Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.
Thomas Egerton 2nd Earl of Wilton
30 December 1799 – 7 March 1882
Known as Thomas Grosvenor until 1814, was a British nobleman and Tory politician. He served as Lord Steward of the Household in 1835 in Sir Robert Peel’s first administration.
Wilton was the second son of Robert Grosvenor, 1st Marquess of Westminster and his wife Lady Eleanor Egerton, daughter of Thomas Egerton, 1st Earl of Wilton. Richard Grosvenor, 2nd Marquess of Westminster was his elder brother and Robert Grosvenor, 1st Baron Ebury, his younger brother. In 1814, at the age of 14, he succeeded to the earldom of Wilton according to a special remainder on the death of his maternal grandfather. He the surname of Egerton in lieu of Grosvenor in 1821. He also inherited Heaton Park through his maternal grandfather.
Lord Wilton took his seat in the House of Lords on his twenty-first birthday in 1820. In January 1835 he was appointed Lord Steward of the Household in the Tory administration of Sir Robert Peel and the following February he was admitted to the Privy Council. However, the government fell already in April 1835 and Lord Wilton was never to return to office.
Lord Wilton was also a leading sportsman. Considered an expert horseman, he established the Heaton Park Races in 1827. He was also interested in yachting and was Commodore of the Royal Yacht Squadron from 1849 to 1881. In this capacity, he was most notable for inviting members of the New York Yacht Club to race in the Royal Yacht Squadron regatta open to all nations around the Isle of Wight in 1851. The N. Y. Y. C. yacht America won the event and its silver trophy was subsequently renamed the America’s Cup. Lord Wilton was inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame in 2001 in a ceremony at the Royal Yacht Squadron during the America’s Cup Jubilee.
Lord Wilton married firstly Lady Mary Stanley, daughter of the Edward Smith-Stanley, 12th Earl of Derby, in 1821. They had eleven children, of whom only five reached adulthood:
- Lady Eleanor Egerton
- Thomas Egerton, Viscount Grey de Wilton
- Lady Mary Egerton
- Lady Margaret Egerton
- Arthur Egerton, Viscount Grey de Wilton
- Lady Elizabeth Egerton. She married Dudley FitzGerald-de Ros, 24th Baron de Ros
- Arthur Egerton, 3rd Earl of Wilton
- Lady Katherine Grey Egerton, married the Hon. Henry John Coke, son of Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester.
- Lady Emily Egerton
- Seymour Egerton, 4th Earl of Wilton married Laura Caroline
- Lady Alice Magdalene Grey Egerton married Sir Henry des Voeux, 5th Baronet.
After his first wife’s death in December 1858 Lord Wilton married secondly Isabella Smith in September 1863. They had no children. Lord Wilton died in March 1883, aged 82, and the Countess of Wilton died in January 1916.