Needham's of Cheshire - Earls of Kilmorey
The Earl's of Kilmorey are descended from the Needham's of High Needham, Derbyshire. Their family history is covered in the Origins section. They lived at High Needham until Thomas de Nedeham born abt 1308 who had two sons, Thomas and William, who both married well. William, the younger of the two, married Alice Cranage and moved to Cranage in Cheshire; from William and Alice are descended the Earls of Kilmorey. The William's descendants prospered in Cheshire, marrying into other gentry families such as Savage, Brereton, Bromley and Talbot, and acquiring large land-holdings. William and Alice's descendants were made Viscount Kilmorey in 1625. In 1822 they were made the Earl's of Kilmorey, and the family flourishes still. Seats were held at Shavington Park in Shropshire and Mourne Park in the Mourne, Northern Ireland. The descendants of William de Nedeham are covered in this section
From two suits enrolled on the Clushire Plea Rolls it appears that Thomas de Cranach had a son and heir, Henry, who had a son, William de Cranach, who was living 19 Edward Ill. . Alice, the daughter and heir of this William, married William de Nedeham, the youngest son of Thomas de Nedeham, of Nedeham, co. Derby, and so brought the moiety of the manor of Cranage into the Nedeham family.
Cranage and Shavington
WILLIAM DE NEDEHAM was the father of RICHARD DE NEDEHAM(-1407), who, on the 7th Jan.1398, as "one of the King's Esquires for the county of Chester," had an annuity of 100 shillings from Richard II. He died in March 1407, and in his Inquisition post mortem, taken at Easter, 1407, it was returned that he had died seised of the manor of Cranage and lands in Rudheath, and that Robert was his son and heir even though he was only twenty years of age. This ROBERT DE NEDEHAM (1386-1448), born 1386, occurs as a collector of subsidies in Northwich Hundred in 1417 and 1420."He married first Dorothy Savage, daughter of Sir John Savage. After she died Robert married Agnes who was living in 1448. He died on 23 June 1448, and was buried at Holmes Chapel, where a raised altar tomb placed to his memory, was existing at the end of the sixteenth century
Robert had four sons: THOMAS DE NEDEHAM (1400 -1463), who succeeded him but died in 1463, John, Robert, and Hugh. Of these the most distinguished was John. He became an MP for London in1450, was knighted on 20 th May1464 to become Sir John Nedeham , and who was appointed Justice of Chester and Flint on the 28th July, 1461. He was also a Serjeant-at-law and Justice of Lancaster, and subsequently one of the Judges of the Common Pleas. Sir John purchased the second half of the Manor of Cranage and took a lease from John Marston for ‘the manor of Shavington and lands in Shavington, Pylesdon, Hole,Wylaston, Mylneheth, Twemlowe, Adderley and Boterton' for 21 years at a rent of £12 13s 4d. John so liked Shavington that on the expiry of his lease he purchased Shavington in 1461. He married Margaret, daughter of Randle Mainwaring, of Peover, Co. Chester, relict of William Bromley, of Cheverton. He died 25 April 1480 and was buried at Holmes Chapel where a monument was placed in his memory. His Inquisition Post Mortem in June 1487 detailed the lands, chiefly in Nantwich Hundred, of which he died seised. It also states long before his death he granted to Sir John Fullenhurst and Sir Thomas Fytton, and Ralph Cotton and Robert Needham his manor of Cranage, with all its messuages, lands and tenements there and in Leghes and Rudheath, to the use of Margaret, his wife, for her life. By another indenture he also granted to her his messuage etc in Middlewich, Chirchchulme.etc and had also granted his lands and tenements in Sondebache and Bradweel to Hugh Nedeham, his brother for his life. He died without issue and his next heir was his great –nephew, William, the son of William, son of Thomas, the brother of the said Sir John, then five years' old
THOMAS DE NEDEHAM (1400 -1463), the son and heir of Robert de Nedeham (1386-1448), married Maud dau of Sir William Brereton of Bereton Co. Chester but both Thomas and Maud died in 1463. However, they did have a son WILLIAM NEDEHAM of Cranage who was Thomas's heir. William was Serjeant-at-law for Cheshire in 1461 and died before 1487. He married Isabel, daughter and co-heir of Sir John Bromley, Knight, of Badington, and heir to her mother, Joan, daughter and heir of William Hextall. William and Isabel had a son and heir WILLIAM NEDEHAM (-1500), a second son Robert Nedeham and a daughter Margery. Margery, married Thomas Whittingham, of Pountley, and had six daughters.
