William Cadogan, 1st Earl Cadogan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
William Cadogan (c.1671–1726) by Louis Laguerre.

William Cadogan, 1st Earl Cadogan, KT, PC (c.1671 – 17 July 1726) was a noted Irish military officer in the army of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough during the War of the Spanish Succession. He commanded the 1st Foot Guards for some time.

Early life[edit]

He was born in Ireland around 1671, the son of barrister Henry Cadogan and his wife Bridget. His family were Irish Protestants of Welsh descent. William's grandfather William Cadogan served as an officer in Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army.

He was one of five children, including two brothers Ambrose and Charles Cadogan and two sisters Frances and Penelope.[1] The family owned an estate at Liscartin in County Meath. His father served as High Sheriff of the county and also acquired property in County Limerick.

At the age of ten he was sent to England to be educated at Westminster School, then run by Richard Busby. William's father intended him to take up a law career like himself and in March 1687 he was accepted as a student Trinity College in Dublin. By this time he had developed into a tall, well-built young man.[2]

War in Ireland[edit]

John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough. Cadogan first served under his future commander during the 1690 Siege of Cork.

Midway through his studies, however, the Glorious Revolution took place in England in which the Protestant William of Orange seized the throne from the Catholic James II. In Ireland the largely Catholic Irish Army remained loyal to James, while Protestants declared their support for William. The Protestants of Ulster formed an Army of the North, in which William Cadogan enlisted as a Cornet of Dragoons.

During 1689 he took part in the Defence of Enniskillen which was one of only two place, along with Derry, which held out against the Jacobite Irish Army. Following the relief of Derry and Enniskillen by a large expeditionary force under Percy Kirke, Cadogan served with the Williamite troops for the remainder of the Irish War.[3]

He was present at Dundalk Camp during the autumn of 1689, when the Army suffered large casualties from sickness. The following year he served at the Battle of the Boyne a major victory in which William III personally led his forces to victory over the Jacobites, leading to the capture of Dublin.[4]

Later in the same year he took part in the sieges of Cork and Kinsale where he first served with Marlborough, then an Earl. Following the climatic victory at the Siege of Limerick in 1691 he continued to serve in Ireland for three years having decided to become a professional soldier rather than return to his law studies. In 1694, he purchased a Captaincy in Erle's Regiment which was then fighting in Flanders. He commanded a company of infantry for the remainder of the campaign against the Armies of Louis XIV of France.

In 1695 he took part in the Siege of Namur. By 1701 he was a Major of the Inniskilling Dragoons.[5]

War of the Spanish Succession[edit]

Marlborough and Cadogan at the Battle of Blenheim by Pieter van Bloemen

In 1701, Cadogan was appointed quartermaster general to Marlborough on the latter's appointment to command the English troops in the Low Countries.[6] During the campaign of 1704, he was one of the few entrusted with the truth of Marlborough's march from the Spanish Netherlands to the Danube[7] and played a major role in the organisation of the march.[8] He fought at the battles of the Schellenberg and Blenheim. Shortly after he was promoted to Brigadier General and became Marlborough's Chief of Staff. He commanded the army's scouting part which located the French army on the morning of Ramillies,[9] and acted as a senior messenger for Marlborough during the battle, recalling Orkney's British infantry from their diversionary attack on the French right flank to assault the French centre around Ramillies itself.[10] At Oudenarde he commanded the allied advance guard, which established crossings over the River Scheldt.[11] In 1706 he was promoted to major-general and commanded the forces which broke through the French left towards the end of the battle.[12] In 1709 he was promoted to lieutenant-general. He fought at Malplaquet, and was wounded in the neck at the siege of Mons, but quickly recovered.[13] At the end of 1709 Cadogan was appointed as a Lieutenant of the Tower of London. During the breaking of the lines of Ne Plus Ultra, he again commanded the allied advance guard, and established a bridgehead across the lines prior to Marlborough's arrival with the main army.[14] After Marlborough's dismissal from his posts at the end of 1711 Cadogan remained with the army, but refused to return with it when Britain withdrew from war in 1712, going into voluntary exile with the Duke. In doing so he lost his rank, positions and emoluments under the crown. George I on his accession, in 1714, reinstated Cadogan, and, amongst other appointments, made him Lieutenant of the Ordnance, under Thomas Erle.

