George Cholmondeley, 5th Marquess of Cholmondeley

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The Most Honourable
The Marquess of Cholmondeley
Lord Rocksavage 4037482780 cc54c1b81e o.jpg
Earl of Rocksavage, circa 1913
Lord Great Chamberlain of England
In office
1936, 1952 – 1966
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by George Cholmondeley, 4th Marquess of Cholmondeley
Succeeded by Hugh Cholmondeley, 6th Marquess of Cholmondeley
Personal details
Born George Horatio Charles Cholmondeley
(1883-05-19)19 May 1883
Cholmondeley Castle
Malpas, Cheshire
Died 6 September 1968(1968-09-06) (aged 85)
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Sybil Sassoon, Marchioness of Cholmondeley
Children 3
Residence Houghton Hall
Cholmondeley Castle

George Horatio Charles Cholmondeley, 5th Marquess of Cholmondeley GCVO (/ˈʌmli/; 19 May 1883 – 16 September 1968), styled Earl of Rocksavage from birth until 1923, was a British peer.[1] He was the Lord Great Chamberlain of England in 1936 and also between 1952 and 1966.[2]


Cholmondeley was a direct descendant of Sir Robert Walpole, the first Prime Minister of Great Britain. He was the son of George Cholmondeley, 4th Marquess of Cholmondeley and Winifred Ida Kingscote. In the years before he succeeded to his father's title, he was a well-known tennis and polo player.[3]

He was also an authority on penmanship, championing a script which became known as the "Cholmondeley Italic," and was the first president of the Society for Italic Handwriting.[1] In 1950, he established the Cholmondeley Prize, a handwriting contest between the students of Eton and Harrow. Winchester joined in 1952 and the schools have continued the annual competition since.[4]

Military career[edit]

Cholmondeley fought in the Second Boer War (1899–1901), serving as a "Railway Staff Officer", first with the Royal Sussex Regiment and from October 1901 as Second Lieutenant of the 9th Lancers.[5] In 1905, he attained the rank of Lieutenant in the 9th Lancers. He was Aide-de-Camp to the Viceroy of India, and he fought in the First World War, during which he gained the rank of Captain in the 9th Lancers. In 1920, he was promoted to the rank of Major.

Cholmondeley succeeded to his father's land, estates and title in 1923, and his inherited title became Marquess of Cholmondeley. In 1953, he was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order.

Lands and estates[edit]

Houghton Hall, ancestral home of the Marquess of Cholmondeley since the establishment of the title in 1815, has now opened some of its rooms to the public.

The family seats are Houghton Hall, Norfolk, and Cholmondeley Castle, which is surrounded by a 7,500 acres (30 km2) estate near Malpas, Cheshire.[6]

The Cholmondeleys bought Wenbans near Wadhurst in Sussex in the mid-1890s. After major restoration work in the 1920s and 1930s, the rustic farm only 50 miles (80 km) from London was reported to have been used as a romantic getaway by the Prince of Wales, who later became Edward VIII. The property was sold around the time of the abdication crisis of 1936 and the accession of George VI.[7]

Position at court[edit]

One moiety part of the ancient office of Lord Great Chamberlain is a Cholmondeley inheritance.[8] This hereditary honour came into the Cholmondeley family through the marriage of the first Marquess of Cholmondeley to Lady Georgiana Charlotte Bertie, daughter of Peregrine Bertie, 3rd Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven.[9] The second, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh holders of the marquessate have all held this office.

The Marquess bore the Royal Standard at the Coronation of King George VI in 1937.[10]


Visit to Alfa Romeo by the marquis (third from left), Italo Balbo (fourth), Lady Cholmondeley (fifth), Prospero Gianferrari (sixth) — circa 1930

The wealth of the Cholmondeley family was greatly enhanced by Cholmondeley's marriage to Sybil Sassoon (1894–1989), a member of the Sassoon family, a Jewish banking family with origins in Baghdad and India, and heiress to her brother Sir Philip Sassoon. The couple were married on 6 August 1913, and they had two sons and one daughter:

Further reading[edit]

  • 1953 – A Handlist of the Cholmondeley (Houghton) MSS.: Sir Robert Walpole's archive (with Gilbert Allen Chinnery). Cambridge: Cambridge University Library. OCLC 3372466
  • 1959 – The Houghton Pictures: by kind permission of The Marquess and Marchioness of Cholmondeley, [Exhibition] in aid of King George's Fund for Sailors, 6 May – 6 June 1959. London: Thomas Agnew & Sons. OCLC 222289892

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Obituary: Lord Cholmondeley, Former Lord Great Chamberlain". The Times (The Times Digital Archive): 10. 18 September 1968. 
  2. ^ Art in Parliament, "George Horatio Charles Cholmondeley, 5th Marquess of Cholmondeley," oil painting by Henry Carr. Catalogue number:WOA 1707, description excerpt, "... Chamberlain in 1936 and from 1952–66."
  3. ^ "Lord Cholmondeley Dies; Fourth Marquess Was Father of Earl of Rocksavage, Polo Player," New York. 17 March 1923.
  4. ^ Robin Treffgarne (17 July 2009). "A Tribute to Lord Cholmondeley". Society for Italic Handwriting. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27366. p. 6783. 18 October 1901.
  6. ^ Caroline, Donald. "The new garden at Houghton Hall, King’s Lynn, Norfolk," The Times (UK). 11 May 2008.
  7. ^ Wenbans; Sussex Archaeological Society. (1924). Sussex Archaeological Collections, p. 259.
  8. ^ Notes and Queries (1883 January–June), p. 42.
  9. ^ Portcullis: Deed of Covenant and Agreement between Lord Willoughby de Eresby, The Dowager Marchioness of Cholmondeley and the Marquis of Cholmondeley re the exercise of the Office of Hereditary Great Chamberlain (16 May 1829).
  10. ^ Hereditary Titles: Marquess of Cholmondeley
  11. ^ Peter Stansky (2003). Sassoon: The Worlds of Philip and Sybil. Yale University Press. p. xiv. ISBN 0-300-09547-3. 
  12. ^ England and Wales, Death Registration Index 1837-2007; General Register Office, Southport, England

External links[edit]

Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
George Cholmondeley
Marquess of Cholmondeley
Succeeded by
George Cholmondeley