division under Lieutenant-General Sir Bryan Mahon at the Curragh Camp.[5][6]

Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1915–1918

In February 1915 Wimborne was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in succession to Lord Aberdeen. At this time the Lord Lieutenant was largely a ceremonial position; real power was in the hands of the Chief Secretary and the Under-Secretary. Determined to be more involved in decision-making, he was appointed Director of Recruiting in October 1915, heading up the new Department of Recruiting for Ireland.[6] He insisted on being kept up to date on the state of the country, and had the Under-Secretary, Sir Matthew Nathan, send him police reports, details of prosecutions and recruitment figures.[7]

On the weekend preceding the Easter Rising, following the capture of the German arms ship Aud and the arrest of Sir Roger Casement, Wimborne urged Nathan to order the arrest of a large number of rebel leaders. Nathan was unwilling to do so without the authorisation of the Chief Secretary, Augustine Birrell, who was in London.[8] Before the authorisation was received the Rising began on 24 April 1916. Wimborne proclaimed martial law in Dublin. Thereafter the military took control. A new Commander-in Chief, General Sir John Maxwell, arrived in Ireland on 28 April and the rebels surrendered on 29 April. Wimborne initially refused to offer his resignation after the Rising. He resigned under pressure from the government but was re-appointed.[9] The Royal Commission on the 1916 Rebellion (the Hardinge commission) exonerated Wimborne of any blame for the Rising, saying that his position as Lord Lieutenant was "anomalous in quiet times and almost unworkable in times of crisis".[10] He continued as Lord Lieutenant for another two years. On his retirement in 1918 he was created Viscount Wimborne, of Canford Magna in the County of Dorset.[11]


Lady Wimborne in 1914

Lord Wimborne married at St Peter's Church, Eaton Square, London, on 10 February 1902, the Honourable Alice Grosvenor, daughter of Robert Grosvenor, 2nd Baron Ebury.[12] They had one son and two daughters. By the 1930s they were living separate lives, though remaining on the friendliest terms. From 1934 until her death Alice was linked with the composer William Walton.[13] Wimborne died in June 1939, aged 66, at Wimborne House in Arlington Street, London, the house in which he was born. He was succeeded by his only son, Ivor. Lady Wimborne died in April 1948, aged 67.


  1. "Guest, the Hon. Ivor Churchill (GST890IC)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. The London Gazette: no. 27398. p. 389. 17 January 1902.
  3. The London Gazette: no. 28349. p. 1953. 18 March 1910. Retrieved 11 December 2008.
  4. Hazlehurst, C., Whitehead, S. and Woodland, C., A Guide to the Papers of British Cabinet Ministers, 1900–1964, Cambridge University Press, 1996, p. 168
  5. Ó Broin, Leon, Dublin Castle & the 1916 Rising, Sidgwick & Jackson, 1970, p. 31
  6. 6.0 6.1 Townshend, Charles, Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion, Penguin, 2006, ISBN 978-0-14-101216-2, p. 147
  7. Ó Broin, Leon, Dublin Castle & the 1916 Rising pp. 68–69
  8. Townshend, Charles, Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion pp. 149–151
  9. Ó Broin, Leon, Dublin Castle & the 1916 Rising pp. 120–121
  10. Ó Broin, Leon, Dublin Castle & the 1916 Rising p. 161
  11. The London Gazette: no. 30781. p. 7940. 5 July 1918. Retrieved 11 December 2008.
  12. "Court circular" The Times (London). Tuesday, 11 February 1902. (36688), p. 10.
  13. Kennedy, Michael (1989). Portrait of Walton. Oxford University Press. p. 78. ISBN 0-19-816705-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Edward George Clarke
Sigismund Ferdinand Mendl
Member of Parliament for Plymouth
With: Sigismund Ferdinand Mendl to Oct 1900
Henry Duke 1900–1906
Succeeded by
Thomas William Dobson
Charles Mallet
Preceded by
Edward James Reed
Member of Parliament for Cardiff
Succeeded by
David Alfred Thomas
Political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Southwark
Succeeded by
The Lord Strachie
Preceded by
The Lord Willingdon
Succeeded by
The Lord Ranksborough
Preceded by
The Earl of Aberdeen
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
Succeeded by
The Viscount French
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Wimborne
Succeeded by
Ivor Grosvenor Guest
Preceded by
Ivor Bertie Guest
Baron Wimborne
New creation Baron Ashby St Ledgers