Victor Spencer, 1st Viscount Churchill

Major Victor Albert Francis Charles Spencer, 1st Viscount Churchill GCVO JP (23 October 1864 – 3 January 1934), known as the Hon. Victor Albert Spencer until 1886 and as The Lord Churchill between 1886 and 1902, was a British peer and courtier.

The Viscount Churchill

1st Viscount Churchill.png
The Viscount Churchill by Leslie Ward, 1904.
In office
Preceded byThe Earl of Hopetoun
Succeeded byThe Lord Playfair
In office
Preceded byThe Lord Camoys
Succeeded byThe Lord Denman
Personal details
Victor Albert Francis Charles Spencer

(1864-10-23)23 October 1864
Died3 January 1934(1934-01-03) (aged 69)
Spouse(s)Lady Verena Maud Lowther
Christine McRae Sinclair


Spencer was born at 32, Albemarle Street, London, the son of Francis Spencer, 2nd Baron Churchill, and his wife Jane. He was a Page of Honour to Queen Victoria from 1876 to 1881, and in 1886 he succeeded to his father's title of Baron Churchill.

Educated at Eton College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, he was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards[1] in 1884 as a lieutenant, staying in the Guards until 1889.[2] He was a colonel in the Home Defense from 1915 to 1918.[2]

For Edward VII's coronation he served as Lord Chamberlain, and at the coronation of Edward's successor, George V, he was Master of the Robes.[2] He was acting Master of the Buckhounds between 1900 and 1901 during the tenure of Charles Cavendish, the office holder, while Cavendish was in South Africa.[2][3]

Political careerEdit

Spencer was a Lord in Waiting from 1889 to 1892 and 1895 to 1905 in both of Salisbury's governments and was created Viscount Churchill, of Rolleston, in the County of Leicester, on 15 July 1902[4] (it had already been announced in the Coronation Honours list the previous month that he would be created a Viscount[5]).

Business careerEdit

He was chairman and director of several transport companies, including the Great Western Railway 1908-34 and was the longest serving chairman of the company.[1] He was also a director of the British India Steamship Company, P&O and the Grand Union Canal.[2]


British honours
Foreign honours


Lord Churchill married Lady Verena Maud Lowther, daughter of Henry Lowther, 3rd Earl of Lonsdale, at Cottesmore, Rutland, on 1 January 1887. They had four children.[1] When she wished to divorce Lord Churchill, King Edward forbade it, to avoid a scandal among his social circle. Instead she disappeared in 1909 taking their son, aged 19, and two daughters, aged 13 and 8, with her. Lord Churchill placed an anonymous advertisement seeking information about his family's whereabouts, but the scandal soon became public. In 1927 he obtained a divorce on the grounds of desertion.[2][9] Churchill married as his second wife Christine McRae Sinclair. They had two children. He died of pneumonia on 3 January 1934.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Great Western Chairmen". The Great Western Archive. John Daniel. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "LORD CHURCHILL, 69, DIES OF PNEUMONIA; Made Viscount in 1902, He Was Victoria's Godson and Lord-in~Waitingto 3 Rulers. EXECUTIVE OF RAILROAD Chairman of the Great Western Railway Was Banker and Ship Company Director". The New York Times. 4 January 1934. p. 19. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  3. ^ "No. 27243". The London Gazette. 2 November 1900. p. 6689.
  4. ^ "No. 27455". The London Gazette. 18 July 1902. p. 4586.
  5. ^ "The Coronation Honours". The Times (36804). London. 26 June 1902. p. 5.
  6. ^ "No. 27493". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 November 1902. pp. 7161–7163.
  7. ^ "Court Circular". The Times (36922). London. 11 November 1902. p. 10.
  8. ^ "Court Circular". The Times (36068). London. 17 February 1900. p. 11.
  9. ^ "Lady Churchill leaving her husband in 1909. -". Los Angeles Times. 12 December 1909. p. 1. Retrieved 31 March 2018 – via

External linksEdit

Court offices
Preceded by
Victor Biddulph
Page of Honour
Succeeded by
Percy Cust
Preceded by
The Lord Chesham
His Majesty's Representative at Ascot
Succeeded by
The Lord Hamilton of Dalzell
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Hopetoun
Succeeded by
The Lord Playfair
Preceded by
The Lord Camoys
Succeeded by
The Lord Denman
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Churchill
Succeeded by
Victor Spencer
Preceded by
Francis Spencer
Baron Churchill