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The Lord Denham
Portrait by Walter Bird, 1963
In office
4 May 1979 – 22 May 1991
Prime Minister
Preceded byThe Baroness Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe
Succeeded byThe Lord Hesketh
In office
20 November 1971 – 11 March 1974
Prime MinisterEdward Heath
Preceded byThe Viscount Goschen
Succeeded byThe Lord Strabolgi
In office
24 June 1970 – 20 November 1971
Prime MinisterEdward Heath
Preceded byThe Lord Hilton of Upton
Succeeded byThe Lord Bethell
In office
27 June 1961 – 16 October 1964
Prime Minister
Preceded byThe Earl Jellicoe
Succeeded byThe Lord Hobson of Brent
Member of the House of Lords
Elected hereditary peerage
11 November 1999 – 26 April 2021
Preceded bySeat created
Succeeded byThe Earl of Leicester
Hereditary peerage
9 December 1949 – 11 November 1999
Preceded byThe 1st Baron Denham
Succeeded bySeat abolished
Personal details
Bertram Stanley Mitford Bowyer

(1927-10-03)3 October 1927
Died1 December 2021(2021-12-01) (aged 94)
Political partyConservative
Alma materKing's College, Cambridge

Bertram Stanley Mitford Bowyer, 2nd Baron Denham, KBE, PC (3 October 1927 – 1 December 2021) was a British Conservative politician, hereditary peer, writer and former member of the House of Lords. He was one of the few people to serve in the governments of five different prime ministers.


Denham was educated at Eton and King's College, Cambridge. He was the youngest child and second son of George Bowyer, 1st Baron Denham, and succeeded his father to become 2nd Baron Denham and 2nd Baronet, of Weston Underwood, when he died in 1948, his elder brother having been killed in the Second World War. In 1950 he also succeeded his kinsman, Sir George Bowyer, Bt., as 10th Baronet, of Denham Court.

Denham served as a House of Lords whip from 1961 until 1964, under both Harold Macmillan and Alec Douglas-Home. Upon the Conservatives return to power at the 1970 general election, he was once again made a whip under Edward Heath. In 1972, he was promoted to become Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard, the post associated with being the Government Deputy Chief Whip in the House of Lords. He served in this post until the Conservatives left power in 1974.

Upon the victory of Margaret Thatcher in the 1979 general election, Denham was made Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms, the post associated with being Government Chief Whip in the House of Lords. He held the post for the entirety of the Thatcher years, leaving office six months into the John Major government in 1991. He was made a Privy Councillor in the 1981 New Year Honours,[1] and in the 1991 New Year Honours was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) for his political service.[2]

With the passage of the House of Lords Act 1999, Denham and almost all other hereditary peers lost their automatic right to sit in the House of Lords. He was however elected as one of the 92 elected hereditary peers to remain in the Lords pending completion of House of Lords reform. Following the death of Lord Carrington in July 2018, Denham became the longest-serving current member of the House of Lords.[3] He retired from the House after 71 years' service on 26 April 2021.[4]

He died on 1 December 2021, at the age of 94.[5]

Literary career

As Bertie Denham, Bowyer wrote four mysteries featuring detection by House of Lords Conservative Whip Derek Thyrde, second Viscount Thyrde. He was a member of the Detection Club, and contributed to their 2020 anthology Howdunit: A Masterclass in Crime Writing by Members of the Detection Club.[6]

Novels by Bertie Denham


  1. ^ "No. 48467". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1980. p. 1.
  2. ^ "No. 52382". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 December 1990. p. 7.
  3. ^ Brown, Thomas (6 February 2017). "House of Lords: Statistical Profile of Membership" (PDF). House of Lords. Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 November 2020. Retrieved 15 July 2018. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ "Parliamentary career for Lord Denham". UK Parliament. Archived from the original on 26 April 2021. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  5. ^ [Telegraph Obituaries] (8 December 2021). "Lord Denham, long-serving, popular and effective Chief Whip in the Lords under Margaret Thatcher – obituary". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 9 December 2021. Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  6. ^ Edwards, Martin (14 September 2020). "'Do You Write Under Your Own Name?': Howdunit". Do You Write Under Your Own Name?. Archived from the original on 29 November 2020. Retrieved 17 December 2021.


Political offices Preceded byThe Viscount Goschen Deputy Chief Whip in the House of Lords 1971–1974 Succeeded byThe Lord Strabolgi Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard 1971–1974 Preceded byThe Baroness Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe Chief Whip in the House of Lords 1979–1991 Succeeded byThe Lord Hesketh Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms 1979–1991 Party political offices Preceded byThe Earl St Aldwyn Conservative Chief Whip in the House of Lords 1978–1991 Succeeded byThe Lord Hesketh Records Preceded byThe Lord Carrington Longest-serving member in the House of Lords 2018–2021 Succeeded byThe Lord Trefgarne Peerage of the United Kingdom Preceded byGeorge Bowyer Baron Denham 1948–2021 Member of the House of Lords(1949–1999) Succeeded byRichard Bowyer Parliament of the United Kingdom New officecreated by the House of Lords Act 1999 Elected hereditary peer to the House of Lordsunder of the House of Lords Act 1999 1999–2021 Succeeded byThe Earl of Leicester Baronetage of the United Kingdom Preceded byGeorge Bowyer Baronet(of Weston Underwood) 1948–2021 Succeeded byRichard Bowyer Baronetage of England Preceded bySir George Bowyer Baronet(of Denham Court) 1950–2021 Succeeded byRichard Bowyer