Charles Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax

Charles Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax, GCB, PC (20 December 1800 – 8 August 1885), known as Sir Charles Wood, 3rd Bt between 1846 and 1866, was a Anglo-Indian Whig politician and Member of Parliament Of The British Empire. He served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1846 to 1858.

The Viscount Halifax

Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
6 July 1846 – 21 February 1852
Prime MinisterLord John Russell
Preceded byHenry Goulburn
Succeeded byBenjamin Disraeli
Personal details
Born20 December 1800
Pontefract, Yorkshire, England, Kingdom of Great Britain
Died8 August 1885 (aged 84)
Hickleton Hall, Doncaster, West Riding of Yorkshire, England, UK
Political partyWhig
Spouse(s)Lady Mary Grey (d. 1884)
Children7, including Charles Wood, 2nd Viscount Halifax
Alma materOriel College, Oxford
Memorial to Grey and Wood family members in the Church of the Holy Angels, Hoar Cross
Heraldic memorial window to Grey and Wood family, Church of the Holy Angels, Hoar Cross, Staffordshire


Halifax was the son of Sir Francis Wood, 2nd Baronet, and his wife Anne, daughter of Samuel Buck. He was educated at Eton and Oriel College, Oxford, where he studied classics and mathematics.

Political career

A Liberal and Member of Parliament from 1826 to 1866, Wood served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in Lord John Russell's government (1846 –1852), where he opposed any further help for Ireland during the Great Famine there. The extreme parsimony of the British Government towards Ireland while Wood was in charge of the Treasury greatly enhanced the suffering of those affected by famine. Wood believed in the economic policy of Laissez-faire and preferred to leave the Irish to starve rather than 'undermine the market' by allowing in cheap imported grain.[1] (actually Charles Wood did not prevent grain entering Ireland, and it would not have been laissez faire for him to "prevent it" - the problem was that people had little money to buy it). The British government, with Charles Wood as Chancellor, first tried a program of public works (not "laissez faire") and then, when that failed, tried a policy of soup kitchens and so on (also not "laissez faire"). In his 1851 budget, Sir Charles liberalized trade, reducing import duties and encouraging consumer goods. Disraeli, a former protectionist, would after Peel's death transform the party into a complex party machine that embraced free trade. In a speech on an interim financial statement on 30 April 1852, Disraeli referred to Wood's influence on economic policy, setting a trend for the way budgets are presented in the Commons.[2] Tariff reduction led to a noticeable increase in consumption: the Conservatives moved from Derby-Bentinck protectionism towards a new politics during 1852. For Wood, a dry old stick, Disraeli was 'petulant and sarcastic', qualities he disliked.[3]

Wood later served as President of the Board of Control under Lord Aberdeen (1852–1855), as First Lord of the Admiralty in Lord Palmerston's first administration (1855–1858), and as Secretary of State for India in Palmerston's second government (1859–1866). He succeeded to his father's baronetcy in 1846, and in 1866 he was elevated to the peerage as Viscount Halifax, of Monk Bretton in the West Riding of the County of York.[4] After the unexpected death of Lord Clarendon necessitated a reshuffle of Gladstone's first cabinet, Halifax was brought in as Lord Privy Seal, serving from 1870 to 1874, his last public office.

Wood's despatch

As the President of the Board of Control, Wood took a major step in spreading education in India when in 1854 he sent a despatch to Lord Dalhousie, the then Governor-General of India. It was recommended therein that:

  1. An education department was to be set in every province.
  2. Universities on the model of the London university be established in big cities such as Bombay, Calcutta and Madras.
  3. At least one government school be opened in every district.
  4. Affiliated private schools should be given grant in aid.
  5. The Indian natives should be given training in their mother tongue also.

In accordance with Wood's despatch, Education Departments were established in every province and universities were opened at Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras in 1857, in Punjab in 1882, and at Allahbad in 1887.


