Ivo Bligh, 8th Earl of Darnley

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Ivo Francis Walter Bligh, later 8th Earl of Darnley, caricature by Spy in Vanity Fair, 1904
Cricketing Statistics
Personal information
Full name Ivo Francis Walter Bligh,
8th Earl of Darnley
Born (1859-03-13)13 March 1859
Westminster, London, England
Died 10 April 1927(1927-04-10) (aged 68)
Shorne, Kent, England
Batting style Right-handed
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 38) 30 December 1882 v Australia
Last Test 21 February 1883 v Australia
Domestic team information
Years Team
1877–1883 Kent
1878–1881 Cambridge University
Career statistics
Competition Tests First-class
Matches 4 84
Runs scored 62 2733
Batting average 10.33 20.70
100s/50s 0/0 2/12
Top score 19 113 not out
Balls bowled 0 0
Wickets
Bowling average
5 wickets in innings
10 wickets in match
Best bowling
Catches/stumpings 7/– 81/–
Source: CricketArchive, 22 September 2008
Blazon of Bligh coat of arms (present Earls of Darnley):
Azure, a Griffin segreant Or armed and langued Gules between three Crescents Argent[1]

Ivo Francis Walter Bligh, 8th Earl of Darnley, JP, DL (13 March 1859 – 10 April 1927), styled The Honourable Ivo Bligh until 1900, was a British noble, parliamentarian and cricketer.

Bligh captained the England and MCC team in the first ever Test cricket series against Australia with The Ashes at stake in 1882/83.[2]

Later in life, he inherited the earldom of Darnley and sat at Westminster as an elected Irish representative peer.[3]

Background and education[edit]

Bligh was born in London, the second son of John Bligh, 6th Earl of Darnley, by Lady Harriet Mary, daughter of Henry Pelham, 3rd Earl of Chichester.[4] He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating BA in 1882.[5] At Cambridge, he was secretary of the University Pitt Club.[6]

Cricket career[edit]

Although the history of Test cricket between England and Australia dates from 1877, it was after an English team led by Monkey Hornby lost to the Australians at The Oval in 1882, that The Sporting Times newspaper wrote a mock obituary to English cricket, noting that the body would be cremated and the ashes sent to Australia. The following winter's tour to Australia was billed as an attempt to reclaim The Ashes. Bligh's team was successful, winning the three-match Ashes series two-one, although a fourth game, not played for The Ashes, and hence a matter of great dispute, was lost.[7]

A small terracotta urn was presented to The Hon. Ivo Bligh, as England captain, by a group of Melbourne women after England's victory in the Test series. The urn is reputed to contain the ashes of a bail, symbolising "the ashes of English cricket". While the urn has come to symbolise The Ashes series, the term "The Ashes" pre-dates the existence of the urn. The urn is not used as the trophy for the Ashes series, and, whichever side "holds" the Ashes, the urn remains in the MCC Museum at Lord's.[8] Since the 1998/99 Ashes series, a Waterford crystal trophy has been presented to the winners.[9]

Bligh is commemorated by a poem inscribed on the side of the urn:

When Ivo goes back with the urn, the urn;
Studds, Steel, Read and Tylecote return, return;
The welkin will ring loud,
The great crowd will feel proud,
Seeing Barlow and Bates with the urn, the urn;
And the rest coming home with the urn.

Bligh also played for Cambridge University and Kent in a first-class cricket career which lasted from 1877 to 1883. He was elected President of the Marylebone Cricket Club for 1900/01 and of Kent County Cricket Club in 1892 and 1902.

Public offices[edit]

Bligh succeeded his elder brother as Earl of Darnley in 1900. As the holder of an Irish peerage he was not automatically entitled to a seat in the House of Lords, but was elected as soon as was practicable, in March 1905, to sit in Parliament as an Irish Representative Peer.

The year after his succession to the family titles, Lord Darnley was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant[10] and Justice of the Peace for Kent.[4]

Personal life[edit]

He married Florence Rose Morphy, daughter of John Stephen Morphy, of Beechworth, Victoria, Australia in 1884.[4] She had been a music teacher at Rupertswood, where her future husband had stayed during his tour of Australia. They had two sons and a daughter.

Lord Darnley died at Shorne, Kent in April 1927, aged 68, being succeeded in the family titles by his eldest son, Esmé. His wife, Florence, Dowager Countess of Darnley, presented the urn to the House of Lords after her husband's death. She died in August 1944, having been honoured as one of the first Dames of the British Empire in 1919.[4]

Ivo Bligh, aka Lord Darnley, is buried in the family vault at the collegiate church of St Mary Magdalene, Cobham, Kent.[11][12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Debrett's Peerage, 1968, p.322
  2. ^ www.espncricinfo.com
  3. ^ www.cracroftspeerage.co.uk
  4. ^ a b c d thepeerage.com Ivo Francis Walter Bligh, 8th Earl of Darnley
  5. ^ "Bligh, the Hon. Ivo Francis [Walter] (BLH877IF)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  6. ^ Fletcher, Walter Morley (2011) [1935]. The University Pitt Club: 1835–1935 (First Paperback ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 86–87. ISBN 978-1-107-60006-5. 
  7. ^ www.skysports.com/cricket
  8. ^ www.lords.org
  9. ^ www.nla.gov.au
  10. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27300. p. 2200. 29 March 1901.
  11. ^ www.cobham-luddesdowne.org
  12. ^ www.british-history.ac.uk
The Ashes urn

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
A N Hornby
English national cricket captain
1882/3
Succeeded by
The Lord Harris
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl de Montalt
Irish Representative Peer for Ireland
1905–1927
Succeeded by
office lapsed
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Edward Bligh
(as 7th Earl)
Earl of Darnley
1900–1927
Succeeded by
Esme Bligh
(as 9th Earl)