The Queen's Body Guard
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Richard NewbyThe Captaincy of the Royal Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard has always been regarded as an honourable post to fill, and for over 300 years the service was purely honorary, the only recognition on the part of the sovereign being the occasional present of “a gown.”  The Household Books of James I show that this was the custom during the reign of that monarch and the cost of the gown given to the Captain was £14.  But it often happened that the Captain of the Guard held some salaried office in the Household.  Sir Walter Raleigh was, at the same time, Captain of the Guard and Gentleman of the Chamber, but the post of Vice-Chamberlain appears to have been the office most frequently associated with the Captaincy.  A peer of the realm has filled the office of Captain for many generations, indeed (as may be seen by the Table of Officers below). The precedency of the Captain in State processions was considered and decided as recently as 1843.  On the 11 April in that year an order states that 'the place of the Captain is to be on one side of Gold Stick, the other side being occupied by the Captain of the Corps of Gentlemen at Arms.'  This was the place assigned to these officers at the Coronation of James II, and, with but one or two exceptions; it has been their position in all State processions since that time. The appointment goes out of office with a change of Government, currently Lord Newby of Rothwell OBE (see image above) since 3 May 2012.


Earl of Swinton (David Yarburgh Cunliffe-Lister) - Captain 1982 - 1986The Captain is distinguished by a richly-chased gold top and a gold lace knot and acorn.  This emblem of office is presented by the Sovereign to the Captain on his appointment.  The colour of the uniform coat is scarlet, trimmed with gold lace, and the trousers are a dark blue, with gold lace stripes at the side.  The cord of the aiguillettes is looped on the top Dexter button.  There has been some uncertainty as to the proper position of the bullion sash-tassels.  Some sketches show the sash-tassels placed before the sword-hilt as they have been generally worn: but authorities say the bullion should be behind the sword.  Lord Davies of Oldham, our present Captain, was appointed in succession to Lord McIntosh of Haringey in 2003.  At one time there were valuable privileges connected with the office, but the only ancient custom which survived certainly until the early 20th century was the annual present of venison from the Royal forests.  The order respecting this privilege states that the Captain is entitled annually to two bucks and two does: and application for the warrant for same are to be made at the office of Her Majesty’s Woods and Forests, Whitehall, for the bucks about the middle of the month of July, the buck season ending 25 September, for the does at the end of the month of October, and does season ending the 17 January.  Note...I haven't asked Lord Davies if these rights are still exercised, however, I feel not somehow.

1485

Earl of Oxford

1689

Earl of Manchester

1846 Viscount Falkland 1934 Col Lord Templemore
1486

Sir Charles Somerset

1702

Marquess of Hartington

1848 Marquess of Donegall 1945 Lord Walkden
1509 Sir Thomas Darcy 1707 Viscount Townshend 1852 Lord de Ros 1949 Lord Shepherd
1509 Sir Henry Marney 1711 Hon Henry Paget 1852 Viscount Sydney 1949 Lord Lucas of Chulworth
1512

Sir Henry Guilford

1715 Earl of Derby 1858 Lord de Ros 1950 Lt-Gen The Earl of Lucan
1513 Sir John Gage 1723 Earl of Chesterfield 1859 Earl of Ducie 1951 Lord Archibald
1516 Sir Henry Marney 1725 Earl of Leicester 1866 Earl Cadogan 1951 Lt-Col The Earl of Onslow
1530 Sir William Kingston 1731 Earl of Ashburnham 1868 Duke of St Albans 1960 Maj The Lord Newton
1539

Sir Anthony Wingfield

1737 Duke of Manchester 1874 Baron Skelmersdale 1962 Col The Viscount Goschen
1550 Sir Thomas Darcy 1739 Earl of Essex 1880 Lord Monson 1964 Lord Bowles
1551 Sir John Gates 1743 Lord Berkeley of Stratton 1885 Viscount Barrington 1971 Col The Viscount Goschen
1553 Sir Henry Jerningham 1746 Viscount Torrington 1886 Lord Monson 1972 Lord Denham
1557

Sir Henry Bedingfield

1747 Viscount Falmouth 1886 Earl of Kintore 1974 Lord Strabolgi
1558 Sir Edward Rogers 1782 Duke of Dorset 1889 Earl of Limerick 1979 Lord Sandys
1558 Sir William St Loe 1783 Earl of Cholmondeley 1892 Lord Kensington 1982 Earl of Swinton
1566 Sir Francis Knollys 1783 Earl of Aylesford 1895 Earl of Limerick 1986 Viscount Davidson
1572

Sir Christopher Hatton

1804 Lord Pelham 1896 Earl Waldegrave 1992 The Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne
1586 Sir Henry Goodyere 1804 Earl of Macclesfield 1906 Duke of Manchester 1994 The Earl of Arran
1586 Sir Walter Raleigh 1830 Marquess of Clanricarde 1907 Lord Allendale 1995 The Lord Inglewood
1592 John Best
(Champion of England)
1834 Earl of Gosford 1911 Earl of Craven 1995 Lord Chesham
1603 Sir Thomas Erskine 1835 Earl of Courtown 1915 Lord Suffield 1997 Lord McIntosh of Haringey
1617

Sir Henry Rich

1835 Earl of Gosford 1918 Lord Hylton 2003

Lord Davies of Oldham

1632 Lord Dupplin 1835 Earl of Ilchester 1924 Maj-Gen Lord Loch 2010 Lord Shutt of Greetland OBE
1635 Earl of Morton 1841 Earl of Surrey 1925 Lord Desborough 2012 Lord Newby of Rothwell OBE
1643 Earl of Norwich 1841 Marquis of Lothian 1929 Lord Loch    
1662

Viscount Grandison

1841 Earl of Beverley 1931 Capt Lord Strathcona    

 

The Captains

Earl of Oxford (b1442-1513) 
1st Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1485-1486


John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford was one of the principal Lancastrian commanders during the War of The Roses early in the reign of Edward IV.  De Vere’s father, the 12th Earl, and his elder brother were executed for plotting against the king (1462). However, Edward was pursuing a policy of conciliation with Lancastrian families, and de Vere was allowed to succeed to his father's estates and titles. He was allowed to assume his family's traditional role as Lord High Chamberlain and with others was created a 'Knight of the Bath, officiating in that capacity at the coronation of Edward's Queen in 1465. In 1468 Oxford was suspected in plotting against the King and spent a short time in the Tower of London; he was released and pardoned in 7 Jan 1469 but fearing that he was now out of favour fled to France with the Earl of Warwick.  He returned the following year to England playing a leading role in the restoration of Henry VI in 1470.

Oxford was appointed Constable of England and had the satisfaction of passing a death sentence on John Tiptoft, the Earl of Worcester, whom had condemned his father and eldest brother in 1462. Oxford was active in securing the eastern counties against Edward's landing.  He was one of the Lancastrian commanders at the Battle of Barnet in 1471 where he lead the vanguard.  He surrounded Hastings on the King's left and drove him off the battlefield but his men 'fell to ryfling' which stopped him pressing ahead an assisting Warwick.  Some of his men managed to get through their silver 'mullet' badges were mistaken in the heavy mist for Edward's badge, a sun 'with stremys' and their was a 'blue on blue' (fired upon their own men).  There were shouts of "Treason!" and they fled.  Defeated, he fled again, this time to Scotland (possibly Wales) and then to France. With a little aid from Louis XI of France he became a pirate against English ships and the occasional raid on the coast.  In 1473 he seized St Michael’s Mount (Cornwall). Why? The reason is unclear but most likely, this was to be the prelude to an invasion of England intending to depose Edward and put his brother, George Duke of Clarence, on the throne.  However, there was no invasion, and in 1474 following a two month siege from a large contingent lead by John Fortescue, he surrendered. Oxford was imprisoned in the Fortress of Hammes, near Calais.

Three years later, Oxford did 'lyepe the wallys and wente to the dyke, and into the dyke to the chynne; to whatt entent I can nott telle; some sey, to stele away and some thynke he wolde have drownyd hymselfe'. Never the less, he remained imprisoned there until 1484, when with the assistance of the Captain of Hammes, Sir James Blount, to escape with him to the Court in exile of Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond. It is said that Henry was "ravished with joy incredible" at this event.  He landed in Wales with Henry in the Summer of 1485.  As the most experienced Lancastrian in battle, Oxford was the real commander at the Battle of Bosworth Field, though Henry was theoretically in charge, and lead its right flank. Oxford commanded the centre, and held off the downhill charge of the Earl of Northumberland at the beginning of the battle.  Richard III was conquered, and Oxford was now restored to his estates and titles.  He was appointed first Captain of the King's Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard and was bestowed Knight of the Order of the Garter after Henry VII's coronation and was also appointed Lord High Admiral and Constable of the Tower.  Oxford died on 10 March 1513. 
  back to index

Sir Charles Somerset (b1460?-1526)
2nd Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1486-1509

NPG 1492

Charles Somerset the Earl of Worcester was an illegitimate son of Henry Beaufort, third Duke of Somerset.  During his childhood he was a exile in Flanders and was knighted by the Archduke Philip, himself a child, before the Battle of Bosworth FieldHenry VII took a great deal of interest in Charles indeed he is mentioned in the accounts of the coronation 'three yards of cloth of gold fort the bastard Somerset'.  Early 1486 he was appointed Captain of the King's Yeomen of the Guard and on 1 March 1486 became keeper of the park of Posterna, Derby.  He was the King's Cup-Bearer and from 3 May 1486 until 25 Sep 1503 was a Knight of the Body.  He obtained the stewardship of Helmesley on 3 May 1487.  During troubled times between Brittany and France he attempted to gain the position of mediator.  To this end he fitted out a fleet of ships which he hired from Spanish merchants. He was placed in command of them as Admiral between Feb 1487 and 1488; the only time that an Admiral was Captain of the Sovereign's Body Guard. 

Following the death of  Francis II, Duke of Brittany, on 9 Sep 1488 Henry began to think about supporting the Duke's daughter Anne. Therefore on 1 Oct Somerset was once again commissioned to go to sea and on Aug 1489 he sailed.   In Sep 1490 Somerset was sent to invest Maximilian with the Order of the Garter when an understanding had been reached regarding the protection of Brittany.  On 23 Apr 1496 he himself became a Knight of the Order of the Garter and named Commissioner of Array for Wales and was made a Knight Banneret on 17 Jun 1497.  In 1498 Somerset was again in the position of diplomat, when Louis XII wished to continue the treaty of Ētaples on the death of Charles VIII of France.  He was also present when Henry and The Archduke Philip met outside Calais in 1500.  Because of his strong connection with Henry he was appointed Vice-Chamberlain of the Royal Household in 1501.  That Somerset was trusted and thoroughly relied upon is in little doubt and by 1503 had several valuable grants and was styled Baron Herbert. 

In 1504 he received the office of constable of Montgomery Castle and in 1505 became a privy councillor.  After the delicate negotiations regarding Henry's French Marriage he was rewarded for his long service to the Crown by the creation of Baron Herbert of Ragland (sic), Chepstow, and Gower in 1506 and to the position of Chamberlain to the Household in 1508.  On Henry VII's death Henry VIII continued the appointment of Chamberlain of the Household. He went of the expedition of 1513 landing at Calais on 10 June.  On 1 Feb 1513-4 he was created Earl of Worcester.  As Chamberlain of the Household he was a major contributor to the arrangements for the Field of the Cloth of Gold and on 13 Apr 1520 he landed at Calais to take charge of the preparations.  Worcester was present at the meeting between Henry VIII and Charles at Gravelines. In May 1521 he took part in Buckingham's trail and went with Wolsey to the congress at Calais.  In 1522 he Worcester was present at the reception of Charles V and was one of whom attested the Treaty of Windsor.  After the Battle of Pavia he took part in the treaty between England and France which was signed on 30 Aug 1525.  By now Worcester was old and his office was taken by William, Baron Sandys of The Vine on 27 Feb 1526.  On 15 Apr 1526 Worcester died and buried in the Beaufort chapel at Windsor.
   back to index          


Sir Thomas Darcy (b1467 - 1537)
3rd Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1509 only


Thomas Darcy was a son of Sir William Darcy and belonged to a family which was seated at Templehurst in Yorkshire.  In early life he served, both as a soldier and a diplomatist, in Scotland and on the Scottish borders, where he was Captain of Berwick and in I505, having been created Baron Darcy,  was made Warden of the East Marches towards Scotland.  In 1511 Darcy led some troops to Spain to help Ferdinand and Isabella against the Moors, but he returned almost at once to England, and was with Henry VIII on his French campaign two years later.  One of the most influential noblemen in the north of England, where he held several important offices, Darcy was also a member of the Royal Council, dividing his time between state duties in London and a more active life in the north.  He showed great zeal in preparing accusations against his former friend, Cardinal Wolsey; however, after the cardinal's fall his words and actions caused him to be suspected by Henry VIII.  Disliking the separation from Rome, Darcy asserted that matrimonial cases were matters for the decision of the spiritual power, and he was soon communicating with Eustace Chapuys, the ambassador of the emperor Charles V, about an invasion of England in the interests of the Roman Catholics.  Detained in London against his will by the King, he was not allowed to return to Yorkshire until late in 1535 and about a year after his arrival in the north for the rising known as the Pilgrimage of Grace.  For a short time Darcy defended Pontefract Castle against the rebels, but soon he surrendered to them this stronghold, which he could certainly have held a little longer, and was with them at Doncaster, being regarded as one of their leaders.  Upon the dispersal of the insurgents Darcy was pardoned, but he pleaded illness when Henry requested him to proceed to London.  He may have assisted to suppress the rising which was renewed under Sir Francis Bigod early in 1537 but the King believed, probably with good reason, that he was guilty of fresh treasons, and he was seized and hurried to London.  During his imprisonment he uttered his famous remark about Thomas Cromwell: "Cromwell, it is thou that art the very original and chief causer of all this rebellion and mischief, . . . and I trust that or thou die, though thou wouldst procure all the noblemen’s heads within the realm to be stricken off, yet shall there one head remain that shall strike off thy head".  Tried by his peers, Darcy was found guilty of treason, and was beheaded on the 20th of June 1537.    back to index

Sir Henry Marney (b1447-1523) 
4th and 7th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard 1509-1512 and 1516-1530 respectively 


The Marney family came over from Normandy in the wake of William the Conqueror. The earliest record of the family at Layer Marney dates from 1166, when they were under the over-lordship of the Bishop of London. Layer Marney Tower was built between 1515 and 1525 and is the tallest Tudor Gatehouse in the country.

Sir Henry Marney fought at the battles of Bosworth and Stoke, was knighted for his part in routing the pretender, Perkin Warbeck, and the Cornish rebels at Blackheath in 1497. A respected member of the Privy Council under both Henry VII and Henry VIII he was created a Knight of the Bath at Henry VIII’s Coronation. He was also appointed Lord Privy Seal, Vice-Chamberlain of the Household, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Captain of the Yeomen of the guard. He was created a Knight of the Garter in 1510 and Lord Marney 14th by Henry VIII. Lord Marney died on 24 May 1523 and buried the same day at St Mary the Virgin, Layer Marney, England.  Still being researched.  back to index


Sir Henry Guildford (b1489-1532)
5th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1512-1513

Henry Guildford, Master of the Horse and Comptroller of the Royal Household, was the son of Sir Richard Guildford by his second marriage.  Very little is recorded of Sir Henry prior to the accession of Henry VIII, although there is an implausible story of him having served under Ferdinand and Isabella at the reduction of Granada.  He eventually became a favourite of the King. At Court he seems to have been a rather well-titled jester.  In 1510 he performing with a company of twelve other men and a woman for the amusement of the Queen. Dressed in coats of 'Kentish Kendal with hoods on their heads and hosen of the same' aped Robin Hood and his men and Maid Marion surprised the Queen in her chamber with their dancing.  The next year on Twelfth Night he was the designer of the pageant and as the Christmas revelry ending in a 'mountain which moved towards the King and opened, out of which came morris-dancers'.  He went with Lord Darcy's expedition to Spain against the Moors where the English met with a very cool reception.  When the rest of his countrymen had returned home he and Sir William Browne remained and were dubbed knights by Ferdinand at Burgos in Sep 1511.  The following year they returned home and were honoured with another knighthood, this time by their own King at the prorogation of parliament on 30 Mar 1512.  It HMS Sovereign. was at this time that he was appointed Captain of the Kings Body Guard.  At this time a fleet was being fitted out for the imminent war against France.  The new Captain of the Guard was appointed as Captain of HMS Sovereign and with him at his side were 'sixty of the tallest Yeomen of the Kynge's Garde'.  On 15 August 1512 tragedy almost struck when two ships blew up minutes after they had been alongside HMS Sovereign, an explosion so great that it would have most certainly sunk her and her crew.  He was also a 'spear' in the King's service and as such earned an advance of £200.  
back to index

Sir John Gage (b1479-1556)
6th
Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1513-1516

Sir John Gage was a statesman and military commander.  After his father's death in 1496 he was educated for court and camp under the watchful eye of Stafford, Duke of Buckingham.  He accompanied Henry VIII on the French campaign of 1513.  Also in 1513 he was appointed Captain of the King's Body Guard.  His name appears several times between 1510 and 1522 as a Commissioner of Peace for Sussex.  He was appointed governor of Guisnes, afterwards of Oye in France and received the additional  post of Comptroller of Calais.   He was eventually recalled to England to take his seat on the Privy Council and in 1528 was created Vice-Chamberlain to the King.  In 1529 he entered parliament as a member for his own county and on 22 May 1532 he was installed as Knight of the Order of the Garter.   Although Gage was constantly employed on commissions by the King, he was eventually asked to leave Court by Henry.  The dispute was almost certainly connected with Catherine of Aragon, for though Gage had signed the petition to the Pope for the divorce he was examined about the Lady Catherine.  Being a man more ready to serve God than the world he doubtlessly had spoken on her behalf to Henry.  Shortly after he renounced the office of Vice-Chamberlain.  The week before Easter 1540 he went with other commissioners to report on the state of affairs at Calais.  He was back at Court before Cromwell's arrest and profited from his friend's disgrace.  He received the posts of Constable of the Tower, Comptroller of the Household and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.  Gage commanded the expedition against Scotland which ended in the defeat and death of James V at Solway Moss in 1542.  He bought his prisoners back with him to the Tower in the winter, riding before them as Constable when they were taken for trial to the Star-Chamber.  At the siege of Boulogne, where he shared the command with Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.  Being lieutenant of the camp and general Captain of Cavalry he was created a Knight-Banneret.  Gage was present at the funeral of Henry VIII and was appointed one of the executors of the King's will.  Gage was a member of the Privy Council but difference soon arose between him and Somerset, who when he became Protector expelled him from the council and from his post of Comptroller of the Royal Household.  Gage joined Southampton, the leader of the catholic party and was one of those that signed the declaration against the Protector.   Gage and Southampton only resumed their seats on the council to resign them upon the accession of power of Dudley, Earl of Warwick.  Gage had, like Dudley, married into the Guilford family but had no sympathy with the plot for Lady Jane Grey and was therefore suspended from his post as Constable of the Tower a few days before she was there proclaimed Queen.  Gage, as a zealous catholic, was at once high in Mary's favour.  He received her at the Tower gates on her arrival at London on 3 August 1553 and was restored to his office of Constable and created Lord Chamberlain of her household. He bore her train at the Coronation and helped to hold the Pall over her.  On Palm Sunday 18 March 1555 he received Elizabeth under his charge as Constable at the Tower gates.  It is reported that he treated the Princess severely 'more for love of the pope than hatred of her person'.  Gage died at his house on 18 April 1556 and was buried under a fine alter tomb at West Firle Church.  back to index      

Sir William Kingston (? - 1540)
8th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1530-1539

Sir William Kingston was of a Gloucester family settled in Painswick.  He was Constable of the Tower and appears to have been a Yeoman of the Guard before June 1509.  In 1512 he was an under-marshal in the Army; went to the Spanish coast; was with Dr William Knight in October of that year at San Sebastian and discussed with him the course to be pursued with the disheartened English forces who had come to Spain under Thomas Grey, second Marquis of Dorset.  He fought well at Flodden, was knighted in 1513 and became Sewer to the King and in 1512 was created Carver.  Kingston took part in the tilting at the Field of the Cloth of Gold and was at the meeting with Charles V in July.  Henry seems to have liked him and he presented him with a horse of great value.  In April 1523 Kingston joined Dacre on the disturbed Northern Frontier and with Sir Ralf Ellerker had the most dangerous posts assigned him. He was present at the capture of Ceefurd, the stronghold of Kers, on 18 May 1523.  He was returned suddenly to London and was made Knight of the King's Body and Captain of the Guard.  On 30 May 1523 he landed at Calais in the Army of the Duke of Suffolk.  On 28 May 1524 he became Constable of the Tower at a salary of £100.  He appears among those that signed the petition to Clement VII on 13 July 1530 for the hastening of the divorce.  In November 1530 Kingston went down the Sheffield Park, Nottinghamshire, to take charge of Cardinal Wolsey.  The Cardinal was said to have been alarmed at his coming because it had been foretold that he should meet his death at Kingston.  Kingston tried to reassure him, and was with him at the time of his death, riding to London to acquaint the King with the circumstances.  He received Ann Boleyn on 2 May 1536 when committed as prisoner to the Tower.  Kingston was made Comptroller of the Household on 9 March 1539 and later Knight of the Garter.  He had many small grants and on the dissolution of the monasteries received the site of the Cistercian Abbey of Flaxley, Gloucester.  He died at Painswick on 14 September 1540 and is buried there.  
back to index

Sir Anthony Wingfield (b1485-1552)
9th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1539-1550

Sir Anthony Wingfield was Comptroller of the Household.  Wingfield first appears as commissioner for peace in Suffolk on 28 June 1510.  He served in the campaign in France of 1513 and was knighted for his bravery.  On 7 November 1513 he was chosen for Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk but six days later was discharged the office.  His name appears on the Roll in 1514 and he served as Sheriff once again between November 1515 to November 1516.  He accompanied Henry VIII to the Field of the Cloth of Gold and subsequent meetings with Charles V in 1520 and 1522.  He served under his cousin Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, in the campaign in France in 1523.  He approved of Henry's religious changes and officiated at the Coronation of Anne Boleyn.  He once again served under Suffolk during the Northern Rebellion of 1536 and was commissioner for the dissolution of the monasteries in Suffolk.  In his latter years he became Vice-Chamberlain, Captain of the Guard and member of the Privy Council, at which he was a constant attendant for the remainder of his life.  He was elected Knight of the Garter in April 1541.  His capacity as Vice-Chamberlain necessitated his presence at Court functions and as Captain of the Guard he arrested Cromwell at the council-board in August 1540 and conducted Suffolk tom the Tower on 12 December 1546.  Henry VIII made him an executor of his will.  Under Edward VI he represented Suffolk in Parliament from 26 September 1547 until his death.  He joined Warwick's conspiracy against Somerset and was despatched by the council on 10 October 1549 to arrest the Protector at Windsor and conveyed him to the Tower three days later.  He was rewarded by being promoted Comptroller of the Household on 2 February 1549 in succession to Paget and in May 1551 was appointed joint Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk.  He died at Sir John Gate's house in Bethnal Green on 15 August 1552.  back to index

Sir Thomas Darcy (b1506-1558)
10th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1550-1551

Thomas Darcy of Danbury, Wivenhoe and St. Osyth (Chiche) was an Esquire of the Body of Henry VII.  On 1 Nov 1532 he was knighted at Calais.  By 1545 he was Master of the Artillery in the Tower of London, and Gentleman of the Privy Chamber to Henry VIII.  Between 1550-1551 he was appointed Vice Chamberlain and Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard to Edward VI and Lord Chamberlain 1550-1553. On 5 April 1551 he was created Baron Darcy of Chiche, Essex. Nominated Knight of the Garter in 1551, he was installed 6 October 1551. He was one of the 26 Peers who signed the letters patent, 16 Jun 1553, settling the Crown on Lady Jane Grey. Darcy's own record keeping during these years was one of steady and unspectacular progress.  He had first appeared at Court as one of the Household of the King's bastard son Richmond and in this capacity had attended the Coronation of Anne Boleyn.  From 1536 it was his kinship with the Seymour family which brought him on.  By 1540 he was a Gentleman Pensioner and Carver to the King, and in the wars which followed he became Master Armourer and Captain of the Guard in and commanded the Pensioners in the expedition of 1544; this was a busy year for him. In February or March he crossed to France but by May he was back in Essex strengthening coastal defences. While there, he was empowered to demand the extraordinary assistance of the shire in preventing invasion, and in Jun he joined the Earls of Essex and Sussex in arranging for the defence of the Isle of Sheppey. In August he was at Court, at least for a time, occupying himself with, among other things, the promotion of suits to the King.  Darcy is known to have sat at two of Henry VIII's Parliaments and may have sat in at least two more.

His name first appears in this connexion in a list of nominees for vacancies in the Commons which was drawn up by
Cromwell in 1532 or early in 1533.  At that time one of the Essex seats was vacant, Thomas Bonham having died in June 1532, and the other was in process of becoming so with Sir Thomas Audley's appointment as Keeper of the Great Seal.  Although the names of those by-elected are unknown.  Darcy's fellow-knight in the first Edwardian Parliament was Sir William Petre.  This is the first Parliament at which there is any indication of Darcy's part in the proceedings of the Commons, his signature is one of those found on four Acts passed during the third session, those for a general pardon, for a churchyard in West Drayton, Middlesex, for the restitution of Sir William Hussey and for the fine and ransom of the Duke of Somerset. That his connexion with Somerset did not compromise Darcy at the time of the Protector's fall is clear from the string of appointments and honours which he received shortly after it; these included leading posts in the royal household, a Privy Councillorship and a Knight and the Garter. It was the years of Northumberland's ascendancy, too, which saw the greatest accession to Darcy's landed wealth.  To the ex-monastic properties which he had been accumulating since 1540 there was added in 1551 a slice of the valuable estates of the bishopric of London recently exchanged with the crown on Ridley's consecration, and in 1553 a large miscellaneous purchase worth nearly £4,000. His ennoblement created a vacancy in the Commons which was filled not long afterwards by Sir John Gates.  As Chamberlain Darcy was one of the leading figures in England during the closing years of Edward VI's reign and it was in this capacity that he presided over the committee for reforming the revenue courts. He signed the device enabling Lady Jane Grey to succeed to the throne and helped to proclaim her Queen. At Northumberland's behest he ordered Baron Rich to hold Essex against Mary but on realizing the popularity of Mary's cause he forsook Jane and advised Northumberland to surrender.  For Darcy's support of her rival Mary dismissed him from office and placed him under house arrest. Rumour had it that arms were smuggled into his house during his confinement there and that he was conspiring with Princess Elizabeth, but on 1 November 1553 he was pardoned through the intercession of his brother-in-law the Earl of Oxford. By that time Parliament had been in session for several weeks, and it is probable that he had been absent from the Lords until then.

