Bickham Sweet-Escott

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Bickham Sweet-Escott
Sir E.B. Sweet - Escott LCCN2014718290.jpg
Sweet-Escott in 1924
3rd Administrator of the Seychelles
In office
August 1899 – November 1903
Preceded byHenry Cockburn Stewart
Succeeded byHimself (as Governor)
1st Governor of the Seychelles
In office
November 1903 – 1904
MonarchEdward VII
Preceded byHimself (as Administrator)
Succeeded byWalter Edward Davidson
4th Governor of British Honduras
In office
15 April 1904 – 1906
MonarchEdward VII
Preceded byDavid Wilson
Succeeded byEric John Eagles Swayne
34th Governor of the Leeward Islands
In office
Preceded byClement Courtenay Knollys
Succeeded byHenry Hesketh Bell
9th High Commissioner for the Western Pacific
In office
25 July 1912 – 10 October 1918
Preceded byFrancis Henry May
Succeeded byCecil Hunter-Rodwell
10th Governor of Fiji
In office
25 July 1912 – 10 October 1918
Preceded byFrancis Henry May
Succeeded byCecil Hunter-Rodwell
Personal details
Born(1857-08-20)20 August 1857
Bath, Somerset, England
Died9 April 1941(1941-04-09) (aged 83)
Mary Jane Hunt
(m. 1881)

Sir Ernest Bickham Sweet-Escott KCMG (20 August 1857 – 9 April 1941) was a British colonial administrator who was in turn governor of the British Seychelles, British Honduras, British Leeward Islands and British Fiji.

Early years[edit]

Sweet-Escott was born at Bath, the fifth son of the Rev. Hay Sweet-Escott, headmaster of Somersetshire College, Bath, and Rector of Kilve, Somerset, by his wife Eliza, daughter of Rev. John Coombes Collins, Vicar of St John's Bridgwater.[1] He was educated at the Royal Somersetshire College, Bath, Bromsgrove School[2] and Balliol College, Oxford. From 1881 he was professor of classics at the Royal College of Mauritius.[3]

In 1886 he became assistant colonial secretary at Mauritius and was promoted in 1889 to acting colonial secretary. His next posting was in British Honduras from May 1893 until September 1898 when he returned to take up a post as acting government clerk at the Colonial Office.[4]

Colonial administrator[edit]

Sweet-Escott then became administrator of the Seychelles in June 1899 and then Governor of the Seychelles when the post was created from 1903 to 1904.[5] He was knighted in 1904 and became Governor of British Honduras from 15 April 1904 to 13 August 1906.[6] From 1906 until 1912 he was Governor of the Leeward Islands.[7]

Sweet-Escott became Governor of Fiji on 25 July 1912 and was also High Commissioner and Consul General for the West Pacific region. During World War I a German squadron under Maximilian von Spee was a day away from Fiji. Sweet-Escott wired a message to the Australian fleet, then 2000 miles away, which the Germans intercepted and Von Spee was convinced that he was heading for a trap, turned away and laughed at the "fool of a governor for giving the show away".[7] Sweet-Escott's term of office ended on 10 October 1918.


Sweet-Escott instituted the Escott Shield as a rugby trophy in 1913, which was first won by the Pacific Club.[8]

Sweet-Escott married Mary Jane Hunt on 14 December 1881 and had five children named Kathleen, Stanley Bickham, Norah Muriel, Hugh Bevil and Leslie Wingfield.

Sweet-Escott was appointed a Order of St Michael and St George in the 1895 Birthday Honours,[9] and a Knight Companion of the Order in the 1904 Birthday Honours.[10]


  1. ^ British Census 1881 RG11 3060/122 p. 29
  2. ^ Alfred Edward Housman, Archie Burnett: The Letters of A.E. Housman, p. 272.
  3. ^ SWEET-ESCOTT Sir Ernest Bickham 1857–1941 Archived 21 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "No. 26934". The London Gazette. 1 February 1898. p. 588.
  5. ^ "Seychelles". Archived from the original on 27 October 2009. Retrieved 13 December 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link).
  6. ^ Rulers. Countries Ba-Bo.
  7. ^ a b "Sweet-Escott v. Von Spee". Time 5 January 1931
  8. ^ "History". Fiji Rugby Union. Archived from the original on 30 March 2008.
  9. ^ "No. 26628". The London Gazette (Supplement). 25 May 1899. p. 3080.
  10. ^ "No. 27732". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 November 1904. p. 7255.
Government offices
Preceded by Administrator of the Seychelles
Succeeded by
as Governor
Preceded by
as Administrator
Governor of the Seychelles
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of British Honduras
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of the Leeward Islands
Succeeded by
Preceded by High Commissioner for the Western Pacific
Succeeded by
Governor of Fiji