George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough
The Duke of Marlborough
KG PC FRS
The Duke of Marlborough, by George Romney.
|Lord Privy Seal|
|Prime Minister||George Grenville|
|Preceded by||The Duke of Bedford|
|Succeeded by||The Duke of Newcastle|
|Prime Minister||The Earl of Bute|
|Preceded by||The Duke of Devonshire|
|Succeeded by||The Earl Gower|
|Born||26 January 1739|
|Died||29 January 1817
|Spouse(s)||Lady Caroline Russell (1743–1811; her death)|
|Allegiance|| Great Britain (1755–1801)
United Kingdom (1801–1817)
|Years of service||1755–1760|
|Unit||Coldstream Guards (1755)
20th Regiment of Foot (1756–1760)
George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough, KG, PC, FRS (26 January 1739 – 29 January 1817), styled Marquess of Blandford until 1758, was a British courtier, nobleman, and politician from the Spencer family. He served as Lord Chamberlain between 1762 and 1763 and as Lord Privy Seal between 1763 and 1765.
Background and education
Styled by the courtesy title Marquess of Blandford from birth, He was the eldest son of Charles Spencer, 3rd Duke of Marlborough, and the Honourable Elizabeth Trevor, daughter of Thomas Trevor, 2nd Baron Trevor. He was the brother of Lord Charles Spencer, Lady Diana Spencer and Lady Elizabeth Spencer. He was educated at Eton College.
Personal traits and characteristics
According to George III, who mentioned it to Fanny Burney, the Duke suffered from severe red-green colourblindness, being unable to tell scarlet from green. Fanny reflected that this was unlucky for someone in possession of so sumptuous a home as Blenheim Palace!
Marlborough entered the Coldstream Guards in 1755 as an Ensign, becoming a Captain with the 20th Regiment of Foot the following year. After inheriting the dukedom in 1758, Marlborough took his seat in the House of Lords in 1760, becoming Lord-Lieutenant of Oxfordshire in that same year. The following year, he bore the sceptre with the cross at the coronation of George III. In 1762, he was made Lord Chamberlain as well as a Privy Counsellor, and after a year resigned this appointment to become Lord Privy Seal, a post he held until 1765. An amateur astronomer, he built a private observatory at his residence, Blenheim Palace. He kept up a lively scientific correspondence with Hans Count von Brühl, another aristocratic dilettante in astronomy.
Marlborough married Lady Caroline Russell, daughter of John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford, in 1762, by whom he had eight children:
- Lady Caroline Spencer (1763–1813), married Henry Agar-Ellis, 2nd Viscount Clifden and had issue, including George Agar-Ellis, 1st Baron Dover.
- Lady Elizabeth Spencer (1764–1812), married her cousin John Spencer (a grandson of the 3rd Duke of Marlborough) and had issue.
- George Spencer-Churchill, 5th Duke of Marlborough (1766–1840)
- Lady Charlotte Spencer (1769–1802), married Rev. Edward Nares and had issue.
- Lord Henry John Spencer (1770–1795)
- Lady Anne Spencer (1773–1865), married Cropley Ashley-Cooper, 6th Earl of Shaftesbury and had issue.
- Lady Amelia Spencer (1774–1829), married Henry Pytches Boyce.
- Lord Francis Almeric Spencer (1779–1845), created Baron Churchill in 1815.
- thepeerage.com George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough
- Burney, F. The Diary of Fanny Burney, Dent (Everyman edition), London, 1971, pages 107-8
- Lee, Sidney, ed. (1898). "Spencer, George (1739-1817)". Dictionary of National Biography. 53. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
- The Collected Correspondence of Baron Franz von Zach, Volume 3 (British Letters), 2008. Edited by Clifford J. Cunningham. Star Lab Press.
Title last held byThe Duke of Marlborough
|Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire
The Earl of Macclesfield
The Marquess Townshend
|Senior Privy Counsellor
Lord Charles Spencer
The Duke of Devonshire
The Earl Gower
The Duke of Bedford
|Lord Privy Seal
The Duke of Newcastle
|Peerage of England|
|Duke of Marlborough