In the previous reign he had attended the Upper House as far as his duties elsewhere had allowed, and this standard he maintained until his death, although without appearing to make much mark there. He requited the clemency shown him and the freedom to reside again at St. Osyth's priory, until recently in occupation by Mary as princess, by helping to check the spread of Wyatt's rebellion to Essex and afterwards by supporting the restoration of Catholicism in the country.
Darcy's exertions during the emergency following the fall of Calais earned the Queen's thanks, but whatever promise of restoration this offered perished with his death at Wivenhoe on 28 June 1558. He was buried in the church at St Osyth, where a monument was later erected to his memory.  back to index

Sir John Gates (b1504-1553) 
11th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1551-1553

Sir John Gates, statesman, was born in 1504.  Henry VIII made him a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber.  In January 1535 he was placed on the committee for Essex and Colchester appointed to inquire into tenths of spiritualities and in the ensuing October was ordered to accompany the King on the expedition to quell the Lincolnshire rebellion.  He was appointed one of three commissioners authorised to sign all documents by stamp in the name and on behalf of the King by patent dated 31 August 1546.  In December of the same year Gates, along with Sir R Southwell and Sir W Carew, was despatched to Kenninghall, Norfolk, to bring back the Duchess of Richmond and Elizabeth Holland, that they might give evidence against the Duke of Norfolk and the Earl of Surrey.  Henry rewarded him by a rich grant of lands and other property, including the college and rectory of Pleshey in Essex.  He forthwith demolished the chancel of the church for the sake of making money of the materials, and obliged the parishioners to purchase what was left standing.  He also obtained the under-stewardship and clerkship of Waltham Forest and the clerkship of the court of Swanmote in the same.  At the Coronation of Edward VI on the 20 February 1546-7 Gates was created a Knight of the Bath, and took part in the jousts.  On 23 June 1550, being then sheriff of Essex, he was ordered to enforce observances of the injunctions issued by Ridley, Bishop of London, in regard to the ‘plucking down of superaltaries, altars, and such ceremonies and abuses’. In the following month he took measures to prevent the flight of the Princess Mary to Antwerp as contrived by the emperor Charles V.  On 8 April 1551 the King made him his Vice-Chamberlain and Captain of the Guard, with a seat at the Privy Council.  In May 1552 he was chosen a commissioner to sell chantry lands and houses for payment of the King’s debts; and on the following 4 July was made Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.  Other favours were at this time conferred on Gates, who had become one of Northumberland’s chief creatures, and supported him in promoting the celebrated ‘devise’ of succession in favour of Lady Jane Grey.  He accompanied Northumberland in his expedition against Mary in July 1553.  On 19 August he was tried before a special commission, pleaded guilty, and was executed three days afterwards.  Before he received the sacrament he expressed regret to Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devonshire for his long imprisonment of which he admitted himself in part the cause.  On the scaffold he warned the people against reading the Bible controversially as he had done.  Three strokes of the axe severed his head.  His possessions were forfeited to the crown.   back to index

Sir Henry Jerningham (b?-1571)
12th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1553-1557


Sir Henry Jerningham, an adherent of Queen Mary, was granted the manor of Cossey (or Costessy) in 1547 and thus became the founder of the Jernegan family (spelling his name Jerningham to distinguish his branch from the Somerleyton Jernegans).  He was the first to appear openly on Mary’s side, joining her at Kenninghall with his tenantry in July 1553, immediately after Edward’s death.  He then proceeded to raise forces for her in Norfolk and Suffolk, and while she raised her standard at Framlingham went on to Yarmouth to guard the coast.  Here he successfully defied a squadron of the fleet and persuaded the captains to surrender, he and the Yarmouth burgess taking possession of their ships in Mary’s name.  He proceeded to London with the new queen, and was rewarded by the posts of Vice-Chamberlain of the Royal Household, Captain of the Guard, and a seat on the privy council on 31 July 1553, the offices vacated by the attainder of Sir John Gates.  On 29 Sept, he also created a Knight Banneret.  Jerningham went with Norfolk against Wyatt, and routed him on his way to Rochester: rallied his division at Charing Cross, and finally defeated Wyatt’s men (1554).  In 1556 Jerningham was appointed a commissioner to examine into the conspiracy of Clerbery, and became Master of the Horse the next year.  He was in high favour throughout Mary’s reign, and entrusted with constant state business by the queen.  He received the offices of keeper of the royal parks at Eltham and at Horne, Kent with the various sources of income pertaining to these manors, besides being allowed to keep a hundred retainers of his own.  On Elizabeth’s accession he was deprived of his seat on the Privy Council, and his name no longer appears in state affairs.  He died in 1571.   back to index

Sir Henry Bedingfeld (b1511-1583)
13th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1557-1558

Sir Henry Bedingfeld of Oxborough in Norfolk and supporter of Queen Mary, succeeded his father's estates in 1553 and was MP for Suffolk in the first Parliament of that year.  He was one of the earliest to acknowledge Mary as Queen on the death of Edward VI, and is said to have rallied round her with 140 fully armed men.  In reward for his services on this occasion he was made a Privy Councillor, and his name appears at the head of several orders in council for 1553.  In March 1554 the Princess Elizabeth was committed to the Tower on a charge of complicity in Sir Thomas Wyatt’s rebellion.  On 5 May the Constable of the Tower was replaced by Sir Henry Bedingfeld, with a special guard of 100 soldiers, in blue liveries; according to Foxe, Elizabeth was in constant fear of murder at the hands of her new gaolers.  But in this she did her keeper wrong, who was merely taking the steps necessary for carrying out his orders to conduct her to Woodstock.  The journey was commenced under Bedingfeld’s charge on 19 May, on which day ‘with a company of rakehells’ she was conveyed by water to Richmond, and thence to Woodstock.  Sir Henry Bedingfeld’s conduct is said by both Foxe and Holinshed to have been extremely harsh, not only on the way but also during the full year during which she was under his care.  He is even charged with the impertinence of himself sitting down after a long journey to have his boots pulled off in a chair of state that had been specially prepared for his royal prisoner.  He was a careful guardian of Elizabeth’s life, and, according to Foxe it was only owing to the strict injunction left behind him against the admittance of any one even with the queen’s order to Elizabeth’s presence during his absence, that she was not made away with by Gardiner’s creature Bassett.  Sir Henry was released from his charge in June 1555. During the years 1553, 1554 and 1557, he sat in parliament as one of the Knights of the Shire for Norfolk, but was not returned after Elizabeth’s accession.  In 1553-4 his name appears as one of two commissioners appointed to receive the payments in compoundment of knighthood throughout England.  On Elizabeth’s accession, according to Foxe, Sir Henry Bedingfeld once more made his appearance at court, with apologies for his previous conduct; and the common story runs that the Queen contended herself with discouraging his attendance there and with a nipping word: ‘If we have any prisoner whom we would have sharply and straitly kept, we will send for you'.  For the rest of his life Sir Henry Bedingfeld seems to have lived quietly as a country gentleman.  Sir Henry Bedingfeld died in the year 1583, shortly after the death of his wife, being, apparently, still in adherent of the old religion.  He was buried in Oxborough, where a fine monument was erected commemorating his virtues.   back to index

Sir Edward Rogers (b1498-1567)
14th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1558 only

Sir Edward Rogers was Comptroller of Queen Elizabeth's Household.  He was an Esquire of the Body to Henry VIII and had a licence to import wine in 1534; on 11 December 1534 he became bailiff of Hampnes in the marches of Calais and Sandgate in Kent.  At the Coronation of Edward VI he was dubbed a Knight of the Carpet, and on 15 October 1549 was made one of the four Principal Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber.  In January 1549-50 he was confined to his house in connection with the misdemeanours of the Earl of Arundel, whom he had doubtless assisted in his peculations but he was soon free, and on 21 June 1550 had a pension of £501 granted to him.  As an ardent protestant he deemed it prudent to go abroad in Queen Mary’s days.  Under Elizabeth he obtained important preferment.  On 20 Nov, 1558 he was made Vice-Chamberlain and Captain of the Guard, and a Privy Councillor, in 1560 he succeeded Sir Thomas Parry as Comptroller of the Household.  He died before 21 May 1567.    back to index

Sir William St Loe (b?-1566)
15th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1558-1566


Sir William St Loe was the eldest son of Sir John St Loe and his wife Dame Margaret of Sutton Court, Chew Magna in Somerset; they also had land in Gloucestershire and the West Country where they owned property in Bristol and Bath.  Since 1100, during the Court of Henry I, St Loe men were on the periphery of Royal service.  On the death of each Monarch the head of family was repaid for their loyal devotion by being chosen as an Attendant Knight keeping vigil over the body.  Later, Queen Elizabeth was a good friend of the St Loe family as the family had aided her when her life was threatened.  Although William St Loe was a highly intelligent boy, as was  remarked by his tutor John Palsgrave, he never attended Oxford or Cambridge.  In 1532, and despite William's obvious intelligence his father decided to bring William back from London because of the plague and his safety.  Palsgrave wrote to William's father "This Monday.... your servant Thomas Fowlkes informed me you had commissioned him to bring home your son, Master Will Sayntlowe, as the mortality in London was so great, and you supposed I had gone overseas with the King.  But as I was not gone, and there is no danger of sickness he left it to me to write... At Candlemass I mean to go to the University of Cambridge, and keep house at the Blackfriars.  There I could have with me your son, Mr Russell's son, a younger brother of Andrew Bayton and Mr Noryce's son, of the King's Privy Chamber... I go to Cambridge rather than Oxford, because I have a benefice 16 miles off.  Your son, Will Sayntlowe, is the best sped child of his age.  If you withdraw him, either for any tenderness that my lady, his mother, may have towards him, or for any doubts about my honest dealing with such an inheritor as he is, on my faith I promise you, you have killed a schoolmaster, for I will never more teach after Candlemass Day."  Although William was intelligent he is not listed as attending Oxbridge (Oxford or Cambridge).  William's parents didn't succumb to Palsgrave's letter and was taken home to Somerset.  From January 1535 a teenage William spent ten months in Ireland with his father before marrying Jane Baynton, the twelve year old daughter of Sir Edward Baynton of Bromham, Wiltshire.  For unknown reasons the marriage was never consummated by the Spring of 1536 when William became a Gentleman Usher to Henry Courtenay, Marquess of Exeter.  William spent two years with the Courtenay family along with twelve other young men and six young ladies all learning how to become a courtier.  All went sour in November 1538 when the Marquess was arrested for plotting against the King. He was subsequently sent to the Tower of London, convicted of treason and executed.  The execution of Exeter may have been a double-edged sword because William returned home to his wife and in 1539 she gave birth to their first daughter, Mary.  In 1540 William St Loe and his father were summoned to Windsor Castle to appear before the King with regards to complaints made by his neighbouring landowners.  The St Loe's guarded their lands jealously, indeed zealously, as did their servants in a sometimes violent way.  The St Loe family was given a reprimand by the King and whether as a punishment or as a form of penance by William we don't know he joined the Crown's permanent army and soon promoted to Captain.  In August 1543 he was mentioned in despatches whilst on active service in Boulogne and several time again whilst in Ireland whilst fighting the rebels such a Cahir O'Connor.  William St Loe was a good, fair and good-humoured officer and popular with his fellow officers and his leadership in command earned him a knighthood; the honour was bestowed in Dublin in January 1549.  It was very soon after that Sir William wrote a letter of complaint to the Lord Justice of Ireland regarding the lack of provisions and food for his men.  Almost immediately he was recalled by the new King, Edward VI, and his command given to Sir Anthony St Leger.  He returned to his wife Jane and their two daughters Mary and Margaret (born c1541) but sadly in the Autumn of 1549 Jane died, possibly in child birth.  In 1551 Sir William returned to Ireland as Marshal serving under Lord Cobham and Sir James Croft.  Having served just two years in Ireland Sir William was recalled to Court never to return to serve in Ireland.  His charm, good manners and humour made him an excellent courtier. These traits coupled with his military experience made him ideal as the man to head the personal security of Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth I) then aged nineteen.  Service to the Princess became a family affair as a fourteen year old Mary St Loe became one of her six maids of honour.  It is therefore ironic that when Edward VI died in 1553 the St Loe family was part of the movement to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne as Queen.  Maybe not too surprising however given that Sir John St Loe was a staunch Protestant and the thought of a Catholic Queen Mary sitting on the throne of England.  Queen Jane's request that he raise a force and proceed to Buckinghamshire was carried out but in the meantime Queen Mary's force won the day before, luckily, St Loe's men arrived.  Because of this good timing who was to say who St Loe was supporting.  However, within months Sir John and, especially, Sir William were involved in the Wyatt Rebellion.  Sir William was more than a little involved in the rebellion and acted as messenger many times and met with the Wyatt conspirators.  The rebellion failed, mainly due to a lack of conviction on several fronts and the fact that the authorities knew of the rebels' plans from a confession from Edward Courtenay.  Sir William was arrested and taken to the Tower but not as a beaten, sorry man but stout of stature and with courage.  Reading between the lines of papers of that time he was subjected to very hard questioning from his gaolers more than certainly with some form of physical or mental torture.  Never-the-less, and unlike his fellow conspirators, he gave nothing away that would involve Princess Elizabeth in the rebellion, a fact that may well have saved her live; and since Queen Mary had executed Lady Jane Grey without a second thought, the execution of a treasonous Elizabeth would have been certain.  Elizabeth, Sir William and others lesser involved in the rebellion remained in the Tower of London.  On 25 June 1554 he was transferred to Fleet Prison and released on 28 January 1555 on the fine of £202 and an oath to be of 'good bearing and order'.  In November 1558 Queen Mary died and Queen Elizabeth ascended to the throne.  She acknowledged William's loyalty by immediately appointing him Captain of her personal Body Guard and Chief Butler of England and Chief Butler of Wales. Many other sinecure positions making Sir William a wealthy, eligible 40 year old widower that had been married twice before marrying the celebrated Elizabeth (Bess) Hardwicke.  This lady had four husbands; her second being Sir William Cavendish, by whom she had six children.  Sir William called her 'honest sweet Chatsworth' and his 'own sweet Bess'.  He proved to be a most generous husband taking on her debts from her previous marriage to William Cavendish.  By Sir William she had no issue (although Sir William had had children from his previous marriages), and on his death gave the greater part of the estates she had from him to her second son, Charles Cavendish.

Permission to use the information contained in this biography has been granted by Mary S Lovell author of  "Bess of Hardwick".  See Mary S Lovell for more information about the author and her work.    
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Sir Francis Knollys (b1514-1596)
16th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1566-1572


Sir Francis Knollys was a statesman who's pedigree cannot be authentically traced beyond Sir Thomas Knollys.  In 1542 he entered the House of Commons for the first time as member for Horsham.  At the beginning of Edward VI’s reign he accompanied the English army to Scotland, and was knighted by the Commander-in-Chief, the Duke of Somerset, at the camp at Roxburgh, 28 September 1547.  Knollys’ strong protestant convictions recommended him to the young King and his sister the Princess Elizabeth, and he spent much time at court, taking a prominent part not only in tournaments there but also in religious discussion. On 25 Nov 1551 he was present at Sir William Cecil’s house, at a conference between a few catholic and protestants respecting the corporeal presence in the Sacrament.  About the same date he was granted the manors of Caversham in Oxfordshire and Cholsey in Berkshire.  At the end of 1552 he visited Ireland on public business.  The accession of Mary darkened Knollys’ prospects, his religious opinions placed him in opposition to the government , and he deemed it prudent to cross to Germany, on his departure the Princess Elizabeth wrote to his wife a sympathetic note, expressing a wish that they would soon be able to return in safety. 

Before Mary’s death he returned to England, and as a man ‘of assured understanding of truth, and well affected to the protestant religion’ he was admitted to Elizabeth’s Privy Council in December 1558, he was soon afterwards made Vice-Chamberlain of the household and Captain of the Halberdiers, in 1559 Knollys was chosen Member of Parliament for Arundel, and in 1562 for Oxford, of which town he was also appointed Chief Steward.  In 1572 he was elected member for Oxfordshire, and sat for that constituency until his death.  In April 1556 he was sent to Ireland to control the expenditure of Sir Henry Sidney, the lord deputy, who was trying to repress the rebellion of Shane O’Neil, and was much hampered by the interference of court factions at home but Knollys found himself compelled, contrary to Elizabeth’s wish, to approve Sidney’s plans.  It was, he explained, out of the question to conduct the campaign against Irish rebels on strictly economical lines.  In August 1564 he accompanied the queen to Cambridge, and was created MA.  Two years later he went to Oxford, also with his sovereign, and received a like distinction there, in the same year he was appointed Treasurer of the Queens’ Chamber.  In May 1568 Mary Queen of Scots fled to England, and flung herself on Elizabeth’s protection.  She had found refuge in Carlisle Castle, and the delicate duty of taking charge of the fugitive was entrusted jointly to Knollys and to Henry Scrope, ninth Baron Scrope.  In April 1571 Knollys was appointed Treasurer of the Royal Household and he entertained Elizabeth at Reading Abbey, where he often resided by permission of the crown.  The office of Treasurer he retained till his death on 19 Jul 1596. On 9 January 1591 he told his correspondent that he marvelled 'how her Majestie can be persuaded that she is in as much danger of such as are called Purytanes as she is of the Papysts'. Finally, on 14 May 1591, he declared that he would prefer to retire from politics and political office rather than cease to express his hostility to the bishops' claims with full freedom
. Two years later in 1593, Sir Francis was rewarded for his loyal service by his investiture to the Order of the Garter.     back to index

Sir Christopher Hatton (b1540-1591)
17th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1572-1586


Sir Christopher Hatton's family was old and claimed, though on doubtful evidence, to be of Norman lineage.  Hatton was entered at St Mary Hall, Oxford, probably about 1555, as a Gentleman-Commoner.  He took no degree, and in November 1559 was admitted to the society of the Inner Temple, where, according to Fuller he ‘rather took a bait than a meal’ of legal study.  There is no record of his call to the bar, but the register was not then exactly kept.  Tall, handsome, and throughout his life a very graceful dancer, he attracted the attention of the queen at a subsequent masque at court, and became one her Gentlemen Pensioners in June 1564.  On Sunday 11 November 1565, and the two following days he displayed his prowess in a tourney held before the queen at Westminster, in honour of the marriage of Ambrose Dudley, Earl of  Warwick, and he jousted again before the queen at the same place in May 1571.  Elizabeth gave him in 1565 the Abbey and demesne lands of Sulby, nominally in exchange for his manor of Holdenby, which, however, was at the same time leased to him for forty years, and was two years later reconveyed to him in fee she appointed him (29 July 1568) keeper of her parks at Eltham in Kent and Horne in Surrey she granted him the reversion of the office of Queen’s Remembrancer in the Exchequer (1571), and estates in Yorkshire, Dorsetshire, Herefordshire, the reversion of the monastery De Pratis in Leicestershire, the stewardship of the manors of Wendlingborough in Northamptonshire, and the wardship of three minors (1571-2).  She also made him one of the Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber, though at what date is uncertain, and Captain of her Body Guard in 1572.  Hatton’s relations with the queen were very intimate.  When he fell seriously ill in 1573 she visited him daily, was pensive when he left for Spa to recover his health, and sent her own physician. His letters to her while on this journey are written in a very extravagant style e.g. ‘My spirit, I feel, agreeth with my body and life that to serve you is a heaven, but to lack you is more than hell’s torment unto them. Love me, for I love you’ he signs himself her ‘most happy bondman Lyddes’  She also called him her ‘mutton’, her ‘bellwether’, her ‘pecora camp’; malignant gossip said that he was her parmour. 

Hatton was probably in London in October 1573 when Hawkins, the celebrated seaman, was mistaken for him, and stabbed in the street by one Burchet, a puritan fanatic, who vowed to take Hatton’s life as an ‘enemy to the gospel'. On 11 November Hatton was appointed Vice-Chamberlain of the Queen’s Household, with a seat in the Privy Council.  On 1 December he was knighted at Windsor.  Sir Walter Raleigh, was at this time rising into favour with the Queen, and Hatton saw fit to exhibit jealousy of him, sending her in 1582 some foolish tokens and a reproachful letter.  Having lost the Queen’s favour he withdrew from court early in 1584, and sulked at Holdenby until Elizabeth condescended to write him two letters desiring his return.  He had early become the recognised mouthpiece of the Queen in the House of Commons.  In this capacity he communicated to the house on 12 March 1575 Elizabeth’s desire for the release of Peter Wentworth, who had been committed to the Tower for a speech in defence of free speech, and on 24 January 1581 disapproval of an ‘apparent contempt’ committed by the house in appointing a public fast to be held in the Temple Church, without taking her pleasure. On 25 April 1587 the queen appointed Hatton Lord Chancellor, delivering the seal to him personally at the archiepiscopal palace at Croydon, and on 3 May he took the oaths of office, riding from Ely House to Westminster for that purpose in great state.  He was preceded by forty of his retainers in blue livery wearing gold chains, part of The Corps of Gentlemen Pensioners and other gentlemen of the court, and attended by the officers and clerks of the chancery.  His appointment occasioned much surprise and some indignation in the legal profession, as his knowledge of law was supposed to be slight, and some ‘sullen serjeants’ even refused to plead before him. His decrees have not been preserved.  On 24 April 1588 Hatton was invested with the Order of the Garter his installation followed on 23 May.

It was largely through Hatton’s influence that Elizabeth had abandoned her rash scheme of making Leicester Lord-Lieutenant of the realm in 1587.  This however, did not disturb his relations with Leicester, with whom he had long been on terms of close friendship, and who had made him one of the overseers in his will.  On the death of Leicester (20 Sept 1588) Hatton succeeded him as Chancellor of the University of Oxford. Hatton opened the proceedings in parliament in 1588-9 with a long speech, in which, after celebrating the destruction of the Armada, he asked for a liberal supply for the Navy.  As Hatton was suspected of secretly favouring the Roman Catholics, it is curious to observe that he exerted himself on behalf of Udal, the puritan minister, charged with plotting against the Queen’s life in 1591.  In truth he appears to have favoured neither of the extreme parties, but to have held that, in Camden’s words ‘in religionis causa non urendum, non secandum’. He died at Ely House on 20 Nov, 1591 of a diabetes, aggravated, it is said, by vexation at the exaction by the Queen of payment of a large sum of money, representing arrears of tenths and first-fruits for which he was accountable.  He was buried on 16 December in St Paul’s Cathedral, between the lady chapel and the south aisle, where and elaborate monument was placed. The corpse was preceded to the grave by one hundred poor people in gowns and caps provided for them by the executors, and followed by four hundred Gentlemen and Yeomen, the Lords of the Council, and eight Gentlemen Pensioners.
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Sir Henry Goodyere (b1534-   )
18th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1586 only

Sir Henry Goodyere spent his early years at his family’s ancestral home in Hadley, Middlesex, and then when he was of the proper age, was sent off to be raised in the home of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk.  Henry studied for a law degree and it was at Gray’s Inn, renowned for its revelries and feasting, that he began a lifetime commitment to the arts - poetry, music and the theatre - mostly as a patron, and only occasionally as a practitioner.  It was said 'He knows he is no great poet – all the more because he has his cousin Philip Sidney to whom he must compare himself, but he cares little for these deficiencies. He has other pursuits at which he excels'.  In addition to managing his estates, he sat in the Commons for both Stafford and Coventry and a Justice of the Peace in Warwick. It was this last position that put him in greater contact with the Dudley family in general and the Earl of Leicester in particular.  It was then through Leicester that Henry became more involved with the “hawks” at court and through Leicester again that Henry received a commission to fight in the Low Countries for a time.  He spent two and a half years there, mostly in garrison duty, interspersed with marching and only occasionally actual fighting. While not a glorious and renowned soldier (like his cousin Philip Sidney), what he did do well was command the loyalty of his men and the respect of the local allies.  It was probably this ability to remain even-handed, and more importantly tactful, under occasionally difficult circumstances that suggested to the Earl of Leicester that Henry might do well at court.  It was only a few months after returning from the Low Countries that Henry was summoned to Greenwich and there, much to his surprise, given command of the Queen's Body Guard.  That having only been in January, Henry is still fairly new to court. Those who sat in the Commons knew him, and those courtiers who have lands in Staffordshire, Warwickshire or Middlesex may have know him from dealings there, but to the rest of the court, he was still somewhat new.  The only slightly scandalous thing known of by most of court is that Henry’s youngest brother, William 'currently resides in The Tower, having been implicated (in some unclear way) in the Duke of Norfolk’s latest activities'.   back to index

Sir Walter Raleigh (b1554-1618)
19th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard -

1586-1592 Then relieved of the Captaincy
1592-1597 Imprisoned in the Tower of London
1597-1603 Re-instated as Captain.  Beheaded in 1618


Sir Walter Raleigh, military and naval commander and author was born at Hayes or Hayes Barton, near Budleigh Salterton, South Devonshire.  In 1569 Raleigh sought adventures in France as a volunteer in the Huguenot army.  With it he was present in the Battle of Jana and again at Moncontour.  It has been conjectured that on 24 Aug, 1572, the day of the massacre of St Bartholomew, he was in Paris it is more probable that he was in the South of France, where, according to his own testimony , he saw the Catholics smoked out if the caves in the Languedoc hills.  It is stated authoritatively that he remained in France for upwards of five years, but nothing further is known of his experiences there.  In December 1557 he appears to have had a residence at Islington, and been known as a hanger-on of the court.  In April 1578 he was in England and in September he was at Dartmouth, where he joined his half-brother Sir Humphrey Gilbert in fitting out a fleet of eleven ships for a so-called voyage of discovery.  That the ‘voyage of discovery’ was a mere pretence may be judged by the armament of the ships, which according to the standard of the age, was very heavy.  Gilbert commanded the Admiral, of 250 tons, Carew, Raleigh’s elder brother, commanded the Vice-Admiral, Raleigh himself the Falcon of 100 tons, with the distinguishing motto ‘Nec mortem peto, nec finem fugio.’  After an indecisive engagement with some Spaniards, the expedition was back at Dartmouth in the spring of 1579.  A few months later Raleigh was at the court, on terms of intimacy at once with the Earl of Leicester, and with Leicester’s bitter enemy and Burghley’s disreputable son-in –law, the Earl of Oxford.  At Oxford’s request he carried a challenge to Leicester’s nephew, Sir Philip Sidney, which Sidney accepted, but Oxford refused to fight, and it is said, proposed to have Sidney assassinated.  Raleigh's refusal to assist in this wicked business bred coldness between him and Oxford, which deepened on the latter’s part into deadly hatred. 

