Bryan Guinness, 2nd Baron Moyne

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Bryan Guinness, 2nd Baron Moyne
Born October 27, 1905
Mandatory Palestine
Died July 6, 1992
Hampshire, United Kingdom
Resting place St James Churchyard, Ludgershall, Wiltshire Unitary Authority, Wiltshire, United Kingdom[1]
Education Heatherdown School, Eton College, Christ Church, Oxford

Bryan Walter Guinness, 2nd Baron Moyne (27 October 1905 – 6 July 1992), was an heir to part of the Guinness family brewing fortune, lawyer, poet and novelist. He married Diana Mitford, but later divorced her.


He was born to Walter Edward Guinness (created 1st Baron Moyne in 1932), son of Edward Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh, and Lady Evelyn Stuart Erskine, daughter of the 14th Earl of Buchan. He attended Heatherdown School, near Ascot in Berkshire, followed by Eton College (also in Berkshire), and Christ Church, Oxford, and was called to the bar in 1931.

As an heir to the Guinness brewing fortune and a handsome, charming young man, Bryan was an eligible bachelor. One of London's "Bright Young Things", he was an organiser of the 1929 "Bruno Hat" hoax art exhibition, held at his home in London.[2] Also in 1929 he married the Hon. Diana Mitford, one of the Mitford sisters, and had two sons with her: Jonathan and Desmond. The couple became leaders of the London artistic and social scene and were dedicatees of Evelyn Waugh's second novel Vile Bodies. However, they divorced in 1933, after Diana deserted him for British fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley.

Guinness remarried happily in 1936 to Elisabeth Nelson (1912-1999), of the Nelson publishing family, with whom he would have nine children.[3]

  • Rosaleen (b. 1937) married Sudhir Mulji.
  • Diarmid, (b. 1938, d. 1977) married Felicity, daughter of Sir Andrew Carnwath.
  • Fiona Evelyn (b. 1940)
  • Finn (b. 1945) married Mary Price.
  • Kieran (b. 1949) married Vivienne Halban.
  • Thomasin (b. 1947)
  • Catriona (b. 1950)
  • Erskine (b. 1953) [4] married Louise Dillon-Malone
  • Mirabel (b. 1956) married Patrick Helme

Public life[edit]

During World War II Guinness served for three years in the Middle East with the Spears Mission to the Free French, being a fluent French speaker, with the rank of major. Then in November 1944 Guinness succeeded to the barony when his father, posted abroad as Resident Minister in the Middle East by his friend Winston Churchill, was assassinated in Cairo.

After the war, Lord Moyne served on the board of the Guinness corporation as vice-chairman in 1947-79, as well as the Guinness Trust and the Iveagh Trust, sitting as a crossbencher in the House of Lords. He served for 35 years as a trustee of the National Gallery of Ireland and donated several works to the gallery. He wrote a number of critically applauded novels, memoirs, books of poetry, and plays. With Frank Pakenham he sought the return of the "Lane Bequest" to Dublin, resulting in the 1959 compromise agreement. He was invested as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.[5]

Lord Moyne died in 1992 at Biddesden, his home in Wiltshire, and was succeeded by his eldest son Jonathan.


  • Plays: The Fragrant Concubine, A Tragedy (1938); A Riverside Charade (1954)
  • Children's books: The Story of Johnny and Jemima (1936); The Children of the Desert (1947); The Animal’s Breakfast (1950); Catriona and the Grasshopper (1957); Priscilla and the Prawn (1960); The Girl with the Flower (1966).
  • Poetry: Twenty-three Poems (1931); Under the eyelid (1935); Reflexions (1947); Collected Poems (1956); The Rose in the Tree (1964); The Clock (1973); On a Ledge (1992).
  • Novels: Singing Out of Tune (1933); Landscape with Figures (1934); A Week by the Sea (1936); Lady Crushwell’s Companion (1938); A Fugue of Cinderellas (1956); Leo and Rosabelle (1961); The Giant’s Eye (1964); The Engagement (1969); Hellenic Flirtation (1978)
  • Memoirs: Potpourri (1982); Personal Patchwork 1939-45 (1986); Dairy not kept (1988).

Further reading[edit]

  • The Story of a Nutcracker (with Desmond McCarthy 1953).
  • Gannon Charles: Cathal Gannon - The Life and Times of a Dublin Craftsman (Dublin 2006).



Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Walter Guinness
Baron Moyne
Succeeded by
Jonathan Guinness