Arthur Lawley, 6th Baron Wenlock

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Arthur Lawley, The 6th Baron Wenlock
Arthur Lawley, 6th Baron Wenlock.png
Governor of Madras
In office
28 March 1906 – 3 November 1911
Governor General Gilbert Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, 4th Earl of Minto

Charles Hardinge, 1st Baron Hardinge of Penshurst

Preceded by Sir Gabriel Stokes (acting)
Succeeded by Thomas Gibson-Carmichael, 1st Baron Carmichael
Lieutenant-Governor of the Transvaal Republic
In office
29 September 1902 – 4 December 1905
Preceded by Alfred Milner, 1st Viscount Milner
Succeeded by William Palmer, 2nd Earl of Selborne
13th Governor of Western Australia
In office
1 May 1901 – 14 August 1902
Premier George Throssell
George Leake
Alf Morgans
Walter James
Preceded by Gerard Smith
Succeeded by Frederick Bedford
Administrator of Matabeleland
In office
5 December 1896 – January 1901
Preceded by None
Succeeded by None
Personal details
Born (1860-11-12)12 November 1860
London, England, UK
Died 14 June 1932(1932-06-14) (aged 71)
Freiberg, Germany
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Annie Allen Cunard; 3 children)

Arthur Lawley, 6th Baron Wenlock,GCSI, GCIE, KCMG (12 November 1860–14 June 1932) was a British soldier and colonial governor who served as the Administrator of Matabeleland, Governor of Western Australia, Lieutenant-Governor of the Transvaal and Governor of Madras.[1]

Lawley was born in 1860 to 2nd Baron Wenlock and his wife, Lady Elizabeth (née Grosvenor). He was their seventh child to the couple and the fourth and youngest son. He was educated at Eton, where he became President of the Eton Society and Editor of the Eton Chronicle.[2]

In October 1879 he went to Trinity College, Cambridge.[3] However, Lawley did not complete his studies at Cambridge. Instead, he went in 1880 to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst and was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the 10th Hussars in 1882.[4] He served in India and in fought in the Sudan Mahdist War seeing action at Suakin (1884). In 1885 he was promoted to Captain and served in the United Kingdom until 1892.[5] Upon retiring from the army, he became involved in politics, serving as the private secretary to his uncle, the Duke of Westminster from 1892 to 1896, after which he was appointed secretary to Earl Grey, who went to administer Rhodesia after the Jameson Raid. In 1897 Lawley was promoted to be the Administrator of Matabeleland,[6] He later served as Governor of Western Australia,[7] Lieutenant-Governor of the Transvaal and Governor of Madras.[8]


When Albert Grey, 4th Earl Grey, was sent to Salisbury to replace Sir Leander Starr Jameson, Lawley was in due course appointed the acting administrator of Matabeleland representing the British South Africa Company. In November 1896 he was appointed Deputy Administrator for Matabeleland. He served as Administrator of Matabeleland from 1897 to 1901.[6][9] In 1898, Lawley led a mission to the court of Lewanika, the king of Barotseland.

Lawley later wrote a detailed account and a diary of his journey to Barotseland and his experiences. An agreement was signed at the Victoria Falls on 21 June 1898 between King Lewanika and Captain Arthur Lawley with Robert Coryndon, the resident in Barotseland as witness. The ivory seal with its gold handle used by Lawley to endorse the Treaty is in The National Trust Collection at Tyntesfield.[10][11]

The Second Matabele War, which began after the failure of the Jameson Raid in January 1896, concluded during Lawley's residence in Bulawayo with a victory for British settlers and a Peace Agreement on 13 October 1896, reached by Cecil Rhodes meeting with the Matabele Chiefs in the Matopos Hills. On the departure of Earl Grey in July 1897, Lawley succeeded Albert Grey, 4th Earl Grey, as the Administrator of Matabeleland and served from 1897 to 24 January 1901.[6][9][12] As Deputy-administrator, Lawley participated in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Queen Victoria. As Cecil Rhodes was unwell, Captain Arthur Lawley gave the speech opening the Railway from Mafeking to Bulawayo on 4 November 1897.[13] Captain Lawley sent half the force which relieved Mafeking under the command of Colonel Plumer in May 1900.[14] He was in close contact with Colonel Robert Baden Powell, who later served under him as Chief of Police in the Transvaal.[15]

Governor of Western Australia[edit]

