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Bridget Monckton, 11th Lady Ruthven of Freeland

Bridget Monckton, 11th Lady Ruthven of Freeland Scottish noble

Scottish noble
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Scottish noble
Gender female
Birth 27 July 1896
Death 17 April 1982
Spouse: George Howard11th Earl of Carlisle
Children: Charles Howard12th Earl of Carlisle
The details

Bridget Helen "Biddy" Monckton, 11th Lady Ruthven of Freeland CBE (27 July 1896–17 April 1982), also known as The Countess of Carlisle between 1918 and 1947, as Lady Monckton between 1947 and 1957, as The Viscountess Monckton of Brenchley between 1957 and 1965 and as The Dowager Viscountess Monckton of Brenchley between 1965 and 1982, was a British peer and Conservative member of the House of Lords, but is probably best remembered as the wartime commander of women's services in India.

Early life

The Honourable Bridget Hore-Ruthven was born in 1896, the eldest of the four daughters of Major-General Walter Hore-Ruthven, 10th Lord Ruthven of Freeland. The General's title dated back to 1651 and was in the peerage of Scotland - hence the form: the Lord Ruthven rather than Baron Ruthven - which meant that, unlike most English, Irish, British and UK titles, it could be inherited, as a matter of course, by a daughter. Her mother, Jean, was the daughter of Norman George Lampson, DL, JP, younger son of Sir Curtis Lampson, 1st Baronet. Bridget was therefore the niece both of Miles Lampson, 1st Baron Killearn, and of Alexander Hore-Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie.


On 17 January 1918 she married George Howard, 11th Earl of Carlisle, becoming the Countess of Carlisle. They had two children:

  • Lady Carolyn Bridget Dacre Howard (b. 1919).
  • Charles James Ruthven Howard (1923-1994), who held the courtesy-title of Viscount Howard of Morpeth, until he became the 12th Earl of Carlisle.

Military career

At the beginning of the Second World War, Lady Carlisle was a Senior Controller of the Auxiliary Territorial Service. The Countess of Carlisle was then promoted to become the Director of the Women's Army Corps (India) - the Indian counterpart of the ATS - and of the Women's Royal Indian Naval Service (WRINS). For her work in command, she was appointed a CBE (military division) in 1947.


In 1947, Lord and Lady Carlisle divorced. Lady Carlisle then became the second wife of Sir Walter Monckton, as Lady Monckton. They had no children.


Lady Monckton was the Chairman of the charity Attend (the National Association of Leagues of Hospital Friends) from 1962-74. In 1977 she was elected President of Attend and served as President until 1978.


In 1956, on the death of her father, Lady Monckton inherited the lordship of Ruthven of Freeland. She was now, suo jure, the Lady Ruthven of Freeland, although she also remained, still, Bridget, Lady Monckton. In 1957, her husband received a peerage too, when he was created the first Viscount Monckton of Brenchley. Lady Ruthven of Freeland's marital title was now: the Viscountess Monckton of Brenchley.

She took up her seat in the House of Lords in 1963 after the Peerage Act 1963 gave all Scottish peers and all female holders of hereditary peerages the right to sit in the upper chamber of parliament.


Lady Monckton of Brenchley died in April 1982, aged 85, and was succeeded in her title by her son, the Earl of Carlisle.

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