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Evelyn Ashley
Evelyn Melbourne Ashley, Vanity Fair, 1883-11-17.jpg
"Palmerston's Secretary". Caricature by Spy published in Vanity Fair in 1883.
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies
In office
12 May 1882 – 9 June 1885
Prime MinisterWilliam Ewart Gladstone
Preceded byLeonard Courtney
Succeeded byThe Earl of Dunraven
Personal details
Born24 July 1836
Died16 November 1907 (1907-11-17) (aged 71)
Political partyLiberal
Spouse(s)1 Sybella Charlotte Farquhar (d. 1886)
(2) Lady Alice Cole (d. 1931)
Alma materTrinity College, Cambridge

Anthony Evelyn Melbourne Ashley PC (24 July 1836 – 16 November 1907) was British barrister and Liberal politician. He was private secretary to Lord Palmerston and later published a biography of him. After entering Parliament in 1874, Ashley served under William Ewart Gladstone as Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade from 1880 to 1882 and as Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies from 1882 to 1885.

Background and education

Ashley was the third child and second son of Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury and Lady Emily Cowper, eldest daughter of Peter Cowper, 5th Earl Cowper and sister of William Cowper-Temple, 1st Baron Mount Temple. He was educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge.[1]

On William Cowper-Temple's death in 1888, he inherited a 10,000 acre estate on the Mullaghmore peninsula in Sligo, around Classiebawn Castle. He would spend part of every year there.

Legal and political career

Ashley was private secretary to Lord Palmerston from 1858 to 1865 and worked as a barrister on the Oxford Circuit from 1865 to 1874. He sat as Liberal Member of Parliament for Poole from 1874 to 1880[2] and for Isle of Wight from 1880 to 1885[3] and served under William Ewart Gladstone as Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade from 1880 to 1882 and as Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies from 1882 to 1885. He was also an Ecclesiastical and Church Estates Commissioner from 1880 to 1885 and a Verderer of the New Forest. In 1891 he was sworn of the Privy Council.[4] His publications include the Life of Lord Palmerston.

He later stood unsuccessfully for the Liberal Unionist Party in the Glasgow Bridgeton by-election in 1887 and 1888 Ayr Burghs by-election


Ashley married Sybella Charlotte Farquhar, daughter of Sir Walter Farquhar, 3rd Baronet, on 28 July 1866. They had two children:

Following Sybella's death on 31 August 1886 he married Lady Alice Cole, daughter of William Cole, 3rd Earl of Enniskillen on 30 June 1891. Ashley died in November 1907, aged 71. Lady Alice Ashley died on 25 August 1931.


  1. ^ "Ashley, Evelyn (ASLY854AE)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "P" (part 2)
  3. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "I" (part 1)
  4. ^ "No. 26176". The London Gazette. 26 June 1891. p. 3367.

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Charles Waring
Member of Parliament for Poole
Succeeded by
Charles Schreiber
Preceded by
Alexander Baillie-Cochrane
Member of Parliament for Isle of Wight
Succeeded by
Sir Richard Webster
Political offices
Preceded by
John Gilbert Talbot
Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade
Succeeded by
John Holms
Preceded by
Leonard Courtney
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies
Succeeded by
The Earl of Dunraven

This page was last edited on 31 July 2019, at 12:48
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