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Robert Bourke, 1st Baron Connemara

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Title: Robert Bourke, 1st Baron Connemara  
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Subject: King's Lynn (UK Parliament constituency), Sir William ffolkes, 3rd Baronet, Lord Claud Hamilton (1843–1925), James Bryce, 1st Viscount Bryce, Edward Stanley, 15th Earl of Derby
Collection: 1827 Births, 1902 Deaths, Barons in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, British Barristers, Burials at Kensal Green Cemetery, Conservative Party (Uk) Mps, House of Burke, Knights Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire, Members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom for English Constituencies, Members of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, Politicians from County Mayo, Politicians from County Meath, Uk Mps 1868–74, Uk Mps 1874–80, Uk Mps 1880–85, Uk Mps 1885–86, Younger Sons of Earls
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Robert Bourke, 1st Baron Connemara

The Right Honourable
The Lord Connemara
"Bobby". Caricature by Spy published in Vanity Fair in 1877.
Governor of Madras Presidency
In office
8 December 1886 – 1 December 1890
Monarch Victoria
Preceded by M. E. Grant Duff
Succeeded by John Henry Garstin
Under-Secretary of State
for Foreign Affairs
In office
23 February 1874 – 21 April 1880
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli
Preceded by Viscount Enfield
Succeeded by Sir Charles Dilke, Bt
In office
25 June 1885 – 28 January 1886
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Marquess of Salisbury
Preceded by Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice
Succeeded by James Bryce
Personal details
Born (1827-06-11)11 June 1827
Hayes, County Meath
Died 3 September 1902(1902-09-03) (aged 75)
London, England
Nationality Irish
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) (1) Lady Susan Ramsay
(d. 1898)
(2) Gertrude
(d. 1898)
Alma mater Trinity College, Dublin

Robert Bourke, 1st Baron Connemara, GCIE, PC (11 June 1827 – 3 September 1902), was a British Conservative politician and colonial administrator. He served as Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs between 1874 and 1880 and 1885 and 1886, and was Governor of Madras between 1886 and 1890.


  • Background and education 1
  • Political career 2
  • Governor of Madras 3
  • Later life 4
  • Family 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7
  • External links 8

Background and education

Bourke was born into an Anglo-Irish aristocratic family at Hayes, County Meath,[1] Ireland, the third son of Robert Bourke, 5th Earl of Mayo, and Anne Charlotte, daughter of The Hon. John Jocelyn. His older brother was The 6th Earl of Mayo, a Viceroy of India. He was educated at Hall Place School, Bexley, Kent, and Trinity College, Dublin, and was called to the Bar, Inner Temple, in 1852.[2]

Political career

Bourke practised as a barrister for a number of years before being elected Conservative Member of Parliament for King's Lynn in 1868.[2][3][4] In 1874 he became Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in Benjamin Disraeli's second administration, a post he held until 1880,[2] when he was also sworn of the Privy Council.[5] He held the same post from 1885 to 1886 in Lord Salisbury's first administration.[2]

Governor of Madras

Connemara Library in Chennai

In 1886, Bourke was appointed Governor of Madras.[6] The following year he was appointed a Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire[2] and raised to the peerage as Baron Connemara, of Connemara in the County of Galway.[7] In 1890 he laid the foundations stone of the Connemara Public Library in Madras, which was named after him and opened six years later.[8] The building was originally planned to house the proposed Victoria Technical Institute which was constructed in 1887, the Golden Jubilee year of Queen Victoria's reign. The third session of the Indian National Congress was held at Madras in 1887 when Lord Connemara was the Governor. He hosted a garden party at Government House for the delegates. The construction of the Madras High Court was commenced in 1889.

Lord Connemara is credited with introducing a number of reforms while serving as Governor. He personally supervised the famine-relief measures at Calcutta. The Madras Mail, in its 4 December 1890 issue, comments that his administration was "a bright epoch in the annals of Madras". He resigned as Governor on 8 November 1890 and returned to Great Britain.

Later life

Monument, Kensal Green Cemetery
Monument detail, Kensal Green Cemetery

Lord Connemara contributed occasionally in the House of Lords, mostly on matters dealing with foreign affairs, making his last speech in June 1898.[9] He also published the work Parliamentary Precedents.[1]


Lord Connemara was twice married. He married firstly Lady Susan Georgiana, daughter of The 1st Marquess of Dalhousie, a former Governor-General of India, in 1863. They divorced in 1890. In 1894, he married Gertrude, former wife of Edward Coleman. Both marriages were childless. His second wife died in November 1898. Lord Connemara died in London in September 1902, aged 75,[2] and was buried in the city's Kensal Green Cemetery.[10] His barony became extinct at his death.


  1. ^ a b 4 September 1902: "Lord Connemara Dead".The New York Times
  2. ^ a b c d e f Robert Bourke, 1st and last Baron Connemara
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 23443. p. 6000. 20 November 1868.
  4. ^ House of Commons: Kilkenny County to Knutsford
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 24837. p. 2652. 23 April 1880.
  6. ^ The London Gazette: no. 25620. p. 4176. 27 August 1886.
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 25700. p. 2641. 13 May 1887.
  8. ^ History
  9. ^ Hansard Mr Robert Bourke
  10. ^

External links

  • Portrait of Lord Connemara at

External links

  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Lord Connemara
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Buxton, Bt
Lord Stanley
Member of Parliament for King's Lynn
With: Lord Stanley 1868–1869
Lord Claud Hamilton 1869–1880
Sir William ffolkes, Bt 1880–1885
(representation reduced to one member 1885)
Succeeded by
Alexander Weston Jarvis
Political offices
Preceded by
Viscount Enfield
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Dilke, Bt
Preceded by
Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
James Bryce
Government offices
Preceded by
M. E. Grant Duff
Governor of Madras
Succeeded by
John Henry Garstin
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Connemara
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