Next June Raleigh sailed for Ireland as the Captain of a company of one hundred soldiers.  It was apparently in November that Raleigh, on his way home from Lismore to Cork with eight horses and eight foot was attacked by a numerous body of Irish.  They could not, however, stand before the disciplined strength of the English, and fled.  Raleigh, hotly pursuing them with his small body of horse, got in among a crowd of the fugitives, who turned to bay, and fought fiercely, stabbing the horse with their knives. Raleigh’s horse was killed, and Raleigh, entangled under the falling animal, owed delivery from imminent danger to the arrival of reinforcements.  This marked the end, for the time, of Raleigh’s Irish service.  In the beginning of December 1581, he was sent to England with despatches from Colonel Zouch, the new governor of Munster, and coming to the court, then at Greenwich, happened to attract the notice and catch the fancy of the Queen.  There is nothing improbable in the story of his spreading his new plush cloak over a muddy road for the Queen to on.  The evidence on which it is based is shadowy, but the incident is in keeping with Raleigh’s quick, decided resolution, and it is certain that Raleigh sprang with a sudden bound into the royal favour.  Fuller’s other story of his writing, on a window of the palace with a diamond.  Fain would I climb, yet fear I would fall And of Elizabeth’s replying to it with if thy heart fails thee, climb not at all, rest on equally weak testimony, and is inherently improbable.

He was under thirty, tall, well-built, of a ‘good presence,’ with thick dark hair, a bright complexion and an expression full of life.  He had, moreover, the reputation of a bold and dashing partisan, ingenious and daring, fearless alike in the field and in the council-chamber, a man of a stout heart and a sound head. For several years Raleigh belonged to the court, the recipient of the Queen’s bounties and favour to an extent which gave much occasion for scandal.  Among other patent and monopolies, he was granted, in May 1583, that of Wine Licenses.  In 1584 he was knighted, and in 1585 was appointed Warden of the Stannaries that is one of the mines of Cornwall, and Devon, Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, and Vice-Admiral of the two counties.  Both in 1582 and 1586 he sat in parliament as member for Devonshire.  In 1586 he was also appointed Captain of the Queen’s Guard, an office requiring immediate attendances on the Queen’s person.  It is by his long, costly and persistent effort to establish this first of England colonise that Raleigh’s name is most favourably know, to Raleigh belongs the credit of having, first of Englishmen, pointed out the way to the formation of a greater England beyond the seas.  But he had no personal share in the actual expeditions, and he was never in his whole life near the coast of Virginia. 

Among the more immediate results of his endeavours is popularly reckoned the introduction, about 1586, into England of potatoes and tobacco.  The assertion is in part substantiated, his ‘Servant’ Harriot, whom he sent out to America, gives in his ‘Brief and True report of Virginia’ (1588) a detailed account of the potato and tobacco, and describes the use to which the natives put them, he himself made the experiment of smoking tobacco.  The potato and tobacco were in 1596 growing as rare plants in Lord Burghley’s garden in the Strand.  Although potatoes had a far earlier period been brought to Europe by the Spaniards, Harriot’s specimens were doubtless the earliest to be planted in this kingdom.  Some of them Raleigh planted in this garden at Youghal. And on that ground he may be regarded as one of Ireland’s chief benefactors.  The cultivation spread rapidly in Ireland, but was uncommon in England until the eighteenth century.  In March 1588, when the Spanish invasion appeared imminent, Raleigh was appointed on of a commission under the presidency of Sir Francis Knollys. To draw up a plan for the defence of the country.  The statement that it was by Raleigh’s advice that the Queen determined to fit out the fleet is unsupported by evidence.  It nowhere appears that Raleigh had any voice as to the naval preparations. 

His recall and imprisonment were due to the Queen’s wrath on discovering that the man whom she had delighted to honour and enrich, who had been professing a lover’s devotion to her, had been carrying on an intrigue with one of her maids of honour, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Nicolas Throgmorton.  The Queen showed no more mercy to Mistress Throgmorton that to her lover, as she also was imprisoned in the Tower.  It is probable that Raleigh and Elizabeth Throgmorton were married afterwards.  Being forbidden to come to court, they settled at Sherborne, were in January 1591-2 Raleigh had obtained a ninety-nine year’s lease of the castle and park.  In 1595 as Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, prepared for the defence of the country against a threatened invasion from Spain.  This prevented his personally undertaking a new voyage to Guiana, but in January 1595-1596 he sent out his trusty friend, Lawrence Kemys.  Meanwhile Raleigh took a brilliant part in the expedition to Cadiz in June 1596.  He commanded the vanguard himself in the leading ship, the Warspite, as the fleet forced its way into the harbour, and through severely wounded, he was carried on shore where the men landed for the storming of the town. 

Raleigh had been commended for his share in the taking of Cadiz his friends believed that the Queen’s wrath was wearing itself out and Essex was not hostile.  In May 1597 Raleigh was in daily attendance at the court, and on 1 June he was brought to the Queen who used him very graciously and gave him full authority to execute his place as Captain of the Guard.  Intrigues centred round the King of Scots for at least two years before the death of the Queen, James was systematically informed that Raleigh was opposed to his claims, and was ready to proceed to any exterminates, to prevent his accession to the throne.

The letters were written by Lord Henry Howard (afterwards Earl of Northampton) probably with the knowledge if not the approval, of Cecil.  The result, at any rate, was that in 1603 James crossed the border with a strong prepossession against Raleigh, and when Raleigh, who had been in the West, hastened to meet him, he was received with marked discourtesy.  A fortnight later he was deprived of his post of Captain of the Guard he was persuaded or compelled to resign the Wardenship of the Stannaries and the governorship of Jersey, his lucrative patent of wine licenses was suspended as a monopoly, and he was ordered ‘with unseemly haste’, to leave Durham House in the Strand, but he still remained at court in occasional attendance on the King, hoping, it may be, to overcome the prejudice and win the royal favour.  On or about 14 July he was summoned before the Lords of the Council. Who examined him as to say knowledge he might have of the plot ‘to surprise the King’s person’, or of any plot contrived between Lord Cobham and Count Romberg, the Spanish agent in London.  Of Watson’s plot he most probably was entirely ignorant.  With Cobham he was still on friendly terms, and Cobham had taken from his house a book by one Snagge, contesting James’s title.  Raleigh had once borrowed the work from Lord Burghley’s library.  Moreover he knew that Cobham had been in correspondence with Aremberg.  this he denied before the council, but he afterwards admitted it, and his prevarication, joined to his know intercourse with Cobham and his reasonable causes for discontent, appeared so suspicious that on 17 July he was sent a prisoner to the Tower, ‘Unable to endure his misfortunes’ he attempted to commit suicide.  Raleigh was treated leniently in prison; he had apartments in the upper story of the Bloody Tower, where his wife and son, with their personal attendants, also live, at the rate for household expenses of about 200l a year. 

But his health suffered from cold and frequent efforts were made by his enemies to concoct fresh charges of disloyalty against him.  In 1610 they succeeded in depriving him for three months of the society of his wife, who was ordered to leave the tower.  In Prince Henry, however, he found a useful friend.  The Prince was mainly attracted by Raleigh’s studies in science and literature, to which his enforced leisure was devoted.  For the Price, Raleigh designed a model of a ship, encouraged by him he began his ‘History of the World’ and for his guidance designed many political treaties.  In a laboratory, or ‘still-house,’ allowed him in the Tower garden for chemical and philosophical experiments, he condensed fresh from salt water.  As early as 1610, possibly earlier, Raleigh sought permission for another venture to the Orinoco.  He was willing to command an expedition himself, or to serve as guide to any persons appointed.  ‘If I bring them not’ he wrote, ‘to a mountain covered with gold and silver ore, let the commander have commission to cut off my head there’.  His proposal received some encouragement, and in 1611 or 1612 certain Lords of the council offered to send Kemys with two ships, on condition that the charge should be borne by Raleigh if Kemys failed to bring back at least half a ton of gold ore similar to the specimens.  Raleigh objected that it was ‘a matter of exceeding difficulty for any man to find the same acre of ground again in a country desolate and overgrown which he hath seen but once, and that sixteen years since’. ‘Yet,’ he wrote, ‘that your lordships may be satisfied of the truth, I am contented to adventure all I have, but my reputation, upon Kemy’s memory,’ the condition on the other side being ‘that half a ton of all the former ore being brought home, that I shall have my liberty, and in the meanwhile my free pardon under the great seal, to be left in his majesty’s hands till the end of the journey’ 

There can, however, be little doubt that Cecil, now Earl of Salisbury, did not encourage the scheme, but the King yielded to the representations of Sir Ralph Winwood Raleigh’s steadfast friend, and of Sir George Villiers (afterwards Duke of Buckingham).  The warrant for his release was dated 19 March 1615-16, from the tower two or three days earlier, though he continued throughout the year under the guard of a keeper.  He had no support from the crown, and he and his wife adventured all they had, including the 8,000, or as much of it as had been paid in compensation for the resumption of Sherborne, and some land of hers at Micham, the gentlemen volunteers who gathered round Raleigh subscribed the rest. With them were Kemys, Captain (afterwards Sir John) Pennington, and others of good repute as seamen or as soldiers, as soon as the proposed voyage to the Orinoco was publicly spoken of, Samiento, the Spanish ambassador, vehemently protested against it.  All Guiana (the modern Venezuela), he asserted, belonged to the King of Spain, and Raleigh’s incursion would be an invasion of Spanish territory, but he thought it more probable that Raleigh meant to lie in wait for and attack the Mexican plate fleet, in practical disregard of the peace between the two countries.  Raleigh protested that he had no intention of turning pirate, the mine really existed. He believed that success, in spite of his orders would win the King’s pardon, but, if not, that the treasure he would carry with him would insure him a favourable reception in France, he sailed form Plymouth with a squadron of fourteen ships on 12 June 1617.  The voyage was unfortunate from the first, foul winds and storms drove him back, and afterwards scattered his fleet, one ship was sunk, most of them, more or less disabled put into the harbour of Cork.  He was not ready to sail again till 19 Aug, at the Canaries the Spaniards were sullenly obstructive, and it was only after being refused at two of the islands that they were allowed to water at Gomera. From the Cape Verde Islands they were driven by a hurricane, calms and foul winds followed, they lay forty days in the Doldrums, short of water, a prey to scurvy and fever, great numbers of the men, with several of the captains and superior officers died.  Raleigh himself was stricken with fever, the crews were mutinous, it was afterwards stated the Raleigh encouraged them with assurances of capturing the Mexican fleet if the mine failed.  On arriving off the mouth of the Oyapok he hoped to be joined by Leonard, an Indian whom he had brought to England on his former voyage, and who had lived with him for three or four years, but Leonard was not there, and Raleigh moved his squadron reduced by wreck or separation to ten ships to the mouth of the Cayenne, there he was welcomed by friendly natives whose affection he had won twenty years before. ‘To tell you’ he wrote to his wife on 14 Nov, ‘that I might be King of the Indians were but vanity they feed me with fresh meat and all that the country yields’. When the men were somewhat refreshed and recovered from sickness, he moved to the Isle de Salut, and there prepared for the farther adventure.  The chief command of the expedition up the river he entrusted to Kemys his nephew, George Raleigh, was to command the soldiers among whom was his son Walter, Raleigh gave orders that they should land at a point agreed on, and march to the mine, said to be three miles distant.  If they were attacked by the Spaniards in moderate force they were to repel them, but ‘if without manifest peril on my son’, he said to Kemys ‘yourself’ and other captains, you cannot pass toward the mine, the be well advised how you land.  The expedition started on 10 Dec, but the settlement, of San Tomas had been moved several miles lower sown the river, and it was impossible to pass it without being seen, or to march to the mine without the danger of falling into an ambuscade, Kemys decided to attack the town, which was stormed and burnt, though with the loss of young Walter, Raleigh’s son.

The Spaniards took to the woods, and in face of their opposition, Kemys judged it impossible to reach the mine, he accordingly returned, and rejoined Raleigh at Punto Gallo, only to kill himself in despair at the bitter reproach to which Raleigh gave vent. He had brought fresh evidence of the existence and wealth of the mine, and Raleigh wished to lead his men back for another attempt, but they shrank from the venture, he could neither persuade nor compel them, they were thoroughly disheartened.  He had now only four ships with him, and though with these he would fain have kept the sea in hopes of capturing some rich prizes, his men refused to follow him, he realised the danger that awaited him in England, and arrived at Plymouth about the middle of June 1618, already the news of the attack at San Tomas and of the failure of the expedition had reached the King, and the Spanish minister, now Condede Gondomar, demanded satisfaction in accordance with James’s promise that ‘if Raleigh returned loaded with gold acquired by an attack on the subjects of the King of Spain, he would surrender it all, and would give up the authors of the crime to be hanged in the public square of Madrid’. James assured him that e would be as good as his word.  Shortly after his arrival at Plymouth Raleigh set out for London, but as Ashburton he was arrested by his cousin, Sir Lewis Stucley or Stukeley, who took him back to Plymouth, where he was left much to himself, the opportunity suggested advisability of escaping to France, but while he was still hesitating orders came for him to be taken to London, there also he was left at large, but attempting to escape to a French ship at Gravesend, he was arrested, brought back, and lodged in the Tower.  Commissioners were not appointed to inquire into what had been done, with Lord-Chancellor Bacon at their head, they were all men of good repute, and there is no reason to doubt hat they performed their duty conscientiously, Raleigh was examined. But his statements contradicted each other, till ‘exasperated by the audacity of his lying, they came to the conclusion that there was not a single word of truth in his assertions, that his belief in the very existence of the mine was a mere fiction invented for the purpose of imposing upon his too credulous sovereign’, and that his lies must be taken as an admission of his guilt, James accordingly gave orders for him to brought to trial, but was told that, as Raleigh was already under sentence of death, he could not now be legally tried, if he was to be executed, it must be on the former sentence.  On the following morning, 29 Oct 1618, he was brought to the scaffold erected in Old Palace Yard, he met his death calmly and cheerfully, and of his last words many have become almost proverbial, as he laid his head on the block some one objected that it ought to be towards the east, ‘What matter’, he answered, ‘how the head lie, so the heart be right’. The chancel of St Margaret’s Church, Westminster, in spite of Lady Raleigh’s wish that he should be buried at Beddington, the head she caused to be embalmed, and she kept it by her in a red leather bag as long as she lived.  back to index


John Best  (b?-d?) - Champion of England (possibly)  

According to the Book of Dignities John Best replaced Sir Walter Raleigh in the post of Captain of the Body Guard when Raleigh was sent to the Tower in 1592 because of his relationship with Elizabeth Throgmorton (later his wife); their relationship displeased Queen Elizabeth I.  However, this break in appointment is not reflected on the Roll of Honour displayed on the wall of The Body Guard dressing-room in St James' Palace. Not only is John Best not on the Roll, but it shows Raleigh's appointment as continuous from 1586 to 1603.  At the time of Raleigh's imprisonment in 1592 it wasn't known what the future held for him so it is unlikely that the post would have been held open indefinitely, certainly not for five years.  John Best, Champion of England, was appointed Captain of the Guard for the five years that Raleigh was imprisoned in the Tower; Raleigh was released in 1597 and reinstated as Captain of the Guard.  The Book of Dignities and the Roll of Honour state that Sir Thomas Erskine was appointed Captain in 1603 when James I came to the thrown and dismissed Raleigh as Captain of the Guard.

We cannot be certain about the facts of John Best's appointments or claim to fame regarding the title Champion of England, given that the Dymoke family have been the Champions of the Sovereign by hereditary right, indeed the Dymoke is still the Sovereign's Champion.  We venture to give the following explanation of an appointment which, though so thoroughly unlikely, has been accepted and handed down to us on what has hitherto been looked upon as an authentic roll of the Captains of the Guard.  There was a well-known family called Best at that time. A John Best was a favourite esquire of Sir Christopher Hatton, whose life he had saved some years previously. It may have been that he rewarded his esquire the valuable appointment of Clerk of the Cheque of the Guard. There is a gap in the record of appointments of the Officers between 1560-1594.  Might he not have been holding the appointment such as petty captain in the Guard at the same time as Raleigh's imprisonment? It's documented that "John Best performed the duties of the office and swore men into the Guard 1592-1597." He was not Clerk of the Cheque after 1594 because Edward Wingate Esq and Robert Seale Esq are described in the State Warrants as holding the appointment in 1594-5 and onwards. We suspect that the Queen may have selected the esquire of her old friend Sir Christopher Hatton to carry out the Captain's duty whilst Raleigh was in disgrace.  It's unlikely that Best carried out the duty, if he had been he would most certainly have been knighted or ennobled. And what about the title Champion of England.  It is  a fact that at this time the Dymoke family were in disgrace and disfavour at Court. Again, it is possible that Best's patron, Sir Christopher Hatton, persuaded the Queen to proclaim his esquire Champion of England for the time being. Or could it have been that because the position was open at that time Best won the title at tournament. Who knows, and we cannot accept any of these statements as accurate. The timings are good for both positions becoming vacant, Best was a real person and he was in a good position being Sir Christopher Hatton's esquire and life-saver.

John Best was the son of Richard Best and Dorothy Barrow. He married, firstly, Anne Knatchbull daughter of Reginald Knatchbull. He married, secondly, Anne Rooke daughter of Lawrence Rooke and ? Scott in 1598. He lived at Wellcourt, Cosmusbleane, Kent.  He also lived at St Lawrence, near Canterbury, Kent and at Allington Castle, Kent. In 1610 be bought the estate at Wellcourt, Cosmusbleane. He had issue Richard Best (b1597- d1633) from his marriage to Anne Knatchbull.

Dear Reader.  If you have any information about The Captains of the Body Guard, or history regarding the Yeomen of the King's/Queen's Body Guard generally, I would be very grateful for a copy or directions as to where I may find it.  Many thanks. Yeo Bill Norton   back to index


Sir Thomas Erskine (b1566-1639)
20th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard
- 1603-1617

Thomas Erskine, 1st Earl of Kellie, 1st Viscount Fenton and 1st Baron Dirleton was educated with James I and enjoyed marked favour until the King's death.  In 1585 he became a Gentleman of the Bedchamber, and between 1594 and 1599 various charters were granted him. He was with the King at Perth in Australia 1600, when the Gowrie conspiracy was foiled, and in the general scuffle received a wound in the hand.  For his services on this occasion a third part of Gowrie’s Lordship of Dirleton was granted him, and in warrandice thereof the King’s Barony of Corntoun, Stirlingshire.   He accompanied the Duke of Lennox on his embassy to France in 1601, and on his return was admitted a member of the Privy Council, at the meetings of which he became one of the most regular attendants.  He accompanied James into England in 1603, and was appointed Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard in succession to Sir Walter Raleigh, continuing to hold the post till 1617.  He was created Baron Dirleton in April 1604, was a Groom of the Stole in 1605, and in 1606 was raised to the dignity of Viscount Fenton, being the first to attain that degree in Scotland.  In May 1615 he was invested with the Order of the Garter at the same time as Lord Knollys, and much popular interest was excited by the rivalry between the two new knights in the splendour of their procession to Windsor.  From 1630 to 1635 he sat on various commissions, but he did not succeed in gaining the prominence he desired in the direction of state affairs.  He died 12 June 1639 in London and was buried at Pittenweem, Fifeshire.   back to index

Sir Henry Rich (b1590-1649)
21st Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1617-1632


Sir Henry Rich, 1st Earl of HollandHenry Rich, 1st Earl of Holland, education at Emmanuel College Cambridge, was knighted on 3 June 1610 and was elected Member of Parliament for Leicester in 1610 and 1614.  In 1610 he served as a gentlemen volunteer at the siege of Juliers.  Rich was more qualified to succeed as a courtier than as a soldier and his handsome person and winning manners made his rise rapid. ‘His features and pleasant aspect equalled the most beautiful women’.  From the start James I regarded him with favour which sometimes found expression in gifts of money, sometimes in unpleasing caresses.  He was made Gentleman of the Bedchamber to Charles, Prince of Wales, and on 5 Nov, 1617 Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard.  On 8 March 1623 he was created Baron Kensington, that title being selected because he had married Isabel, daughter and heiress of Sir Walter Cope of Kensington.  In February 1624 he was sent to Paris to sound the French court on the question of a marriage between Prince Charles and the Princess Henrietta Maria.  He proved acceptable to the queen-mother and the court, sent home glowing descriptions of the beauty of the princess, and made love as the Prince’s representative with great spirit and fluency.  As a reward for his pliability to Buckingham’s wishes, he was raised to the rank of Earl of Holland on 15 Sept 1624. 

He was again sent to Paris (conjointly with Sir Dudley Carleton) in 1625 to negotiate a peace between Louis X111 and the Huguenots and in the same year accompanied Buckingham on a mission to the Netherlands.  He was elected Knight of the Garter on 13 Dec, 1625. In October 1627 Holland was placed in command of the fleet and army which were to reinforce Buckingham at the Isle of Rhe, but contrary weather and want of money prevented his sailing, and when he did start, he met Buckingham’s defeated force returning.  He was severely blamed for the delay, but it was rather due to the general disorganisation of the government than to his remissness. On Buckingham’s death, Holland was chosen to succeed him as Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, On 28 March 1628 he was appointed for life governor and Captain of Harwich and Landguard-Point.  He was also Master of the Horse, and was appointed Constable of Windsor and High Steward to the queen. On 15 May 1631 he was created Chief Justice in Eyre South of Trent, and became thus associated with one of the most unpopular acts of the reign, the revival of the obsolete forest laws.  Holland used his position at court and his influence with the Queen to plot against the King’s ministers.  He intrigued against the pacific and pro-Spanish policy of Portland, and challenged his son, Jerome Weston, to a duel.  For a few days the King placed him under arrest, and he was obliged to make a submissive apology, through the Queen’s intercession saved him from severer punishment on 13 April 1633. 

In 1636 Holland hoped to be appointed Lord High Admiral, but was given the more appropriate post of Groom of the Stole and First Lord of the Bedchamber.  By the Queen’s influence, however, he was made General of the Horse (2 Feb, 1639). In the Privy Council on 5 May 1640 he backed Northumberland in opposing the dissolution of the Short Parliament.  The Queen, whose favour he had lost for a time, won him back with the promise of the command of the army, and on 16 April 1641 he was made Captain-General North of the Trent. He carried out the business of disbanding the army with success, but the refusal of the King to grant him the nomination of a new baron reopened the breach between him and the court.  Holland wrote to Essex hinting plainly that Charles was still tampering with the officers.  When the King in January 1642 left Whitehall, Holland, through still Groom of the Stole, refused to attend his master, and declined to obey a later summons to York (23 March 1642).  On 12 April 1642, Lord Falkland, by the King’s command, obliged him to surrender the key which was the ensign of his office.  This deprivation, which Clarendon regards as impolitic, was instigated by the Queen. 

She had contracted so great indignation against Holland, whose ingratitude towards her was very odious, that she had said ‘she would never live in the court if he kept his place’.  In March and July 1642 the parliament chose Holland to bear its declarations to the King, but in each case Charles received him with pointed disfavour, by which the Earl ‘was transported from his natural temper and gentleness into passion and animosity against the King and his ministers'.  During the early part of 1643 Holland was one of the leaders of the Peace Party in the Lords, and in August he endeavoured to induce Essex to back the peace propositions with the weight of the army.  When this plan failed, he made his way to the King’s quarters confidently expecting to be received back into favour and restored at once to his old office of Groom of the Stole.  In the Privy Council however, only Hyde and one other were in favour of giving him a gracious reception, the rest exaggerated his ingratitude, and the King himself complained with bitterness that Holland made no attempt to apologies for his past misconduct.  Therefore, though he attended the King to the siege of Gloucester, and charged in the King’s regiment of Horse at the first Battle of Newbury, Charles gave the post he desired to the Marquis of Hertford  and, finding that there was nothing to be gained at Oxford, Holland returned to London. 

The House of Lords had him arrested, but as he had returned at the special invitation of Essex, they readmitted him to sit, and persuaded the commons to release his estates from sequestration.  In December 1645 Holland petitioned parliament for some pecuniary, compensation for the losses which the civil war, and his adherence to the parliamentary party, had entailed upon him.  His office of First Gentleman of the Bedchamber had been worth 1,600 a year, he had lost also two pensions of 2,000 a year apiece, and a share in the customs on coals worth 1,300 a year, and a legal office worth 2,000 a year. Besides smaller salaries as Chief Justice in Eyre and Constable of Windsor.  Moreover, the King owed him 30,000.  The commons, however laid aside the petition, and negated a proposal to give him a pension of 1,000. Under these circumstances Holland turned once more to the King’s side.  When the second civil war began he resolved to redeem his past faults by taking up arms for the King.  He procured a commission as General from the Prince of Wales, and proceeded to issue commissions to royalist officers.  On 4 July Holland left London, and the next day appeared in arms at Kingston, intending to raise the siege of Colchester.  He issued a declaration asserting that he sought a personal treaty between Charles and the parliament, a cessation of arms during the treaty, and the restoration of the King to his just regal authority.  Holland’s preparations had been made with so little secrecy that they had no chance of success, nor could he get together more than six hundred men.  On 7 July he was defeated by Sir Michael Livesey near Kingston, and Holland was sent prisoner to Warwick Castle.  On 18 Nov, the two houses agreed that he and six others should be punished by banishment, but the army resolved that the authors of the second civil war should not be allowed to escape, and on 3 Feb 1649 a high court of justice was erected to try Holland and other culprits, he was sentenced to death 6 March.  Fairfax interceded for Holland, and Warwick used all his influence to save his life, nevertheless the parliament by 31 to 30 votes refused to reprieve him.  On March 9, he was beheaded in company with the Duke of Hamilton and Lord Capel.  On the scaffold Holland made a long and rambling speech, protesting his fidelity to the protestant religion and to parliaments, and the innocence of his intention in his late attempt. ‘God be praised, although my blood comes to be shed here, there was scarcely a drop of blood shed in that action I was engaged in’. Clarendon sums up his career by saying, ‘He was a very well-bred man, and a fine gentleman in good times, but too much desired to enjoy ease and plenty when the King could have neither, and did think poverty the most insupportable evil, that could befall any man in this world’.
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Lord Dupplin (1572-1644)
22nd Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1632-1635


George Hay was one of the Hays of Kinnoul, descended from a common ancestor with the Earls of Errol. The titles of Earl of Kinnoul, Viscount of Dupplin, and Baron Hay of Kinfauns, were conferred, in 1633, upon George, youngest son of Peter Hay of Megginch.  George Hay was born in 1572, and studied for six years in the Scots College at Douay, under his uncle, the well-known Father Hay, who was Professor of Civil and Canon Law in that seminary. He returned to Scotland about 1596, and obtained the office of a Gentleman of the Bedchamber to King James, who bestowed upon him the commendam of the Charter-house of Perth, and the church lands of Errol. He was present with James at Gowrie House, Perth, when the Earl of Gowrie and his brother were killed, and obtained the lands of Nethercliff out of that nobleman’s forfeited estates. In the year 1616 he was nominated Clerk Registrar, and was made a Lord of Session; and in 1622 he was raised to the office of Lord High Chancellor of Scotland. He was elevated to the peerage in 1627, by the titles of Viscount of Dupplin and Lord Hay of Kinfauns, and on the 25 May 1633, he was raised by Charles I. to the rank of Earl of Kinnoul, immediately before the Coronation of the King. This mark of royal favour did not, however, render him unduly compliant to his Majesty’s wishes. One of the objects which Charles had in view at his Coronation was to increase the power and prominence of the hierarchy, and with this view he sent Sir James Balfour, Lyon King-at-Arms, to the Chancellor, to inform him that it was his Majesty’s pleasure that he should give precedence for that day to the Archbishop of St Andrews. Lord Kinnoul, however, replied to this order, with proper spirit and firmness, that ‘since his Majesty had been pleased to continue him in that office, which by his means his worthy father, of happy memory, had conferred on him, he was ready, in all humility, to lay it at his Majesty’s feet. But, since it was his royal will he should enjoy it with the various privileges pertaining to the office, never a stoled priest in Scotland should set a foot before him while his blood was hot.’ When this courageous reply of the old Chancellor was reported to the King, he said, ‘Well, Lyon, I will meddle no further with that old cankered, goutish man, at whose hands there is nothing to be gained but soure words.’  Lord Kinnoul died at London, 16th December, 1634, and was interred in the parish church of Kinnoul, where a marble monument, with his statue, was erected to his memory.  back to index

Earl of Morton (b1582-1650)
23rd Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1635-1643

William Douglas was the 7th or 8th Earl of Morton and Lord High Treasurer of Scotland and the only son of Robert Douglas the 6th or 7th Earl  -  (This uncertainty can occur when the current hold of the title and his heir die together, generally in battle. Uncertainty as to whom died before whom creates this dilemma, eg father and eldest son are on the battlefield; father is the 5th Earl and is killed; automatically his eldest son becomes the 6th Earl, but he too is killed; so long as their deaths have occurred in that order there is a natural progression and the title carries on to the 7th Earl. The problem arises where it is uncertain who died first. The next in line for the title may well become the 6th Earl if it was his elder brother that died before his father....confused? Well how do you think William Douglas felt not knowing if he was the 7th or 8th Earl!)  -  He succeeded to the Earldom on the death of his grandfather in 1606, soon afterwards he was made Privy Councillor and a Gentleman of the Chamber to James VI, in which office he was continued by Charles I.  He commanded the Scots regiment of three thousand men in the Rochelle expedition of the Duke of Buckingham in 1627.  On the demission of the Earl of Mar in 12 April 1630 he was made Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, and when he resigned it in 1635, he was made Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard, invested with the Order of the Garter, and sworn a Privy Councillor in England. 

