John Egerton, 1st Earl of Bridgewater
The son of the Thomas Egerton, 1st Viscount Brackley and Elizabeth Ravenscroft, he was a Member of Parliament (MP) for Callington from 1597 to 1598, and for Shropshire in 1601. Knighted on 8 April 1599, he was Baron of the Exchequer of Chester from 1599 to 1605. In 1603, Egerton was appointed a Knight of the Order of Bath and in 1605, he received a Master of Arts from the University of Oxford. Having succeeded to his father's titles in March 1617, he was created Earl of Bridgewater on 27 May 1617.
Egerton was sworn of the Privy Council in 1626. From 1605 to 1646, he was Custos Rotulorum of Shropshire and from 1628 to 1649 Custos Rotulorum of Buckinghamshire. Between 1631 and 1634, he was Lord President of Wales and Lord Lieutenant of Wales and the Marches of Herefordshire, Monmouthshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire.
John Milton's Comus celebrates the installation of Egerton, as Lord President of Wales, when he was travelling from Chester to Ludlow, his daughter got lost in the forest. Egerton died intestate and was buried in Little Gaddesden.
The 1st Earl of Bridgewater is commemorated by a memorial at the Bridgewater Chapel at St. Peter and St. Paul Church, Little Gaddesden, Hertfordshire. In the early 17th century, the 1st Earl's father had purchased Ashridge House, one of the largest country houses in England, from Queen Elizabeth I, who had inherited it from her father who had appropriated it after the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539. Ashridge House served the Egerton family as a residence until the 19th century. The Egertons later had a family chapel with burial vault in Little Gaddesden Church, where many monuments commemorate the Dukes and Earls of Bridgewater and their families. Lord Bridgewater died on 4 December 1649.
On 27 June 1602, Egerton married Lady Frances Stanley, daughter of the Ferdinando Stanley, 5th Earl of Derby and Lady Alice Spencer, Lord Egerton's step-mother. Coincidentally, Frances's mother Alice married, after Ferdinando Stanley's death, on 20 October 1600, John's father Thomas Egerton, 1st Viscount Brackley. John and Frances had eight children:
- Lady Elizabeth Egerton (d. 1688), married David Cecil, 3rd Earl of Exeter
- Lady Mary Egerton (d. 1659), married Richard Herbert, 2nd Baron Herbert of Chirbury
- Lady Frances Egerton (d.1664), married Sir John Hobart, 2nd Baronet
- Lady Alice Egerton (d. 1689), married Richard Vaughan, 2nd Earl of Carbery as his third wife.
- Lady Arabella Egerton (d. 1669), married Oliver St John, 5th Baron St John of Bletso
- James Egerton, Viscount Brackley (1616–1620), died young
- Charles Egerton, Viscount Brackley (b. 1623), died young
- John Egerton, 2nd Earl of Bridgewater (1623–1686)
- Debrett's Peerage, 1968, p.1077, Duke of Sutherland
- Bridgewater Chapel at Little Gaddesden Church, accessed 24 July 2015
- Monuments in the Bridgewater Chapel, accessed 24 July 2015
- Burke's 106th edition, p.1233, has his marriage as being in circa 1601
- Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume II, page 272.
- The Earl of Bridgewater and the English Civil War C L Hamilton, Canadian Journal of History, xv (1980), pp. 357–69
Sir Richard Leveson
|Custos Rotulorum of Shropshire
The Duke of Buckingham
|Custos Rotulorum of Buckinghamshire
The Earl of Northampton
|Lord President of Wales,
Lord Lieutenant of Wales,
Shropshire and Worcestershire
|Peerage of England|
|New creation||Earl of Bridgewater