George Granville, 1st Baron Lansdowne

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Lord Lansdowne

George Granville, 1st Baron Lansdowne
Secretary at War
In office
Preceded byRobert Walpole
Succeeded bySir William Wyndham
Personal details
Birdcage Walk, London

(1666-03-09)9 March 1666
Died29 January 1735(1735-01-29) (aged 68)
Hanover Square, London
Mary Villiers
m. 1711⁠–⁠1735)
  • Bernard Granville
  • Anne Morley
Alma materTrinity College, Cambridge
Arms of Granville: Gules, three clarions or

George Granville, 1st Baron Lansdowne PC (9 March 1666 – 29 January 1735), of Stowe, Cornwall, was an English Tory politician who sat in the English and British House of Commons from 1702 until 1712, when he was raised to the peerage as Baron Lansdown and sat in the House of Lords. He was Secretary at War during the Harley administration from 1710 to 1712. He was also a noted poet and made a name for himself with verses composed on the visit of Mary of Modena, then Duchess of York, while he was at Cambridge in 1677. He was also playwright, following in the style of John Dryden.


Granville was the son of Bernard Granville, the fourth son of Sir Bevil Grenville (1596-1643) of Bideford in Devon and Stowe in the parish of Kilkhampton in Cornwall, a heroic Royalist commander in the Civil War. (The family changed the spelling of its name in 1661 from "Grenville" to "Granville", following the grant of the titles Baron Granville and Earl of Bath).[1] His uncle was John Granville, 1st Earl of Bath (1628-1701) whose half-first-cousin was George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle, who both played leading roles in the restoration of the monarchy to King Charles II in 1660. He was heir male of William Granville, 3rd Earl of Bath (1692-1711),[2] the 19-year-old son of his first cousin Charles Granville, 2nd Earl of Bath (1661–1701), lord of the manors of Bideford in Devon and of Stowe, Kilkhampton, Cornwall. These connections guaranteed that Granville began life as a staunch Tory and Jacobite.


Granville as depicted in Walpole's A Catalogue of the Royal and Noble Authors, 1806.

Granville was sent to France at the age of ten, with his tutor, William Ellis, who was a proponent of passive resistance and later a servant of James II at St Germain. He entered Trinity College, Cambridge in 1677.[3] Among his productions while there were poems welcoming Mary of Modena when she visited the university. In 1682, he went to Paris with his brother Sir Bevill Granville, where they studied fencing, riding, dancing, mathematics and military science. He stayed in France until 1687, accumulating a £500 debt. He then lived in England at his mother's house at Marr, near Doncaster. His early interests were literary and by the mid-1690s he had befriended John Dryden and begun to write plays.[4] He wrote an undistinguished comedy of manners entitled The She Gallants, which was staged unsuccessfully in 1695. His adult plays bear the marks of Dryden's influence. The Heroick Love is taken from the first book of Homer's Iliad. Granville also followed Dryden in adapting Shakespeare and Granville's The Jew of Venice (1701) was a successful updating of The Merchant of Venice. Perhaps his greatest success was The British Enchanters (1705), a pseudo-operatic extravaganza staged by Thomas Betterton's company.

In the opinion of Samuel Johnson, Granville's non-dramatic poetry is slavishly imitative of Edmund Waller. However some of his poetry was popular in its day. Perhaps Granville's most useful act as regards poetry was the encouragement he gave to Alexander Pope, which Pope remembered with gratitude in his Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot.

Political life[edit]

Heraldic achievement of George Granville, 1st Baron Lansdowne, detail from parapet of Queen Anne's Walk, Barnstaple, Devon, completed circa 1713. Motto of Granville, Baron Lansdowne: Deo, Patriae, Amicis ("For God, my Country and Friends"). The motto of his uncle John Granville, 1st Earl of Bath was: Futurum invisibile ("The future is unseen")[5]

The death of Granville's parents and of his uncle the 1st Earl of Bath in 1701 placed Granville in a position of power which the accession of Queen Anne in 1702 allowed him to employ. With the help of his cousin, Hon. John Granville, an influential Tory leader, he was elected Member of Parliament for Fowey at the 1702 English general election. When his elder brother, Sir Bevill Granville, was appointed Governor of Barbados, Granville inherited his office as constable of Pendennis Castle in 1703. In Parliament, he operated in the sphere of Harley, who was an indifferent patron at first. He was absent from the division on the Tack, becoming labelled a ‘Sneaker’. He was returned unopposed for Fowey at the 1705 English general election and with the help of Harley fended of an attempt to remove him from his post at Pendennis Castle. His aspiration to obtain a post led him to support the Court in voting for the Court candidate as Speaker on 25 October 1705, and he again supported the Court on the ‘place clause’ of the regency bill in February 1706. At the 1708 general election, he was returned again for Fowey. The height of his fame during the Godolphin-Marlborough administration came from his spirited defence of Henry Sacheverell in 1710.[4]

