Lord Robert Somerset

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Lord Robert Edward Somerset

Lord Robert Edward Somerset by William Salter.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Monmouth, Gloucestershire and Cirencester
In office
Personal details
Born19 December 1776 (1776-12-19)
Died01 September 1842 (1842-10) (aged 65)
Spouse(s)Louisa Augusta Courtenay
Children8, including Edward
ParentsHenry Somerset, 5th Duke of Beaufort
Elizabeth Boscawen

General Lord Robert Edward Henry Somerset GCB (19 December 1776 – 1 September 1842) was a British soldier who fought during the Peninsular War and the War of the Seventh Coalition.


Somerset was the third son of Henry Somerset, 5th Duke of Beaufort, and elder brother of Lord Raglan.

Joining the 15th Light Dragoons in 1793, he became captain in the following year, and received a majority after serving as aide-de-camp to Prince Frederick, Duke of York in the Dutch expedition of 1799. At the end of 1800 he became a lieutenant-colonel, and in 1801 received the command of the 4th Dragoons.[1] From 1799[2] to 1802 he represented the Borough of Monmouth in the House of Commons, from 1803 to 1823 and from 1830[3] sat for Gloucestershire and from 1834[4] to 1837 was MP for Cirencester.

He commanded his regiment at the battles of Talavera and Buçaco, and in 1810 received a colonelcy and the appointment of aide-de-camp to the king. In 1811, along with the 3rd Dragoon Guards, the 4th Dragoons fought a notable cavalry action at Usagre, and in 1812 Lord Edward Somerset was engaged in the great charge of Le Marchant's heavy cavalry at Salamanca. His conduct on this occasion (he captured five guns at the head of a single squadron) won him further promotion, and he made the remaining campaigns as a major-general at the head of the Hussar brigade (7th, 10th and 15th Hussars).[1]

At Orthes he won further distinction by his pursuit of the enemy; he was made KCB, and received the thanks of parliament. At Waterloo he was in command of the Household Cavalry Brigade,[5] which distinguished itself not less by its stern and patient endurance of the enemy's fire than by its celebrated charge on the cuirassiers of Milhaud's corps.[1]

The brigadier was particularly mentioned in Wellington's despatches, and received the thanks of parliament[1] as well as the Army Gold Cross with one clasp for his services at Talavera, Salamanca, Vitoria, Orthez, and Toulouse. He also received the Military Order of Maria Theresa and was made an honorary Knight Commander of the Royal Portuguese Military Order of the Tower and Sword.[6]

At Waterloo in 1815 he lost his hat during the first cavalry charge and in the subsequent search for it a cannonball tore off the flap of his coat and killed his horse.[7] He was awarded a GCB in 1834.[8]

Somerset Monument, Hawkesbury

After a short illness he died in London on 10 December 1842 and was interred in the church of St. George's, Hanover Square.[9] A memorial tablet to Lord Robert Edward[10] is on the south wall of the nave at St. Michael and All Angels, Great Badminton, which is attached to the family seat, Badminton House.

The 'Somerset Monument' stands high on the Cotswold Edge at Hawkesbury, Gloucestershire (grid reference ST772878), near the family's ancestral home of Badminton, Gloucestershire. It was erected in 1846 and has an inscription in memory of General Lord Robert Somerset.


On 17 October 1805 he married Lady Louisa Augusta Courtenay (1781 – 8 February 1825), a younger daughter of William Courtenay, 8th Earl of Devon, with whom he had several children, three sons and five daughters:[11]

  • Robert Henry Somerset (1806–1807)[12]
  • Louisa Isabella Somerset (1807–1888) who died unmarried.[12]
  • Frances Caroline Somerset, later Mrs Theophilus Clive (1808–1890) who married 1840 Theophilus Clive (died 1875),[12] and had issue 1 son who left descendants.
  • Blanche Somerset, later Mrs Charles Locke (1811–1879) who married 1845, Rev. Charles Courtenay Locke (died 1848) with no issue,[12]
  • Matilda Elizabeth Somerset, later Mrs Horace Marryat (1815 – 3 April 1905)[13][14] who married 1842 Horace Marryat,[15] and had issue two sons: Adrian Somerset Marryat (born 1844) and Frederick Marryat (born 1851), and one daughter Ida Horatia Charlotte Marryat (1843–1910) who married 19 September 1863 (div 1889) Count Gustavus Frederick Bonde (1842–1909), a Swedish nobleman, with issue.[16][12] The three Marryat children were[17] painted in 1851–2 in Rome by the young Frederick Leighton. Horace Marryat was a much younger brother of the naval officer and writer Frederick Marryat (1792–1848)[18]
  • Lieutenant-General Edward Arthur Somerset (1817–1886) married Agatha Miles (1827–1912), daughter of Sir William Miles, Bt and had one son (Lieut Edward William Henry Somerset, 25 January 1866 – 20 March 1890, who died unmarried) and eight daughters.
  • Georgina Emily Somerset, later the Hon. Mrs Robert Lawley (born 1819) who married 1852 Hon Robert Neville Lawley (who died 1891), and died without issue.
  • Augustus Charles Stapleton Somerset (1821–1854) who died unmarried.[12]



