Roy JENKINS, Baron Jenkins of Hillhead (1920–2003)
Politician and author

Dame Jennifer JENKINS (1921–2017)
Conservationist and public servant

St Amand’s House, Church Street, East Hendred

Roy Harris Jenkins was born in Abersychan, Monmouthshire, the only son of Arthur and Hattie Jenkins. His father was a miner who became MP for Pontypool and served as Prime Minister Attlee’s private parliamentary secretary. Roy attended the local grammar school and went up to Balliol College, Oxford, gaining a First in PPE.

In 1950 he was elected Labour MP for Birmingham Stechford. Appointed Home Secretary by Harold Wilson in 1965 and again in 1974, he was a vigorous liberal reformer concerned with ending capital punishment and theatre censorship, decriminalising homosexuality, and improving divorce and abortion law. As Chancellor of the Exchequer 1968–70, he was notable for his prudent fiscal control. When Harold Wilson resigned as Prime Minister in 1976, he stood in the leadership contest but was defeated by James Callaghan. He stood down from Parliament and became the first British President of the European Commission in 1977. In 1982 he returned to Parliament as MP for Glasgow Hillhead, representing the new Social Democratic Party which he had formed with Shirley Williams, Bill Rodgers, and David Owen. After losing his seat to Labour in 1987, he transferred his allegiance to the newly amalgamated Liberal Democrats, becoming their Leader in the Lords after accepting a life peerage as Baron Jenkins of Hillhead.

He was an assiduous and distinguished author, especially recognised for his political biographies of Asquith, Churchill, and Gladstone (Whitbread Prize). In 1987 he succeeded Harold Macmillan as Chancellor of the University of Oxford and served until his death. He was awarded the Order of Merit in 1993.

SOURCE: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: article on Roy Jenkins by Anthony Howard

Jennifer Jenkins was born in Buxton to (later Sir) George Parker Morris, solicitor and town clerk of Westminster, and his wife Dorothy (née Hale). She was educated at St Mary’s School, Calne and Girton College, Cambridge, where she read History. She married Roy Jenkins in 1945.

She was a stalwart support for Roy in his political life but also a tireless and effective public servant throughout her life, serving on many committees, including as Chairman of the Consumers’ Association 1975–1976. She was especially devoted to conservation issues and in 1985 was awarded the DBE for services to ancient and historical buildings. She was a very effective hands-on Chair of the National Trust 1986–90, protecting miles of coastline, many town centres, villages, and London parks. She led the Royal Parks review 1991–1997 and was responsible for creating the pedestrianised space in front of Buckingham Palace. As Chair of the National Heritage Lottery, she was able to direct resources to the regeneration of Victorian parks in British cities.

SOURCE: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: article on Jennifer Jenkins by Merlin Waterson

St Amand's House

The plaque was unveiled at St Amand’s house (where the couple lived from 1965) on 16 September 2023. Tributes were paid by Matthew Oakeshott (Baron Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay) and Martin Drury (conservationist and former Director General of the National Trust). Among those attending were family and close friends, Cllr Sally Povolotsky (Chair of the Vale of White Horse DC), Dr John Sharp (Chair of East Hendred PC), and other local residents.

Photographs taken at the ceremony by John Atkinson:

Speeches made at the ceremony (PDF):


Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board

1920 – 2003
Politician and author
Chancellor of the University of Oxford


1921 – 2017

Lived here from 1965

© Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board


Email: oxfordshireblueplaques@gmail.com