John Ponsonby, 5th Earl of Bessborough
|The Right Honourable
The Earl of Bessborough
|Lord Steward of the Household|
20 January 1866 – 26 June 1866
|Prime Minister||Lord John Russell|
|Preceded by||The Earl of St Germans|
|Succeeded by||The Duke of Marlborough|
12 December 1868 – 17 February 1874
|Prime Minister||William Ewart Gladstone|
|Preceded by||The Earl of Tankerville|
|Succeeded by||The Earl Beauchamp|
|Born||14 October 1809
|Died||28 January 1880|
|Spouse(s)||(1) Lady Frances Lambton
(2) Lady Caroline Gordon-Lennox
John George Brabazon Ponsonby, 5th Earl of Bessborough PC (14 October 1809 – 28 January 1880), styled Viscount Duncannon from 1844 until 1847, was a British cricketer, courtier and Liberal politician.
Born in London, Ponsonby was the eldest son of John Ponsonby, 4th Earl of Bessborough and his wife Lady Maria Fane, third daughter of John Fane, 10th Earl of Westmorland. He was a cricketer in his youth and played five first-class matches for MCC in the 1830s.
Ponsonby entered the House of Commons in a by-election in 1831, sitting for Bletchingley. In the general election two months later, he was returned for Higham Ferrers until constituency's disenfranchisment in 1832. He was returned to the House for Derby in 1835 and represented it until June 1847, when he succeeded in the earldom on the death of his father. In 1832, Ponsonby spent some at the British embassy in St Petersburg and a year later, he became précis writer to Lord Palmerston. Lord Bessborough became a government minister when he was appointed Master of the Buckhounds under Lord John Russell in 1848, an office he held until the fall of the administration in 1852. He held the same office from 1852 to 1855 in Lord Aberdeen's coalition government, from 1855 to 1858 in Lord Palmerston's first administration and again from 1859 to 1866 in Palmerston's and Russell's second administrations. In January 1866 he was appointed Lord Steward of the Household under Russell, a post he held until the Liberals lost power in June 1866, and again between 1868 and 1874 in William Ewart Gladstone's first administration.
Lord Bessborough was also Lord-Lieutenant of Carlow between 1838 and his death in 1880.
Lord Bessborough married Lady Frances Lambton, eldest daughter of John Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham, on 8 September 1835. She died in 1835 and on 4 October 1849, he married Lady Caroline Gordon-Lennox, eldest daughter of Charles Gordon-Lennox, 5th Duke of Richmond. There were no children from the two marriages. He died in January 1880, aged 70, and was succeeded by his younger brother Frederick.
- Dod, Robert P. (1860). The Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage of Great Britain and Ireland. London: Whitaker and Co. p. 117.
- Cricket Archive
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Earl of Bessborough
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