Sue Young Histories

George Henry Charles Byng 3rd Earl of Strafford 1830 – 1898

January 17, 2010

George Henry Charles Byng 3rd Earl of Strafford 1830 – 1898, styled Viscount Enfield between 1860 and 1886, was a British Liberal politician.

In 1863, Strafford asked David Wilson to sponsor beds at St. George’s Hospital in return for conducting clinical trials into homeopathy at that hospital - an offer which was refused.

Strafford was the son of Agnes Paget (daughter of Henry William Paget Marquess of Anglesey), and the son in law of Francis Egerton 1st Earl of Ellesmere,

Strafford served under William Ewert Gladstone, John Russell 1st Earl Russell,

In 1860, homeopath David Wilson wrote to the Editor of The Morning Advertiser offering to assist St. George’s hospital in its desperate financial troubles by offering homeopathy instead of the very expensive allopathic regime.

David Wilson offered to conduct clinical trials into homeopathy at St. George’s Hospital over a three year period, funded by Henry Edmund Gurney – all expenses would be met by his bank, using 50 beds at St. George’s hospital for this said trial, and should these trials be successful, Henry Edmund Gurney offered to fund a further 30 beds at St. George’s Hospital.

David Wilson explained that a similar offer had been made by Lord Bougham to University College Hospital, who had 70 beds standing empty for lack of funds. _The Lancet _commented pithily that this offer would not even have been published were it not for the use of the name Henry Edmund Gurney associated with it.

When the offer was refused, David Wilson approached St. Mary’s Hospital with a similar offer, which was also refused. Mrs. Gurney then increased her offer of help from £1000 to £6000, if David Wilson could have access to only 10 beds for his clinical trials, but even this generous offer was still refused.,_2nd_Earl_of_Strafford Byng was the eldest son of George Byng 2nd Earl of Strafford and his wife, Agnes Paget, daughter of Henry William Paget Marquess of Anglesey. He was educated at Eton and graduated from Christ Church, Oxford in 1852.

In 1852 Byng entered Parliament as Member of Parliament for Tavistock, a seat he held until 1857, when he became MP for Middlesex. He served under John Russell 1st Earl Russell as Parliamentary Secretary to the Poor Law Board between 1865 and 1866 and under William Ewert Gladstone, as Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs between 1871 and 1874.

In 1874, Lord Enfield left the House of Commons when he was called up to the House of Lords in his father’s barony of Strafford. He again held office under William Ewert Gladstone as a Lord in Waiting in 1880 and as Under-Secretary of State for India between 1880 and 1883.

Lord Strafford was also First Civil Service Commissioner from 1880 to 1888 and Lord Lieutenant of Middlesex from 1884 to 1888. Throughout his political career, he served with the Middlesex Militia.

He was the first President of Middlesex County Cricket Club serving twice between 1866 and 1876 and 1877 and 1898.

In 1886 he succeeded his father in the earldom of Strafford. Lord Strafford married Lady Alice Harriet Frederica, eldest daughter of Francis Egerton 1st Earl of Ellesmere, on 25 July 1854. They had no children.

He died in March 1898, aged 68, and was succeeded in the earldom by his younger brother, Henry. The Countess of Strafford died in December 1928.