Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Baltimore
Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore
Lord of the Admiralty
In office
Succeeded by Henry Bilson Legge
17th Proprietary-Governor of Maryland
In office
Preceded by Samuel Ogle
Succeeded bySamuel Ogle
Personal details
Born29 September 1699
England [ where? ]
Died24 April 1751(1751-04-24) (aged 51)
England [ where? ]
Spouse(s)Mary Janssen
Children Frederick Calvert, 6th Baron Baltimore
Hon. Caroline Eden
Hon. Louisa Browning
Benedict Swingate Calvert
Parents Benedict Calvert, 4th Baron Baltimore
Charlotte Lee, Lady Baltimore
Occupation politician
Coat of Arms of the Barons Baltimore Coat of Arms of Cecil Calvert, Baron Baltimore.svg
Coat of Arms of the Barons Baltimore

Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore, FRS (29 September 1699 – 24 April 1751) was a British nobleman and Proprietary Governor of the Province of Maryland. He inherited the title to Maryland aged just fifteen, on the death of his father and grandfather, when the colony was restored by the British Monarchy to the Calvert family's control, following its seizure in 1688. In 1721 Charles came of age and assumed personal control of Maryland, travelling there briefly in 1732. For most of his life he remained in England, where he pursued an active career in politics, rising to become Lord of the Admiralty from 1742 to 1744. He died in 1751 in England, aged 52.

Fellow of the Royal Society Elected Fellow of the Royal Society, including Honorary, Foreign and Royal Fellows

Fellowship of the Royal Society is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of London judges to have made a 'substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science and medical science'.

Kingdom of Great Britain constitutional monarchy in Western Europe between 1707–1801

The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called simply Great Britain, was a sovereign state in western Europe from 1 May 1707 to 31 December 1800. The state came into being following the Treaty of Union in 1706, ratified by the Acts of Union 1707, which united the kingdoms of England and Scotland to form a single kingdom encompassing the whole island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, with the exception of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The unitary state was governed by a single parliament and government that was based in Westminster. The former kingdoms had been in personal union since James VI of Scotland became King of England and King of Ireland in 1603 following the death of Elizabeth I, bringing about the "Union of the Crowns". After the accession of George I to the throne of Great Britain in 1714, the kingdom was in a personal union with the Electorate of Hanover.

Nobility privileged social class

Nobility is a social class in aristocracy, normally ranked immediately under royalty, that possesses more acknowledged privileges and higher social status than most other classes in a society and with membership thereof typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be largely honorary, and vary by country and era. The Medieval chivalric motto "noblesse oblige", meaning literally "nobility obligates", explains that privileges carry a lifelong obligation of duty to uphold various social responsibilities of, e.g., honorable behavior, customary service, or leadership roles or positions, that lives on by a familial or kinship bond.


Early life

Charles Calvert was born in England on 29 September 1699, the eldest son of Benedict Calvert, 4th Baron Baltimore, and Charlotte Lee, Lady Baltimore. His grandmother Charlotte Lee, Countess of Lichfield, was the illegitimate daughter of Charles II, by his mistress, Barbara Palmer, 1st Duchess of Cleveland.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Benedict Calvert, 4th Baron Baltimore American politician

Benedict Leonard Calvert, 4th Baron Baltimore was an English nobleman and politician. He was the second son of Charles Calvert, 3rd Baron Baltimore (1637–1715) by Jane Lowe, and became his father's heir upon the death of his elder brother Cecil in 1681. The 3rd Lord Baltimore was a devout Roman Catholic, and had lost his title to the Province of Maryland shortly after the events of the Glorious Revolution in 1688, which saw the Protestant monarchs William III and Mary II accede to the British throne. Benedict Calvert would make strenuous attempts to have his family's title to Maryland restored by renouncing Roman Catholicism and joining the Church of England.

