The Lord Lyveden
Robert Vernon Smith.JPG
Secretary at War
In office
6 February 1852 – 21 February 1852
Prime MinisterLord John Russell
Preceded byHon. Fox Maule
Succeeded byWilliam Beresford
President of the Board of Control
In office
3 March 1855 – 21 February 1858
Prime MinisterThe Viscount Palmerston
Preceded bySir Charles Wood, Bt
Succeeded byThe Earl of Ellenborough
Personal details
Born23 February 1800 (1800-02-23)
Died10 November 1873 (1873-11-11) (aged 73)
Political partyWhig
Liberal Party
Spouse(s)Lady Emma Mary Fitzpatrick
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford

Robert Vernon, 1st Baron Lyveden, GCB, PC (23 February 1800 – 10 November 1873), known as Robert Vernon Smith until 1859, was a British Liberal Party politician.

Background and education

Vernon was the son of Robert Percy Smith, of 20 Savile Row, London, and of Cheam, Surrey, and the nephew of The Rev. Sydney Smith, Canon of St Paul's. His mother was Carolina Maria Vernon, daughter of Richard Vernon. Vernon was educated at Christ Church, Oxford (2nd class classics 1822).

Political career

He was elected Member of Parliament for Tralee in 1829, a seat he held until 1831, and then sat for Northampton from 1831 to 1859. When the Whigs came to power in 1830 under Lord Grey, Vernon was appointed a Lord of the Treasury (government whip), which he remained also when Lord Melbourne became Prime Minister in July 1834. The Whigs fell from office in November of that year, but returned already in April 1835, when Vernon was appointed Secretary of the Board of Control by Melbourne, which he remained until 1839. He then served as Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies from 1839 to 1841. The latter year he was also admitted to the Privy Council. He did not hold office again until February 1852, when he was made Secretary at War in the first administration of Lord John Russell. However, the government fell already the same month. When the Liberals (as the Whigs were now known) returned to office in 1855 under Lord Palmerston, Vernon was appointed President of the Board of Control, with a seat in the cabinet, a post he retained until the government fell in March 1858. The Indian Mutiny took place during his tenure. The following year he was raised to the peerage as Baron Lyveden, of Lyveden in the County of Northampton.,[1] and in 1879 he was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB).[2]

In 1845 he was appointed one of the Lay Commissioners in Lunacy.[3]


Greville Richard Vernon, son of Lord Lyveden.
Greville Richard Vernon, son of Lord Lyveden.

Lord Lyveden married Lady Emma Mary Fitzpatrick, daughter and co-heir of the Earl of Upper Ossory, in 1823. In 1846 he assumed for his children by Royal licence the surname of Vernon in lieu of Smith and in 1859 he assumed for himself by Royal licence the same surname in lieu of Smith. Lord Lyveden died in November 1873, aged 73, and was succeeded in the barony by his son Fitzpatrick. Lord Lyveden was a member of the Reform Club, the Travellers Club, and Brooks's.

He tomb is located in the church of St Andrew in Brigstock, Northamptonshire.

Tomb of Robert Vernon, 1st Baron Lyveden in St. Andrew's church, Brigstock, Northamptonshire
Tomb of Robert Vernon, 1st Baron Lyveden in St. Andrew's church, Brigstock, Northamptonshire


This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Robert Vernon, 1st Baron Lyveden" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (February 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
  1. ^ "No. 22280". The London Gazette. 28 June 1859. p. 2514.
  2. ^ "No. 23876". The London Gazette. 16 July 1872. p. 3190.
  3. ^ Kathleen Jones (2003). Lunacy, law, and conscience, 1744-1845: the social history of the care of the insane. Routledge. p. 191. ISBN 0-415-17802-9.
Vernon's tomb in Brigstock
Vernon's tomb in Brigstock