  1. ^ a b c d  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Somerset, Lord Robert Edward Henry". Encyclopædia Britannica. 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 388.
  2. ^ "No. 15122". The London Gazette. 6 April 1799. p. 327.
  3. ^ "No. 18717". The London Gazette. 13 August 1830. p. 1736.
  4. ^ "No. 19180". The London Gazette. 8 August 1834. p. 1462.
  5. ^ Siborne, William (1845). History of the War in France and Belgium, in 1815: Containing Minute Details of the Battles of Quatre-Bras, Ligny, Wavre, and Waterloo. Lea & Blanchard. p. 180.
  6. ^ "No. 16711". The London Gazette. 13 March 1813. p. 531.
  7. ^ Dalton, Charles (1904). The Waterloo roll call. With biographical notes and anecdotes. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode. p. 21.
  8. ^ "No. 19206". The London Gazette. 31 October 1834. p. 1929.
  9. ^ "Monument to the Memory of Lord Edward Somerset". Cheltenham Chronicle. 27 July 1843. Retrieved 7 December 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ Somerset, Lord Edward. "Memorial tablet to General Lord Robert Edward Somerset". The Great Badminton Church Restoration Fund.
  11. ^ His second son and three daughters are listed in The Plantagenet Roll, and more children are listed on this page
  12. ^ a b c d e f "Rutland 9". Retrieved 17 December 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "Elizabeth Somerset". Roots.web. Retrieved 7 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "Mrs Horace Marryat with her pet spaniel". Mutual Art. Retrieved 7 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ "Marryat, Horace, 1818–1887 – The Online Books Page". Retrieved 17 December 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ "120 (Sveriges Ridderskaps och Adels Kalender / 1923 – Fyrtiosjätte årgången)". Retrieved 17 December 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  17. ^ "Lord Frederick Leighton". Christies. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  18. ^ "Bonhams : Captain Frederick Marryat (British, 1792–1848) 'Puzzled which to choose'". Retrieved 17 December 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links[edit]

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Sir Charles Thompson, Bt
Member of Parliament for Monmouth
Succeeded by
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Member of Parliament for Monmouth
Succeeded by
Lord Charles Somerset
Preceded by
George Cranfield Berkeley
Marquess of Worcester
Member of Parliament for Gloucestershire
With: George Cranfield Berkeley 1803–1810
Viscount Dursley 1810–1811
Sir Berkeley Guise, Bt 1811–1831
Succeeded by
Sir Berkeley Guise, Bt
Henry Moreton
Preceded by
Lord Apsley
Joseph Cripps
Member of Parliament for Cirencester
With: Joseph Cripps
Succeeded by
Thomas Chester-Master
Joseph Cripps
Military offices
Preceded by
Oliver De Lancey
Colonel of the 17th Regiment of (Light) Dragoons (Lancers)
Succeeded by
Sir John Elley
Preceded by
Sir William Henry Clinton
Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance
Title next held by
Sir Hew Dalrymple Ross
Preceded by
Thomas Garth
Colonel of the 1st (Royal) Regiment of Dragoons
Succeeded by
Sir Frederick Cavendish Ponsonby
Preceded by
Charles Richard Fox
Surveyor-General of the Ordnance
Succeeded by
Sir Rufane Shaw Donkin
Preceded by
Francis Hugonin
Colonel of the 4th (The Queen's Own) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Dalbiac

Coordinates: 51°35′19″N 2°19′50″W / 51.58859°N 2.33049°W / 51.58859; -2.33049