Brigadier-General Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury, KP, GCVO, CBE



Anthony Ashley Cooper was born in England on 31 August 1869, the son of the 8th Earl of Shaftesbury and Lady Harriet Augusta Anna Seymourina Chichester. He succeeded to the title on the death of his father in 1886.

In 1890 Lord Shaftesbury entered the 10th Hussars as a 2nd lieutenant through the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1891 and Captain in 1898. From 1895-99 he served as Aide-de-Camp to the Governor of Victoria, Lord Brassey. He went into the Reserve of Officers in 1899.

On 12 March 1902 he was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel and appointed to command the newly-formed North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry, continuing in command when the regiment became the North Irish Horse.

Shaftesbury was appointed Lord-Lieutenant for Belfast in 1904, and Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1907. In 1911 he was appointed Lord Lieutenant for County Antrim.

On the death of the Duke of Abercorn in 1913, Shaftesbury became Honorary Colonel of the North Irish Horse. He remained in this position throughout the war.

From 1913 to 1916 he commanded the 1st South Western Mounted Brigade and subsequently the 16th Mounted Brigade. He was appointed Brigadier-General (temporary) on 5 August 1914. The Monthly Army List shows him as being 'on staff' from January 1917. He was also Honorary Colonel of the Royal Garrison Artillery at Antrim. He relinquished his brigade command appointment on 1 March 1919.

Lord Shaftesbury was Lord Lieutenant of Belfast from 1904 to 1911, Lord Lieutenant of Antrim from 1911 to 1916, and Lord Lieutenant of Dorset from 1916 to 1952. He was Lord Mayor of Belfast 1907, and Chancellor of Queen's University, Belfast, from 1909–1923. 

He died on 25 March 1961.


Shaftesbury with officers of the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry in 1905


Shaftesbury's medals, recently sold by auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb - a British War Medal, Coronation 1902, Coronation 1911, Jubilee 1935, and Coronation 1937


I am grateful to the National Portrait Gallery for giving me permission to reproduce the first image (details below):

Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 9th Earl of Shaftesbury
by Bassano Ltd
whole-plate glass negative, 25 February 1915
Given by Bassano & Vandyk Studios, 1974
Photographs Collection
NPG x80543