Posts Tagged ‘Richard Grosvenor 2nd Marquess of Westminster’

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.

Robert Grosvenor 1st Baron Ebury
24 April 1801 – 18 November 1893


Robert Grosvenor

Robert Grosvenor 1st Baron Ebury was the third son of Robert Grosvenor, 1st Marquess of Westminster and his wife Eleanora, daughter of Thomas Egerton, 1st Earl of Wilton. He was the younger brother of Richard Grosvenor, 2nd Marquess of Westminster and Thomas Grosvenor Egerton, 2nd Earl of Wilton, who had succeeded their maternal grandfather in the earldom of Wilton 1814, while Hugh Lupus Grosvenor, 1st Duke of Westminster and Richard Grosvenor, 1st Baron Stalbridge were his nephews. He was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford.

In 1821 Grosvenor was returned to Parliament for Shaftesbury, a seat he held until 1826, and then sat for Chester until 1847. When the Whigs came to power in November 1830 under Lord Grey, Grosvenor was appointed Comptroller of the Household and admitted to the Privy Council. He retained this office also when Lord Melbourne became Prime Minister in July 1834. The Whig government fell in November the same year. Grosvenor did not serve in Melbourne’s second administration which lasted from 1835 to 1841. However, when the Whigs returned to office in 1846 under Lord John Russell he was made Treasurer of the Household, which he remained until his resignation in July 1847. The latter year Grosvenor was returned to Parliament for Middlesex, a seat he held until 1857. However, he never returned to office. In September 1857 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Ebury, of Ebury Manor in the County of Middlesex.

Apart from his political career Lord Ebury was an active campaigner for Protestantism in the Church of England, and was the founder and President of the society for the “revision of the prayer-book”. He was also involved in the movement led by Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury for the improvement of factory working hours. In later life he came to oppose William Ewart Gladstone on the issue of Irish Home Rule. In September 1893, at the age of 92, Lord Ebury voted against the Second Home Rule Bill, by far the oldest peer to vote in the matter.

Lord Ebury was also a fervent supporter of Homeopathy, the medical doctrine introduced by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann. He was a patron of both Dr Curie’s short-lived Homoeopathic Hospital in Bloomsbury Square and Dr Quin’s London Homoeopathic Hospital. Lord Ebury served as Chairman and President of the London Homoeopathic Hospital from its foundation in 1849 and during that time even defended the practice and the institution against its opponents in Parliament.

In 1860 Lord Ebury led a business venture with the Great Western Railway to build a 13-kilometre (8.1 mi) railway from Watford, near his mansion at Moor Park, to Uxbridge in Buckinghamshire. The scheme failed and the line, the Watford and Rickmansworth Railway, only reached as far as Rickmansworth, 7.2 kilometres (4.5 mi) south of Watford. The railway never operated at a profit and eventually closed in 1952, but has since been converted into a cycle path which bears his name, the Ebury Way.

Lord Ebury married the Honourable Charlotte Arbuthnot Wellesley, eldest daughter of Henry Wellesley, 1st Baron Cowley, in 1831. They had five sons and two daughters. One of the sons, the Honourable Norman Grosvenor, represented Chester in Parliament. Lord Ebury died in November 1893, aged 92, and was succeeded in the barony by his eldest son Robert.

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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.

Elizabeth Leveson-Gower Duchess of Sutherland
24 May 1765 – 29 January 1839


Elizabeth Leveson-Gower

Elizabeth Leveson-Gower Duchess of Sutherland was born at Leven Lodge near Edinburgh, to William Gordon, 18th Earl of Sutherland and his wife Mary (c.1740–1766), daughter and coheir of William Maxwell. Her parents died of “putrid fever” in Bath in 1766, a few weeks after her first birthday. As the younger and only surviving child, she succeeded to her father’s estates and titles. Her title of Countess of Sutherland was contested by Sir Robert Gordon, Bart., a descendant of the 1st Earl of Gordon, but was confirmed by the House of Lords in 1771.

Elizabeth Sutherland spent most of her childhood living in Edinburgh and London, where she was educated between 1779 and 1782. On 4 September 1785, at the age 20, she married George Granville Leveson-Gower, Viscount Trentham, who was known as Earl Gower from 1786 until in 1803 he succeeded to his father’s title of Marquess of Stafford. In 1832, just six months before he died, he was created Duke of Sutherland and she became known as Duchess-Countess of Sutherland.

Under the terms of the marriage contract, control, but not ownership, of the Sutherland estates passed from Elizabeth to her husband for life. The couple also purchased additional land in Sutherland, so that by the 1820s they owned well over two-thirds of the county.

Lady Sutherland was interested in improving the yield that she could obtain from her estate through using modern estate management techniques, and was thus the driving force behind the clearances that were to take place in Sutherland in the name of modernisation and efficiency. She started gradually, but as the techniques proved to be financially beneficial for her family, she accelerated and intensified the process.

