Francis Needham, 3rd Earl of Kilmorey

The Right Honourable
The Earl of Kilmorey

"Amateur theatricals". Caricature of the Earl of Kilmorey by Spy published in Vanity Fair in 1876.
Personal details
Born Francis Charles Needham
(1842-08-02)August 2, 1842
London, England
Died 28 July 1915(1915-07-28) (aged 72)
London, England
Political party Conservative
Mother Anne Amelia Colville
Father Francis Needham, Viscount Newry
Education Eton College
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford
Occupation Politician
Military service
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1865–96
Rank Colonel
Unit Yeomanry Force

Francis Charles Needham, 3rd Earl of Kilmorey KP ADC (2 August 1842 – 28 July 1915), styled Viscount Newry from 1851 to 1880, was an Anglo-Irish peer and Conservative Member of Parliament.[1]

Background and education

Kilmorey was the eldest son of Francis Needham, Viscount Newry, son of Francis Needham, 2nd Earl of Kilmorey. His mother was Anne Amelia Colville, daughter of General Sir Charles Colville. He attended Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford.[1]

In 1862 (aged nineteen), Kilmorey proposed to give a ball; this was prohibited by the college authorities, chiefly by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (better known as Lewis Carroll). The wife of Henry Liddell, the Dean of the college, had supported the ball; the Liddell's Irish residence was close to the Kilmorey seat of Moure Park, and this favour to a family friend might have made social connexions for her several daughters (including Alice). The ball and the resulting coldness between the Liddells and Carroll is mentioned in his diary as "Lord Newry's business".[2] He was graduated in 1864.

Political career

In 1874 he served as High Sheriff of Down and was then elected to the House of Commons for Newry in 1871, a seat he held until 1874. In 1880 he succeeded his grandfather as Earl of Kilmorey, but as this was an Irish peerage it did not entitle him to an automatic seat in the House of Lords. However, the following year Kilmorey was elected an Irish Representative Peer, and sat in the House of Lords until his death in 1915. In 1890 he was made a Knight of the Order of St Patrick.[1]

Military career

As Viscount Newry, he was commissioned Cornet in the North Shropshire Yeomanry Cavalry in 1865,[3] then promoted Captain in 1871,[4] before the Cavalry were merged into the unified Shropshire Yeomanry regiment. He continued in the latter, being promoted Major in 1883[5] and becoming Lieutenant-Colonel in command of the regiment in 1889.[6] He retired in 1896 and was made Honorary Colonel of the regiment.[7]

After the accession of King Edward VII in 1901, Lord Kilmorey was appointed Aide-de-camp (Supernumerary) to His Majesty for the service of His Yeomanry Force. He also received the rank of Colonel in the Yeomanry Force.[8]

Personal life

Lord Kilmorey married in 1881 Ellen Constance Baldock, daughter of Edward Holmes Baldock (MP for Shrewsbury). She was a renowned beauty who caused a scandal by being bequeathed the 'Teck emeralds' among other jewels, from her lover, Prince Francis of Teck, brother of Queen Mary.[9] She also reputedly had a liaison with Edward VII, a frequent visitor to the Kilmorey estates at Mourne Park, County Down.

Lord Kilmorey died in July 1915, aged 72, of pleurisy and pneumonia at his Mayfair townhouse at 5 Aldford Street. He was buried at Kilkeel, County Down. He was succeeded in his titles by his eldest son Francis.[10] Lady Kilmorey died in 1920.


  1. 1 2 3 "Death of Lord Kilmorey". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 29 July 1915. p. 9.
  2. Amor, Anne Clark (1982), The Real Alice: Lewis Carroll's Dream Child, New York: Stein and Day, p. 77
  3. Gladstone, E.W. (1953). The Shropshire Yeomanry 1795–1945, The Story of a Volunteer Cavalry Regiment. The Whitethorn Press. p. 97.
  4. Gladstone, E.W. The Shropshire Yeomanry 1795–1945. p. 98.
  5. Gladstone, E.W. The Shropshire Yeomanry 1795–1945. p. 109.
  6. Gladstone, E.W. The Shropshire Yeomanry, 1795–1945. p. 115.
  7. Gladstone, E.W. The Shropshire Yeomanry, 1795–1945. p. 121.
  8. The London Gazette: no. 27295. p. 1942. 19 March 1901.
  9. "Philandering Prince Frank set seal on wills". Daily Telegraph. 28 March 2007.
  10. The Complete Peerage, Volume VII. St Catherine's Press. 1929. p. 264.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
William Kirk
Member of Parliament for Newry
Succeeded by
William Whitworth
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Francis Jack Needham
Earl of Kilmorey
Succeeded by
Francis Charles Adelbert Henry Needham
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