John Hervey, 7th Marquess of Bristol

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For other people with similar names, see John Hervey (disambiguation) or Frederick Hervey (disambiguation).
The Marquess of Bristol
John Hervey 7th Marquess Bristol.jpg
Born (1954-09-15)15 September 1954
Died 10 January 1999(1999-01-10) (aged 44)
Title Marquess of Bristol
Spouse(s) Francesca Fisher

Frederick William John Augustus Hervey, 7th Marquess of Bristol (15 September 1954 – 10 January 1999), also known as John Jermyn and John Hervey,[1] was a British aristocrat and businessman, notable for both his wealth and its use to fund his vices, which included drug addiction, illegal activity related to drugs, flamboyant homosexuality and dissipated lifestyle.


John was born five years into the marriage between Pauline Bolton, daughter of a Kent businessman, and Victor Hervey, 6th Marquess of Bristol;[2] he was their only child and his parents divorced when he was five years old.

His mother remarried, giving him Teddy Lambton, a Newmarket racehorse trainer, for a stepfather,[2] and then a half-brother, George, who became a Conservative councillor.[3]

His father remarried, giving him a half-brother, Lord Nicholas Hervey, by his second marriage, to Lady Anne Juliet Dorothea Maud Wentworth Fitzwilliam (currently Lady Juliet Tadgell), the only child of Peter Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, 8th Earl Fitzwilliam.

His father's final marriage was to his then private secretary, Yvonne Marie Sutton in 1974,[1] giving him three more half-siblings, the incumbent Frederick Hervey, 8th Marquess of Bristol, and media personalities Lady Victoria Hervey and Lady Isabella Hervey.

Due to a falling out with his father and a failed but lengthy lawsuit to obtain a portion of his estate, John Hervey did not have significant contact with these latter three siblings, although he became very close to his half brother Lord Frederick Hervey (now 8th Marquess of Bristol) in the last year of his life.

John's father, who had been jailed for jewel theft in his youth, was harsh to his oldest son, according to friends of the latter. "He treated his son and heir with indifference and contempt," said Anthony Haden-Guest. The Marquess of Blandford summed up the relationship: "Victor created the monster that John became."[1] John was a ward of court for some part of his childhood.[3]

In spite of a lifetime of homosexual relations, John married Francesca Fisher, then 20, just shy of his 30th birthday; it is not known whether they consummated their relationship.[1] The marriage lasted for four years; they had no children.


Lord Bristol was educated at Harrow School, where he began to be known for drug and alcohol use; the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography designates him a "wastrel".[4] The 7th Marquess was described by his friend Jamie Spencer-Churchill, Marquess of Blandford, as a "complicated, reserved character, hiding behind a flamboyant personality".[citation needed]

He was frequently depicted in the British tabloids for his drug use, wild parties and homosexuality. He served two prison terms for drug offences.[5] Bristol even piloted his helicopter — without radar — while snorting cocaine off the map he was using for navigation.[1] The Marquess blamed some of his difficulties on what he called bad blood, that is, a "family disposition to depression." He inherited a million pounds when he was 16 years old, and another four million five years later.[1] He amassed a personal fortune worth up to £35 million, but by the time of his death at 44, it had "all slipped through his fingers — every last penny", according to The Times.[5] His estate was probated for £5000.[3]

Final years and death[edit]

Lord Bristol sold the remaining lease on the ancestral home of Ickworth House back to the National Trust in 1998. While there were rumours that Lord Bristol had died from AIDS,[4][6][7] having apparently contracted HIV in 1986,[1] the coroner recorded that he died of "multiple organ failure due to chronic drug abuse" the following year at the age of 44.[4][8] He was succeeded by his half-brother Frederick William Augustus Hervey, 8th Marquess of Bristol (born 19 October 1979). Another half-brother, Lord Nicholas Hervey, had died the previous year. His maternal half-brother, George Lambton, said he had no hard feelings about the disappearance of the money although, as a maternal half-brother, it wouldn't have affected him anyway.[3]


The Spectator described the 7th Marquess as follows:

Born with an inheritance which included millions of money, thousands of acres, and oodles of style at Ickworth, the family seat, this flamboyant homosexual, charming but empty of soul, allowed himself to sink into a brain-mincing addiction to heroin and cocaine. Before the end he could not pass two hours without a snort, was frequently in prison, and was reduced to penury.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Haden-Guest, Anthony (22 January 2006). "The end of the peer". The Observer. Retrieved 13 April 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Berens, Jessica (12 January 1999). "Obituary: The Marquess of Bristol". The Independent. Retrieved 13 April 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d Kirby, Terry (23 September 2005). "'It' girls miss out after death of drug-addicted aristocrat". The Independent. Retrieved 13 April 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c Mandler, Peter (2004). "Hervey, Frederick William John Augustus, seventh marquess of Bristol (1954–1999)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Bale, Joanna (23 September 2005). "Junkie marquess died penniless after spending millions on drugs". The Times. Retrieved 10 June 2008. 
  6. ^ Meacham, Steve (11 July 2010). "The toffs who lost the plot". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  7. ^ Bailey, Paul (4 December 2009). "Splendour and Squalor, By Marcus Scriven". The Independent. Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  8. ^ Scriven, Marcus (2009). Splendour & Squalor: The Disgrace and Disintegration of Three Aristocratic Dynasties. Atlantic Books. ISBN 978-1843541240. 
  9. ^ Masters, Brian (12 May 2001). "The House of Hervey: Bats in the family belfry". The Spectator. Retrieved 10 June 2008. 
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Victor Hervey
Marquess of Bristol
Succeeded by
Frederick Hervey