Posts Tagged ‘Francis Egerton 3rd Duke of Bridgewater’

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.

Francis (Leveson-Gower) Egerton 1st Earl of Ellesmere
1 January 1800 – 18 February 1857


Francis (Leveson-Gower) Egerton

Francis (Leveson-Gower) Egerton 1st Earl of Ellesmere was the second son of George Leveson-Gower, 1st Duke of Sutherland and his wife, Elizabeth Gordon suo jure 19th Countess of Sutherland. He was born at 21 Arlington Street, Piccadilly, London, on 1 January 1800, and educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford.

Egerton entered Parliament in 1822 as member for the pocket borough of Bletchingley in Surrey, a seat he held until 1826. He afterwards sat for Sutherland between 1826 and 1831, and for South Lancashire between 1835 and 1846. In politics he was a moderate Conservative of independent views, as was shown by his support for the proposal to establish a University of London, also by making and carrying a motion for the endowment of the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland, and by advocating free trade long before Sir Robert Peel yielded on the question. Appointed a Lord of the Treasury in 1827, he held the post of Chief Secretary for Ireland from 1828 till July 1830, when he became Secretary at War for a short time during the last Tory ministry.

In 1833 he assumed, by Royal Licence, the surname of Egerton, having succeeded on the death of his father to the estates which the latter inherited from the Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater. In 1846 he was raised to the peerage as Earl of Ellesmere, of Ellesmere in the County of Salop, with the subsidiary title Viscount Brackley, of Brackley in the County of Northampton.

Ellesmere was a member of the Canterbury Association from 27 March 1848. In 1849, the chief surveyor of the Canterbury Association, Joseph Thomas, named Lake Ellesmere in New Zealand after him.

Ellesmere’s claims to remembrance are founded chiefly on his services to literature and the fine arts. Before he was twenty he printed for private circulation a volume of poems, which he followed up after a short interval by the publication of a translation of Goethe’s Faust, one of the earliest that appeared in England, with some translations of German lyrics and a few original poems. In 1839 he visited the Mediterranean and the Holy Land. His impressions of travel were recorded in Mediterranean Sketches (1843) and in the notes to a poem entitled The Pilgrimage. He published several other works in prose and verse. His literary reputation secured for him the position of rector of the University of Aberdeen in 1841.

A singular exception to the artistic and literary character of Ellesmere’s writing efforts lay in the field of military theory. Ellesmere, as a protegé of the Duke of Wellington, became very interested in the historical writings of the Prussian military theorist General Carl von Clausewitz (1789-1831). He was involved in the discussion that ultimately compelled Wellington to write an essay in response to Clausewitz’s study of the Waterloo campaign of 1815. Ellesmere himself anonymously published a translation of Clausewitz’s The Campaign of 1812 in Russia (London: J. Murray, 1843), a subject in which Wellington was also deeply interested.

Lord Ellesmere was a munificent and yet discriminating patron of artists. To the collection of pictures which he inherited from his great-uncle, the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, he made numerous additions, and he built a gallery to which the public were allowed free access. Lord Ellesmere served as president of the Royal Geographical Society and as president of the Royal Asiatic Society (1849–1852), and he was a trustee of the National Gallery. He also initiated the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, by donating the Chandos portrait of Shakespeare.

On 18 June 1822, he married Harriet Catherine Greville, a great-great-granddaughter of the 5th Baron Brooke. They had eleven children, including:

  • George Egerton, 2nd Earl of Ellesmere (15 June 1823 – 19 September 1862);
  • Hon. Francis Egerton (15 September 1824 – 15 December 1895), who became an admiral, and was a Member of Parliament for two constituencies; he married in 1865 (Lady) Louisa Caroline née Cavendish, daughter of the 7th Duke of Devonshire (by marriage); they had issue;
  • Hon. Algernon Fulke Egerton (31 December 1825 – 14 July 1891), who was a Member of Parliament for three constituencies, and married in 1863 Hon. Alice Louisa Cavendish, a niece of the 7th Duke of Devonshire; they had issue;
  • Hon. Arthur Frederick Egerton (6 February 1829 – 25 February 1866), who became Lieutenant-Colonel, and married in 1858 Helen Smith, daughter of Martin Tucker Smith and his wife, Louisa Ridley; they had issue;
  • Lady Alice Harriot Frederica Egerton (10 October 1830 – 22 December 1928), who married George Byng, 3rd Earl of Strafford in 1854; they had no issue;
  • Lady Blanche Egerton (22 February 1832 – 20 March 1894), who married John Montagu, 7th Earl of Sandwich in 1865 as his second wife; they had no issue;
  • Hon. Granville Egerton (c. 1834-1851), who was killed at sea; unmarried, seemingly no issue.

