Henry Sydney, 1st Earl of Romney

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Henry Sydney, Earl of Romney

Henry Sydney (or Sidney), 1st Earl of Romney (8 April 1641 – 8 April 1704) was born in Paris, a son of Robert Sidney, 2nd Earl of Leicester, of Penshurst Place in Kent, England, and his wife, born Lady Dorothy Percy, a daughter of Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland and sister of Algernon Percy, 10th Earl of Northumberland.

Henry was a brother of Philip Sidney, 3rd Earl of Leicester, who was born in 1619; Algernon Sydney, the Republican martyr, who was born at Penshurst Place in 1622 but was executed, having been found party to the "Rye House Plot" 1683; and Robert Sidney. His sister was Dorothy Spencer, Countess of Sunderland.

Henry entered Parliament in 1679 and, as a statesman, was one of the Immortal Seven (the author of the letter, in fact) to invite the Protestant William III of Orange to take the throne through the Glorious Revolution, when King James II was deposed under legislation passed to exclude Charles II's Catholic brother (the Duke of York) from the succession. King William created Sydney Baron Milton and Viscount Sydney in 1689.

He was present at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, and was later to become employed by King William as envoy to the Hague and also served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland for the period between 1692 and 1693 and was created Earl of Romney in 1694, but began to lose favour at the court under Queen Anne.

Henry Sidney served as Master-General of the Ordnance from 1693 to 1702. Additionally, he was a Lieutenant-General and Colonel of the First Regiment of Foot Guards (Grenadier Guards). He employed the Sidney family emblem, the pheon or broad arrow, on prison uniforms and other government property.[1]

He died unmarried, in London, 'a proud but drunken man' aged 63.

The University of Nottingham Library is in possession of the catalogue of the papers of Hans William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland which outline much of Sidney’s correspondence.

There further have survived 98 letters between Sidney and George Legge, 1st Baron Dartmouth, which include papers written by Dartmouth during his confinement at the Tower.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Army ordnance, Volume 14, American Ordnance Association, 1933, p. 162. "he caused his arms, a pheon, or double broad- arrow, to be cut on all Crown property, a practice that has survived to this day" Philip Sidney, The Sidneys of Penshurst, 1901, p. 262. "perhaps his greatest claim to fame lies in the fact that, as Master of the Ordnance, he adopted the broad arrow or 'pheon' of the Sidneys as the mark of government property." Keith Spence, The companion guide to Kent and Sussex, 3rd ed. 1999, p. 204.
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Nottingham
Secretary of State for the Northern Department
1690-1692
Succeeded by
The Earl of Nottingham
Preceded by
Lords Justices
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
1692–1693
Succeeded by
Lords Justices
Military offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Grafton
Colonel of the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards
1689–1690
Succeeded by
The 2nd Duke of Schomberg
Vacant
Title last held by
The 1st Duke of Schomberg
Master-General of the Ordnance
1693–1702
Succeeded by
The Duke of Marlborough
Preceded by
The 2nd Duke of Schomberg
Colonel of the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards
1693–1704
Succeeded by
The Duke of Marlborough
Court offices
Preceded by
Sidney Godolphin
Master of the Robes
1679–1685
Succeeded by
Arthur Herbert
Preceded by
The Earl of Portland
Groom of the Stole
1699–1704
Succeeded by
The Duchess of Marlborough
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir John Beaumont
Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports
1691–1702
Succeeded by
Prince George of Denmark
Preceded by
The Lord Teynham
Vice-Admiral of Kent
1689–1702
Succeeded by
The 4th Earl of Winchilsea
Preceded by
The 3rd Earl of Winchilsea
Lord Lieutenant of Kent
jointly with The Earl of Westmorland 1692–1693

1689–1704
Custos Rotulorum of Kent
1689–1704
Peerage of England
New title Earl of Romney
1694–1704
Extinct
Viscount Sidney
1689–1704