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Stafford Northcote, 1st Earl of Iddesleigh

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Title: Stafford Northcote, 1st Earl of Iddesleigh  
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Subject: Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, Benjamin Disraeli, Arthur Balfour, Stanley Baldwin, William Ewart Gladstone
Collection: 1818 Births, 1887 Deaths, British Secretaries of State, British Secretaries of State for Foreign Affairs, Chancellors of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom, Conservative Party (Uk) Mps, Earls in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, Governors of the Hudson's Bay Company, Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, Leaders of the Conservative Party (Uk), Leaders of the House of Commons, Lord-Lieutenants of Devon, Members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom for English Constituencies, Members of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, Rectors of the University of Edinburgh, Uk Mps 1852–57, Uk Mps 1857–59, Uk Mps 1859–65, Uk Mps 1865–68, Uk Mps 1868–74, Uk Mps 1874–80, Uk Mps 1880–85
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Stafford Northcote, 1st Earl of Iddesleigh

For the 4th Earl of Iddesleigh, see Stafford Northcote, 4th Earl of Iddesleigh
The Right Honourable
The Earl of Iddesleigh
President of the Board of Trade
In office
6 July 1866 – 8 March 1867
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Earl of Derby
Preceded by Thomas Milner Gibson
Succeeded by The Duke of Richmond
Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
21 February 1874 – 21 April 1880
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli
Preceded by William Ewart Gladstone
Succeeded by William Ewart Gladstone
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
In office
3 August 1886 – 12 January 1887
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Marquess of Salisbury
Preceded by The Earl of Rosebery
Succeeded by The Marquess of Salisbury
Personal details
Born 27 October 1818 (1818-10-27)
Died 12 January 1887(1887-01-12) (aged 68)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Cecilia Frances Farrer
(d. 1910)
Children 10
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford

Stafford Henry Northcote, 1st Earl of Iddesleigh GCB, PC (27 October 1818 – 12 January 1887), known as Sir Stafford Northcote, Bt, from 1851 to 1885, was a British Conservative politician. He served as Chancellor of the Exchequer between 1874 and 1880 and as Foreign Secretary between 1885 and 1886, and was one of only two people to hold the office of First Lord of the Treasury without being Prime Minister.


  • Background and education 1
  • Early political career 2
  • Later political career 3
  • Other public positions 4
  • Family 5
  • Ethiopian collection 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Background and education

Northcote (pronounced "Northcut") was born in London, the eldest son of Henry Stafford Northcote (1792–1850), eldest son of Sir Stafford Henry Northcote, 7th Baronet. His mother was Agnes Mary (d. 1840), daughter of Thomas Cockburn. His paternal ancestors had long been settled in Devon, tracing their descent from Galfridas de Nordcote who settled there in 1103. The family home was situated at Pynes House northwest of Exeter. Northcote was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford and was called to the Bar, Inner Temple, in 1847.

Early political career

In 1843 Northcote became private secretary to William Ewart Gladstone at the Board of Trade. He was afterwards legal secretary to the board; and after acting as one of the secretaries to the Great Exhibition of 1851, co-operated with Sir Charles Trevelyan in framing the Northcote-Trevelyan Report which revolutionized the conditions of appointment to the Civil Service. He succeeded his grandfather, Sir Stafford Henry Northcote (1762–1851), as 8th baronet in 1851. He entered Parliament in 1855 as Conservative Member of Parliament for Dudley, and was elected for Stamford in 1858, a seat which he exchanged in 1866 for North Devon. He was briefly Financial Secretary to the Treasury under the Earl of Derby from January to July 1859.

Later political career

The Earl of Iddesleigh by Edwin Long.

Steadily supporting his party, he became President of the Board of Trade in 1866, Secretary of State for India in 1867, and Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1874. In the interval between these last two appointments he was the president of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1870, when they gave the Northwest Territories to Canada, and one of the commissioners for the settlement of the Alabama difficulty at the Treaty of Washington with the United States in 1871.

On Disraeli's elevation to the House of Lords as Earl of Beaconsfield in 1876 Northcote became Leader of the Conservative party in the Commons. As a finance minister he was largely dominated by the lines of policy laid down by Gladstone; but he distinguished himself by his dealings with the debt, especially his introduction of the new sinking fund in 1876, by which he fixed the annual charge for the debt in such a way as to provide for a regular series of payments off the capital.