The family lived at Hatchford Park, Cobham, Surrey, where Lady Ellesmere laid out the gardens. Her mother, Lady Charlotte Greville (née Cavendish-Bentinck) died at Hatchford Park on 28 July 1862, aged 86.

Francis died on 18 February 1857 at his London home, Bridgwater House, St. James’ Park; and was succeeded by his first son, George. On the extinction of the senior line of the Dukedom of Sutherland in 1963, his great-great-grandson, the fifth Earl, succeeded as 6th Duke of Sutherland.

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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 Dundas 1st Baron Dundas
16 February 1741 – 14 June 1820


Thomas Dundas

Thomas Dundas 1st Baron Dundas was the only son of Sir Lawrence Dundas, 1st Baronet, the “Nabob of the North”. Following education at Eton and St. Andrews University he did the Grand Tour, then became Member of Parliament for Richmond, 1763–1768, then for Stirlingshire, 1768–1794. He was elevated to the peerage as Baron Dundas of Aske in August 1794, and was also Lord Lieutenant and Vice Admiral of Orkney and Shetland, Councillor of state to the Prince of Wales (later George IV), President of the Society of Scottish Antiquaries and Colonel of the North York Militia. He acquired Marske Hall in Yorkshire in 1762 after the death of Sir William Lowther, 3rd Baronet.

Thomas Dundas followed his father in having an interest in Grangemouth and in the Forth and Clyde Canal, under construction from 1768 to 1790, and he would have been aware of the 1789 trials on the canal of Patrick Miller of Dalswinton’s double-hulled paddle boat powered with a steam engine fitted by William Symington. In 1800 Dundas, as Governor of the Forth and Clyde Canal Company, engaged Symington to design a steam tug on the lines of a failed attempt by Captain John Schank for the Bridgewater Canal. At a meeting of the canal company’s directors on 5 June 1800 Dundas “produced a model of a boat by Captain Schank to be worked by a steam engine by Mr Symington”, and it was agreed this should be immediately put in hand.

The boat was built to Symington’s design. It had successful trials on the River Carron in June 1801 and further trials towing sloops from the river Forth up the Carron and thence along the Forth and Clyde Canal. The other proprietors of the canal were concerned about wave damage to the canal banks, and the Committee decided that the boat would “by no means answer the purpose”.

Symington had proposals for an improved boat which were presented in the form of a model, shown to Lord Dundas, of the boat which would become famous as the Charlotte Dundas, named in honour of one of his Lordship’s daughters. One account states that Lord Dundas had advised Symington to prepare the model and bring it to his Lordship in London, where Symington was introduced to the Duke of Bridgewater who was enthusiastic enough to immediately order eight boats of similar construction for his canal. Unfortunately the Duke of Bridgewater died a few days before the first sailing, and nothing came of this order.

Lord Dundas and some of his relatives and friends were on board for the first sailing of the boat on the canal in 1803, but despite the success of the Charlotte Dundas fears of erosion of the banks prevailed, and the trials were ended leaving Symington out-of-pocket.

He married Lady Charlotte FitzWilliam, the daughter of William FitzWilliam, 3rd Earl FitzWilliam, on 24 May 1764 and they had 14 children:

  • Lawrence Dundas, 1st Earl of Zetland (1766–1839)
  • Anne Dundas (1767)
  • Thomas Dundas (born 1768; died young)
  • Lt-Col. the Hon. William Lawrence Dundas (18 May 1770 – 1796), died in Santo Domingo
  • the Hon. Charles Lawrence Dundas (18 July 1771 – 25 January 1810), married Lady Caroline Beauclerk, daughter of Aubrey Beauclerk, 5th Duke of St Albans
  • the Hon. Margaret Dundas (9 November 1772 – 8 May 1852), married Archibald Spiers
  • the Hon. Charlotte Dundas (18 June 1774 – 5 January 1855), married Rev. William Wharton
  • the Hon. and Rev. Thomas Lawrence Dundas (12 October 1775 – 17 March 1848)
  • the Hon. Frances Laura Dundas (24 May 1777 – 27 November 1844), married Robert Chaloner
  • R-Adm. the Hon. George Heneage Lawrence Dundas (1778–1834)
  • Maj-Gen. the Hon. Sir Robert Lawrence Dundas (27 July 1780 – 23 November 1844)
  • Dorothy Dundas (August 1785 – December 1790)
  • the Hon. Mary Dundas (30 May 1787 – 1 November 1830), married Charles FitzWilliam, 5th Earl FitzWilliam
  • the Hon. Isabella Dundas (25 February 1790 – 6 December 1887), married Sir John Ramsden, 4th Baronet

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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.

