Charles Lyttelton, 10th Viscount Cobham

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The Viscount Cobham

Charles Lyttelton, 10th Viscount Cobham.jpg
9th Governor-General of New Zealand
In office
5 September 1957 13 September 1962
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by The Lord Norrie
Succeeded by Bernard Fergusson
Personal details
Born8 August 1909
Kensington, London
Died20 March 1977(1977-03-20) (aged 67)
Marylebone, London

Charles John Lyttelton, 10th Viscount Cobham, KG , GCMG , GCVO , TD , PC , DL (8 August 1909 – 20 March 1977) was the ninth Governor-General of New Zealand and an English cricketer from the Lyttelton family.

Territorial Decoration military medal of the United Kingdom

The Territorial Decoration (TD) was a military medal of the United Kingdom awarded for long service in the Territorial Force and its successor, the Territorial Army. This award superseded the Volunteer Officer's Decoration when the Territorial Force was formed on 1 April 1908, following the enactment of the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907, which was a large reorganisation of the old Volunteer Army and the remaining units of militia and Yeomanry. However, the Militia were transferred to the Special Reserve rather than becoming part of the Territorial Force. A recipient of this award is entitled to the letters "TD" after their name (post-nominal).

Privy Council of the United Kingdom Formal body of advisers to the sovereign in the United Kingdom

Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, commonly known as the Privy Council of the United Kingdom or simply the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. Its membership mainly comprises senior politicians who are current or former members of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords.

Governor-General of New Zealand Representative of the monarch of New Zealand

The Governor-General of New Zealand is the viceregal representative of the monarch of New Zealand, currently Queen Elizabeth II. As the Queen is concurrently the monarch of 15 other Commonwealth realms, and lives in the United Kingdom, she, on the advice of her New Zealand prime minister, appoints a governor-general to carry out her constitutional and ceremonial duties within the Realm of New Zealand.


Background and education

Lyttelton was born in Kensington, London, the son of John Lyttelton, 9th Viscount Cobham, and Violet Yolande Leonard. [1] He was a cousin of the musician Humphrey Lyttelton. He was educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating with a law degree in 1932. [2] He had a family connection with New Zealand, where he became governor-general, through his great-grandfather George Lyttelton, 4th Baron Lyttelton, who was chairman of the Canterbury Association and contributed financially to the early development of Christchurch. Hagley Park is named after their family estate (Hagley Park, Worcestershire), and the port town of Lyttelton bears his great-grandfather's name. He visited New Zealand in 1950 in relation to property holdings in Christchurch. [1]

Kensington District within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in central London

Kensington is an affluent district in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in the West End of central London.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with the largest municipal population in the European Union. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

John Lyttelton, 9th Viscount Cobham English army officer and politician

John Cavendish Lyttelton, 9th Viscount Cobham,, was a British peer, soldier, and Conservative politician from the Lyttelton family.

Military service

Lyttelton joined the Territorial Army in 1933. He served in the Second World War with the British Expeditionary Force in France from 1940. He was commander of the 5th Regiment from 1943. [1]

British Expeditionary Force (World War II) British Army in Western Europe from 1939 to 1940

The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was the name of the British Army in Western Europe during the Second World War from 2 September 1939 when the BEF GHQ was formed until 31 May 1940, when GHQ closed down. Military forces in Britain were under Home Forces command. During the 1930s, the British government planned to deter war by rearming from the very low level of readiness of the early 30s and abolished the Ten Year Rule. The bulk of the extra money went to the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force but plans were made to re-equip a small number of Army and Territorial Army divisions for service overseas.

Lyttelton was made Honorary Colonel of Queen's Own Warwickshire and Worcestershire Yeomanry on 1 April 1969. [3]

Colonel (Col) is a rank of the British Army and Royal Marines, ranking below brigadier, and above lieutenant colonel. British colonels are not usually field commanders; typically they serve as staff officers between field commands at battalion and brigade level. The insignia is two diamond-shaped pips below a crown. The crown has varied in the past with different monarchs; the current Queen's reign has used St Edward's Crown. The rank is equivalent to captain in the Royal Navy and group captain in the Royal Air Force.

