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Portrait of John Loader Maffey, 1st Baron Rugby by Philip Alexius de László, 1923

John Loader Maffey, 1st Baron Rugby, GCMG, KCB, KCVO, CSI, CIE (1 July 1877–20 April 1969) was a British civil servant.

Maffey was the younger son of Thomas Maffey, a commercial traveller of Rugby, Warwickshire, and his wife Mary Penelope, daughter of John Loader. He was educated at Rugby and Christ Church, Oxford. Maffey entered the Indian Civil Service in 1899, and notably served as Private Secretary to the Viceroy of India Lord Chelmsford from 1916 to 1920 and Chief Commissioner of the North-West Frontier Province from 1921 to 1924. After a disagreement with the British government in 1924, Maffey resigned from the Indian Civil Service. In 1926 he became Governor-General of the Sudan, followed in 1933 by his appointment as Permanent Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies. At Winston Churchill's request he became the first United Kingdom representative to Ireland in 1939, a post he held throughout the war years and until his retirement in 1949.

During the war Maffey was undoubtedly the most important foreign diplomat resident in Dublin. Appointed as 'British representative to Ireland', he quickly established a good working relationship with Éamon de Valera. De Valera was personally in favour of the survival of democracy, but did not necessarily trust the British to look after Ireland's best interests. Maffey's was vital in mediating between the 'Warlord' Churchill and 'the Chief' de Valera.

In 1947 Maffey was raised to the peerage as Baron Rugby, of Rugby in the County of Warwick.

Lord Rugby married Dorothy Gladys Huggins, daughter of Charles Lang Huggins, on 28 August 1907. Their daughter Penelope Aitken became a well-known socialite, and was the mother of the former Conservative politician Jonathan Aitken and the actress Maria Aitken and the grandmother of actor Jack Davenport. Lord Rugby died in April 1969, aged 91. He was succeeded in the barony by his eldest son Alan Loader Maffey.


  • 1877-1916: John Loader Maffey
  • 1916-1920: John Loader Maffey, CIE
  • 1920-1921: John Loader Maffey, CSI, CIE
  • 1921-1931: Sir John Loader Maffey, KCVO, CSI, CIE
  • 1931-1934: Sir John Loader Maffey, KCMG, KCVO, CSI, CIE
  • 1934-1935: Sir John Loader Maffey, KCB, KCMG, KCVO, CSI, CIE
  • 1935-1947: Sir John Loader Maffey, GCMG, KCB, KCVO, CSI, CIE
  • 1947-1969: The Right Honourable the Lord Maffey of Rugby, GCMG, KCB, KCVO, CSI, CIE

See also


  • Oxbury, Harold. Great Britons: Twentieth-Century Lives. London: Promotional Reprint Company Ltd, 1993.
  • Kidd, Charles, Williamson, David (editors). Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage (1990 edition). New York: St Martin's Press, 1990.
Government offices
Preceded by
Alfred Hamilton Grant
Chief Commissioner of the
North-West Frontier Province

8 March 1921 - July, 1923
Succeeded by
Horatio Norman Bolton
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir S. Wilson
Permanent Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies
Succeeded by
Sir C. Parkinson
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New Creation
Baron Rugby
Succeeded by
Alan Loader Maffey
Preceded by
Sir Geoffrey Francis Archer
Governor-General of the Sudan
Succeeded by
Sir George Stewart Symes


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