Lady Sutherland instigated and her agents implemented a large scale clearance of the land of its small hold tenant farmers and crofters (who were moved to new settlements on the coast), to make way for large sheep farms and other projects. Lady Sutherland visited her estates regularly and was fully aware of what her policies meant for the tenants dispossessed of land on which their families had lived for generations. She and her supporters “considered the changes necessary, inevitable, and benevolent … endeavoured to counteract the adverse publicity surrounding the clearances, but with little success”.

Lady Sutherland, along with her factor Patrick Sellar and auditor James Loch, had a reputation for being especially cruel. The clearances brought widespread condemnation, and the Highland Land League eventually achieved land reform in the enactment of Crofting Acts. These measures could not bring economic viability, however, and came too late at a time when the land was already suffering from depopulation.

Lady Sutherland, on seeing the starving tenants on her husband’s estate, remarked in a letter to a friend in England, “Scotch people are of happier constitution and do not fatten like the larger breed of animals”.

Lady Sutherland twice raised a volunteer regiment, the “Sutherlandshire Fencibles”, in 1779 and 1793, which was later deployed in suppressing Irish rebellion of 1798.

In 1790 her husband was appointed Ambassador to France and she accompanied him to Paris. She was able to witness the revolutionary events first-hand and wrote descriptions about the political turmoil in France at that time. Lady Sutherland and her husband had difficulty obtaining permission to leave Paris and did not finally travel to London until 1792.

During the 1790s, Lady Sutherland became a leading figure of the social season in London. Her dinner parties and balls were attended by royalty, nobility and leading politicians, both foreign and domestic. She and her husband became close friends with George Canning who considered her beautiful, intelligent, and charming – a view not shared by members of her own class and sex, who thought her overbearing.

When not in public, Lady Sutherland’s interests included corresponding with Sir Walter Scott and, as she was a gifted artist, painting watercolour landscapes of the Sutherland coast and of Dunrobin Castle, among other subjects. She was also an accomplished oil painter. She drew and etched a series of views in the Orkney Islands and north-east coast of Scotland, which were published between 1805 and 1807.

Lady Sutherland spent a lot of time raising her four children. She placed a special emphasis on maximising the wealth of her sons and (as was common at the time) obtaining the best possible marriages for her daughters. Eric Richards observes that she “dominated her sons and probably her husband as well”.

Shortly before his death in July 1833, her husband was created Duke of Sutherland and Lady Sutherland became the Duchess of Sutherland. After her husband’s death her Scottish estates were managed for her on her behalf. She died, aged seventy-three, on 29 January 1839 at Hamilton Place, Hyde Park, London. She was buried on 20 February 1839, with great pomp at Dornoch Cathedral, in Sutherland. Her comital title passed to her eldest son, George.

On 4 September 1785, Lady Sutherland married Lord George Leveson-Gower and they had four surviving children:

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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.

Algernon Percy 4th Duke of Northumberland
15 December 1792 – 12 February 1865


Algernon Percy

Algernon Percy 4th Duke of Northumberland was the younger son of General Hugh Percy, 2nd Duke of Northumberland, and Frances Julia, daughter of Peter Burrell. He was educated at Eton and St John’s College, Cambridge.

Northumberland entered the Royal Navy in 1805, aged 13, and served in the Napoleonic Wars. In 1815, when only 22, he was promoted to captain, taking command of HMS Cossack in August, and commanding her until she was broken up some 10 months later. The following year, aged 23, he was raised to the peerage as Baron Prudhoe, of Prudhoe Castle in the County of Northumberland (Prudhoe being a town in Northumberland). He later became an Admiral in the Royal Navy. Between 1826 and 1829 he was part of an expedition to Egypt, Nubia and The Levant.

Northumberland became the first president of the newly formed National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck in 1834, and went on to become the president of its successor, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. In 1851 he offered a prize of £200 for a new design of self-righting lifeboat, won by James Beeching, which became the standard model for the new Royal National Lifeboat Institution fleet.

Northumberland succeeded his childless elder brother in the dukedom in 1847. In 1852 he was sworn of the Privy Council and appointed First Lord of the Admiralty, with a seat in the cabinet, by the Earl of Derby, a post he held until the fall of the government in December 1852. In 1853 he was made a Knight of the Garter.

Northumberland married, aged 49, Lady Eleanor Grosvenor, daughter of Richard Grosvenor, 2nd Marquess of Westminster, on 25 August 1842. They had no children. He died in February 1865, aged 72, and buried in the Northumberland Vault, within Westminster Abbey. He was succeeded in his titles by his cousin, the 2nd Earl of Beverley. The Duchess of Northumberland died in May 1911.

Northumberland was a good friend of Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin, and Prudhoe Bay, on the north coast of Alaska, was named after him.

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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.

Richard Grosvenor 2nd Marquess of Westminster
27 January 1795 – 31 October 1869


Richard Grosvenor

Richard Grosvenor 2nd Marquess of Westminster styled Viscount Belgrave from 1802 to 1831 and Earl Belgrave from 1831 to 1845, was an English politician, landowner, property developer and benefactor.