Lord Halifax married Lady Mary Grey (3 May 1807 – 6 July 1884), fifth daughter of Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, on 29 July 1829. They had four sons and three daughters:[5]

  • Hon Blanche Edith Wood (d. 21 July 1921) married 21 September 1876, Col Hon Henry William Lowry-Corry (30 June 1845 – 6 May 1927).
  • Hon Alice Louisa Wood (d. 3 June 1934)
  • Charles Lindley Wood, 2nd Viscount Halifax (7 January 1839 – 19 January 1934)
  • Hon Emily Charlotte Wood (1840 – 21 December 1904) married Hugo Francis Meynell-Ingram (1822 – 26 May 1871)
  • Capt Hon Francis Lindley Wood, RN (17 October 1841 – 14 October 1873)
  • Lt Col Hon Henry John Lindley Wood (12 January 1843 – 5 January 1903)
  • Fredrick George Lindley Wood (later Meynell) (4 June 1846 – 4 November 1910)

Lady Halifax died in 1884. Lord Halifax survived her by just over a year and died in August 1885, aged 84. He was succeeded in his titles by his eldest son Charles, who was the father of Edward Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax.


  1. ^ Woodham Smith, Cecil, (1962) The Great Hunger. Penguin Books ISBN 9780140145151
  2. ^ Hurd & Young, p.116.
  3. ^ Hurd & Young, p.121.
  4. ^ Charles Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax of Monk Bretton.
  5. ^ The Peerage, entry for 1st Viscount Halifax
Charles Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax by Anthony de Brie (Bree)
An 1873 portrait of Lord Halifax by Anthony de Brie.


External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
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William Duncombe
Charles Tennyson
Member of Parliament for Great Grimsby
With: George Heneage 1826–1830
George Harris from 1830
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John Shelley
George Harris
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John Calcraft
James Ewing
Member of Parliament for Wareham
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John Hales Calcraft
New constituency Member of Parliament for Halifax
With: Rawdon Briggs 1832–1835
James Stuart-Wortley 1835–1837
Edward Protheroe 1837–1847
Henry Edwards 1847–1852
Francis Crossley 1852–1959
James Stansfeld 1859–1865
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Edward Akroyd
James Stansfeld
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Reginald Vyner
Member of Parliament for Ripon
With: Robert Kearsley
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Robert Kearsley
Lord John Hay
Political offices
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Edward Ellice
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
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Sir George Clerk, Bt
Preceded by
George Robert Dawson
First Secretary of the Admiralty
Succeeded by
Richard More O'Ferrall
Preceded by
Henry Goulburn
Chancellor of the Exchequer
Succeeded by
Benjamin Disraeli
Preceded by
John Charles Herries
President of the Board of Control
Succeeded by
Robert Vernon Smith
Preceded by
Sir James Graham, Bt
First Lord of the Admiralty
Succeeded by
Sir John Pakington, Bt
Preceded by
Lord Stanley
Secretary of State for India
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The Earl de Grey
Preceded by
The Earl of Kimberley
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by
The Earl of Malmesbury
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Halifax
Succeeded by
Charles Lindley Wood
Baronetage of Great Britain
Preceded by
Francis Wood
(of Barnsley) 
Succeeded by
Charles Wood
1800 in Great Britain

Events from the year 1800 in Great Britain.



was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Friday of the Julian calendar, the 1854th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 854th year of the 2nd millennium, the 54th year of the 19th century, and the 5th year of the 1850s decade. As of the start of 1854, the Gregorian calendar was

12 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

1885 in the United Kingdom

Events from the year 1885 in the United Kingdom.

Armar Lowry-Corry, 3rd Earl Belmore

Armar Lowry-Corry, 3rd Earl Belmore (28 December 1801 – 17 December 1845), styled Viscount Corry from 1802 to 1841, was an Irish nobleman and politician.

Charles Wood, 2nd Viscount Halifax

Charles Lindley Wood, 2nd Viscount Halifax (7 June 1839 – 19 January 1934) was a British ecumenist who served as president of the English Church Union from 1868 to 1919, and from 1927 to 1934.

