Ralph Lingen, 1st Baron Lingen
|The Right Honourable
The Lord Lingen
|Ralph Robert Wheeler, Lord Lingen, by George Percy Jacomb-Hood, 1896|
|Permanent Secretary to the Treasury|
|Preceded by||George Alexander Hamilton|
|Succeeded by||Sir Reginald Welby &
Sir Edward Hamilton
|Born||19 December 1819|
|Died||22 July 1905(aged 85)|
Background and education
Lingen was born in Birmingham, where his father was in business. He was the grandson of Ralph Lingen, Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford, and was a descendant of Elisabeth de Burgh (d. 1522). Lingen was first educated at Bridgnorth Grammar School and then became a scholar of Trinity College, Oxford, in 1837. He won the Ireland (1838) and Hertford (1839) scholarships; and after taking a first-class in Literae Humaniores (1840), Was elected a fellow of Balliol (1841). He subsequently won the Chancellor's Latin Essay (1843) and the Eldon Law scholarship (1846).
After teaching as an assistant master at Rugby School he entered the Inns of Court as a Barrister at Lincoln's Inn. He was called to the bar in 1847; but instead of practising as a barrister, he accepted an appointment in the Education Office. It was in this role that he became involved with the 1847 Blue Books episode in 1847-8. After a short period was chosen in 1849 to succeed Sir James Kay-Shuttleworth as its secretary or chief permanent official. He retained this position till 1869. The Education Office of that day had to administer a somewhat chaotic system of government grants to local schools, and Lingen was conspicuous for his fearless discrimination and rigid economy, qualities which characterized his whole career. When Robert Lowe (Lord Sherbrooke) became, as vice-president of the council, his parliamentary chief, Lingen worked congenially with him in producing the Revised Code of 1862 which incorporated "payment by results"; but the education department encountered adverse criticism, and in 1864 the vote of censure in parliament which caused Lowe's resignation, founded (but erroneously) on an alleged "editing" of the school inspectors' reports, was inspired by a certain antagonism to Lingen's as well as to Lowe's methods.
Shortly before the introduction of Forster's Education Act of 1870, Lingen was transferred to the post of permanent secretary of the treasury. In this office, which he held till 1885, he proved a most efficient guardian of the public purse, and he was a tower of strength to successive chancellors of the exchequer. It used to be said that the best recommendation for a secretary of the treasury was to be able to say "No" so disagreeably that nobody would court a repetition. Lingen was at all events a most successful resister of importunate claims, and his undoubted talents as a financier were most prominently displayed in the direction of parsimony. In 1885 he retired. He had been made a CB in 1869 and a KCB in 1878, and on his retirement he was raised to the peerage as Baron Lingen, of Lingen in the County of Hereford. In 1889 he was made one of the first aldermen of the new London County Council, but he resigned in 1892 with increasing deafness. His portrait contains the heraldic arms of Trinity College and not his personal arms which are recorded in Burkes peerage and around his neck hangs his KCB order of knighthood.
Lord Lingen married Emma, daughter of Robert Hutton, in 1852. There were no children from the marriage. He died in July 1905, aged 86, and was buried in Brompton Cemetery, London. The peerage died with him. Lady Lingen died in January 1908.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Lucas, Charles P. (1912). "Lingen, Ralph Robert Wheeler". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
- Sutherland, Gillian. "Lingen, Ralph Robert Wheeler, Baron Lingen (1819–1905)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/34548. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- Ralph Lingen, Secretary to the Education Department 1849-1870, by A. S. Bishop. British Journal of Educational Studies, Vol. 16, No. 2 (Jun., 1968), pp. 138–163. Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the Society for Educational Studies.
Sir James Kay-Shuttleworth, Bt
|Under-Secretary of State for the
Committee of Council on Education
Sir Francis Sandford
George Alexander Hamilton
|Permanent Secretary to the Treasury
Sir Reginald Welby
Sir Edward Hamilton
|Peerage of the United Kingdom|
|New creation||Baron Lingen