William Pakenham, 4th Earl of Longford

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William Pakenham, 4th Earl of Longford
Born 31 January 1819
County Westmeath, Ireland
Died 19 April 1887(1887-04-19) (aged 68)
London, England
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Rank General
Battles/wars Crimean War
Indian Rebellion
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath

General William Lygon Pakenham, 4th Earl of Longford GCB DL JP (31 January 1819 – 19 April 1887), styled The Honourable William Pakenham before 1860, was an Anglo-Irish soldier and Conservative politician.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Pakenham was the second son of Thomas Pakenham, 2nd Earl of Longford, by Lady Georgiana Emma Charlotte Lygon, daughter of William Lygon, 1st Earl Beauchamp. He was educated at Winchester College and entered the army in 1837.[1]

Military career[edit]

After service in both the Crimean War and the Indian Rebellion, Pakenham became Adjutant-General in India in November 1858.[3] He was also colonel of the Northumberland Fusiliers from 1878 to his death.[4]

Public life[edit]

He succeeded in the earldom in 1860 on the death of his elder brother, the third Earl and was created KCB in 1861. He sat on the Conservative benches in the House of Lords and served as Under-Secretary of State for War from 1866 to 1868 under first the Earl of Derby and later Benjamin Disraeli. In February 1870 he was voted chairman of the Central Protestant Defence Association which was established in response to the Irish Church Act 1869.[5] He also served as Lord Lieutenant of Longford from 1874 to 1887. In Dublin, he was a member of the Kildare Street Club.[6]

He was created KCB in the 1861 Birthday Honours and GCB in the 1881 Birthday Honours.[7]


Lord Longford married the Honourable Selina Rice-Trevor, daughter of George Rice-Trevor, 4th Baron Dynevor, in 1862. They had four surviving children: Thomas, Lord Pakenham, the Hon. Edward Michael, Lady Georgiana Frances Henrietta (wife of Hugh Gough, 3rd Viscount Gough) and Lady Catherine Louisa (mother of William Fletcher-Vane, 1st Baron Inglewood). Lord Longford died in April 1887, aged 68, and was succeeded in the earldom by his second but eldest surviving son.[1] His grandson Frank Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longford, became a prominent Labour politician. The Countess of Longford survived her husband by over thirty years and died in January 1918, aged 81.


  1. ^ a b c "Obituary". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 20 April 1887. p. 13. 
  2. ^ Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage, and Companionage. Kelly's Directories. p. 434. Retrieved 1 September 2016. 
  3. ^ "No. 22202". The London Gazette. 19 November 1858. p. 4909. 
  4. ^ "No. 24628". The London Gazette. 27 September 1878. p. 5332. 
  5. ^ Ireland:From Our Own Correspondent; The Times; 4 Feb 1870; pg8 col A
  6. ^ Thomas Hay Sweet Escott, Club Makers and Club Members (1913), pp. 329–333
  7. ^ "No. 24976". The London Gazette. 24 May 1881. p. 2673. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Edward Lugard
Adjutant-General, India
Succeeded by
Edmund Haythorne
Preceded by
Edward Rowley Hill
Colonel of the Northumberland Fusiliers
Succeeded by
Joseph Henry Laye
Political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Dufferin and Clanboye
Under-Secretary of State for War
Succeeded by
The Lord Northbrook
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Lord Annaly
Lord Lieutenant of Longford
Succeeded by
The Earl of Longford
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Edward Michael Pakenham
Earl of Longford
Succeeded by
Thomas Pakenham