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The Seventh Earl Beauchamp

A Victim of His Times

Peter Raina

The 7 th Earl Beauchamp was a prominent figure in English public life in the years 1900–30, but his career ended in scandal. He was barred from English soil, his reputation was destroyed and his papers were withheld from public view. In this book, Peter Raina uses previously unreleased documents to reassess Beauchamp’s life and legacy.
Born into the aristocracy, Beauchamp was driven by a sense of noblesse oblige and devoted his life to public service. Though some of this was ceremonial, Beauchamp was keen to involve himself in practical politics, where he showed his independence of mind. He joined the Liberals as they pushed through change against obstruction from his own landowning class. He championed Irish Home Rule. In 1914 he opposed entry into the war and lost any chance of promotion. However, he remained deeply loyal to his party even after its split and decline, and worked tirelessly in its cause.
His life touched on great events such as the formation of Australia and, in Britain, the great reforms of 1906–9, the 1911 Parliament Act, the crisis of 1914, the creation of the Irish Free State, the Liberal collapse, the first Labour government and the economic slump. Through all these, he busied himself in party affairs, but one aspect of his private life worked against him and, in a Sophoclean twist, he fell from grace.
This book documents the Earl’s involvement in politics, explores his personality and looks carefully at the issues that brought him down. In the light of this analysis, it is hoped that historians will recognize his significant contribution to the events of his day.

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Alfred Emmott, 1st Baron Emmott bromide print by Walter Stoneman, 1917 © the National Portrait Gallery, London Edmond Warre mixed-method engraving probably by Thomas Lewis Atkinson, 1889, thought to be after Francis Hall © the National Portrait Gallery, London William Lygon, 7th Earl Beauchamp dry-plate glass negative by Walter Stoneman, 1917 © the National Portrait Gallery, London Lady Mary Hepburn-Stuart-Forbes-Trefusis (née Lygon) as Marie de Lorraine, a lady at the court of Marguerite de Valois by Thomas Bennett & Sons; photogravure by Walker & Boutall, 1897, published 1899 © the National Portrait Gallery, London Hallam Tennyson, 2nd Baron Tennyson half-plate glass negative by Walter Stoneman, 1917 © the National Portrait Gallery, London Sir Almeric William FitzRoy bromide print by Walter Stoneman, 1917 © the National Portrait Gallery, London Arthur John Bigge, Baron Stamfordham whole-plate glass negative by Walter Stoneman, 1917 © the National Portrait Gallery, London xii List of Illustrations Eton College vintage snapshot print taken by Lady Ottoline Morrell, 1915 © the National Portrait Gallery, London William Lygon, 8th Earl Beauchamp with William Lygon, the 7th Earl whole-plate glass negative by Bassano Ltd, 25 April 1924 © the National Portrait Gallery, London ‘A view taken from Christ Church Meadows, Oxford’, showing James Webber and Cyril Jackson hand-coloured etching by Robert Dighton, published May 1807 © the National Portrait Gallery, London Joe Chamberlain pen and ink drawing by Walter Stoneman, done between 1880 and 1910 © the National Portrait Gallery, London Rufus Isaacs, 1st Marquis of Reading bromide print by (Arthur) Walton Adams, 1910s © the National Portrait Gallery, London Herbert Henry Asquith,...

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