Rowland Prothero, 1st Baron Ernle

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Rowland Edmund Prothero, 1st Baron Ernle, MVO, PC (6 September 1851 – 1 July 1937) was a British agricultural expert, administrator, journalist, author and Conservative politician. He played first-class cricket between 1875 and 1883.

The Lord Ernle

Rowland Edmund Prothero.jpg
President of the Board of Agriculture
In office
10 December 1916 – 15 August 1919
MonarchGeorge V
Prime MinisterDavid Lloyd George
Preceded byThe Earl of Crawford
Succeeded byThe Lord Lee of Fareham
Personal details
Rowland Edmund Prothero

(1851-09-06)6 September 1851
Died1 July 1937(1937-07-01) (aged 85)
Political partyConservative
Mary Bailward
(m. 1891; died 1899)
Barbara Hamley
(m. 1902; died 1930)
RelativesGeorge Prothero (brother)
Alma materBalliol College, Oxford
  • Administrator
  • journalist
  • author
  • politician
Cricket information
BowlingRight-arm medium
Domestic team information
Career statistics
Competition First-class
Matches 6
Runs scored 190
Batting average 31.66
100s/50s 1/0
Top score 110
Balls bowled 416
Wickets 10
Bowling average 18.10
5 wickets in innings 1
10 wickets in match 0
Best bowling 5/34
Catches/stumpings 7/–

Background and educationEdit

Prothero was the son of the Reverend Canon George Prothero, Rector of St. Mildred's Church, Whippingham, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, and his wife, Emma, only daughter of the Reverend William Money-Kyrle, of Homme House, Herefordshire. He was the brother of Sir George Prothero and Admiral Arthur Prothero. He was educated at Marlborough College and Balliol College, Oxford,[1] where he gained a 1st class honours degree in Modern History in 1875.[citation needed] In 1878 he was called to the Bar, Inner Temple.[1]

Academic and literary careerEdit

Prothero was a Fellow of All Souls' College, Oxford between 1875 and 1891,[citation needed] during which time he played first-class cricket with Hampshire,[2] and was also Proctor between 1883 and 1884.[citation needed] He edited the Quarterly Review between 1893 and 1899. From 1898 to 1918, he was chief agent for the 11th Duke of Bedford.[1]


Prothero published The Pioneers and Progress of English Farming in 1888. His other works include, English Farming Past and Present, The Psalms in Human Life,[1] Life and Correspondence of Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, published in 1893, and Letters and Journals of Lord Byron (1898–1901). His autobiography was entitled From Whippingham to Westminster. In 1901 he was appointed a Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO).[3]

Political careerEdit

Prothero unsuccessfully contested Biggleswade in 1910[citation needed] but was elected as Conservative Member of Parliament for Oxford University at a by-election in 1914, holding the seat until 1919.[1][4] He held office under David Lloyd George as President of the Board of Agriculture, with a seat in the cabinet, between December 1916 and 1919,[1][5] in which role he introduced a guaranteed price for wheat.[citation needed] He was sworn of the Privy Council in 1916[5] and on 4 February 1919 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Ernle, of Chelsea in the County of London,[6][1] a title chosen in reflection of his pride in his own matrilineal descent from the Ernle family, one of the historic landed families of Sussex and Wiltshire.[citation needed]

Cricket careerEdit

Prothero played six first-class cricket matches between 1872–1883.[7] Twice for a Gentleman of England team against Oxford University and in four matches for Hampshire. Prothero played for Hampshire between 1875–1883 before retiring from first-class cricket. Prothero's high score of 110[7] came for the Gentleman of England against Oxford University on 4 June 1879.


Lord Ernle was twice married. He married firstly Mary Beatrice, daughter of John Bailward, in 1891. They had one son and one daughter. After her death in May 1899 he married secondly Barbara Jane, daughter of C. O. Hamley, in 1902. They had no children. She died in November 1930. Lord Ernle survived her by seven years and died in July 1937, aged 85. The barony became extinct upon his death, his only son, Rowland John Prothero (1894–1918), having died from wounds received in action in Mesopotamia during the First World War.[1]

Selected publicationsEdit


  • "Tenant-right and agrarian outrage in France". Contemporary Review. 50: 832–850. December 1886.
  • "The Growth of the Historical Novel". The Quarterly Review. 206: 25–54. January 1907.




  • A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain, 1863 edition, p. 1231 (lineage of Prothero of Malpas Court, co. Monmouth)
  • Concise Dictionary of National Biography
  • From Whippingham to Westminster (autobiography of R. E. Prothero, later 1st and last Baron Ernle)
  • Who Was Who
  • Wiltshire Archæological and Natural History Society Magazine, 1919.

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir William Anson, Bt
Lord Hugh Cecil
Member of Parliament for Oxford University
With: Lord Hugh Cecil
Succeeded by
Lord Hugh Cecil
Sir Charles Oman
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Crawford
President of the Board of Agriculture
Succeeded by
The Lord Lee of Fareham
as Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Ernle