The Viscount Wimborne
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
In office
17 February 1915 – 9 May 1918
MonarchGeorge V
Prime Minister
Preceded byThe Earl of Aberdeen
Succeeded byThe Viscount French of Ypres
Personal details
Ivor Churchill Guest

(1873-01-16)16 January 1873
Wimborne House, Arlington Street, London
Died14 June 1939(1939-06-14) (aged 66)
Wimborne House, Arlington Street, London
Political party
Alice Grosvenor
(m. 1902)
Parent(s)Ivor Guest, 1st Baron Wimborne
Lady Cornelia Spencer-Churchill
Alma materTrinity College, Cambridge

Ivor Churchill Guest, 1st Viscount Wimborne, KP, PC (16 January 1873 – 14 June 1939), known as Lord Ashby St Ledgers from 1910 to 1914 and as Lord Wimborne from 1914 to 1918, 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

He was the eldest son of Ivor Guest, 1st Baron Wimborne, and Lady Cornelia Henrietta Maria Spencer-Churchill, 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 was commissioned a lieutenant in the Dorset Yeomanry on 9 May 1896. Following the outbreak of the Second Boer War in late 1899, he volunteered for service and was appointed a lieutenant in the Imperial Yeomanry on 24 February 1900,[2][3] leaving England for South Africa on the SS Manchester Merchant in early March.[4] He was awarded the Queen's South Africa Medal with two clasps. After returning to the United Kingdom, he was promoted to captain on 18 January 1902.[5]

Political career, 1900–1915

The Duke of Peñaranda and Lord Wimborne on 4 June 1914 in New York City for the 1914 Westchester Cup

He was elected to Parliament for Plymouth in a by-election in February 1900 (a seat he had unsuccessfully contested in 1898),[6] 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, he 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,[7] and became Paymaster General in the government of H. H. Asquith.[8] He served as Paymaster General until 1912, and later served as a Lord in Waiting to 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.[9][10]

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.[10] 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.[11]

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.[12] 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.[13] In June 1916 he directed the establishment of the Property Losses (Ireland) Committee to assess the many insurance claims resulting from the Rising.[14]

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".[15] 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.[16]

Marriage and issue

Alice Wimborne in 1914

On 10 February 1902, he married at St Peter's Church, Eaton Square, London, the Honourable Alice Grosvenor (1880–1948), daughter of Robert Grosvenor, 2nd Baron Ebury.[17] They had one son, Ivor Guest, 2nd Viscount Wimborne, and two daughters, Rosemary and Cynthia.[citation needed]

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.[18] 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.[19]


  1. ^ "Guest, the Hon. Ivor Churchill (GST890IC)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. ^ "No. 27168". The London Gazette. 23 February 1900. p. 1256.
  3. ^ "No. 27171". The London Gazette. 6 March 1900. p. 1528.
  4. ^ "The War – Embarcation of Troops". The Times. No. 36080. London. 3 March 1900. p. 16.
  5. ^ "No. 27398". The London Gazette. 17 January 1902. p. 389.
  6. ^ "No. 27167". The London Gazette. 20 February 1900. p. 1170.
  7. ^ "No. 28349". The London Gazette. 18 March 1910. p. 1953.
  8. ^ Hazlehurst, C., Whitehead, S. and Woodland, C., A Guide to the Papers of British Cabinet Ministers, 1900–1964, Cambridge University Press, 1996, p. 168
  9. ^ Ó Broin, Leon, Dublin Castle & the 1916 Rising, Sidgwick & Jackson, 1970, p. 31
  10. ^ a b Townshend, Charles, Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion, Penguin, 2006, ISBN 978-0-14-101216-2, p. 147
  11. ^ Ó Broin, Leon, Dublin Castle & the 1916 Rising pp. 68–69
  12. ^ Townshend, Charles, Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion pp. 149–151
  13. ^ Ó Broin, Leon, Dublin Castle & the 1916 Rising pp. 120–121
  14. ^ Final Report of the Property Losses (Ireland) Committee, 1916 (1917). Retrieved 30 November 2022.
  15. ^ Ó Broin, Leon, Dublin Castle & the 1916 Rising p. 161
  16. ^ "No. 30781". The London Gazette. 5 July 1918. p. 7940.
  17. ^ "Court circular". The Times. No. 36688. London. 11 February 1902. p. 10.
  18. ^ Kennedy, Michael (1989). Portrait of Walton. Oxford University Press. p. 78. ISBN 0-19-816705-9.
  19. ^ Neil Tierney (1984). William Walton: His Life and Music. R. Hale. p. 118.
Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded byEdward ClarkeSigismund Mendl Member of Parliament for Plymouth 19001906 With: Sigismund Mendl to Oct 1900Henry Duke 1900–1906 Succeeded byThomas DobsonCharles Mallet Preceded byEdward Reed Member of Parliament for Cardiff 19061910 Succeeded byD. A. Thomas Political offices Preceded byThe Lord Southwark Paymaster General 1910–1912 Succeeded byThe Lord Strachie Preceded byThe Lord Willingdon Lord-in-waiting 1913–1915 Succeeded byThe Lord Ranksborough Preceded byThe Earl of Aberdeen Lord Lieutenant of Ireland 1915–1918 Succeeded byThe Viscount French Peerage of the United Kingdom New creation Viscount Wimborne 1918–1939 Succeeded byIvor Guest Preceded byIvor Guest Baron Wimborne 1914–1939 New creation Baron Ashby St Ledgers 1910–1939