Richard Bourke, 6th Earl of Mayo

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Earl of Mayo
Photograph by William Walker, c. 1867
4th Viceroy and Governor-General of India
In office
12 January 1869 (1869-01-12) – 8 February 1872 (1872-02-08)
Preceded bySir John Lawrence, Bt
Succeeded bySir John Strachey (acting)
Chief Secretary for Ireland
In office
10 July 1866 (1866-07-10) – 29 September 1868 (1868-09-29)
Prime Minister
Preceded byChichester Parkinson-Fortescue
Succeeded byJohn Wilson-Patten
In office
4 March 1858 (1858-03-04) – 11 June 1859 (1859-06-11)
Prime MinisterThe Earl of Derby
Preceded byHenry Arthur Herbert
Succeeded byEdward Cardwell
In office
1 March 1852 (1852-03-01) – 17 December 1852 (1852-12-17)
Prime MinisterThe Earl of Derby
Preceded bySir William Somerville, Bt
Succeeded bySir John Young, Bt
Parliamentary offices
Member of Parliament for Cockermouth
In office
Serving with
Preceded by
Succeeded byIsaac Fletcher
Member of Parliament for Coleraine
In office
Preceded byJohn Boyd
Succeeded byJohn Boyd
Member of Parliament for Kildare
In office
Serving with Marquess of Kildare
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Personal details
Richard Southwell Bourke

(1822-02-21)21 February 1822
Dublin, Ireland
Died8 February 1872(1872-02-08) (aged 49)
Port Blair, Andaman Islands, India
Manner of deathAssassination
Political partyConservative
Hon. Blanche Wyndham
(m. 1848)
ChildrenDermot Robert Wyndham Bourke, 7th Earl of Mayo
  • Robert Bourke, 5th Earl of Mayo
  • Anne Charlotte Jocelyn
RelativesRobert Bourke, 1st Baron Connemara (brother)
Alma materTrinity College, Dublin

Richard Southwell Bourke, 6th Earl of Mayo, KP, GCSI, PC (English: /bɜːrk/; BURK; 21 February 1822 – 8 February 1872) styled Lord Naas (/ns/; NAYSS) from 1842 to 1867 and Lord Mayo in India, was a British statesman and prominent member of the British Conservative Party who served as Chief Secretary for Ireland (1852, 1858–9, 1866–8) and Viceroy of India (1869–72).[1]

Background and education[edit]

Mayo was born in Dublin, Ireland, the eldest son of Robert Bourke, 5th Earl of Mayo (the son of Hon. Richard Burke, Bishop of Waterford and Lismore), and his wife, Anne Charlotte, daughter of the Hon. John Jocelyn. His younger brother the Hon. Robert Bourke was also a successful politician. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin.[2] He and his brothers were accomplished horsemen and enjoyed fox hunting.[3]

Political career[edit]

The Cabinet of the Earl of Derby in 1867

After travelling in Russia, Mayo was elected MP for Kildare (1847–52), Coleraine (1852–7) and Cockermouth (1857–68). He was thrice appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland – in 1852, 1858 and 1866 – and in 1869 he became the fourth Viceroy of India where he was locally often referred to as "Lord Mayo". He consolidated the frontiers of India and reorganised the country's finances; he also did much to promote irrigation, railways, forests and other useful public works. To solve local problems he established local boards. During his tenure the first census took place in 1872. He founded Mayo College at Ajmer for the education of young Indian chiefs, with £70,000 being subscribed by the chiefs themselves.[4]


While visiting the convict settlement at Port Blair in the Andaman Islands in 1872 for the purpose of inspection, he was assassinated by Sher Ali Afridi, a former Afghan soldier who had been convicted for murdering a relative. He vowed to kill two British officials to avenge the suffering he had to undergo. Mayo's body was brought home to Ireland and buried at the medieval ruined church in Johnstown, County Kildare, near his home at Palmerstown House. Afridi was hanged on March 11, 1872.[5]


Lord Mayo March[edit]

The traditional Irish march "Lord Mayo" (Tiagharna Mhaighe-eo) was named after him; according to tradition, it was composed by his harper David Murphy to appease Mayo after Murphy angered him.[6]

Papilio mayo Butterfly[edit]

In 1873, the newly discovered swallowtail butterfly Papilio mayo from the Andaman Islands was named in his honour.[7]

St Paul's Cathedral[edit]

A Memorial to Lord Mayo is in the third recess of the South Wall at St Paul's Cathedral, London.[8]

Statue in Cockermouth, Cumbria[edit]

Statue of Lord Mayo in the town of Cockermouth

On 19 August 1875, a statue of Lord Mayo was unveiled in the centre of the main street in the town of Cockermouth. The 800-guinea cost of the statue (made by Messrs. Willis of London) had been raised by public subscription. The unveiling was attended by Mayo's son, the 7th Earl; Lord Napier and Ettrick; Harvey Goodwin, Bishop of Carlisle; and the Earl of Lonsdale. The statue, carved in Sicilian marble, depicts Lord Mayo in his viceregal garb, and still stands today.

