Dominick Browne, 4th Baron Oranmore and Browne

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The Lord Oranmore and Browne
Born (1901-10-21)21 October 1901
Died 7 August 2002(2002-08-07) (aged 100)
Title Baron Oranmore and Browne
Baron Mereworth
Tenure 30 June 1927 – 7 August 2002
(75 years, 38 days)
Spouse(s) Mildred Egerton (m.1925–1936)
Oonagh Guinness (m.1936–1950)
Constance Stevens (m.1951–2002)
Parents Geoffrey Browne, 3rd Baron Oranmore and Browne
Olwen Verena Ponsonby

Dominick Geoffrey Edward Browne, 4th Baron Oranmore and Browne, 2nd Baron Mereworth (21 October 1901 – 7 August 2002) was the longest sitting British peer and legislator.

Biography[edit]

Born the Hon. Dominick Geoffrey Edward Browne in 1901, the eldest son of the 3rd Lord Oranmore and Browne and Lady Olwen Verena Ponsonby, daughter of Edward Ponsonby, 8th Earl of Bessborough. He was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford before joining the Grenadier Guards.

In 1927 he succeeded his father, who died in a car accident in Southborough, Kent, and took his seat in the House of Lords as Baron Mereworth, a UK peerage (the older barony of Oranmore and Browne, in the Irish peerage, did not entitle its bearer to a seat in the Lords), although he primarily used his Irish title. He had the rare distinction of sitting in the House of Lords for 72 years, the longest by any peer, and during that time was one of the few peers to have never spoken in the House.

In 1930 the English residence of the Browne family, Mereworth Castle, was sold and he went to live in his Irish residence, Castle MacGarrett, in County Mayo. Castle MacGarrett, its 3,000 acres (1,200 ha) and 150 employees gave him the chance to breed race horses and farm on a large scale. Lord Oranmore was also an aviator.[1]

In 1939, Oranmore and Browne tried to join the British Army, but he was told that, at 38, he would be more useful concentrating on farming; as a result his war service was in neutral Ireland with the Irish reserve force, Local Defence Force, in Co Mayo.

In the early 1950s the castle was acquired by the Irish government's Irish Land Commission and turned into a nursing home. Lord Oranmore and Browne went to live in London.

Personal life[edit]

Lord Oranmore and Browne married three times :

  • First, 1925, Mildred Helen Egerton, daughter of Hon. Thomas Henry Frederick Egerton of the Earls of Ellesmere and Lady Bertha Anson of the Earls of Lichfield (marriage dissolved 1936). Children from this marriage:
    • Hon. Patricia Helen Browne, b. 16 Feb 1926
    • Hon. Brigid Verena Browne, b. 25 Dec 1927, d. 3 Jan 1941
    • Dominick Geoffrey Thomas Browne b. 1 Jul 1929, now the 5th Baron Oranmore and Browne but known as Lord Mereworth
    • Hon. Martin Michael Dominick Browne, b. 27 Oct 1931
    • Hon. Judith Browne, b. 23 Sep 1934
  • Second, 1936, Oonagh Guinness, daughter of Ernest Guinness and an heir to the brewery fortune (marriage dissolved 1950). Children from this marriage:
  • Third, 1951, Constance Stevens, an actress with the stage name Sally Gray, famous for her roles on the stage and in various movies in the 1930s and 40s.

Lord Oranmore and Browne died in London on 7 August 2002 at the age of 100.

References[edit]

Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Geoffrey Browne
Baron Oranmore and Browne
1927–2002
Succeeded by
Dominick Browne
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Geoffrey Browne
Baron Mereworth
1927–2002
Succeeded by
Dominick Browne
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Lord Romilly
Father of the House of Lords
1983–1999
Succeeded by
The Earl Jellicoe