WILLIAM NEDEHAM (1482 -1500) became the heir not only to his father's estate but also to that of his great Uncle Sir John Nedeham in 1487 when aged 5. William, sadly, died young and unmarried on 21 June 1500 and at the Inquisition Post Mortem in 1506 William's estate passed to brother Sir ROBERT NEDEHAM (-1556), who was then 16 years of age.
ROBERT NEDEHAM ( -1556), as he was then, inherited his brother William's estate of Cranage and Shavington in 1506 following the Post Mortem. Robert was Knighted on the 31 st May, 1533 and in 1538 he became Sheriff of Cheshire and of Shropshire in 1528 and again in 1540. Sir Robert died on the 4th June 1556 and subsequently a large brass was placed at Adderley, Co. Salop to his and that of his wife's memory. They were also commemorated in the stained glass at Holmes Chapel. He married Agnes, daughter of John Mainwaring, of Peover, Co, Chester, Esq. She died after Sir Robert on 2 nd May, 1560 and was buried at Adderley. They had seven sons and two daughters. His heir was THOMAS NEEDHAM who was living in1570. In addition to Thomas his heir, Robert and Agnes had three sons: Thomas, John and Robert who all died before 1544, three unnamed sons, and Maud (died before 1544), who married Sir Thomas Venables, of Kinderton, and finally Jane who married Sir Andrew Corbet, of Moreton Corbet, Co. Salop, Knight. Sheriff of Salop.
THOMAS NEEDHAM, of Cranage and Shavington, Esq. inherited from his father Sir Robert Nedeham. He married, first, Anne, daughter of Sir John Talbot, of Grafton, Co. Worcester, and sister of George 9th Earl of Shrewsbury. They had seven children including their heir Robert Needham. The others were: John Needham, Agnes, Mary, Joane and Anne. Agnes married, first, Sir Richard Bulkeley, of Beaumaris, Anglesey, and of Cheadle, Co. Chester, Knight. M.P. for Anglesey. Following Sir Richards death, Agnes Needham married, Laurence Cranage, of Holmes Chapel, Co. Chester, Gent. Agnes was buried at Holmes Chapel, Co. Chester on 23rd January, 1623. Margaret married Richard Steventon, of Dothull and Mary, married George Coyney, of Weston, Co. Stafford. After Anne died Thomas married Agnes, daughter of Hope, by whom he had an only daughter, named Agnes. Thomas was living in 1570 but died " in vita Patris."