Lawley was knighted and appointed Governor of Western Australia in February 1901,[16] and arrived in Albany aboard the ship Ophir along with the Duke and Duchess of York. Lawley served as Governor of Western Australia from 1 May 1901 to 14 August 1902.[17] As Governor, he represented Western Australia at the opening of the first Federal Parliament in Melbourne on 9 May 1901.[18]

Lawley was Governor for a short tenure but his tenure witnessed the rise and fall of several governments. As soon as he took charge, Lawley received the resignation of Premier George Throssell on 21 May 1901. At the end of May George Leake was elected Premier.[19] On 21 November 1901 following the resignation of George Leake, Alfred Morgans became Premier.[20] He resigned before Christmas and was replaced by George Leake. On 24 June George Leake died and was replaced by Walter James as Premier of Western Australia.[19] In December 1901, Lawley toured the south-western parts of the province along with the Governor General Lord Hopetoun, a friend from Eton College. His tenure also witnessed instability in the Perth City Council. Lady Lawley devoted herself to numerous charities in particular the children's hospice at Cottesloe, known as Lady Lawley Cottage.[21] The suburb of Mount Lawley in Perth is named after Lawley. Lawley laid the foundation stones of the Supreme Court of Justice and the Parliament of Western Australia.[12]

The Transvaal Republic[edit]

On the recommendation of Alfred Milner, 1st Viscount Milner, Lawley was appointed as Lieutenant-Governor of the Transvaal in June 1902.[22] Lawley arrived in Pretoria at the end of August and served as lieutenant governor of the Transvaal from September 1902 to December 1905.[23] South Africa in 1902 was emerging from the bitter conflict of the Boer War and under the leadership of Lord Milner, the Lieutenant Governor of the Transvaal had the arduous task of post war reconstruction. The visit of Joseph Chamberlain, the Colonial Secretary, greatly facilitated this and generous financial provision was made for rebuilding the devastated farms and settlements.[24][25][26] However given that Britain had just conquered the Transvaal with its rich gold fields, diamond and platinum mines, this was the very least that could be expected.[27] The administration brought in new cattle to restock the farms, tackled disease among livestock, and re-opened the mines controversially using imported Chinese labour in the Rand Goldfields, an idea backed by Lord Milner.[28] Joseph Chamberlain went with Lawley on a tour of the Transvaal and endeavoured to establish cordial relations with the defeated Boers.[29] On 25 June 1905, the Cullinan Diamond was discovered at the Premier Mine, near Pretoria. The diamond, which was cut to create the four Stars of Africa, was presented by Louis Botha, the First Prime Minister of South Africa, to King Edward VII in 1907.[29]

Lawley’s administration also saw the legislation introduced, which led to the creation of the Kruger National Park[30] and the University of the Witwatersrand.[31] At one of the schools established at that time by Bishop William M. Carter and the Mirfield Fathers, a young Desmond Tutu received his education.[32] Lawley's administration undertook the task of demarcating and allotting separate reserves in the Transvaal for indigenous Africans.[33] In the end, Lawley set aside only about 3% of the Transvaal for Africans.[33]

In 1903, due to petitions from Boer farmers, the government of Transvaal permitted them access to Kgatla reserves in the Bechuanaland protectorate to recover their stolen cattle on the condition they reciprocate by offering the Kgatla access to their own settlements.[34] The Kgatla responded by requesting Lawley to merge Kgatla reserves in Bechuanaland and the Crown colony into a single settlement.[34]

The Kgatla request was framed to enable their chief Lentshwe gain complete sovereignty over all the lands occupied by the Kgatla from the Boers during the Second Boer War.[35] The request was turned down by Lawley, who, however, permitted Lentshwe to appoint his brother Ramono as his deputy over Saulspoort.[35]

During his tenure, Lawley had reservations about Lord Milner's policy of importing cheap Chinese labour into Transvaal to work in the gold mines.[36][37][38] Nonetheless he pointed out the extent of success that had attended their work.[38][39] The town of Lawley in Transvaal is named after Arthur Lawley.[40] Mohandas K. Gandhi founded his Tolstoy model farm near the town of Lawley. Sir Arthur Lawley encountered Mohandas Gandhi in the Transvaal and Gandhi wished him well when he was appointed Governor of the Madras Presidency in India.[41]

As Governor of Madras[edit]