Charlotte Lee, Lady Baltimore English nobleman

Charlotte Lee, Lady Baltimore, was an English noblewoman, and granddaughter of King Charles II of England and his mistress Barbara Villiers. She married in 1699, Benedict Leonard Calvert, 4th Baron Baltimore, from whom she separated in 1705; she later married Christopher Crowe. She was the mother of Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore, and of Benedict Leonard Calvert, who was Governor of Maryland from 1727–1731.

Like the rest of his Calvert family, Charles had been raised a Catholic but was withdrawn from his Jesuit school when his father Benedict converted to Anglicanism, largely for political reasons. Henceforth father and son would worship within the Church of England, much to the disgust of Charles Calvert, 3rd Baron Baltimore, who upheld his Catholic faith, despite the political drawbacks, until his death in 1715. [1]

Anglicanism The practices, liturgy and identity of the Church of England

Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition which has developed from the practices, liturgy and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation.

Charles Calvert, 3rd Baron Baltimore Colonial Governor of Maryland

Charles Calvert, 3rd Baron Baltimore, inherited the colony of Maryland in 1675 upon the death of his father, Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, (1605–1675). He had been his father's Deputy Governor since 1661 when he arrived in the colony at the age of 24. However, Charles left Maryland for England in 1684 and would never return. The events following the Glorious Revolution in England in 1688 would cost Calvert his title to Maryland; in 1689 the royal charter to the colony was withdrawn, leading to direct rule by the British Crown. Calvert's political problems were largely caused by his Roman Catholic faith which was at odds with the established Church of England. Calvert married four times, outliving three wives, and had at least two children. He died in England in 1715 at the age of 78, his family fortunes much diminished. With his death he passed his title, and his claim to Maryland, to his second son Benedict Leonard Calvert, 4th Baron Baltimore (1679–1715), his eldest son Cecil having died young. However, Benedict Calvert would outlive his father by just two months, and It would fall to Charles' grandson, Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore, (1699–1751), to see the family proprietorship in Maryland restored by the king.

Career in politics


Map of the Province of Maryland showing the area in dispute with Pennsylvania Marycolony.png
Map of the Province of Maryland showing the area in dispute with Pennsylvania

In 1688, eleven years before Charles Calvert (1699–1751) was born, the Calvert family had lost their title to the Province of Maryland, following the events of the Glorious Revolution in England. In 1689 the Royal Charter to the colony was withdrawn, leading to direct rule by the British Crown. In 1715, when Charles was fifteen, his grandfather Charles Calvert, 3rd Baron Baltimore died, passing his title, and his claim to Maryland, to his son Benedict Leonard Calvert, 4th Baron Baltimore, (1679–1715). Benedict Calvert immediately petitioned George I for the restoration of the family's proprietarial title to Maryland but, before the king could rule on the petition, Benedict Calvert himself died, just two months after his father, passing on his title in turn to his son Charles. Charles Calvert soon found himself, aged just fifteen, in the fortunate position of having had his family's proprietarial title to Maryland restored by the king.

Province of Maryland English, from 1707, British, possession in North America between 1664 and 1776

The Province of Maryland was an English and later British colony in North America that existed from 1632 until 1776, when it joined the other twelve of the Thirteen Colonies in rebellion against Great Britain and became the U.S. state of Maryland. Its first settlement and capital was St. Mary's City, in the southern end of St. Mary's County, which is a peninsula in the Chesapeake Bay and is also bordered by four tidal rivers.

Glorious Revolution 17th Century British revolution

The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, was the overthrow of King James II of England by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III, Prince of Orange, who was James's nephew and son-in-law. William's successful invasion of England with a Dutch fleet and army led to his ascension to the throne as William III of England jointly with his wife, Mary II, James's daughter, after the Declaration of Right, leading to the Bill of Rights 1689.

George I of Great Britain King of Great Britain, Elector of Hanover

George I was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1 August 1714 and ruler of the Duchy and Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) in the Holy Roman Empire from 1698 until his death in 1727.

