William Cowper-Temple, 1st Baron Mount Temple

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Mount Temple
PC
William Cowper-Temple, Lock & Whitfield woodburytype, 1876-85.jpg
President of the Board of Health
In office
13 August 1855 – 9 February 1857
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Viscount Palmerston
Preceded by Sir Benjamin Hall, Bt
Succeeded by William Monsell
In office
24 September 1857 – 21 February 1858
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Viscount Palmerston
Preceded by William Monsell
Succeeded by Charles Adderley
Paymaster-General and
Vice-President of the Board of Trade
In office
12 August 1859 – 9 February 1860
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Viscount Palmerston
Preceded by James Wilson
Succeeded by William Hutt
First Commissioner of Works
In office
9 February 1860 – 26 June 1866
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Viscount Palmerston
The Earl Russell
Preceded by Hon. Henry FitzRoy
Succeeded by Lord John Manners
Personal details
Born 13 December 1811 (1811-12-13)
Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire
Died 16 October 1888 (1888-10-17)
Broadlands, Hampshire
Nationality British
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) (1) Harriet Gurney
(d. 1843)
(2) Georgiana Tollemache (d. 1901)

William Francis Cowper-Temple, 1st Baron Mount Temple PC (13 December 1811 – 16 October 1888), known as William Cowper (pronounced "Cooper") before 1869 and as William Cowper-Temple between 1869 and 1880, was a British Liberal Party politician and statesman.

Background and education[edit]

Born at Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire, Cowper was the second son of Peter Cowper, 5th Earl Cowper, and the Hon. Emily Mary, daughter of Peniston Lamb, 1st Viscount Melbourne (since his mother had several lovers there is some doubt about hid true paternity). He was the younger brother of George Cowper, 6th Earl Cowper and nephew of Prime Minister Lord Melbourne. His father died in 1837 and in 1839 his mother married another Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, who became Cowper's stepfather.[1] He was educated at Eton. After entering the Royal Horse Guards in 1830, he was promoted Captain five years later, eventually attaining the rank of Major in 1852.[citation needed]

Political career[edit]

In 1835, Cowper was elected Liberal Member of Parliament for Hertford, a seat he held for the next thirty-three years, and became private secretary to his uncle Prime Minister Lord Melbourne. He was appointed a Groom in Waiting in 1837, and in 1841 served for three months as a Lord of the Treasury under Melbourne, only resuming office five years later as a Lord of the Admiralty when the Whigs returned to power under Lord John Russell. He again held this post under Lord Aberdeen from 1852 to 1855, and in the latter year was made Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department by his stepfather Lord Palmerston when he became Prime Minister. In August that same year he was appointed President of the Board of Health,[2] and sworn of the Privy Council.[3] Four years later he became Vice-President of the Board of Trade and Paymaster General, only serving for a year before Palmerston appointed him First Commissioner of Works.[4]

In 1866, on the fall of Lord Russell's government, Cowper left office for good. Two years later he was returned to Parliament for Hampshire South, and held this seat until 1880. He was involved in the 1870 Education Act which set up Board Schools throughout England. He was responsible for the Cowper-Temple clause, an amendment to the Act that allowed parents to withdraw their children from Religious Education.[4]

When his mother died in 1869, he inherited a number of estates under his stepfather's will, and so took that year under Royal licence the additional surname of Temple. The properties included a 10,000 acre estate on Sligo's Mullaghmore peninsula with its unfinished Classiebawn Castle, commissioned by his stepfather, which he completed by 1874. In 1880 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Mount Temple, of Mount Temple in the County of Sligo.[5] This was a revival of the junior title held by the Viscounts Palmerston, which had become extinct along with the viscountcy on his stepfather's death in 1865.

Apart from his political career Lord Mount Temple organized ecumenical conferences at Broadlands.[6] One of the regular speakers there was George MacDonald.[4][citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Lord Mount Temple was twice married. He married firstly Harriet Alicia, daughter of Daniel Gurney, in 1843. After her early death the same year, he married secondly, in 1848, Georgiana Tollemache, daughter of Admiral John Richard Delap Tollemache, and a sister of the 1st Baron Tollemache. Both marriages were childless. He died in October 1888, aged 76,[1] at his home of Broadlands, Hampshire, and was buried at nearby Romsey.[citation needed] His peerage became extinct on his death. Lady Mount Temple died in October 1901, aged 79.[7]

His estates were inherited by his nephew, the Rt. Hon. Evelyn Ashley,[4] the second son of Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury.

Legacy[edit]

The British rock band The Cooper Temple Clause were named after him.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Lundy, Darryl. "William Francis Cowper-Temple, 1st and last Baron Mount Temple of Mount Temple". The Peerage. [unreliable source]
  2. ^ The London Gazette: no. 21762. p. 3083. 14 August 1855.
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 21762. p. 3082. 14 August 1855.
  4. ^ a b c d Pollard 1901.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 24847. p. 3173. 25 May 1880.
  6. ^ Hamilton, Trevor (2009). Immortal Longings: F.W.H. Myers and the Victorian search for life after death. Imprint Academic. pp. 88–89. ISBN 978-1-8454-0248-8. 
  7. ^ "Obituary - Georgiana, Lady Mount Temple" The Times (London). Friday, 18 October 1901. (36589), p. 4.
Attribution

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainPollard, Albert Frederick (1901). "Cowper, William Francis". In Sidney Lee. Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement​. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Vacant
Title last held by
Viscount Ingestre
Viscount Mahon
Member of Parliament for Hertford
18351868
With: Viscount Mahon 1835–52
Thomas Chambers 1852–57
Sir Walter Townshend-Farquhar, Bt 1857–66
Robert Dimsdale from 1866
Succeeded by
Robert Dimsdale
Preceded by
Sir Jervoise Clark-Jervois, Bt
Henry Hamlyn-Fane
Member of Parliament for Hampshire South
18681880
With: Lord Henry Montagu-Douglas-Scott
Succeeded by
Francis Compton
Lord Henry Montagu-Douglas-Scott
Political offices
Preceded by
Hon. Henry FitzRoy
Civil Lord of the Admiralty
1846 – 1852
Succeeded by
Arthur Duncombe
Preceded by
Hon. Arthur Duncombe
Civil Lord of the Admiralty
1852 – 1855
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Preceded by
Hon. Henry FitzRoy
Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department
1855
Succeeded by
William Nathaniel Massey
Preceded by
Sir Benjamin Hall, Bt
President of the Board of Health
1855 – 1857
Succeeded by
William Monsell
New office Vice President of the Council
1857 – 1858
Succeeded by
Charles Adderley
Preceded by
William Monsell
President of the Board of Health
1857 – 1858
Preceded by
James Wilson
Vice-President of the Board of Trade
1859 – 1860
Succeeded by
William Hutt
Paymaster-General
1859 – 1860
Preceded by
Hon. Henry FitzRoy
First Commissioner of Works
1860 – 1866
Succeeded by
Lord John Manners
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Mount Temple
1880 – 1888
Extinct