Mayo Hospital, Lahore, Pakistan[edit]

Mayo Hospital is one of the oldest and biggest hospitals in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. The hospital is named after then Viceroy of British India, "Richard Bourke, 6th Earl of Mayo" also locally known as Lord Mayo.

Statue at Albert Hall Museum, Jaipur, India[edit]

A statue of Lord Mayo had been installed in the premises of Mayo Hospital (currently known as the Mahilya Chikatsalya, Jaipur). The 9-foot-tall (2.7 m) cast-iron statue, weighing around 3 tons, was ordered sculpted by the Maharaja Ram Singh ji of Jaipur, as a tribute to Lord Mayo after his assassination. The sculptors were J. Forsyth and R. Monti. The company's name as inscribed on the statue was R. Masefield & Co., London.

This statue of Lord Mayo had been buried in the premises of the Albert Hall Museum of Jaipur at the time of the independence of India in 1947 to prevent vandalism. After six decades, this statue was unearthed by the Jaipur Mayo Alumni Chapter on 29 May 2007. It was later removed from the Albert Hall Museum in Jaipur and sent to Mayo College, in Ajmer, India, where it is now installed.[9]

Mayo College, Ajmer, India[edit]

Mayo College, Ajmer, India, was founded after the death of Lord Mayo in 1875. The College, named in honour of Lord Mayo, already had a full life-size statue of him sculpted in white marble installed in front of its famous main building since inception and a marble sculpted bust of him in its school museum. The College accepted the statue of Lord Mayo which was unearthed at Mayo Hospital, Jaipur in 2007.


Lord Mayo married Blanche Julia, daughter of George Wyndham, 1st Baron Leconfield, in 1848. He was succeeded in the earldom by his eldest son, Dermot. Lady Mayo died in 1918.


Coat of arms of Richard Bourke, 6th Earl of Mayo
A Cat-a-Mountain sejant guardant proper, collared and chained Or.
Party per fess Or and Ermine, a cross gules the first quarter charged with a lion rampant sable and the second with a dexter hand couped at the wrist and erect gules
On either side a Chevalier in complete Armour, holding in the exterior hand a Pole-Axe, all proper.[10][11]
A CRUCE SALUS (Salvation from the Cross)
Order of St Patrick
Order of the Star of India

See also[edit]


  1. ^ W. W. Hunter (1 February 2006). The Life of the Earl of Mayo – Fourth Viceroy of India. Read Books. ISBN 978-1-84664-774-1.
  2. ^ "Alumni Dublinenses : a register of the students, graduates, professors and provosts of Trinity College in the University of Dublin (1593–1860 George Dames Burtchaell/Thomas Ulick Sadleir p84: Dublin, Alex Thom and Co, 1935
  3. ^ Riding Recollections, 5th ed. by G. J. Whyte-Melville. Pages 136-139. Accessed 5 September 2022.
  4. ^ Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1886). "Bourke, Richard Southwell" . Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 6. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  5. ^ 1872: Sher Ali Afridi, assassin of the viceroy
  6. ^ S.J. Adair Fitzgerald (1898). Stories of Famous Songs. John C. Nimmo. p. 380.
  7. ^ Atkinson, W.S. (1873). "Descriptions of two new species of butterflies from the Andaman Islands". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. 1873: 736.
  8. ^ "Memorials of St Paul's Cathedral" Sinclair, W. p. 462: London; Chapman & Hall, Ltd; 1909.
  9. ^ Annual Register Two statues of Lord Mayo have also been placed in Mayo College, Ajmer – One outside its main building and the other outside its museum. pp. 74–75.
  10. ^ Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knighthood (107 ed.). Burke's Peerage & Gentry. pp. 2653–2655. ISBN 0-9711966-2-1.
  11. ^ Burke, Bernard (1884). The general armory of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales; comprising a registry of armorial bearings from the earliest to the present time. University of California Libraries. London : Harrison & sons.


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Kildare
1847March 1852
With: Marquess of Kildare
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Coleraine
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Cockermouth
With: John Steel to April 1868
Andrew Green Thompson from April 1868
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Chief Secretary for Ireland
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chief Secretary for Ireland
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chief Secretary for Ireland
Succeeded by
Government offices
Preceded by Viceroy of India
Succeeded by
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by Earl of Mayo
Succeeded by