Peniston Lamb, 1st Viscount Melbourne

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Peniston Lamb, 1st Viscount Melbourne (29 January 1745 – 22 July 1828), known as Sir Peniston Lamb, 2nd Baronet, from 1768 to 1770, was a British politician and the father of Prime Minister William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne.


Lamb was the son of Sir Matthew Lamb, 1st Baronet, and his wife Charlotte (née Coke), and succeeded in the baronetcy on his father's death in 1768. The same year he was returned to Parliament for Ludgershall, a seat he held until 1784, and then represented Malmesbury from 1784 to 1790 and Newport, Isle of Wight from 1790 to 1793. In 1770 he was raised to the Peerage of Ireland as Lord Melbourne, Baron of Kilmore, in the County of Cavan, and in 1781 he was created Viscount Melbourne, of Kilmore in the County of Cavan, also in the Peerage of Ireland.[1] In 1815 he was even further honoured when he was made Baron Melbourne, of Melbourne in the County of Derby, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom,[2] which gave him an automatic seat in the House of Lords.

He inherited Melbourne Hall in Derbyshire, and in 1770 began, as Melbourne House, what is now The Albany in London.


Lady Melbourne with her eldest son

Lord Melbourne married Elizabeth Milbanke (1751–1818), daughter of Sir Ralph Milbanke, 5th Baronet, in 1769. She was a young woman of great beauty, intelligence and strong character, who quickly came to dominate her husband completely, and steered them into the centre of polite society. The couple had six children, (though only the first-born son can be definitively attributed to Lord Melbourne due to his wife's many affairs)[3] George is reputed to be the son of George IV; with William and Emily allegedly fathered by Lord Egremont.[4]

Whether Melbourne was made unhappy by his wife's affairs is unclear: he was a mild, easygoing and rather stupid man who avoided trouble, and invariably deferred to his wife, who was by far the stronger and more intelligent partner in the marriage.[5] Their one serious quarrel was caused by the death of their eldest son Pen (who was undoubtedly Melbourne's child); he angrily refused to make the same allowance to William (who was almost certainly not Melbourne's child), suggesting that he felt some degree of resentment of his wife's conduct. Lady Melbourne, on her side, tolerated his affair with the courtesan Sophia Baddeley.

His children regarded him with what has been described as "kindly contempt"; his daughter Emily said that he was always going wrong and they were always having to put him right; and that although not a heavy drinker, he always seemed drunk[6]


  • Hon. Peniston (3 May 1770 – 24 January 1805)
  • William (15 March 1779 – 24 November 1848), 2nd Viscount Melbourne
  • Frederick (17 April 1782 – 29 January 1853), 3rd Viscount Melbourne
  • Hon. George (11 July 1784 – 2 January 1834)
  • Emily Lamb, Countess Cowper (1787–1869)
  • Harriet Lamb (1789-1803)


Melbourne died in July 1828, aged 83. He was succeeded in his titles by his son William.


  1. ^ "no. 12146". The London Gazette. 19 December 1780. p. 2. 
  2. ^ "no. 17041". The London Gazette. 18 July 1815. p. 1459. 
  3. ^ Lord David Cecil Melbourne Pan Books Edition 1965 p.20
  4. ^ Cecil p.20
  5. ^ Cecil p.20
  6. ^ Cecil p.20


Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Thomas Whately
John Paterson
Member of Parliament for Ludgershall
with Lord Garlies 1768–1774
Whitshed Keene 1774
Lord George Gordon 1774–1780
George Augustus Selwyn 1780–1784

Succeeded by
George Augustus Selwyn
Nathaniel Wraxall
Preceded by
Viscount Fairford
John Calvert
Member of Parliament for Malmesbury
With: Viscount Maitland 1784–1790
Paul Benfield 1790
Succeeded by
Paul Benfield
Benjamin Bond-Hopkins
Preceded by
Edward Rushworth
George Byng
Member of Parliament for
Newport (Isle of Wight)

With: Viscount Palmerston
Succeeded by
Viscount Palmerston
Peniston Lamb
Peerage of Ireland
New creation Viscount Melbourne
Succeeded by
William Lamb
Baron Melbourne
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Melbourne
Succeeded by
William Lamb
Baronetage of Great Britain
Preceded by
Matthew Lamb
(of Brocket Hall)
Succeeded by
William Lamb