William Rees-Mogg

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Rees-Mogg
William Rees-Mogg 1976.jpg
Rees-Mogg in 1976
Chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain
In office
1982–1989
Preceded by Sir Kenneth Robinson
Succeeded by Peter Palumbo
Editor of The Times
In office
1967–1981
Preceded by Sir William Haley
Succeeded by Harold Evans
Personal details
Born William Rees-Mogg
(1928-07-14)14 July 1928
Bristol, England
Died 29 December 2012(2012-12-29) (aged 84)
London, England
Cause of death Oesophageal cancer
Citizenship United Kingdom
Nationality British
Political party None (crossbencher)
Other political
affiliations
Formerly Conservative Party
Spouse(s) Gillian Morris
Children 5, including Jacob and Annunziata
Parents
  • Edmund Fletcher Rees-Mogg
  • Beatrice Warren
Occupation Journalist

William Rees-Mogg, Baron Rees-Mogg (14 July 1928 – 29 December 2012) was an English journalist and public servant. He served as editor of The Times (1967–81), chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain, and vice-chairman of the BBC.

Early Life[edit]

William Rees-Mogg was born in in 1928 at Bristol, England, the son of Edmund Fletcher Rees-Mogg (1889-1962) of Cholwell House[1] in the parish of Cameley in Somerset, a Protestant by religion, by his Irish-American Roman Catholic wife Beatrice Warren, a daughter of Daniel Warren of New York, USA.[2][3]

Ancestry[edit]

He was descended in the male line from his great-great-grandfather Rev. John Rees (1772-1835) (a son of John Rees (1737-1806) of Wick in Glamorgan, Wales), Prebendary of Tytherington and Chaplain to HRH Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland (1771-1851).[4] In 1805 Rev. John Rees married Mary Mogg Wooldrige (1774-1846), the heiress of Cholwell, only child of William Wooldrige of Dudmaston in Shropshire by his wife Mary Mogg (1744-1829), daughter and heiress of John Mogg (born 1722) of Cholwell, grandson of John Mogg (d.1728) of the Manor House, Farington Gurney in Somerset, Sheriff of Somerset in 1703.[5] In 1805, in accordance with the will of his wife's grandfather John Mogg (born 1722) of Cholwell, Rev. John Rees assumed by royal licence the additional surname and arms of Mogg.[6] The mural monument of Rev. John Rees-Mogg survives in Cameley Church.

Education & RAF Service[edit]

He was educated at Clifton College Preparatory School in Bristol and Charterhouse School in Godalming, where he was head boy.[7]

Not yet eighteen, Rees-Mogg went up to Balliol College, Oxford as a Brackenbury Scholar to read history in January 1946 as a place had fallen temporarily vacant. By the end of the summer term he had been elected to the library committee (the junior committee) of the Oxford Union Society and was due to be an officer of the Oxford University Conservative Association under Margaret Roberts (the future Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher), President for Michaelmas Term 1946.[8] However, he did not return to Oxford in October as he was forced to give up his place to a disabled ex-serviceman. In 1946–48, beginning with an exceptionally bitter winter, he did his National Service in the Royal Air Force education department (his poor eyesight ruled out aircrew training) rising to the rank of sergeant. His duties included attempting to teach illiterate recruits to read and write, and his reference from his commanding officer stated that he was competent to perform simple tasks under supervision.[8] He returned to Oxford to complete his degree,[9] and became President of the Oxford Union in Trinity (summer) term 1951.[8][10] He graduated that term with a second.[8]

Career[edit]

Rees-Mogg began his career in journalism in London at The Financial Times in 1952 becoming chief leader writer in 1955 and, in addition, assistant editor in 1957.[11][12] During this period, he was Conservative candidate for the safe Labour seat of Chester-le-Street in a by-election on 27 September 1956, losing to the Labour candidate Norman Pentland by 21,287 votes,[13] as he did in the subsequent general election by a similar margin.

