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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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I. Archival Sources Bodleian (Weston) Library, Oxford Asquith MSS. Microfilm Asquith 27 (fol.188). Carrington (The Marquess of Lincolnshire) Papers, MSS Film 1135 (2). The British Library, London MSS Eur F118/3/3–22: 1928–1931 [Title: Beauchamp, William Lygon, 7th Earl]. Personal and semi-official papers of 1st Marquess of Reading. Cambridge University Library, Cambridge Crewe Papers, C/2. Gloucestershire Archives, Gloucester Files: D 551/ 1–16. Kent History and Library Centre, Maidstone Fo/CPw10; Cpw/S7; Cpw/RPS8. The Madresfield Archives, The Estate Office, Madresfield, Malvern Boxes: 2–6. The National Archives, Kew, London Ref.: J 77/2899/9727 (C 632718). Nuffield College Library Archive, Oxford Emmott MSS, box no. 3, 5–7, 9. The Parliamentary Archives, London Lloyd George MSS, LG/ G/3/5/1–13. 484 Bibliography Royal Archives PS/PSO/GV/C/O/480/45, 46, 56. GV/PRIV/GVD1894: 2 Apr. PS/PSO/GV/PS/COR/56098/3. PS/PSO/GV/PS/MAIN/2476/71. PS/PSO/GV/PS/COR/56078/952. PS/PSO/GV/PS/COR/56078/958. PS/PSO/GV/PS/MAN/3742/5. PS/PSO/GV/PS/MAIN/779/17. PS/PSO/GV/PS/MAIN/2238/4. PS/PSO/GV/PS/MAIN/2238/7. PS/PSO/GV/C/O/396/2. PS/PSO/GV/C/O/480/62, 65,66. VIC/MAIN/P/2/223. GV/ADD/COPY/2/3/67, 69,76,79. VIC. Add. C/22. VIC/Add/U/27/99–101, 162. GV/ADD/COPY/2/3/67,69,76,79. VIC/Add/U/27/99–101, 162. VIC/ADD/B/11.613. PS/PSO/GV/PS/SV/56079/7. PS/PSO/GV/C/K/731/1. Senate House Library Archives, University of London, London File-05591: 1120 (AL 366); 1121 (UoL/VP 1/4); 1123 (UoL/CF 1/30/1502); 1124 (Uol/ CF 1/31/1502); 1125 (UoL/CN/4/8/1). State Library of New South Wales, The Mitchell Library, Sydney Manuscripts: Call No. ML A3295, Frame No. 259–301; Call No. ML A 3012; Call No. ML DOC 2561; Call No. ML DOC 465b; Call No. ML A 1829 or C Y 3233; Call No. ML D 233 or C Y 1164; Call No. ML A 3295, Frame No. 259–301; Call No. ML A 3295, Frame...

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