While serving as Lieutenant-Governor of Transvaal, Lawley was appointed Governor of Madras on 28 December 1905 at a monthly pay of Rs. 10,000. He took office on 28 March 1906 succeeding The Lord Ampthill. Lawley's eldest brother Beilby Lawley, 3rd Baron Wenlock had also served as the Governor of Madras from 1891 to 1896. The Madras Legislative Council was completely reformed according to the Indian Councils Act 1909 and enlarged during his time. Lawley undertook a fifteen tours to acquaint himself of the administrative machinery prevailing in the Presidency. He took the opportunity to visit schools, hospitals and prisons, to meet with peasants, politicians, farmers and businessmen and to consult with government officials.[42] During his tenure, the Madras Estates Land Bill was passed. In 1906, the Arbuthnot Bank of Madras crashed precipitating one of the worst financial disasters of the 20th century.[43] Lawley, who was himself one of the stockholders, tried to raise public funds to rescue investors.[43] The disillusioned investors eventually responded by founding the Indian Bank.[43] At the end of 1908 Lawley introduced the Morley-Minto reforms which brought Indian representation into the government of Madras.He appointed the Maharaja of Bobbili to be the first Indian to have membership of the Executive.[1] Lawley also promoted the building of railways and encouraged modern agriculture and industrial development. With his close friend the Maharaja of Mysore he promoted technical education. In 1910 there was an Agricultural and Industrial Exhibition in Mysore.[44]

The newly constructed building housing the Government Museum, Chennai was opened by Lawley on 5 September 1906. Lawley also inaugurated the Victoria Memorial Hall in Madras on 28 March 1909 in memory of Queen Victoria.[45] In 1910, Lawley unveiled a portrait of Queen Victoria inside the Victoria Public Hall after the building was acquired by the Suguna Vilas Sabha. On 27 October 1911, Lawley presided over the Annual Day function of the Madras Sanskrit College and presented diplomas to meritorious students.[46]

Lawley inaugurated the Giffard School block of the Women and Children's Hospital in Egmore in October 1911.[47] On 1 November 1911, Sir Arthur Lawley opened the Lady Lawley Nurses Home. Their Excellencies were garlanded with extravagant garlands of flowers.[48] The nurses' quarters was established opposite to the hospital and named after Lady Lawley.[47]


A road in Coimbatore is named after him.[49] The Lawley Institute in Ooty, a gentlemen's club, commemorates his governorship of the Madras Presidency.[50] Mount Lawley, a suburb of Perth in Western Australia is named after him. Lawley's Court Dress as Governor of Madras is kept in the National Trust Victorian House of Tyntesfield. Lady Lawley lived there from 1939 until her death in 1944 and many things in the house belonged to Sir Arthur and Lady Lawley. Portraits of Sir Arthur Lawley as Governor of Western Australia, Lady Lawley painted in Madras in 1911, and of their son Richard Edward Lawley are to be seen at Tyntesfield. There were two dozen photo albums kept at Tyntesfield which were loaned to the Empire and Commonwealth Museum.[51] Many of the photographs can be seen in the biography - Sir Arthur Lawley, Eloquent Knight Errant (see below).

Later life[edit]

In August and September 1912 he visited Canada at the instigation of the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill. He gave speeches in Ottawa and Winnipeg on the subject of "Canada, the Royal Navy and the Empire". The purpose was to encourage Canada to build Dreadnoughts for the Royal Navy.[52] In May 1913, Lawley was Deputy Leader of the British Empire Delegation to the United States to celebrate 100 years of peace between Britain and the U.S.A.[53][54][55] He delivered memorable speeches in New York, Washington, Philadelphia and Chicago.[56][57][58] A photograph illustrating the arrival of the delegation was taken in New York on 7 May 1913. On 19 November 1914 he accompanied Lady Roberts to the State Funeral in St Paul's Cathedral of her husband, Field Marshal Frederick Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts of Kandahar.[59] During the First World War, Lawley served as a Commissioner of the British Red Cross Society in Boulogne, France. In 1917 he served as Red Cross Commissioner in Mesopotamia and liaised with the Indian Red Cross because so many Indian soldiers were injured in Mesopotamia.

In 1919, Lawley represented Britain at the Founding of the International Red Cross at Versailles.[60][61][62] In 1920 he was asked by Earl Haig to found the Officers' Section of the British Legion.[63][64]

In his later life, he served as the director of numerous London-based companies including Forestal in Argentina.[65][66] In 1927 Lawley and Lady Lawley visited the Fairbridge Farm School at Pinjarra, Western Australia, and Lady Lawley Cottage. He remained president of the Child Emigration Society until 1929.[67] He succeeded his brother, Reverend Algernon George Lawley, who died without an heir, as the 6th Baron Wenlock in June 1931.