He moved to The Sunday Times in 1960, later becoming its Deputy Editor from 1964[12] where he wrote "A Captain’s Innings",[14] which many believe convinced Alec Douglas-Home to resign as Tory leader, making way for Edward Heath, in July 1965.[13]

Rees-Mogg was editor of The Times from 1967 to 1981. He criticised, in a 1967 editorial entitled "Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel?",[14] the severity of the custodial sentence for Mick Jagger on a drugs offence.[15] With colleagues he attempted a buyout of Times Group Newspapers in 1981 in order to stop its sale by the Thomson Organisation to Rupert Murdoch, but was unsuccessful.[16] Murdoch replaced him as editor with Harold Evans. Rees-Mogg wrote a comment column for The Independent from its foundation in the autumn of 1986 until near the end of 1992,[17] when he rejoined The Times[18] where he remained a columnist until shortly before his death.[19] In his Memoirs, published in 2011, he wrote of Murdoch: "Looking back, he has been an excellent proprietor for the Times, but also for Fleet Street."[20]

Rees-Mogg was a member of the BBC's Board of Governors and chairman of the Arts Council, overseeing a major reform of the latter body which halved the number of arts organisations receiving regular funding and reduced the Council's direct activities. Having been High Sheriff of Somerset from 1978 to 1979, he was knighted on 3 November 1981.[21] In the 1988 Birthday Honours, Rees-Mogg was announced to be made a life peer[22] and was raised to the peerage on 8 August that year as Baron Rees-Mogg of Hinton Blewett in the County of Avon,[23][24] and sat in the House of Lords as a cross-bencher. He was a member of the European Reform Forum. The University of Bath awarded him an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Laws) in 1977.[25]

He co-authored, with James Dale Davidson, three books: The Sovereign Individual, The Great Reckoning, and Blood in the Streets.[26]

Writing in The Times in 2001, Rees-Mogg, who had a house in Somerset, described himself as "a country person who spends most of his time in London", and attempted to define the characteristics of a "country person". He also wrote that Tony Blair was as unpopular in rural England as Mrs Thatcher had been in Scotland. By now his liberal attitude to drugs policy had led to his being mocked as "Mogadon Man" by Private Eye.[15]

The magazine later referred to him as "Mystic Mogg" (a pun on "Mystic Meg", a tabloid astrologer) because of the perception that his economic and political predictions were ultimately found to be inaccurate.[16][27]

Rees-Mogg served as the chairman of the London publishing firm Pickering & Chatto Publishers and of NewsMax Media and wrote a weekly column for The Mail on Sunday.[28]

Personal life[edit]

In 1964 Rees-Mogg purchased Ston Easton Park near Bath, Somerset, the former home of the Hippisley family. The house had been threatened with demolition and Rees-Mogg partially restored it.[29] He sold the house to the Smedley family in 1978.

Rees-Mogg and his wife Gillian Shakespeare Morris had five children. They are:

  • Emma Beatrice Rees-Mogg (born 1962),[30][31] married David William Hilton Craigie, son of Major Robin Brooks, in 1990. The couple have four children: Maud, Wilfred, Myfanwy and Samuel. She is a novelist under the name Emma Craigie.[32]
  • Charlotte Louise Rees-Mogg (born 1964) [33][34]
  • Thomas Fletcher Rees-Mogg (born 1966) married Modwenna Northcote in 1996. The couple have three children: William, Beatrice and David. [35][36]
  • Jacob Rees-Mogg (born 24 May 1969), was elected Conservative MP for the new constituency of North East Somerset after having stood unsuccessfully as a candidate for the Conservative Party in the 1997 and 2001 general elections (in Central Fife and The Wrekin respectively).[14] He married Helena de Chair in 2007. The couple have six children: Peter, Mary, Thomas, Anselm, Alfred and Sixtus.[37]

Rees-Mogg, a Catholic, argued that the image of an ultra-conservative papacy is false and that the Vatican must overhaul its PR machine.[38]

Death[edit]

Suffering from oesophageal cancer, he became seriously ill just before Christmas 2012, and died on 29 December at the age of 84.[19][39]

Styles of address[edit]

