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The Right Honourable 
The Viscount Cross

In office
21 February 1874 – 23 April 1880
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli
Preceded by Robert Lowe
Succeeded by Sir William Vernon Harcourt
In office
24 June 1885 – 1 February 1886
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Marquess of Salisbury
Preceded by Sir William Vernon Harcourt
Succeeded by Hugh Childers

Born 30 May 1823 (2010-03-13T17:51:48)
Red Scar, Lancashire
Died 8 January 1914 (2010-03-13T17:51:49)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Georgiana Lyon (d. 1907)
Alma mater University of Cambridge

Richard Assheton Cross, 1st Viscount Cross, GCB, GCSI, PC, FRS (30 May 1823 – 8 January 1914), known before his elevation to the peerage as R. A. Cross, was a British statesman and Conservative politician. He notably served as Home Secretary between 1874 and 1880 and 1885 and 1886.


Background and education

Cross was born in Red Scar, near Preston, Lancashire, the son of William Cross (1771–1827) and his wife Ellen, daughter of Edward Chaffers. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge and was called to the Bar, Inner Temple, in 1849.[1]

Political career

Cross entered Parliament as one of two representatives for Preston in 1857, a seat he held until 1862. He was out of Parliament for the next year, but in 1868 he was elected for South West Lancashire, and continued to represent this constituency until his elevation to the peerage in 1886. Cross first came to prominence as Home Secretary in Disraeli's second government (1874–1880), and retained this office in Lord Salisbury's first government (1885–1886). The latter year he was raised to the peerage as Viscount Cross, of Broughton-in-Furness in the County of Lancaster. He then moved over to the India Office (1886–1892). Lord Cross was very briefly Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in Salisbury's third government (1895–1902) before being elevated to the sinecure post Lord Privy Seal. In 1898 he chaired the Joint Select Committee on Electrical Energy (Generating Stations and Supply), which recommended granting compulsory purchase powers for the building of power stations. He retired in 1900.


Lord Cross married Georgiana, daughter of Thomas Lyon, in 1852. His eldest son, the Hon. William Henry Cross represented Liverpool in Parliament.

Lady Cross died in January 1907. Lord Cross survived her by seven years and died in January 1914, aged 90. He was succeeded in the viscountcy by his grandson, Richard.


  1. ^ Cross, Richard Assheton in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958.

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Robert Townley Parker
Sir George Strickland, Bt
Member of Parliament for Preston
1857 – 1862
With: Charles Pascoe Grenfell
Succeeded by
Charles Pascoe Grenfell
Thomas Fermor-Hesketh
New constituency Member of Parliament for South West Lancashire
With: Charles Turner 1868 – 1875
John Ireland Blackburne 1875 – 1885
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Newton
Succeeded by
Thomas Wodehouse Legh
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Lowe
Home Secretary
1874 – 1880
Succeeded by
Sir William Vernon Harcourt
Preceded by
Sir William Vernon Harcourt
Home Secretary
1885 – 1886
Succeeded by
Hugh Childers
Preceded by
The Earl of Kimberley
Secretary of State for India
1886 – 1892
Succeeded by
The Earl of Kimberley
Preceded by
The Lord Tweedmouth
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Succeeded by
Sir Henry James
Preceded by
The Lord Tweedmouth
Lord Privy Seal
1895 – 1900
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Salisbury
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Cross
1886 – 1914
Succeeded by
Richard Assheton Cross


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