Robert Stewart, 1st Marquess of Londonderry

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Robert Stewart, 1st Marquess of Londonderry PC (Ire) (27 September 1739 – 6 April 1821), was an Irish politician and landowner, the father of politician Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh. He was also an ancestor of Winston Churchill.

Early life in Dublin[edit]

Stewart was born in 1739, son of Alexander Stewart alderman of Londonderry in 1760 and the nephew of Robert Cowan, the wealthy Governor of Bombay[1]

As the second son he expected to take up the linen trading business in Dublin. He did so and it is for this reason that his first son was born in Dublin. His offices traded with many Baltic cities such Sankt Petersburg, Reval and Memel. At the death of his older brother he moved to Ulster to be closer to his father and look after the family properties in Donegal, Londonderry and Down.

Irish House of Commons 1771–1783 as representative for Co. Down[edit]

He was elected to the Irish House of Commons in 1771 as member for Down. Between 1775 and 1783 he lived in Bangor with his wife while his father was living in Mount Stewart.

In 1779 he organised the Newtownards Company of 115 men worried at the presence of American and French vessels in the Irish sea. When he lost his seat in 1783 he was appointed Irish Privy council. In this year he inherited his father's properties in Co. Londonderry and Co. Down and settled at Mount Stewart on which grounds he built the Temple of the Winds. He married twice: his first wife was Lady Sarah Frances Seymour-Conway (27 September 1747 – 20 July 1770) on 7 June 1775, he married Frances, daughter of Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden.[2]

Privy Councillor[edit]

In 1783 he was made Privy Councillor in the same year as Edmund Burke In 1786 he had the Temple of the Winds constructed on his estate at Mount Stewart

Irish House of Lords[edit]

In 1789 he was created Baron Londonderry in the Peerage of Ireland. The following year he took his son (the future Viscount Castlereagh) out of Cambridge University and had him run for the seat Co. Down in the Parliament in Dublin which he won. In 1795 became Viscount Castlereagh. The following year he was promoted to Earl of Londonderry. His second son at this point also gained a seat in the Dublin Parliament.[citation needed]

Act of Union 1800[edit]

Robert Stewart and his two sons favoured the Act of Union and had fought to have it presented once more after it had been turned down in 1799.

Irish representative peer and British House of Lords[edit]

As a result of the vote he obtained a seat in the House of Lords in London which he never took up. In 1816 was created Marquess of Londonderry, again in the Peerage of Ireland. From 1801 until his death he was also an Irish representative peer.

He died at his home of Mount Stewart, County Down, and was buried at nearby Priory of Newtownards together with his father.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Cowan inheritance". The Londonderry Estate Office Archive. Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  2. ^  Rigg, J. M. (1896). "Pratt, Charles (1714-1794)". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography 46. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 
Parliament of Ireland
Preceded by
Roger Hall
Bernard Ward
Member of Parliament for Down
1771–1783
With: Roger Hall 1771–1776
Arthur Hill, Viscount Kilwarlin 1776–1783
Succeeded by
Arthur Hill, Viscount Kilwarlin
Hon. Edward Ward
Peerage of Ireland
New creation Marquess of Londonderry
1816–1821
Succeeded by
Robert Stewart
Earl of Londonderry
1796–1821
Viscount Castlereagh
1795–1821
Baron Londonderry
1789–1821