Edwards, Fleetwood Isham (DNB12)

EDWARDS, Sir FLEETWOOD ISHAM (1842–1910), lieutenant-colonel, royal engineers, second son of Thomas Edwards of Woodside, Harrow-on-the-Hill, by his wife Hester, daughter of the Rev. William Wilson, of Knowle Hall, Warwickshire, was born at Harrow on 21 April 1842. Educated at Uppingham and at Harrow, he entered the Royal Military Academy in 1861, and on 30 June 1863 received a commission as lieutenant in the royal engineers. After professional instruction at Chatham, where he was captain of the cricket eleven, Edwards was acting adjutant at Dover From 1867 to 1869 he accompanied General Sir Frederick Chapman [q.v.], governor, to Bermuda as private secretary and aide-de-camp. After serving at Fermoy, Ireland he was appointed assistant inspector of works at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich (Nov. 1870) and became aide-de-camp to General Sir John Lintorn Simmons [q. v. Suppl. II], inspector-general of fortifications (1 Aug. 1875). Promoted captain on 5 July 1877, he accompanied, in 1878, his chief to the Berlin Congress, where he came under the notice of Lords Beaconsfield and Salisbury. Appointed assistant privy purse and assistant private secretary to Queen Victoria n Oct. 1878, he became also groom-in-waiting in 1880, an extra equerry in Oct. 1888, and keeper of the privy purse and head of H.M.'s personal household in May 1895 in succession to Sir Henry Ponsonby [q. v.]. Promoted major (30 June 1883), lieutenant-colonel (22 Oct. 1890), he was made C.B. in 1882 and K.C.B. in 1887 and a privy councillor on his retirement from the army on 12 Oct. 1895.

From May 1895 Edwards was one of the most trusted and intimate advisers of the Queen until her death in 1901, and was one of the executors of her will. Retiring in demeanour, he was a man of remarkable charm and of strong moral fibre. Edward VII in 1901 made him a G.C.V.O., serjeant-at-arms of the House of Lords, and an extra equerry to himself, granting him a pension. George V appointed him paymaster to the household and an extra equerry. He died at his residence, the Manor House, Lindfield, Sussex, on 14 Aug. 1910, and was buried in Cuckfield cemetery.

Edwards married (1) on 19 April 1871, Edith (d. 1873), daughter of the Rev. Allan Smith-Masters of Gamer, Kent; (2) on 20 May 1880, Mary, daughter of Major John Routledge Majendie, 92nd highlanders; she survived him.

[R.E. Records; Memoirs in the Royal Engineer Journal, by General Sir Richard Harrison; Porter, History of the Corps of Royal Engineers, 1889, 2 vols.; The Times 15 August 1910.]

R. H. V.