After the fall of the Godolphin government, Granville became MP for Cornwall at the 1710 British general election, and on 28 September 1710 he was made Secretary at War.[6] In this capacity, he oversaw the passage of important bills on munitions and recruitment. However, his experience in the Tory government was marked by family and legal strife. He was the heir male to the senior line of the Granville family following the death without progeny in 1711 of his cousin William Granville, 3rd Earl of Bath. He was not in succession to the earldom and was in recognition raised to the peerage on 1 January 1712 as Baron Lansdown of Bideford[7] in the Peerage of Great Britain and vacated his seat in the House of Commons. He expended time and money in an ultimately futile effort to secure the title of Earl of Bath. Despite some success, his tenure in the War Office was marred by accusations of corruption and expensive contested elections. He was made a Privy Counsellor in 1712.[4]

In 1714 Queen Anne was succeeded by the Hanoverian King George I, who favoured the Whigs. Almost all the Tories who held office under Anne were dismissed, including Lord Lansdown. Embittered, he began a secret correspondence with the Jacobite Old Pretender "James III". On 6 October 1721 James, who refused to recognise his peerage "Baron Lansdown" bestowed by Queen Anne,[8] created him "Lord of Lansdown"," Viscount [ ]" and "Earl of Bath" in the Jacobite Peerage of England, with remainder to his heirs male. On 3 November 1721 James created him "Duke of Albemarle", "Marquis Monck and Fitzhemmon", "Earl of Bath", "Viscount Bevel", and "Baron Lansdown of Bideford" in the Jacobite Peerage of England, which supposed titles had no legal validity in the Kingdom of Great Britain. One of these titles referred to his family's supposed descent (officially confirmed to the 1st Earl of Bath by warrant of King Charles II in 1661[9]) from Richard I de Grenville ( 1142) of Neath Castle, one of the Twelve Knights of Glamorgan and a brother and follower of Robert FitzHamon the Norman conqueror of Glamorgan. The titles Monck and Albemarle referred to the fact that the 1st Earl of Bath had been granted reversion of his cousin Monck's Dukedom of Albemarle, should the Duke have died without male progeny.[10] The title "Lansdown" referred to Lansdown Hill near Bath in Somerset where his grandfather Sir Bevil Grenville had met his heroic death at the Battle of Lansdown in 1643. The titles created on 3 November 1721 were with remainder to the heirs male of his body, whom failing to his brother, Bernard Granville, and the heirs male of his body.


On 15 December 1711 in the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields in Westminster, London, he married (as her 2nd husband) Mary Villiers, the daughter of Edward Villiers, 1st Earl of Jersey (1656–1711) and the widow of Thomas Thynne, 1st Viscount Weymouth.

Death and burial[edit]

He died in London on 29 January 1735, his wife having predeceased him by a few days, and was buried with her in the Church of St Clement Danes on 3 February 1735. He left no male progeny, and thus at his death the Barony of Lansdowne became extinct. His Jacobite titles, such as they were, were inherited by his nephew Bernard Granville, son of his brother Bernard. The younger Bernard died in 1776, when the Jacobite peerages created on 3 November 1721 became extinct, while those created on 6 October 1721 passed to his heir male.[11]

His widely hold works[edit]

