Charles Wood, 2nd Earl of Halifax

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The Right Honourable
The Earl of Halifax
Memorial to Charles Wood, 2nd Earl of Halifax in York Minster.jpg
Memorial in York Minster
Monarch George VI
Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Personal details
Born (1912-10-03)3 October 1912
Garrowby, Yorkshire, England
Died 19 March 1980(1980-03-19) (aged 67)
Garrowby Hall, Yorkshire, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Lady Ruth Alice Hannah Mary Wood (née Primrose)
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford

Charles Ingram Courtenay Wood, 2nd Earl of Halifax DL (3 October 1912 – 19 March 1980), 4th Viscount Halifax of Monk Bretton, 6th Baronet Wood of Barnsley in the County of York and 2nd Baron Irwin of Kirby Underdale in the County of York, was a British peer, Conservative politician, Lord Lieutenant of Humberside and High Steward of York Minster.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Wood was the son of Edward Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax, statesman and Foreign Secretary and Lady Dorothy Evelyn Augusta Wood (née Onslow).

He was educated at Eton College. Charles graduated from Christ Church, University of Oxford, Oxford, England, in 1934 with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree. He successfully captained the Oxford University Polo Team in the same year.[2]


He gained the rank of 2nd Lieutenant in 1934 in the service of the Royal Horse Guards.[1]

Like his father, Wood also entered politics, becoming Member of Parliament (MP) for the City of York in 1937, as a Conservative. In 1939, at the outbreak of World War II, he rejoined the Royal Horse Guards and served for three years in the Middle East. Charles was styled Lord Irwin between 1944 and 1959. In 1959, Wood succeeded his father as 2nd Earl of Halifax. He continued as a Member of Parliament during this time. At the 1945 general election, he lost his seat to the Labour candidate, John Corlett. Charles held the office of Deputy Lieutenant of the East Riding in Yorkshire between 1955 and 1968, Lord-Lieutenant of Humberside between 1974 until 1980 and High Steward of York Minster between 1972 until 1980.

In 1978, his horse Shirley Heights won the Epsom Derby.[3]


Arms of The Rt Hon Charles Ingram Courtenay Wood, the Second Earl of Halifax, and his descendants.

In 1936, he married Lady Ruth Alice Hannah Mary Wood née Primrose (born 18 April 1916 – died 1989), daughter of the Liberal politician Captain Neil James Archibald Primrose and Lady Victoria Alice Louise Primrose, née Stanley, a granddaughter of the Prime Minister Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery.

They had three children:[4]

  • Lady Caroline Victoria Wood (born 10 September 1937, died 15 November 2014), married John Gosling in 1970.[5]
    • Virginia Mary Feilden (b. 6 June 1959, d. 24 March 1994)
    • Randle Charles Roderick Feilden (b. 19 January 1961)
    • Fiona Caroline Feilden (b. 26 January 1965)
  • Lady Susan Diana Wood (born 22 September 1938), married Brigadier Ian Darsie Watson in 1959.
    • David Charles Darsie Watson (b. 29 July 1960)
    • Richard Ian Watson (b. 30 January 1962)
  • The Rt Hon Charles Edward Peter Neil Wood, 3rd Earl of Halifax (born 14 March 1944)
    • The Hon James Charles Wood, Lord Irwin (b. 24 August 1977) heir apparent to the earldom.
      • Hon Rex Patrick Wood (born 12 August 2010)[6][7]
      • Hon Audrey Nancy Wood (born 23 January 2013)
    • Lady Joanna Victoria Wood (b. 15 January 1980)


  1. ^ a b "Charles Ingram Courtenay Wood, 2nd Earl of Halifax". Darryl Lundy. 27 November 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2009. 
  2. ^ "Oxford University Polo Club". Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
  3. ^ "Shirley Heights' Derby". The Age. 8 June 1978. p. 28. Retrieved 8 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "Person Page 2289". Retrieved 31 March 2016. 
  5. ^ "Lady Caroline Gosling - obituary". Telegraph. Retrieved 31 March 2016. 
  6. ^ "Person Page 23097". Retrieved 31 March 2016. 
  7. ^ "Halifax, Earl of (UK, 1944)". Retrieved 31 March 2016. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Roger Lumley
Member of Parliament for the City of York
Succeeded by
John Corlett
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Lord Deramore
Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire
Office abolished
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Edward Wood
Earl of Halifax
Succeeded by
Charles Wood