Robert Loyd-Lindsay, 1st Baron Wantage

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The Lord Wantage
Ist2 4356365-lord-wantage.jpg
Robert Loyd-Lindsay c.1882
Born(1832-04-17)17 April 1832
Berkeley Street, Mary-le-bone
Died10 June 1901(1901-06-10) (aged 69)
Wantage, Berkshire
Ardington Church (Vault)
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
RankBrigadier General
Unit1st Battalion, Scots (Fusilier) Guards
Honourable Artillery Company
Home Counties Brigade
1st Volunteer Battalion, Princess Charlotte of Wales's (Royal Berkshire Regiment)
Battles/warsCrimean War Franco-Prussian War (Red Cross)
AwardsVictoria Cross
Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Volunteer Officers' Decoration
Commander of the Legion of Honour (France)
Knight of the Order of the Medjidie (Ottoman Empire)
Order of the Crown, 3rd Class with Cross of Geneva (Prussia)
Crimea Medal with 4 clasps
Turkish Crimea Medal
Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Medal
Spouse(s)Harriet Jones-Loyd
Other workMember of Parliament for Berkshire
Financial Secretary to the War Office
Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire

Brigadier General Robert James Loyd-Lindsay, 1st Baron Wantage, VC, KCB, VD (17 April 1832 – 10 June 1901) was a British soldier, politician, philanthropist, benefactor to Wantage, and first chairman and co-founder of the British National Society for Aid to the Sick and Wounded in War (later the British Red Cross Society), for which he crucially obtained the patronage of Queen Victoria.


Loyd-Lindsay was born in 1832, the second son of Lieutenant General Sir James Lindsay, 1st Baronet and Anne, daughter of Sir Coutts Trotter, 1st Baronet. His elder brother Coutts Lindsay succeeded his maternal grandfather as second Baronet in 1837 (see Lindsay Baronets). In 1858, he married The Honorable Harriet Sarah Jones-Loyd, the only surviving child and heiress of Samuel Jones-Loyd, 1st and last Baron Overstone,[1] one of the richest men in the country, who endowed the couple with a considerable fortune and the Lockinge Estate near Wantage as a wedding present.

Military service[edit]

As portrayed in Vanity Fair (1876)

Lindsay fought as a captain in the Scots (Fusilier) Guards during the Crimean War. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 20 September 1854 at the Battle of the Alma and 5 November at the Battle of Inkerman. The London Gazette described his actions as follows:

When the formation of the line of the Regiment was disordered at Alma, Captain Lindsay stood firm with the Colours, and by his example and energy, greatly tended to restore order. At Inkerman, at a most trying moment, he, with a few men, charged a party of Russians, driving them back, and running one through the body himself.[2]London Gazette

On 9 November 1858[3] Lindsay was appointed as Equerry to HRH The Prince of Wales and served as such before resigning on 7 February 1859.[4] The brief period as Equerry was due to his engagement and impending marriage to The Honorable Harriet Sarah Jones Loyd. The couple were then known as Loyd-Lindsay.

Loyd-Lindsay was later involved in the volunteer movement, serving as Colonel of the Royal Berkshire Volunteers, and subsequently Brigadier-General of the Home Counties Brigade. He was one of the first recipients of the Volunteer Officers' Decoration.[5] He was also Lieutenant Colonel of the Honourable Artillery Company from 13 November 1866[6] to 17 August 1881.[7]

Political career[edit]

Memorial of Lord Wantage on The Ridgeway, Oxfordshire (looking north)

Loyd-Lindsay sat as Conservative Party Member of Parliament for Berkshire from 1865[8][9][10][11] until 1885[12] and served under Lord Beaconsfield as Financial Secretary to the War Office between 1877 and 1880.[1] He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in 1881.[13] In 1885, he was elevated to the peerage as Baron Wantage, of Lockinge in the County of Berkshire.[14] He then served as Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire from 1886 until his death.[15] Having been initiated as a freemason, passed and raised in Malta en route to the Crimea in 1854, he became Provincial Grand Master of Berkshire from 1898 until his death in 1901.