He accompanied King Charles on his visit to Edinburgh in 1633, devoting himself to the King’s interests, and humouring his Scottish policy, he enjoyed his confidence in regard to Scottish affairs, even after he had demitted the office of Lord High Treasurer.  He was one of the commissioners who accompanied the Lyon King-at-Arms to the Scottish camp in 1639, to witness the declaration of the King’s proclamation and was also appointed to assist in arranging the treaty at Ripon in October 1640.  When the King opened the Scottish parliament Morton accompanied him in the procession to the house but as he had not signed the covenant he was one of the noblemen excluded from entering the room.  On the 18 October however, he subscribed to the covenant and took his seat.  On 20 September the King nominated him for the chancellorship but his nomination was vehemently objected to by his son-in-law, the Earl of Argyll, afterwards Marquis, on the grounds that such an office might shelter him from his creditors, that he was a contemptuous rebel and often at the horn (a drinker), that he deserted his country in her greatest need and the he was ‘decrepit and unable’.  On the outbreak of the civil war he aided the King by the advance of large sums of money, disposing for this purpose of the castle of Dalkeith to the Buccleuch family.  On this account he had a charter 15 June 1643, of the islands of Orkney and Shetland, with the regalities belonging to them redeemable by the crown on the payment to him of £30,000 sterling.  In 1644 a commission of judiciary was granted to him by parliament for Orkney and Shetland for three years from 1 August.  He went to wait on Charles I in 1646 when he took refuge with the Scotch army, and after Charles was given up to parliament he retired to Orkney.  He died at the castle of Kirkwall in March 1649-50, his Countess, Agnes Keith dying on the 30 May.  Both were buried at Kirkwall. 
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Earl of Norwich (b1583-1663)
24th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1643-1662


George Goring, Earl of Norwich, is said to have begun his life at Court as one of the Gentlemen Pensioners of Queen Elizabeth.  He was knighted on 7 May 1608, and became about 1610 one of the Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber of Henry, Prince of Wales.  Goring’s gifts as a courtier and a wit attracted the favour of James I. He was also engaged in negotiating the marriage of Charles I and Henrietta Maria, became successively Vice-Chamberlain and Master of the Horse to the Queen, and was raised to the peerage as Baron Goring on 14 April 1628. During the next ten years Goring’s favour continued to increase, offices were heaped upon him, and he was engaged in many of the King’s most oppressive schemes for raising money.  He was appointed Clerk of the Council of Wales.  The jurisdiction of the Liberty of Perveril was revived for his benefit.  Goring was appointed to the Privy Council 25 Aug 1639.  On the approach of the first Scotch war Goring engaged himself to raise a hundred horses for the King’s service, and he was also one of the five lords through whom the King attempted in October 1640 to raise a loan from the city.  The meeting of the Long Parliament, however, put a period to Goring’s prosperity.  The monopoly of tobacco was abolished, and he also lost money which he had advanced to the King on the security of the customs.

His younger son, who was finishing his education in Paris, was recalled to England to enter the King’s army.  ‘Had I millions of crowns or scores of sons,’ wrote Goring to his wife, ‘the Kings and his cause should have them all, with better will then to eat if I were starving….I had all from his majesty, and he hath all again’.  Goring accompanied the Queen to Holland in February 1642, assisted her to raise money for the King’s service, followed her back to England in the next spring, and took part in an unsuccessful attack on Leeds in April 1643.  Letters for Goring relating to the war in Yorkshire and the Queen’s journey to Oxford are printed by Rushworth and in Warburton’s ‘Prince Rupert,’ towards the end of 1643 Goring was sent ambassador to France to negotiate for a French alliance, and received from Mazarin promises of aid both in arms and money.  The letter in which he announced his success to the Queen was intercepted by the parliament, and he was promptly impeached for high treason.  Charles rewarded Goring’s zeal by raising him to the title of Earl on Norwich, which had lately become extinct by the death of his uncle Edward Denny.   Goring played a leading part in the second civil war.  According to Clarendon it was from the Earl of Holland that Goring received a commission to command the forces of Kent.  According to another account the commissioners of the Kentish cavaliers, weary of disputing over the choice of a general, offered the command to Goring, who happened to be accidentally passing through their quarters.  He was proclaimed General on 30 May in a rendezvous on Barham Down, Clarendon attributed the failure of the rising partly to the defects of Goring’s leadership and lack of experiences.  Carter, who acted as Quartermaster-General under Goring, admits his inexperience, but praised his prudence, his courage, and his indefatigable energy, and throughout defends his conduct.  The Kentish Levies were defeated by Fairfax at Maidstone on 1 June, and Goring then marched on London, hoping to be joined by the royalists of Surrey and of the city.  But the city made no movement, and the common council forwarded his letters unopened to the parliament. 

Goring crossed into Essex to examine into the preparations of the cavaliers of that county, leaving his forces encamped in Greenwich Park till his return.  Without waiting for orders they followed him, and Goring finding very little support from the men of Essex, endeavoured to hold out in Colchester until help came (12 June), in August starvation obliged the garrison to surrender.  The besieged had intended to attempt a general sally, but the common soldiers suspected their officers of an intention to escape and desert them.  To allay this suspicion Goring and the other leaders took a solemn engagement to deliver themselves up as prisoners, and submit to the mercy of their enemies, if thereby they could purchase the liberty of their followers.  In the capitulation signed on 27 Aug, Goring and the leaders surrendered to mercy, while quarter was promised to the soldiers.  Goring was sent prisoner to Windsor Castle, he had been voted a rebel on 5 June, and it was decided on 25 Sept, that he should be impeached.  He was sentenced to death on 6 March, but two days later the commons thought fit to respite his execution.  In the division on Goring’s case, the numbers for and against being equal, the speaker’s casting vote turned the scale in favour of mercy.  On 7 May 1649 Goring, on his petition to the House of Commons, was pardoned as to his life, and set at liberty.  Shortly afterwards he rejoined Charles II on the continent, and remained in exile during the rest of the interregnum.  In the spring of 1652 he was employed by Charles to negotiate with Duke of Lorraine for the relief of Ireland, and to propose a marriage between the Duke of York and a daughter of the Duke of Lorraine.  His negotiations met with little success.   During the latter part of the exile of Charles II, Goring does not seem to have been employed no doubt on account of his advanced age.  At the Restoration he was appointed Captain of King’s Guard, and took his place in the Privy Council, but did not regain his lucrative office as farmer of the tobacco customs, nor did he obtain much satisfaction for his losses in the King’s service. Goring died at Brentford on 6 Jan 1662-3 aged, according to Smyth, about eighty.  He was buried on 14 Jan, in Westminster Abbey in St John Baptist’s Chapel.   back to index


Viscount Grandison (b1617-1699)
25th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1662-1689


Being researched.......  

George Villiers b: 1617 d: 1699.  4th Viscount.   
                             






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Earl of Manchester (b1656-1722)
26th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1689-1702

Charles Edward Montagu, 1st Duke of Manchester and diplomat, was educated at Trinity College Cambridge and in 1680 he was created MA. He succeeded to his father's Earldom and Viscount Manderville on 14 March 1682.  Of handsome appearance, he was chosen to serve the office of Lord Carver to the Queen, at the coronation of James II on 23 April 1685.  On 12 May following he took his seat in the House of Lords, but soon afterwards went aboard in disgust at the revival of arbitrary power, and an audience of the Prince of Orange, was made a party to his designs. Returning to England, he raised a troop of horse in Nottinghamshire, and joined the prince in his landing.  At his coronation, 11 April 1689, he carried St Edward’s staff, and the same year was made Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard and Lord-Lieutenant of Huntingdonshire.  He attended the King to Ireland in June 1690, and fought at the Boyne and before Limerick.  In the winter of 1697-8 he was at Venice on an extraordinary mission to obtain the release of certain English seamen detained in the galley of the republic. On his return to England, Manchester was sworn of the Privy Council and in the following year succeeded Lord Jersey as Ambassador Extraordinary at the court of France. From 4 Jan 1701-2 to 15 May following, Manchester held the Seal of Secretary of State for the Northern Department.  In 1707 he was again Ambassador Extraordinary at Venice, to negotiate the adhesion of the republic to the grand alliance. On the accession of George I, he was re-sworn of the Privy Council, to which he was first appointed Lord of the Bedchamber and on 30 April 1719 was created Duke of Manchester.  He died on 20 Jan 1721-2, and was buried at Kimbolton.   back to index


Marquess of Hartington (b1656-1707)
27th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1702-1707

CAVENDISH, WILLIAM, first duke of Devonshire. The commotion of the civil wars rendered his early education some what, irregular, and after being brought up chiefly under the eye of the countess of Devonshire, his grandmother, he was sent to travel aboard with Dr Killigrew, afterwards master of the Savoy. Upon his return he was chosen one of four young noblemen to bear Charles II’s train at his coronation 23 April 1661, and in the same year was elected Member of Parliament for Derby. Next year he went to Ireland, and on 27 Oct, married at Kilkenny Lady Mary, second daughter of James, Duke or Ormonde. In 1663 he returned to England, and was on 23 Sept, created an MA at Oxford, along with the Earls of Suffolk and Bath, by special command of the chancellor, who was then with the King and court of Oxford. In 1669 he went with Mr Montagu, afterwards Duke of Montagu, upon an embassy to France, and was there engaged in an affair which attracted attention throughout Europe. Being on the stage at the opera he was insulted by three French Officers of the King’s Guards. One he struck, whereon they drew, and he, throwing himself against the side scenes, stood on his guard, but would have been overborne had not a Swiss of Mr Montagu’s taken him round the waist, and thrown him over into the pit for safety. In falling his arm was torn so that he bore the scars to his death. His assailants were arrested, but were liberated on his intercession. Cavendish engaged himself in parliamentary opposition to the court party. When parliament met in 1676, after a prorogation of fifteen months, it was he who moved that the act of Edward III for annual parliaments should be laid on the table, arguing that by the prorogation parliament was ipso facto dissolved. In 1677 he promoted a bill for recalling the English forces out of the French King’s service, which was read a second time 22 Feb., revived in committee 21 May, and passed 27 May. In 1684 he succeeded his father in the earldom, and on the accession of James he was one of the peers who proposed to discuss the speech from the throne.  After Monmouth’s rebellion he withdrew from court. From some years Devonshire remained in strict retirement, and occupied himself with the erection of Chatsworth. The work began 12 April 1687, and lasted till 1706; in his retirement he was secretly engaged in concerting plans for bringing in the Prince of Orange. James, suspecting his loyalty, first sent to summon him to court; the earl excused himself, and his kinsman, the Duke of Newcastle, whom the King sent later, could not change his purpose. In May 1687 Dijkvelt left England with letters from Devonshire, Bedford, Shrewsbury, Nottingham, and the Hydes, asking William to come over to the nation’s assistance. Communications were usually kept up through Edward Russell and Henry Sidney, who were now in London, now in Holland, and through Vice-Admiral Herbert, who remained at the Hague. After the birth of James’s son, in 1688, the invitations became more urgent, and Devonshire was one of the Whig lords who signed the cipher letter of 30 June. He was now reconciled to Danby, whom he owned he had misjudged, and with him, Lord Delamere, and Mr D’Arcy, he laid plans for a rising, The meetings took place at Sir Henry Goodrick’s in Yorkshire, and at Whittington, near Scaresdale in Derbyshire, in a farmhouse, chamber, long known in the country-side as the ‘plotting parlour.’ At first it was designed that Williams should land in the north, Devonshire was to secure Nottingham, and Danby, York. The attack on York was to precede that of Nottingham the former having a governor and a small garrison, who might take alarm if Nottingham an open town, were first occupied. However, on hearing of Williams’s landing at Brixham, the Earl at once moved on Derby, and being always one who kept on terms with the leaders of the middle class, invited the mayor and gentry to join him, and read to them his ‘Declaration in Defence of the Protestant Religion.’ For a short time he was in danger; a courier arrived with a letter in his boot-heel announcing James’s flight and Williams’s march on London, but it was hardly legible; the news was not credited, and James’s party took heart. The Earl, however, presently moved on Nottingham, and was well supported, and there he issued a proclamation justifying the rising and drilled troops. He raised a regiment of horse, afterwards the 4th regiment. On 25 Dec, the lords assembled at Westminster, and Devonshire was forward in procuring the address to the Prince of Orange, praying him to carry on the government till a convention could meet. The convention met 22 Jan, 1688-9, and the earl argued against Clarendon and Rochester for James’s deposition and for a King, not merely a regent. This was rejected whereupon he and forty others entered their protest, and finally it was carried. He now received the favours of the new sovereign. On 14 Feb, he was sworn of the Privy Council, on 16 March appointed Lord-lieutenant of Derbyshire and Lord-steward of the Household; he was elected a Knight of the Garter on 3 April and installed on 14 May. At the coronation on 11 April he acted for the day as Lord High Steward of England, and bore the crown, while his daughter bore the Queen’s train. He was Lord-lieutenant of Nottinghamshire 1692-4. On 12 May 1694 he was created Duke of Devonshire and Marquis of Hartington, and having been omitted from the commission of the peace on succeeding his father in the title, was now appointed a justice in eyre, and in 1697 was elected recorder of Nottingham. When William quitted England, after Queen Mary’s death in 1694, the Duke of Devonshire was named one of the lord’s justices for the administration of the kingdom, and he and Tenison, Archbishop of Canterbury, were the only lords who held that appointment on all occasions of the King’s absence during the whole seven years of its existence. In 1701 on William’s death and Anne’s accession was confirmed in all his offices, acted with the Duke of Somerset as supporter to Prince George, at the King’s funeral, and was again Lord high Steward at Anne’s coronation. He actively supported the protestant succession and the French war, and having been a commissioner in 1703 to negotiate the union of England and Scotland, without success, he at last, in 1706, brought that great measure to a successful issue. In April, 1705 he attended the Queen to Cambridge, and there, with his eldest son, was created an LLD., but being borne down with dropsy, gout and the stone, and his disease proving incurable, died professing repentance and firm faith, at Devonshire House, Piccadilly, 18 Aug, 1707. He was attended on his deathbed by the Bishop of Ely. The autopsy proved stone and strangury to have caused his death. His body was conveyed in great state by the Strand to the city, and thence to Derby, where it was buried, 1 Sept, at Allhallows Church.  back to index


Viscount Townsend (b1674-1738)
28th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1707-1711

Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend, was a statesman and supporter of Charles II, who was created Baron Townshend in 1661 and Viscount Townshend of Raynham in 1682. The old Norfolk family of Townshend, to which he belonged, is descended from Sir Roger Townshend of Raynham. Charles Townshend had Tory sympathies when he took his seat in the House of Lords, but his views changed, and he began to take an active part in politics as a Whig. For a few years after the accession of Queen Anne he remained without office, but in 1707 he was appointed Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard, having in the previous year been summoned to the Privy Council. He was ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the States-General, taking part during these years in the negotiations which preceded the conclusion of the Treaty of Utrecht. After his recall to England he was busily occupied in attacking the proceedings of the new Tory ministry. Townshend quickly won the favour of George I, and in 1714, the new king selected him as Secretary of State for the Northern Department. The policy of Townshend and his colleagues, after they had crushed the Jacobite rising of 1715, both at home and abroad, was one of peace. The secretary disliked the interference of England in the war between Sweden and Denmark, and he promoted the conclusion of defensive alliances between England and France. After an illustrious political career Townshend retired in 1730. His remaining years were passed at Raynham, where he interested himself in agriculture and was responsible for introducing into England the cultivation of turnips on a large scale carrying out many agricultural experiments at Raynham, and for these he became known as Turnip Townshend. Although a figure of some fun, his agricultural reforms were, indeed, quite helpful.   back to index


Hon. Henry Paget (b.1663-1743)
29th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1711-1715

HENRY PAGET, 1st Earl of Uxbridge (died 1743), was son of William 6th Lord Paget (q.v.), by Frances, daughter of the Hon. Francis Pierrepont.  He was elected MP for Staffordshire in 1695, 1698, 1701, 1702, 1705, 1708, and 1710-11.  In April 1704, when Prince George of Denmark was constituted Lord High Admiral, he was appointed one of his council.  From 10th August 1710 to 30 May 1711 he was a Lord of the Treasury, from 13 June 1711 until September 1715 was Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard and on 14 June 1711 was sworn of the Privy Council.  On 31 December 1711 he was created Baron Burton of Burton Staffordshire, and succeeded as 7th Baron Paget of Beaudesert on 25 February 1713.  He acted as Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire from March 1713 until 30 September 1715.  On 13 April 1714 he was appointed envoy extraordinary to Hanover, was created Earl of Uxbridge on 19 October and made a Privy Councillor on 16 November.  He was also recorder of Lichfield. In September 1715, he resigned his employments. He died on 30 August 1743.  back to index

Earl of Derby (b.1664-1736)
30th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1715-1723


James, tenth Earl of Derby, was born in 1664, the eight of the nine sons born to Earl Charles and Countess Helena. Five older brothers had died in infancy, Robert the forth son had been killed in a duel in 1686, and after Earl Williams’s death, James’s only surviving brother was Charles, the baby of this large family. Dowager Countess Helena, then in her mid-seventies, was still alive when her soldier son, aged thirty-eight, succeeded to the earldom. Once again, however, brother succeeding brother to the title caused a division of estates. Henrietta and Elizabeth had to be adequately provided for but, fortunately, this time the parties reached agreement without recourse to long and expensive lawsuits. James kept Knowsley and the Isle of Man, but Lathom, West Derby, Ormskirk, and Up Holland were among the manors and estates which passed to Henrietta, the sole general-heiress after the death of her unmarried sister in 1714. Henrietta married twice; in 1706 John Annesley, fourth Earl of Anglesey, and in 1714 John Ashburnham, third Baron and, later first Earl of Ashburnham. In 1707 Anglesey prompted her to petition the Privy Council to improve her inheritance, but the Council, in the presence of the Queen, dismissed the case. And during her second marriage, Ashburnham persuaded her to sell most of her Lancashire manors. Lathom went to Henry Furnesse, Up Holland to Thomas Ashhurst, of nearby Dalton, and for £3,611 5s 3d West Derby, Wavertree, and Everton went to the up-and coming lawyer and speculator Isaac Greene, whose great-granddaughter, Mary Gascoyne, eventually carried these increasingly valuable estates to her husband, the second Marquis of Salisbury. Earl James was no replica of his brother, William. Both men belonged to the Church of England and were, according to the standards of their day, reasonably tolerant of Protestant Nonconformists, but James was more decisive than his brother, less cautious in his relations with the public, and nothing like so apprehensive about the consequences of his actions. In politics he was a thoroughgoing Whig, During the Revolution of 1688, he had sided unequivocally with William of Orange. Later he had spent weeks at a time at court, as a soldier he campaigned with King William in Ireland in 1690 and in Flanders in 1696-7. He commanded the 16th regiment of foot, a body of more than 300 men divided into 10 companies, which was on garrison duty in Ireland in 1700-1. When King William died unexpectedly in March 1702, Colonel Stanley was with his regiment in Holland, expecting any week to be taking part in the threatened war with the French. He won quite a reputation as a successful soldier, at the time he inherited the earldom, Lady Verney described him as ‘a brave and worthy man.’ Soldiering had not absorbed all Colonel Stanley’s energy and interest. Since he came of age, he had served continuously in the House of Commons; in 1685 the freemen of Clitheroe elected him one of their representatives. Four years later he sat for Preston in the Convention Parliament and, from 1690 until he moved into the Lords twelve years later, he was one of the two Lancashire county members. As a Whig, of course, James did not support the same candidates as Earl William, but like his brother he occasionally placed personal regard above party loyalty. When in 1706 Queen Anne appointed him Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, he chose as his vice-chancellor George Kenyon, a life-long Tory but an experienced attorney who, especially in Earl Williams’s day, had served the Stanley’s well. In the same way, although he brought back a number of Whigs to be JP’s again; he braved the wrath of the more extreme members of his own party by refusing to remove all Tories from the commission. Indeed, he observed the Stanley tradition of striving to keep reasonable unity among the people of the north-west by not encouraging first religious and now party differences to alienate neighbour from neighbour. As he grew older, and certainly after 1705 when he resigned his commission, Derby met his neighbours more frequently. Quite apart from the more formal occasions which required him to be host or guest of honour, he would visit friends and acquaintances merely to chat or pass a pleasant hour playing bowls or inspecting horses. James took as keen an interest in horses and horse-racing as his brother had done. He kept a racing and hunting stable at Knowsley and a stud farm at Childwall. He rode with the hounds, and was a regular visitor and competitor at the growing number of local race meetings, Gradually, different places were tending to hold their races at approximately the same time each year – on Aughton Moss in June, at Ormskirk in May and on the shore at Crosby in August or September. Everyone who had, or imagined he had, a place in local society attended these meetings. The most honoured guests usually sat on a platform or little grandstand – ‘the Chair’ at Crosby opposite the starting line, and the rest of the crowd spread around the race track. Nicholas Blundell, squire of Little Crosby, recorded in his ‘Great Diurnal’ how in August 1722 Lord Derby’s mare ‘Stocking’ beat Lord Molyneux’s black Gallaway horse on Crosby Marsh, and how the following year Molyneux’s roan horse beat Derby’s grey mare which, tow or three months earlier, had won the plate in the main race at Aughton Moss. With some enthusiasm, Blundell also tell us that after he had dined at Knowsley on 30 June 1726 he inspected the stables, and that the following September and January he attended meetings at ‘Lord Derby’s Race Ground’ within Knowsley Park, Most of the race goers took a real and knowledgeable interest in the horses, the racing and the betting, but the social activities which accompanied the racing- eating and drinking, gossiping with friends, parading new dresses, and exchanging views on harvest prospects tended to last considerably longer than events on the track. Queen Anne, who succeeded her brother-in-law, William III, in 1702, did not hesitate to transfer Earl Williams’s public offices to his brother. In December 1702 she appointed James Chamberlain of Chester for life and then commissioned him Lord Lieutenant of both Lancashire and Cheshire and Custos Rotulorum of Lancashire. For the first four year, James had to work with a Tory Chancellor of the Duchy, Sir John Leveson Gower, an arrangement which kept a reasonable balance of Whigs and Tories on the quarter sessions bench. Then, in May 1706, the Queen dismissed Gower and appointed Derby in his place, In Lancashire, therefore, the Earl held all the reins of power in his own hands, until the general election of 1710 returned a substantial Tory majority, and Robert Harley and Henry St John took charge of the queen’s government. This political revolution cost Derby three important offices; the Lancashire lieutenancy and the office of Custos Rotulorum went to James, fourth Duke of Hamilton, who had recently become a major Lancashire landowner through his marriage to the heiress, Elizabeth Gerard, and the Chancellorship passed to Lord Berkeley of Stratton, who had no previous connection at all with the county palatine, Political influence in Lancashire naturally began to swing slowly towards the Tories again, but not for long. Hamilton died fighting a duel in 1712, and his offices remained unfilled until the Queen herself died two years later. After Anne’s death, parliament ignored the claims of James Edward, James II’s son, and in accordance with the Act of settlement (1701) declared the Queen’s legal successor to be George of Hanover, a great-grandson of King James I. George I, came to the throne on a pounding wave of Whig support, so it was no surprise that he restored Earl James to his old offices of Lord Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum. Yet he gave the office of Chancellor to the Earl of Aylesford, a mild Whig with Tory friends in the north-west. Once the Hanoverian succession was firmly settled, however, Derby had no political rival capable of challenging his status in Lancashire. After the forces of the Hanoverian generals, Carpenter and Wills, had dispersed the Jacobite Rising of 1715 in the streets of Preston, the King summoned Derby to London, created him a member of the Privy Council and, over Aylesford’s head, took his advice on the new JP’s to serve in Lancashire, Almost seventy justices, mostly Tories, lost their commissions, and twenty-nine new justices, mostly Whigs, were appointed to the bench. Throughout the thirty-four years of his earldom, James took a keen interest in the fortunes of the rapidly-expanding borough of Liverpool. Improvement and progress appeared to advance unchecked. The ‘triangular’ trade, on one leg of which the ships carried slaves from West Africa to the West Indies, was bringing increasing wealth to the port and threatening to outpace the more orthodox, direct Transatlantic trade. The Mersey Navigation, and later Weaver Navigation, and the turnpike road to the Prescot coalfield were each helping to develop Liverpool’s hinterland. Carpenters and shipwrights were building more and bigger ships on the Mersey shore. In 1715 Liverpool opened its first dock and the Council soon began to construct a second; Salthouse Dock. In addition to the new streets, handsome buildings such as Blue Coat Hospital, the new custom house and St. George’s Church were making the borough look attractive and prosperous. Politically, this ‘London in miniature’, as Celia Fiennes called it, was predominantly Whig. No sooner had Earl James succeeded his brother than Thomas Johnson, Liverpool’s enthusiastic Whig MP., was recruiting his help to enable the Common Council to lease the Castle and the land surrounding it. In March 1707, Derby presented an address to the Queen on behalf of Liverpool’s Council. And later that year he accepted the office of mayor, outside duties during his mayoral year meant that his deputy, Silvester Moorcroft, had frequently to officiate for him, but in 1734-5, when he became major again, Earl James carried out most of his duties personally. The climax of this second year of office was ‘a grand entertainment’ which he provided for the burgesses in the Tower. For this purpose, Derby had to hire the Tower, for in the division of estates between his nieces and himself, the building had passed to Henrietta, who had sold it to Richard Clayton of Adlington in 1717. James never lost touch with Liverpool and its leading citizens. It was on his recommendation that Queen Anne knighted Thomas Johnson, and, as S.A. Harris the Liverpool historian has shown, it is probable that the Earl was the person who suggested that the Council should use the line from Virgil’s Eclogues, DEUS NOBIS HAEC OTIA FECIT {God has bestowed these blessing on us], as the borough’s civic motto. During the 1720s and 1730s, Earl James devoted considerable time and money to improving his principal home, Knowsley Hall, He never owned Lathom, and consequently, unlike his father and brother, he was not distracted by the desirability of attempting to resurrect the glory that once was Lathom House. For him, Knowsley had no rival, That rebuilding and refurbishing were most desirable if not essential was very evident. Earls Charles and William had been able to afford little beyond necessary running repairs, yet William, Viscount Molyneux, had recently added a strikingly graceful modern’ wing to his new principal home at Croxteth. Stanley ‘honour’ required an adequate reply. Fortunately, Earl James’s marriage in 1705 to Mary, daughter and heiress of Sir John Morley of Halnaker, Sussex, had subsequently increased the sums which he could earmark for his rebuilding plans. When Earl James inherited the earldom, Knowsley Hall was a two-storey, red sandstone building running east and west. It had been enlarged and ‘modernized’ three or four times during the previous four centuries, but like most similar houses in the north-west it fell far short of what was considered suitable accommodation for a high-ranking nobleman in the early Georgian era. Styles were changing quite rapidly, but in the north-west, as they always had done, they still lagged at least twenty or thirty years behind the styles which were currently fashionable in and around London. In the first third of the eighteenth century, local builders favoured red brick walls with painted stone dressings, large sash windows, and pediments over doors and main windows. Inside the houses, dark panelled rooms and heavy wood carving were giving way to light-coloured walls, classical columns, and baroque plaster work covering ceilings and staircases and decorating lintels and fireplaces. Earl James did what he could with internal improvements to bring the existing Hall into the eighteenth century, but from about 1720 his chief concern was to construct a new wing altogether. This he built in red brick at right-angles to the eastern end of the old Hall, so that the resulting new Hall resembled a letter L with the old wing pointing westward and the new wing northward. There is no evidence that James employed an architect. Medieval-fashion his master-builder seems to have designed as well as constructed the new building, but he completed the work with an architectural flourish – a two-storey portico or colonnade at the south end of the new wing, each ceiling resting on six pairs of classical columns – Doric on the lower floor, Ionic on the upper – and the whole structure surmounted by the Stanley arms supported by a splendidly-carved lion and unicorn. Ever since the early sixteenth century, portrait painters had found landed gentlemen ready to commission their skills, but at the beginning of the Georgian period most discriminating gentlemen wanted to hang more than family portraits on their walls. Earl James was one of the leaders of the growing fashionable interest in landscape and animal painting. He lived in a generation too early to delight in the work of Samuel Scott, John Wootton, Richard Wilson, and the other pioneers of the English school of landscape painters. In James’s day the most admired landscape painters were in Italy. Therefore, when the Earl found two local artists, Hamlet Winstanley and Joshua Mollineux, worthy of his patronage, he sent them to Italy to practise their painting and to purchase pictures from him. The household accounts suggest that Winstanley lived in Rome and Venice from 1723 to 1725 or 1726 and that Mollineux went out there for some months, all at the Earl’s expense. Among the Stanley pictures painted by Mollineux are Knowsley Hall from the West, 1730 and The English and Dutch Fleet at Spithead in 1729. Winstanley pained a fine portrait of Earl James, but his Chief function seems to have been to advise and help his patron build up his picture gallery. James took a justifiable pride in his collection of painting and drawing, which he was ever ready to show to visitors and which he allowed students of art to study and copy. Earl James’s long life ended in 1736 when he was seventy-two years old.  back to index

