The MacGill Society USA

In Memoriam

George Hubbard Makgill

13th Viscount of Oxfuird

7th January 1934 - 3rd January 2003

Lord Trefgarne remembers the Viscount of Oxfuird CBE

Exporter with expertise

George Hubbard Makgill was born in Hampshire on January 7, 1934, the son of Squadron-Leader Richard Makgill and Elizabeth Hubbard, daughter of Gorham Hubbard of Boston, USA.

The family moved to New Zealand in 1937; he was educated in New Zealand at St Peter's in Cambridge, at Wanganuii Collegiate College and later studied Civil Engineering in Wellington. His father was actively interested in aviation and became deeply involved in establishing one of the earliest airlines in New Zealand, Cook Straits Airways, from which his own interest in flying and aviation matters was almost certainly stimulated.

In 1954, he returned to England and followed his father into the Royal Air Force as a Lieutenant Flying Officer serving until 1958.

He then continued his engineering studies as an apprentice with the Ford Motor Company. He entered the world of commerce in 1964 when he joined Lansing Bagnall Ltd, a leading fork lift truck manufacturer, as an export executive - a post that he held until 1992. During his long pursuit of trade for the company he visited 70 countries.

His success in the field of exporting was undoubtedly due to his natural courtesy and transparent integrity, which allowed him to negotiate many very difficult overseas contracts. This was so even in the 1970s when rampant inflation and poor industrial relations did not make the UK very popular with many customers abroad.

He inherited the Viscountcy (and the title of Baron Makgill of Cousland and a Nova Scotia Baronetcy) from his uncle, John Donald Alexander Makgill, the 12th Viscount, in 1986.

The title came with an interesting history. It had been created for Sir James Makgill, a Lord of the Sessions in Edinburgh, in 1651 by Charles II shortly after he had been crowned King of Scotland but long before the restoration of his English throne in 1660. On the death of the second Viscount, the title fell dormant and remained so for 230 years, until it was successfully reclaimed by the 12th Viscount, in 1977, following an appeal to the Committee of Privileges of the House of Lords. The Viscountcy came with an illustrious history but little inheritance; the family estate in Kemback, near Dundee, having been sold in the 1920s.

He continued to pursue his export trade career but the generosity of his employer, Lansing Bagnall's chairman, Sir Emmanuel Kaye, allowed him to pursue an active role in the House of Lords in parallel with his professional career. He quickly established himself as a working peer serving on the Joint Committee for Statutory Instruments, the Hybrid Bills Committee and the Offices Committee. He spoke regularly and with authority on export, trade and industry matters where he had specialist knowledge.

In 1990, he became a Deputy Speaker of the House, a position that he held until his death. From 1993 until 1996 he was Vice-Chairman of the Association of Conservative Peers. His popularity in the House was confirmed in 1999 when he was elected by the whole House as one of the 11 hereditary peers to continue as officers of the House as he did in his role of Deputy Speaker.

He married in 1967 Alison Campbell Jensen, a daughter of Niels Jensen of Denmark, with whom he had three sons, twins Ian and Robert, and Hamish. The marriage was dissolved in 1977.

His second marriage was to Venetia Steward of Clan Stewart who had an equally interesting Scots history, being able to trace her descent back to Robert the Bruce. They had one son, Edward.

In addition to his interest in country pursuits, shooting and fishing, he gave time to a number of charitable activities. He was a trustee of the Business Dynamics Trust. He supported the London Events Committee of the Macmillan Cancer Relief charity helping to establish their Lords and Commons Tug of War and Parliamentary Palace of Varieties fund raising events. From 1998 to 2001 he was president of the Institute of Supervision and Management.

He had been fighting cancer valiantly since early 2002, insisting on continuing to attend the House until very recently even while undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

His death on January 3 raises a constitutional issue as interesting as the 1977 restoration of the dormant title. He is the first of the 11 hereditary peers elected as officers of the House to die. A by-election for the vacancy must now be held involving the whole House.

He is survived by his wife and four sons. The title passes to his eldest son Ian Makgill, the Master of Oxfuird.

Sir George Young, Bt MP for North West Hampshire, pays tribute to Viscount Oxfuird

Viscount Oxfuird, who lived in Stoke, died over the weekend. Sir George paid tribute to his work and life.

"I was fortunate enough to see George Oxfuird in action both at Westminster and here in Hampshire. At Westminster, he was one of the few hereditary peers who was elected by his fellow peers to the new House of Lords - testimony of the respect in which he was held. He loved Parliament, and worked hard, often behind the scenes, to ensure that the House of Lords did its job of revising legislation from the Commons. Here in Hampshire, he played an active part in social and charitable life in St Mary Bourne and Stoke. He was always cheerful - and full of kindness. As an engineer by profession, he once mended my tandem!

Our thoughts are very much with Lady Oxfuird and their family - he leaves behind a very large gap in all our lives."

From the Parish Register, the parish of St. Mary Bourne,
North West Hampshire; incorporating Stoke, Binley, Dunley, Egbury, Wadwick and The Wykes

12th March, Thanksgiving Service at St Peter's, St Mary Bourne: George Hubbard Makgill, Viscount of Oxfuird (68),

Many tributes have been paid nationally to George Hubbard Makgill, 13th Viscount of Oxfuird. Against that wider background, the following is a record of his life in this local community, where he was much loved.

