John Arbuthnott, 16th Viscount of Arbuthnott

Coat of Arms of the Viscounts of Arbuthnott

John Campbell Arbuthnott, 16th Viscount of Arbuthnott, KT, CBE, DSC, JP, FRSA, FRSE (26 October 1924 – 14 July 2012) was a Scottish peer, Lord Lieutenant of Kincardineshire (1977–99) and a notable businessman.[1][2]


Lord Arbuthnott was educated at Fettes College, Edinburgh (head boy) and at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he studied estate management [3] graduating with a BA degree in 1949; and a MA degree in 1967.[1] He held an Honorary LL.D. degree from Aberdeen University (1995).[2]

War service

During the Second World War, he served in the near and Far East and Pacific theatre (1944–45) with the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy (1942–46), and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) in 1945.[1]


Lord Arbuthnott was a chartered surveyor and a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (FRICS), a Land Agent, a Justice of the Peace (JP) and a Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. He served with the Agricultural Land Service division of the Ministry of Agriculture (1949–55), was Senior Land Agent for Nature Conservancy in Scotland (1955–67), member of the Countryside Commission (Scotland; 1968–71), Chairman of the Red Deer Commission 1969–75, President of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (1973–92), President of the Scottish Landowners' Federation (1974–79), and a member of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (1976–2012), Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (1980–1983),[1] the RSGS (1983–2012); Federation of Agricultural Co-operatives (UK) Ltd (1983–2012); Deputy Chairman of the Nature Conservancy Council (1980–85); and Chairman of the Advisory Committee for Scotland (1980–85).[2]

The Viscount was a director of Aberdeen & Northern Markets (1973–91; chairman, 1986–91), and served as a Director of the investment firm Scottish Widows (1978–1994), and was elected as chairman of the society (1984–87).[4] He was a member (1979–85) of the Scottish North investment Trust, and a director of Britoil plc (1988–90), and joined the British Petroleum (BP) Scottish Advisory Board (1990–96).[2] In 1985, Clydesdale Bank appointed Lord Arbuthnott as a main board director, a position that lasted until 1992.[5]


He was Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE), Prior of the Scottish Venerable Order of St John (GCStJ) (1983–95), and served as Her Majesty's Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (May 1986–87), on the Royal Commission on Historic Manuscripts (1987–94), and a member of the Aberdeen University Court (1978–84), and Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Farmers.[2]


Lord Arbuthnott was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1986 New Year Honours,[6] and made a Knight of the Order of the Thistle (KT) in 1996.[7]


Following his death, a Service of Thanksgiving for his life was held at St Machar's Cathedral, Aberdeen, on 14 September 2012.


The Viscount, long notable in British affairs, was the son of Major General (Robert) Keith Arbuthnott, 15th Viscount of Arbuthnott. He married Mary Elizabeth Darley Oxley (died 16 January 2010) on 3 September 1949; they had two children, one son and one daughter:


  1. 1 2 3 4 Mosley, Charles, editor, Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, 106th edition, Crans, Switzerland, 1999, p. 99, ISBN 2-940085-02-1
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Crooks, John, & Green, Alison, Debrett's People of Today, 14th edition, London, 2001, p. 45; ISBN 1-870520-64-5
  3. Who's Who 1988
  4. Financial Times (12 May 1984) Appointments: Scottish Widows' fund and life assurance society, pg. 4
  5. Financial Times (27 March 1985) Appointments/Clydesdale Bank, p. 11
  6. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 50361. p. 7. 31 December 1985.
  7. The Edinburgh Gazette: no. 24103. p. 2907. 3 December 1996.


External links

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Geoffrey Saunders
Lord Lieutenant of Kincardineshire
Succeeded by
John Dalziel Beveridge Smart
Preceded by
The Lord Maclean
Lord High Commissioner
to the General Assembly of the
Church of Scotland

Succeeded by
Sir Iain Tennant
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
(Robert) Keith Arbuthnott
Viscount of Arbuthnott
Succeeded by
(John) Keith Arbuthnott
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