Earl of Chesterfield (b1672-1726)
31st C
aptain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1723-1725

Philip Stanhope, 2nd Earl of Chesterfield (1634-1714) inherited the title of Earl of Chesterfield upon his grandfather's death in 1656. His first marriage was to Lady Anne Percy, daughter of the Earl of Northumberland. Following her death, a marriage had been arranged between him and Mary, daughter of 3rd Lord Fairfax. Despite the fact the banns had been read twice, Mary jilted Chesterfield for the 2nd Duke of Buckingham with whom she had fallen in love. Chesterfield subsequently married Elizabeth Butler, daughter of the 1st Duke of Ormonde  back to index

Earl of Leicester (b1680-1737)
32nd C
aptain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1725-1731

John Sidney, 6th Earl of Leicester
(February 14, 1680 - September 27, 1737), was a Privy Councillor during the Georgian era.  He was born and died at his family home of Penshurst Place in Kent and is buried at Penshurst. He was one of the five sons of Robert Sidney, 4th Earl of Leicester. (1649-1702) by Lady Elizabeth Egerton (1653-1709), the daughter of John Egerton, 2nd Earl of Bridgewater.  John inherited the earldom from his brother, Philip Sidney, 5th Earl of Leicester, in 1705. Their younger brother Jocelyn Sidney followed as 7th Earl of Leicester.   back to index

Earl of Ashburnham (b1687-1737) 
33rd Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1731-1737

John Ashburnham, 1st Earl of Ashburnham was the son of John Ashburnham, 1st Baron Ashburnham and Bridget Vaughan. He was baptised on 13 March 1687 at St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, London, England.  He married, firstly, Lady Mary Butler, daughter of James Butler, 2nd Duke of Ormonde and Lady Mary Somerset, on 21 October 1710.  He married, secondly, Henrietta Maria Stanley, Baroness Strange, daughter of William George Richard Stanley, 9th Earl of Derby and Lady Elizabeth Butler, on 24 July 1714.  He married, thirdly, Lady Jemima Grey, daughter of Henry de Grey, 1st and last Duke of Kent and Jemima Crew, on 14 March 1723/24 at St James's, Westminster, London, England.  He died on 10 March 1736/37 at age 49 at St James Square, Westminster, London, England.  He was buried at Ashburnham, Sussex, England.  He held the office of MP (Tory) for Hastings between February 1710 and June 1710.  He succeeded to the title of 3rd Baron Ashburnham, of Ashburnham, Sussex [E., 1689] on 16 June 1710.  He was Colonel of the 1st troop of Horse Guards between 1713 and 1715. He held the office of Lord of the Bedchamber to the Prince of Wales between December 1728 and June 1731.  He was created 1st Viscount St. Asaph, of the principality of Wales [Great Britain] on 14 May 1730. He was created 1st Earl of Ashburnham [Great Britain] on 14 May 1730.  He was Captain of the Yeoman of the Guard between 23 November 1731 and 1737.  back to index

Duke of Manchester (b?? )
34th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1737-1739

Being researched....

Robert Montagu b: 1700 d: 1739. 2nd Duke.

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Earl of Essex                   
35th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1739-1743  

William Capel, 3rd Earl of Essex (1697-1743), eldest son of Algernon Capel, second Earl of Essex, and Mary, eldest daughter of William Bentinck, first Earl of Portland, was born in 1697.  In 1718 he was appointed gentleman to the bedchamber to George II when Prince of Wales, an office in which he was continued after the prince’s accession to the throne.  In 1725 he was made a Knight of the Thistle, and in 1722 he was constituted lord-lieutenant of Hertfordshire.  In 1731 he was appointed ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the King of Sardinia at Turin, an office which he discharged till 1736.  He was in 1727 appointed keeper of St James’s and Hyde Parks, but resigned this position on 4 December 1739 on being appointed Captain Yeoman of the Guard.  On 12 February 1734-5 he was worn a member of the Privy Council, and on 20 February 1737-8 he was made a Knight Companion of the Garter. He died on 8 January 1742-3, and was buried at Watford, by his first wife, Jane, eldest surviving daughter of Henry Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, he had four daughters, and by his second wife, Elizabeth Russell, youngest daughter of Wriothesley, 2nd Duke of Bedford, he had four daughters and two sons.  Of the sons the elder died young, and the second William Anne (1732-1799) succeeded him in the peerage.  back to index


Lord Berkeley of Stratton   
36th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1743-1746

Lt Col Augustus Berkeley, 4th Earl of Berkeley was the son of Vice-Admiral James Berkeley, 3rd Earl of Berkeley and Lady Louisa Lennox. He was born on 18 February 1716.  He married Elizabeth Drax, daughter of Henry Drax and Elizabeth Ernle, on 7 May 1744.  He died on 9 January 1755 at age 38.  He was buried on 17 January 1755 at Berkeley, Gloucestershire, England.  His will (dated 18 December 1751) was probated in February 1755.  He gained the rank of Ensign in November 1734 in the service of the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards.  He succeeded to the title of 12th Lord Berkeley [E., 1421] on 17 August 1736, by writ.   He succeeded to the title of 4th Earl of Berkeley, co. Gloucester [E., 1679] on 17 August 1736.  He succeeded to the title of 4th Viscount Dursley, co. Gloucester [E., 1679] on 17 August 1736.   He gained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in 1737 in the service of the 2nd Regiment Foot Guards. He held the office of Constable of St. Briavet's Castle between 1737 and 1755.  He held the office of Lord-Lieutenant of Gloucestershire between 1737 and 1755.  He was invested as a Knight, Order of the Thistle (KT.) on 9 June 1739. back to index


Viscount Torrington         
37th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1746-1747

Pattee Byng was born on 25 May 1699, one of 11 sons and 4 sisters of George Byng 1st Viscount of Torrington.  He lived at Southill in Bedfordshire, later acquired by the Whitbread family.  Pattee Byng was one of two principle patrons of George Stubbs (famous  British artist born in Liverpool in 1724. Originally a portrait painter, he carried out an extensive series of dissections which resulted in a book of engravings - The Anatomy of the Horse) many of his paintings were created at Southill.  The Hon Pattee Byng was Treasurer of the Navy between 18 Apr 1724 until 20 Apr 1734.  During his appointment he succeeded his father as 2nd Viscount Torrington in Jan 1733.  He was appointed as a Privy Councillor on 4 May 1732.  He was further appointed Vice-Treasurer of Ireland on 24 Apr 1734 until appointed Treasurer of Ireland on 2 Aug 1742 until 6 Mar 1744.  Pattee Byng married Charlotte Montagu, daughter of the 1st Duke of Manchester, but there was no issue to the marriage.  Viscount Torrington was appointed Captain of the King's Body Guard in 1746 until his death on 23 January 1747.  He was succeeded by his brother George Byng.  back to index

Viscount Falmouth           
38th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1747-1782

Being researched.... 

Hugh Boscawen b; 20 March 1707 d: 4 Feb 1782.  2nd Viscount.


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Duke of Dorset                 
39th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1782-1783

John Frederick Sackville, third Duke of Dorset was born on 24 March 1745, and educated at Westminster School, with which he kept up a connection in later life. As ‘Mr Sackville’ he was elected member for Kent at the general election of 1768 but vacated his seat and was called to the House of Lords on the death of his uncle Charles, second Duke of Dorset, when he succeeded to the title and estates. He was sworn of the Privy Council on being appointed Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard on 11 Feb, 1782, which post at court he resigned on 3 April 1783, and from 26 Dec, 1783 to 8 Aug 1789 he filled the responsible position of ambassador-extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the court of France. He quitted that country at the beginning of the revolution; He received the Garter on 9 April 1788, and was Lord Steward of the Royal Household 7 Oct1789 till he resigned on 20 Feb, 1799. He was also Lord Lieutenant of Kent from 27 Jan 1769 till 13 June 1797, and colonel of the West Kent militia from 13 April 1778 till his death, being granted the rank of colonel in the army on 2 July 1779. He was appointed one of the trustees under the will of Dr Busby on 11 May 1797 was elected a governor of the Charterhouse on 4 March 1796, and was high steward of Strafford-upon-Avon for many years. The duke died in his fifty-fifth year at his seat at Knoll, Kent, on 19 July 1799, and was buried in the family vault at Withy ham, Sussex.  back to index
Earl of Cholmondeley       
40th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1783 only

George James Cholmondeley, (pronounced “Chumly”) succeeded his grandfather as 4th Earl, his father George, Viscount Malpas, having died in 1764. He was born on 11 May 1749. In 1791 he married Lady Georgiana Charlotte Bertie, second daughter of Peregrine, 3rd Duke of Lancaster and Kesteven, and co-heiress with her sister, Priscilla Barbara Elizabeth, Baroness Willoughby de Eresby, wife of Lord Gwydyr of Caernarvonshire. The Duke of Ancaster was hereditary Lord Great Chamberlain of England, and the Office descended to his daughters, who could nominate deputies. George James became Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, Custos Rotulorum, and Governor of Chester Castle. Chamberlain and Vice-Admiral of Cheshire, Lord Steward of the Royal Household for King George III, Judge of the Marshalsea and Palace Courts.  He commanded the Royal Cheshire Militia in 1771 and was present at the Great Inspection on 11 June that same year. Members of the Cholmondeley family continued to command the Regiment until 1883. In 1780 the Earl gave a grant of 11 and half acres of land on the Barony in Nantwich, for the erection of a Workhouse. In addition to fulfilling his military obligations at home, George James undertook diplomatic missions in Germany at a most critical period in our history. On 14 June, 1782 he was appointed Envoy Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Court of Berlin. In 1783 he was sworn Privy Councillor, and later presented with the Captaincy of the Yeomen of the Guard. In 1797 he greatly increased the family fortunes through inheriting the Walpole estates of Houghton and elsewhere from the 4th Earl of damp and low lying. This project, which resulted in the Castle, took from 1801 to 1804 to complete. The remaining portions of Delamere Forest were enclosed in 1812, and the Earl was granted a lease of the herbage for a maximum period of 61 years. On 22 November 1815 he was created Marquees of Cholmondeley, Earl of Rocksavage, and Baron of Nantwich. In 1822 he was made Knight Companion for the most Noble Order of the Garter, and later Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Hanoverian Guelphic Order. He built Bickley School in 1827, to cater for the needs of the growing population, but unfortunately did not live to see his labour bear fruit. He died 19 April 1827, aged 78, and was buried in his vault at Malpas Church on 25 April. 
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Earl of Aylesford               
41st Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1783-1804

Heneage Finch (1751-1812) was eldest son of the 3rd Earl of Aylesford, and Charlotte, nee Seymour. The fourth Earl was educated at Westminster School, London, and graduated from Christ Church, Oxford University, with a Master of Arts (MA) and Doctor of Civil Law (DCL).  He also studied architecture and art at Oxford and came under the sustained influence of John Malchair, a German teacher of music and art. Heneage spent four years with Malchair, who told a friend that the two pupils of whom he was most proud were Sir George Beaumont and Lord Aylesford.  He was awarded the accolade “one of the most gifted and versatile men of his age”.

One of Heneage Finch’s principles was to allow himself three years to master a subject that attracted him but drop it if he failed to succeed. The Earl made his mark as an etcher in 1771, while still a very young man, when he engraved the frontispiece to a book on Malchair, his tutor.  He was also interested in making book-plates, and an outstanding one was used to place in his own books; it is still being used.  There is one in the British Museum, inscribed “Viscount Lewisham”, (Legge) “1752”, which seems to mark his marriage to Lord Aylesford’s sister. The Earl’s studies were always in watercolour, or pen and wash, and seldom in oils. Though Heneage was an accomplished artist, the fact that there is only one extant oil-painting by him proves that he was a perfectionist. They were mostly of rustic sconces such as huts, barns, bridges, trees.  He was particularly interested in depicting ruins and decay, and there are extant fine studies of Kenilworth Castle, long before its present restoration.

The Hon J Byng (Lord Torrington), in his “Torrington Diaries – Tours made in 1781-94”, made frequent reference to the 4th Earl, whom he admired very much.  He did not, however, appreciate the new Packington Park, which had been transformed by Capability Brown “with an air of wildness likely to convey general pleasure, there is a flow of water which is formed into a grand lake above, and a twining (joining) stream near it.  Byng also referred to the new Great Packington Church, constructed by the 4th Lord Aylesford as a thanksgiving in 1789 for the recovery of George III from his mental illness temporary, as it proved – as a “wretched erection”.

So esteemed was he in the world of scholarship that be became Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), at the remarkably young age of 23.  He became Trustee of the British Museum, and Fellow of the Society of Antiquities (FSA).  In his early twenties, he made what was called the Grand Tour of Western Europe, investigating the world of art and antiquities, especially in Italy and Sicily where there was so much ancient Greek architecture.  Here he made sketches and plans of what attracted him, including a reconstruction of the then non-existent Baths of the Emperor Diocletian.  From the plans which a leading 17th century French architect had reconstructed, Heneage recreated pictures of the Baths, the interior of which bore a remarkable likeness to the interior of the present Great Packington Church, which Heneage constructed.  Indeed, some guide-books refer to the semi-circular windows as the Diocletian windows.  The Grand Tour was an essential qualification for membership of the Royal Society of Dilettanti, of which Heneage became a fellow. 

Though he made a very considerable mark in the world he found no place in the Dictionary of National Biography, or in general books about artists, but this is perhaps understandable, as he was essentially an amateur (in its best sense) in the world of art and architecture.  He himself made it more difficult as he was notoriously shy – Mrs Delany’s comments on his courtship of Louisa Thynne, of Longleat House, bear this out – and he left no diaries or letters for subsequent generation to consult. The marriage of Heneage Finch and Louisa Thynne proved to be the talk of London, even in royal circles.  We hear in April 1776 from Mrs Delany; “Miss Thynne is much approved wherever she makes her appearance, which is but seldom, for her prudent mama brings her forward very cautiously”.  Six months later she was presented at court where “everybody was charmed with her; besides her pretty and agreeable figure, her total freedom from all manner of affectation, and her modest, gentle manner add greatly to her appearance”.  

Subsequent to their marriage, both the 4th Earl and his Countess took a keen interest in the Warwickshire countryside, he as an agriculturist, and she as a botanist who was almost unrivalled in the county.  Lord Aylesford was a progressive farmer, and much attention was paid to his experiments.  He considered ploughing with a team of six horses to be ridiculously expensive, and he started using ox-teams.  He kept fifteen working oxen (three teams) and Lord Torrington, whose account of his travels in Warwickshire we have already mentioned, noted; “These are supported at half the expense of an equal number of horses”. The Earl also experimented with sheep.  For instance, he was not satisfied with the inferior Warwickshire breed, but kept a flock of Wilshire sheep in folds for their manure as well as their wool.  Lord Torrington said that “this was a rare practice and seems not to be well understood”. 

Heneage Finch employed the architect Bonomi, who worked on the building of Great Packington Church, Packington Hall and a town-house in St James’s Square, London in 1782 after his marriage, as well as Forest Hall, Meriden as the Headquarters of the Woodmen of Arden.  Moreover, he engaged the Royal Academy artist Rigaud, who created the striking altar-painting of Great Packington Church and the paintings of the Pompeian Room and the ceiling of the Library at Packington Hall; It was while he was working on the latter that Rigaud died in 1810 and was buried at Great Packington Church.  Heneage’s interest in the ancient Roman City of Pompeii (destroyed by the volcano Vesuvius in 79 A.D.), was sharpened by the reports brought back by the English Ambassador in Naples, Sir William Hamilton – the unlucky husband of Emma, Lady Hamilton, with whom Nelson fell so inextricably in love.  These reports were the Ambassador’s descriptions of the recent discoveries for the Society of Antiquities of which Heneage was a Fellow.  Sir William also gave his archaeological collection to the British Museum of which Lord Aylesford was a Trustee; Rigaud was commissioned to decorate the famous room in Packington Hall in the Pompeian style. 

Despite being wealthy, Heneage Finch, whether as Lord Guernsey or the Earl of Aylesford, did not live a life of leisure, but devoted much time to the life of the nation.  Thus he entered the House of Commons in 1772 at a time when being a Member of Parliament (MP) was not a paid career.  First, he was the member for Castle Rising, in Norfolk, and then of Maidstone, in Kent, which included the town of Aylesford with the Friars and Boxley Abbey – both Finch homes.  Of course, he had to resign his seat as MP in 1777 on becoming Earl of Aylesford on the death of his father.  He gradually attracted attention by his capabilities in Court Circles.  He was Lord of the Bedchamber from 1777 till 1783 with the appreciable salary of £1,000 a year; his brother, General Edward Finch, was Groom of the Bedchamber at a salary of £500 a year. Heneage became Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard from 1783 until 1804, at a salary of £1,000 per year.  In 1799 Heneage also became Captain of the Gentlemen-Pensioners.  In 1804 Lord Aylesford became Lord High Steward of the Royal Household, the most exalted of the great officers of state and a nobleman in the highest confidence of the monarch.  To him, in the explanatory words of the official “Royal Kalendar”, the King’s household was entirely committed at his discretion.  All his commands are to be obeyed. His authority reaches over all the officers and servants of the King’s Household, except those of the King’s Chamber, stable and chapel.” Such officials included the Treasurer, the Controller, the Paymaster, the Master of the Household, Clerks of the Household, Almoner, etc.  Among his duties, Heneage had to sign the bulletins about the health of the King, who had become seriously mentally ill (probably through porphyria, not lunacy).  This duty fell upon him because, as Lord High Steward and Privy Councillor, he was a member of the Queen’s Council established under the Regency Act. 

He held this office until he died in 1812. Duty as a Privy Councillor was more onerous than it is now.  Formerly it was the Privy Council which actually advised the monarch.  It is of interest that in 1810, two years before Lord Aylesford’s death, other Privy Councillors included two relatives, the 3rd Earl of Dartmouth, who was his brother-in-law, and his cousin, the Earl of Winchilsea and Nottingham. Lest one should imagine that the 4th Earl of Aylesford was too busy in royal circles to do anything else, a glimpse at “The Royal Kalender for 1810” reveals this entry under his name in the list of Earls, of whom he was 25th in precedence, with 17 Dukes and 12 Marquises above him…."Lord Steward of the Household, Judge of the Marshalsea Court; High Steward of Sutton Coldfield; Trustee of the British Museum" together with the details already given of other Court service.  Another of the Earl of Aylesford’s commitments was as "Guardian of the Standard of Wrought Plate" in the Birmingham Assay Office.  This body had been set up by Act of Parliament in 1772, and 36 responsible persons were appointed as Guardians to control its affairs.  Amongst them was Heneage Finch, then Lord Guernsey – an appointment for life.

The 1790/1 period was a very busy and even exciting one for Lord Aylesford, for, besides his duties at Court, he was much in demand in Warwickshire, where he was one of the leading figures. At this time, feeling was running very high against the Dissenters, who refused to accept the religious doctrines and practices of the Established Church of England.  They were agitating very vigorously to obtain the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts, which barred them from holding public office or employment. On 2 February 1790, Lord Aylesford presided at Warwick at “a meeting of the principal nobility, gentry and clergy of the County of Warwickshire” (the words of the official record).  Among those present were Lords Warwick, Denbigh, Plymouth and Willoughby de Broke.  The meeting emphatically condemned the agitation, and approved the exclusion of the Dissenters as before, as being just and “in strict accord with our glorious constitution”.  A noteworthy observation by a writer at the time was: “The rage which prevails in Warwickshire against the Dissenters is not to be conceived by anyone who has not been there.  There is no story as incredible as does not meet with implicit credit”.  Lord Torrington commented that “the Park is dotted by low stone pillars which are the roving butts that Lord Aylesford shoots at, a sport of which he is furiously fond, a most capital performance – perhaps the best archer in the Kingdom”.  A contemporary “Who’s Who” mentioned that he was a crack shot with a pistol, but this he gave up in favour of archery. The Earl’s keen interest in archery led him to found the famous Woodmen of Arden in 1785 with their headquarters on Aylesford land just over the Packington boundary at Forest Hall, Meriden.  The annual gathering – the Wardmote – of the Woodmen of Arden became a feature of society life in Warwickshire, when many splendid trophies were competed for.  The proceedings culminated in a Grand Ball at Forest Hall proceedings which are still held every year.

The 4th Earl of Aylesford died in 1812, but Louisa did not die until 1832.  Reporting the Earl’s death, a leading periodical, “The Gentleman’s Magazine”, recorded how “after a hearty supper and the usual performance of his devotions, he went to bed and was, in the course of the night, attacked by gout in the stomach, which caused his death”.

Incidentally, from the creation of the 1st Earl of Aylesford in 1714 until the death of the 7th Earl in 1885, all were christened Heneage Finch.
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Lord Pelham                     
42nd Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1804 only

Thomas Pelham second Earl of Chichester (1756 – 1826), born in Spring Gardens, London on 28 April, 1756. He was educated at Westminster and Clare Hall, Cambridge, where he graduated M.A. in 1775. In the autumn of 1775, in order to learn Spanish, he went to Madrid on a visit to Lord Grantham, a friend of his family, who was then ambassador there. After remaining nearly a year in Spain, he went to France and Italy. In December 1776 he stopped for a short time at Munich and Vienna, where he had an interview with Kaunitz. He arrived in England early in 1778 and for the next two or three years was occupied with his duties as an officer in the Sussex militia. He became Lieutenant-colonel of the regiment in 1794. Pelham quickly developed a strong interest in public affairs. On 14 Sept, 1780 he was selected to the House of Commons for Sussex, and acted with the Rockingham whigs. In April 1782 he was appointed surveyor-general of the ordnance in Lord Rockingham’s ministry, when he resigned office, together with Rockingham’s successor, Lord Shelburne, in April 1783, George III expressed a hope that it would not be his final retirement. In the summer of 1783 he reluctantly accepted the Duke of Portland’s offer of the Irish secretary ship in the coalition administration. According to Charlemont’s biographer, he adroitly steered through a stormy session in the Irish House of Commons, in which he sat for Carrick. On the fall of Portland’s government, Pelham declined the offer of Pitt, the new prime minister, to retain his office, but in January 1784 had ‘a very full and open conversation with Pitt and Lord Sydney on Irish affairs.’ Until the whig schism caused by the French revolution, he remained an active member of the opposition.