ROBERT NEEDHAM (-1603) Esq., of Cranage and Shavington, was Thomas Needham's heir. In 1564, 1585, and 1595 he was Sheriff of Shropshire and he held important commands during the war in Ireland. After his exploits in Ireland he was made Vice-President of Council of the Marches of Wales. He married Frances, youngest daughter of Sir Edward Ashton, of Tixall, Co. Stafford, and they had eight children, two sons of whom Robert Needham was the heir, and six daughters. Elizabeth died and was buried at Adderley, 31st August, 1601 while Robert died two years later and was buried at Adderley, 18 th December, 1603. Robert and Frances's eldest daughter, Dorothy, married Richard Chatwood of Co. Northampton while their second daughter, Anne, married Robert Powell, of the Park, near Oswestry, Co. Salop. Their next daughter Jane first married James Coleire, of Darlaston and after he died remarried. Elizabeth Needham, the fourth daughter, died S.P. The youngest two daughters both married, Maud to John Aston, of Aston, Co.Chester and Mary first to Thomas Onslow and after his death to Sir Robert Vernon, of Hodnet, Co. Salop. The two sons married well. The youngest, Thomas Needham, of Pool Park, Co. Denbigh married Eleanor Bagenal at Trinity Church, Chester, 20th July, 1601. Eleanor was daughter and co-heir of Sir Henry Bagenal, of Newry and Plas Newydd, Anglesey, Marshal of Ireland, and widow of Sir Robert Salisbury. Note Sir Henry Bagenal was Marshal of Ireland in the reign of Elizabeth, and received " large grants, manors, lordships, and royalties " in Ireland, and was killed at Black Rock, 14 th August, 1598. Thomas and Frances had six children five of whom were sons. The Nedham's of Pool will be dealt with separately
Robert Needham's heir was his eldest son ROBERT NEEDHAM (-1631) of Cranage and Shavington. He was Knighted in Ireland on September 1594, was Sheriff of Shropshire in 1606 and of the Council, to William, Lord Compton, President of Wales, 12th November, 1617. He was made Viscount Kilmorey, Co. Clare, by King Charles 1 st in the Peerage of Ireland on 18th April,1625. Robert married four times. First to Jane, daughter of John Lacy, esq, an Alderman of London and of Boston, Co, Somerset. She died on the 16th July, 1591, without issue., and was buried at Adderley. After her death Sir Roberrt married, secondly, Anne, daughter of D'Oyley, and widow of Wilmott. His third wife was Catherine, daughter of John Robinson, of London, and relict of George Huxley, of Wyrehill, Co. Middlesex, and by her had two sons and four daughters. Finally, his fourth wife was Dorothy, daughter of Humphrey Smith, of Cheapside, London, Silkman, widow of Benedict Barnham, Esq., Alderman of London. Sir Robert died in Nov 1631 and was buried at Adderley on 26th November, 1631 . His Inquisition post mortem was taken 8th Oct. 1633, and it was returned that he had died seised, inter alia, of the manors of Cranage, Hulme, alias Church Hulme, an annual rent of one pair of gloves issuing from the lands, etc., of the late Edward Cotton, Esq., in Hulme aforesaid, and also of lands in Lees by Cranage, late in the holdings of Daniel Royle and John Amson. His son and heir, Robert Needham, was then forty years of age.
Robert was succeeded by his elder son by his second marriage to Anna D'Oyley, ROBERT NEEDHAM, 2nd Viscount ( c 1587-1653). Robert the second Viscount married, first Frances, third daughter of Sir Henry Anderson, Sheriff and Alderman of London, in July 1634 by whom he had Robert his heir, and two daughters, Frances, who married Thomas Cotton of Combermere in 1630 and Eleanor Needham. After Frances died Robert married Eleanor, daughter and heir to Thomas Dutton of Dutton [Cheshire] Esq., widow of Gilbert, Lord Gerard of Gerard's Bromley. They had four sons: Charles, Thomas, George and Arthur, and eight daughters: Anne, Eleanor, Susanna, Katherine, Mary, Penelope, Dorothy and Elizabeth. Robert Needham died at Dutton, 12 September 1653 and was succeeded by his eldest son,
ROBERT NEEDHAM (-1657), 3rd Viscount was a royalist in the Civil War, who was forced to spend £2,300 down and an annual fine of £120 in order to obtain the restitution of his estates. He married Frances, second daughter of Gilbert, Lord Gerard, by Eleanor Dutton but died in 1657 without issue. He was buried at Adderley, Shropshire. when the title devolved to his half-brother, Charles Needham
CHARLES NEEDHAM (-1661), 4th Viscount, who in 1659 met at Warrington in Lancashire with the Earl of Derby and Sir George Booth in a small party to prepare for the restoration of King Charles. All three of them were taken prisoners to London, where Charles died in 1660. Prior to this Charles had married Bridget, daughter and heir of Sir William Drury, of Besthorp, in Norfolk at St Paul's Covent Garden on 27 Feb 1655. Charles and Bridget had three sons, Robert, Thomas and Byron. After his death, Charles' will was granted admon., on 3 July 1661 in trust for his children. Cranage Hall and a small adjacent estate were sold on the 20th Aug 1660 by the trustees of Viscount Kilmorey to William Swettenham. He was succeeded by his son, Robert.
