Lord Charles Somerset

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Lord Charles Somerset
Lord Charles Henry Somerset.jpg
Governor of the Cape Colony
In office
Preceded byJohn Cradock
Succeeded byRichard Bourke (acting)
Personal details
Born12 December 1767 (1767-12-12)
Died18 February 1831 (1831-02-19) (aged 63)
  • Lady Elizabeth Courtenay
    (m. 1788; died 1815)
  • Lady Mary Poulett
    (m. 1821)
Children9, including Henry and Poulett

Lord Charles Henry Somerset PC (12 December 1767 – 18 February 1831), born in Badminton, England, was a British soldier, politician and colonial administrator.[1][2] He was governor of the Cape Colony, South Africa, from 1814 to 1826.


Somerset was the second son of Henry Somerset, 5th Duke of Beaufort, and Elizabeth, daughter of Admiral the Hon. Edward Boscawen. He was the brother of Henry Somerset, 6th Duke of Beaufort, General Lord Robert Somerset, Lord Arthur Somerset and Field Marshal FitzRoy Somerset, 1st Baron Raglan.[1]

Political career[edit]

Somerset sat as Member of Parliament for Scarborough between 1796 and 1802 and for Monmouth Boroughs between 1802 and 1813. He served as Comptroller of the Household between 1797 and 1804 and as Joint Paymaster of the Forces between 1804 and 1806 and 1807 and 1813 and was sworn of the Privy Council on 26 April 1797. In 1814 he was appointed Governor of the Cape Colony, a post he held until 1826.[3] The towns of Somerset West and Somerset East in South Africa are named after him.


Somerset married firstly Lady Elizabeth Courtenay [4] (2 September 1766 – 11 September 1815), on 7 June 1788, following their elopement. She was the daughter of the 8th Earl of Devon.[1] They had six children:

  1. Elizabeth Somerset (October 1790 – 1872), married General the Hon. Sir Henry Wyndham (1790–1860) in July 1812
  2. Mary Georgiana Somerset (February 1793 – 19 May 1856), married Lt-Col. Stirling Freeman Glover on 25 June 1833
  3. Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Somerset (1794–1862)
  4. Charlotte Augusta Somerset (2 January 1799 – 17 March 1864), married Herbert Cornewoll in May 1822
  5. Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Henry Somerset (24 September 1800 – 28 May 1835)
  6. Reverend Villiers Somerset (12 February 1803 – 3 February 1855), married Frances Dorothy Ley on 8 August 1844 and had issue

After the death of Lady Elizabeth, he married secondly Lady Mary Poulett, daughter of the 4th Earl Poulett, on 9 August 1821.[1] They had three children:

  1. Colonel Poulett Somerset (1822–1875)
  2. Mary Sophia Somerset (20 May 1823 – 11 November 1869)
  3. Augusta Anne Somerset (21 April 1824 – 27 December 1881), married Sir Henry Barron, 1st Baronet on 1 August 1863.

Somerset died in February 1831, aged 63. His second wife died in June 1860, aged 72.



  • Millar, Anthony Kendal (1965). PLANTAGENET IN SOUTH AFRICA. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780196370774.


  1. ^ a b c d Charles Mosley, editor. Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition, 2 volumes (Crans, Switzerland: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 1999), volume 1, page 221 - 223.
  2. ^ Record for General Lord Charles Henry Somerset on thepeerage
  3. ^ Anonymous (16 March 2011). "Lord Charles Henry Somerset, governor of the Cape Colony, is born in Badminton, England". South African History Online. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  4. ^ "Elizabeth Courtenay, Lady Charles Somerset, d. 1815". National Galleries Scotland.

External links[edit]

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Scarborough
With: Edmund Phipps
Succeeded by
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Member of Parliament for Scarborough
With: Edmund Phipps
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Monmouth Boroughs
Succeeded by
Political offices


Preceded by Comptroller of the Household
Succeeded by
Preceded by Paymaster of the Forces
With: George Rose
Succeeded by
Preceded by Paymaster of the Forces
With: Charles Long
Succeeded by
Government offices
Preceded by Governor of the Cape Colony
Succeeded by