Edmund Walker Head

Sir Edmund Walker Head, 8th Baronet, KCB (16 February 1805 – 28 January 1868) was a 19th-century British politician and diplomat.

Sir Edmund Walker Head
Edmund Walker Head.jpg
George Theodore Berthon's Sir Edmund Walker Head, 8th Baronet
Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick
In office
Preceded byWilliam MacBean George Colebrooke
Succeeded byJohn Manners-Sutton, 3rd Viscount Canterbury
Governor General of the Province of Canada
In office
Preceded byJames Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin
Succeeded byCharles Monck, 4th Viscount Monck
Personal details
Born(1805-02-16)16 February 1805
Wiarton Place, near Maidstone, England
Died28 January 1868(1868-01-28) (aged 62)
London, England
SpouseLady Anna Maria Head (née Yorke)

Early life and scholarshipEdit

Head was born at Wiarton Place, near Maidstone, Kent, the son of the Reverend Sir John Head, 7th Bt. and Jane (née Walker) Head.[1] He succeeded to his father's title in 1838.

He was educated at Winchester College and Oriel College, Oxford, and in 1830 he was made a Fellow of Merton College.[1] He was an Oxford scholar and tutor who published several books, including a book on the verbs shall and will.[2][3] In 1866, Head published The Story of Viga Glum, which he had translated from the original Icelandic.[4] He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1863.[5]

Government serviceEdit

In 1847, Head was appointed Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick (1847–1854).[6]

While Lieutenant Governor, Head authorized the creation of an engineering faculty at the University of New Brunswick (UNB). This was the first such programme in what would become Canada.

In 1854, Head was appointed Governor General of the Province of Canada.[7] He served until 1861. During his time in office, there was some controversy over his refusal to grant a dissolution to the Reform ministry at the time of the "Double Shuffle".[8]

He was appointed a Privy Councillor in 1857, and Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 1860.[9]

Head died in London in 1868.


Lady Anna Maria Head (née Yorke)

He had married Anna Maria Yorke, daughter of Reverend Philip Yorke Prebendary of Ely, and his wife, Hon. Anna Maria Cocks, daughter of John Cocks, 1st Earl Somers, on 27 November 1838. Anna Maria was born in 1808. The couple had three children. Their son accidentally drowned in Quebec's Saint-Maurice River in September 1859. One of their two daughters was born at Fredericton, New Brunswick on 6 February 1849.

Anna Maria was an artist, who sketched a picture of the view from Major's Hill, Ottawa, Ontario which she subsequently presented to Queen Victoria. Within a month or two after this event Her Majesty chose Ottawa as the seat of Government of United Canada. Lady Head volunteered and bestowed alms among the poor. A memorial of her Ladyship's visit to the Upper Ottawa, in a bark canoe, in 1856, stands at Portage-du-Fort, Quebec. In the county of Renfrew, a township Maria, was named in her honour. Lady Head died at Oak Lea, Shere, Guildford, England, 25 August 1890.[10][11]


  • Sir Edmund Head Hall is the name of the engineering building at the University of New Brunswick.[12]
  • Edmundston, New Brunswick, is named after him.[13]
  • The united township of Head, Clara and Maria in Renfrew County, Ontario was named in honour of Head and his wife.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Gibson, James A. (1976). "Head, Sir Edmund Walker". In Halpenny, Francess G (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Vol. IX (1861–1870) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  2. ^ "Head, Sir Edmund Walker" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 13 (11th ed.). 1911.
  3. ^ "Page:The American Language.djvu/160 - Wikisource, the free online library". en.wikisource.org. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  4. ^ Head, Sir Edmund (1866). The Story of Viga-Glum. Williams and Norgate.
  5. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 13 November 2010.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "From the LONDON GAZETTE, Tuesday, Oct. 26". The Times. 27 October 1847. p. 4. Retrieved 16 May 2013. The Queen has been pleased to appoint Sir Edmund Walker Head, Bart., to be Lieutenant-Governor of the province of New Brunswick.
  7. ^ The Edinburgh Gazette, September 22, 1854, Numb. 6423, p. 813.
  8. ^ David Mills, "Double Shuffle", Canadian Encyclopedia, July 7, 2015.
  9. ^ "Court Circular". The Times. 17 December 1860. p. 7. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
  10. ^ "Deaths". The Times. 27 August 1890. p. 1. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
  11. ^ Morgan, Henry James, ed. (1903). Types of Canadian Women and of Women who are or have been Connected with Canada. Toronto: Williams Briggs. p. 153.
  12. ^ UNB Archives and Special Collections: Sir Edmund Head Hall
  13. ^ Edmundston: Heritage and Culture

External linksEdit

Baronetage of England
Preceded by
John Head
(of The Hermitage)