Richard Lyon-Dalberg-Acton, 4th Baron Acton

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Acton
Member of the House of Lords
In office
23 January 1989 – 11 November 1999
Acton of Bridgnorth
In office
17 April 2000 – 10 October 2010
Personal details
Born (1941-07-30)30 July 1941
London, United Kingdom
Died 10 October 2010(2010-10-10) (aged 69)
Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Patricia, Lady Acton (née Nassif)
Children 1 son
Alma mater Trinity College, Oxford
Occupation Lawyer

Richard Gerald Lyon-Dalberg-Acton, 4th Baron Acton and Baron Acton of Bridgnorth (30 July 1941 – 10 October 2010) was a British Labour politician.

Early life and education[edit]

The oldest son of John Lyon-Dalberg-Acton and Daphne Strutt, daughter of Robert Strutt, 4th Baron Rayleigh, he was educated at St George's College in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe) and at Trinity College, Oxford, from which he emerged with a Bachelor of Arts in 1963 (later, he would receive a Master of Arts from the same institution).


He served a term as director of Coutts & Co before being admitted to Inner Temple in 1976 and practising law for about four years. He then served as a Senior Law Officer of the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs of Zimbabwe from 1981 until 1985.

He became the 4th Baron Acton, as well as 11th Baronet of Aldenham in 1989, upon his father's death. He lost his seat in the House of Lords after the passage of the House of Lords Act 1999, which he notably supported.[1] However, on 17 April 2000, he was created a life peer as Baron Acton of Bridgnorth, of Aldenham in the County of Shropshire,[2] enabling him to return to the House.[3][4]

Lord Acton sat on the Labour benches and served on the Constitution Committee and on the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills.

Personal life[edit]

From 1965 to 1973 Acton was married to Hilary Cookson, with whom he had a son, Johnny. After having been a widower for a year he married Judith Todd, the daughter of Sir Garfield Todd, former Rhodesian Prime Minister. The marriage ended in 1984.

In 1988 Acton married his third wife, Patricia Nassif, a professor at the University of Iowa College of Law in Iowa City, Iowa. He divided his time between London and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The couple remained married until his death.

Acton was succeeded by his son from his first marriage and only child John Lyon-Dalberg-Acton, 5th Baron Acton.

Styles of address[edit]

  • 1941–1989: The Hon. Richard Lyon-Dalberg-Acton
  • 1989–2000: The Rt Hon. The Lord Acton[a]
  • 2000–2010: The Rt Hon. The Lord Acton and The Lord Acton of Bridgnorth[b]
  1. ^ Although The Lord Acton was a baronet, by custom the post-nominal of "Bt" is omitted, as Peers of the Realm do not list subsidiary hereditary titles.
  2. ^ After the House of Lords Act 1999 was passed, The Lord Acton lost his seat in the House of Lords. He was created a life peer in 2000 as Baron Acton of Bridgnorth, enabling him to take his seat in the House.


External links[edit]

Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Lyon-Dalberg-Acton
Baron Acton
Succeeded by
John Lyon-Dalberg-Acton