Matthew White Ridley, 4th Viscount Ridley

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The Right Honourable
The Viscount Ridley
Viscount Ridley.jpg
Viscount Ridley in the robes of a Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter
Personal details
Born Matthew White Ridley
29 July 1925
Blagdon Hall, Northumberland
Died March 22, 2012(2012-03-22) (aged 86)
Blagdon Hall, Northumberland
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Lady Anne Lumley
Children 4
Awards Knight of the Garter
Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order
Military service
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1944–1986
Rank Brevet Colonel
Unit Coldstream Guards, Northumberland Hussars
Battles/wars World War II

Matthew White Ridley, 4th Viscount Ridley KG GCVO TD DL (29 July 1925 – 22 March 2012),[1] was a British nobleman. He notably served as Lord Steward of the Household from 1989 to 2001.[2]

Background, education and military service[edit]

Ridley was the son of Matthew White Ridley, 3rd Viscount Ridley, and Ursula Lutyens, daughter of Sir Edwin Lutyens. His younger brother Nicholas Ridley, Baron Ridley of Liddesdale, was a prominent Conservative Party politician who served as a government minister for nearly all of Margaret Thatcher's years as Prime Minister.[3]

Matthew Ridley was educated at Eton College and spent several months studying agriculture at King’s College, University of Durham (now Newcastle University). The Second World War interrupted his education and he joined the Coldstream Guards, serving in Normandy and Germany in 1944-45. He then studied at Oxford, graduating with a degree in Agriculture from Balliol College in 1948]].[3]

He then served as an aide-de-camp to Sir Evelyn Baring, then Governor of Kenya. During this time he furthered his interest in nature and science. In 1955, Ridley and zoologist Lord Richard Percy spent four months on an uninhabited island in the Seychelles studying the plight of the dwindling sooty tern.[3]

Later he joined the Territorial Army, reaching the rank of Brevet Colonel in the Northumberland Hussars: he became Honorary Colonel of that unit in 1979.[3]

Public life[edit]

Ridley succeeded his father in the viscountcy in 1964. He was Chairman of Northumberland County Council from 1967 to 1979.[3] He chaired several companies and societies, before serving as Chancellor of the University of Newcastle from 1988 to 1999, as Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland from 1984 to 2000,[4] and as Lord Steward of the Household from 1989 to 2001.[5] He was succeeded by the Duke of Abercorn as Lord Steward in 2001.

He was made a knight of the Order of the Garter in 1992[6] and appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in 1994. He retired in 1999 and did not stand for election as a hereditary peer after the House of Lords Act.[3]

Marriage and children[edit]

Ridley was married on 3 January 1953 to Lady Anne Katharine Gabrielle Lumley (born 16 November 1928, died 2006), daughter of Lawrence Lumley, 11th Earl of Scarbrough. They had four children together:

Ridley died on 22 March 2012 and was succeeded in the viscountcy by his only son.[3]


  1. ^ Published on Friday 23 March 2012 15:31 (29 July 1925). "Viscount Ridley dies aged 86". Morpeth Herald. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  2. ^ Tomlinson, Richard (20 December 1992). "They also serve, who only ush". Independent. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Obituary: Viscount Ridley". The Daily Telegraph. 25 March 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2016. 
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 49610. p. 295. 9 January 1984. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 51747. p. 6301. 26 May 1989. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  6. ^ The London Gazette: no. 52903. p. 7175. 24 April 1992. Retrieved 11 October 2015.

External links[edit]

Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Duke of Northumberland
Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland
1984 – 2000
Succeeded by
Sir John Buchanan-Riddell, Bt
Lord Steward
1989 – 2001
Succeeded by
The Duke of Abercorn
Academic offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Northumberland
Chancellor of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne
1988 – 1999
Succeeded by
The Lord Patten of Barnes
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Matthew White Ridley
Viscount Ridley
1964 – 2012
Succeeded by
Matt Ridley
Baron Wensleydale
1964 – 2012
Baronetage of Great Britain
Preceded by
Matthew White Ridley
(of Blagdon)
1964 – 2012
Succeeded by
Matt Ridley