Robert Munro, 1st Baron Alness

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Robert Munro, 1st Baron Alness, GBE, PC, QC, DL (28 May 1868 – 6 October 1955) was a Scottish lawyer, judge and Liberal politician. He served as Secretary for Scotland between 1916 and 1922 in David Lloyd George's coalition government and as Lord Justice Clerk between 1922 and 1933.

The Lord Alness

black and white portrait photograph of Robert Munro
Robert Munro in 1922
Lord Advocate
In office
30 October 1913 – 5 December 1916
MonarchGeorge V
Prime MinisterH. H. Asquith
Preceded byAlexander Ure
Succeeded byJames Avon Clyde
Secretary for Scotland
In office
10 December 1916 – 19 October 1922
MonarchGeorge V
Prime MinisterDavid Lloyd George
Preceded byHarold Tennant
Succeeded byThe Viscount Novar
Lord Justice Clerk
In office
MonarchGeorge V
Preceded byThe Lord Dickson
Succeeded byThe Lord Aitchison
Personal details
Born(1868-05-28)28 May 1868
Alness, Ross-shire
Died6 October 1955 (1955-10-07) (aged 87)
Bournemouth, Hampshire
Political partyLiberal
Liberal National
Spouse(s)(1) Edith Evans (d. 1920)
(2) Olga Grumler
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh

Background and educationEdit

Munro was born in Alness, Ross-shire, the son of Margaret (née Sinclair), daughter of Reverend John Sinclair, and Reverend Alexender Ross Munro. He was educated at Aberdeen Grammar School and the University of Edinburgh.[1]

Legal and political careerEdit

Munro was admitted to the Scottish Bar as an Advocate in 1893. He was a Counsel to the Board of Inland Revenue and became a King's Counsel in 1910.[1] At the January 1910 general election he was elected as a Liberal Member of Parliament for Wick Burghs, holding the seat until its abolition for the 1918 election.[1][2] He was then returned to the House of Commons as MP for the new Roxburgh and Selkirk constituency, holding the seat until 1922.[1][3]

In 1913 Munro was sworn of the Privy Council[4] and appointed Lord Advocate[5][6] by H. H. Asquith. When David Lloyd George became Prime Minister in December 1916, Munro entered the cabinet as Secretary for Scotland,[7] a post he held until the end of the coalition government in October 1922. The latter year he was appointed to the bench as Lord Justice Clerk and President of Second Division of the Court of Session,[8] taking the judicial title Lord Alness. He also held the office of Honourable Bencher, Lincoln's Inn in 1924.[1]

Following his retirement from the bench in 1933, he was raised to the peerage as Baron Alness, of Alness in the County of Ross and Cromarty, on 27 June 1934.[9] He returned to political office in May 1940 when Winston Churchill appointed him a Lord-in-waiting (government whip) in the newly formed war coalition,[10] sitting as a Liberal National.[citation needed] He retained this post (as one of few non-Conservatives) in Churchill's brief 1945 caretaker government. In 1947 he was invested as a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire.[1]

Lord Alness was also a Deputy Lieutenant of Edinburgh.[1]

Personal lifeEdit

Lord Alness was twice married. He married firstly Edith Gwladys, daughter of Reverend John Lewellyan Evans, in 1898. After her death in September 1920 he married secondly Olga Marie, daughter of Jeanes Georges Grumler, in 1921. Both marriages were childless. Lord Alness died in October 1955, aged 87, when the barony became extinct.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Robert Munro, 1st and last Baron Alness
  2. ^ House of Commons: West Lothian to Widnes
  3. ^ House of Commons: Rochester to Ryedale
  4. ^ "No. 28783". The London Gazette. 19 December 1913. p. 9333.
  5. ^ "No. 12613". The Edinburgh Gazette. 4 November 1913. p. 1143.
  6. ^ "No. 28770". The London Gazette. 4 November 1913. p. 7676.
  7. ^ "No. 29860". The London Gazette. 12 December 1916. p. 12118.
  8. ^ "No. 32757". The London Gazette. 20 October 1922. p. 7369.
  9. ^ "No. 34067". The London Gazette. 6 July 1934. p. 4334.
  10. ^ "No. 34864". The London Gazette. 4 June 1940. p. 3351.
  • Torrance, David, The Scottish Secretaries (Birlinn 2006)

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Arthur Bignold
Member of Parliament for Wick Burghs
January 19101918
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Roxburgh and Selkirk
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Henderson
Legal offices
Preceded by
Alexander Ure
Lord Advocate
Succeeded by
James Avon Clyde
Preceded by
Lord Dickson
Lord Justice Clerk
Succeeded by
Lord Aitchison
Political offices
Preceded by
Harold Tennant
Secretary for Scotland
Succeeded by
The Viscount Novar
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Alness