Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe

From Academic Kids

Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe (12 January 1858 - 20 June 1945) was an English statesman and writer.



The son of Lord Houghton, he was educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge.

In 1880 he married Sibyl Marcia Graham, who died in 1887, leaving him with three daughters: Annabel, Celia and Cynthia (a son, Richard, died in infancy). (In 1903, Lady Annabel married Arthur Edward Bruce O’Neill (1876-1914), later Unionist MP for Mid Antrim from 1910; their third son, Terence O'Neill served as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland from 1963 to 1969). Lady Cynthia Crewe-Milnes was mother of the Cabinet Secretary Sir John Colville.

In 1895 he was created Earl of Crewe, his maternal grandfather, the 2nd Baron Crewe, having left him as heir. He was created Marquess of Crewe and Earl of Madeley in 1911, but all his titles ended with his death in 1945 as there was no male heir.

Crewe-Milnes' second marriage (1899) was to Margaret, daughter of the 5th Earl of Rosebery and they had a son, also Richard, born in 1911 but who died in 1922. A daughter Lady Mary Crewe-Milnes survived and was the first wife of the 9th Duke of Roxburghe (father of the present Duke); they were divorced in 1953 without issue.

Literary work

He inherited his father's literary tastes, and published Stray Verses in 1890, besides other miscellaneous literary work. He also wrote a biography Lord Rosebery, published in 1931.

Political service

A Liberal in politics, he became private secretary to Lord Granville when Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1883-1884), and in 1886 was made a lord-in-waiting.

In the Liberal administration of 1892-1895 he was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, with John Morley as chief secretary.

From 1905 to 1908 he was Lord President of the Council in the Liberal government; in 1908, in Asquith's cabinet, he became Secretary of State for the Colonies (1910-1915) and Liberal leader in the House of Lords. In this latter role, he played a key role in bringing the Parliament Act of 1911 (depriving the Lords of its veto) to the statute book. His colonial responsibilities included terms as Secretary of State for India (1910-1911 and 1911-1915).

He served as Lord President of the Council again in 1915-1916.

He maintained a leading role in the education sector, serving as Chaiman of the Governing Body of Imperial College (1907-1922), President of the Board of Education (1916) and Chancellor of Sheffield University. He was also chairman of London County Council in 1917.

He was later Ambassador to France (1922 - 1928), and Secretary of State in the War Office in 1931


Lord Crewe, 1858-1945. The likeness of a Liberal, James Pope Hennessy (Constable & Co, London, 1955).

Preceded by:
The Earl of Zetland
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
Succeeded by:
The Earl Cadogan
Preceded by:
The Marquess of Londonderry
Lord President of the Council
Succeeded by:
The Lord Tweedmouth
Preceded by:
The Marquess of Ripon
Leader of the House of Lords
Succeeded by:
The Earl Curzon of Kedleston
Preceded by:
The Earl of Elgin and Kincardine
Colonial Secretary
Succeeded by:
Lewis Vernon Harcourt
Preceded by:
The Marquess of Ripon
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by:
The Earl Carrington
Preceded by:
The Viscount Morley of Blackburn
Secretary of State for India
Succeeded by:
Austen Chamberlain
Preceded by:
The Earl Carrington
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by:
The Earl Curzon of Kedleston
Preceded by:
The Earl Beauchamp
Lord President of the Council
Succeeded by:
The Earl Curzon of Kedleston
Preceded by:
Arthur Henderson
President of the Board of Education
Succeeded by:
H.A.L. Fisher
Preceded by:
Thomas Shaw
Secretary of State for War
Succeeded by:
The Viscount Hailsham

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