Between 1789 and 1793 Pelham paid many prolonged visits to the continent. According to Lord Malmesbury, he was entrusted in June and July 1791 with letters to Lafayette and Barnave in Paris, interceding for the life of the King and Queen; but he prudently burnt them. In the same year he visited Naples, where he dined with the King, and met Sir William and Lady Hamilton. In 1793, after a tour in Switzerland, he spent part of August in the Duke of York’s quarters in Flanders. Early in 1794 Pelham definitely threw in his lot with the old whigs, who supported Pitt’s foreign policy. Next year he took office under Pitt, becoming Chief Secretary to Lord Camden, the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland, who had replaced Lord Fitzwilliam. Before his arrival in Dublin in March Fitzgibbon, the Lord Chancellor, wrote to him; ‘I do not know a man who could come over here that would be so likely to succeed in composing the country as you.’ Though opposed to catholic emancipation, Pelham wrote t a correspondent, when on his way to Ireland; ‘I will not lend my hand to a job for a clique on either side of the water. Resurgat Respublica, ruat Pitt, Beresford &c.’ He had been elected member for Clogher in 1790, and represented that place till 1797, when he transferred himself to Armagh, and remained the representative of that city till the union. After a severe illness he left Ireland in May 1798, on the eve of the rebellion. Castlereagh took his place temporarily, but Pelham never resumed it, and finally resigned in November. The King said of Pelham’s withdrawal that it was ‘the greatest loss and greatest disappointment he could have experienced.’

On 22 Jan, 1801 Pelham moved in an animated speech, the appointment of Addington as speaker. On 4 April he was voted Chairman of the Secret Committee on the affairs of Ireland. After having declined the offer of the secretary ship at war, the St. Petersburg embassy and the presidency of the board of control, Pelham joined the Addington ministry as home secretary in 1801. In July the same year on his father’s promotion to the Earldom of Chichester, he took his seat in the House of Lords under his father’s former title of Baron Pelham of Stanmer.

He told Lord Malmesbury he only joined the cabinet by the express wish of the King. His relations with Addington were never smooth. He resented the withdrawal of colonial affairs from his department, and had differences with the prime minister both on foreign policy and Irish affairs. As home secretary Pelham had the superintendence of Irish affairs, and made vain efforts to draw all the Irish patronage into the hands of the home office. In the House of Lords Pelham took the lead in defending the peace of Amiens; but he made a protest in the cabinet, in March 1802m against signing the definitive treaty in the same terms as the preliminaries. He did not resign, because he agreed with his colleagues on all other points. Malmesbury records in his diary a little later; ‘Pelham seems to have little influence with his colleagues, or not to consult with them, or be consulted by them.’ When in 1803, negotiations were opened by Addington with Pitt, Pelham offered to give up his office in order to facilitate matters; but as recompense he expected the chancellorship of the duchy of Lancaster for life. The negotiations came to nothing; but Addington took advantage of Pelham’s offer to remove him in July 1803 from the home office to the Duchy, ‘subject to the usual contingencies,’ On 11 Sept, 1803 Pelham wrote to the King, detailing his grievances against Addington, Malmesbury and Lord Minto both thought Pelham badly treated.  Pelham was deprived of the duchy of Lancaster on Pitt’s re-entry into office in May 1804. When Pelham delivered up the seals, the King, without consulting Pitt, gave him the stick of the Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard, adding ‘It will be less a sinecure than formerly, as I intend living more with my great officers.’ Pelham soon resigned that post, and affected to believe that Pitt had entrapped him into it. In January 1805, on the death of his father, Pelham became second Earl of Chichester. From May 1807 till 1823 he was joint postmaster-general, and from 1823 till his death was sole holder of the office. In 1815-17 he was president of the Royal Institution. At the coronation of George IV in July 1821 he was ‘assistant carver.’ He died on 4 July, 1826.  back to index


Earl of Macclesfield          
43rd Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1804-1830

Being researched....

George Parker b: 1755 d: 1842.  4th Earl.
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Marquess of Clanricarde  
44th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1830-1834

Being researched....

Ulick John de Burgh b: 1802 d: 1874.  14th Earl, 1st Marquess (1825)

 


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Earl of Gosford                 
45th and 47th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1834-1835

Archibald Acheson, 2nd Earl of Gosford, Baron Worlingham, born 1 August 1776, England – died 27 March 1849, Armagh, County Armagh, Ireland.  Governor in Chief of British North America in 1835-37, who alienated English and French-speaking colonists in Canada. Acheson entered politics in 1798 as member for Armagh in the Irish Parliament. After the union of Great Britain and Ireland (1800), he became member for Armagh in the British House of Commons, where he served until he inherited his father’s title in 1807. In 1811 he entered the British House of Lords as a representative peer for Ireland; he supported the Whig policy of conciliating Ireland.

After being appointed Lord Lieutenant of Armagh in 1832 and a Peer of the United Kingdom (Baron Worlingham) in 1835, Gosford was appointed Governor in Chief of British North America. He served as a royal commissioner inquiring into the state of affairs in Lower Canada (now Quebec) and recommended a policy of “conciliation without concession” toward French-Canadians. By 1837 he recognized the failure of his conciliation policy, and he resigned that November, leaving Canada just before the French-Canadian rebellion in Lower Canada (1838). In the House of Lords, he unsuccessfully opposed the Act of Union (1840), which united Upper and Lower Canada (Ontario and Quebec).    back to index


Earl of Courtown             
46th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1835 only

Being researched....

James George Stopford b: 1765 d: 1835. 3rd Earl.




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Earl of Ilchester               
48th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1835-1841

Being researched....

Henry Stephen Fox-Strangways b: 1787 d: 1858. 3rd Earl.




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Earl of Surrey                  
49th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1841 only

Henry Charles Howard, thirteenth Duke of Norfolk was born on 12 Aug 1791 in George Street, Hanover Square. Three years after his birth his parents were divorced, in May 1794, by act of parliament, his mother then marrying Richard, second Earl of Lucan. His of the dukedom of Norfolk on the death, on 16 Dec 1815, of his cousin Charles, the eleventh duke, he, as heir, became known as the Earl of Arundel and Surrey. The Act of Catholic Emancipation having been passed in April 1829, the Earl was the first Roman Catholic since the Reformation to take the oaths and his seat in the House of Commons. He sat as M.P. for Horsham from 1829 to 1832, Hurst, the sitting member, having resigned in 1829 to afford him the opportunity. He was elected in 1832, in 1835, and in 1837 as member for the Western division of Sussex. In politics he was a staunch whig. From July 1837 to June 1841 he was Treasurer of the Queen’s household in Lord Melbourne’s ministry, being admitted to the Privy Council on his appointment, and from July to September 1841 was Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard, resigning that office with Lord Melbourne’s ministry. In August 1841 he was summoned to the house of peers as Baron Maltravers. Upon his father’s death, on 16 March 1842, he succeeded to the Dukedom, and was master of the Horse from July 1846 until February 1852 during the administration of Lord John Russell. On 4 May 1848 he was created a Knight of the Garter; and, under the Earl of Aberdeen’s ministry, was Lord Steward of the Household. He supported Lord John Russell’s Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, and was little more than a catholic in name, but when on his deathbed was reconciled to the Roman Catholic religion, He died at Arundel Castle on 18 Feb 1856, and was buried in the family vault in the parish church on 26 Feb. 
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Marquis of Lothian       
50th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1841 only

Edited from a portrait by Sir Patrick LawrenceJohn William Robert Kerr, 7th Marquis of Lothian, was born ob 1 February 1794.  He was said to have considerable intellectual ability and at the age of 26 became Member of Parliament for Huntingdon. In doing so he abandoned the family’s Whig tradition and became a Tory serving as a Member of Parliament in Lord Liverpool’s Government until he inherited his father’s titles and became a member of the Upper House (House of Lords).  Like his father, he was Lord Lieutenant of Roxburghshire and was also Colonel of the Edinburgh Militia.  Increasing ill health forced him to withdraw gradually from public life and he then occupied himself in improving the family estates as Monteviot and Newbattle Abbey.  The Marquis died in November 1841 the year in which he became the 50th Captain of the Yeoman of the Sovereign’s Bodyguard aged only forty-seven.  He was succeeded by his eldest son William, aged only nine.  His widow, who had been Lady Cecil Talbot daughter of the 2nd Earl of Talbot when they married in 1831, survived him by 36 years, dying in 1877.  Research by Phil Kerr, cousin of 11th Marquis of Lothian, and archives from Melbourne House   back to index
Earl of Beverley               
51st Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1841-1846

Being researched....

James Robert George Graham b: 1792 d: 1861.

 

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Viscount Falkland           
52nd Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1846-1848

Lucius Benticnk Cary, 10th Viscount Falkland born 5 November, 1803. Sometime Captain 7th Foot (Royal Fusiliers). He was a Lord of the Bedchamber to William IV, 1830. Married Miss Amelia Fitzclarence, daughter of Duke of Clarence, afterwards Williams IV, 27 December 1830; Elizabeth Catherine, Dowager Duchess of St. Albans, 10 March 1859. GCH., 1831; A Representative Peer of Scotland 1831-32; advanced to the peerage (UK), created by his royal father-in-law Baron Hunsdon of Skutterskelfe, county of York; Privy Councillor, 1837; Governor of Nova Scotia, 1840-46; sworn in as Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard, 24 July 1846; resigned on appointment as Governor of Bombay, 11 February, 1848; Governor of Bombay, 1848-53. Died at Montpelier France, 12 March 1884, aged 81. The 10th Viscount was the eldest of three brothers who were left fatherless at a young age when their father was mortally wounded in a duel at Chalk Farm in 1809.  back to index

Marquess of Donegall        
53rd Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1848-1852

George Hamilton, The 3rd Marquees of Donegal. The title was created in 1790 and George Hamilton succeeded his father, George Augustus, KP, in 1844. George was born in 1797. Married in 1822 Harriet Anne, who died 1860, daughter of 1st Earl of Glengall; in 1862, Harriet, daughter of Sir Bellingham Reginald Granam, 7th Baronet, and widow of Lieutenant-General Sir Frederick Ashworth, KCB, George Hamilton was elected Liberal M.P. for Carrickfergus for 1818-1820; for Belfast from 1820-30, and for Antrim 1830-1837; he was Vice-Chamberlain of the Household 1831-1834, Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard 1848-1852, and Lord Lieutenant of County Antrim. He was created Baron Ennishowen and Carrickfergus in 1841 and died in 1883 when the barony became extinct. In the Army List of 1860 he is noted as ADC to Her Majesty Queen Victoria  back to index
Lord de Ros             
54th and 56th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1852 & 1858-1859

Stapleton Cotton was born 14 November 1773 at Llewenny Hall, Denbighshire.  He was the second son of Sir Robert Salisbury Cotton, fifth Baronet of Combermere Abbey, Whitchurch, Shropshire.  After a rather neglected education with a wasted year at a private ‘military academy’. Where he learned little more than to clean a fire-lock and his accoutrements, he obtained, without purchase, a second lieutenancy in the 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers. A year later he joined that corps in Dublin and became First Lieutenant on 16 March, 1791 and was with the Regiment until 28 February, 1793 when he was promoted to a troop of the 6th Carabiniers It was a fine old Regiment, for former 3rd Irish Horse, but notoriously Irish in tone with hard-drinking and duelling giving some concern.  He embarked with his Regiment in August, 1793 and joined the Duck of York’s Army just after Dunkirk, and took part in the campaigns that year.  General George Wentworth Higginson recalled that at a banquet held in 1860 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the raising of the First Regiment of Foot Guards, Cotton by then Lord Combermere, replied for the toast of the Household Cavalry, and fascinated his audience by telling how he had been present as a young aide-de-camp at the battle of Lincelles, where the Guards were the only British troops engaged.  The name “Lincelles” is the earliest, after the days of Marlborough, now carried on their colours. Cotton was also in action the following spring, when he was present at Premont and the cavalry battle at Chateau in 1794. A few days later Cotton was promoted to Major in the 59th Foot and on 9 March 1794, aged 21, became Lieutenant-Colonel of the new 25th Light Dragoons, then known as Glyn’s Hussars. He commanded the Regiment at several stations in the south of England and was noticed by George III and the Royal Family. In 1796 he embarked with his Regiment for the Cape and India. Arriving at the Cape about July and, in view of the sudden attack on the colony by French and Dutch fleets, the 25th, mounted on Boer horses readied itself for field service.  Cotton commanded the advanced guard of the force sent from the colony to Saldanha Bay, which witnessed the surrender, on 28 August 1796 of the Dutch ships, which had escaped when the colony was taken by the British the previous September. The 25th Dragoons then completed the journey to Madras, and served through the campaign against Tippoo Sahib in 1799.  They were at Malavelle and the siege of Seringapatam, when Cotton appears to have met Colonel Arthur Wellesley.  For family reason an exchange was arranged for Cotton to return home from Madras early in 1800 and he joined the 16th Light Dragoons. He met, after only three months, married Lady Anna Maria Clinton the daughter of the late third Duke of Newcastle.  After some time at Brighton the Regiment went to Ireland and was stationed at Gort and then Dublin during Emmet’s insurrection.  Cotton had attained the rank of Colonel on 1 January 1800 aged 27. He became a Major-General on 30 October 1805 and for a time commanded a cavalry brigade under the Duke of Cumberland. In 1806, he was returned as M.P. for Newark and sat in the House until his elevation to the peerage. Sadly, his wife died in 1807 and he went into retirement. In August 1808, he was sent to Vigo with a brigade of the 14th and 16th Light Dragoons, but the destination was changed to Lisbon.  The brigade operated on the Portuguese frontier during Moore’s campaign in Spain and later, in 1809, served in north Portugal including the operations against Oporto. Cotton was in charge of the whole of the allied cavalry until the arrival of Lieutenant-General Payne. Cotton commanded a brigade at Talavera to good effect. At the end, of the year, news came of his father’s death and in January 1810 he went home. A baronet with a sizeable estate and many advantages Cotton, nevertheless, preferred a military career. Very active, an excellent horseman, astute and courageous, he was know as the ‘Lion d’Or’. Wellington declared that in entrusting an order to Cotton, he knew it would be carried out with discretion as well as zeal. On rejoining the army in the summer of 1810 Cotton was appointed to command the 1st Division, and afterwards to command the whole of the allied cavalry, with the local rank of Lieutenant-General. He attained that rank in the British army on 1 January 1812. Some of his more important services, as head of the cavalry, included covering the long retreat from Almeida to Torres Vedras, from July to September 1810 in which not a single baggage wagon was left behind; the brilliant action at Llerena, on 11 April 1812, during a cavalry movement towards Seville, when after a night march, he attacked and overthrew a superior force of Soul’s rearguard; his foresight at Castrejon, near Salamanca, on 18 July 1812, when with Anson’s brigade of cavalry and the 4th and Light Divisions he held Marmont’s entire army at bay and nullified plans that would have put the whole British army at hazard; and his services at the Battle of Salamanca, where he was second in command to Wellington, and led the famous charge of Le Marchant’s and Anson’s heavy brigades. A chance volley severely wounded Cotton’s right arm but it was saved from amputation and he went home, Wellington wrote to the military secretary, Colonel Torrens, “Sir Stapleton Cotton is gone home, He commands our cavalry very well  - indeed much better than some that might be sent to us and might be supposed cleverer then he is.” Wellington seems to have objected to the idea of conferring a peerage on Cotton, for fear of upsetting Marshal Beresford, his senior in the army. A 28-day passage to Spain made him three days late for Vittoria, but he continued to command the allied cavalry through the remaining campaigns in Spain, the south of France including the Pyrenees, Orthes and at Tolouse up to the peace. On his return home Cotton, having already received the red ribbon of the Bath, was raised to the peerage as Baron Combermere of Combermere Abbey. He was to receive a pension of £2,000 a year for his own and two succeeding lives. His second marriage took place at Lambeth Palace, at 11pm on the night of a grand entertainment to the allied sovereigns at the Guildhall, where the new peer was one of the guests. On Napoleon’s return from Elba, Combermere came to the front again, but to Wellington’s annoyance the command of the cavalry in Belgium was given to Lord Uxbridge. On the day after Waterloo the Duke wrote: “We must have Lord Combermere, if he will come, He responded to his old leader’s call and arrived in Paris on 18 July 1815, and commanded the whole allied cavalry in France until the next year, when the reduction of the army deprived him of his post. In 1817, he was appointed Governor of Barbados and Commander-in-Chief in Ireland, A successor to Sir Edward Paget Commander-in-Chief of India, was needed and with the prospect of an expedition against the fortress at Bhurtpoor, Combermere was selected by the court of the directions of HEIC. He was the man most suited for the post, according to the advice of Wellington. Having attained the rank of General on 27 May 1825, Combermere set out for India and the expedition against the great fortress was successfully carried out, The enormous Jat fort, which had been a threat to British rule ever since Lord Lake had failed to take it 20 years previously, was taken with little loss and was razed to the ground. Combermere was mad a Viscount in 1827, and on 16 September 1829 became Colonel of the 1st  Life Guards, having been Colonel of the 20th Light Dragoons from 1813 to 1818 and of the 3rd Light Dragoons from 1821 to 1829. He stayed in India for the usual five years and, for nine months, acted as Governor-General while Lord Amherst was away in the hills. Combermere returned home in 1830 and parted from his second wife, who died seven years later. In 1838, he married for the third time. The last 30 years of his life were spent in the quiet pursuit of his parliamentary and social duties. He was Governor of Sheerness from 1821 to 1852 when, on the death of the Duke of Wellington, he was made Constable of the Tower of London, and in 1855 became a Field-Marshal. His last public duty was in his 90th year and the 73rd of his military service, when, at the marriage of the Prince of Wales, he attended as Gold Stick-in-brigade-waiting.  He died on 21 February 1865 and was buried in the family vault at Wrenbury, Shropshire. Combermere was a GCB (1815) having been Knight Bannerette from 1812; was a knight of the Hanoverian Guelphic Order (1817), and of the Portuguese Order of the Tower and Sword; was knight of the Star of India (1861) and of St Ferdinand and of Charles III in Spain; and was Lord Lieutenant of Tower Hamlets. For 45 years he had been Provincial Grand Master of the Freemasons in Cheshire. A memorial to Lord Combermere, in the shape of an equestrian statue stands outside Chester Castle to this day. He was awarded a Gold Medal for Talavera, a Gold Cross for Talavera. Fuentes D’Onor, Orthes and Toulouse with clasps for Busaco, Ciudad Rodrigo, Salamanca, and Pyrenees, the Seringapatam in silver in 1799, the Military General Service Medal with clasp for Busaco, Ciudad Rodrigo, and Pyrenees and the Army of India Medal clasp Bhurtpoor.
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Viscount Sydney             
55th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1852-1858

John Robert Townshend, Viscount Sydney of St. Leonard’s (1789), Baron Sydney of Chislehurst (1783). Born 9 August 1805, educated at Eton and St. John’s College, Cambridge; M.A., 1824. M.P. for Whitchurch, 1826-31. Groom of the Bedchamber, 18 January 1828-30. Succeeded to the peerage, 20 January 1831; married Emily Caroline, sixth daughter of Henry William Paget, first Marquis of Anglesey, August, 1832. Lord of the Bedchamber, January to April, 1835; Lord in Waiting, 1841-46. Sworn in as Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard 30 December 1852; resigned 17 March 1858 (at this time commissions by purchase ceased), signed by Sydney; Privy Councillor, 1853; Colonel of the Kent Artillery Militia, 1853; Lord Lieutenant of Kent, 1856-90; first Plenipotentiary of the Specials Mission with Garter to King Leopold II of Belgium, invested at Brussels, 12 February 1856; Lord Chamberlain of the Household, 1859-66; again, Deal Castle, 1879-90; Lord Steward of the Household, 1880-85; again, February to August 1886. Died at Frognal, Footscray, Kent, 14 February 1890 aged 84. back to index

Earl Ducie                    
57th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1859-1866


Henry John Reynolds-Moreton, 3rd Earl of Ducie was born 25 June 1827. Styled Lord Moreton, 1840-53; (title Baron Ducie of Tortworth created 1763); Earl of Ducie and Baron Moreton of Tortworth (1837). Married in 24 May, 1849, Julia, who died 1895, only daughter of James Haughton Langston, M.P. of Sarsden, Chipping Norton. Lord Moreton was Liberal M.P. for Stroud, 1852-53; Lord Lieutenant of Gloucester, 1857; Privy Councillor, 1859. Sworn in as Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard, 28 June 1859; resigned 10 July, 1866. Lord Warden of the Stannaries, 1888; member of the Council of the Prince of Wales 1889; Hon, Colonel of the 2nd Volunteer Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment. He died in 1921.  back to index

Earl Cadogan                   
58th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1866-1868

Henry Charles Cadogan was born in 1812 to George, 3rd Earl Cadogan (later) Admiral of the Red.  Henry, Viscount Chelsea as he was then, graduated from Oriel College, Oxford with a BA in 1832.  He went on to a diplomatic and political career as Attaché at St Petersburg (1834-1835), Conservative MP for Reading (1841-1847) and for Dover (1852-1857), then returned to the diplomatic corps as Secretary to the Embassy in Paris (1858-1859).  In 1836 he married Mary Sarah Wellesley, niece of the Duke of Wellington, who bore him six children.  In 1841 Henry became Hon
Colonel of the Middlesex Militia.  In 1864 the 3rd Earl died and succeeding to the title Henry became
4th Earl Cadogan.  The following year he was introduced to the House of Lords.  On 10 July 1866 the
4th Earl Cadogan was made Captain of the Yeomen Guard.  Henry, 4th Earl Cadogan died on 8 June 1873.

(It seems that the 4th Earl followed in the footsteps of his ancestor Thomas Codogan (d.1511) who bore the title ‘Valectus Corrane’ – Yeoman of the Guard.  [Codogan, or in its modern form Cadogan comes from the Welsh Cadwgan who was Lord of Radnor and son of Elystan Glodrydd, Prince of Fferreg of the 5th Royal tribe of Wales.]  It appears that Thomas Codogan was one of Henry Tudor’s personal bodyguards.)  
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Kindly Submitted by The 8th Earl Cadogan.


Duke of St Albans           
59th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1868-1874

William Amelius Aubrey de Vere Beauclerk, 10th Duke of St Albans cr 1684.  Privy Councillor, Earl of Burford and Baron of Heddington, 1676; Baron Vere, 1750; Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire; Alderman, Nottinghamshire County Council; Hereditary Grand Falconer of England; Born 15th April 1840; son of late peer and 2nd wife Elizabeth, daughter of late Glen Gubbins, Kilfrush, Co. Limerick: succeeded father, 1849; Married 1st 1867 Sybil (died 1871) daughter of Gen. Hon. Charles Grey; one son two daughters; 2nd  marriage 1874, Grace daughter of late R Bernal Osborne MP two sons, three daughters; Educated Eton and Cambridge, 3rd  Class Law
Honours Cambridge. Captain HM Yeomen of the Guard.  Died 11 May 1898.
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Baron Skelmersdale        
60th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1874-1880

Edward Bootle-Wibraham was born in 1837 at Blythe, Lancashire, on 12 December 12 1837 and educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, his father having predeceased him, Lord Lathom succeeded his grandfather (Edward, first Baron Skelmersdale) as 2nd Baron Skelmersdale on 3 April 1853.  In August 1860 he married Lady Alice Villiers, second daughter of the forth Earl of Clarendon.  Four years later the ancient associations of the house of Lathom and Knowlsey were renewed when the present Earl of Derby married the Countess of Lathom’s eldest sister, Lady Constance.  In 1886 Lord Lathom received his first political appointment as Lord-in-Waiting to the Queen from the then Earl of Derby, and this he held for two years.  In 1874 he was sworn in as one of her Majesty’s Privy Councillors, and appointed a Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard, which position he held till 1880.  It was on 3 May 1880, that he was created Earl of Lathom in the peerage of the United Kingdom.  He was Lord Chamberlain of her Majesty’s Household during the short period that the Conservatives were in office in 1885 and 1886, and when Lord Salisbury again became Prime Minister in 1886 Lord Lathom resumed his place as Lord Chamberlain.  He retained the office until the change of Government in 1892, and was reappointed in 1895.  Consequently he had the privilege of serving the Queen at her Majesty’s Jubilee of 1887, and also at the celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of her reign last year.  On each occasion his lordship had entire control of the elaborate arrangements which the Court ceremonial entailed, and in 1897, as in 1887, his plans gave great and universal satisfaction.  Lord Lathom’s urbanity was conspicuous in everything, and in the discharge of official responsibility his kindly manner made him essentially popular in the Queen’s Household as also among the public generally. In 1892 Lord Lathom was created GCB His connection with Freemasonry began in 1856, when he was at Oxford.  Thenceforward he threw great energy into the work of the craft, which then was in a very diminutive position as compared with its state to-day, there being then fewer than 1,000 lodges on the English roll as against some 2,300 at the present time.  In 1863 he was appointed Senior Grand Warden by the Earl of Zetland.  Lord Ripon appointed him in 1872 to succeed Sir Thomas Hesketh as Provincial Grand Master for West Lancashire.  In 1875 the Prince of Wales on his first installation as Grand Master of English Freemasons made him Deputy Grand Master, and in 1891, on the death of the Earl of Caernarvon, Lord Lathom received the collar and the rank of Most Worshipful Pro-Grand Master, and invariably acted for the most Worshipful Grand Master to the Prince of Wales when his Royal Highness was absent from the Grand Lodge.  One of the prized treasures at the Masonic Temple, Hope-Street, Liverpool, is a portrait of Lord Lathom, painted by Mr Haynes Williams, and presented to his lordship by the brothers in January 1885.  As recorded in the Times on 20 October, Lord Lathom was, at a meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge in St George’s Hall, Liverpool, on the previous day, the recipient of a very handsome testimony of Masonic regard in the shape of a rose bowl and suite of silver vases, besides a cheque for £500 to be used, in the name of the late Countess of Lathom, which money his lordship devoted to the Cottage Hospital at Ormskirk, in which Lady Lathom was deeply interested.  In Mark Masonry his lordship served the Grand Mastership from 1878 to 1881.  He was a prominent mover on behalf of the Masonic charities, and on five occasions was chairman of their festivals.  His fist appearance in public among Masons after the death of Lady Lathom November last year was at the Albert-hall when the Princess of Wales presented the prizes to the pupils of the boy’s school, and his last was in October at the Provincial Grand Lodge of West Lancashire, already mentioned.  Between these two events he represented the Grand Master at the Masonic service in Rochester Cathedral on 25 June.  It was noticed that Lord Lathom never recovered the shock and ill-heath due to the death of his wife on 23 November last, as the result of an accident to a carriage in which she was driving several Lady Friends home from a shooting party.  For some time past his lordship has been in a precarious state, and as mentioned in the Times of 25 October, grave symptoms had then set in, though subsequently the patient’s state became more hopeful and he was able to taken an interest in various matters.  In the past week there was another bad turn, and on Friday his lordship’s condition was considered hopeless.  The Queen and the Prince of Wales, who were warm admires of Lord Lathom, made earnest inquires as to the progress of his illness, and expressed deep sympathy with the family in their affliction.  The immediate cause of death was aneurism of the heart. Lord Lathom is succeeded by his son and heir, Edward George, Lord Skelmersdale, who was born in 1864, and in 1889 married to Lady Wilma Pleydell Bouverie. The funeral of Lord Lathom has been fixed for Wednesday at noon, that day being the anniversary of the death of Lady Lathom.  The interment will take place in the family vault at Lathom Chapel, which is situated in the park.  Telegrams of condolence have been received from the Queen, the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Duke of York, Prince and Princesses Christiana, Lord Salisbury, Lord Rosebery, and other distinguished personages. Sympathetic references to the death of the Earl were made yesterday in all the Churches of Ormskirk, and in some of the Liverpool Churches. back to index

Lord Monson                    
61st and 63rd Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1880-1885 and 1886 only respectively

William John Monson was born  in 1829, seventh Baron Monson of Burton (created 1728), Baronet (created 1611), 1st Viscount Oxenbridge and Privy Councillor was born on 18 February 1829 at Queen Ann Street, Cavendish Square. He was educated at Eton and Christ College, Oxford in 1849 where he matriculated with a BA.  Between 1858-1862 he served as Liberal MP for Reigate.  He succeeded to the peerage on 17 December 1862.  Lord Monson was Hon Col 3rd Lincolnshire Regt, Hon Col The Queen's Royal West Surry Regt and Aide-de-camp to Queen Victoria between 1886-96.  As a young man William Monson fell in love with Maria Adelaide, the wife of the 2nd Earl of Yarborough.  He was  smitten by Maria and looked at no other woman thereafter.  Seven years after the death of Lord Yarborough in 1862, the Dowager Countess of Yarborough married her love Lord Oxenbridge on 7 August 1869; she died in 1897.  The Monsons and Pelhams (Yarborough) were ancient families in Lincolnshire and had inter-married several times over the generations, but this marriage was somehow, different.  Unfortunately there is no information regarding their marriage or indeed how it was viewed in society.  They were together for 25 years but had no children.  Lord Monson was Treasurer to the Royal Household between 1873-74 and sworn as Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard for the first time on 3 May 1880. He was one of the Speakers of the House of Lords in 1882 and resigned his Captaincy of The Body Guard on 29 June 1885.  In 1886 he was created Viscount Oxenbridge of Burton, County Lincoln and re-sworn as Captain of the Guard on 12 February until succeeded by the Earl of Kintore in the same year.  William Monson died in 1898 whilst visiting his brother Sir Edmund Monson, who was at that time our Ambassador to Paris.  With no issue, the Viscountcy became extinct and he was succeeded in the Barony by his brother, Debonnaire (great-grandfather of the present Lord Monson) who, at one time, was Serjeant-at-Arms to HM Queen Victoria’s Household. Today the association between the Monson and Yarborough families is still strong, indeed, the present Lord Yarborough is the Godson of Lady (Emma) Monson.   back to index

Viscount Barrington      
62nd Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1885-1886

George William Barrington 7th Viscount, succeeded his father in 1867. He had married, in 1846, Isabel Elizabeth, who died in 1898. He sat as Conservative MP for Eye from 1866-1880; was Chamberlain of HM's Household 1874-1880, and Captain of the Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms 1885-1886. Created Baron Shute of Beckett in 1880 with remainder to his brother Percy. George William died 6 November 1886. 

