Authorised form of namePalmer; John Roundell (1940 - 2021); 4th Earl of Selborne
ForenamesJohn Roundell
Dates1940 - 2021
Dates and placesBirth:
Henstridge, Somerset, England (24 March 1940)
12 February 2021
Politician; ecologist
Research Field:
Ecology, agriculture
St. Ronan's School, Hawkhurst; Eton; Christ Church College, University of Oxford, BA (1961)
Managing Director, Blackmoor Estate Co (1962-2004), Chairman (1990-2014); County Councillor, Hampshire County Council (1967-1974); Member, Apple and Pear Development Council (1969-1973); Chairman, Hops Marketing Board (1978-1982); Agricultural and Food Research Council (1982-1989); Chairman, Joint Nature Conservation Committee (1991-1997); Member, NEDC Food Sector Group (1991-1992); Chairman, Rank Prize Funds (1991-2015); Member, Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (1993-1998); Non Executive Director, Lloyds Bank Plc (1994-1995); Chancellor, University of Southampton (1996-2006); Lloyds TSB Group Plc (1995-2004); Chair of Trustees, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (2003-2009); Vice-President, Foundation for Science and Technology (2006-2021);
KBE 1987; Order of the British Empire, Knight's Grand Cross (GBE) in New Year's Honours list, 2011, for services to science
Royal Agricultural Society of England (President 1987-1988); Royal Institute of Public Health and Hygiene (President 1991-1997); Royal Geographical Society (President 1997-2000)
Royal Society activityMembership:
Statute 12
Election Date:
Science in Society Commitee, 2003-2008 (Chair)
Royal Society Education Research Fellowships Committee, 2009-2011 (Chair)
Kohn Award Panel, 2005-2007
South-East Asia Rain Forest Research Committee, 2012-2015
RelationshipsSucceeded to his grandfather's titles in 1971, his father having predeceased his grandfather. Married (1969), Joanna van Antwerp James
Published works
General contextJohn Palmer, the fourth Earl of Selborne, dedicated much of his time to championing the cause of environmental and agricultural issues. A noted ecological expert, John was personally engaged in agriculture through his farm in Hampshire. He provided leadership to learned societies concerned with the environment and nature, and helped to shape related public policy.

From 1997–2000, he was President of the Royal Geographical Society, and from 2003–2009 he chaired the board of trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. John also guided the work of numerous other ecology-themed commissions, committees and boards.

Entering the House of Lords in 1971, John served frequently on the Science and Technology Committee and contributed broadly to debates surrounding government policy on science and technology in the United Kingdom. He was appointed to KBE in 1987, and subsequently GBE in 2011, for his services to science.

The Earl of Selborne GBE DL FRS died on 12 February 2021.
Royal Society Profile (, accessed 15 February 2021); 'The Earl of Selbourne', 2021 in UK Parliament (, accessed 15 February 2021); 'Earl of Selbourne', 2006 in Dods (Vacher Dod Publishing and Parliamentary Communications, accessed 15 February 2021); Wikipedia; Who's Who
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA6210
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
EC/1991/47Palmer, John Roundell, 4th Earl of Selborne: certificate of election to the Royal Society20 June 1991
IM/004107Palmer, John Roundall, 4th Earl of Selborne1991
IM/004103Palmer, John Roundall, 4th Earl of Selbornend
IM/004105Palmer, John Roundall, 4th Earl of Selborne1991
IM/004108Palmer, John Roundall, 4th Earl of Selborne1991
IM/004104Palmer, John Roundall, 4th Earl of Selborne1991
CMB/419Minutes of the Science in Society Committee1997-2004
IM/004106Palmer, John Roundall, 4th Earl of Selborne1991
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