Charles Stanhope, 4th Earl of Harrington

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Charles Stanhope, 5th Earl of Harrington
Charles Stanhope.jpg
"A noble aiddecamp", a contemporary etching of Charles Stanhope, 4th Earl of Harrington
Born Charles Stanhope
(1780-04-08)8 April 1780
Died 3 March 1851(1851-03-03) (aged 70)
Title 4th Earl of Harrington
Tenure 1829–1851
Other titles Viscount Petersham
Baron Harrington
Nationality British
Residence Elvaston Castle
Predecessor Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl of Harrington
Successor Leicester Stanhope, 5th Earl of Harrington
Spouse(s) Maria Foote[1]
Issue Charles Stanhope, Viscount Petersham
Lady Jane St. Maur Blanche Stanhope
Parents Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl of Harrington
Jane Fleming
Occupation Peer, soldier

Major-General Charles Stanhope, 4th Earl of Harrington (8 April 1780 – 3 March 1851), styled Viscount Petersham until 1829, was an English peer and man of fashion.

Petersham, the 3rd Earl of Harrington's eldest son, was a Regency buck. He was educated at Eton from 1793 until 1795 on 7 December of that year, he was commissioned an ensign in the Coldstream Guards.[2] He transferred on 26 November 1799 to become a captain-lieutenant in the 10th (Prince of Wales's Own) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons,[3] and was promoted to captain of a troop on 10 May 1800.[4] Petersham purchased a majority in the Queen's Rangers on 23 February 1803.[5] Shortly thereafter, the regiment was reduced and he was placed on half-pay. On 29 December 1804, he exchanged into the 3rd West India Regiment.[6] He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the Army on 25 June 1807. He went on half pay in August 1812,[7] and was promoted to colonel on 4 June 1814.[8] On 10 March 1812, he was appointed a Gentleman of the Bedchamber to King George III. He continued to serve in that post under King George IV until 1829.[9] The family home in London was Harrington House.

Viscount Petersham's manners were affected and he spoke with a kind of lisp. Never seen in public before 6:00 P.M., 'Beau' Petersham was a trendsetter. He attracted the attention and friendship of the then Prince regent who emulated his clothes, his tea drinking and his addiction to snuff. Lord Petersham's sitting room contained canisters of tea in great variety and an equally wide range of snuff. He owned 365 snuff boxes and used a different one on each day of the year.

Tall and handsome, Lord Petersham was said to resemble Henry IV; he emphasised the likeness by growing a small pointed beard. He designed many of his own clothes and his fashions were quickly copied. He gave his name to the Harrington hat and Petersham overcoat. The Prince Regent ordered an overcoat in the Petersham style for each day of the week. Viscount Petersham was famous for the brown color of his coach, clothing, and his servant's livery.

Petersham was almost fifty when he acceded to the Stanhope family title. He finally married in 1831 to Maria Foote, the Covent Garden actress, seventeen years his junior.[1] Their affair had met with the old Earl's disapproval and had been the gossip of London and Derbyshire for several years. The 4th Earl of Harrington had William Barron landscape the park at Elvaston Castle, his father's Gothic confection by James Wyatt. Lewis Cottingham redecorated Wyatt's original entrance hall. Renamed the Hall of the Fair Star it was dedicated to the chivalrous pursuit of love. The new Countess was in her element in this make-believe world of chivalry.

The 4th Earl and Maria had two children:

Upon his death, the earl was succeeded by his brother, Leicester Stanhope, 5th Earl of Harrington.

Australian tea company The Devotea has offered a tea named after him since 2010. 'Lord Petersham' is their biggest selling blend in North America. They also named one after his sister Anna Russell, the Duchess of Bedford.

Styles of address[edit]

  • 1780–1829: Viscount Petersham
  • 1829–1851: The Right Honourable The Earl of Harrington


  1. ^ a b  "Foote, Maria". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
  2. ^ "No. 13840". The London Gazette. 5 December 1795. p. 1367. 
  3. ^ "No. 15206". The London Gazette. 23 November. p. 1212.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ "No. 15255". The London Gazette. 6 May 1800. p. 446. 
  5. ^ "No. 15557". The London Gazette. 8 February 1803. p. 162. 
  6. ^ "No. 15766". The London Gazette. 25 December 1804. p. 1559. 
  7. ^ "No. 16638". The London Gazette. 25 August 1812. p. 1732. 
  8. ^ "No. 16906". The London Gazette. 7 June 1814. p. 1181. 
  9. ^

External links[edit]

Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
Charles Stanhope
Earl of Harrington
Succeeded by
Leicester Stanhope