James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury

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About James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury

4th Marquess of Salisbury, James Edward Hubert Gascoyne-Cecil, KG GCVO CB PC (23 October 1861– 4 April 1947), known as Viscount Cranborne from 1868 to 1903, was a British statesman.

Born in London, Salisbury was the eldest son of Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, who served as British Prime Minister, by his wife Georgina (née Alderson). The Right Reverend Lord William Cecil, Lord Cecil of Chelwood and Lord Quickswood were his younger brothers and Prime Minister Arthur Balfour his first cousin. He was educated at Eton and University College, Oxford, graduating BA in 1885.

He served under his father and then his cousin Arthur Balfour as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs from 1900 to 1903, under Balfour as Lord Privy Seal from 1903 to 1905, and as Lord President of the Board of Trade in 1905. In 1903 he was sworn of the Privy Council. In December 1908, he was appointed a deputy lieutenant of Hertfordshire.[1]And from 1906, followed his uncle, as Chairman of the Canterbury House of Laymen.

Salisbury played a leading role in opposing David Lloyd George's People's Budget and the Parliament Bill of 1911. In 1917 he was made a Knight of the Garter. He returned to the government in the 1920s and served under Andrew Bonar Law and Stanley Baldwin as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster from 1922 to 1923, as Lord President of the Council from 1922 to 1924, as Lord Privy Seal from 1924 to 1929 and as Leader of the House of Lords from 1925 to 1929 in successive Conservative governments of Bonar Law and Baldwin. He resigned as leader of the Conservative peers in June 1931 and became one of the most prominent opponents of Indian Home Rule in the Lords, supporting the campaign against the legislation waged in the House of Commons by Winston Churchill.

Lord Salisbury was a committed and eager member of the Territorial Army. Honourary Colonel of 86th East Anglians, and the Hertfordshire Yeomanry Brigade. He was also Honourary Colonel of Royal Field Artillery in the Territorial Detachment and the 48th South Midland Division Royal Engineers (TA).

Salisbury was part of two parliamentary deputations which called on the Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Neville Chamberlain, in the autumn of 1936 to remonstrate with them about the slow pace of British rearmament in the face of the growing threat from Nazi Germany. The delegation was led by Sir Austen Chamberlain, a former Foreign Secretary and its most prominent speakers included Winston Churchill, Leo Amery and Roger Keyes. The Marquess of Salisbury was Lord High Steward at the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937.


Lord Salisbury married Lady Cicely Gore (15 July 1867 5 February 1955), second daughter of Arthur Gore, 5th Earl of Arran, on 17 May 1887. She was appointed a JP for Hertfordshire. In 1907, she was made a Lady Bedchamber to HM Queen Alexandra, an Officer of the Order of St John of Jerusalem. They had four children:

  1. Lady Beatrice Edith Mildred (1891–1980). She married William Ormsby-Gore, 4th Baron Harlech.
  2. Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 5th Marquess of Salisbury (1893–1972)
  3. Lady Mary Alice (1895–1988)
  4. Lord (Edward Christian) David (1902–1986)
  5. Lord Salisbury died in April 1947, aged 85, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Robert. The Marchioness of Salisbury died in February 1955.

He was the grandfather of actor Jonathan Cecil, via his youngest son, David.

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