In 1721 Charles came of age and, at 21, assumed control of the colony of Maryland, though he appointed his cousin Charles Calvert, then a captain in the Grenadier Guards, as governor. [2]

Charles Calvert (governor) 14th Proprietary Governor of Maryland

Captain Charles Calvert was the 14th Proprietary Governor of Maryland in 1720, at a time when the Calvert family had recently regained control of their proprietary colony. He was appointed governor by his cousin Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore, who in 1721 came into his inheritance. Calvert worked to reassert the Proprietary interest against the privileges of the colonists as set out in the Maryland Charter, and to ease tensions between the Lords Baltimore and their subjects. Religious tension, which had been a source of great division in the colony, was much reduced under his governorship. Captain Calvert was replaced as governor in 1727 by his cousin Benedict Leonard Calvert, though he continued to occupy other colonial offices. He suffered from early senility and died in 1734.

The Grenadier Guards is an infantry regiment of the British Army. It can trace its lineage back to 1656.

In 1722, Charles Calvert, fifth Baron Baltimore found himself in financial difficulties and sold the Kiplin estate, his family's home since 1620, to his mother's second husband (his stepfather) Christopher Crowe for £7,000 (approximately £550,000 in modern currency) (later purchased as historical inheritance for the State of Maryland by the University of Maryland). [3]

Kiplin Hall Grade I listed historic house museum in Hambleton, United Kingdom

Kiplin Hall is a Jacobean historic house at Kiplin in North Yorkshire, England, and a Grade I listed building. It stands by the River Swale in the Vale of Mowbray. Kiplin Hall is rich in education, in architecture and art, a museum of history, a gallery and provides a biographical record of its past English country house owners. The nearest villages are Scorton, Great Langton and Bolton-on-Swale.

In 1727 Lord Baltimore appointed his brother, Benedict Leonard Calvert, governor of the colony, replacing his cousin Captain Calvert. The handover of power from cousin to cousin was not entirely smooth. Captain Calvert insisted on retaining fifty percent of the 3 pence tobacco duty which was his due under legislation passed in 1727. Benedict was unimpressed, and his younger brother Cecil wrote to him that family opinion in England was appalled at Captain Calvert's behaviour, and "thinks him mad". [4] Lord Baltimore himself wrote that Benedict should receive the full benefit of the tax. [4]

Unfortunately, Benedict's health was poor and he died of tuberculosis on 1 June 1732, while sailing back to England. [5] He was succeeded in 1732 by Governor Samuel Ogle under whose rule Maryland became engaged in a border dispute with Pennsylvania. [6] Several settlers were taken prisoners on both sides and Penn sent a committee to Governor Ogle to resolve the situation. Rioting broke out in the disputed territory and Ogle appealed to the King for resolution. [6]

Journey to Maryland

Faced with this situation, Charles sailed to Maryland and personally assumed charge of the colony in 1732, becoming for a brief period governor in his own right. [6] His purpose in undertaking the long journey was chiefly to settle the dispute with Pennsylvania, as well as to attend to other pressing matters. [7] Violence had broken out on the border with Pennsylvania, with Maryland loyalists such as Thomas Cresap engaging in violent exchanges with hostile Pennsylvanians. [8]

Unfortunately for the Marylanders, Charles unwittingly agreed to a settlement of the territorial dispute with Pennsylvania, based on an inaccurate map, using calculations of latitude and longitude which were either wrong or were deliberately omitted. [9] Upon realizing the scale of his deception, Lord Baltimore reneged on the agreement, but in 1735 The Penns brought proceedings in the Court of Chancery in London to enforce compliance. [9] Chancery proceedings were notoriously slow and a final verdict was not reached until 1750, when Lord Chancellor Hardwicke found in favour of the claims of the Pennsylvanians in every respect. [9] Charles's error ultimately resulted in the loss to Pennsylvania of approximately one thousand square miles of Maryland territory.[ citation needed ]

Return to England

In 1732 Calvert returned to England, again leaving the government of Maryland in the hands of Governor Samuel Ogle, and pursued a successful career in English politics. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society and a friend of fourth-cousin, Frederick Louis who was Prince of Wales and the eldest son of King George II of England. He was Gentleman of the Bedchamber to the Prince of Wales between 1731 and 1747.

