Lindsay, Robert James (DNB12)

LINDSAY, afterwards LOYD-LINDSAY, ROBERT JAMES, Baron Wantage (1832–1901), soldier and politician, was younger son of General James Lindsay of the Grenadier guards, a cadet of the family of which the earls of Crawford are the head. His mother was Anne, eldest child of Sir Coutts Trotter, banker and first baronet. His elder brother. Sir Coutts Lindsay {b. 1824), inherited in 1837 the baronetcy of his maternal grand-father, Sir Coutts Trotter. Of two sisters, the elder, Margaret, married her cousin, Alexander William Crawford Lindsay, 25th earl of Crawford [q. v.]; the younger, Mary Anne, married Robert Stayner-Holford, of Westonbirt, Gloucestershire.

Born on 16 April 1832, Robert James Lindsay was educated at Eton, and in 1850 received a commission in the Scots guards, then the Scots fusilier guards. Ordered to the Crimea with his regiment in Feb. 1854, he carried the queen's colour at the battle of the Alma as senior subaltern, and distinguished himself by helping to rally the regiment, which had been thrown into momentary confusion by a mistaken order; for this service he was thanked next morning on parade by the Duke of Cambridge. He played a conspicuous part at Inkerman in command of his company, and in the early spring of 1855 he was appointed A.D.C. to General Sir James Simpson [q. v.], which position he vacated in August of the same year to take up the adjutancy of his regiment. On the return of the British troops from the Crimea in July 1856 he received a brevet majority and was made musketry instructor in the recently created school at Hythe. On 24 Feb. 1857 he was gazetted to the Victoria Cross, with a double recommendation for his services at Alma and Inkerman, and he received this decoration from Queen Victoria on 27 June. Early in 1858 he was appointed equerry in the household of Edward VII, then Prince of Wales, which was then constituted for the first time. On 17 Nov. 1858 he was married to Harriet Sarah, only surviving child and heiress of Samuel Jones Loyd, Baron Overstone [q. v.], and he assumed the name of Loyd-Lindsay.

In 1859 he retired from the army with the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and devoted himself to the management and embellishment of the estate of Lockinge near Wantage in Berkshire, which had been settled on him and his wife by Lord Overstone. Loyd-Lindsay was one of the pioneers of the volunteer movement, and took a main part in the raising of the Berkshire corps, of which he was made colonel commandant in 1860, and on the reorganisation of the force in 1888 he became brigadier-general of the home counties brigade. He also held the command, by special request of the Prince of Wales, from 1866 to 1881, of the Honourable Artillery Company. From the first he was a strong advocate of the institution of bodies of mounted infantry among the volunteers, and his enthusiasm for rifle shooting is commemorated by the Loyd-Lindsay prize, which he founded, and which is annually competed for at Bisley. In 1865 he entered the House of Commons as conservative member for Berkshire, and he retained his seat until his elevation to the peerage in 1885; he held the office of financial secretary to the war office from August 1877 to the fall of Lord Beaconsfield's government in April 1880. On the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war a letter from Loyd-Lindsay in 'The Times' of 22 July 1870 led to the formation of the National Society for Aid to the Sick and Wounded, which developed into the Red Cross Aid Society. Of that body he was chairman from the first, and he visited in this capacity the scene of the war in France, being received at the Prussian headquarters at Versailles, and penetrating into besieged Paris. In July 1870, as commissioner of the society, he was present during the campaign between Turkey and Servia, and his private letters from the front to his father-in-law attracted the attention of Lord Beaconsfield. In the spring of 1900 he was with difficulty prevented, though the hand of death was visibly upon him, from sailing for South Africa to direct the operations of the Red Cross Aid Society during the Boer war. In 1881 he was made K.C.B. on the occasion of the 'coming of age' of the volunteer force, and he was raised to the peerage in July 1885 under the title of Baron Wantage of Lockinge, becoming lord-lieutenant of Berkshire in the same year. In 1891 he was chosen by the secretary for war, Edward Stanhope [q. v.], to preside over a committee appointed to inquire into the length and conditions of service in the army, the recommendations of which were the source of some much-needed ameliorations in the lot of the private soldier. In 1892 Lord Wantage succeeded the duke of Clarence as provincial grand master of the freemasons of Berkshire.

The death of Lord Overstone in 1883 placed a princely fortune at the disposal of Lord Wantage and his wife. The owner of large estates in Berkshire and Northamptonshire, he became one of the leading agriculturists in the country, devoting special attention to the breeding of shire horses and pedigree cattle. A man of lofty personal character, he cherished a strong sense of the duties and responsibilities attendant upon wealth and high station, lie was a generous and discriminating patron of art, and assisted by his wife's judgment added largely to the line collection of pictures formed by Lord Overstone. He was one of the founders and chief supporters of the Reading University College, which since his death has benefited largely by the munificence of Lady Wantage. He died at Lockbige Park, Wantage, and was buiied at Ardington, after a long illness, on 10 June 1901; there was no issue of the marriage, and the title became extinct.

Wantage was of singularly fine presence, and his massive head and refined features served more than one artist as models for King Arthur and the ideal 'Happy Warrior'; he was frequently painted, the best portraits being respectively by Mr. W. W. Ouless, R. A., now at Lootdnge, and by Sir William Richmond, R.A., painted in 1899, now at Carlton Gardens. A cartoon portrait by 'Spy' appeared in 'Vanity Fair' in 1870.

[Memoir of Lord Wantage by Harriet Lady Wantage, 1907; Edinburgh Review. Jan. 1908; Spectator, 4 Jan. 1908; private information.]

J. B. A.