The Queens Own Warwickshire & Worcestershire Yeomanry was a regiment of the Territorial Army, formed in 1956 by the amalgamation of the Warwickshire Yeomanry and the Queen's Own Worcestershire Hussars. It was broken up in 1971.

Lord Cobham
Personal information
Full nameCharles John Lyttelton, 10th Viscount Cobham
Born(1909-08-08)8 August 1909
Kensington, England
Died20 March 1977(1977-03-20) (aged 67)
Marylebone, England
BowlingRight-arm medium
Role Bowler
Domestic team information
1932–1939 Worcestershire
1935–1936 Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC)
First-class debut25 June 1932
Worcestershire  v  Gloucestershire
Last First-class24 February 1961
New Zealand Governor's XI v  Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC)
Career statistics
Competition FC
Runs scored3,181
Batting average 20.26
Top score162
Balls bowled2,195
Wickets 32
Bowling average 41.18
5 wickets in innings 0
10 wickets in match0
Best bowling4/83
Catches/stumpings 52/–
Source:, 14 August 2007
St John the Baptist Church, Hagley, grave of Charles Lyttelton, 10th Viscount Cobham. Hagley, St John the Baptist - Lyttelton plot, row 4 grave 3 - photo 1.JPG
St John the Baptist Church, Hagley, grave of Charles Lyttelton, 10th Viscount Cobham.

Political career

Viscount Cobham on 26 August 1958 with Neil Durden-Smith in the National Art Gallery Governor General Lord Cobham at the Kelliher art exhibition.jpg
Viscount Cobham on 26 August 1958 with Neil Durden-Smith in the National Art Gallery

After the war Lyttelton wanted to follow in his father's footsteps and enter the House of Commons. However, his father died in 1949 and he succeeded as Viscount Cobham, precluding a career in the Commons. [1]

House of Commons of the United Kingdom Lower house in the Parliament of the United Kingdom

The House of Commons, officially the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the upper house, the House of Lords, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. Owing to shortage of space, its office accommodation extends into Portcullis House.

Cobham became the ninth Governor-General of New Zealand on 5 September 1957. Although from an aristocratic background, he proved popular. He was seen as an outdoors man with a sporting prowess in cricket, and golf, and a competent rugby judge. He was good with a gun and an enthusiastic fly fisherman, all attributes that resonated well with New Zealanders. [1] Significant events during his tenure included the independence of Western Samoa and the opening of the Auckland Harbour Bridge. [4] [5]

Samoa country in Oceania

Samoa, officially the Independent State ofSamoa and, until 4 July 1997, known as Western Samoa, is a country consisting of two main islands, Savai'i and Upolu, and four smaller islands. The capital city is Apia. The Lapita people discovered and settled the Samoan Islands around 3,500 years ago. They developed a unique Samoan language and Samoan cultural identity.

Auckland Harbour Bridge road bridge in Auckland, New Zealand

The Auckland Harbour Bridge is an eight-lane motorway bridge over the Waitematā Harbour in Auckland, New Zealand. It joins St Marys Bay on the Auckland city side with Northcote on the North Shore side. It is part of State Highway 1 and the Auckland Northern Motorway. The bridge is operated by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA). It is the second-longest road bridge in New Zealand, and the longest in the North Island.

Cobham was served by three Prime Ministers: Sidney Holland (1949–1957), Keith Holyoake (1957 and 1960–1972) and Walter Nash (1957–1960). He was most careful to not comment on controversial matters, and had a good working relationship with all three. He was instrumental in setting up the Outward Bound outdoor education organisation in New Zealand, opening the Outward Bound school in Anakiwa near Picton in September 1962, which bears his name. He visited the school in 1966 and was pleased with the progress that had been made.

Cobham served until 13 September 1962. He was a skilled orator and a book of his speeches sold 50,000 copies – he donated the £10,000 profit to Outward Bound. Cobham Oval in Whangarei and Cobham Court in Porirua are named after him. [1]


Lyttelton enjoyed a career in first-class cricket, playing more than 90 times for Worcestershire in the 1930s and captaining the club between 1936 and 1939.

