Peniston Lamb, 1st Viscount Melbourne
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. 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, which gave him an automatic seat in the House of Lords.
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) George is reputed to be the son of George IV; with William and Emily allegedly fathered by Lord Egremont.
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. 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
- 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.
- Kidd, Charles, Williamson, David (editors). Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage (1990 edition). New York: St Martin's Press, 1990,[page needed]
- Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages [self-published source][better source needed]
- Lundy, Darryl. "FAQ". The Peerage.[unreliable source]
|Parliament of Great Britain|
|Member of Parliament for Ludgershall
with Lord Garlies 1768–1774
Whitshed Keene 1774
Lord George Gordon 1774–1780
George Augustus Selwyn 1780–1784
George Augustus Selwyn
|Member of Parliament for Malmesbury
With: Viscount Maitland 1784–1790
Paul Benfield 1790
|Member of Parliament for
Newport (Isle of Wight)
With: Viscount Palmerston
|Peerage of Ireland|
|New creation||Viscount Melbourne
|Peerage of the United Kingdom|
|New creation||Baron Melbourne
|Baronetage of Great Britain|
(of Brocket Hall)