George Spencer-Churchill, 8th Duke of Marlborough

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The Duke of Marlborough

George Charles Spencer-Churchill00.jpg
The Duke of Marlborough, 1876.
Member of the House of Lords
as Duke of Marlborough
In office
16 April 1883 – 9 November 1892
Preceded byJohn Spencer-Churchill
Succeeded byCharles Spencer-Churchill
Personal details
Born13 May 1844
Died9 November 1892(1892-11-09) (aged 48)
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England

George Charles Spencer-Churchill, 8th Duke of Marlborough, DL (13 May 1844 – 9 November 1892), styled Earl of Sunderland until 1857 and Marquess of Blandford between 1857 and 1883, was a British peer.

Background and education[edit]

Marlborough was the eldest son of John Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough and Lady Frances Anne Emily Vane, daughter of Charles Vane, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry. He was the elder brother of Lord Randolph Churchill and the uncle of Winston Churchill. He was educated at Eton College between 1857 and 1860 and later joined the army, gaining the rank of Lieutenant in 1863 in the service of the Royal Horse Guards.[1] He was initiated into the rite of Freemasonry in January 1871 along with his brother Randolph, in the Churchill Lodge in London.[2][3]


Marlborough married firstly, Lady Albertha Frances Anne Hamilton, daughter of James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Abercorn, on 8 November 1869 at Westminster Palace. She was unkindly described by her mother-in-law as "stupid, pious and dull". They were divorced on 20 November 1883, shortly after Marlborough inherited the dukedom after the death of his father.[1] Though the new duchess was technically Albertha, Duchess of Marlborough after their divorce, she preferred to use the title she used throughout most of the couple's married life and was known as Albertha, Marchioness of Blandford.[citation needed] They had four children:

While married to Albertha, he fathered an illegitimate son, initially known as Guy Bertrand and later known as Guy Bertrand Spencer (b. 4 November 1881),[4] by Edith Peers-Williams (d. 1897)[5][6] who was still married to Heneage Finch, 7th Earl of Aylesford (1849–1885). In an attempt to pressure Lord Aylesford to drop his divorce suit, Lady Aylesford and Marlborough's younger brother, Lord Randolph Churchill, threatened the Princess of Wales that they would subpoena the Prince of Wales (who was touring India at the time) as a witness in the divorce.[7]

  • Guy Bertrand Spencer, whom Marlborough reportedly cared more for than his legitimate children,[8] worked in a brewery.[9] He married, in 1910,[10][11] Lily Blanche Minnie Saville (1876-1953),[12]who was a coachman's daughter.[13] Spencer served in the Royal Garrison Artillery during World War I.[14] At the end of his life he lived at 2 Glaziers Lane, Normandy, Surrey, England, and died in hospital at Knaphill, Woking, Surrey, on 31 March 1950.[15]

The duke was cited as one of four co-respondents in the sensational divorce trial of Lady Colin Campbell.[citation needed] He married, as his second wife, (Jane) Lilian Warren Price (1854–1909), the widow of Louis Carré Hammersley, a New York real-estate millionaire, and a daughter of retired United States Navy Commodore Cicero Price. The civil marriage took place on 29 June 1888 at New York City Hall, with the ceremony officiated by the Mayor of New York City, Abram S. Hewitt. A religious ceremony followed the same day, in the chancel of Tabernacle Baptist Church and presided over by its minister, Dr. Daniel C. Potter.[16] There were no issue from this marriage.

The 8th Duke of Marlborough died in 1892, aged 48 at Blenheim Palace, and was succeeded by his only legitimate son, Charles, Marquess of Blandford.[1]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Lundy, Darryl. "p. 10595 § 105941 George Charles Spencer-Churchill, 8th Duke of Marlborough". The Peerage.[unreliable source]
  2. ^ Churchill, Lord Randolph. "Churchill Freemason". Churchills who were Freemasons. freemasons-freemasonry/com. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  3. ^ Churchill, Randolph. "Masonic Papers". The Development of the Craft in England. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  4. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "p. 5658 § 56577 Guy Bertrand". The Peerage.[unreliable source]
  5. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "p. 2731 § 27301 Edith Peers-Williams". The Peerage.[unreliable source]
  6. ^ Mary S. Lovell, "The Churchills: In Love and War", W. W. Norton & Company, 9 May 2011. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  7. ^ Richard Toye (2007) Lloyd George and Churchill
  8. ^ Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill and Alexandra Parson, Blenheim and the Churchill Family, Rizzoli, 2005, page 151
  9. ^ 1911 England Census, accessed on on 25 July 2018
  10. ^ 1911 England Census, access on on 25 July 2018
  11. ^ England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915, accessed on on 25 July 2018
  12. ^ England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995, accessed on on 25 July 2018
  13. ^ 1881 English Census, accessed on on 25 July 2018
  14. ^ British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920, access on on 25 July 2019
  15. ^ England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995, accessed on on 25 July 2018
  16. ^ "An American Duchess; The Duke of Marlborough Marries Mrs. Hamersley; A Civil Marriage Ceremony before Mayor Hewitt and a Religious Ceremony in Church", The New York Times, 30 June 1888, page 1

External links[edit]

Peerage of England
Preceded by
John Spencer-Churchill
Duke of Marlborough
Succeeded by
Charles Spencer-Churchill