David Brudenell-Bruce, Earl of Cardigan

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David Michael James Brudenell-Bruce, Earl of Cardigan (born 12 November 1952) is the heir apparent to the Marquessate of Ailesbury, and its subsidiary titles. These include Earl of Cardigan, which he currently uses as his courtesy title.


Early life[edit]

David Brudenell-Bruce is the son of Michael Brudenell-Bruce, 8th Marquess of Ailesbury and Edwina Sylvia de Winton Wills of W.D. & H.O. Wills.[1] He has two sisters and four half-sisters.[2] His parents divorced when he was six years old.[1] He attended Hawtreys prep-school, Eton College, Rannoch School, and the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester.


He has been Secretary of Marlborough Conservatives since 1985, and has been a Member of the Executive of the Devizes Constituency Conservative Association since 1988.

Since 1987, he has been the 31st Hereditary Warden of Savernake Forest, the only privately owned Forest in England.[1] In 2005, he signed a lease with an American hotel corporation to turn his ancestral home, Tottenham House, into a 5-Star luxury Golf Resort.[3] The American company failed to pay its rent in the recession, and ceased trading. Since then the Earl has been in dispute with the trustees of Savernake Estate over their management and disposal of its assets.[3][4] In July 2011, it was reported that the estate was in severe financial difficulties.[5] In August 2011, the Earl was involved in a dispute with the Savernake estate's trustees over his plans to sell some of the family silver,[6] and again in March 2012 over their plans to sell some of the family paintings.[1][7] In October 2013, it was reported that Tottenham House itself was likely to be sold off by the estate trustees. In December 2013, he successfully took Court Action to block the sale.[8]

In 2013 it was reported that the Earl was working as a delivery driver for a company that provides catering to private jets at Heathrow Airport.[1][3] In March 2013, it was announced he had claimed Jobseeker's Allowance.[1][3]

Battle of the Beanfield[edit]

Lord Cardigan witnessed the Battle of the Beanfield, a notorious incident in 1985 in which Wiltshire Police were accused of brutalising a convoy of travellers on land near Stonehenge, making over 300 arrests, said to be the biggest arrest of civilians in the United Kingdom in 100 years. Largely as a result of his testimony, police charges against members of the convoy were dismissed in the Crown Court. That testimony against the police caused The Daily Telegraph to criticise him as a class traitor, for which they later apologised and paid damages. Cardigan later said:

I hadn’t realised that anybody that appeared to be supporting elements that stood against the establishment would be savaged by establishment newspapers. Now one thinks about it, nothing could be more natural. I hadn’t realised that I would be considered a class traitor; if I see a policeman truncheoning a pregnant woman (as I did) I feel I’m entitled to say "that's a terrible thing you're doing, officer". I went along, saw a dreadful episode in British history, and simply reported what I saw.[9]

Personal life[edit]

By his first marriage to Rosamond Winkley (d. 2012),[10] he has two children, Thomas James Brudenell-Bruce, Viscount Savernake (born 1982) and Lady Catherine Anna Brudenell-Bruce (born 1984) (stage name Bo Bruce).[3][11]

After the divorce, he re-married in 2011 Catherine Joanne Powell, of Flagstaff, Arizona, now Countess of Cardigan. In October 2013 his wife gave birth to a daughter, Lady Sophie Jane Brudenell-Bruce.[12]


  • thePeerage.com
  • ‘CARDIGAN, Earl of’, Who's Who 2008, A & C Black, 2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007