Arthur Lawley, 6th Baron Wenlock, died on 14 June 1932 at Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden, Germany, and was interred at St Helen's Church Escrick, Yorkshire.[68] As he had no surviving male children, he was the last Baron Wenlock.


On 15 October 1885, he married Annie Allen Cunard, a daughter of Sir Edward Cunard, 2nd Baronet. The Baroness Wenlock was named Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) in 1917.

The couple had three children:

  • Hon. Margaret Cecilia Lawley (15 June 1889 – 3 May 1969). She married Geoffrey Dawson, editor of The Times, on 14 June 1919. He was Trustee for the Second Lord Wraxall during his minority until 1944.
  • Hon. Richard Edward Lawley (8 May 1887 – 4 September 1909). He was killed in a hunting accident at Ooty in Southern India, aged 22.
  • Ursula Mary Lawley (8 June 1888 – 16 October 1979). She married George Abraham Gibbs, 1st Baron Wraxall, on 20 July 1927. From 1927 until her death in 1979 she lived at Tyntesfield in Somerset, England.


  • 11 February 1901: Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George, KCMG, on appointment as Governor of the State of Western Australia.[69] February 1906, Knight Grand Commander of the Indian Empire GCIE on appointment as Governor of Madras. December 1911, Knight Grand Commander of the Star of India GCSI at the Delhi Durbar of King George V and Queen Mary.[70]


