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Henry John Rous

File:Henry John Rous by G. Thompson.jpg
Detail of a portrait of Henry John Rous with George Payne, by G. Thompson

Henry John Rous (23 January 1795 – 19 June 1877), British admiral and sportsman, was born the second son of John Rous, 1st Earl of Stradbroke.

He was educated at Westminster School, and entered the British navy in 1808, serving as a midshipman in the expedition to Flushing. He was afterwards appointed to the Bacchante, and received a medal for bravery in various actions and expeditions.

In 1823 he was made captain, and served in the Indian and New Holland stations from 1823 to 1829. In April 1827, he organised Sydney's first regatta. In August 1828, he explored the Tweed and Richmond Rivers in northeastern New South Wales.[1] The area between these rivers is known as Rous County, but counties in Australia are not widely-known and are mainly used for cadastral purposes.

In 1834 he was appointed to the command of the Pique, a 36-gun frigate, which ran ashore on the coast of Labrador and was greatly damaged. Rous, however, brought her across the Atlantic Ocean with a sprung foremast and without keel, forefoot or rudder, and though the ship was making 23 inches of water an hour.


Thoroughbred horse racing

His father owned a stud farm in Suffolk and won the 1815 2,000 Guineas with the colt Tigris. Rous, always fond of the sport became a steward of the Jockey Club in 1838, a position he held almost uninterruptedly to his death. In 1855 he was appointed public handicapper. In that role he introduced the weight-for-age scale.[2] He managed the stables of the Duke of Bedford at Newmarket for many years, and wrote a work on The Laws and Practice of Horse Racing that procured for him the title of the Blackstone of the Turf.

The Rous Memorial Stakes was named in his honor.

Political life

At the 1841 general election, he was elected as Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Westminster, and in 1846 Sir Robert Peel appointed him First Lord of the Admiralty. He died on 19 June 1877.

For the naval career of Admiral Rous see O'Byrne, Naval Biographical Dictionary (London, 1849). A vivid sketch of him as a turf authority will be found in Day's Turf Celebrities (London, 1891).


  1. Daley, Louise T.. "Rous, Henry John (1795 - 1877)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A020355b.htm. Retrieved 2007-03-30. 
  2. Wood, Greg (3 April 2006). "End of an era as Jockey Club falls on own sword". The Guardian. http://sport.guardian.co.uk/horseracing/story/0,,1745459,00.html. Retrieved 2006-04-17. 

External links

[[Category:UK MPs 1841


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