George William Barrington, 7th Viscount Barrington of Ardglass was the son of William Keppel Barrington, 6th Viscount Barrington of Ardglass and Hon. Jane Elizabeth Liddell. He was born on 14 February 1824 at Lower Brook Street, London, England. He married Isabel Elizabeth Morritt, daughter of John Morritt and Mary Baillie, on 19 February 1846 at St. George's Church, St. George Street, Hanover Square, Mayfair, London, England. He died on 6 November 1886 at age 62 at Grimsthorpe Castle, Lincolnshire, England, after a few hours illness. He was buried at Shrivenham, Berkshire, England. His will was probated on 10 February 1887, at over £43,000.  He matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford University, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, on 20 October 1841. He held the office of M.P. (Conservative) for Eye between 1866 and 1880. He succeeded to the title of 7th Viscount Barrington of Ardglass, co. Down on 9 February 1867. He succeeded to the title of 7th Baron Barrington of Newcastle, co. Limerick on 9 February 1867. He held the office of Vice-Chamberlain of the Household between 1874 and 1880. He was invested as a Privy Counsellor on 2 March 1874. He held the office of Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, 14th Earl of Derby. He was created 1st Baron Shute of Becket, co. Berks on 17 April 1880, with a special remainder to his brother, Hon. Percy Barrington. He held the office of Captain of the Yeoman of the Guard between 1885 and 1886. He held the office of Captain Gentleman at Arms between August 1886 and November 1886.
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Earl of Kintore               
64th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1886-1889

Sir Algernon Hawkins Thomond Keith-Faloconer Kintore, 10th Earl cr 1677, KT 1923; P.C., G.C.M.G.; G.C. Crown of Italy; 1st Class Red Eagles of Prussia; G.C. Military Order of Christ of Portugal; G.C. North Star of Sweden; Lord Falconer, 1647; Lord Keith of Inverurie, 1677 (scot); Lord Kintore, 1838 (U.K.); late Col, Com 3rd Bt. Gordon Highlanders; late A.D.C. to King Edward and King George; D.L., J.P.; born Edinburgh, 12 August 1852; succeeded father, 1880 married Sydney daughter of 6th Duke of Manchester, 1873, one son two daughters. A strong supporter of the Unionist Party. Educated Eton, Trinity College, Cambridge (M.A.  LL.D). LL.S Aberdeen; M.A. Adelaide. Contested Chelsea as a Tory 1880; 1st Government Whip in House of Lords, 1885; Deputy Speaker of House of Lords 1913; Lord-in-Waiting, 1885-1886 and from 1895-1905; Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard 1888-89; resigned on appointment as Governor and Commander-in-Chief of South Australia 1889.  Died 3 March 1930 back to index

Earl of Limerick                    
65th and 67th C
aptain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1889-1892 and 1895-1896 respectively

Currently being researched by Sylvia Countess Limerick CBE the widow of the 6th Earl of Limerick

William Hale John Charles Pery b: 1840 d: 1896.  3rd Earl.




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Lord Kensington            
66th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1892-1895

Being researched.... 

William Edwards b: 1835 d: 1896 4th Baron.









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Earl Waldegrave             
68th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1896-1906 

John Walgrave, a Saxon, possessed the manor of Walgrave, In Northamptonshire, before the Norman Conquest. William the Conqueror bringing over with him a Walloon of the same name, employed him on many services, and eventually granted a pardon to John Walgrave on condition that his only daughter becomes the wife of the Walloon Walgrave. From this marriage the family of Waldegrave has descended. The pardon, legible in French, was still in the possession of the family, then living in Suffolk, in 1612. The name Waldegrave was originally spelt “Walgrave” by the English branch; Sir Richard Waldegrave represented the county of Suffolk in Parliament in the reigns of Edward III and Richard II, and was chosen Speaker of the House of Commons in 1382. His son, Sir Richard, in 1402 was appointed, together with Lords Clinton and Falconbridge, to keep the seas; and when war broke out with France he landed a force in Brittany, and won the town of Conquest and the Isle of Rhe for his sovereign. Sir Thomas Walgrave, his grandson, fought at Towton Field in 1461, and was knighted for valour on the day of the battle. His great-grandson Edward Walgrave, who was also knighted, was an officer in the Household of Princess Mary (after Queen) during the reign of Edward VI. Sir Edward, being loyal to his mistress, refused to forbid the celebration of mass in his house, and was in consequence committed to the Fleet and thence to the Tower, where he remained a prisoner until the King’s death. Queen Mary liberated Sir Edward, and rewarded him by making him a member of her Privy Council and Master of the Great Wardrobe. Her Majesty also granted him the manor of Chewton in Somerset. He was a man of great power during this reign; but on the Queen’s death he was again sent to the Tower, where he died in 1561. Sir Edward Walgrave, his grandson, took up arms, and, with seven sons, fought in the royal cause at the age of seventy, and was created a Baronet by Charles I in 1643; and in the following year Sir Edward with his regiment defended the bridge at Saltash, in Cornwall, against the Parliamentary Horse, and though twice unhorsed, he rallied his men three times and kept the bridge, taking forty prisoners. Sir Henry, great-grandson of Sir Edward, was made Baron Waldegrave of Chewton in 1685-6, and was Comptroller of the King’s Household (James II). His son James, second Baron, was employed as a diplomatist of the first grade from 1725 to 1740. He was raised to the Viscountcy of Chewton and Earldom of Waldegrave in 1729, made a member of the Privy Council and a Knight of the Garter by his Majesty George II. James, second Earl, son of the aforesaid, was also made a Knight of the garter by his Majesty George II, and was for some years Governor and Privy Purse to the Prince of Wales, afterwards George III. He was also a member of the Privy Council, and Teller of the Exchequer. John, third Earl, brother to James, commanded the Guards at the Battle of Minden, 1759; Lieutenant-General in the Army, Governor of Plymouth and Master of the Horse to her Majesty Queen Anne. This Lord Waldegrave’s second son was created Baron Radstock for his services in the defeat of the Spanish fleet off Cape St Vincent in 1797. Lord Waldegrave’s eldest daughter Lady Elizabeth, afterwards Countess of Cardigan, was Lady of the Bedchamber to her Majesty Queen Charlotte. George, fourth Earl, served all through the American War under Cornwallis, The Hon, Edward Waldegrave, 7th Light Dragoons, younger son of the fourth Earl Waldegrave, greatly distinguished himself in the British Army in Spain, and fought with intrepidity at Corunna under Sir John Moore. On the return home of the regiment Edward Waldegrave and his comrades in arms were drowned, owing to the foundering of the “Despatch” on the Manacle Rocks near Falmouth, in February, 1809.

William eighth Earl Waldegrave, brother of the above, served in the Royal Navy, was Vice-Admiral of the Fleet, was present at the siege of Acre, and was given a C.B. and a good pension as a reward for his services on that occasion, His son William Fredrick, Viscount Chew ton, Scots Fusilier Guards, led his company into action at the Battle of the Alma, 1854, and fell far in advance, covered with wounds, of which he died. Viscountess Chewton, his widow, was a Woman of the Bedchamber to Her Majesty Queen Victoria from 1885 to1901  back to index


Duke of Manchester      
69th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1906-1907

William Aangus Drogo Montagu, 9th Duke of Manchester cr 1719; Privy Councillor. 1906; Earl of Manchester 1626; Viscount Mandeville. Baron Montague of Kimbolton, 1620; formerly Captain 6th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers; 5th Batt KRR and subsequently Captain of His Majesty’s Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard 1906; R.N.D 1914-1915; Born London 3 March 1877; son of 8th Duke and Consuelo daughter of Antonio Yznagz de Valle, Ravenswood, Louisiana; married Helena in 1900 (who obtained a divorce, 1931 and married 1937, 11th Earl of Kintore) daughter of late Eugene Zimmerman USA two sons two daughter and in 1931 Kathleen Dawes. Succeeded father 1892 Protestant Unionist. Educated Eton, Trinity, Cambridge. Owns about 4000 acres; possess pictures by Vandyke, Titian, Holbein, Reynolds, Rubens, Lely, Lawrence etc; Kimbolton Castle containing many relics of residence and death of Catherine of Aragon. Died 9 February 1947. back to index

Lord Allendale               
70th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1907-1911

Wentworth Blackett Beaumont's parliamentary career was not outstanding and he was very independent of the party. He voted many times in opposition to the Liberals and his friends. He was once heard to say that if the Lords opposed the people he would "abolish them altogether." From 1852 he was Liberal for South Northumberland and in the five succeeding parliaments he was returned unopposed but never made a speech. His maiden speech in 1859 was just thirty lines long. In 1885 after re-organisation in the constituency he successfully fought for St. Stephens in the Tyneside Division. He stepped down from politics in 1892. He married his second wife Edith Althea in 1892 and she persuaded him later to close down the Beaumont Arms in the village. This was after workmen constructing the nearby Wooley Edge railway tunnel caused disturbances at the old coaching inn. His services to the community and the Crown were recognised in 1906 by his elevation to the peerage and he took the title, Baron Allendale of Allendale and Hexham. With his house in Piccadilly, London, and homes at Bywell, Dilston and Allenheads it was perhaps inevitable that he would take a Northumberland title.  On his death in 1907, Wentworth Canning Blackett Beaumont succeeded his father as the 2nd Baron Allendale.

Lord Allendale unsuccessfully contested Wakefield in 1885 as a Liberal and he was known as 'Bonny Boy Beaumont.' He served as MP for Hexham from 1895 until 1907, after he had defeated the Conservative candidate in the General Election of 1906. Between 1905 and 1907 he was Liberal Whip for the Government, and he was appointed Vice-Chamberlain to King Edward VII's household. He served as Captain of His Majesty's Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard from 1907 to 1911 when he was created 1st Viscount. This brought him a position as Lord in Waiting to King George V until 1916. It was his commitment to public life and politics which drew him away from Bretton for long periods. He was a JP and deputy Lord Lieutenant for Northumberland and the West Riding. He died at Bywell Hall in December 1923. His wife, Lady Alexandrina Vane-Tempest, daughter of the 5th Marquis of Londonderry, died in 1945. Wentworth Henry Canning Beaumont succeeded him as 2nd Viscount. He was awarded the Military Cross after service in the 2nd Life Guards during the First World War and later held military positions as Hon. Colonel of the 4th Battalion Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI) and Lieutenant Colonel and Brevet Colonel of the Northumberland Hussars Yeomanry. He was married to Violet Lucy Emily Seely. Although he did not commit himself to a parliamentary career he was president of the Northern Liberal Federation from 1925 to 1949 and Chairman of the Liberal party for a time. The Viscount and Viscountess redecorated nearly every room of Bretton Hall in the 1920s and they used it as the principal one of their five residences. Viscount Allendale was appointed Lord in waiting to King George V, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II and was permanent Lord in Waiting until his death. He entertained his fellow Lords in Waiting together with many other titled people, but just before the war Bretton Hall was mainly used for shooting parties and gatherings for race meetings. By the 1940s the family were mainly in residence at Bywell Hall. During his lifetime he was showered with honours amongst which were Commander of the British Empire, Commander of the Bath, and Knight of the Garter. At the Coronation of the Queen he was one of the four Garter Knights to hold the canopy for the Queen's anointing.  Viscount Allendale sold Bretton Hall to the West Riding County Council in 1948 ending the estate's 700-year old history. He died in 1956 to be succeeded by Wentworth Hubert Charles Beaumont as 3rd Viscount. The new Viscount sold further land in 1958 and this ended the family's interest in Bretton Hall. The Viscount died in December 2002, and his son the Hon. Wentworth Peter Ismay Beaumont became the 4th Viscount. back to index


Earl of Craven               
71st Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1911-1915

William George Robert Craven, 4th Earl of Craven cr 1801; Viscount Uffington 1801; Baron Craven, 1665. Captain Royal Berks Yeomanry; D.L.; late A.D.C. to Lord Lieut, Co. Warwick: son of 3rd Earl and Hon, Evelyn Laura Barrington, daughter of 7th Viscount Barrington born 16 December, 1868: succeeded father 1883; married 1898, Cornelia, daughter of late Bradley Martin; one son, Educated Eton, Owns 40,000 acres. Coombe Pictures; Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia’s collection, left by her to Lord Craven at her death, whom she had previously married. Heir – son Viscount Uffington.  Died 9 July 1921.   back to index

Lord Suffield                 
72nd Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1915-1918

Charles Harbord-Hamond, 6th Baron Suffield CB, MVO (14 Jun 1855 – 10 Feb 1924), was a Lt Col in the Army and Conservative MP. Charles Suffield was the eldest son of Charles Harbord, 5th Baron Suffield, and his first wife Cecilia Annetta, daughter of Henry Baring, third son of Sir Francis Baring, 1st Baronet. He schooled at Eton and entered the Scots Fusilier Guards as an Ensign on 30 April 1873 and was promoted Lieutenant in April 1875. Charles Harbord was appointed second in command of the 2nd Scots Guards in December 1899 and then served in the Second Boer War, arriving with his regiment in May 1900. He took command of the 1st Scots Guards in July 1901 and was to bring them home at the war’s end in September 1902. He was mentioned in despatches in 1901 and retired from the army in 1904. He served as a Groom-in-Waiting to Queen Victoria from 1895 to 1901. In 1914 Suffield succeeded his father in the barony and took his seat on the Conservative benches in the House of Lords. The following year he was appointed Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard due to his House of Lords appointment as Deputy Chief Whip, a post he held until 1918, the last two years under the premiership of David Lloyd George. Lord Suffield married Evelyn Louisa, daughter of Captain Eustace John Wilson-Patten (eldest son of John Wilson-Patten, 1st Baron Winmarleigh), in 1896. He died in February 1924, aged 68, and was succeeded by his eldest son Victor. Lady Suffield died in 1951.  back to index

Lord Hylton                  
73rd Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1918-1924

Hylton George Hylton Jolliffe, 3rd Baron Hylton, cr 1866; Bt, 1821; Captain of HM Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard until 1924; born 10 Nov, 1862; eldest son of 2nd Lord Hylton and Agnes, daughter of 2nd Earl of Strafford; succeeded, father, 1899; married 1896, Lady Alice Adeliza Hervey, daughter of 3rd Marquees of Bristol; one son, one daughter Educated at Eton; Oriel College, Oxford. (BA Honours 1885; MA 1892). Formerly in Diplomatic Service; MP for Somerset, Wells, 1895-99; Lord-in-Waiting to the King, 1915-18. Died 26 May, 1945. back to index

Major-General Lord Loch  
74th and 76th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1924-25 and 1929-31 respectively

Major-General Edward Douglas Loch, 2nd Baron cr 1895, C.B. 1918; CMG 1915; DSO 1898; MVO 4th CL; DL and JP. Late Suffolk Grenadier Guards; born 4 April 1873, died 14 August 1942; only son of 1st Baron and Elizabeth (d 1938), daughter of Hon EE Villiers niece of 4th Earl of Clarendon; succeeded father 1900; married 1905, Lady Margaret Compton, only daughter of 5th Marquees of Northampton; two sons, three daughters. Entered army, 1893; Brigade Major, 3rd Infantry Brigade, 1910-1911; Bt. Lt-Col 1913; temp Brig-General 1915-18; retired pay, 1922; served Soudan, 1898 including Khartoum (despatches DSO), Divisional Signalling Officer, 8 African Field Force, 1900-1902 (despatches, Bt-Maj). European War, 1914-18 (despatches five times, CMG., Bt. Col., C.B. Maj-Gen); Lord-in-Waiting to H.M., 1913-1914; Captain of the King’s Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard, 1924, and 1929-31; Alderman W. Suffolk County Council; Chairman United Service Fund; Chairman of Governors, Dulwich College; Chairman Greyhound Racing Trust and Assoc; Joint Treasurer University College. University of London.

Heir – son Hon, George Henry Compton, Loch, Lieut, 11th Hussars born 3 February 1916. back to index


Lord Desborough          
75th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1925-1929

William Henry Grenfell, 1st Baron Desborough of Taplow cr 1905, KG 1925; GCVO., cr 1925; KCVO, cr 1908; JP, DL, MA; late Chairman of Thames Conservancy Board; President and Chairman in the Bath Club, London, from its foundation of 1894 until 1942; Hon. Fellow Balliol College, Oxford, 1925; DCL. Oxford 1938; Ex-President London Chamber of Commerce; Ex-President, British Imperial Council of Commerce. Born 30 October 1855, son of CW Grenfell, M.P., and Georgina daughter of Lady Caroline and Rt Hon W Sebright Lascelles; succeeded grandfather, CP Grenfell, MP.  Married 1887, Ethel, co-heiress to Barony of Butler, daughter of Hon, Julian and Lady Adine Fane, two daughters (two sons killed in War, 1914-18). Educated Harrow; Balliol College, Oxford.  Played Harrow Eleven, 1873-74; represented Oxford in three mile race v Cambridge, 1876; rowed v Cambridge 1877-78; President OUAC and OUBC; Climbed in the Alps and shot in the Rocky Mountains, India etc; Swam twice across Niagara; stroked eight across the Channel; special correspondent second Suakim Campaign; MP Salisbury, 1880,1885; MP Hereford, 1892 (resigned); Private Secretary to Sir W Harcourt at Exchequer 1892; Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard 1925-29; High Sheriff, Bucks 1890; Mayor of Maidenhead 1895-97; MP Conservatives for Wycombe Division of Bucks, 1900-05; Member of Tariff Commission 1904; Chairman of Pilgrims of Great Britain 1919-1929; President Central Association of Volunteer Regiments; Chairman of Fresh Water Fish Committee appointed by the Board of Agriculture, and Chairman of the Committee to enquire into the Police of England, Scotland and Wales appointed by the Home Office; Won Epee prize Military Tournament, 1904-06; won Punting Championship three years. 

Publications
Articles on Rocky Mountains, Rowing, House of Lords, Bimetallism. Heir – None. Died – 9th January 1945.
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Captain Lord Strathcona    
77th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1931-1934


Donald Sterling Palmer Howard 3rd Baron in line of  STRATHCONA and MOUNT ROYAL cr 1900; Col, late The London Scottish. Born 14th June 1891, son of the late RJB Howard, FRCS and the Baroness Strathcona and the Mount Royal.  succeeded mother 1926; Married 1922, Diana Evelyn, twin daughter of 1st Baron Wakehurst; three sons, one daughter. Educated Eton, Trinity College, Cambridge; B.A. Honours, Historical Tripos. Joined Regular Army, 3rd Hussars, August 1913; served European War with above regiment, 1914-19. (Belgian Croix de Guerre); retired as Captain 1919; M.P. (U) North Cumberland, 1922-26; Parliamentary Private Secretary to First Lord of the Admiralty (Rt Hon W. Bridgeman), 1925-26; Member of the Indian Statutory Commission, 1928-30; Captain of the King’s Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard 1931-34. Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for War, 1934-39.  Served War of 1939-45 as Major, 2nd Bn. London Scottish, and on various staff appointments, including period 1943-44 as M.L.O. on C.M.A.B. at Washington. (U.S. Legion of Merit and Bronze Star); Retired as Lt. Col 1945.  Died 22 February 1959.  Heir – son Hon. Donald Euan Howard born 1923 married 1954, Lady Jane Mary Waldegrave, 2nd daughter of Earl Waldegrave one daughter. back to index

Colonel Lord Templemore  
78th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1934-1945


Arthur Claud Spencer Chichester, 4th Baron Templemore cr 1881, PC 1943; DSO 1918; OBE 1919; High Steward of Winchester, 1942-1951; Col. Late TA, late Lt-Colonel commanding 5/7 Bn Hants Regiment, TA.  Major late Irish Guards; late Captain Royal Fusiliers; late CC (MR) for Tower Hamlets (Stepney); late C.C., D.L. Hants.  Born 12 September 1880 eldest son of 3rd Baron Templemore and Evelyn (died 1883) daughter of late Rev. W. J. Stacey-Clitherow; heir-pres to 6th Marques of Donegall; succeeded father 1924; married 1911, Hon. Clare Meriel Wingfield 2nd daughter of 7th Viscount Powerscourt two sons (one son killed on active service N. Africa 1943).  Educated Harrow, Sandhurst.  Served South Africa, 1902 (Queen’s medal 4 clasps); Tibet 1904 including march to Lhassa, (medal and clasp); European War (DSO, OBE, Italian Croce di Guerra, 1914-15 Star, GS and Victory Medals, despatches 3 times); retired pay, 1924.  Parliamentary Private Secretary to Earl of Onslow, Under Secretary of State for War, 1927-29; Lord in Waiting to H.M. February to May 1929 and 1931-34; Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard, 1934-45; Governor of Harrow School, 1943-48; has 4th class Belgian Order of Leopold and 4th class Order of the Rising Sun of Japan, 1921; 2nd Class Order of Al Rafidian of Iraq, 1938; DL Co. Wexford. Died 2 October 1953.  Heir – son  Major Hon, Dermot Richard Claud Chichester late 7th QO. Hussars born 18 April 1916, married 1946 Lady Josceline Gabrielle Legge, youngest daughter of 7th Earl of Dartmouth, one son and one daughter.  back to index

Lord Walkden               
79th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1945-1949

Alexander George Walkden, 1st Baron Walkden cr 1945; born London 11May 1873; 2nd son of Charles Henry Scrivener Walkden; married 1896, Jennie (died 1934), daughter of Jessie Wilson, Market Rasen, Lincs; three daughters.  Educated The Merchant Taylor’s School, Ashwell Herts. Started as a clerk on the Great Northern Railway, 1889; Goods Traffic Representative at Nottingham, then Agent at Peterborough; left the railway service, 1906;  General Secretary of the Railway Clerk’s Association of Great Britain and Ireland 1906-36; M.P. (Lab) South Bristol. 1929-31 and 1935-45; acted as Parliamentary Secretary to the R.C.A; Member of General Council of the Trades Union Congress 1921-36. Chairman 1932-33. Joined the Administrative Committee of the Parliamentary Labour Party 1943-45; Captain of the King’s Body Guard of the Yeoman of the Guard, 1945-49.  Publications Various articles on Railway Nationalisation and kindred subjects. Died 25th April 1951. back to index

Lord Shepherd             
80th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1949 only

Being Researched....

Malcolm Shepherd b: 1918 d: 2001.  2nd Baron.

