Robert Clarkson Tredgold

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Sir Robert Clarkson Tredgold, KCMG (2 June 1899 – 8 April 1977) was a Rhodesian barrister, judge and politician.

He was born in Bulawayo to Clarkson Henry Tredgold, the Attorney-General of Rhodesia, and Emily Ruth (née Moffat), and was the grandson of the missionary John Moffat.[1] He attended first Prince Edward School and then Rondebosch Boys' School in Cape Town, South Africa.[2] He was a Rhodes Scholar and read law at Hertford College.[2]

He held the posts of Minister of Defence in Rhodesia during World War II, Federal Chief Justice, acting Governor-General of Rhodesia from 21 November 1953 to 26 November 1954, and acting Governor-General of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland from 24 January 1957 to February 1957; he later resigned in protest from his Central African Federation (CAF) position, criticising the actions authorised by Sir Edgar Whitehead to suppress black nationalist opposition to the Federation in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia.[3]

Sir Robert Tredgold was named Privy Counsellor in 1957. He retired to Marondera with his second wife, Lady Margaret Tredgold. He published the book The Rhodesia That Was My Life in 1968.


A widower in 1974, Tredgold married his second wife, Mrs. Margaret Helen Phear (née Baines; 1910-2012), a widow and mother of three children, originally from Aliwal North, South Africa. Together the couple researched the folklore of Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia) and published children's books based on them. They also researched edible plants, culminating in Food Plants of Zimbabwe, which she completed after his death and published in 1986.[4]

A devout Roman Catholic, Lady Margaret died in 2012 at age 102 in England, where she had relocated in 2004 due to the Mugabe government's policies. She was predeceased by one son, and survived by a second son and her daughter, with whom she lived in England.[4][5]


Robert Clarkson Tredgold was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in the 1943 New Year Honours.[6] He was appointed Knight Bachelor in the 1951 New Year's Honours.[7] He was appointed a KCMG in 1955.


  1. ^ Berens, Denis (1988). A Concise Encyclopedia of Zimbabwe. Gweru, Zimbabwe: Mambo Press. ISBN 0869224417. 
  2. ^ a b Tredgold, Robert (1968). The Rhodesia that was my life. London: George Allen and Unwin. 
  3. ^ Brendon, Piers. The Decline and Fall of the British Empire (1781-1997). Vintage Books (Random House). p. 588. ISBN 978-0-307-38841-4. 
  4. ^ a b Lee, Clive (2 December 2012). "Lady Margaret Tredgold obituary". Guardian. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  5. ^ Genealogy site info for Margaret Helen Baines
  6. ^ "No. 35841". The London Gazette. 29 December 1942. p. 5. 
  7. ^ "No. 39104". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 1950. p. 2.