William Stanhope, 1st Earl of Harrington

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The Earl of Harrington

William Stanhope, 1st Earl of Harrington (1683-1756), Attributed to Godfrey Kneller.jpg
William Stanhope, 1st Earl of Harrington (Godfrey Kneller, 1646–1723)
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
In office
15 November 1746 – 15 December 1750
MonarchGeorge II
Preceded byThe Earl of Chesterfield
Succeeded byThe Duke of Dorset
Lord President of the Council
In office
13 February 1742 – 3 January 1745
MonarchGeorge II
Prime MinisterThe Earl of Wilmington
Henry Pelham
Preceded byThe Earl of Wilmington
Succeeded byThe Duke of Dorset
Personal details
Born
William Stanhope

c. 1683
Elvaston, Derbyshire
Died(1756-12-08)8 December 1756
London, England.
NationalityBritish
Spouse(s)Anne Griffith
ParentsJohn Stanhope
Dorothy Agard
ResidenceElvaston Castle

William Stanhope, 1st Earl of Harrington, PC (c. 1683 – 8 December 1756) was a British statesman and diplomat.

Life[edit]

Family home in Elvaston, Derbyshire, late 19th century

William Stanhope was born in 1683 at the family home in Elvaston, Derbyshire, third surviving son of John Stanhope and Dorothy Agard. His elder brother Charles Stanhope (1673–1760) was also a politician and deeply involved in the South Sea Company financial scandal, while his cousin James Stanhope (1673–1721) is considered an alternative candidate to Robert Walpole for the title of Britain's first Prime Minister.[1]

He married Anne Griffiths, who died in 1719 giving birth to twin sons, William, 2nd Earl of Harrington (1719–1779) and Thomas (1719–1743).

Career[edit]

Educated at Eton College, Stanhope was commissioned in 1703 as a Lieutenant in the 2nd Foot Guards during the War of the Spanish Succession, before transferring to the 3rd Foot Guards in Spain. By 1710, he was a Lieutenant-Colonel and missed the December 1710 Battle of Brihuega, when the British rearguard under his cousin James Stanhope was cut off and forced to surrender. In March 1711, he became Colonel of the former Lepells Regiment, which was disbanded in November 1712 as the army was cut back in the run-up to the 1713 Peace of Utrecht.[2]

Stanhope was serving as a diplomat in Spain when the War of the Quadruple Alliance began in 1719 and joined the French army under the Duke of Berwick as a volunteer.[3] When the war ended in 1720, Stanhope was appointed British ambassador to Spain and given the Colonelcy of the 13th Light Dragoons, later 13th Hussars; he retained this position until the Anglo-Spanish War began in March 1727, having built up his reputation as a diplomatist during a difficult period.[4]

William Stanhope, 1st Earl of Harrington

As a reward for his part in negotiating the 1729 Treaty of Seville that ended the war, he was created Baron Harrington in January 1730. Later the same year, he replaced Lord Townshend as Secretary of State for the Northern Department under Robert Walpole. Despite policy differences over British involvement in the 1734–1735 war, he kept his position until Walpole's fall in 1742, when he became Lord President of the Council and created Earl of Harrington and Viscount Petersham.[4]

With the support of his political ally the Duke of Newcastle, he was restored as Secretary of State in 1744 but resigned in February 1746 over his preference for an immediate end to the 1740–1748 War of the Austrian Succession. He was made Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1747 to 1751[4] and while his active military career finished in 1720, he received a number of promotions, ending a full General in 1747.[5] He died in London on 8 December 1756.

Coat of Arms of the Earl of Harrington

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pearce, William (2007). The Great Man: Sir Robert Walpole: Scoundrel, Genius and Britain's First Prime Minister. Jonathan Cape. p. 1. ISBN 978-0224071819.
  2. ^ Adjutant General's Office (1842). Historical Records of the British Army; History of the 13th Light Dragoons. John W Parker. p. 84.
  3. ^ Adjutant General's Office, p. 84
  4. ^ a b c  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Harrington, Earls of". Encyclopædia Britannica. 13 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 18.
  5. ^ Woodfine, Philip. "Stanhope, William, first earl of Harrington". Oxford DNB. Retrieved 13 February 2019.

Sources[edit]

  • Adjutant General's Office (1842). Historical Records of the British Army; History of the 13th Light Dragoons. John W Parker.
  • Pearce, William (2007). The Great Man: Sir Robert Walpole: Scoundrel, Genius and Britain's First Prime Minister. Jonathan Cape. ISBN 978-0224071819.
  • Woodfine, Philip. "Stanhope, William, first earl of Harrington". Oxford DNB.
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Edward Mundy
Nathaniel Curzon
Member of Parliament for Derby
17151722
With: Lord James Cavendish
Succeeded by
Lord James Cavendish
Thomas Bayley
Preceded by
John Gumley
Marquess of Carnarvon
Member of Parliament for Steyning
1727
With: John Gumley
Succeeded by
The Viscount Vane
Thomas Bladen
Preceded by
Lord James Cavendish
Thomas Bayley
Member of Parliament for Derby
1727–1730
With: Lord James Cavendish
Succeeded by
Lord James Cavendish
Charles Stanhope
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Robert Rich
Colonel of Harrington's Regiment of Dragoons
1725–1730
Succeeded by
Henry Hawley
Diplomatic posts
Vacant
Title last held by
John Chetwynd
British Ambassador to Spain
1721–1727
Succeeded by
Benjamin Keene
Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Coke
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
1727–1730
Succeeded by
Lord Hervey
Preceded by
The Duke of Devonshire
Northern Secretary
1730–1742
Succeeded by
The Lord Carteret
Preceded by
The Earl of Wilmington
Lord President of the Council
1742–1745
Succeeded by
The Duke of Dorset
Preceded by
The Lord Carteret
Northern Secretary
1744–1746
Succeeded by
The Earl of Chesterfield
Preceded by
The Earl of Chesterfield
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
1746–1751
Succeeded by
The Duke of Dorset
Peerage of Great Britain
New creation Earl of Harrington
1742–1756
Succeeded by
William Stanhope
Baron Harrington
1730–1756