Uchter Knox, 5th Earl of Ranfurly

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The Right Honourable
The Earl of Ranfurly
13th Governor of New Zealand
In office
Monarch Victoria
Edward VII
Prime Minister Richard Seddon
Preceded by The Earl of Glasgow
Succeeded by The Lord Plunket
Personal details
Born 14 August 1856
Died 1 October 1933 (aged 77)
Spouse(s) Hon. Constance Caulfeild
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge

Uchter John Mark Knox, 5th Earl of Ranfurly GCMG PC (Ire) JP DL (14 August 1856 – 1 October 1933), was a British politician and colonial governor. He was Governor of New Zealand from 1897 to 1904.

The Privy Council of Ireland was an institution of the Kingdom of Ireland until 31 December 1800 and of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1801 to 1922. It performed a similar role in the Dublin Castle administration in Ireland to that of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom in the government of the United Kingdom.


Early life

Lord Ranfurly was born into an Ulster-Scots aristocratic family in Guernsey, the second son of The 3rd Earl of Ranfurly by his wife Harriet, daughter of John Rimmington, of Broomhead Hall, Yorkshire. He was educated at Harrow School. [1] Becoming a cadet on board HMS Britannia, he passed for the Royal Navy, but, giving up a naval career, entered Trinity College, Cambridge, at the age of eighteen.

Guernsey island in the bailiwick of Guernsey

Guernsey is an island in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy. It lies roughly north of Saint-Malo and to the west of Jersey and the Cotentin Peninsula. With several smaller nearby islands, it forms a jurisdiction within the Bailiwick of Guernsey, a British Crown dependency. The jurisdiction is made up of ten parishes on the island of Guernsey, three other inhabited islands, and many small islets and rocks.

Thomas Knox, 3rd Earl of Ranfurly, styled Viscount Northland between 1840 and 1858, was an Irish peer and Member of Parliament. He was the son of Thomas Knox, 2nd Earl of Ranfurly and his wife Mary Juliana Stuart, and represented Dungannon as a Member of Parliament between 9 June 1838 and 3 February 1851, when he resigned through the position of Steward of the Chiltern Hundreds. He was educated at St John's College, Cambridge.

Yorkshire Historic county of Northern England

Yorkshire, formally known as the County of York, is a historic county of Northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Due to its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform. Throughout these changes, Yorkshire has continued to be recognised as a geographical territory and cultural region. The name is familiar and well understood across the United Kingdom and is in common use in the media and the military, and also features in the titles of current areas of civil administration such as North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and East Riding of Yorkshire.

He succeeded in the earldom (and several subsidiary titles) in May 1875 when his elder brother died on a shooting expedition in Abyssinia. His family had owned a large country estate centered on Dungannon in the south-east of County Tyrone in Ulster since 1692. [2]

Ethiopian Empire 1270–1974 empire in East Africa

The Ethiopian Empire, also known as Abyssinia, was a kingdom that spanned a geographical area in the current states of Eritrea and Ethiopia. It began with the establishment of the Solomonic dynasty from approximately 1270 and lasted until 1974, when the ruling Solomonic dynasty was overthrown in a coup d'état by the Derg.

Dungannon town in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland

Dungannon is a town in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. It is the third-largest town in the county and had a population of 15,889 at the 2011 Census. The Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council had its headquarters in the town, though since 2015 it has been covered by Mid-Ulster District Council.

County Tyrone Place

County Tyrone is one of the six counties of Northern Ireland and one of the thirty-two counties on the island of Ireland. It is no longer used as an administrative division for local government but retains a strong identity in popular culture.

Political career

Ranfurly served as a Lord-in-Waiting under Lord Salisbury between 1895 and 1897 and was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in 1897 for his public services. He was appointed to succeed The Earl of Glasgow as Governor of New Zealand on 6 April 1897, assuming office on 10 August. Lord Ranfurly became Honorary Colonel of the 1st Wellington Battalion (1898) and of the 1st South Canterbury Mounted Rifles (1902). He was created a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) in June 1901, on the occasion of the visit of TRH the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (later King George V and Queen Mary) to New Zealand. [3] His term ended on 19 June 1904, when he personally handed over office to Lord Plunket. He is remembered for his donation of the Ranfurly Shield, a New Zealand sporting trophy.

Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury British politician

Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury,, styled Lord Robert Cecil before 1865, Viscount Cranborne from June 1865 until April 1868, and Lord Salisbury until his death, was a British statesman, serving as Prime Minister three times for a total of over thirteen years. A member of the Conservative Party, he was the last Prime Minister to head his full administration from the House of Lords.

Order of St Michael and St George series of appointments of an order of chivalry of the United Kingdom

The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is a British order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince Regent, later King George IV, while he was acting as regent for his father, King George III.

David Boyle, 7th Earl of Glasgow British colonial governor

David Boyle, 7th Earl of Glasgow was a British naval commander and colonial governor. He served as Governor of New Zealand between 1892 and 1897.

On his return to England Ranfurly was made an Irish Privy Counsellor (1905); then for a time he returned to farm in Mildura, Victoria, Australia. But he soon devoted more and more time to his other great interest, the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. In 1914 he was a Knight of Justice, and Registrar of the Order in London, becoming (1915–19) Director of its Ambulance Department. In 1919 the French Government made him an Officer of the Legion of Honour for his services in this connection during the war.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

After the partition of Ireland, Lord Ranfurly was made a Privy Counsellor for Northern Ireland in 1923, also serving as Deputy Lieutenant and Justice of the Peace for his family's native County Tyrone. He continued his association with the Order of St. John, becoming Bailiff Grand Cross in 1926.

Partition of Ireland the division of the island of Ireland into two distinct jurisdictions, Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland, on 3 May 1921; the latter became independent in 1922 and is now the Republic of Ireland, while the former still remains in the UK

The partition of Ireland divided the island of Ireland into two distinct jurisdictions, Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland. It took place on 3 May 1921 under the Government of Ireland Act 1920. Today the former is still known as Northern Ireland and forms part of the United Kingdom, while the latter is now a sovereign state also named Ireland and sometimes called the Republic of Ireland.

Lord Ranfurly died on 1 October 1933, aged 77, and was succeeded by his grandson, Daniel Knox, 6th Earl of Ranfurly.


Lord Ranfurly married the Honourable Constance Caulfeild, only child of James Alfred Caulfeild, 7th Viscount Charlemont, on 10 February 1880. They had four children:

One of the tiny subantarctic Bounty Islands was named after him: Ranfurly Island.

Awards and decorations

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  1. "Ranfurly, 5th Earl of, (Uchter John Mark Knox) (14 Aug. 1856–1 Oct. 1933)." WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO. 25 Mar. 2018
  2. Colm J. Donnelly, Emily V. Murray and Ronan McHugh, 'Dungannon Castle: its history, architecture and archaeology' in Dúiche Néill: Journal of the O'Neill Country Historical Society - Number 17, p. 21. Dungannon and Monaghan, 2008.
  3. "No. 27325". The London Gazette . 21 June 1901. p. 4182.
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Buckinghamshire
Succeeded by
The Earl of Denbigh
Government offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Glasgow
Governor of New Zealand
Succeeded by
The Lord Plunket
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Thomas Granville Henry Stuart Knox
Earl of Ranfurly
Succeeded by
Thomas Daniel Knox