Evelyn Baring, 1st Baron Howick of Glendale

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Sir Evelyn Baring inspecting Kenyan troops, photographed by George Rodger in 1954

Evelyn Baring, 1st Baron Howick of Glendale, KG, GCMG, KCVO (29 September 1903 – 10 March 1973) was Governor of Southern Rhodesia from 1942 to 1944, High Commissioner for Southern Africa from 1944 to 1951, and Governor of Kenya from 1952 to 1959. Baring played an integral role in the destruction of the Kikuyu people during the brutal suppression of the Mau Mau uprising.[1] Together with Colonial Secretary Alan Lennox-Boyd, Baring proved vital in the government's efforts to keep the violent realities of colonial rule from the British public.[2]

Education and Early Career[edit]

Baring followed in the footsteps of his father, the famed "Maker of Modern Egypt"–– Evelyn Baring, 1st Earl of Cromer. Baring graduated from Oxford University with First Class Honors in modern history before serving in the Indian Civil Service. He then joined Britain's Foreign Office, where he was sent first to Southern Rhodesia before being posted in South Africa as High Commissioner.[3]

Seretse Khama affair[edit]

In 1949, as British High Commissioner in South Africa, Baring played a key role in preventing Seretse Khama, the heir to the throne of the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, from becoming its king. This action he recommended to the British government on the grounds that Khama had wed a white English woman, Ruth Williams, and that the inter-racial marriage had been opposed by apartheid South Africa, a neighbouring state.

Working in close collaboration with Percivale Liesching, who was Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations at the time, Baring was able to persuade government ministers not only that Khama should be prevented from becoming king but that he should be exiled from his country. Baring's role in what became known as the Seretse Khama affair is documented in Colour Bar: The Triumph of Seretse Khama and His Nation[4] by the historian Susan Williams.

Governorship in Kenya[edit]

As Governor of Kenya, Baring declared a State of Emergency on October 20, 1952 before launching Operation Jock Scott, which targeted Mau Mau leaders, especially Jomo Kenyatta.[5]

In June, 1957, Baring passed on to Alan Lennox-Boyd a secret memorandum[6] written by Eric Griffiths-Jones, the attorney general of Kenya. The memorandum described the abuse of Mau Mau detainees. The paper alleges that Baring supplied a covering letter that asserted that inflicting "violent shock" was the only way of dealing with Mau Mau insurgents.[6]

Career After Kenya[edit]

Baring left Kenya in fall 1959. He returned to his family estate of Howick Hall, which was inherited by his wife Mary Cecil Grey, the daughter of The 5th Earl Grey. He was known to enjoy bird-watching. He later accepted a post with the government's Colonial Development Corporation.[7]

Baring was created 1st Baron Howick of Glendale in 1960 and a Knight of the Garter in 1972. He died in 1973.

He was never investigated for his role in the thousands of deaths that took place under his governorship.


  1. ^ Elkins, Caroline (2005). Britain's Gulag: The Brutal End of Empire in Kenya. London: Pimlico. p. 35. ISBN 9781847922946.
  2. ^ Elkins, Caroline (2005). Britain's Gulag: The Brutal End of Empire in Kenya. London: Pimlico. pp. 332–340. ISBN 9781847922946.
  3. ^ Douglas-Home, Charles (1978). Evelyn Baring, The Last Proconsul. Collins`. ISBN 9780002164573.
  4. ^ Williams, Susan. 2006. Colour Bar. Allen Lane
  5. ^ Leander (2013-11-07). "The longest state of emergency in Kenya ends". South African History Online. Retrieved 2019-01-04.
  6. ^ a b Cobain, Ian; Walker, Peter (11 April 2011). "Secret memo gave guidelines on abuse of Mau Mau in 1950s". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
  7. ^ Elkins, Caroline (2005). Britain's Gulag: The Brutal End of Empire in Kenya. London: Pimlico. p. 364.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Government offices
Preceded by
Fraser Russell
Governor of Southern Rhodesia
Succeeded by
Robert James Hudson
Preceded by
Sir Philip Euen Mitchell
Governor of Kenya
Succeeded by
Sir Patrick Muir Renison
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
William Ormsby-Gore, 4th Baron Harlech
British High Commissioner to
South Africa

Succeeded by
John Le Rougetel
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New Creation
Baron Howick of Glendale
Succeeded by
Charles Evelyn Baring