William Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, 7th Earl Fitzwilliam

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William ("Billy") Charles de Meuron Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, 7th Earl Fitzwilliam, DSO (25 July 1872 – 15 February 1943 Wentworth Woodhouse), styled Viscount Milton 1877–1902, was a British aristocrat.

The 7th Earl Fitzwilliam


He was born in Pointe de Meuron, Canada and died at the family's seat. He sat in the House of Commons for Wakefield from 1895 until 1902, when he inherited the title Earl Fitzwilliam on the death of his grandfather William Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, 6th Earl Fitzwilliam. His father William Wentworth-FitzWilliam, Viscount Milton had pre-deceased him.

He was a Captain of the 4th Battalion Oxfordshire Light Infantry, served 1893–94 as Aide-de-camp to Lord Lansdowne, Viceroy of India, and as captain on the headquarters staff in the Second Boer War 1900. He was appointed High Sheriff of Rutland for 1898–99.[1]


On 24 June 1896, at St Paul's Cathedral, he married Lady Maud Frederica Elizabeth Dundas (b. 9 July 1877 Upleatham d. 15 March 1967), the daughter of Lawrence Dundas, 1st Marquess of Zetland. They had five children;

  • Lady Maud Lillian Elfreda Mary Wentworth-Fitzwilliam (b. 19 August 1898 – 1979; married the 3rd Earl of Wharncliffe
  • Lady Marjorie Joan Mary Wentworth-Fitzwilliam (19 October 1900 – 7 December 2001)
  • Lady Donatia Faith Mary Wentworth-Fitzwilliam (14 March 1904 – 20 October 1943)
  • Lady Helena Albreda Marie Gabrielle Wentworth-Fitzwilliam (25 May 1907 – 1970)
  • William Henry Lawrence Peter Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, 8th Earl Fitzwilliam (31 December 1910 – 13 May 1948)

On his succession to the Earldom, he became one of the richest men in Britain, inheriting an estate of significant land, industrial and mineral-right holdings worth £3.3 billion in 2007 terms.[2]


The unusual circumstances of his birth in a remote part of Canada's frontier lands were later to cause major controversy within the family. The accusation was that he was a changeling: an unrelated baby inserted into the family line, to purge the bloodline of the epilepsy from which his ostensible forebears had suffered, and to provide that arm of the family with a male heir to inherit the Earldom.[3]


  1. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26945. p. 1414. 8 March 1898. Retrieved 2011-04-12.
  2. ^ Bailey, C (2007). Black Diamonds: The Rise and Fall of an English Dynasty, London: Penguin. ISBN 978-0-670-91542-2
  3. ^ ibid. pp. 14–35

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Albany Hawkes Charlesworth
Member of Parliament for Wakefield
Succeeded by
Edward Brotherton
Preceded by
Thomas Bartholomew Curran
Baby of the House
Succeeded by
Samuel Scott
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
William Wentworth-FitzWilliam
Earl Fitzwilliam
Succeeded by
Peter Wentworth-FitzWilliam