He was appointed the first Chairman of the Council of the National Rifle Association of the United Kingdom on 25 November 1890.[16]

British Red Cross[edit]

On 15 July 1870, the Franco-Prussian War began. With the outbreak of the war serving as the immediate catalyst, John Furley met with Loyd-Lindsay to ask him if he would help set up a British Red Cross society in the United Kingdom. Furley had already been in touch with the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva over the desirability of founding a British national Red Cross society, and he knew that Lindsay also supported the goals of the new Red Cross movement. A letter from Loyd-Lindsay was published in The Times on 22 July calling for a national society in the United Kingdom, and pledging £1000 of his own money to the new initiative. On 4 August, he chaired a public meeting at Willis's Rooms in London which resolved that "a National Society be formed in this country for aiding sick and wounded soldiers in time of war, and that the said Society be formed upon the Rules laid down by the Geneva Conventions". Loyd-Lindsay continued to serve as chairman of the newly founded National Society for Aid to the Sick and Wounded in War (renamed the British Red Cross in 1905) until his death.[17]

Benefactions to Wantage[edit]

Loyd-Lindsay became a notable local and national benefactor,[18] with a number of donations made to the town of Wantage (the nearest town to Loyd-Lindsay's home). In 1877 he paid for a marble statue of King Alfred by Count Gleichen to be erected in Wantage market place, where it still stands today.[19][18] He also donated the Victoria Cross Gallery to the town.[19][18] This contained paintings by Louis William Desanges depicting deeds which led to the award of a number of VCs, including his own gained during the Crimean War.

Abingdon School[edit]

He had a close relationship with Abingdon School where he was on the governing body until his death in 1901.[20] He donated money to the school in addition to regularly presenting prizes at events.[21] After his death Lady Wantage continued the connection and Lord Wantage still has a room named after him at the school today.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Lord and Lady Wantage lived at Lockinge House at East Lockinge in Berkshire (now Oxfordshire).[23] He died on 10 June 1901, aged 69. On his death, Florence Nightingale, a close personal friend since the Crimea, wrote:

Lord Wantage is a great loss but he had been a great gain. And what he has gained for us can never be lost. It is my experience that such men exist only in England. A man who had everything (to use the common phrase) that this world could give him, but who worked as hard, and to the last, as the poorest able man and all for others for the common good. A man whose life makes a great difference for all. All are better than if he had not lived, and this betterment is for always it does not die with him. That is the true estimate of a great life. God bless him and we will bless him. And we will bless God for having made him.

Lady Wantage erected a monument to Lord Wantage on the Ridgeway. There are various inscriptions on the faces of the monument with the one on the North East side, being in Latin and is similar to that inscribed on the Iona Cross on Gibbet Hill, Hindhead, Surrey, namely:


Which translates as: "Peace in passing away. Salvation after death. Light after darkness. Hope in light."

As he had no children the title died with him.[1] In 1908 Lady Wantage officially opened Wantage Hall, the first Hall of Residence in the University of Reading, in honour of Lord Wantage.[citation needed] She died in August 1920.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Lt.-Col. Robert James Lindsay-Loyd, 1st and last Baron Wantage of Lockinge
  2. ^ "No. 21971". The London Gazette. 24 February 1857. p. 657.
  3. ^ "Supplement to the London Gazette". London Gazette. 23 November 1858. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
  4. ^ "Supplement to the London Gazette". London Gazette. 8 February 1859. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
  5. ^ "Supplement to the London Gazette". London Gazette. 6 December 1892. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  6. ^ "Supplement to the London Gazette". London Gazette. 13 November 1866. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  7. ^ "Supplement to the London Gazette". London Gazette. 16 August 1881. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  8. ^ "Supplement to the London Gazette". London Gazette. 25 July 1865. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
  9. ^ "Supplement to the London Gazette". London Gazette. 1 December 1868. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
  10. ^ "Supplement to the London Gazette". London Gazette. 3 February 1874. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
  11. ^ "Supplement to the London Gazette". London Gazette. 13 April 1880. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
  12. ^ House of Commons: Bedford to Berwick upon Tweed
  13. ^ "No. 24976". The London Gazette. 24 May 1881. p. 2674.
  14. ^ "No. 25493". The London Gazette. 24 July 1885. p. 3426.
  15. ^ Peerages: Waddington to Welles
  16. ^ Original Charter of National Rifle Association of the United Kingdom
  17. ^ Oliver, Beryl (1966). The British Red Cross in Action. London: Faber & Faber. pp. 86–88.
  18. ^ a b c Ford, David Nash (2008). "Col. Sir Robert James Loyd-Lindsay, Baron Wantage of Lockinge (1832–1901)". Royal Berkshire History. Nash Ford Publishing. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
  19. ^ a b Ford, David Nash (2004). "Wantage: Where the Great are Born". Royal Berkshire History. Nash Ford Publishing. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
  20. ^ "School Notes" (PDF). The Abingdonian.
  21. ^ "School Notes" (PDF). The Abingdonian.
  22. ^ "School Notes" (PDF). The Abingdonian.
  23. ^ 1901 Census.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Berkshire
With: Richard Benyon 1865–1876
Sir Charles Russell, Bt 1865–1868
John Walter 1868–1885
Philip Wroughton 1876–1885
Constituency abolished
Political offices
Preceded by Financial Secretary to the War Office
Succeeded by
Honorary titles
Preceded by Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire
Succeeded by
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Wantage