Somerset de Chair

Somerset Struben de Chair
Member of Parliament
for South West Norfolk
In office
Member of Parliament
for Paddington South
In office
Personal details
Born (1911-08-22)22 August 1911
Somerset, England, United Kingdom
Died 5 January 1995 (aged 83)
Antigua, Leeward Islands, Lesser Antilles, West Indies
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) (1st) Thelma Grace Arbuthnot, (2nd) Carmen Appleton, (3rd) Margaret Patricia Manlove (née Field-Hart), (4th) Lady Juliet Wentworth-Fitzwilliam
Relations Admiral Sir Dudley Rawson Stratford de Chair KCB KCMG MVO (father)
Children 4 sons, 2 daughters
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford
Profession Author/Politician
Religion Anglican
Military service
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Rank Captain
Unit Royal Horse Guards
Battles/wars Anglo-Iraqi War (1941), Battle of Palmyra, Syria (1941)

Somerset Struben de Chair (22 August 1911 – 5 January 1995) was a British author, politician and poet.

Early and personal life

De Chair was the younger son of Admiral Sir Dudley Rawson Stratford de Chair, KCB, KCMG, MVO. He first was married on 8 October 1932 to Thelma Grace Arbuthnot (1911–1974), with whom he had two sons: Rodney Somerset and Peter Dudley.

His second wife, Carmen Appleton, gave birth to sons Rory and Somerset Carlo. Their marriage dissolved in 1958, allowing Somerset to marry his third wife, Margaret Patricia Manlove (née Field-Hart); they had a daughter, Teresa Loraine Aphrodite (who married Sir Toby Clarke, 6th Baronet). The third marriage was dissolved in 1974, and in the same year and at the age of sixty-three, he married his fourth wife, then 39 years old, Lady Juliet Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, only child of Peter Wentworth-FitzWilliam, 8th Earl FitzWilliam, who had previously been married to Victor Hervey, 6th Marquess of Bristol. Somerset and Lady Juliet had a daughter, Helena, who married Jacob Rees-Mogg.

The hurdler Lawrence Somerset Clarke is his grandson.


He was Conservative MP for South West Norfolk between 1935 and 1945, losing his seat by 53 votes. He was Member of Parliament (MP) for Paddington South from 1950 to 1951. He was one of the Conservatives who voted against the Government in the crucial Norway Debate in May 1940 that brought Winston Churchill into office.

He was educated at The King's School, Parramatta in New South Wales between 1923 and 1930 before attending Balliol College, Oxford.

Having been a cadet in the Officers' Training Corps at Oxford, he was able to be commissioned as a Reserve Second Lieutenant of the Life Guards in 1938. He was mobilised on 24 August 1940, a few days before the United Kingdom's entry into World War II. He served as an intelligence officer with the 4th Cavalry Brigade during Anglo-Iraqi War and the Syrian Campaign where he was wounded on 21 June 1941. Later service was with the General Staff with the rank of Acting Captain.[1]

He was a Parliamentary Private Secretary 1942-44.

He wrote historical nonfiction, a number of now largely forgotten novels, one play, three collections of poetry, as well as a number of works of autobiography.

Houses and art

De Chair was known for his extravagant taste and lived in a series of large country houses. He lived between 1944 and 1949 at Chilham Castle and leased Blickling Hall from the Marquess of Lothian.[2][3] He owned St Osyth's Priory in Essex from 1954 until his death in 1995 and also bought Bourne Park in Kent with his last wife, Lady Juliet Wentworth-Fitzwilliam.


Edited and translated
Poetry collections


Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Alan McLean
Member of Parliament for South West Norfolk
Succeeded by
Sidney Dye
Preceded by
Ernest Augustus Taylor
Member of Parliament for Paddington South
Succeeded by
Robert Allan
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