Robert William Hanbury

The Right Honourable
Robert William Hanbury

Vanity Fair caricature of Robert William Hanbury
by Leslie Ward.
President of the Board of Agriculture
In office
16 November 1900  28 April 1903
Monarch Victoria
Edward VII
Prime Minister The Marquess of Salisbury
Arthur Balfour
Preceded by Walter Long
Succeeded by The Earl of Onslow
Personal details
Born 24 February 1845 (1845-02-24)
Died 28 April 1903 (1903-04-29) (aged 58)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) (1) Ismena Gepp
(d. 1871)
(2) Ellen Hamilton
Alma mater Corpus Christi, Oxford

Robert William Hanbury PC (24 February 1845 – 28 April 1903) was a British Conservative politician. He served as President of the Board of Agriculture from 1900 to 1903.

Background and education

Hanbury was the only son of Robert Hanbury, of Bodehall House, Tamworth, Staffordshire, and his wife Mary, daughter of Major T. B. Bamford, of Wilnecote Hall, Warwickshire. The Hanbury family were landowners but mainly derived their wealth from collieries. He was orphaned at an early age and was later educated at Rugby and Corpus Christi, Oxford.[1]

Political career

In 1872 he was elected to the House of Commons as one of two representatives for Tamworth, a seat he held until 1878,[1][2] and then sat for Staffordshire North until 1880, when he lost his seat.[1][3] He unsuccessfully contested Preston in 1882,[1] but won the seat in 1885.[1][4] During the Liberal stay in power from 1892 to 1895 Hanbury was a vigorous critic of William Ewart Gladstone's Second Home Rule Bill from a financial perspective. When the Conservatives came to power in 1895 under Lord Salisbury, he was appointed Financial Secretary to the Treasury[1] and sworn of the Privy Council.[1][5] After the 1900 general election he was promoted to President of the Board of Agriculture,[1][6] with a seat in the cabinet, by Salisbury. He held this post until his death three years later, the last year under the premiership of Arthur Balfour.[1]

In August 1901 he received the Freedom of the City of Glasgow for services rendered in connection with the effort to obtain a licence to establish a municipal telephone exchange.[7]

Personal life

Hanbury married firstly Ismena Tindal, daughter of Thomas Morgan Gepp, in 1869. She died in 1871. He married secondly Ellen, only child of Knox Hamilton, in 1884. There were no children from the two marriages. He died suddenly from pneumonia in April 1903, aged 58. He was buried in the churchyard at his country seat of Ilam, near Ashbourne, Derbyshire. His widow later married Victor Bowring and assumed the surname of Bowring-Hanbury.[1]


Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Robert Peel, Bt
John Peel
Member of Parliament for Tamworth
With: Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Hamar Alfred Bass
Preceded by
Charles Adderley
Colin Minton Campbell
Member of Parliament for Staffordshire North
With: Colin Minton Campbell
Succeeded by
William Young Craig
Harry Tichborne Davenport
Preceded by
William Farrer Ecroyd
William Tomlinson
Member of Parliament for Preston
With: Sir William Tomlinson, Bt
Succeeded by
Sir William Tomlinson, Bt
John Kerr
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir John Tomlinson Hibbert
Financial Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Austen Chamberlain
Preceded by
Walter Long
President of the Board of Agriculture
Succeeded by
The Earl of Onslow
as President of the Board
of Agriculture and Fisheries
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