Henry Brydges, 2nd Duke of Chandos

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Henry Brydges aged about five, pictured in 1713 with his father James Brydges, his elder brother John and either his mother Mary (died 1712) or his stepmother Cassandra.[1]

Henry Brydges, 2nd Duke of Chandos, KB (17 January 1708 – 28 November 1771), known from 1727 to 1744 by his courtesy title Marquess of Carnarvon, was the second son of James Brydges, 1st Duke of Chandos PC and his first wife Mary Lake. He was the Member of Parliament for Hereford from 1727 to 1734 and for Steyning between 1734 and 1741.

He was described by King George II as "a hot headed, passionate, half-witted coxcomb."[2]

Financial problems[edit]

Henry Brydges was educated at Westminster School and St John's College, Cambridge.[3] Henry's elder brother died without male issue in 1727 and Henry became heir to the dukedom. When his father died on 9 August 1744, the estate was heavily burdened by debt, the family having lost money in the South Sea Bubble. A decision was made to demolish the family seat, Cannons. In 1747 a twelve-day demolition sale saw both the contents and the very structure of the house itself sold piecemeal.

Marriages and children[edit]

The Duke of Chandos, while staying at a small country inn, saw the ostler beating his wife in a most cruel manner; he interfered and literally bought her for half a crown. She was a young and pretty woman; the Duke had her educated; and on the husband's death he married her. On her death-bed, she had her whole household assembled, told them her history, and drew from it a touching moral of reliance on Providence; as from the most wretched situation, she had been suddenly raised to one of the greatest prosperity; she entreated their forgiveness if at any time she had given needless offence, and then dismissed them with gifts; dying almost in the very act.[4]

The Gentleman's Magazine (1832)

On 21 December 1728 he married Lady Mary Bruce (1710–1738), daughter of Charles Bruce, 4th Earl of Elgin and Lady Anne Saville. They had two children who survived childhood, Lady Caroline Brydges (1729–1789) and James Brydges, 3rd Duke of Chandos (1731–1789) who were painted by Bartholomew Dandridge in 1738 [5]

The Duke's second marriage was unconventional. In 1744 he married Anne Wells, a former chambermaid from Newbury in Berkshire. They had met a few years earlier in circumstances described by a witness as follows:

The Duke of Chandos and a companion dined at the Pelican, Newbury, on the way to London. A stir in the Inn yard led to their being told that a man was going to sell his wife, and they are leading her up with a halter around her neck. They went to see. The Duke was smitten with her beauty and patient acquiescence in a process which would (as then supposed) free her from a harsh and ill-conditioned husband. He bought her, and subsequently married her (at Keith's Chapel) Christmas Day, 1744.[6]

Anne died in 1759 without male issue and Brydges married for a third time in 1767 to Elizabeth Major (1731–1813), daughter of Sir John Major, 1st Baronet.

Career and titles[edit]

From 1729 to 1735 Brydges was Master of the Horse to Frederick, Prince of Wales, and in 1732 was invested as a Knight, Order of the Bath. On the death of his father as well as succeeding to the Dukedom, he also became 2nd Marquess of Carnarvon, 2nd Earl of Carnarvon, 5th Baronet Brydges of Wilton, 10th Baron Chandos and 2nd Viscount Wilton.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume III, pp131–132
  2. ^ "Brydges, Lord Henry (BRGS723LH)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  3. ^ "The Contrast, by the Author of "Yes and No"", The Gentleman's Magazine 102, April 1832: 347 
  4. ^ Portrait of James Brydges, Lord Wilton, later 3rd Duke of Chandos (1731–1789) and Lady Caroline Brydges, later Lady Caroline Leigh (1729/30-1804)
  5. ^ Notes and Queries, Fourth Series, VI, 179; 27 August 1870
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Herbert Rudhale Westfaling
James Wallwyn
Member of Parliament for Hereford
17271734
With: Thomas Geers
Succeeded by
Thomas Foley
Sir John Morgan, Bt
Preceded by
Thomas Bladen
The Viscount Vane
Member of Parliament for Steyning
17341741
With: Robert Fagg 1734–1740
Hitch Younge 1740–1741
Succeeded by
Charles Eversfield
Hitch Younge
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
James Brydges
Duke of Chandos
1744–1771
Succeeded by
James Brydges