He made his first-class debut, against Gloucestershire, in June 1932, but made a duck in his only innings and did not reappear for two years. He played five times in 1934, but it was only the following season that he became established in the side, playing about 20 matches a year from then until the Second World War, with the exception of 1937 when he appeared only twice.

His highest score (and only first-class century) was the 162 he made against Leicestershire in 1938, but he made many other useful contributions, reaching 50 on 14 further occasions. His most productive year was 1938, when he scored 741 runs at an average of 21.17.

With the ball, his first victim (in July 1934) was Charlie Barnett, while in 1935 he produced his best innings' bowling, claiming 4–83 against the South Africans. After 1935 his bowling became largely occasional, and with the exception of nine wickets in 1938 he never again took more than three in a season.

He played ten games for Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) pre war: one against Oxford University in 1935, and nine on MCC's tour of Australia and New Zealand during the following winter.

His cricketing career proper ended with the outbreak of war, but (now listed on the scorecard as Lord Cobham, having succeeded to the title in 1949) he played for an "MCC New Zealand Touring Team" against a strong "London New Zealand Club" side in 1954, taking two wickets including that of Bill Merritt. Remarkably, he made a one-off return to first-class action aged 51 in February 1961, more than two decades after his previous appearance at that level, when as Governor-General he captained a New Zealand side against MCC at Auckland: he showed he still had ability, with a handy first-innings 44 from number ten in the order.

A number of his relatives played first-class cricket. His great-grandfather George played for Cambridge University in the 1830s, his grandfather (also Charles) turned out for teams including Cambridge and MCC in the 1860s, his father John made a handful of appearances for Worcestershire in the 1920s, and his uncle – another Charles – played for Worcestershire, Cambridge and MCC before the First World War.


Interior of St John the Baptist, Hagley, with the Garter banners of the 10th Viscount Cobham and the 1st Viscount Chandos Hagley, St John the Baptist - interior, nave (looking towards east) - photo 01.jpg
Interior of St John the Baptist, Hagley, with the Garter banners of the 10th Viscount Cobham and the 1st Viscount Chandos
Coat of Arms of Charles Lyttelton, 10th Viscount Cobham, KG, GCMG, GCVO, TD, PC, DL Coat of Arms of Charles Lyttelton, 10th Viscount Cobham, KG, GCMG, GCVO, TD, PC, DL.png
Coat of Arms of Charles Lyttelton, 10th Viscount Cobham, KG, GCMG, GCVO, TD, PC, DL

Lord Cobham married Elizabeth Alison Makeig-Jones on 30 April 1942 in Chelsea, London. They had four sons and four daughters. He died in Marylebone, London, on 20 March 1977, and was survived by his wife and children. [1] He was cremated in London; his ashes were returned to Hagley for burial in the Lyttelton plot at Hagley parish church.

Children of Charles Lyttelton, 10th Viscount Cobham:

His Garter banner, which hung in St. George's Chapel in Windsor during his lifetime, is now on display in the church of St John the Baptist, Hagley. [8]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 McGibbon, Ian (1 September 2010). "Cobham, Charles John Lyttelton – Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Retrieved 11 January 2011.
  2. "Viscount Cobham, GCMG, TD". The Governor-General. Retrieved 11 January 2011.
  3. "No. 45013". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 January 1970. p. 217.
  4. AHB Opening Video: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-23.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. Auckland Harbour Bridge Authority Record of 20 Years Activities 1951–1971
  6. "Trustees & Patrons: The Hon. Richard C Lyttelton". EMI Music Sound Foundation.
  7. "Hon Sarah Bedford (nee Lyttelton) 1954–2015". Peerage News.
  8. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 November 2015. Retrieved 17 November 2015.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Cyril Walters
Worcestershire County Cricket Captain
no cricket 1940–1945
Title next held by
Sandy Singleton
Political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Norrie
Governor-General of New Zealand
Succeeded by
Sir Bernard Fergusson
Preceded by
The Duke of Westminster
Lord Steward
Succeeded by
The Duke of Northumberland
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir William Tennant
Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire
Office merged with Herefordshire
Preceded by
The Marquess of Salisbury
Chancellor of the Order of the Garter
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Abergavenny
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
John Lyttelton
Viscount Cobham
Succeeded by
John Lyttelton