The Earl of Halifax
Memorial in York Minster
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
23 December 1959 – 19 March 1980
Hereditary peerage
Preceded byThe 1st Earl of Halifax
Succeeded byThe 3rd Earl of Halifax
Member of Parliament
for York
In office
6 May 1937 – 15 June 1945
Preceded byRoger Lumley
Succeeded byJohn Corlett
Personal details
Charles Ingram Courtenay Wood

(1912-10-03)3 October 1912
Garrowby, Yorkshire, England
Died19 March 1980(1980-03-19) (aged 67)
Garrowby Hall, Yorkshire, England
Political partyConservative
SpouseRuth Primrose
Children3, including Peter
Parent(s)Edward Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax
Lady Dorothy Onslow
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford

Charles Ingram Courtenay Wood, 2nd Earl of Halifax, DL (3 October 1912 – 19 March 1980), 4th Viscount Halifax of Monk Bretton, 6th Baronet Wood of Barnsley in the County of York, and 2nd Baron Irwin of Kirby Underdale in the County of York, was a British peer, Conservative politician, Lord Lieutenant of Humberside and High Steward of York Minster.

Early life and education

Wood was the son of Edward Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax, statesman and Foreign Secretary, and Lady Dorothy Evelyn Augusta Wood (née Onslow). He was educated at Eton College. Charles graduated from Christ Church, University of Oxford, Oxford, England, in 1934 with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree. He successfully captained the Oxford University Polo Team in the same year.[1]


He gained the rank of 2nd Lieutenant in 1934 in the service of the Royal Horse Guards. Like his father, Wood also entered politics, becoming Member of Parliament (MP) for the City of York in 1937, as a Conservative. In 1939, at the outbreak of World War II, he rejoined the Royal Horse Guards and served for three years in the Middle East. Charles was styled Lord Irwin between 1944 and 1959. In 1959, Wood succeeded his father as 2nd Earl of Halifax. He continued as a member of parliament during this time. At the 1945 general election, he lost his seat to the Labour candidate, John Corlett. Charles held the office of Deputy Lieutenant of the East Riding in Yorkshire between 1955 and 1968, Lord-Lieutenant of Humberside between 1974 until 1980 and High Steward of York Minster between 1972 until 1980.

In 1978, his horse Shirley Heights won The Derby.[2] The earl died in 1980 and was buried at All Saints' parish church, Kirby Underdale, where a Halifax family memorial is to be found.[3]


Arms of The Rt Hon Charles Ingram Courtenay Wood, the Second Earl of Halifax, and his descendants.

In 1936, he married Ruth Alice Hannah Mary Primrose (18 April 1916 – 1989), daughter of the Liberal politician Captain Neil James Archibald Primrose and Lady Victoria Alice Louise Primrose, née Stanley, a granddaughter of the Prime Minister Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery.[4]

They had three children:


  1. ^ "Oxford University Polo Club". Archived from the original on 27 November 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  2. ^ "Shirley Heights' Derby". The Age. 8 June 1978. p. 28. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  3. ^ "Kirby Underdale". Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  4. ^ "Wedding Of Charles Wood and Ruth Primrose 1936". British Pathe News. Retrieved 13 September 2021.
  5. ^ "Lady Caroline Gosling – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 25 December 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  6. ^ "Halifax, Earl of (UK, 1944)". Archived from the original on 25 October 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded byRoger Lumley Member of Parliament for the City of York 19371945 Succeeded byJohn Corlett Honorary titles Preceded byThe Lord Middleton Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire 1968–1974 Office abolished Peerage of the United Kingdom Preceded byEdward Wood Earl of Halifax 4th creation1960–1980 Member of the House of Lords(1960–1980) Succeeded byPeter Wood Viscount Halifax 2nd creation1960–1980 Baron Irwin 1960–1980 Baronetage of Great Britain Preceded byEdward Wood Baronet(of Barnsley) 1960–1980 Succeeded byPeter Wood