ROBERT, 5th Viscount (1655-68), was born in 1655, succeeded his father, Charles, in 1660 aged 5. He was educated at Christ Church Oxford University. Sadly he died on 29th May 1668 still a minor and was buried at Besthorpe. Robert, was succeeded by his brother, Thomas
THOMAS, 6th Viscount ( c 1660-87), succeeded his brother on 29 May 1668. He matrixed at Christ Church Oxford on 4 June 1675 age 16. On 4 Aug 1677 he gave a speech in Latin welcoming the Duke of Ormonde as Chancellor. Thomas married Frances, daughter and heir to Francis Leveson Fowler of Harnage-Grange in Shropshire on 4 th Dec 1679. Thomas and Frances had a son. Shortly after his birth Thomas died at Shavington and was buried at Adderley on 26 th Nov 1687. Admon. of his will was granted on 10 th Feb 1688 and again on 10 th March 1694 in trust for his infant son and heir, Robert. The inheritance of the Viscountcy proved to be a poisoned chalice.
ROBERT, 7th Viscount (1683-1710) who was under age at the death of his father, succeeded to the peerage 26 Nov 1687. He married Mary, daughter of John Offley of Crew, in the County of Chester, Esq., still a minor, in Aug 1701 and they had four daughters and four sons, three of whom, ROBERT, THOMAS, and JOHN, became successive Viscounts. Robert died October 2 1710, then aged 28 years and was succeeded by his eldest son,
ROBERT, 8th Viscount (1702-17), succeeded to the peerage on the death of his father, Robert. However, he died a minor and unmarried on19th Feb 1717 at Enfield, Middlesex, when the title devolved upon his brother. Admon. was granted on 7 th March 1717 to his mother.
THOMAS, 9th Viscount (1703-68), succeeded his brother on his death. He married Lady Mary Shirley, third daughter and co-heir of Washington, 3rd Earl Ferrers, on 29 th June 1730. He died childless on 3 rd Feb 1768 and was buried at Adderley on 13 th Feb. His will was dated 16 Sept 1766 and was proven in May 1768. On the 24th June 1760 the manor of Cranage wasa sold by the Viscount Kilmoey to the trustees of Thomas Bayley Hall of the Hermitage. He was succeeded by his brother John.
JOHN, 10th Viscount (1711-91), born in Jan 1711 was in July 1737 appointed a colonel of a company of Grenadiers in the 2 nd Foot Guards, but resigned Nov 1748. He married Anne, daughter and co-heir of John Hurleston, of Newton, Cheshire, and widow of Peter Shakerley, on 11Jan 1738. They had a daughter Mary and three sons: THOMAS, died unmarried 1773; ROBERT, his successor ; FRANCIS, successor to his brother Robert . His wife died on 9 Aug 1786 while John died five years later on 29 May 1791 and was buried at Adderley. He was succeeded by his elder surviving son, Robert.
ROBERT, 11th Viscount (1746-1818), who succeeded John on his death. His claim to vote at the election of Irish Peers was admitted in 1818. Mourc Park House was originally built in the early 19th Century as a two story building by Robert. It was listed as a ‘Gentleman's Seat' in 1812 . Robert married, on 10 Jan 1792, Frances, eldest daughter of Sir Robert Cotton Bt, and sister of Stapleton, 1 st Viscount Combermere. They had no children so on his death on 30 Nov 1818 aged 82, the Viscountcy, devolved to his only brother, Francis. His will was proven in Feb 1819.
