Hugh Fortescue, 5th Earl Fortescue

The Right Honourable
The Earl Fortescue

Viscount Ebrington in 1919, an officer in the Royal Scots Greys
Conservative Chief Whip in the House of Lords
In office
Preceded by The Lord Templemore
Succeeded by The Earl St Aldwyn
Personal details
Born Hugh William Fortescue
(1888-06-14)14 June 1888
St George Hanover Square, London, England
Died 14 June 1958(1958-06-14) (aged 70)
Castle Hill, North Devon
Political party Conservative
Military service
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1907–1918
Rank Colonel
Unit Royal Scots Greys, Royal Corps of Signals
Commands Royal Devon Yeomanry
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Military Cross
Knight of the Order of the Garter
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Arms of Fortescue: Azure, a bend engrailed argent plain cotised or. Canting motto: Forte Scutum Salus Ducum ("A Strong Shield is the Salvation of Leaders")[1]

Colonel Hugh William Fortescue, 5th Earl Fortescue KG CB OBE MC PC (14 June 1888 – 14 June 1958), styled Viscount Ebrington from 1905 until 1932, of Castle Hill in the parish of Filleigh, of Weare Giffard Hall, both in Devon and of Ebrington Manor in Gloucestershire, was a British peer, military officer, and Conservative politician.


Hugh Fortescue was the eldest son of Hugh Fortescue, 4th Earl Fortescue (1854–1932) by his wife Emily Ormsby-Gore, a daughter of William Ormsby-Gore, 2nd Baron Harlech.[2]


Early life

He was educated at Eton College from 1901 to 1905, followed by the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.[3]

Military service

In 1907 Fortescue joined the Royal Scots Greys. During World War I (1914-18) he served in France as a regimental officer for the Scots Greys, followed by the Royal Corps of Signals. He was twice wounded in battle and received the Military Cross in 1917.[3][4] Following the war he went to India where he served as an instructor at the Cavalry School at Sangor. He then served as aide-de-camp to Henry Rawlinson, 1st Baron Rawlinson, Commander-in-Chief in India .[3] He returned to England in 1922 and joined the Royal Devon Yeomanry. He was promoted Lieutenant-Colonel in Command in 1924 and Colonel in 1930 and in 1935 he became Colonel Commandant of the Honourable Artillery Company.[3] At the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Fortescue joined the General Staff. He was appointed by the king Officer of the Order of the British Empire for war services in 1942 and Companion of the Order of the Bath in the 1946 Birthday Honours.[3]

Political career

Fortescue succeeded his father in the earldom in 1932 and took up his seat in the House of Lords. He served under Coservative Party Prime Ministers Stanley Baldwin, Neville Chamberlain and Winston Churchill as a Lord-in-Waiting (government whip in the House of Lords) from 1936 to 1945 and under Churchill as Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (chief government whip in the House of Lords) in 1945. During the Labour Party's term in power from 1945 to 1951, he was Chief Opposition Whip in the House of Lords. He was again Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms under Churchill from 1951 to 1955 and under Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden from 1955 to 1957. He was admitted to the Privy Council in 1952 and received the very great honour of being appointed a Knight of the Garter in 1951.[3]

He served as president of both the British Horse Society and Royal Agricultural Society.[5]

Marriage & progeny

On 8 February 1917 in London, he married Margaret Beaumont, a daughter of Wentworth Beaumont, 1st Viscount Allendale by his wife Lady Alexandrina Vane-Tempest, a daughter of George Vane-Tempest, 5th Marquess of Londonderry.[3] By his wife he had four children:

Mural monument to (Hugh) Peter Fortescue, Viscount Ebrington (1920–1942), Filleigh Church
"In proud and ever-loving memory of Hugh Peter, Viscount Ebrington, only son of the Fifth Earl and Countess Fortescue, Lieutenant Royal Scots Greys, who was born on 9th December 1920 and killed near El Alamein on 17th July 1942. He leaves a white unbroken glory, a gathered radiance, a shining peace"

Death & succession

He died on his 70th birthday in June 1958, four days after the death of his wife, whose funeral he was too ill to attend.[5] As his only son and heir apparent, Lord Ebrington, had been killed in action at the Battle of El Alamein in 1942,[14] he left no male issue, and was therefore succeeded in the earldom by his younger brother, Denzil Fortescue, 6th Earl Fortescue (1893–1977), who also inherited Ebrington Manor in Gloucestershire, thenceforth the principal seat of the Earls Fortescue.

Although the title passed to his brother on his death, the 5th Earl left his principal and grandest seat, Castle Hill, Filleigh in North Devon, to his elder surviving daughter, Lady Margaret Fortescue (1923-2013).[15] Castle Hill is now the home of her daughter Eleanor, Countess of Arran (née van Cutsem) and her husband Arthur Gore, 9th Earl of Arran. The 5th Earl Fortescue left his secondary Devon seat, Weare Giffard Hall, to his younger daughter Lady Elizabeth Baxendale (born 1926),[16] who sold it in 1960.[17]



  1. Debrett's Peerage, 1968, p.461
  2. Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage, and Companionage. London: Dean & Son, Limited. 1902. p. 343.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Obituary: Earl Fortescue". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 16 June 1958. p. 10.
  4. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29886. p. 33. 1 January 1917.
  5. 1 2 "Earl Fortescue". The New York Times. 16 June 1958. p. 23.
  6. He was known by his second forename, Peter (See: Obituary, Daily Telegraph newspaper, 21 Jun 2013)
  7. "Obituary: Lady Margaret Fortescue". The Daily Telegraph. 22 June 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  8. Exmoor Oral History Archive, Dulverton and District Civic Society, 2001
  9. Exmoor Oral History Archive
  10. Debrett's Peerage, 1968, p.461
  11. Obituary, Daily Telegraph newspaper, 21 Jun 2013
  12. Exmoor Oral History Archive, Dulverton and District Civic Society, 2001
  13. Debrett's Peerage, 1968, p.461
  14. Monument in Filleigh Church
  15. Lauder, Rosemary, Devon Families, Tiverton, 2002, p.80
  16. Lauder, Rosemary, Devon Families, Tiverton, 2002, p.80
  17. http://www.wearegiffardoinfo

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
The Marquess of Dufferin and Ava
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Normanby
Preceded by
The Lord Snell
Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms
Succeeded by
The Lord Ammon
Preceded by
The Lord Shepherd
Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms
Succeeded by
The Earl St Aldwyn
Party political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Templemore
Conservative Chief Whip in the House of Lords
Succeeded by
The Earl St Aldwyn
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Lord Mildmay of Flete
Lord Lieutenant of Devon
Succeeded by
The Lord Roborough
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
Hugh Fortescue
Earl Fortescue
Succeeded by
Denzil Fortescue
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