Baltimore was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for St Germains, a rotten borough in Cornwall, from 1734 to 1741, and was MP for Surrey from 1741 to 1751. He was Lord of the Admiralty [10] from 1742 to 1744, and from 1747 to 1751 he was Surveyor-General of the Duchy of Cornwall. In addition he was Cofferer of the Household to the Prince of Wales from 1747 to 1751. [11]

Calvert was able to sit in the House of Commons as a member of the Irish peerage. Irish peerages were often used as a way of creating peerages which did not grant a seat in the English House of Lords and so allowed the grantee to sit in the House of Commons in London. As a consequence, many Irish peers had little or no connection to Ireland.

George II said of Charles Calvert: "there is my Lord Baltimore, who thinks he understands everything, and understands nothing: who wants to be well with both Courts and is well with neither, and who, entre nous, is a little mad." [11]


Charles was succeeded by his eldest son Frederick Calvert, 6th Baron Baltimore. Frederick Calvert 6th Baron Baltimore.jpg
Charles was succeeded by his eldest son Frederick Calvert, 6th Baron Baltimore.
Benedict Swingate Calvert, painted by John Wollaston c. 1754 Benedict calvert 1754.jpg
Benedict Swingate Calvert, painted by John Wollaston c. 1754

On 20 July 1730 Charles married Mary Janssen, who died at Chaillot, Paris, on 25 March 1770, the daughter of Sir Theodore Janssen, 1st Baronet, and Williamza or Williamsa Henley, who was also the sister-in-law of Thomas Bladen. Charles and Mary had three children:

Charles also had an illegitimate son, Benedict Swingate Calvert, born in around 1730–32. His mother's identity is not clear but H. S. Lee Washington, writing in the New England Historic Genealogical Society Register in July 1950, suggests that she was Melusina von der Schulenburg, Countess of Walsingham. [13] [14] [15] [16] Melusina was the daughter of George I of England and his mistress, Melusine von der Schulenburg, Duchess of Kendal. [17]

Whatever the truth of this, it seems likely that Calvert's mother was a person of some consequence. According to a letter of Benedict's daughter-in-law Rosalie Stier Calvert dated 10 June 1814, his mother had been a woman "of the highest rank in England". [18]

In 1742, aged about ten or twelve years, [19] the young Benedict was escorted to America and placed in the care of Dr. George H. Steuart, an Annapolis physician and a political ally of the Calverts. [20]

It appears Charles Calvert had two additional illegitimate children by Cecil Mignon Bressan (b. 1717), daughter of Peter Bressan: Charles Cecil Bressan Calvert and Augustus Bressan Calvert. [21]

Woodcote Park

Woodcote Park in an engraving by John Hassell circa 1816 WoodcotePark 1816 Hassell.jpg
Woodcote Park in an engraving by John Hassell circa 1816

Charles lived with his family at Woodcote Park in Epsom, Surrey, a grand estate originally built in the Seventeenth century by Richard Evelyn, brother to John Evelyn the diarist. [22] He made many changes to the house, though his brothers complained that he "pulled down everything" and "finished nothing". [22]

Death and legacy

Official flag of the State of Maryland Flag of Maryland.svg
Official flag of the State of Maryland

Charles died in 1751 and was succeeded by his eldest legitimate son, Frederick Calvert, 6th Baron Baltimore. Unlike his father, Frederick Calvert took little interest in politics, treating his estates, including Maryland, as mere sources of revenue to indulge his appetites, which were considerable. By 1776 Maryland had been engulfed in the American Revolution and the Calverts would lose control over their proprietary colony for good.

Charles Calvert's portrait, along with those of the other Barons Baltimore, still hangs today in the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, the city that bears his family name. [23]

The historian Thomas Carlyle described Calvert as "something of a fool, judging by the face of him in portraits, and by some of his doings in the world", though other historians have been kinder to his reputation. [10]

The official flag of the State of Maryland, uniquely among the fifty states, still bears the arms of the Barons Baltimore to this day.