Earl of Kilmorey
FRANCIS, 12th Viscount (-1832), succeeded his elder brother Robert the 11 th Viscount on his death in 1818. He entered the British Army in 1762 and served in the American War of Independence, where he was taken prisoner at the Siege of Yorktown in 1781. He also fought in the French Revolutionary Wars but is best remembered for his role during the Irish Rebellion of 1798. He was in overall command at the Battle of Arklow and commanded one of the five columns at the Battle of Vinegar Hill. He was promoted to colonel of the 86th Foot and to general in 1812. From 1806 to 1818 he was MP for Newry but when he succeeded to the viscountcy in 1818 he had to give up as an MP but he could not sit in the House of Lords because the viscountcy was an Irish Peerage. On 12 Jan 1822, Viscount Newry and Mourne , and EARL OF KILMOREY was created, and Francis became the first Earl of Kilmorey. He marri ed, on 20 Feb 1787, Anne, second daughter of Thomas Fisher, of Acton, Middlesex. They had 10 children including two sons, Francis Jack Needham and Francis Henry Needham Francis died on 21 Nov 1832 aged 84 and his will was proven on Feb 1833. He was succeeded by Francis Jack Needham.
FRANCIS JACK NEEDHAM, 2nd Earl of Kilmorey (1787 – 1880), known as Viscount Newry from 1822 to 1832, was an Anglo-Irish peer and Member of Parliament. Francis Jack Needham inherited the title and became the 2nd Earl of Kilmorey after his father's death. He was renowned for being a very eccentric and colourful person and this lead his father to leave the Mourne Park estate to his three trustees. As a result Kilmorey became an absentee landlord, with little interest in spending time in Ireland . The trustees of the estate were all married to three sisters of the 2nd Earl of Kilmorey.
Francis Jack was elected to the House of Commons for Newry in 1819 (succeeding his father), a seat he held until 1826. In 1832 he succeeded his father in the earldom but as this was an Irish peerage it did not entitle him to a seat in the House of Lords. He served as High Sheriff of Down for 1828. He married Jane Gun-Cuninghame of Mount Kennedy co. Wicklow on 7 Jan 1814 and they had four sons including Francis Jack Needham, his heir apparent who died before the death of his father. This meant that Francis Charles Needham, Francis Jack's grandson became the 3 rd Earl of Kilmorey. Jane died on 25 th July 1867 aged 76 at Landsdowne Road Putney, Surrey. Subsequently, Francis Jack married Martha Foster daughter of John Foster of Leoham Kent 20 th Nov 1867
Francis Jack was the last Needham to reside at Shavington living there from 1831 to 1839. The Earl was an eccentric who had a passion for purchasing and selling lands and who built a wall said to be 7 miles long round the park. He left Shavington in 1839 and for nearly half a century the estate was deserted.
Lord Kilmorey scandalised Victorian society by eloping with his ward, Priscilla Anne Hoste, when he was in his late fifties and she was 20. Priscilla Hoste was the daughter of Admiral Sir William Hoste and his wife Lady Harriet Walpole. Her father died when she was a small child and her mother allegedly was careless of her relations with Lord Kilmorey. A year after their elopement, in July 1844, they had a child, Charles, who Lord Kilmorey acknowledged as his son and to whom he gave his surname. He set up his mistress in an adjoining house with an underground tunnel between the two.
Francis Jack died 20 June 1880 in his 91 st year at Gordon House Isleworth Middlesex and he was succeeded by his grandson Francis Charles Needham
FRANCIS CHARLES NEEDHAM, 3rd Earl of Kilmorey (1842 –1915), styled Viscount Newry from 1851 to 1880, was an Anglo-Irish peer and Conservative Member of Parliament.
Kilmorey was the eldest son of Francis Needham, Viscount Newry, son of Francis Needham, 2nd Earl of Kilmorey. His mother was Anne Amelia Colville, daughter of General Sir Charles Colville. He attended Christ Church, Oxford, and in 1862 (aged nineteen), proposed to give a ball; this was prohibited by the college authorities, chiefly by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (better known as Lewis Carroll). The wife of Henry Liddell, the Dean of the college, had supported the ball; the Liddell's Irish residence was close to the Kilmorey seat, and this favour to a family friend might have made social connexions for her several daughters (including Alice). The ball and the resulting coldness between the Liddells and Carroll is mentioned in his diary as "Lord Newry's business". He was graduated in 1864.