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry, 15th Edition, ed. Pirie-Gordon, H., London, 1937, pp.1610-1611, pedigree of "Rees-Mogg of Cholwell", p.1611
  2. ^ Burke, 1937, p.1611
  3. ^ Baes, Stephen (29 December 2012). "Lord Rees-Mogg obituary". Guardian. Retrieved 3 September 2017. 
  4. ^ Burke, 1937, p.1611
  5. ^ Burke, 1937, p.1610
  6. ^ Burke, 1937, p.1611
  7. ^ "Lord Rees-Mogg dies aged 84". This is Bath. Bath, U.K.: Northcliffe Media Limited. 29 December 2012. Archived from the original on 1 January 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c d Rees-Mogg 2011, pp75-81
  9. ^ presumably in April 1949 to complete the nine terms of residence normally required for a BA, although his memoirs do not give the exact date
  10. ^ Larman, Alexander (29 July 2012). "Memoirs by William Rees-Mogg – review". The Observer. London. Archived from the original on 1 January 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  11. ^ Byrne, Ciar (12 June 2006). "The Indestructible Journos". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 1 January 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Griffiths, Edward, ed. (1992). The Encyclopedia of the British Press, 1422–1992. London: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 482. ISBN 9780312086336. 
  13. ^ a b Dennen, Tom (Fall 2010). ""Wealth Transfer" is Cyclic "Reckoning"". The Journal of History. London: News Source, Inc. 10 (2). Archived from the original on 1 January 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  14. ^ a b c Budden, Rob (29 December 2012). "Journalist Lord Rees-Mogg dies". The Financial Times. London. Retrieved 29 December 2012. (registration required)
  15. ^ a b Bates, Stephen (29 December 2012). "Lord Rees-Mogg obituary". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 31 December 2012. 
  16. ^ a b "Obituary: William Rees-Mogg". The Daily Telegraph. London. 30 December 2012. Archived from the original on 1 January 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  17. ^ Rees-Mogg, William (21 December 1992). "Is this the end of life as I know it?". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 1 January 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  18. ^ "The Rt Hon Lord Rees-Mogg Authorised Biography". People of Today. London: Debrett's. 2012. Archived from the original on 1 January 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  19. ^ a b Miller, Daniel (30 December 2013). "William Rees-Mogg: Former Times editor dies aged 84 after a short illness". The Daily Mail. London. Archived from the original on 2 January 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  20. ^ Preston, Peter (13 July 2011). "Memoirs by William Rees-Mogg – review". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 2 January 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  21. ^ "No. 48819". The London Gazette. 11 December 1981. p. 15769. 
  22. ^ "No. 51365". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 June 1988. p. 1. 
  23. ^ "No. 51439". The London Gazette. 12 August 1988. p. 9161. 
  24. ^ "No. 22401". The Edinburgh Gazette. 12 August 1988. p. 1201. 
  25. ^ "University of Bath: Honorary Graduates 1966 to 1988". Bath, Somerset: University of Bath. 2012. Archived from the original on 1 January 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  26. ^ Davidson, James Dale. "William Rees-Mogg: A Remembrance". Newsmax. Retrieved 13 October 2015. 
  27. ^ Wilby, Peter (8 January 2007). "Prints of darkness". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 2 January 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  28. ^ "All Articles by William Rees Mogg". The Mail on Sunday. London. Archived from the original on 2 January 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  29. ^ Reid, Robert Douglas (1979). Some buildings of Mendip. The Mendip Society. ISBN 0-905459-16-4. 
  30. ^ Mosley, Charles, editor. Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes. Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003.
  31. ^ "Person Page". Thepeerage.com. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  32. ^ "What Was Never Said by Emma Craigie". The Guardian. 2015-09-17. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  33. ^ Mosley, Charles, editor. Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes. Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003.
  34. ^ "Person Page". Thepeerage.com. Retrieved 2017-07-05. 
  35. ^ Mosley, Charles, editor. Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes. Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003.
  36. ^ "Person Page". Thepeerage.com. Retrieved 2017-07-05. 
  37. ^ "BBC News". 2017-07-05. Retrieved 2017-07-05. 
  38. ^ Rees-Mogg, William (23 March 2009). "The Pope's message is not the problem". The Times. London, U.K. (subscription required)
  39. ^ Booth, Jenny (29 December 2012). "Former Times editor William Rees-Mogg dies". The Times. London, U.K. Archived from the original on 2 January 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2013. (subscription required)

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
?
Deputy Editor of the Sunday Times
1964–1967
Succeeded by
Frank Giles
Preceded by
William Haley
Editor of The Times
1967–1981
Succeeded by
Harold Evans
Cultural offices
Preceded by
Kenneth Robinson
Chair of the Arts Council of Great Britain
1982–1989
Succeeded by
Peter Palumbo