He was born William Cornwallis West. His father was Frederick Richard West, son of the Hon. Frederick West, younger son of John West, 2nd Earl De La Warr. His mother was Theresa, daughter of John Whitby and Mary Anne Theresa Symonds, and heiress to the fortune of Admiral William Cornwallis. He was called to the Bar, Lincoln's Inn, in 1862.
Cornwallis-West was High Sheriff of Denbighshire in 1872, Lord-Lieutenant of Denbighshire from 1872 to 1917, a Justice of the Peace for Hampshire and Denbighshire and an Honorary Colonel in the 4th Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers. In 1885 he was returned to Parliament for Denbighshire West, a seat he held until 1892. In 1895 he assumed by deed poll the surname of Cornwallis-West. He lived at Ruthin Castle, Denbighshire, and at Newlands Manor, Milford, Hampshire.
Marriage and children
Cornwallis-West married Mary ("Patsy"), daughter of Reverend Frederick Fitzpatrick, in 1872. Born in 1856, "Patsy" was 17 years old. She was known as a great beauty and leading socialite. One of their daughters was Daisy, Princess of Pless; another daughter, Constance, married Hugh Grosvenor, 2nd Duke of Westminster. Cornwallis-West's son, George, was the second husband of Lady Randolph Churchill, mother of Winston Churchill. Cornwallis-West died in July 1917, aged 82. His widow died in July 1920, shortly after returning from Monaco, in Arnewood House, a family property a few miles North of Newlands.
- Theresa Cornwallis-West, nee Whitby, erected a memorial to the 6th Earl De La Warr (1815-1873); his death was otherwise not memorialized as he was a suicide. Understandably, speculation remains on the relationship between the unmarried earl and this heiress.
- "No. 23825". The London Gazette. 6 February 1872. p. 404.
- Historical faces from Milford on Sea
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs
- Lundy, Darryl. "FAQ". The Peerage.[unreliable source]
- Mary Cornwallis-West at the National Portrait Gallery
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by William Cornwallis-West
- Article on Mrs Cornwallis-West
Robert Myddelton Biddulph
| Lord-Lieutenant of Denbighshire
The Lord Kenyon
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|New constituency|| Member of Parliament for Denbighshire West