John Villiers, 3rd Earl of Clarendon

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John Charles Villiers, 3rd Earl of Clarendon PC (14 November 1757 – 22 December 1838), styled The Honourable John Villiers until 1787 and The Right Honourable John Villiers from 1787 to 1824, was a British peer and Member of Parliament from the Villiers family.[1]


Villiers, the second son of Thomas Villiers, 1st Earl of Clarendon,[2] and his wife Lady Charlotte, daughter of William Capel, 3rd Earl of Essex[3] was born on 14 November 1757. [2] He was educated at Eton and St John's College, Cambridge[4] whence he graduated M.A. 1776 and LL.D. on 30 April 1833, and was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn on 22 June 1779.[1][5]

In January 1784 Lord Camelford (probably at Pitt the Elder's request) brought Villiers into Parliament at a by-election for Old Sarum, and he represented that rotten borough until 1790, and then sat for Dartmouth 1790–1802, and for the Tain Burghs from 1802 until 27 May 1805, when he accepted the Chiltern Hundreds (in order to resign his Parliamentary seat). He was afterwards member for Queenborough 1807–1812 and 1820–1824. Villiers did not make his mark in Parliament as a debater, and was styled "a mere courtier, famous for telling interminable long stories".[6]

The Rolliad notices him as "Villiers, comely with the flaxen hair", and likens him to the Nereus of Homer. Sir Nathaniel Wraxall also styles him the "Nereus" of Pitt's forces, and mentions him as a staunch supporter of that minister,[7] to whose friendship entirely he owed his appointment for life in February 1790 to the lucrative sinecure of warden and chief justice in eyre of all the royal forests, chaces, parks, and warrens north of Trent.[2]

On 6 February 1782 Villiers was made joint King's Counsel in the Duchy Court of Lancaster by his father, who then was Chancellor of the Duchy. From 29 July 1786 until his succession to the peerage he was Surveyor of Woods south of the Trent of the Duchy of Lancaster. He was added to the Privy Council and made Comptroller of the King's Household on 19 February 1787. This position at court he filled for three years, and on 24 February 1790 he was made a Commissioner of the Board of Trade. He was Recorder and Under-Steward of New Windsor from 1789 to 1806.[8]

When the rise of the French Republic caused apprehensions in Britain, Villiers was appointed colonel of the First Regiment of Fencible Cavalry on 14 March 1794, and was granted the rank of colonel in the army during service in the field.[9] He was made first Prothonotary of the Common Pleas in the County Palatine of Lancaster in June 1804, and held the office until his death. From 27 November 1808 to 10 January 1810 Villiers was envoy to the court of Portugal. On the death of his eldest brother, Thomas, unmarried, on 7 March 1824, he succeeded him as 3rd Earl of Clarendon and as a count of the Kingdom of Prussia, but took little part afterwards in public life, devoting himself to religious and charitable works.

He died suddenly, aged 81, at his residence, Walmer Terrace, Deal, Kent on 22 December 1838, and was buried at Watford on 29 December.[2]

Villiers was succeeded in the earldom by his nephew, George Villiers,[2] who became a distinguished Liberal statesman.


Lord Clarendon married on 5 January 1791 his maternal first cousin Maria Eleanor Forbes,[citation needed] the daughter of Admiral John Forbes (1714–1796)[2] and Lady Mary Capell.[citation needed] .[2] His mother Lady Charlotte Capell and Lady Mary Capell were sisters, both the daughters of William Capell, 3rd Earl of Essex and Lady Jane Hyde.[citation needed] The marriage produced one child Lady Mary Harriet Villiers who died on 20 January 1835 unmarried.[citation needed]

Styles of address[edit]

  • 1757–1784: The Honourable John C. Villiers
  • 1784–1787: The Honourable John C. Villiers MP
  • 1787–1805: The Right Honourable John C. Villiers MP
  • 1805–1807: The Right Honourable John C. Villiers
  • 1807–1812: The Right Honourable John C. Villiers MP
  • 1812–1820: The Right Honourable John C. Villiers
  • 1820–1824: The Right Honourable John C. Villiers MP
  • 1824–1838: The Right Honourable The Third Earl of Clarendon PC


  1. ^ a b "VILLIERS, Hon. John Charles (1757-1838).". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 14 May 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Williams 1899, p. 352.
  3. ^ Venn, John. Alumni Cantabrigienses: A Biographical List of All Known Students ..., Volume 2. p. 291. 
  4. ^ John Charles Villiers [permanent dead link] in Venn, J. & J. A., [Alumni Cantabrigienses], Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958.
  5. ^ Williams 1899, p. 352 cites Registers.
  6. ^ Williams 1899, p. 352 cites Sir George Jackson, Diaries and Correspondence.
  7. ^ Williams 1899, p. 352 cites Wraxall Posthumous Memoirs.
  8. ^ Williams 1899, p. 352 cites Tighe and {Davis, Annals of Windsor.
  9. ^ Williams 1899, p. 352 cites Royal Kalendar, Militia Lists.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Pinckney Wilkinson
Thomas Pitt
Member of Parliament for Old Sarum
With: Pinckney Wilkinson Jan – Mar 1784
George Hardinge 1784–1790
Succeeded by
George Hardinge
John Sullivan
Preceded by
Edmund Bastard
Richard Hopkins
Member of Parliament for Dartmouth
With: Edmund Bastard
Succeeded by
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Member of Parliament for Dartmouth
With: Edmund Bastard
Succeeded by
Edmund Bastard
Arthur Howe Holdsworth
Preceded by
William Dundas
Member of Parliament for Tain Burghs
Succeeded by
James MacDonald
Preceded by
William Frankland
Sir Samuel Romilly
Member of Parliament for Queenborough
With: Joseph Hunt 1807–1810
Richard Wellesley 1810 – Jan 1812
Sir Robert Moorsom Jan – Oct 1812
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Moorsom
John Osborn
Preceded by
Sir Robert Moorsom
Hon. Edmund Phipps
Member of Parliament for Queenborough
With: George Peter Holford
Succeeded by
Lord Frederick Cavendish-Bentinck
George Peter Holford
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Earl of Derby
Senior Privy Counsellor
Succeeded by
The Lord St Helens
Legal offices
Preceded by
The Viscount Falmouth
Justice in Eyre
north of the Trent

Succeeded by
Office abolished
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
Thomas Villiers
Earl of Clarendon
Succeeded by
George Villiers