Moreton Frewen

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Moreton Frewen
Member of Parliament
for North East Cork
In office
December 1910 – July 1911
Preceded byMaurice Healy
Succeeded byTimothy Michael Healy
Personal details
Hugh Moreton Frewen

8 May 1853
Died2 September 1924
Clarita Jerome
(m. 1881; his death 1924)
Children3, including Clare
ParentsThomas Frewen Turner
Helen Louisa Homan Frewen
EducationEton College
Alma materTrinity College, Cambridge

Hugh Moreton Frewen (8 May 1853 – 2 September 1924)[1] was an Anglo-Irish writer on monetary reform who served briefly as a Member of Parliament (MP).

Early life[edit]

Frewen was born the 8 May 1853 in England. He was the fifth son of Thomas Frewen (1811–1870), MP for South Leicestershire, and Helen Louisa (nee Homan) Frewen (d. 1901).

He was educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he gained his BA in 1877.[2]


He emigrated to Wyoming during the cattle boom in the 1870s and 1880s.[3] Frewen was a charming if financially incompetent adventurer from an English landed gentry family known for reckless financial and political schemes.[4] After his marriage to the American heiress Clara Jerome (daughter of Leonard Jerome and sister of Jennie, wife of Lord Randolph Churchill and mother of Sir Winston Churchill), they settled together on a huge Wyoming ranch, The Prince of Wales Ranch, where Frewen built an enormous log lodge/castle later destroyed by fire and ran up ever increasing debt, earning the sobriquets "Mortal Ruin" and "the splendid pauper".[5]

His laterally descended family, the Martins formerly of Charley Hall, Leicestershire, refer to him to this day however not as "Mortal Ruin" but as "Immortal Ruin", as he ran through two family fortunes before being granted a remittance and "encouraged" by family to emigrate to America.[6]

Returning to the United Kingdom, where he owned homes in London and Cork, Frewen served as Vice President of the Imperial Federation League. He wrote on tariff reform and other economic matters, and was an advocate of bimetallism.

He became involved in Irish affairs through inheriting the Innishannon Estate, some 3,000 acres near Cork, and through his friendships with Lord Dunraven and Timothy Healy (MP).[4]

Member of Parliament[edit]

He was elected unopposed at the December 1910 general election as an All-for-Ireland League MP for North East Cork,[7] taking his seat in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. He resigned on 5 July 1911[8] because his seat was needed for Healy and because of his reactionary public statements: his opposition to the Parliament Bill to remove the legislative veto of the House of Lords was proving a political liability.[4] Later he signed the British Covenant in support of Ulster, while continuing to engage in political intrigues.[4]

Personal life[edit]

In 1881, he managed to marry Clarita "Clara" Jerome (1851–1935), daughter of the New York City financier Leonard Jerome, and sister to Lord Randolph Churchill's wife Jennie.[9] He was a brother-in-law not only of Lord Randolph Churchill but also of Sir John Leslie of Glaslough.[4] His niece Ruby (with whom he was not on good terms), daughter of his brother Stephen, was the second wife of Sir Edward Carson.[4] Together, Moreton and Clara were the parents of two surviving sons and a daughter (another daughter, Jasmine, died at birth), including:

Frewen died 2 September 1924 in England.


  • The economic crisis, 1888
  • Melton Mowbray, and other memories, 1924

In popular culture[edit]

  • Frewen figures prominently in the novel Mortal Ruin by John Malcolm.


  1. ^ Who was who 1916–1928 (1929)
  2. ^ "Frewen, Moreton (FRWN872M)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. ^ Woods, L. Milton: Moreton Frewer's Western Adventures (1986)
  4. ^ a b c d e f Maume, Patrick: The long Gestation, Irish Nationalist Life 1891–1918, "Who’s Who" p. 228, Gill & Macmillan (1999) ISBN 0-7171-2744-3
  5. ^ Andrews, Allen: The Splendid Pauper (1968)
  6. ^ ex inf Mrs. Selina Margaret Clay (nee Martin) of Victoria BC, youngest daughter of Rev. John Martin of Charley Hall, Leicestershire (1891-1980) and 1st cousin to Moreton Frewen
  7. ^ Brian M. Walker, ed. (1978). Parliamentary election results in Ireland 1801–1922. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy. p. 178. ISBN 0-901714-12-7.
  8. ^ Department of Information Services (9 June 2009). "Appointments to the Chiltern Hundreds and Manor of Northstead Stewardships since 1850" (PDF). House of Commons Library. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 February 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
  9. ^ Kehoe, Elizabeth: The Titled Americans: Three American sisters and the British aristocratic world into which they married, Atlantic Monthly Press (2004), ISBN 0-87113-924-3
  10. ^ Belshaw, Jim (21 June 2008). "Personal Reflections: Saturday Morning Musings - Hugh Frewen: a New England story". Personal Reflections. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  11. ^ Sebba, Anne (2010). American Jennie: The Remarkable Life of Lady Randolph Churchill. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 310. ISBN 9780393079685. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  12. ^ Andrews, Allen (1968). The Splendid Pauper. Lippincott. pp. 5, 97, 199. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  13. ^ National Portrait Gallery. "Search the Collection, Clare Sheridan". National Portrait Gallery, London. Retrieved 12 October 2015.

External links[edit]

See also[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Maurice Healy
Member of Parliament for North East Cork
December 1910July 1911
Succeeded by
Timothy Healy