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George Douglas-Pennant, 2nd Baron Penryn










George Sholto Gordon Douglas-Pennant, 2nd Baron Penryn (1836-1907), was the son of Colonel Edward Gordon Douglas (1800-1886), brother of the 17th earl of Morton, who, through his wife, Juliana, elder daughter and coheir of George Hay Dawkins-Pennant, of Penrhyn Castle, Carnarvon, had large estates in Wales and elsewhere, and was created Baron Penrhyn in 1866. Dawkins had inherited the estates [rom Richard Penryn, who was created Baron Penryn in 1763, the title becoming extinct on his death in 1808.

In 1860 he became a major commanding the Caernarvonshire Rifle Volunteers, which was affiliated in 1881 to the 4th (Militia) Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers; he later became its honorary colonel.

George Douglas-Pennant was conservative M.P. for Carnarvonshire in 1866-1868 and 1874-1880, and succeeded his father in the title in 1886. A keen sportsman, a benevolent landlord, a kind and considerate employer, Lord Penrhyn came of a proud race, and was himself of an imperious disposition.


He came prominently before the public in 1897 and subsequent years in connection with the famous strike at his Welsh slate-quarries. During his father's lifetime the management of the Penrhyn quarry had been left practically to an elective committee of the operatives, and it was on the verge of bankruptcy when in 1885 he took matters in hand; he abolished the committee, and with the help of Mr E. A. Young, whom he brought in from London as manager, he so reorganized the business that this slate-quarry yielded a profit of something like 150,000 a year. The new men and new methods were, however, not to the taste of the trade unionist leaders of the quarrymen, and in 1897, when the " new unionism" was rampant in labour questions throughout England, a strike was deliberately fomented. Lord Penrhyn refused to recognize the union or its officials, though he was willing to consider any grievances from individual quarrymen, and a protracted struggle ensued, in which his determination was invincible. He became the object of the bitterest political hostility, and trade unionism exerted itself to the utmost, but vainly, to bring about some form of government intervention. Penrhyn strikers perambulated the country, singing and collecting contributions to their funds. But in spite of every pressure Lord Penrhyn insisted on being master of his own property, and by degrees the agitation collapsed. 


His death on the ?l0th of March 1907 evoked general and genuine regret. 


The 1st Baron Penrhyn, whose family made much of their money from the slave trade, left £761,880 in his will in 1886 to his son Lord George Sholto Gordon Douglas Pennant.

The vast fortune left by Baron Penrhyn, who owned Penrhyn Castle near Bangor, was the equivalent of £45,628,993.20 today.

The family used the vast sums made from the slave trade to fund their industrial ventures in Wales.


Lord Penrhyn was twice married, and had fifteen surviving children. He was succeeded in the title by his eldest son, Edward Sholto (b. 1864), who was Unionist M.P. for South Northamptonshire from 1895 to 1900.


Lady Alice

The Hon Alice Douglas-Pennant, known locally as 'Lady Alice', Lord penryn's daughter, is said to have fallen in love with a gardener and was banished to the castle tower by her father, wealthy industrialist and Conservative MP Lord Penrhyn. The romantic message 'essere amato amando' ('To be loved while loving') was scratched onto a window pane has become a hit with visitors to the castle, which is now owned by the National Trust and open to the public.


See also:

  • The Douglas-Pennant Family


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