Later life[edit]

During Marlborough's voluntary exile during the last years of Queen Anne's reign, Cadogan accompanied him, and often acted as a go-between to maintain Marlborough's links with Britain.[15] When the Hanoverian King George I succeeded in 1714, Cadogan received military favours from the Crown, and in 1715 he replaced the Duke of Argyll in command of the army putting down a Jacobite rising.[16]

On 21 June 1716, he was made Baron Cadogan of Reading, having recently purchased Caversham Park, Oxfordshire (now Berkshire) near that town. He was also made a Knight of the Thistle and, the following year, a member of the Privy Council. (He was a Whig MP for Woodstock from 1705 to 1716.) On 8 May 1718 George I made him 1st Baron Cadogan, of Oakley, co. Buckingham, Viscount Caversham, of Caversham, co. Oxford and Earl Cadogan. In later years he also served as Master of the Robes (1714–1726), Governor of the Isle of Wight (1715–1726) and Master-General of the Ordnance (1722–1725). However, the Opposition's staunch hostility towards him meant that he had lost any political influence several years before his death on 17 July 1726.


He married Margaret Cecilia Munter in April 1704 at The Hague. They had two daughters: Sarah (born 18 September 1705), who married Charles Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond, and Margaret (born 21 February 1707), who married the Hon. Charles John Bentinck, fourth son of William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland.[17]


  1. ^ Watson p.2
  2. ^ Watson p.3
  3. ^ Watson p.4-7
  4. ^ Watson p.7
  5. ^ Churchill, Marlborough:His Life and Time; Book 1, p 465
  6. ^ Chandler, Marlborough as Military Commander; p 70
  7. ^ Spencer, Blenheim:Battle for Europe; p 131
  8. ^ Spencer, Blenheim:Battle for Europe; p 141
  9. ^ Falkner, Great and Glorious Days, p 98
  10. ^ Churchill, Marlborough:His Life and Times; Book 2, p 111-2
  11. ^ Falkner, Great and Glorious Days, p 140
  12. ^ Churchill Marlborough:His Life and Times; Book 2, p 375
  13. ^ Chandler, Marlborough as Military Commander; p 267
  14. ^ Hussey, Marlborough; p 209
  15. ^ Churchill, Life and Times, Book 2, p 983
  16. ^ Falkner, Great and Glorious Days; p 200, n 36
  17. ^ ThePeerage.com


  • Watson, J.N.P. Marlborough's Shadow: The Life of the First Earl Cadogan. Leo Cooper, 2003.

External links[edit]

Parliament of England
Preceded by
James Bertie
Sir William Glynne, Bt
Member of Parliament for Woodstock
With: Hon. Charles Bertie
Succeeded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Parliament of England
Member of Parliament for Woodstock
With: Hon. Charles Bertie 1707–1708
Sir Thomas Wheate, Bt 1708–1716
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Wheate, Bt
William Clayton
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
George Stepney
British Ambassador to the Netherlands
Succeeded by
Viscount Townshend
Preceded by
The Earl of Strafford
British Ambassador to the Netherlands
Succeeded by
Charles Whitworth
Preceded by
François-Louis de Pesmes de Saint-Saphorin
as Chargé d'Affaires
British Ambassador to the Holy Roman Emperor
April–October 1720
Succeeded by
François-Louis de Pesmes de Saint-Saphorin
as Chargé d'Affaires
Military offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Arran
Colonel of Cadogan's Regiment of Horse
Succeeded by
George Kellum
Preceded by
Charles Churchill
Colonel of the Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards
Succeeded by
The Earl of Scarbrough
Preceded by
The Duke of Marlborough
Master-General of the Ordnance
Succeeded by
The Duke of Argyll
Colonel of the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Wills
Court offices
Preceded by
Cornelius Nassau
Master of the Robes
Succeeded by
Viscount Malpas
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Charles Churchill
Lieutenant of the Tower of London
Succeeded by
Hatton Compton
Preceded by
John Richmond Webb
Governor of the Isle of Wight
Succeeded by
The Duke of Bolton
Peerage of Great Britain
New creation Earl Cadogan
Baron Cadogan
Succeeded by
Charles Cadogan