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Lord Lucas of Chulworth    
81st Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1949-1950


George William Lucas 1st Baron Lucas of Chulworth cr 1946; Born 1896, son of Percy Williams Lucas, Oxford; Married 1917, Sonia daughter of Marcus Pinklestein, Libau, Latvia two sons two daughters.  Educated London Tech, Schools. President Motor Agents Association, 1927-29, 1941-46; Chairman Vehicle Retail and Repairing Trade 1943-46; Chairman Committee of Inquiry into Agricultural Marketing Acts 1947; Member Motor Vehicle Maintenance Advisory Committee, 1940; Member of English National Committee Forestry Commission 1945; New Forest Departmental Committee 1945-46. A Lord in Waiting to the King, 1848-49; Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard 1949-50. Parliamentary Secretary Ministry of Transport, 1950-51. Member BBC Gen. Advisory Council 1952-56. Liveryman of Coachmakers Company.  Died 11 October 1967.  Heir – son Michael Lucas (late 2nd Baron) born 26 April 1926, married 1955 Ann-Marie only daughter of Ronald Buck, Southampton, two sons and one daughter (elder son and heir, Hon. Simon William Lucas born 1957).  back to index

Lieutenant-General The Earl of Lucan      
82nd Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1950-1951

George Charles Patrick Bingham, 6th Earl of Lucan cr 1795, Bt 1632; Baron Lucan 1776; Baron Bingham, UK 1934; MC 1918; Col (ret); Chief Opposition Whip, House of Lords since 1954.  Born 24 November 1895 eldest son of 5th Earl of Lucan, PC, GCVO, KBE, CB, and Violet OBE daughter of J Spender, Clay, Ford Manor, Lingfield; succeeded his father in 1949; Married 1929, Kaltillin, only child of late Capt, Hon, Edward Dawson, Royal Navy, and late Lady Elizabeth Dawson; two sons and one daughter.  Educated Eton, RMC Sandhurst, 2nd Lieut, Coldstream Guards, 1917; Lieutenant 1918; served European War 1917-18; A.D.C. to Governor-General of South Africa, 1924-25; Bde, Major British Troops in Sudan, 1932-34 and 11th Inf, Bde 1934-36; DAA and QMG London District 1937-40; Commanded 1st Bn Coldstream Gds, 1940-42; Dep. Dir, Ground Defence Air Ministry 1942-45. Captain 1926; Major 1934; Lt-Col., 1941; Col., 1942; retired 1947.  Captain of HM Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard 1950-51. Peal Under-Secretary of State, Commonwealth Relations June-October 1951.  Died on 21 January 1964.  Heir – Son Lord Bingham.   back to index

Lord Archibald          
83rd Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1951 only            

George Archibald, 1st Baron Archibald of Woodside in the City of Glasgow cr 1949, CBE 1968; Chairman, Anvil Film and Recording Group Ltd, since 1968; born 21 July 1898; married in 1926 Dorothy Holroyd Edwards (died 1960); one son; married Mrs Catherine Edith Mary Colwell in 1961, daughter of late Rt Hon. Andrew Bonar Law, MP.  Educated Elementary and Secondary Schools;  Deputy Regional Commissioner for the Midlands, 1941-42; Director Films Division, British Information Services, New York, 1942-44; Controller MOI, 1944-45. Member Cinematograph Films Council, 1963-67.  Labour member of Glasgow City Council, 1920-28; Magistrate of the City of Glasgow, 1925-28; contested (Lab) South Aberdeen 1924, Sparkbrook, Birmingham 1931; Captain of HM Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard June-Oct 1951. Was Assistant Government Whip, House of Lords, June-Oct 1951. Formerly Director J Arthur Rank Productions Ltd; This Modern Age Ltd. Chairman Federation of British Film Makers, 1957-66; Deputy President Film Production Association of GB 1967-68.  Died 25 February 1975.  Heir son Hon. George Christopher Archibald born 30 December, 1926 married 1951, Liliana Barou (marriage dissolved 1964) married 1971, Daphne May Vincent.  back to index

Lieutenant-Colonel The Earl of Onslow    
84th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1951-1960


William Arthur Bampfylde Onslow 6th Earl of Onslow, cr 1801 KBE 1960; MC; TD 1949L Bt 1660; Baron Onslow, 1716; Baron Cranley, 1776; Viscount Cranley, 1801; Colonel RAC (Yeomanry); late Lt Life Guards; Captain of HM Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard, 1951-60; Assistant Chief Conservative Whip in House of Lords, 1951-60; High Steward of Guildford.  Born 11 June 1913, eldest son of 5th Earl of Onslow, PC, GBE; succeeded father 1945; married Hon Pamela Dillon in 1936 (marriage dissolved, 1962), only daughter of 19th Viscount Dillon CMG, DSO, one son one daughter; married Nina Sturdee MBE in 1962, young daughter of Thomas P Sturdee. Educated Winchester Royal Military College.  Served Middle East 1941-43 (MC); Italy, 1943; Normandy, 1944 (prisoner). Member LCC, 1940-49; Surrey CC, 1949-52: Chairman Surrey Agricultural Executive Committee, 1956-58. CStJ. Publication: Men and Sand, 1961. Died 3 June 1971. Heir son Viscount Cranley.  back to index

Major The Lord Newton          
85th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1960-1962

(Temporary image) The Lord Newton.  Peter Richard Legh, 4th Baron Newton of Newton-in-Makerfield, Lancaster, cr 1892, was born 6 April 1915 into a long-established Cheshire and Lancashire landed family with a rare record of Parliamentary service; he became its 12th member of parliament (MP).  He was educated a Eton and Christ Church Oxford and began his political career as secretary to Ronald Cartland, MP (the brother of Dame Barbara Cartland).  In 1937 he joined the Grenadier Guards as a Second Lieutenant on the Supplementary Reserve and on the outbreak of war he mobilised and saw active service.  In 1946 he was demobilised with the rank of Major.  The 3rd Lord Newton, saw no future for the great house after the Second Word War and gave it to the National Trust, which leases it as a museum to the Stockport Corporation. The family moved to Hampshire and Peter Legh threw himself into political life of his adopted County, becoming county councillor and a magistrate.  Soon after being elected to the House of Commons for Petersfield in 1951, Peter Legh was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury and in 1953 he became an assistant whip.  The aristocratic and dignified Legh showed just the right blend of persuasive charm and firmness for the role and two years later he was promoted to be a Lord Commissioner of the Treasury.  By 1959 he had risen to Deputy Government Chief Whip and Treasurer to the Household. This experience made him a natural choice for the Whip's Office in the Lords when he succeeded his father, the 3rd Lord Newton, in the peerage in 1960.  The new Lord Newton was promptly appointed Government Assistant Chief Whip of the House of Lords with the ceremonial role of Captain of the Queen's Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard.  Peter Newton was never a particularly partisan politician. He stood for what he saw as traditional Toryism of 'one nation' school and anyhow his years as Whip prevented him speaking in the Commons.  It was not until 1962 that he achieved departmental office as Joint Parliamentary Secretary for Health, a new appointment that gave the department its own voice in the Lords for the first time.  Newton acquitted himself well in that post and was promoted to be Minister of State for Education early in 1964.  He lost his office when the Government fell in the autumn. Had the Conservatives won the general election he would have been reasonably assured of middle rank office.  On the Opposition benches of the House of Lords he continued to take a particular interest in the health service and education as well as in church affairs and agricultural matters.  He favoured the continuation of the tied cottage and made a memorable attack on Labour's Land Bill in 1966.  The public he said had been "sold a pup" in being led to believe that the Land Commission was a device that would lead to land becoming cheaper.  He also waged a campaign for stricter controls over the prescription of drugs by General Practitioners declaring "Britain is a Nation of medicine drinkers and pill swallowers.  Many doctors find it easier to prescribe a bottle of coloured water or a box of pills than explain that a patient needs no treatment."  At one time Lord Newton smoked heavily but in 1951 he gave up because, as he saw it "A man with a pipe looks a sound, reliable type; the cigar chap strikes you as a man who has made his own way in the world; but you can't say the same thing about a man smoking cigarettes."  Peter Legh described his recreations as photography, mending clocks and making gadgets.  He married in 1948 to Pricilla, widow of Viscount Wolmer (who was killed in action in 1942); they had two sons, of whom the elder, Richard Thomas Legh, born 1950 who succeeded his father.                    

The Leghs had a tradition of being courtiers; Peter Legh's brother, Sir Francis Legh, was assistant private secretary to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and private secretary to Princess Margaret, and an uncle, Sir Piers (Joey) Legh was equerry to King Edward VIII and Master of the Household to King George VI.  The Leghs were granted the estate of Lyme in Cheshire in the foothills of the Pennines by Richard II. They fought at Agincourt, Waterloo and Inkerman.  The family's historian noted "One entertained Elizabeth's Essex, another went to the Tower for refusing to swear allegiance to William III and a third was an Egyptologist  in the age of Byron. And in almost every generation the call of the past was strong...but the Leghs were also practical people who dug for coal and prospered from the expansion of Wigan and Warrington over their Lancashire estates."  In its heyday Lyme boasted a breed of mastiffs of legendary size and strength.  The family seat grew over the centuries, most notably in an early 18th century remodelling by Giacomo Leoni, into a palace grander than the residences of many Continental Sovereign Princes.  However, the Leghs of Lyme remained commoners until 1892 when William Legh, formerly MP for South Lancashire and East Cheshire was created Baron Newton. 
Edited from the Obituary The Daily Telegraph Friday 19 June 1992

Who's Who entry: Peter Richard Legh, 4th Baron Newton of Newton-in-Makerfield, Co Lancaster, cr1892, JP was born 6 April 1915; er son of 3rd Baron Newton, TD, JP, DL and Hon, Helen Meysey-Thompson (died 1958): succeeded father 1960; married 1948 Priscilla, youngest daughter of late Captain John Egerton-Warburton and widow of William Matthew Palmer, Viscount Wolmer (son of 3rd Earl of Selborne, CH, PC) two sons; Educated Eton; Christ Church, Oxford (MA), 2nd Lt Grenadier Guards (SR) 1937; Captain 1941; Major, 1945. Chairman East Hampshire Young Conservatives, 1949-50. MP (C) Petersfied Division of Hants, October 1951-June 1960; PPS to Fin. Secretary to Treasury, 1952-1953; Assistant Government Whip 1953-55; a Lord Comr of Treasury, 1955-57; Treasurer of the Household, 1959-60; Captain Yeomen of the Guard and Government Assistant Chief Whip, 1960-62; (joint) Parliamentary Secretary., Minister of Heath, 1962-1964; Minister of State for education and Science, April-October 1964. JP 1951; CC Hampshire, 1949-52 and 1954-55. Died 16th June 1992.  Heir – son Hon. Richard Thomas Legh born 11 January 1950; married 1978, Rosemary Whitfoot Clarke, younger daughter of Herbert Clarke, Eastbourne; one son one daughter.  back to index 


Colonel The Viscount Goschen        
86th and 88th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard  1962-1964 and 1971-1972 respectively

John Alexander Goschen, 3rd Viscount Goschen of Hawkhurst, cr 1900, KBE 1972 (OBE (mil) 1944); Colonel, formerly Grenadier Guards; a Deputy Speaker and Deputy Chairman of Committees, House of Lords.  Born 7 July 1906, eldest surviving son of late Hon, Sir William Henry Goschen, KBE (2nd son of 1st Viscount) and late Geraldine Elizabeth, daughter of Rt Hon JW Mellor, PC, KC; succeeded Uncle, 1952; Married Hilda Violet Ursula in 1934 (from whom he obtained a divorce 1950), daughter of late Lieut-Col Hon, St Leger Henry Jervis, DSO: no children; Married, Alvin, youngest daughter of late H, England, Durban, S. Africa in 1955 one son one daughter. Educated Eton; RMC Sandhurst, 2 Lt Grenadier Guards, 1926 served War of 1939-45, in Grenadier Guards (appointments on the staff), N Africa (OBE), Italy, France and Greece; Lt-Col 1941. Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard (Assistant Government Chief Whip, House of Lords, 1964-70. Died 22 March 1977. Heir son Hon, Giles John Harry Goschen born 16 November 1965.
back to index

Lord Bowles                
87th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1964-1971            

Francis George Bowles, Baron (Life Peer) cr 1964; Captain of the Queen’s Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard since 1965; Born 2 May 1902; son of late Horace Edgar Bowles. Freshwater, Isle of Wight; Married 1950, Kay, eldest daughter of late EH Musgrove, and widow of Air Commodore EDM Hopkins. Educated Highgate School; London University. LL.B London., B.Sc (Eton); Admitted a solicitor, 1925.  Contested (Labour) Hackney North, 1929, 1931 and 1935 and Preston, 1936; M.P. Labour Nuneaton Division of Warwickshire. 1942-64; Vice-Chairman Parliamentary Labour Party, 1946-48; Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means, 1948-50.  Died 29 December 1970.   back to index

Lord Denham              
89th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1972-1974            

Rt Hon the Lord Denham, KBE

Bertram Stanley Mitford Bowyer, 2nd Baron Denham of Western Underwood, cr 1937, KBE 1991; PC 1981 BT 1660, of Durham; BT 1933, of Western Underwood; Captain of the Gentlemen at Arms (Government Chief Whip in the House of Lords), 1979-91; an Extra Lord-in-Waiting to the Queen since 1998. Born 3 October 1927, son of 1st Baron and Hon. Daphne Freeman-Mitford (died 1996), 4th daughter of 1st Baron Redesdale; succeeded father 1948. married 1956. Jean only daughter of Kenneth McCorquodale, Fambridge Hall, White Notley, Essex, 3 sons one daughter. Educated Eton King’s College, Cambridge.  Member Westminster CC, 1959-61. A Lord-in-Waiting to the Queen 1961-64 and 1970-71; Opposition Junior Whip 1964-70; Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard 1974-74; Opposition Deputy Chief Whip, 1974-78; Opposition Chief Whip, 1978-79.; Elected Member House of Lords, 1999-Countryside Comr, 1993-99. Dep. Pres, British Field Sports Soc, 1992-98. Publication; The Man who Lost his Shadow, 1979.  Two Thyrdes 1983.  Foxhunt 1998.  Black Rod 1997. Heir – son Hon, Richard Grenville George Bowyer born 8 February 1959 married in 1998, Eleanor (marriage disolved 1993), only daughter of A Sharpe. Marriage 1996, Dagmar only daughter of Karel and Jaroslava Bozek, Breslaw, Czech Republic. back to index


Lord Strabolgi                           
90th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1974-1979

David Montague de Burgh Kenworthy, 11th Baron Strabolgi of England, cr 1318; Deputy Speaker and Deputy Chairman of Committees, House of Lords since 1986; an Extra-Lord in Waiting to the Queen, since 1998. Born 1 November 1914, eldest son of 10th Baron of Strabolgi and Doris Whitley (died 1988), only child of late Sir Frederick Whitley-Thomson, MP; succeeded father 1953, a co-heir to Baronies of Cobham and Burgh; married 1961, Doreen Margaret, eldest daughter of late Alexander Morgan, Ashoton-under-Lyne, and Emma Morgan (nee Mellor).  Educated Gresham’s School, Chelsea School of Art; Academie Scandinave, Paris. Served with HM Forces, BEF, 1939-40; MEF, 1940-45, AS Lt-Col RAOC, Member Parliamentary Delegations to Home Office, 1968-69; PPS to Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal, 1969-70; Assistant Opposition Whip, and spokesman of the Arts, House of Lords, 1970-74; Captain of the Queen’s Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard (Deputy Government Chief Whip), and Government spokesman on Energy and Agriculture, 1974-79; Opposition spokesman on arts and libraries, 1979-85. Member Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills 1986-;Select Committee for Privileges, 1987-; Private Bills Committee, 1987-96; Ecclesiastical Joint Committee, 1991-;Select Committee on Procedure, 1993-96-;All-Pty Arts and Amenities Group; Franco-British Party Relations Committee (Hon Tres 1991-96) elected Member House of Lords of Labour, 1999. President Franco. back to index

Lord Sandys                        
91st Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1979-1982

Richard Michael Oliver Hill, 7th Baron Sandys, cr 1802,  Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard (Deputy Government Chief Whip House of Lords), 1979-82; Landowner.  Born 21 July 1931 only son of 6th Baron Sandys Lt-Col, RE and Cynthia Mary (died 1990), only daughter of late Col F.R.T.T. Gascoigne DSO; succeeded father 1961; Married 1961, Patricia Simpson Hall daughter of late Captain Lionel Hall, MC.  Educated Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.  Lieutenant in the Royal Scots Greys, 1950-55. A Lord-in-Waiting 1974; an Opposition Whip, House of Lords, 1974-79. FRGS DL Worcestershire 1968. Heir – Marquess of Downshire.  back to index

Earl of Swinton                  
92nd Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1982-1986     

David Yarburgh Cuncliffe-Lister, 2nd Earl of Swinton cr 1955, JP; DL; Viscount Swinton, 1935; Baron Masham, 1955. Born 21 March 1937, son of Major Hon. John Yarburgh Cunliffe-Lister (died of wounds received in action 1943) and Anne Irvine (died 1961), young daughter of late Rev. Cannon R.S. Medicott (she married 2nd 1944, Donald Chapple-Gill), succeeded grandfather 1972; Married 1959, Susan Lillian Primrose Sinclair (see Baroness Masham of Ilton); one son and one daughter (both adopted). Educated Winchester, Royal Agricultural College.  Member N Riding Yorks CC, 1961-74; N Yorks CC, 1973-77.  Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard (Deputy Government Chief Whip), 1982-86. Director Leeds Permanent Building Society, 1987-93. Member Countryside Common, 1987-93. JP North (formerly NR) Yorks, 1971; DL North Yorks, 1978. Heir Hon. Nicholas John Cunliffe-Lister born 4 September 1939, married 1966 Hon. Elizabeth Susan (marr diss), eldest daughter of Viscount Whitelaw, KT, CH, MC. PC, two sons and one daughter; married again in 1996, Pamela Sykes. back to index

The Viscount Davidson             
93rd Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1986-1992

John Andrew Davidson, 2nd Viscount Davidson of Little Gaddesden, cr 1937, Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard (Deputy Government Chief Whip), 1986-91.  Born 22 December 1928, eldest son of 1st Viscount Davidson, PC, GCVO, CH, CB and Francis Joan Viscountess Davidson (Baroness Northchurch) DBE (died 1985), youngest daughter of 1st Baron Dickinson, PC, KBE; succeeded father, 1970; married 1956, Margaret Birgitta Norton (married diss. 1974); four daughter including twin daughters; marriage 1975, Mrs Pamela Dobb (nee Vergette).  Educated Westminster School; Pembroke College. Cambridge (BA).  Served in the Black Watch and 5th Bn KAR, 1947-49. President CU Footlights Club, 1951; a Lord in Waiting (Government Whip) 1985-86.  Director  Strutt & Parker (Farms) Ltd, 1960-75; Lord Rayleigh’s Farms Inc., 1960-75; Member of Council; CLA, 1965-75; RASE, 1973; Chairman Management Committee, Royal Eastern Counties Hospital., 1966-72; Member East Anglia Economic Planning Council, 1971-75. Heir Hon. Malcolm William Mackenzie Davidson born 28 August 1934, married in 1970, Mrs Evelyn Ann Carew Perfect youngest daughter of William Blackmore Storey, one son and one daughter.  See also Baron Rayleigh. back to index

The Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne      
94th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1992-1994

Michael Fergus Bowes Lyon, 18th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, cr 1677 (Scotland); Earl (UK) cr 1937, Lord Glamis, 1445; Earl of Kinghorne, Lord Lyon and Glamis, 1606; Viscount Lyon, Lord Glamis, Tannadyce Sidlaw and Strathdichtie1677; Baron Bowes (UK), 1887; DL; Captain Scots Guards. Born 7 June 1957, son of 17th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne and of Mary Pamela, DL, daughter of Brig. Norman Duncan McCorquodale, MC; succeeded father 1987; married 1984 Isobel, youngest daughter of Captain A. E. Weatherall, Cowhill, Dumfries; three sons. Educated University of Aberdeen (BLE 1979), Page of Honour to HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother 1973-73; Commissioned Scots Guards, 1980; A Lord in Waiting (Government Whip), 1989-91; Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard (Deputy Government Chief Whip), 1991-94.  Director Polypipe PLC, 1994 -; Lancaster PLC, 1994-99. President Boy’s Brigade, 1994-99. DL Angus 1993.  Heir- Son Lord Glamis. back to index

The Earl of Arran      
95th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1994-1995


Arthur Desmond Colquhoun Gore, 9th Earl of Arran of the Arran Islands, Co Galway cr 1762; Bt 1662; Viscount Sudley, Baron Saunders 1758; Baron Sudley (UK) 1884;  Born 14 July 1938; eldest son of 8th Earl of Arran and of Fiona Bryde, er daughter of Sir Iain Colquhoun of Luss, 7th Bt, KT, DSO; S father 1983; married 1974 Eleanor er daughter of Bernard van Custem and Lady Margaret Fortescue; two daughters.  Educated Eton; Balliol College, Oxford. 2nd Lt 1st Bn Grenadier Guards (National Service). Assistant Manager Daily and Sunday Express, June-Nov 1974. Director Waterstone & Co Ltd 1984-87. A Lord in Waiting (Government Whip) 1987-89; Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces, MoD 1989-92; NI Office 1992-94; Parly Under-Secretary of State DoE, 1994;  Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard (Deputy Government Chief Whip) 1994-95; elected Member H of L, 1999. Director HMV, 1995-98; Bonham’s 1997- . Co-Chm., Children’s Country Holiday’s Fund.  back to index

The Lord Inglewood (b1951 -  )               
96th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1995 only    

Richard Fletcher-Vane, second Baron cr 1964; (William) Richard Fletcher-Vane; DL Member (C) North West Region, England, European Parliament since 1999; Born 31 July 1951, eldest son of 1st Baron Inglewood. TD and Mary (died 1982), eldest daughter of Major Sir Richard George Proby, 1st Bt, MC; S father 1989; married 1986, Cressida, youngest daughter of late Desmond Pemberton-Pigott, CMG; one son two daughters.  Educated Eton Trinity College, Cambridge (MA); Cumbria College of Agriculture and Forestry, ARICS. Called to the Bar, Lincoln’s Inn 1975.  Member Lake District Special Planning Board, 1984-90 (Chairman Develt Control Committee, 1984-89).  NW Water Authority, 1987-89 Contested (C) Houghton and Washington, 1983; Durham, European Parliament 1984; MEP (C) Cumbria and Lancashire N, 1989-94; contested (C) Cumbria and Lancashire N, Eur Parly Elecns, 1994. Cons spokesman on legal affairs, EP, 1989-94; Deputy Chief Whip EDG 1992-94. Chief Whip 1994. A Lord in Waiting (Government Whip) 1994-95; Captain of HM Yeomen of the Guard (Deputy Chief Whip), 1995; Parliamentary Under Secretary of State DNH 1995-97; elected Member H of L 1999.  DL Cumbria 1993.  Heir- son Hon Henry William Frederick Fletcher-Vane born 24 December 1990.  back to index


The Lord Chesham            
97th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1995-1997        

Nicholas Charles Cavendish, 6th Baron Chesham (UK 1858) : Son of 5 Baron Chesham, PC, TD (died 1989), Born 7 November, 1941; Educated Eton; Married 1st, 4 November 1965 (marriage dissolved 1969), Susan Donne, eldest daughter of late Frederick Guy Beauchamp of London; Married 2nd, 1973 Suzanne Adrienne, eldest daughter of late Alan Gray Bryne of Sydney; 2 sons (Hone Charles Gray Compton, Hon William George Gray born 13 April 1980), Heir son, Hon Charles Gray Compton Cavendish born 11 November 1974; Career Chartered accountant; investment advisor; Captain of the Queen’s Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard (deputy Chief Whip House of Lords) 1995-97, a deputy chairman of Committees House of Lords 1997-99, deputy Speaker House of Lords 1998-99.  back to index

The Lord McIntosh of Haringey (b    )     
98th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 1997-2003

Andrew McIntosh was educated at Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe: Jesus College, Oxford and Ohio State University.  He was raised to the Peerage as Lord McIntosh of Haringey in 1983.  Since then he has been Opposition Spokesman for Education and Science 1985-87; the Environment 1987-92 and Home Affairs 1992-97.  He was a Government Spokesman for Trade and Industry 1998-2003; Culture, Media and Sport 1997-2001: The Scottish Office 2001-02 and Transport 2002-03.  Since 1997 he has been Government Spokesman for The Treasury.  Lord McIntosh has also been Deputy Leader of the Opposition 1992-97; Deputy Chair of Committees 1997-2001; Deputy Speaker 1999-2002 and Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Lords between 1997-2003, a position which also carries the automatic position of Captain of The Queen's Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard (The Chief Whip is automatically becomes the Captain of The Gentlemen At Arms).  He has Ministerial Responsibility for Broadcasting, Press and Censorship, Gambling, Libraries and Archives, The Historic Environment, Architecture and Design, The Royal Estate, Overall Responsibility for covering all DCMS Business and is Treasury Spokesman in the House of Lords.  His interests include cooking, reading and music.  Details are correct as of DODS 2005 Edition.  back to index

The Lord Davies of Oldham (b 1939-    )           
99th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 2003-2010

Bryan Davies was educated at Redditch High School, Worcs: University College London (BA History): Institute of Education (PGCE): London School of Economics (BSc Economics).  Labour MP for Enfield North 1974-79 and for Oldham Central and Royton 1992-97.  He was Opposition Spokesman for Education 1993-95, Education and Employment 1995-97 before being raised to the Peerage in 1997 as Baron Davies of Oldham, of Broxbourne in the County of Hertfordshire.  He has an Honorary Doctorate form Middlesex University in 1996 and was a Member of the Medical Research Council between 1997-79.  Lord Davies was appointed Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Lords in 2003, a position which also carries the automatic position of Captain of The Queen's Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard (The Chief Whip  automatically becomes the Captain of The Gentlemen At Arms).  He was Government Spokesman for the Home Office 2000-02 Education and Skill 2001-03, and currently Government Spokesman for Culture, Media and Sport 2001-  and for the Transport 2002.  Between 1999-2000 Lord Davies was President of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).  Lord Davies' political interests include Economic Policy, Employment, Training, Education, Arts and Transport.  When the Baron find the time for recreation his interests are Sport and Literature. 
Details are correct as of DODS 2006 Edition.  back to index


The Lord Shutt of Greetland OBE
100th Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 2010-2012

David Trevor Shutt, Baron Shutt of Greetland
, OBE, PC (born 16 March 1942) is a British Liberal Democrat politician.  He trained as an accountant and in 1975 he became a director of the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, of which he later became Chairman. He also became a Trustee of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.
 
In 1973 he was elected to Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council, now Calderdale Council, as a Liberal councillor, and later represented the Liberal Democrats on this council.

He stood unsuccessfully for Parliament at seven general elections between 1970 and 1992. He contested Sowerby in 1970, February 1974, October 1974, and 1979. After the abolition of the Sowerby seat, he contested the new Calder Valley constituency in 1983 and 1987. At the 1992 general election he was the Liberal Democrat candidate in Pudsey.

He was awarded the OBE in 1993, and in 2000 he entered the House of Lords as a life peer - Baron Shutt of Greetland, of Greetland and Stainland in the County of West Yorkshire. He was Liberal Democrat International Development spokesperson in the Lords until 2002.  In 1965, he married Margaret Pemberton. They have two sons and a daughter.
Details are correct as of DODS 2010 Edition.  back to index

The Lord Newby of Rothwell OBE
101st Captain of The Sovereign's Body Guard - 2012-

Richard NewbyRichard Mark Newby, Baron Newby of Rothwell OBE (born 14 Februray 1953) is a British Liberal Democrate politician currently serving as Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Lords and Captain of the Yeoman of the Queen's Body Guard of the Yeoman of the Guard.

The son of Frank and Kathleen Newby was educated at the Rothwell Grammar School and St Catherine's College, Oxford where he received a degree in philosophy, politics and economics in 1974 and was later awarded a Masters Degree.

Richard Newby was Secretary of the Social Democrate Party (SDP) Parliamentary Committee in 1981 nd National Secretary of the SDP from 1983 to 1988. From 1999 to 2006 he was Chief of Staff to Charles Kennedy. He is currently Liberal Democrtae spokesman for the Treseary, Chairman of the Live Consulting and Chair of Sport at The Prince's Trust.

He was invested as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1990 and was created a Life Peer with the title of Baron Newby of Rothwell in the County of West Yorkshire on 25 September 1997.

Lord Newby has been married since 1978 to the Reverend Ailsa Ballantyne (nee Thomson, now the Team Rector of Putney), they have two sons.

Details are correct as of DODS 2012 Edition


 

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