The Viscount Soulbury
Herwald Ramsbotham, 1st Viscount Soulbury.jpg
Minister of Pensions
In office
30 July 1936 – 7 June 1939
MonarchEdward VIII
George VI
Prime MinisterStanley Baldwin
Neville Chamberlain
Preceded byRobert Hudson
Succeeded bySir Walter Womersley, Bt
First Commissioner of Works
In office
7 June 1939 – 3 April 1940
MonarchGeorge VI
Prime MinisterNeville Chamberlain
Preceded bySir Philip Sassoon, Bt
Succeeded byThe Earl De La Warr
President of the Board of Education
In office
3 April 1940 – 20 July 1941
MonarchGeorge VI
Prime MinisterNeville Chamberlain
Winston Churchill
Preceded byThe Earl De La Warr
Succeeded byR. A. Butler
Governor-General of Ceylon
In office
6 July 1949 – 17 July 1954
MonarchGeorge VI
Elizabeth II
Preceded bySir Henry Monck-Mason Moore
Succeeded bySir Oliver Ernest Goonetilleke
Personal details
Born6 March 1887 (1887-03-06)
Died30 January 1971 (1971-01-31) (aged 83)
Political partyConservative

Herwald Ramsbotham, 1st Viscount Soulbury GCMG GCVO OBE MC PC DL (6 March 1887 – 30 January 1971) was a British Conservative politician. He served as a government minister between 1931 and 1941 and served as Governor-General of Ceylon between the years 1949 and 1954.


Ramsbotham was the son of Herwald Ramsbotham, of Crowborough Warren (son of James Ramsbotham and Jane Fielden), and Ethel Margaret Bevan.[1]

He went to Uppingham School, Uppingham, Rutland, England.

Military career

Ramsbotham was commissioned a Temporary Lieutenant in 1915 and was promoted to temporary Captain later the same year. He was promoted to temporary Major by 1918 and received the Military Cross. He was appointed an OBE in 1919 and relinquished his commission that year.[citation needed]

Political career

Ramsbotham was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Lancaster in 1929.[2] In 1931 he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education by Ramsay MacDonald, a post he retained when Stanley Baldwin became Prime Minister in June 1935, and then served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries between November 1935 and July 1936.[3] In September 1936 he was made Minister of Pensions by Baldwin.[4] He continued in this office when Neville Chamberlain became Prime Minister in May 1937. In June 1939 he was appointed First Commissioner of Works[5] and sworn of the Privy Council.[6]

Ramsbotham entered the cabinet in April 1940 as President of the Board of Education. He remained in this office after Winston Churchill became Prime Minister in May 1940 but was succeeded by R. A. Butler in July 1941. In August he was raised to the peerage as Baron Soulbury, of Soulbury in the County of Buckingham,[7] and made Chairman of the Assistance Board, a post he held until 1948.[8] Chairman of the Soulbury Commission 1944–45. Between 1949 and 1954 he served as Governor-General of Ceylon. He was appointed a GCMG in 1949 and a GCVO on 20 April 1954. On 10 June of that year, he was further honoured when he was created Viscount Soulbury, of Soulbury in the County of Buckingham.[9]


Lord Soulbury died in January 1971 at the age of 83.

He was succeeded in the viscountcy by his elder son James Herwald Ramsbotham. His younger son Sir Peter Ramsbotham notably served as British Ambassador to the United States from 1974 to 1977.

Coat of arms of Herwald Ramsbotham, 1st Viscount Soulbury
Soulbury Achievement.png
A Plate charged with a Ram's Head erased per pale Gules and Sable
Sable on a Chevron Or between three Plates each charged with a Cross Patty Gules a Ram's Head erased of the first
On either side a Raven proper charged with a Plate thereon a Cross Patty Gules


  1. ^ "Soulbury, Viscount (UK, 1954)". Archived from the original on 25 June 2020. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  2. ^ "No. 33508". The London Gazette. 21 June 1929. p. 4110.
  3. ^ Kidd, Charles, Williamson, David (editors). Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage (1990 edition). New York: St Martin's Press, 1990,[page needed]
  4. ^ "No. 34324". The London Gazette. 18 September 1936. p. 5999.
  5. ^ "No. 34635". The London Gazette. 13 June 1939. p. 3971.
  6. ^ "No. 34633". The London Gazette. 6 June 1939. p. 3852.
  7. ^ "No. 35241". The London Gazette. 8 August 1941. p. 4565.
  8. ^ "No. 35251". The London Gazette. 19 August 1941. p. 4808.
  9. ^ "No. 40232". The London Gazette. 16 July 1954. p. 4164.