John Duncan Bligh

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Sir John Duncan Bligh KCB, DL (11 October 1798 – 8 May 1872),[1] styled The Honourable from birth, was a British diplomat.


Born in London, he was the second son of John Bligh, 4th Earl of Darnley and his wife Elizabeth, the third daughter of William Brownlow.[2] His mother was the aunt of Charles Brownlow, 1st Baron Lurgan and his older brother was Edward Bligh, 5th Earl of Darnley.[3] Bligh was educated at Eton College[3] and then matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford on 6 May 1818. He received a BA in 1821.[4] He was later elected a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford,[3] where he received a BCL in 1828 and a DCL in 1836.[4]


Bligh entered the diplomatic service and was sent as attaché to the embassy in Vienna in 1820.[2] Three years later he was transferred to Paris and in 1826 a special mission led him to Russia, where he attended the coronation of Emperor Nicholas I.[2] Afterwards he returned to France and became secretary of legation in Florence in 1829.[5] In the following year Bligh was attached to The Hague as secretary of embassy.[6] He served as envoy ad interim from July 1832[7] and came to St Petersburg in September,[8] acting as ambassador.[9]

Bligh was promoted to Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the King of Sweden and Norway in 1835[10] and when King William IV of the United Kingdom died and thereby Hanover's personal union with Great Britain ended, he was admitted as new Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the King of Hanover in 1838.[11] After nine years, he took over also the British diplomatic representation in the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg and the Duchy of Brunswick.[12] Bligh retired in 1856 and on this occasion was awarded a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.[13]

In 1831, Bligh was appointed a captain in the Royal East Kent Yeomanry[14] and in 1857, he was nominated a Deputy Lieutenant of the county of Kent.[15]


On 19 December 1835, he married Elizabeth Mary, the only daughter of Thomas Gisborne at the parish church of Allestree.[16] Their only child, a daughter was named after her mother and became later wife of Walter Pelham, 4th Earl of Chichester.[17] Elizabeth died two years later and Bligh remained a widower until 1865,[17] when he remarried his cousin Anne Julia, fourth daughter of Francis Brownlow at Ardbraccan Rectory on 28 November.[18] Bligh died at Sandgate, Kent in 1872 and was survived by his second wife for ten years.[1]


In 1822, Bligh played for the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in a first-class match, batting twice and scoring 2 each time. Numerous members of his family were involved in cricket.[19]


  1. ^ a b Ruvigny et Raineval, Melville Henry Massue (1994). The Plantagenet Roll of the Blood Royal. Genealogical Publishing Co. p. 387. ISBN 0-8063-1436-2. 
  2. ^ a b c Dod, Robert P. (1860). The Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage of Great Britain and Ireland. London: Whitaker and Co. p. 122. 
  3. ^ a b c Walford, Edward (1860). The County Families of the United Kingdom. London: Robert Hardwicke. p. 59. 
  4. ^ a b Foster, Joseph, ed. (1891). Alumni Oxonienses 1715-1886. A–D. Oxford. p. 123. 
  5. ^ "No. 18598". The London Gazette. 31 July 1829. p. 1438. 
  6. ^ "No. 18746". The London Gazette. 16 November 1830. p. 2398. 
  7. ^ Bindoff, p. 182
  8. ^ "No. 18974". The London Gazette. 7 September 1832. p. 2032. 
  9. ^ Bindoff, p. 116
  10. ^ "No. 19320". The London Gazette. 30 October 1835. p. 1997. 
  11. ^ "No. 19608". The London Gazette. 17 April 1838. p. 912. 
  12. ^ Bindoff, pp. 33, 82
  13. ^ "No. 21927". The London Gazette. 30 September 1856. p. 3223. 
  14. ^ "No. 18785". The London Gazette. 18 March 1831. p. 518. 
  15. ^ "No. 22056". The London Gazette. 30 October 1857. p. 3599. 
  16. ^ "Marriages". The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser. 21 May 1836. p. 3. Retrieved 20 December 2009. 
  17. ^ a b "ThePeerage – Hon. Sir John Duncan Bligh". Retrieved 20 December 2009. 
  18. ^ Sylvanus, Urban (1866). The Gentleman's Magazine. part I. London: Bradbury, Evans and Co. p. 118. 
  19. ^ "John Bligh". CricketArchive. Retrieved 24 March 2013. 


  • Bindoff, Stanley Thomas (1934). Elizabeth Frances Malcolm-Smith and Sir Charles Kingsley Webster, ed. British diplomatic representatives, 1789–1852. Edinburgh: Royal Historical Society. 
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Thomas Cartwright
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
to the King of the Netherlands

ad interim
Jul – Sep 1832
Succeeded by
Hon. George Jerningham
Preceded by
Sir Stratford Canning
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
to the Emperor of Russia

ad interim
Succeeded by
The Earl of Durham
Preceded by
Sir Edward Cromwell Disbrowe
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
to the King of Sweden and Norway

Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Cartwright
Title last held by
The Earl of Clarendon
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
to the King of Hanover

Succeeded by
Sir John Fiennes Crampton
Title last held by
Thomas Grenville
Minister Plenipotentiary
to the Duke of Brunswick

Succeeded by
New office Minister Plenipotentiary
to the Grand Duke of Oldenburg

Succeeded by