The Friends of St. Peter's Berkhamsted

Friends of St Peter's, Great Berkhamsted

Lord Sandhurst’s family


Lord and Lady Sandhurst had two children, who both died in infancy: The Honourable John Robert Mansfield (4 September 1882–5 September 1882) and the Honourable Elizabeth Mansfield (9 June 1884–17 October 1884) These are the two children buried at the Cemetery.  These were the only children of Lord Sandhurst’s first wife, Lady Victoria Spencer.

Lord Sandhurst was the son of William Mansfield, 1st Baron Sandhurst, and Margaret, daughter of Robert Fellowes, and a noted suffragist. He served in the Coldstream Guards, achieving the rank of lieutenant. Mansfield succeeded his father as Baron Sandhurst in 1876, aged 20, and was entitled to a seat in the House of Lords from his 21st birthday a few months later. When the Liberals came to power under William Ewart Gladstone in 1880, he was appointed a Lord-in-Waiting, a post he held until 1885 when the Liberals left office. (This was when the two children were born).

When John Robert Mansfield was born on 4 September 1882 at Berkhamsted his father, William, was 27 and his mother, Victoria, was 22. He survived only a few hours. (Dublin Daily Express 11 September 1882.)   John Robert Mansfield’s death was registered at Berkhamsted.

Elizabeth Mansfield was born on 9 June 1884 to Victoria Alexandrina (Lady) Spencer, age 24, and William 1st Viscount Sandhurst Mansfield, age 28. She was born at Manchester-Square, London.  Elizabeth’s death, on October 17th, aged 4 months appears to have been registered at Marylebone.

It did become increasingly common in the later C19th for women not to attend funerals – it appears from this report that the mother did not attend her daughter’s funeral – although her half-sister was present.

The connection with Berkhamsted is probably through Ashridge. Lady Sarah Isabella Spencer (1838-1919)– Victoria’s half-sister – rented Berkhamsted Place from The Brownlows with Gertrude, the Countess of Pembroke. (Lord and Lady Sandhurst had attended the State Ball in February 1882 at Dublin Castle, where Lady Anne Brownlow was also present.)

On Saturday 19 August 1882, the Hemel Gazette and West Herts Advertiser reported that ‘A capital game was played on the Berkhampstead Cricket Ground, on Wednesday, between an eleven, including Lord Sandhurst, nephew of Lady Sarah Spencer, Berkhamstead Place, and his Lordship’s two brothers, and Mr R. Bedford’s eleven. The former were the victors. Lady Sandhurst was present and kept the score’. (NB she was less than four weeks from giving birth).

He was Under-Secretary of State for War in Gladstone’s brief 1886 administration and again from 1892 to 1895 under Gladstone and Lord Rosebery. In 1895 he was made Governor of Bombay,[2] a post he held until February 1900.[1] 

Lord Sandhurst did not initially serve in the Liberal administrations headed by Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman and H. H. Asquith but was sworn of the Privy Council in 1907.[4] He did return to ministerial office in 1912 when Asquith appointed him Lord Chamberlain of the Household (succeeding his brother-in-law Lord Spencer).[5] He continued in this post until his death in 1921, the last five years under the premiership of David Lloyd George.[6] In 1917 he was made Viscount Sandhurst, of Sandhurst in the County of Berkshire

Lord Sandhurst married, firstly, Lady Victoria, (1855-1906) daughter of Frederick Spencer, 4th Earl Spencer, on 20 July 1881.

NB – Victoria’s brother, Charles was the great-great grandfather of Diana, Princess of Wales. Victoria herself grew up at the family seat at Althorp, where Diana is buried.

After his first wife’s death in March 1906 he married secondly Eleanor, younger daughter of Matthew Arnold and widow of Armine Wodehouse, on 5 July 1909. There were no children from this marriage.

Lord Sandhurst died in 1921, aged 66. The viscountcy became extinct on his death while the barony was inherited by his brother, John Mansfield. His second wife died in December 1934.[1]

Epitaph on the grave:  Brief life is here our portion. Brief sorrow, short-lived care, the life that knows no ending, the tearless life is there.   This is taken from a hymn: Brief life is here our portion: Bernard of Cluny, Translated by J.M Neale 1858.


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