Charles Wood, 3rd Earl of Halifax

Charles Edward Peter Neil Wood, 3rd Earl of Halifax, (born 14 March 1944), is a British peer and Conservative politician.

Chesham Place

Chesham Place is a street in Belgravia, London UK, running between Belgrave Square and Pont Street. It is home to several embassies and has had many distinguished residents.

It was first laid out in 1831, and includes a number of listed buildings.

Chesham Place and nearby Chesham Street take their name from the town of Chesham in Buckinghamshire, and were named by William Lowndes who owned the leases on this and nearby land.

It gives its name to Chesham Amalgamations, founded at number 36 in 1962.

E. G. Pretyman

Ernest George Pretyman, JP, DL (13 November 1860 – 26 November 1931), known as E. G. Pretyman, was a British soldier and Conservative Party politician.

Earl of Halifax

Earl of Halifax is a title that has been created four times in British history. The name of the peerage refers to Halifax, West Yorkshire.

The first three creations were for closely related male members of the Montagu family, landed gentry since the Norman Conquest, and spanned most of the years 1689-1771.

The fourth creation was in 1944 for Lord Halifax, the former Viceroy of India (who was before his elevation to the earldom the 3rd Viscount Halifax). He was a prominent 1930s minister, to whom the office of prime minister was offered on the resignation of Chamberlain, which he declined in favour of Churchill.

George Boscawen, 9th Viscount Falmouth

George Hugh Boscawen, 9th Viscount Falmouth, DL (born 31 October 1919) is a Cornish peer and landowner. His subsidiary titles include Baron Le Despencer (created 1264) and Baron Boscawen-Rose. A former officer in the Coldstream Guards, he was Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall from 1977 to 1994.

He also has a claim to the Barony of Burghersh, abeyant since 1449.

Halifax Street, Adelaide

Halifax Street is a street in the south-eastern sector of the centre of Adelaide, South Australia. It runs east–west between East Terrace and King William Street, crossing Hutt Street and Pulteney Street and passing through Hurtle Square. It was named after Sir Charles Wood (later Charles Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax), British Member of Parliament for Halifax.

Halifax Street is one of the intermediate-width streets of the Adelaide grid, at 1 1⁄2 chains (99 ft; 30 m) wide.

Circa 1844 Halifax Street became the location of one of Adelaide's first breweries, founded by William Henry Clark who later built a flour mill close by. The brewery and mill were sited on city acres 564 and 603 between Halifax and Gilles streets which, from 1909 to 1950, housed Adelaide's rubbish incinerator.

Henry Lowry-Corry (1845–1927)

Colonel Henry William Lowry-Corry DL, JP (30 June 1845 – 6 May 1927), styled The Honourable from birth, was a British Army officer and Conservative politician.

Hoar Cross Hall

Hoar Cross Hall is a 19th-century country mansion situated near the villages of Hoar Cross and Hamstall Ridware, Staffordshire which is operated as a hotel and spa, together with facilities for conferences and weddings. It is a Grade II listed building.

The original Hoar Cross estate comprised 490 acres and was bought for 18 pence in 1450 during Henry VI’s reign, including a moat and a drawbridge common in Tudor estate houses. It is reported that onlookers would simply turn up, just to set eyes on the building. It survived for nearly 300 years before being demolished in 1740.

From the early 17th century, Hoar Cross had been the first seat of the Ingram family whose principal residence was Temple Newsam, Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire. In 1661 Henry Ingram was brought up as Baron Ingram and Viscount of Irvine. On the death of the 9th Viscount in 1778 the Viscountcy became extinct. The estates descended to his daughters and in 1841 to Hugo Charles Meynell (grandson of Hugo Meynell and son of Sir Hugo Meynell who had married Elizabeth Ingram in 1782). Upon inheritance Meynell incorporated "Ingram" into his surname to become Meynell Ingram.

