Charles Melville McLaren, 3rd Baron Aberconway, was born 16 April 1913 to Henry Duncan McLaren, 2nd Baron Aberconway (1879-1953) and Christabel Mary Melville MacNaghten (1890-1974) and died 4 February 2003 London, England, United Kingdom of unspecified causes. He married Deirdre Knewstub (bef1941-) 6 December 1941 . He married Ann Lindsay Aymer (bef1949-) 15 October 1949 .

Charles Melville McLaren, 3rd Baron Aberconway, JP (16 April 1913 – 4 February 2003) was a British industrialist and horticulturalist. He was the son of Henry McLaren, 2nd Baron Aberconway and Christabel Macnaghten.


He was educated at Eton, New College, Oxford, and became a barrister of the Middle Temple.


As a young man, he became a director of John Brown & Company, the board of which was chaired by his father. Due to this connection, he took part in a secret, unofficial meeting of British industrialists with Hermann Göring in Sylt in 1939. The meeting was authorized by Lord Halifax and was intended as a last-ditch effort to forestall a German invasion of Poland through concessions. The mission was, of course, a failure; McLaren kept the meeting a secret until 2000.

During the Second World War, he joined the Royal Artillery, becoming a second lieutenant. After the war, he took a more active role in the family corporations, preparing to succeed his father. He was also a director of Westland Aircraft from 1947–1985. He was made a Justice of the Peace for Denbighshire in 1946, and High Sheriff of Denbighshire in 1950.

In 1953, he succeeded his father in the barony, the chairmanship of John Brown and English China Clays, and various other industrial interests. He would continue in these chairmanships until 1986 and 1984, respectively. Despite his corporate responsibilities, Lord Aberconway took a keen interest in horticulture. Besides maintaining the family's Bodnant Garden, he was the President of the Royal Horticultural Society 1961–1983 and oversaw the management of the Chelsea Flower Show. His annual assertion became famous:

I think I can say, without fear of contradiction, that this is the finest Chelsea Flower Show ever.

Despite inheriting a seat in the House of Lords, he rarely attended. Throughout his life, he enjoyed writing pithy, memorable and topical letters to The Times.


He married Deirdre Knewstub on 6 December 1941, and had three children:

  1. Hon. Julia Harriet McLaren (b. 22 September 1942), married Capt. Charles Ridley and has issue
  2. Dr. Hon. Caroline Mary McLaren (b. 24 October 1944), married Raimund Sargent and has issue
  3. Henry Charles McLaren, 4th Baron Aberconway (b. 1948)

The couple divorced in 1949, and he married Ann Bullard (née Aymer) the same year. They had one son:

  1. Hon. Michael Duncan McLaren, QC (b. November 29, 1958), married Caroline Stacey and has issue; present manager of Bodnant Garden.


Offspring of Charles Melville McLaren, 3rd Baron Aberconway and Deirdre Knewstub (bef1941-)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Julia Harriet McLaren (1942-)
Caroline Mary McLaren (1944-)
Henry Charles McLaren, 4th Baron Aberconway (1948-) 26 May 1948 Sally Ann Lentaigne (bef1981-)

Offspring of Charles Melville McLaren, 3rd Baron Aberconway and Ann Lindsay Aymer (bef1949-)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Michael Duncan McLaren (1958-)


Footnotes (including sources)

‡ General


  • Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920–2007; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007

External links

Honorary titles
Preceded by
John Charles Wynne-Finch
High Sheriff of Denbighshire
Succeeded by
Ririd Myddelton
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Henry McLaren
Baron Aberconway
Succeeded by
Charles McLaren