  • George Granville Lansdowne, Baron (1732). A letter to the author of Reflexions historical and political : Occasioned by a treatise In Vindication of General Monk, and Sir Richard Granville, &c. By the Right Honourable George Granville, Lord Lansdowne. London : Printed for J. Tonson in the Strand ; And L. Gilliver in Fleetstreet, MDCCXXXII.
  • George Granville Lansdowne, Baron (1779-1780).The poetical works : of the Right Hon. Geo. Granville, Lord Landsdowne. With the life of the author.Edinburg : At the Apollo Press, by the Martins.
  • George Granville Lansdowne, Baron. Select poems of George Granville, Lord Lansdowne. With a life of the author.Works of the British poets ... v. 17, p. [157]-203
  • George Granville Lansdowne, Baron (1736). The genuine works in verse and prose, of the Right Honourable George Granville, Lord Lansdowne.London : Printed for J. and R. Tonson, at Shakespear's Head in the Strand, and L. Gilliver, J. Clarke, at Homer's Head in Fleetstreet, MDCCXXXVI
  • George Granville Lansdowne, Baron (1807).The poetical works of George Granville, Lord Landsdowne [sic] : with the life of the author. Printed for Cadell and Davies ... and Samuel Bagster.
  • George Granville Lansdowne, Baron (1785).Ode to Lansdown-hill, with notes, mostly relative to the Granville family : to which are added, two letters of advice from George lord Lansdown, anno MDCCXI, to William Henry earl of Bath.London : Printed by J. Nichols, for W. Randall, Pall-Mall
  • George Granville Lansdowne, Baron (1732). A letter to the author of Reflexions historical and political, occasioned by a treatise in vindication of General Monk and Sir Richard Granville, &c.London : Printed for J. Tonson ..., and L. Gilliver.
  • George Granville Lansdowne, Baron (1736).The genuine works in verse and prose.London : Tonson.[12]


"Mankind, from Adam, have been women's fools;
Women, from Eve, have been the devil's tools:
Heaven might have spar'd one torment when we fell;
Not left us women, or not threatened hell."—She-Gallants.[13]

"Happy the man, of mortals happiest he,
Whose quiet mind from vain desires is free;
Whom neither hopes deceive nor fears torment,
But lives at peace, within himself content;
In thought or act accountable to none
But to himself and to the gods alone."—Epistle to Mrs. Higgins.[14]


  1. ^ J. Horace Round, Family Origins and Other Studies, ed. Page, William, 1930, p.164, The Granvilles and the Monks, p.130
  2. ^ J. Horace Round, Family Origins and Other Studies, ed. Page, William, 1930, p.164, The Granvilles and the Monks, p.141
  3. ^ "Grenville, George, Baron Lansdowne (GRNL677G)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  4. ^ a b c "GRANVILLE, George (1666-1735), of Stowe, Cornw". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  5. ^ As seen on his heraldic achievement in the Church of St James the Great, Kilkhampton, Cornwall
  6. ^ Haydn, Joseph, Book of Dignities (London: Longman, Brown, Green & Longman, 1851), p. 190.
  7. ^ Round, p.141
  8. ^ The new patent referred to him as "George Granvill, commonly called Lord Lansdown..." (Round, p.141)
  9. ^ Round, p.140
  10. ^ Round, p.140
  11. ^ Melville de Massue de Ruvigny, The Jacobite Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage & Grants of Honour (Edinburgh: T.C. & E.C. Jack, 1904), 15-16
  12. ^ Lansdowne, George Granville, Baron, 1667–1735 Retrieved on 10 Jan 2018.
  13. ^ Bohn, Henry G. (1867). “Woman, Women,” in A Dictionary of Quotations from the English Poets (p. 702). London: Printed for private distribution.
  14. ^ Hoyt, J. K. and Ward, Anna L. (1894). “Content,” in The Cyclopædia of Practical Quotations (p. 66). London: Funk and Wagnalls Company.

External links[edit]

Parliament of England
Preceded by
John Williams
John Hicks
Member of Parliament for Fowey
With: John Hicks
Succeeded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Parliament of England
Member of Parliament for Fowey
With: John Hicks 1707–1708
Henry Vincent 1708–1710
Succeeded by
Henry Vincent
Viscount Dupplin
Preceded by
Sidney Godolphin
Sir John Evelyn
Member of Parliament for Helston
With: Sidney Godolphin
Succeeded by
Sidney Godolphin
Robert Child
Preceded by
Hugh Boscawen
James Buller
Member of Parliament for Cornwall
With: John Trevanion
Succeeded by
John Trevanion
Sir Richard Vyvyan, Bt
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Bevil Granville
Governor of Pendennis Castle
Succeeded by
Richard Munden
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Walpole
Secretary at War
Succeeded by
Sir William Wyndham, Bt
Preceded by
Sir John Holland, Bt
Comptroller of the Household
Succeeded by
Sir John Stonhouse, Bt
Preceded by
The 1st Earl of Cholmondeley
Treasurer of the Household
Succeeded by
The 1st Earl of Cholmondeley