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James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury

James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury

British politician
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro British politician
Countries United Kingdom
Occupations Politician
Gender male
Birth 23 October 1861 (London)
Death 4 April 1947 (London)
Mother: Georgina Gascoyne-CecilMarchioness of Salisbury
Father: Robert Gascoyne-Cecil3rd Marquess of Salisbury
Siblings: Robert CecilHugh Cecil1st Baron QuickswoodLord Edward CecilLord William Cecil
Spouse: Cicely Gore
Children: Beatrice Ormsby-Gorebaronessa HarlechLord David Cecil
Education University College, Eton College
The details

James Edward Hubert Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury, KG, GCVO, CB, PC (23 October 1861 – 4 April 1947), known as Viscount Cranborne from 1868 to 1903, was a British statesman.

Background and education

Born in London, Salisbury was the eldest son of Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, who served as British Prime Minister, by his wife Georgina (née Alderson). The Right Reverend Lord William Cecil, Lord Cecil of Chelwood and Lord Quickswood were his younger brothers and Prime Minister Arthur Balfour his first cousin. He was educated at Eton and University College, Oxford, graduating BA in 1885.

Political career

He started public life early, being a very young age when he accompanied his father to the 1876-1877 Constantinople Conference and a year later to the Congress of Berlin.

Lord Cranborne sat as Conservative Member of Parliament for Darwen then called North-East Lancashire from 1885 to 1892. He lost his seat at the General Election. In a by-election in 1893, he was elected for Rochester where he was the MP until 1903, when he succeeded his father and was elevated to the House of Lords.

Lord Cranborne was colonel of the 4th (Militia) battalion Bedfordshire Regiment (formerly the Hertfordshire Militia), and was in command when the battalion served in South Africa February to November 1900, during the Second Boer War. He received the Queen's South Africa Medal and was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) for his service during the war. In July 1902 he received the Honorary Freedom of the borough of Hertford in recognition of his service during the war. He was also a colonel of the Hertfordshire Volunteer Regiment and of the 4th battalion Essex Regiment. Lord Salisbury was ADC to Edward VII, and George V until 1929.

He served under his father and then his cousin Arthur Balfour as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs from 1900 to 1903, under Balfour as Lord Privy Seal from 1903 to 1905, and as Lord President of the Board of Trade in 1905. In 1903 he was sworn of the Privy Council. In December 1908, he was appointed a deputy lieutenant of Hertfordshire. And from 1906, followed his uncle, as Chairman of the Canterbury House of Laymen.

Salisbury played a leading role in opposing David Lloyd George's People's Budget and the Parliament Bill of 1911. In 1917 he was made a Knight of the Garter. He returned to the government in the 1920s and served under Andrew Bonar Law and Stanley Baldwin as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster from 1922 to 1923, as Lord President of the Council from 1922 to 1924, as Lord Privy Seal from 1924 to 1929 and as Leader of the House of Lords from 1925 to 1929 in successive Conservative governments of Bonar Law and Baldwin. He resigned as leader of the Conservative peers in June 1931 and became one of the most prominent opponents of Indian Home Rule in the Lords, supporting the campaign against the legislation waged in the House of Commons by Winston Churchill.

Lord Salisbury was a committed and eager member of the Territorial Army. Honorary Colonel of 86th East Anglians, and the Hertfordshire Yeomanry Brigade. He was also Honorary Colonel of Royal Field Artillery in the Territorial Detachment and the 48th South Midland Division Royal Engineers (TA).

Salisbury was part of two parliamentary deputations which called on the Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Neville Chamberlain, in the autumn of 1936 to remonstrate with them about the slow pace of British rearmament in the face of the growing threat from Nazi Germany. The delegation was led by Sir Austen Chamberlain, a former Foreign Secretary and its most prominent speakers included Winston Churchill, Leo Amery and Roger Keyes. The Marquess of Salisbury was Lord High Steward at the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937.

Styles of address

  • 1861–1865: The Hon James Edward Hubert Gascoyne-Cecil
  • 1865–1868: Baron Cecil
  • 1868–1885: Viscount Cranborne
  • 1885–1892: Viscount Cranborne MP
  • 1892–1893: Viscount Cranborne
  • 1893–1900: Viscount Cranborne MP
  • 1900–1903: Viscount Cranborne CB MP
  • 1903: The Most Hon The Marquess of Salisbury CB
  • 1903–1908: The Most Hon The Marquess of Salisbury CB PC
  • 1908–1909: The Most Hon The Marquess of Salisbury CB PC DL
  • 1909–1917: The Most Hon The Marquess of Salisbury GCVO CB PC DL
  • 1917–1947: The Most Hon The Marquess of Salisbury KG GCVO CB PC DL

Marriage and children

Lord Salisbury married Lady Cicely Alice Gore (born 15 July 1867, died 5 February 1955), second daughter of Arthur Gore, 5th Earl of Arran, on 17 May 1887 at St. Margaret's Church, Westminster. She was appointed a JP for Hertfordshire. In 1907, she was made a Lady Bedchamber to Queen Alexandra, an Officer of the Order of St John of Jerusalem.

They had four children:

  • Lady Beatrice Edith Mildred Gascoyne-Cecil (born 10 Aug 1891, died 1980), married William Ormsby-Gore, 4th Baron Harlech.
  • Robert Arthur James Gascoyne-Cecil, 5th Marquess of Salisbury (born 27 August 1893, died 23 February 1972).
  • Lady Mary Alice Gascoyne-Cecil (born 29 July 1895, died 24 December 1988), married Edward Cavendish, 10th Duke of Devonshire.
  • Lord Edward Christian David Gascoyne-Cecil, CH (known as Lord David Cecil) (born 9 April 1902, died 1 January 1986).

Lord Salisbury died in April 1947, at 85, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Robert. The Marchioness of Salisbury died in February 1955.

He was the grandfather of actor Jonathan Cecil by his youngest son, David.


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