Charles Stourton, 26th Baron Mowbray
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Charles Edward Stourton, 23rd Baron Stourton, 27th Baron Segrave, 26th Baron Mowbray CBE (11 March 1923 – 12 December 2006) was a baron in the peerage of England. From 1965 to 1983, he was premier baron in the English peerage. He sat on the Conservative benches in the House of Lords, and was a Conservative whip in government and in opposition from 1967 to 1980. He was one of the 92 hereditary peers elected to keep their seat in the reformed House of Lords under the House of Lords Act 1999.
Mowbray was the only son of William Marmaduke Stourton, 25th Lord Mowbray, 26th Lord Segrave and 22nd Lord Stourton. His mother, Sheila Gully, was a granddaughter of William Court Gully, 1st Viscount Selby, who served as Speaker of the House of Commons from 1895 to 1905.
Through his father, he was descended from a brother of Geoffrey de Mowbray, Bishop of Coutances, who was an adviser to William the Conqueror. Another relative, William de Mowbray, was one of the barons who forced King John to put his seal to Magna Carta in 1215; as a direct descendant, Charles travelled to Washington, D.C. in 1976 with a parliamentary delegation that presented one of the four copies of the Magna Carta held by the British Museum to the U.S. Congress.
Education and military service
He was educated at Ampleforth College and Christ Church, Oxford, and served as a lieutenant in the Grenadier Guards in the Second World War. He was injured and lost his right eye near Caen in 1944. He left the Army in 1945, and ran a pig farm on the family estates in Yorkshire.
Marriage and children
- Edward William Stephen Stourton, 27th Baron Mowbray, 28th Baron Segrave and 24th Baron Stourton (born 17 April 1953)
- Hon James Alastair Stourton (born 3 July 1956) – was married to Sophie Ulla Stonor, youngest daughter of Thomas Stonor, 7th Baron Camoys, marriage dissolved via annulment in 1997.
His wife died in 1998 and in 1999 he married Joan, Lady Holland, née Street, widow of Sir Guy Holland, 3rd Baronet.
Despite his strong Roman Catholic faith, he took his mother's side when his parents separated in 1961, in a case that drew significant publicity. His father was labelled an "egocentric" and his mother was granted a decree of judicial separation on the ground of her husband's cruelty. Stourton subsequently took his father to court over disputes concerning the administration of the family estates. The case was later settled.
He inherited three baronies when his father died in 1965. Baron Mowbray is the third most senior barony in the Peerage of England, after the Baron de Ros and Baron le Despencer. However, as Georgiana Maxwell, 27th Baroness de Ros was female, and the Baron le Despencer is also Viscount Falmouth, he followed his father as premier baron of England, losing that distinction in 1983 when Baroness de Ros died and was succeeded by her son. His father's will left most of his estate to his 12-year-old grandson, Edward, with little provision for his wife or son. The family seat at Allerton Park, near Knaresborough in Yorkshire, perhaps the most important Gothic Revival stately home in England, was left on trust until Edward was 30. The house was leased to an American businessman in 1983.
Recognisable by his eye-patch, he sat on the Conservative benches, and rarely departed from the Conservative party line. He became an opposition whip in 1967, and continued as a Conservative whip for 13 years until he resigned in 1980. As a Lord-in-Waiting, he was often called upon to greet visiting heads of state at Heathrow Airport. He was twice Chancellor of the Primrose League, from 1975 to 1979 and from 1981 to 1984. He was also a spokesman on the Environment for the government of Edward Heath from 1970 to 1974 and on the Environment, Transport and the Arts for the government of Margaret Thatcher from 1979 to 1980. He was conferred the honour of the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1982. After the House of Lords Act 1999, he was elected as one of the 92 hereditary peers to keep a seat in the reformed House. He sat on the House of Lords Committee of Privileges and was a captain of the House of Lords shooting team.
He was vice-president of the British Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and was also its longest-serving Knight. Mowbray also serviced as President and Delegate of the British and Irish Association of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George under the Grand Master, the Duke of Castro between 1975–2000.
|Peerage of England|
- Debrett's Peerage, 1968, p.807, Baron Mowbray