John Egerton 7th Earl of Bridgewater
14 April 1753 – 21 October 1823


John Egerton

John Egerton 7th Earl of Bridgewater was a British soldier and Tory politician.

Egerton was the eldest son of the Right Reverend John Egerton, Bishop of Durham, and the grandson of the Right Reverend Henry Egerton, Bishop of Hereford, youngest son of John Egerton, 3rd Earl of Bridgewater. His mother was Lady Anne Sophia Grey. He joined the British Army in 1771 and was promoted to captain in 1776, to major in 1779, to lieutenant-colonel in 1790, to colonel in 1793, to major-general in 1795, to lieutenant-general in 1802 and to full general in 1812. He also sat as Member of Parliament for Morpeth from 1777 to 1780 and for Brackley from 1780 to 1803. The latter year, on the death of his first cousin once removed, Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, he succeeded as seventh Earl of Bridgewater.

Lord Bridgewater married Charlotte Catherine Anne, daughter of Samuel Haynes, in 1783. The marriage was childless. He died in October 1823, aged 70, and was succeeded in the earldom by his younger brother Francis. Lady Bridgewater died in 1849, aged 85.

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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.

Francis Egerton 3rd Duke of Bridgewater
21 May 1736 – 8 March 1803


Francis Egerton

Francis Egerton 3rd Duke of Bridgewater succeeded to the Dukedom at the age of twelve on the death of his brother, the 2nd Duke. As a child he was sickly and of such unpromising intellectual capacity that at one time the idea of cutting the entail was seriously entertained. Shortly after attaining his majority he became engaged to the society beauty the Dowager Duchess of Hamilton, but her refusal to give up the acquaintance of her sister, Lady Coventry, led to the breaking off of the match. Thereupon the Duke broke up his London establishment, and retiring to his estate at Worsley, devoted himself to the making of canals.

The navigable canal from Worsley to Manchester which he projected for the transport of the coal obtained on his estates is usually cited as the first modern British canal (as opposed to a river navigation)—though the Sankey Canal is a rival to this claim (projected as a “navigation”, but built as a true canal). The construction of Bridgewater’s canal, with its famous aqueduct across the Irwell, was carried out by James Brindley, the celebrated engineer.

The completion of this first canal led the Duke to undertake a still more ambitious work. In 1762 he obtained parliamentary powers to provide an improved waterway between Liverpool and Manchester by means of a canal. The difficulties encountered in the execution of this canal were still more formidable than those of the Worsley canal, involving, as they did, the carrying of the canal over Sale Moor Moss. But the genius of Brindley, his engineer, proved superior to all obstacles, and though at one period of the undertaking the financial resources of the Duke were almost exhausted, the work was carried to a triumphant conclusion.

Both these canals were completed when Bridgewater was only thirty-six years of age, and the remainder of his life was spent in extending them and in improving his estates; and during the latter years of his life he derived a princely income from the success of his enterprise. Though a steady supporter of Pitt’s administration, he never took any prominent part in politics.

He accumulated great wealth through his canal and coal interests, and his annual income was said to have exceeded £80,000. The family owned three estates at the time: Belton House, a small Sussex estate, and the old house and 6,000 acres (24 km²) at his house of Ashridge.

With the Bridgewater fortune now exceeding £2,000,000, and the Duke being the richest noble in England, he set about rebuilding Ashridge. He began to pull the old buildings down, but he died before his plans could be completed, leaving his heir with nothing but a pile of rubble. He was the leading member of the syndicate which purchased and partly resold the famous Orleans Collection of old master paintings in 1798 (including Diana and Actaeon and Diana and Callisto), and most of his purchases are still held by the Egerton family.

The Duke died unmarried on 8 March 1803, and the Ducal title became extinct (although the Earldom of Bridgewater passed to a cousin, Lieutenant-General John Egerton, who became 7th Earl).

By his will he devised his canals and estates on trust, under which his nephew, the 2nd Marquess of Stafford (afterwards 1st Duke of Sutherland), became the first beneficiary, and next his son Lord Francis Leveson-Gower (afterwards 1st Earl of Ellesmere) and his issue. In order that the trust should last as long as possible, an extraordinary use was made of the legal rule that property may be settled for the duration of lives in being and twenty-one years after. The legatees were a great number of persons connected with the Duke and their living issue, plus all peers who had taken their seats in the House of Lords on or before the Duke’s decease. The last of the peers died in 1857, but one of the commoners survived till the 19th of October 1883, so the trust did not expire until 19 October 1903, when the whole property passed under the undivided control of Francis Egerton, 3rd Earl of Ellesmere. (The canals, however, had been transferred to the Bridgewater Navigation Company in 1872, by whom they were sold in 1887 to the Manchester Ship Canal Company.)

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