William Harcourt, 3rd Earl Harcourt

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
William Harcourt
3rdEarlHarcourt.jpg
The Earl Harcourt
Born 20 March 1743
Died 17 June 1830 (aged 87)
St Leonard's Hill, Berkshire
Buried at Stanton Harcourt, Oxfordshire
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1759 – 1811
Rank Field Marshal
Commands held 16th Light Dragoons
Battles/wars Seven Years' War
American Revolutionary War
French Revolutionary Wars
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
A 1796 map showing the strategies of the opposing armies at the Battle of White Plains during which Harcourt commanded the 16th Light Dragoons

Field Marshal William Harcourt, 3rd Earl Harcourt, GCB (20 March 1743 – 17 June 1830) was a British nobleman and British Army officer. He served as an aide-de-camp to Lord Albemarle for the expedition to Havana during the Seven Years' War. He also commanded his regiment at the Battle of White Plains and then captured General Charles Lee at Basking Ridge during the American Revolutionary War. After that he commanded the British Cavalry at the Battle of Willems during the Flanders Campaign. He succeeded the Duke of York as commander during that campaign and oversaw the British retreat and their final evacuation from Bremen. His last main military role was as Governor of the Royal Military College at Great Marlow.

Military career[edit]

Born the younger son of Simon Harcourt, 1st Earl Harcourt and Rebecca Harcourt (née Samborne Le Bas),[1] Harcourt was commissioned as an ensign in the First Regiment of Foot Guards on 10 August 1759.[2] He became a captain in the 16th Light Dragoons, a regiment which had been raised at his father's expense and was had been known as "Harcourt's Black Horse", on 27 October 1759. He transferred to the 3rd Dragoons on 30 June 1760 and was subsequently sent to Mecklenburg-Strelitz (with his father) to escort the consort-elect of King George III to England. In recognition of this mission he was appointed an equerry to the Queen Consort later that year.[1]

Harcourt served as an aide-de-camp to Lord Albemarle for the expedition to Havana in 1762 during the Seven Years' War.[2] He was promoted to lieutenant colonel and given command of the 31st Regiment of Foot in November 1764, of the 4th Light Dragoons in April 1765 and of the 16th Light Dragoons in June 1768.[2] He also served as Member of Parliament for Oxford from 1768 to 1774.[2] He commanded the 16th Light Dragoons at the Battle of White Plains in October 1776 and then captured General Charles Lee at Basking Ridge in December 1776 during the American Revolutionary War.[3] Promoted to colonel on 29 August 1777, he became aide-de-camp to the King in September 1777[4] and honorary colonel of the 16th Light Dragoons in October 1779.[5] He bought St Leonard's Hill in Clewer from the Duke of Gloucester in 1781[6] and, having been promoted to major-general on 20 November 1782, he was then appointed Deputy Ranger of Windsor Great Park.[1]

Promoted to lieutenant-general on 18 October 1793,[7] Harcourt commanded the British Cavalry at the Battle of Willems in May 1794 during the Flanders Campaign. Appointed governor of Fort William on 21 March 1794,[8] he succeeded the Duke of York as commander during the Flanders Campaign and oversaw the British retreat and their final evacuation from Bremen in Spring 1795.[3] On his return he was appointed Governor of Kingston-upon-Hull.[9]

Harcourt was promoted to full general on 1 January 1798[10] and he became the first Governor of the Royal Military College at Great Marlow in June 1801.[11] Appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Berkshire in November 1801,[12] he succeeded his elder brother, George Simon Harcourt, 2nd Earl Harcourt, to the earldom in April 1809 and was appointed Governor of Portsmouth in July 1811.[1] Appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath on 20 May 1820 and promoted to field marshal on 17 July 1821,[13] Harcourt bore the Union standard at the coronation of George IV on 19 July 1821.[1] He went on to become Governor of Plymouth in 1827.[14]

Harcourt died at St Leonard's Hill on 17 June 1830 and was buried at Stanton Harcourt in Oxfordshire. The estates passed to a cousin, Edward Vernon, who was Archbishop of York; on inheriting the estates Vernon changed his name to Harcourt. Statues of Lord Harcourt were commissioned from Robert William Sievier and erected at St Michael's Church in Stanton Harcourt and in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.[1]

Family[edit]

On 3 September 1778 Harcourt married Mary, widow of Thomas Lockhart of Craig House in Scotland, and daughter of the Rev. W. Danby of Farnley in North Yorkshire; they had no children.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "William Harcourt, 3rd Earl Harcourt". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d Heathcote, p. 166
  3. ^ a b Heathcote, p. 167
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 11802. p. 2. 2 September 1777. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 12026. p. 1. 26 October 1779. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  6. ^ "Parishes: Clewer, A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 3". 1923. p. 72-77. Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 13582. p. 913. 15 October 1793. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  8. ^ The London Gazette: no. 11802. p. 266. 29 March 1794. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  9. ^ The London Gazette: no. 13796. p. 743. 14 July 1795. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  10. ^ The London Gazette: no. 14080. p. 22. 6 January 1798. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  11. ^ The London Gazette: no. 15377. p. 691. 20 June 1801. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  12. ^ The London Gazette: no. 15433. p. 1452. 5 December 1801. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  13. ^ The Edinburgh Gazette: no. 2929. p. 203. 24 July 1821. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  14. ^ The London Gazette: no. 18319. p. 2. 2 January 1827. Retrieved 8 June 2014.

Sources[edit]

  • Heathcote, Tony (1999). The British Field Marshals, 1736–1997: A Biographical Dictionary. Barnsley: Leo Cooper. ISBN 0-85052-696-5. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Robert Lee
Sir Thomas Stapleton, Bt
Member of Parliament for Oxford
with George Nares 1768–1771
Lord Robert Spencer 1771–1774

1768–1774
Succeeded by
Lord Robert Spencer
Peregrine Bertie
Military offices
Preceded by
Lt-Gen John Burgoyne
Colonel of the 16th Regiment of Light Dragoons
1779–1830
Succeeded by
Sir John Vandeleur
Preceded by
The Marquess Townshend
Governor of Kingston-upon-Hull
1795–1801
Succeeded by
The Earl of Clanricarde
New office Governor of the Royal Military College
1801–1811
Succeeded by
Sir Alexander Hope
Preceded by
Hon. Henry Fox
Governor of Portsmouth
1811–1826
Succeeded by
Sir William Keppel
Preceded by
The Duke of Wellington
Governor of Plymouth
1827–1830
Succeeded by
The Lord Hill
Court offices
Preceded by
The Lord Selsey
Master of the Robes
1808–1809
Succeeded by
Hon. Henry Sedley
Preceded by
The Earl Harcourt
Master of the Horse to Queen Charlotte
1809–1818
Succeeded by
None
(death of Queen Charlotte)
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
George Harcourt
Earl Harcourt
1809–1830
Succeeded by
Title extinct