Richard Hely-Hutchinson, 6th Earl of Donoughmore

The Right Honourable
The Earl of Donoughmore

"A most discreet under secretary, drawn for the first time". Caricature by Spy in Vanity Fair February 1905
Under-Secretary of State for War
In office
12 October 1903  4 December 1905
Monarch Edward VII
Prime Minister Arthur Balfour
Preceded by The Earl of Hardwicke
Succeeded by The Earl of Portsmouth
Personal details
Born 2 March 1875
Died 19 October 1948 (1948-10-20) (aged 73)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Elena Maria Grace (d. 1944)

Richard Walter John Hely-Hutchinson, 6th Earl of Donoughmore KP PC (2 March 1875 – 19 October 1948), styled Viscount Suirdale until 1900, was an Irish peer and Conservative politician. He served as Under-Secretary of State for War under Arthur Balfour between 1903 and 1905.

Background and education

Donoughmore was the son of John Hely-Hutchinson, 5th Earl of Donoughmore, and Frances Isabella Stephens, daughter of General William Frazer Stephens. He was educated at Eton. In November 1901 he was promoted to Captain of the 3rd (Militia) Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment,[1] and the following January he resigned his commission.[2]

Political career

Donoughmore succeeded his father in the earldom in 1900 and took his seat in the House of Lords. He served as Under-Secretary of State for War from 1903 to 1905 in the Unionist administration headed by Arthur Balfour. From 1911 he was Lord Chairman of Committees of the House of Lords. He was elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ireland in 1913, a post he held until his death.[3] In 1916 he was part of the Mesopotamia Commission of Inquiry.[4] He was made a Knight of the Order of St Patrick in 1916[5] and sworn of the Privy Council in 1918.[6]

In 1921 Lord Donoughmore was elected one of the fifteen Peers of the Realm resident in the South (elected by a constituency of all Southern Ireland peers) to be a member of the Senate of Southern Ireland under the Government of Ireland Act 1920. The Senate convened in 1921 but was boycotted by Irish nationalists. Donoughmore did not attend its first meeting. In 1929 he chaired the Committee on Ministers' Powers following Viscount Hewart's controversial book, The New Despotism, in which Hewart claimed that the rule of law in Britain was being undermined by the legislature. The book was very controversial and led to the Committee. The Report rejected Hewart's arguments.


Lord Donoughmore married at St. Michael´s church, Chester-square, on 21 December 1901, Elena Maria Grace, daughter of Michael P. Grace.[7] She died on 22 February 1944. Lord Donoughmore died in October 1948, aged 73, and was succeeded in the earldom by his son, John.


  1. The London Gazette: no. 27377. p. 7398. 15 November 1901.
  2. The London Gazette: no. 27393. p. 9. 3 January 1902.
  3. Waite, Arthur Edward (2007). A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry. vol. I. Cosimo, Inc. p. 400. ISBN 1-60206-641-8.
  4. Date accessed: 12 August 2007 From: 'Appendix 1', Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 10: Officials of Royal Commissions of Inquiry 1870-1939 (1995), pp. 85-8.
  5. Knights of St Patrick
  6. The London Gazette: no. 30764. p. 7461. 25 June 1918.
  7. "Court circular". The Times (36645). London. 23 December 1901. p. 7.
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Hardwicke
Under-Secretary of State for War
1903 1905
Succeeded by
The Earl of Portsmouth
Masonic offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Abercorn
Grandmaster of the Grand Lodge of Ireland
Succeeded by
Raymond Fredrick Brooke
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
John Hely-Hutchinson
Earl of Donoughmore
1900 1948
Succeeded by
John Hely-Hutchinson
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