Jerome, 2nd Count de Salis

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Hieronimus de Salis, by Joseph Highmore, c1735.

Jérôme de Salis, 2nd Count de Salis-Soglio (8 July 1709 – 8 August 1794) was a Fellow of the Royal Society and sometime British Resident in the Grisons. He was also known as Hieronimus, Gerolamo, Geronimo, Harry, Jerome the grandfather and Monsieur le Comte de Salis.[1]

Family and early life in Chur and London[edit]

House of Commons Journal, showing the Bill Naturalizing Hieronimus De Salis
House of Commons Journal extract: Second reading/Bill sent to a committee, re. Hieronimus de Salis
His wife, the Hon. Mary Fane, Madame de Salis, later Countess de Salis (died 1785)

He was born on 8 July 1709 in Chur, capital of the Grisons, then an independent republic whose rule extended into present-day Italy, including the areas of Chiavenna and the Valtellina. He would be the only surviving son of Colonel Peter de Salis-Soglio (1675–1749), by his wife Margherita (1678–1747), daughter of Hercules de Salis-Soglio.

His father,[2] of a distinguished family,[nb 1] had been a soldier in France, in the Dutch Republic and in England, where he became envoy of the Grisons Republic to the Court of St. James's during the reign of Queen Anne. There he became an Anglophile and made influential friends amongst the Hanoverians. On his return to Chur he resolved to send his son to London and Jerome De Salis became a naturalised British subject by private Act of Parliament on 24 March 1730/31.[3]

Map of Switzerland with today's Canton Grisons shown in red.

On 7 January 1734/35, de Salis married Mary Fane (baptised 18 September 1710), eldest daughter of Charles, the first Viscount Fane. Sir Luke Schaub, Lord Harrington and Lord Cobham were among signatories of the marriage settlement. They were to have four sons: Charles (1736–1781), who died at Hieres; Peter (1738–1807), who became 3rd Count de Salis; Henry Jerome (1740–1810) and William (1741–1750).

Cobham and Schaub's signatures on the De Salis – Fane marriage settlement.[4]

De Salis was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society on 19 March 1741, proposed by Philip, 2nd Earl Stanhope (his wife's cousin), Martin Folkes (former president of the society), Andrew Mitchell, and his brother-in-law, Lord Sandwich.[5] (He may have introduced Sandwich to his native bresaola and hence help to associate his brother-in-law with the sandwich).

Jerome's paternal-grandmother, Perpetua v. Planta-Zuoz, wife of Antonio v. Salis-Soglio.
Jerome's paternal-grandfather, Antonio de Salis-Soglio (1649–1724), vicari des Veltlins.
Jerome's father Peter 1st Count de Salis-Soglio (died 1749) by Godfrey Kneller, circa 1710, (1880's photo).[6]

Diplomatic service in the Grisons[edit]

In 1743, de Salis was appointed British Resident. This means he served as King George II's extraordinary envoy or minister plenipotentiary to the Grisons Leagues. He arrived in Coire on 10 April 1743, and resided there in a public character until 13 March 1750.

In 1748, by a patent dated of 12 March Emperor Francis I created his father Peter, together with his descendants, a Count of the Holy Roman Empire; the father died the following year.

During and after his time as British Resident in the Grisons he lived in both Chur and in Chiavenna and, in the mid-1760s, he started to build an Anglo-Palladian double-pile summer villa[7] in Bondo, a village in the Val Bregaglia between Chiavenna and the Maloja Pass. The house was completed by his son Peter in 1774.

Madame de Salis[edit]

Mrs. Elizabeth Montagu, the blue-stocking, in a letter of circa 1755 to her sister Sarah Scott, mentions Mary de Salis and two of her sisters: My dear Sister, ... I am in hopes of seeing Lady Sandwich this week. I am much charmed with Madame de Salis, her manner, her address, her understanding, are all of the first rate, she has l'esprit orné with a great deal of knowledge of the world. I grieve to think she should return to the Switzerland mountains; she was made for polite society. Miss Charlotte Fane is in good health and spirits; we were at the opera together on Saturday, and she and Madame de Salis were with me on Monday evening...[8]

Return to London[edit]

De Salis returned to London in 1768 and lived in Harley Street until his death on 8 August 1794, at the first door on the left-hand from Cavendish square (then no. 1).[9] In the meantime, his wife lived in Knightsbridge, Margate, Marseilles, Harlington and, from 1780, at Smallborough Green, Isleworth. She died there of dropsy on 31 March 1785 aged 74 and was buried at Harlington, on the same day as her granddaughter, the first of six generations of her family to be buried there.


Margaretha (born 2 July 1704 and died 13 May 1765), married 3 October 1728, Antonio v. Salis-Soglio; Chur Stadtrichter; (born 1702 and died 1765). He was son of commissioner Battista v. Salis-Soglio of the Casa Battista, by Anna v. Salis-Samaden.