Shortly after his succession in 1880 Francis Charles who sold Shavington to Arthur Pemberton Heywood Lonsdale.
In 1874 he served as High Sheriff of Down and was then elected to the House of Commons for Newry in 1871, a seat he held until 1874. In 1880 he succeeded his grandfather as Earl of Kilmorey, but as this was an Irish peerage it did not entitle him to an automatic seat in the House of Lords. However, the following year Kilmorey was elected an Irish Representative Peer, and sat in the House of Lords until his death in 1915. In 1890 he was made a Knight of the Order of St Patrick.
As Viscount Newry, he was commissioned Cornet in the North Shropshire Yeomanry Cavalry in 1865 then promoted Captain in 1871 before the Cavalry were merged into the unified Shropshire Yeomanry regiment. He continued in the latter, being promoted Major in 188 and becoming Lieutenant-Colonel in command of the regiment in 1889. He retired in 1896 and was made Honorary Colonel of the regiment. After the accession of King Edward VII in 1901, Lord Kilmorey was appointed Aide-de-camp (Supernumerary) to His Majesty for the service of His Yeomanry Force . He also received the rank of Colonel (United Kingdom) in the Yeomanry Force.
Lord Kilmorey married in 1881 Ellen Constance Baldock, daughter of Edward Holmes Baldock (MP for Shrewsbury). She was a renowned beauty who caused a scandal by being bequeathed the 'Teck emeralds' among other jewels, from her lover, Prince Francis of Teck, brother of Queen Mary. She also reputedly had a liaison with Edward VII, a frequent visitor to the Kilmorey estates at Mourne Park, County Down. Lord Kilmorey died of pleurisy and pneumonia at 5 Alford Street, Mayfair, London, in July 1915, aged 72, and was buried at Kilkeel, County Down. He was succeeded in his titles by his eldest son Francis. Lady Kilmorey died in 1920.
FRANCIS CHARLES ADELBERT HENRY NEEDHAM, 4th Earl of Kilmorey (1883 – 1961), styled Viscount Newry from 1883 to 1915, was an Irish peer. Francis was the eldest son of Francis Needham, 3rd Earl of Kilmorey, and Ellen Constance Baldock.
He was commissioned into the 3rd (Militia) Battalion, King's Shropshire Light Infantry in 1901, and in March 1902 transferred to the 1st Life Guards as a Second Lieutenant. He was promoted Lieutenant again in 1904 and Captain in 1907. He resigned his commission in 1911. He returned to the Army during the First World War, reaching the rank of Major. In 1930 he was appointed Captain in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and was the second Commanding Officer of HMS Caroline , the RNR base in Belfast, where his photograph can be seen today.
He also served as High Sheriff of County Down in 1913, as Lord Lieutenant of County Down from 1949 to 1959 and as Vice-Admiral of Ulster from 1937 to 1961. From 1916 until his death Kilmorey sat in the House of Lords as an Irish Representative Peer, becoming the last surviving Irish representative Peer. In 1936 he was admitted to the Privy Council of Northern Ireland.
Lord Kilmorey married Lady Norah Frances Hastings, daughter of Warner Francis John Plantagenet Hastings, 15th Earl of Huntingdon, in 1920. He died in January 1961, aged 77, and was succeeded in his titles by his nephew Francis.
The 4th Earl of Kilmorey who died in 1961 was the last Earl to live in Mourne Park House and it has been passed down through the female line to the current owner Marion Needham Russell. Marion is a cousin of Richard Needham M.P., the 6th Earl of Kilmorey.
The ancestral Mourne Park Estate, of some 800 acres (3.2 km 2 ), in County Down, Northern Ireland (including the lordships and manors of Newry, Mourne and Greencastle) was not, however, inherited by the 5th Earl who opted to inherit contents to the value of the estate as he lived in England.
