Interesting facts about past and present Chancellors
The office of the Chancellor of the Exchequer has seen many interesting characters over the years. Below is a selection of interesting facts about former Chancellors.
A comprehensive list of facts, as well as contextual events, is available on the HM Treasury interactive explorer.
- Q: Which Chancellor was the son of a trapeze artist?
- A: John Major’s father was a trapeze artist, as well as owning a garden gnome business
- Q: Which Chancellor was reputedly born two months prematurely after his mother slipped and fell, and then took a bone-shaking ride in a pony carriage, inducing labour?
- A: Winston Churchill arrived in November 1874 despite not being expected until January. He was born at the family seat of Blenheim Palace despite plans for him to be delivered in London
- Q: Which Chancellor ruled that slavery was unlawful in England?
- A: Lord Mansfield gave this ruling in Somersett's Case in 1772
- Q: Which Chancellor was subject to two assassination attempts including being stabbed in the chest with a penknife?
- A: There were two assassination attempts against Robert Harley
- Q: Which Chancellor/Prime Minister was the first to leave office because of a motion of no confidence?
- A: Lord North was forced to leave office after a vote of no confidence was passed in 1782. A year later he returned to Government as Home Secretary under William Pitt the Younger.
- Q: Which Chancellor imposed the tax that led to the Boston Tea Party?
- A: Charles Townsend imposed unpopular taxes on good imported to American colonies - including tea. This sparked the Bostom Tea Party
- Q: Which Chancellor was a former editor of the Spectator magazine?
- A: Nigel Lawson edited the magazine between 1966 and 1970.
- Q: Two Chancellors of the Exchequer, father and son, died on the same date 70 years apart. Who were they?
- A: Lord Randolph Churchill died on January 24 1895, and his son Sir Winston Churchill died on January 24 1965
- Q: Which Chancellor shared his name with a Roman emperor?
- A: Sir Julius Caesar – his father was Giulio Cesare Adelmare, an Italian physician of two Tudor monarchs, Mary and Elizabeth I
- Q: Which Chancellor is buried in a vault beneath the Chapel of London's Foundling Hospital?
- A: Charles Abbott, 1st Baron of Tenterden, who was a Governor of London's Foundling Hospital
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