Jerome de Salis's ancestors in three generations
Jerome de Salis
Peter, 1st Count de Salis-Soglio

Antonio de Salis-Soglio

Antonio de Salis-Soglio
(Casa Antonio) (1609–82). Brother of Rudolf

Cornelia de Salis
(1624–96). Sister of Margaretha

Perpetua v. Planta-Zuoz

Peter v. Planta-Zuoz

Anna v. Perini

Margherita v. Salis-Soglio

Ercole de Salis-Soglio

Rudolf de Salis-Soglio
(Casa di Mezzo) (1608–80). Brother of Antonio

Cleophea de Salis-Grusch

Maria Magdalena de Salis-Seewis

Jerome de Salis-Seewis

Margherita de Salis
(1627–1707). Sister of Cornelia


  1. ^ Salis's great-grandfather Antonio (1609–1682), with his brothers Rudolph and Friedrich, had bought the seigneurie d'Ober Aich and Engishofen in Thurgau on 10 June 1646. Their father was a Knight of the Order of San Marco (22 August 1603) and in turn his father had been invested an hereditary Knight of the Golden Spur on 11 April 1571 by Pope Pius V, omnibusque masculis eorum descendent in infinitum creatus. Earlier the Venetians had also made him a (life) Knight of the Order of St. Mark.
Sauceboat with the arms of De Salis impaling Fane, for Jerome de Salis and Mary Fane. Marked London, 1734.

Further reading[edit]

Hon. Mary ffane, Madame de Salis, aka Countess de Salis.[10]
De Salis & ffane, marriage settlement, 1734.[11]
Tomb of Jerome's parents. Peter, 1st Count de Salis-Soglio (1675–1749) in Coire, Grisons. Put up by Jerome and his sister. (Photo: 2013).
Jerome de Salis (grayscale scan of a c1900 photo of a now lost original miniature).
  • R. de Salis, Quadrennial di Fano Saliceorum, volume one, London, 2003
  • Rachel Fane De Salis, De Salis Family : English Branch, Henley-on-Thames, 1934.
  • other printed (History of Parliament, GEC, VCH)
  • manuscripts & muniments.
  • C. de Salis, secretary of the British Salis Family Association.
  • Die Zeitschrift Der Kultur, du, Heft Nr. 3, Marz 1989.
  • Der Grafliche Hauser, Band XI [volume 11], Genealogisches Handbuch Des Adels, C. A. Starke Verlag, Limburg an der Lahn, 1983 (pps 331–356).
  • William Coxe, Travels in Switzerland (London, 1789)
in a series of letters to [the son of] William Melmoth, esq.,
printed for T. Cadell, London, three volumes. Dedicated to Henry William Portman,esq., of Bryanston.


'The Honourable JEROME COUNT DE SALIS, deceased', notice for sale in Harley Street, the corner of Cavendish Square, by Skinner & Dyke, for 23 September 1794, in the Morning Chronicle.
  1. ^ Der Grafliche Hauser, Band XI [volume 11], Genealogisches Handbuch Des Adels, C. A. Starke Verlag, Limburg an der Lahn, 1983 (pps 331–356).
  2. ^ Extract of the 1748 (signed Vienna) diploma enobling his father read: ' ...his famous integrity & prudence whilst in the beginning of this century he gave repeated specimens of his diplomatic skill in his embassies to London and to the Hague, and afterwards being devoted to the most august House of Austria and the public welfare in the year 1741 he rendered vain and fruitless the pernicious project of the French to persuade the Grisons to take their part, & furthermore during this whole time with the most faithful attachment gave himself up to the good cause; & furthermore that his son Jerome for several years minister of England in the Grisons was always attentive to cement the bond, of friendship between the Holy Roman Empire the House of Austria, & the King in whose service he was...' '...Being then fully confident that as well he the said Peter de Salis as well as his son Jerome will not omit an opportunity of distinguishing themselves and of deserving well of us, the Holy Roman Empire, and the most Serene House of Austria; we consider him worthy of giving him some testimony of Our special seal and favour, and of transmitting it to the latest posterity...'
  3. ^ "House of Lords Journal, vol. xxiii, March 1731,pp 632 and 649". BHO: British History Online. Retrieved 16 October 2015. 
  4. ^ Fane de Salis MSS
  5. ^ Their citation ran as follows: Jerom de Salis Esqr. of London. A Gentleman of great merit & distinction, being desirous of becoming a fellow of this Honourable Society, we accordingly recommend him as a Person of Learning, well Skill'd in Philosophical & Natural knowledg, and every way qualified to be a usefull and valuable member of the Society. ‘Salis, Jerome de’, Library and Archive catalogue of the Royal Society.
  6. ^ Photographien der Bilder von Vorfahren der Familie von Salis, Chur, 1884
  7. ^ "7 – Bondo". Via Bregaglia (in Italian). Consorzio per la Promozione Turistica della Valchiavenna. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  8. ^ The Letters of Mrs Elizabeth Montagu, published by her nephew & executor, Matthew Montagu, Esq., volume III, London, 1813, page 290.
  9. ^ Fane de Salis MSS
  10. ^ Rachel Fane De Salis, De Salis Family : English Branch, Henley-on-Thames, 1934.
  11. ^ Fane de Salis MSS


Father: Envoy Petrus, Count de Salis.
His sister: Margaretha (1704–1765), wife of Anton de Salis-Soglio (Casa Battista) (1702–1765), Grisons Bundespraesident and Chur Stadrichter. Portrait by Giovanni Pietro Ligario.[1]
Jerome's nephew: Peter à Salis-Soglio (Casa Battista)(Schreibstube) of Coire (1729–1783). Possibly by Angelica Kauffman.
Maternal-grandfather: Ercole (Hercules) de Salis-Solgio (Casa di Mezzo) (1650–1727), Podesta & Bundespraesident.
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Peter, 1st Count
Count de Salis-Soglio
Succeeded by
Peter, 3rd Count
  1. ^ Opere Ligariane in Coira by Camillo Bassi, 1939.