Charles County and Charles Street in Baltimore is named for Charles Calvert.

See also


  1. Hoffman, Ronald, p.79, Princes of Ireland, Planters of Maryland: A Carroll Saga, 1500-1782 Retrieved 9 August 2010
  2. Yentsch, Anne E, p.76, A Chesapeake Family and their Slaves: a Study in Historical Archaeology, Cambridge University Press (1994) Retrieved 30 Jan 2010
  3. Kiplin Hall (2012). "The Calverts – Kiplin in the 17th century". Retrieved 29 August 2012.
  4. 1 2 Yentsch, Anne E, p.61, A Chesapeake Family and their Slaves: a Study in Historical Archaeology, Cambridge University Press (1994) Retrieved Jan 2010
  5. Lundy, Darryl. "Benedict Leonard Calvert". The Peerage. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  6. 1 2 3 Warfield, Joshua Dorsey (July 1905). The Founders of Anne Arundel And Howard Counties, Maryland. Baltimore, Maryland: Kohn & Pollock. p. 208. ISBN   0-8063-7971-5.
  7. Andrews, p.229
  8. Andrews, p.230
  9. 1 2 3 Andrews, p.232
  10. 1 2 Charles Calvert at the Maryland State Archives Retrieved October 2010
  11. 1 2 Lundy, Darryl. "Charles Calvert". The Peerage.[ unreliable source ] Retrieved 24 Jan 2010
  12. Fiske, John, p. 201, Old Virginia and Her Neighbors Part Two Retrieved 26 Jan 2010
  13. Washington, S. H. L., The Royal Stuarts in America, New England Historical and Genealogical Register, July 1950, pp. 173–75
  14. Callcott, p. 270 suggests that this connection is not reliable, stating that "the connection between Benedict Calvert and the Countess of Walsingham in this article rests on 'family letters' whose location is not given."
  15. Webpage exploring possible maternity of Benedict Swingate Calvert Retrieved 23 Jan 2010
  16. Discussion at of Benedict Swingate Calvert's ancestry G. S. H. Lee Washington also published Two scions of the Royal Stuarts in Colonial America, in Notes and Queries, vol. 198, no. 2 (December 1953), pp. 527–529, in which he withdrew the claim of descent from the Countess of Walsingham and identified a different mother for Benedict Swingate Calvert. In a later article, Family knowledge in genealogy, in Notes and Queries, vol. 210, no. 2 (February 1965), pp. 43–47, Washington withdrew both previous claims and identified a different mother entirely. Retrieved September 2010
  17. Benedict Swingate Calvert at retrieved 23 Jan 2010
  18. Callcott, p. 268
  19. Yentsch, Anne E, p. 260, A Chesapeake Family and their Slaves: a Study in Historical Archaeology, Cambridge University Press (1994) Retrieved Jan 2010
  20. Eby, Jerrilynn, p. 76, Laying the Hoe: a Century of Iron Manufacturing in Stafford County, Virginia, Vol 1, Heritage Books (2007). Retrieved 19 Jan 2010
  21. Byrne, Maurice (2013) Peter Bressan: some further research findings on Bressan as an art dealer, and on his daughters, The Galpin Society for the Study of Musical Instruments, Newsletter 35, pp. 10–11. Retrieved 17 Jun 2013
  22. 1 2 Epsom and Ewell History Explorer Retrieved 31 August 2010
  23. Calvert family history at Retrieved October 2010

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Dudley Ryder
Richard Eliot
Member of Parliament for St Germans
With: Charles Montagu
Succeeded by
John Hynde Cotton
James Newsham
Preceded by
Thomas Scawen
John Walter
Member of Parliament for Surrey
With: Arthur Onslow
Succeeded by
Thomas Budgen
Arthur Onslow
Government offices
Royal control
Title last held by
The 3rd Lord Baltimore
Proprietor of Maryland
Succeeded by
The 6th Lord Baltimore
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Benedict Leonard Calvert
Baron Baltimore
Succeeded by
Frederick Calvert