In 1793 Hugo Meynell built what was to be called the ‘Old Hall’, a manor house for use as an occasional hunting lodge in the glorious Needwood Forest. This provides a real link to today’s property, which still features the Meynell Room.

When he died in 1808, Hugo’s eldest son, Hugo Francis Meynell Ingram inherited the estate. Not much changed at Hoar Cross until 1863 when he set about an ambitious construction plan for a new hall to celebrate his marriage to Lady Charlotte Wood,

She was the daughter of Charles Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax, who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1846 to 1852. The Meynells were moving in august circles and Hugo appointed renowned architect Henry Clutton to oversee an ambitious building project to match their status.

The brief was to design an Elizabethan style house, with Jacobean overtones. Its lofty gables, cupolas, 48 chimneys and mullioned windows are good examples of the period style. Two large weather vanes were designed, overlooking the halls’ turrets, in the shape of the letters M and I, for Meynell Ingram.

The 114 ft Long Gallery runs along the north side of the house, and was typical in Tudor homes, as a place where the family, particularly during bad weather, could walk, play music, or sit and talk.

The private chapel is at the east end of the Long Gallery, off which came the private chapel, built in memory of Meynell’s son, by his widow, Charlotte Wood. The private chapel was designed again by Bodley, and completed in 1897, at of cost of almost £1,000.

Meynell Ingram died in 1871 and Lady Charlotte built the church in his memory. She remained in occupation of the hall until her death in 1904 when her nephew Frederick George Lindley Wood (later Meynell) inherited the estate. In 1952 or 1954 the Meynell family moved to a smaller house in the neighbouring village of Newborough, leaving only a caretaker and his family.

In 1970 the Hall was purchased by William Bickerton-Jones and his wife Gwyneth. In 1989, businessman Damien Porter inherited the Hall and refurbished it, creating a new health spa in the Hall. In 2012, the business received an investment to create hotel amenities alongside the existing spa. The Business is a credit to Damien Porter and The Porter Family From the 21st Century who have developed the tudor galleries into a monumental leisure activity for all to visit, enjoy and relax.

Hugo Meynell-Ingram

Hugo Francis Meynell-Ingram (1822 – 26 May 1871) was a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom. He was Member of Parliament (MP) for Staffordshire West from 1868 to 1871.

Meynell-Ingram was the son of Hugo Meynell and his wife Georgina Pigou. His father, proprietor of Hoar Cross Hall and Temple Newsam changed his name to Meynell-Ingram. His mother was a lady of brilliance and charm who was friendly with such men as Sydney Smith, Lord Brougham, Walter Savage Landor and Charles Young.

He was elected Member of Parliament for Staffordshire West in 1868 and inherited Temple Newsam and Hoar Cross from his father in 1869.

He married Emily Charlotte Wood, daughter of Charles Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax, and of Mary daughter of Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey. After his death, Emily built the church of the Holy Angels at Hoar Cross as a memorial to him. The church was designed by George Frederick Bodley and Thomas Garner. Mrs. Meynell Ingram was a Lady of Grace of the Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem in England, and on 8 May 1902 was promoted to a Lady of Justice (DStJ) in the same order. She died in 1904.

John Dundas (1845–1892)

The Hon. John Charles Dundas (21 September 1845 – 13 September 1892), was a British Liberal politician.

Mary Grey, Countess Grey

Mary Elizabeth Grey, Countess Grey (née Ponsonby; 4 March 1776 – 26 November 1861) was a British aristocrat and Countess of Grey as wife of Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. She was also a four-times great-grandmother of Diana, Princess of Wales.

William Legge, 6th Earl of Dartmouth

William Heneage Legge, 6th Earl of Dartmouth (6 May 1851 – 11 March 1936), styled Viscount Lewisham between 1853 and 1891, was a British peer and Conservative politician. He served as Vice-Chamberlain of the Household between 1885 and 1886 and again between 1886 and 1891.

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