His temper as leader was, however, too gentle to satisfy the more ardent spirits among his own followers, and party cabals (in which Lord Randolph Churchill, who had made a dead set at the "old gang", took a leading part) led to Northcote's elevation to the Lords in 1885, when Lord Salisbury became prime minister. Taking the titles of Earl of Iddesleigh and Viscount St Cyres, he was included in the cabinet as First Lord of the Treasury. In Lord Salisbury's 1886 ministry he became Foreign Secretary, but the arrangement was not a comfortable one, and his resignation had just been decided upon when on 12 January 1887 he died very suddenly at the First Lord of the Treasury's official residence, 10 Downing Street.

Other public positions

Northcote was elected lord rector of the University of Edinburgh in 1883, in which capacity he addressed the students on the subject of "Desultory Reading". From 1886 to 1887 he was also Lord-Lieutenant of Devon. He was not a prolific or notable writer, but amongst his works were Twenty Years of Financial Policy (1862), a valuable study of Gladstonian finance, and Lectures and Essays (1887). His Life by Andrew Lang appeared in 1890. Northcote was appointed a CB in 1851 and a GCB in 1880 and was sworn of the Privy Council in 1866.


Northcote married Cecilia Frances Farrer (d. 1910), daughter of Thomas Farrer and sister of Thomas Farrer, 1st Baron Farrer, in 1843. They had seven sons and three daughters. His second son, Henry, 1st Baron Northcote, was Governor-General of Australia. Another of his sons, Amyas Northcote, later became known as a writer of ghost stories[1]

Ethiopian collection

In the aftermath of the British Expedition to Abyssinia, Northcote built up a small but prestigious collection of Ethiopian artefacts that is now in the British Museum.[2]


  1. ^ Neil Wilson, Shadows in the Attic: A Guide to British supernatural fiction, 1820-1950 British Library, 2000 ISBN 0712310746. (p.383)
  2. ^ British Museum Collection [2]
  • Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages
  • Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs
  • Lundy, Darryl. "FAQ". The Peerage. 

External links

  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Earl of Iddesleigh
  • )Earl of IddesleighThe Rowers of Vanity Fair - Northcote, Stafford Henry (
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Benbow
Member of Parliament for Dudley
Succeeded by
Henry Brinsley Sheridan
Preceded by
Lord Robert Cecil
John Inglis
Member of Parliament for Stamford
With: Lord Robert Cecil (Viscount Cranborne from 1865)
Succeeded by
Viscount Cranborne
Sir John Dalrymple-Hay, Bt
Preceded by
Hon. Charles Hepburn-Stuart-Forbes-Trefusis
Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, Bt
Member of Parliament for Devonshire North
With: Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, Bt
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, Bt
John Moore-Stevens
Political offices
Preceded by
George Alexander Hamilton
Financial Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Samuel Laing
Preceded by
Thomas Milner Gibson
President of the Board of Trade
Succeeded by
The Duke of Richmond
Preceded by
The Marquess of Salisbury
Secretary of State for India
Succeeded by
The Duke of Argyll
Preceded by
William Ewart Gladstone
Chancellor of the Exchequer
Succeeded by
William Ewart Gladstone
Preceded by
Benjamin Disraeli
Leader of the House of Commons
Preceded by
William Ewart Gladstone
First Lord of the Treasury
Preceded by
The Earl of Rosebery
Foreign Secretary
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Salisbury
Party political offices
Preceded by
Benjamin Disraeli
Conservative Leader in the Commons
Succeeded by
Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, Bt
Preceded by
The Earl of Beaconsfield
Leader of the British Conservative Party
with The Marquess of Salisbury
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Salisbury
Academic offices
Preceded by
Earl of Rosebery
Rector of the University of Edinburgh
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Lothian
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Duke of Somerset
Lord Lieutenant of Devon
Succeeded by
The Lord Clinton
Baronetage of England
Preceded by
Stafford Henry Northcote
(of Hayne)
Succeeded by
Walter Stafford Northcote
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Earl of Iddesleigh
Succeeded by
Walter Stafford Northcote

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