Henry Byng, 4th Earl of Strafford

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The Right Honourable
The Earl of Strafford
Henry Byng Vanity Fair 1892-05-14.jpg
Byng as caricatured in Vanity Fair, May 1892
In office
Preceded by The Lord de Ros
Succeeded by John Brocklehurst
In office
Preceded by Henry Gardiner
Succeeded by John Campbell
Personal details
Born Henry William John Byng
(1831-08-21)21 August 1831
London, England
Died 16 May 1899(1899-05-16) (aged 67)
Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, England
Military service
Service/branch British Army
Rank Supernumerary Major
Unit Coldstream Guards

Henry William John Byng, 4th Earl of Strafford KCVO CB (21 August 1831 – 16 May 1899) was a British peer and courtier.


Byng was the second son of George Byng, 2nd Earl of Strafford and his first wife, Agnes. From 1840 he was a Page of Honour to Queen Victoria and joined the Coldstream Guards in 1847 as a Lieutenant. In 1854, he was promoted to Captain, by purchase, appointed an Adjutant later that year and a Supernumerary Major in 1865.

In 1872, Byng was made a Groom-in-Waiting and then an Equerry two years later. In 1895, he was appointed a CB and knighted KCVO in 1897. In 1898, he inherited his elder brother's titles.

Byng was killed by an express train at Potters Bar railway station. Witnesses said he appeared to step in front of the approaching engine from the bottom of the slope at the end of the platform. His body was carried 50 yards down the track.[1] A coroner's court was later told he had the nervous condition of catalepsy. The inquest jury – after considering several verdicts including suicide – returned a finding of death by misadventure.[1]

As his sons predeceased him[a] the titles passed to his brother, Francis.


Cora, Countess of Strafford, John Singer Sargent, 1908

On 15 October 1863, Byng married Countess Henrietta Louisa Elizabeth Danneskiold-Samsøe (a maternal granddaughter of the 1st Marquess of Ailesbury) and they had four children:

After his wife's death in 1880, Byng married on 6 December 1898 Cora Colgate née Smith (a wealthy American widow), but they did not have any children.

Byng had been buried in a family vault in the churchyard of St John's Potter's Bar with his first wife, the church had become disused and prone to vandalism so the bodies were exhumed in 1935 and moved to a mauseleum at the nearby family estate of Wrotham Park.[2]


  1. ^ Eldest son George was drowned at sea in 1893 between Naples and Gibraltar from the RMS Ophir, second son John died the following year aged 23 in Paris of typhoid.


  1. ^ a b "The Death of Lord Strafford". The Times (35833). London. 19 May 1899. p. 8. 
  2. ^ "Exhumation of Earl and Wife". Dundee Courier. 9 August 1935. p. 5. 
Court offices
Preceded by
George Cavendish
Page of Honour
Succeeded by
Alfred Crofton
Preceded by
Henry Gardiner
Succeeded by
John Campbell
Preceded by
The Lord de Ros
Succeeded by
John Brocklehurst
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
George Byng
Earl of Strafford
Succeeded by
Francis Byng