  1. ^ a b The Times obituary for Lord Wenlock, Wednesday, 15 June 1932.
  2. ^ Eton College Archives
  3. ^ "Lawley, the Hon. Arthur (LWLY879A)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  4. ^ London Gazette 8 August 1882
  5. ^ The Memoirs of the Tenth Royal Hussars, 1891
  6. ^ a b c The Bulawayo Chronicle, November 1897
  7. ^ The Western Australian, 15 August 1902
  8. ^ The Star, Johannesburg 4 November 1905
  9. ^ a b "Zimbabwe". worldstatesmen. 
  10. ^ The National Trust, Tyntesfield, U.K.
  11. ^ Assa Okoth (2006). A History of Africa: African societies and the establishment of colonial rule, 1800-1915. East African Publishers. p. 234. ISBN 9966253572, ISBN 978-9966-25-357-6. 
  12. ^ a b Sir Arthur Lawley's photo albums, Lord Wraxall
  13. ^ Bulawayo Chronicle, 11 November 1897
  14. ^ Daily Telegraph, 18 May 1900
  15. ^ Lessons from the Varsity of Life by Lord Baden Powell of Gilwell. Chapter 8. The South African Constabulary.
  16. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27290. p. 1499. 1 March 1901. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  17. ^ "Western Australia". worldstatesmen. 
  18. ^ Parliamentary Education Office, Parliament House, Canberra, Australia
  19. ^ a b Government House, Perth, Western Australia
  20. ^ Western Mail, Perth 22 November 1901
  21. ^ Lorraine Hayes, Lady Lawley Cottage, Western Australia Red Cross
  22. ^ W. Basil Worsfold (1913). The Reconstruction of the New Colonies Under Lord Milner. BiblioBazaar, LLC. p. 60. ISBN 1115384198, ISBN 978-1-115-38419-3. 
  23. ^ The Transvaal Leader. Tuesday 5 December 1905.
  24. ^ Photo of Joseph and Mary Chamberlain at Sunnyside Pretoria in Chapter 4 of "Sir Arthur Lawley, Eloquent Knight Errant". Lady Lawley Cottage (Western Australian Red Cross; 2008).
  25. ^ The Brunt of War and where it fell. Emily Hobhouse. Methuen London, 1902.
  26. ^ The Times 8 January 1903. Page 3, column A.
  27. ^ Gold Miners and the Imperial War. ANC. South Africa
  28. ^ Milner, the Appostle of Empire. John Marlowe, Hamish Hamilton. London 1976. Chapter 7.
  29. ^ a b Chamberlains Speeches. 27 December 1902; edited by C.W. Boyd, London, 1914.
  30. ^ The Star, Weekly Edition, Johannesburg, Saturday, 19 December 1903
  31. ^ Colonial Office Despatches CO510/6. 5 September 1903. National Archives, Kew, London, UK
  32. ^ Algy Lawley. Latimer Trend and Co. Plymouth, 1933.
  33. ^ a b Hermann Giliomee (2003). The Afrikaners: biography of a people. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. p. 300. ISBN 1850657149, ISBN 978-1-85065-714-9. 
  34. ^ a b Peter Warwick (1983). Black people and the South African War, 1899-1902: Volume 40 of African studies series. Cambridge University Press. p. 48. ISBN 0521252164, ISBN 978-0-521-25216-4. 
  35. ^ a b Peter Warwick (1983). Black people and the South African War, 1899-1902: Volume 40 of African studies series. Cambridge University Press. p. 49. ISBN 0521252164, ISBN 978-0-521-25216-4. 
  36. ^ Milner Papers. Bodleian Library Oxford. Dep. 323. Folios 133/137, 1903
  37. ^ Colonial Office Despatches CO510/6. 3559, 9246 and Chinese Labour Regulations. National Archives, Kew, U.K.
  38. ^ a b The Cyclopedia of India: biographical, historical, administrative, commercial, Volume 3. Cyclopedia Pub. Co. 1909. p. 193. 
  39. ^ Milner, Apostle of Empire by John Marlowe and Hamish Hamilton. London (1976), p. 164.
  40. ^ Adrian Room (1989). Dictionary of world place names derived from British names. Taylor & Francis. p. 98. ISBN 0415028116, ISBN 978-0-415-02811-0. 
  41. ^ Mahatma Gandhi Media and Research Service. Chronology 1905.
  42. ^ Notes on the Administration of His Excellency, the Honourable Sir Arthur Lawley, Governor of Madras from 1906 to 1911. Madras Government Press 1912
  43. ^ a b c "Building a bank the MCt. way". The Hindu. 12 April 2004. 
  44. ^ "The Fourteenth Tour of His Excellency the Honourable Sir Arthur Lawley to Mysore, Hospet, Bellary, Anantapur and Hyderabad, 26 October to 17 November 1910", Madras Press.
  45. ^ "Milestones crossed in the history of the museum". Government Museum, Chennai. 
  46. ^ V. Sundaram (22 October 2009). "103 glorious years of Madras Sanskrit College-II". News Today. 
  47. ^ a b Shobha Menon. "'The best east of Suez,' they described MH". Madras Musings 19 (4). 
  48. ^ Madras Times, 2 November 1911
  49. ^ "When it rains city is a shambles". The Hindu. 25 October 2007. Retrieved 23 June 2010. 
  50. ^ Madras Times, Thursday 16 September 1911
  51. ^ "Sir Arthur Lawley, Eloquent Knight Errant, David J, Hogg". Lady Lawley Cottage (Western Australian Red Cross) 2008, ISBN 978-0-9554457-2-9 iBooks.
  52. ^ National Library of Canada FC243
  53. ^ New York Times, 5 May 1913, p. 4
  54. ^ New York Times, 8 May 1913. Page 6
  55. ^ New York Times, 9 May 1913. Page 1
  56. ^ The Washington Post, 13 May 1913, pp. 1, 7
  57. ^ Washington Post, 14 May 1913. Page 2
  58. ^ Chicago Daily Tribune, 17 May 1913, p. 2
  59. ^ The Times, 20 November 1914, p. 9 (column F)
  60. ^ The Times 22 February 1919. Page 9. Column A
  61. ^ The Times 24 February 1919. Page 8. Column C
  62. ^ Champions of Charity. War and the Rise of the Red Cross by John F. Hutchinson. Westview Press, 1997.
  63. ^ The Times, 16 June 1932, obituary of Lord Wenlock.
  64. ^ The Official History of the British Legion by Graham Wootton. MacDonald and Evans, 1956.
  65. ^ The Times, 21 July 1920, p. 4 (column E).
  66. ^ The Times, 23 July 1920, p. 22 (column E).
  67. ^ The Times 12 June 1930, p. 8
  68. ^ The Times, Thursday, 18 June 1932, p. 9 (column B).
  69. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27283. p. 1058. 12 February 1901. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  70. ^ The Madras Times, 14 December 1911.


Further reading[edit]

  • The eighth tour of H.E. The Hon. Sir Arthur Lawley: Governor of Madras : Tanjore, February 19th to 28th, 1908. Madras Government Press. 1912. 
  • Speeches delivered by His Excellency the Honourable Sir Arthur Lawley, while Governor of Madras, 1906-11. 1912. 
Government offices
Preceded by
Administrator of Matabeleland
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Sir Gerard Smith
Governor of Western Australia
Succeeded by
Sir Frederick Bedford
Preceded by
The Viscount Milner
Lieutenant Governor of Transvaal Republic
Succeeded by
The Earl of Selborne
Preceded by
Sir Gabriel Stokes (acting)
Governor of Madras
Succeeded by
The Lord Carmichael
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Algernon Lawley
Baron Wenlock
Succeeded by
Title extinct