Grosvenor was born at Millbank House, Westminster, London, the eldest of the three sons of Robert Grosvenor, 1st Marquess of Westminster and Lady Eleanor Egerton. Educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford. He undertook the Grand Tour in 1815.

In 1818 Grosvenor was elected as Whig MP for Chester and was later appointed Justice of the Peace. In 1830 he was elected MP for Cheshire until the constituency was divided in 1832, and from then until 1834 he represented South Cheshire. In 1845 he would inherit his father’s title and sit in the House of Lords. He was Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire from 1845 to 1867 and Lord Steward of the Household between 1850 and 1852 in the Whig administration headed by Lord John Russell. On 22 March 1850 he was admitted to the Privy Council. He was presented with the Order of the Garter on 6 July 1857.

Grosvenor “devoted himself … to the improvement of his London property”, and added to his properties in Dorset and Cheshire; he was described as being a “model landlord”. Eaton Hall had been rebuilt in flamboyant Gothic style for his father by William Porden.

Grosvenor commissioned the Scottish architect William Burn to make alterations to it. Burn also designed Fonthill House for him in Scottish Baronial style. On his estates Grosvenor built farms, schools and “numerous” cottages.

Grosvenor continued the family interest in horse racing and, when he was living in the country estate, he spent time hunting and fishing. He gave generously to charity, and built and restored churches. He was an early patron of the Chester architect John Douglas. In 1865–66 Douglas designed St John’s Church for him in his estate village of Aldford.

About the same time Grosvenor gave fields in Chester to the city council for the formation of Grosvenor Park. For this park Douglas designed a number of items, including the Entrance Lodge, the gates, and a cover for Billy Hobby’s Well. In 1865 the citizens of Chester began to raise money for the erection of a statue “to mark the public and private worth of his lordship, and the high estimation in which he is held by his neighbours and tenants, as well as by all classes of the community”. Over £5,000 (£400,000 as of 2014) was raised. The statue showing the marquess in his garter robes was designed by Thomas Thornycroft, and erected in 1869; it still stands in Grosvenor Park.

Grosvenor’s parents had instilled “high moral principles” in their children, and these stayed with Richard throughout his life. He has been described as “of austere character and unswerving devotion to duty as family man, politician and landlord”. His obituary in The Times says “he administered his vast estate with a combination of intelligence and generosity not often witnessed”.


Elizabeth, Marchioness of Westminster, by Sir Thomas Lawrence.

Lord Westminster married Lady Elizabeth Leveson-Gower, younger daughter of George Leveson-Gower, 2nd Marquess of Stafford (later 1st Duke of Sutherland), in 1819. Following their marriage, Westminster and his wife initially lived at Eaton Hall, Cheshire, the family’s country house, with Lord and Lady Grosvenor. During the London season, from April each year, the family moved to live in Grosvenor House.

In 1827 the couple visited Norway, Sweden and Russia and in 1835–36 they toured through Germany and Italy. In 1833 they moved into Motcombe House, Dorset, in one of the family’s estates. When the 1st Marquess died in 1845 they followed the family tradition of using Eaton Hall as their country house and Grosvenor House as their London residence, where they entertained lavishly.

Lord Westminster and his wife had thirteen children, ten of whom survived into adulthood and three of whom lived into their nineties. Their second son Hugh Lupus Grosvenor succeeded him as 3rd Marquess; he was later created Duke of Westminster. Their youngest son Lord Richard Grosvenor was ennobled as Baron Stalbridge.

  • Lady Eleanor Grosvenor; m. Algernon Percy, 4th Duke of Northumberland.
  • Lady Mary Frances Grosvenor; m. Thomas Parker, 6th Earl of Macclesfield.
  • Gilbert Grosvenor.
  • Lady Elizabeth Grosvenor, married Beilby Lawley, 2nd Baron Wenlock.
  • Hugh Lupus Grosvenor, 3rd Marquess and 1st Duke of Westminster.
  • Lady Evelyn Grosvenor.
  • Lady Caroline Amelia Grosvenor; m. William Leigh, 2nd Baron Leigh.
  • Lady Octavia Grosvenor; m. Col. Sir Michael Shaw-Stewart, 7th Baronet.
  • Lady Agnes Grosvenor; m. Sir Archibald Campbell, 3rd Baronet.
  • Lord Gilbert Norman Grosvenor.
  • Lady Jane Louisa Octavia Grosvenor; m. firstly, Gamel Pennington, 4th Baron Muncaster; m. secondly, Hugh Lindsay.
  • Richard Grosvenor, 1st Baron Stalbridge.
  • Lady Theodora Grosvenor; m. Thomas Guest.

Lord Westminster died at Fonthill House, Fonthill Gifford in Wiltshire on 31 October 1869 after a short illness and was buried in the family vault in St Mary’s Church, Eccleston. His wealth at death is recorded as being under £800,000 (£62,570,000 as of 2014)

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