Rupert Gwynne

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Rupert Sackville Gwynne
Financial Secretary to the War Office
In office
15 March 1923 – 23 January 1924
Prime MinisterBonar Law
Stanley Baldwin
Preceded byStanley Jackson
Succeeded byJohn James Lawson
Personal details
Born2 August 1873
Died12 October 1924 (aged 51)
Eastbourne, East Sussex
Political partyConservative Party (UK)
ResidenceFolkington Manor
Alma materPembroke College, Cambridge

Rupert Sackville Gwynne (2 August 1873 – 12 October 1924), was a British Conservative politician. He was Member of Parliament (MP) for Eastbourne from 1910 to 1924.

He was the father of cookery writer Elizabeth David.

Early years[edit]

Gwynne was the third son and fourth child of nine children of James Eglinton Anderson Gwynne (1834-1915) of Gwynnes Limited and of Wootton Manor, Polegate, Sussex. He was educated at Shrewsbury School and then Pembroke College, Cambridge.[1][2] He was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in 1908.

Political career[edit]

Gwynne was elected as MP for Eastbourne at the January 1910 general election,[3] and held the seat until he stood down at the 1924 general election. He was Financial Secretary to the War Office from 15 March 1923 until 23 January 1924. On 1 October 1923 he was made a member of the Army Council.[4] He was renowned for his opposition to the Irish Republican Army which he termed "the Murder Gang".


Gwynne married Stella Ridley, daughter of the first Viscount Ridley in 1905 and had four daughters. One, Elizabeth, became Elizabeth David, the cookery writer. Gwynne appointed as their guardians Roundell Palmer, 3rd Earl of Selborne and Douglas Hogg, 1st Viscount Hailsham.

Gwynne's two older brothers, Reginald and Neville, were both disinherited by their father.[5] Gwynne therefore inherited Wootton Manor on his father's death in 1915 and with his wife commissioned their friend Detmar Blow to restore and extend the house. Other artistic friends included the painter Cedric Morris, who painted Wootton in the 1920s and the writer and plantsman William Robinson.[6]

Gwynne's sister was the harpsichordist Violet Gordon-Woodhouse. His youngest brother, Roland Gwynne, later became Mayor of Eastbourne and was a close friend, and possible lover, of the society doctor and suspected serial killer John Bodkin Adams.[7]


Gwynne had had a weak heart all his life after having contracted rheumatic fever as a youth, but died suddenly of kidney failure on 12 October 1924, aged 51. His brother Roland Gwynne was the last person to see him alive. His death certificate had the note 'No P.M.' suggesting the doctor, Lionel Handson, was uneasy about his death and called the coroner for his advice.[8] Roland inherited Wootton Manor, but allowed Rupert's wife Stella and her daughters to remain there provided Stella did not remarry.[9]


  1. ^ "Gwynne, Rupert Sackville (GWN891RS)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. ^ Ken Good, The House of Gwynne, Bookmarque Publishing 2002
  3. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1974]. British parliamentary election results 1885–1918 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 403. ISBN 0-900178-27-2.
  4. ^ London Gazette
  5. ^ Cooper, Artemis (1999). Writing at the Kitchen Table. London: Michael Joseph. pp. 4–6. ISBN 0-7181-4224-1.
  6. ^ Parks and Gardens UK, Wooton Manor
  7. ^ Cullen, Pamela V., "A Stranger in Blood: The Case Files on Dr John Bodkin Adams", London, Elliot and Thompson, 2006
  8. ^ Cullen, 2006. Page 629
  9. ^ Cullen, 2006. Page 630

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Hubert Beaumont
Member of Parliament for Eastbourne
January 19101924
Succeeded by
Sir George Lloyd