George Makgill was born in Winchester in 1934, but he spent most of his childhood and early manhood in New Zealand, where he completed his National Service and studied Civil Engineering in Wellington. In 1954, aged 20, he came to England and flew Hunter Jets for the RAF before taking up a career in international marketing, followed by a time of public service in the House of Lords from 1987 until his death.

George and Vee Makgill moved to Hill House, St Mary Bourne in 1980 shortly after their marriage. Their son, Edward, was born in 1982, and George's older sons from his first marriage, Ian, Robert & Hamish, became regular visitors to the village during their school holidays and thereafter.

When the Makgills first lived in St Mary Bourne, George worked in Basingstoke for Lansing Bagnall as Export Area Manager, and then as External Affairs Manager for Lansing Linde from 1988 to 1993. His working life changed radically, however, in 1986 when his uncle died and George inherited a title (becoming the 13th Viscount of Oxfuird) and a seat in the House of Lords.

When he took his seat in 1987, George Oxfuird relished the opportunity to use his talents and business experience to serve the nation. He had a great respect for tradition and was punctilious about his parliamentary duties in Westminster which he performed well. And he would advise and encourage anyone who asked for his help if it was within his powers. He was also invariably cheerful and jolly when off-duty, showing a somewhat mischievous sense of humour. He was particularly delighted that his first invitation and public appearance, as a "Lord", was to dedicate and open the new cricket pavilion in St Mary Bourne, as a "double-act" with Tommy Gibbons. He was also for many years the Chief Steward & Clerk of the Course for the Tortoise Racing at the St Mary Bourne Flower Show. When village events were happening, he would often turn up and join in with enthusiasm.

George took an active part in church & village life. He had a fine bass voice and enjoyed singing traditional hymns. His presence at St James's Woodcott on Sunday mornings was always an encouragement to the rest of the congregation to sing up and sing well. He was also a sidesman and reader at St Peter's; and a meticulous treasurer for the Church Christmas Bazaar for many years. Following "The Way Forward" church campaign in 1994, George chaired a "Wider World Issues" group, bringing some of his friends from the House of Lords to the parish to talk about international Christian issues. The poles and candlesticks used in St Peter's every Christmas for candlelit services will serve as a lasting legacy to George's practical skills as he made these himself, adapting a design which he and Vee had seen and admired in another church.

In 1999, he, Vee and Edward moved to Stoke. After trying to tame the large slopes and extended grounds of Hill House, the smaller garden at Kemback was a source of great pleasure to George - particularly as he still had a lawn to control. After his parliamentary duties in Westminster, he preferred to be outside: mowing grass; walking the dogs; fishing and shooting. George was a practical man who liked using his mind and hands - he enjoyed fixing and making things work. In 2002, as a passionate and loyal monarchist, George was the instigator and driving force behind the Stoke celebrations for the Queen's Golden Jubilee although he was already suffering from early symptoms of his fatal illness.

George was a courageous man whose difficult early life and subsequent misfortunes, including a serious car accident in 1990, made him deeply aware of the value of family & friends. He was a passionate fan of the writing of Rudyard Kipling and could quote many passages from heart: a particular favourite of his being the poem "The Gods of the Copybook Headings".

During his last days in the Countess of Brecknock Hospice, he was sustained by his faith and the sensitive care of those who loved him - particularly his wife, Vee; his four sons, Ian, Robert, Hamish & Edward; his sister Barbara; and his cousin Diana. He chose to be buried quietly at St James's, Woodcott, in the countryside he loved. A Thanksgiving Service for his life will be held at St Margaret's, Westminster at 12 noon, on Wednesday 12th March, and prayers will be said at the same time in St Peter's, St Mary Bourne for those unable to go to London.

"Nine hundred and ninety nine depend
On what the world sees in you,
But the Thousandth Man will stand your friend
With the whole world round agin you." (From Kipling, The Thousandth Man)

George established and maintained long-standing friendships all over the world. He was much loved and respected for his kindness and integrity; an he is missed by all who knew him.

Institute for Supervision and Management

The Institute of Leadership & Management unites ISM with NEBS Management. Visitors should now visit

It is with great sadness that we inform you of Lord Oxfuird's recent death, 3 January 2003.

ILM President

Viscount Oxfuird became President of the Institute at the end of 1998. At the ceremony were: Malcolm Evans, National Chairman at the time, Jake Tebbs, Chairman elect at the time, Lord Oxfuird, Michael Sanderson, retiring President, Ken Cooper, Immediate Past Chairman, Lord Merlyn-Rees, former President.

13th Viscount Oxfuird was born George Hubbard Makgill, 1934, and succeeded his uncle in 1986. Educated at Wanganui Collegiate School, New Zealand and served in the Royal Air Force 1954. Joining the Ford Motor Company in 1958 he moved on to Lansing Ltd in 1964 becoming Export Area Manager in 1976 and External Affairs Manager for Lansing Linde Ltd 1988-93. He is President of the World Travel Market Council and Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords since 1990. He is current member of the Select Committee on Hybrid Bills and a former member of the Select Committees on Statutory Instruments, on Personal Bills, on Offices. He is also a member of the Understanding Industry Trust.

At the ceremony Viscount Oxfuird said:

"The Institute is in the front line not only in seeking greater recognition and status for line managers and supervisors at the national level but also in setting the professional and training standards that under pin the line management function I am a great believer not only in fostering the lifelong learning habit but also in providing the structures necessary to help individuals manage their continuing professional development. I look forward to the continued introduction of initiatives to help raise the competence and professional standing of our members and to the increased take-up of training and development opportunities."

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