FRANCIS JACK RICHARD PATRICK NEEDHAM, 5th Earl of Kilmorey (1915 –1977) was an Irish peer. The son of Major Hon. Francis Edward Needham, in turn a younger son of the 3rd Earl of Kilmorey, and Blanche Esther Combe, he succeeded to his uncle's titles in 1961. He did not inherit the Kilmorey estates on Mourne Park, near Kilkeel in Northern Ireland but instead inheriting contents to the value of the estate. According to Sir Richard Needham (current Earl of Kilmorey, in his book "Battling For Peace Northern Ireland Longest Serving British Minister" (1999) ) the fifth Earl did not believe any of his own family would wish to live in Northern Ireland again. Lady Norah Kilmorey, his Aunt and widow of the 4th Earl, continued to live at Mourne Park until her death in 1985 when the Estate passed to other family members.
On 28 April, he married Helen Bridget Faudel-Phillips, daughter of Sir Lionel Faudel-Phillips, 3rd Baronet. They had three sons, including his heir Richard Needham.
RICHARD FRANCIS NEEDHAM, 6th Earl of Kilmorey , (1942 - ), usually known as Sir Richard Needham , is a British Conservative politician. A Member of Parliament from 1979 to 1997, he served as Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland between 1985 and 1992 and as Minister of State for Trade between 1992 and 1995.
Sir Richard is the son of Francis Needham, 5th Earl of Kilmorey, and Helen Bridget Fandel-Phillips, daughter of Sir Lionel Fandel-Phillips, 3rd Baronet. He was educated at Eton. Needham was a member of the Somerset County Council between 1967 and 1974. The latter year he stood unsuccessfully for parliament for the safe Labour seat of Pontefract and Castleford in the February general election, and then was also defeated at the more marginal Gravesend in October.
He succeeded his father in the earldom in 1977 but does not use the title. This is an Irish peerage and did not bar him from sitting in the House of Commons. At the 1979 general election, he was returned as Member of Parliament for Chippenham. He was one of the "Wiltshire Wets", Conservative MPs from the county who expressed concern at the perceived loss of jobs resulting from the "monetarist" policies of Margaret Thatcher. His constituency was abolished for the 1983 general election, when he was returned to the House of Commons for the new North Wiltshire constituency. He held the seat until he retired from Parliament at the 1997 general election.
Needham was Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Prior, between 1983 and 1984, and to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Patrick Jenkin, between 1984 and 1985. He served under Thatcher and later John Major as a Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland between 1985 and 1992 and under Major as Minister of State for Trade between 1992 and 1995, and was instrumental in transforming Northern Ireland's economic base and the UK's export strategy under Michael Heseltine. He was the longest serving British Government Northern Ireland minister. In 1994 he was sworn of the Privy Council:
Richard Needham is now a director of Lonrho & Avon Rubber. He was a Director of Dyson for over 16 years. He has written two books: Honourable Member and Battling for Peace: Northern Ireland's Longest-Serving British Minister (1999); an account of his years in Northern Ireland and his contribution to peace.
Needham married Sigrid Thiessen-Gairtner, daughter of Ernest Thiessen, in 1965. They have three children:Robert Francis John Needham, Viscount Newry and Mourne (b. 1966), Hon. Andrew Francis Needham (b. 1969) and Lady Christina Clare Needham (b. 1977)
Although Richard Needham inherited the Earldom of Kilmorey and Viscountcy of Newry and Mourne in 1977, he did not petition the House of Lords to formally claim succession until October 2012. The Needham estate, known as Mourne Park, is near Kilkeel in County Down in Northern Ireland but the title and estate were separated when the fifth Earl inherited the title but opted to live in England. The Needham estate or Mourne Park is now owned by the Anley family, descendants of the 4th Earl of Kilmorey. The house was badly damaged by fire on Saturday 18 May 2013
1 Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_of_Kilmorey
2 History of Sandbach; JP Earwaker
3 Burkes Complete Peerage of England
4 The Sewells of the Isle of Wight; Mountague Charles Owen
5 Kilmorey Papers; Public Record Office of Northern Ireland