Thomas Villiers, 1st Earl of Clarendon

Last updated

The Earl of Clarendon

Envoy Extraordinary to the Court of Augustus III
In office
Monarch George II
Envoy Extraordinary to the Court of Maria Theresa
In office
Monarch George II
Envoy Extraordinary to the Court of Frederick II of Prussia
In office
Monarch George II
Member of Parliament
for Tamworth
In office
Prime Minister Henry Pelham
The Duke of Newcastle
Preceded by Lord John Sackville
Succeeded by William de Grey
Postmaster General
In office
Prime Minister George Grenville
Preceded by The Earl of Egmont
Succeeded by The Earl of Bessborough
In office
1786 his death
Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger
Preceded by The Earl of Tankerville
Succeeded by The Lord Walsingham
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
In office
Prime Minister The Lord North
Preceded by The Lord Strange
Succeeded by The Lord Ashburton
In office
Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger
Preceded by The Earl of Derby
Succeeded by The Lord Hawkesbury
Personal details
Died (aged 76/77)
Watford, England
Political party Whig
Spouse(s)Lady Charlotte Capell
Alma mater Queens' College, Cambridge
OccupationPolitician and diplomat

Thomas Villiers, 1st Earl of Clarendon, PC (1709 – 11 December 1786) was a British politician and diplomat from the Villiers family.

Privy Council of the United Kingdom Formal body of advisers to the sovereign in the United Kingdom

Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council of the United Kingdom or just the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. Its membership mainly comprises senior politicians who are current or former members of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords.

Kingdom of Great Britain Constitutional monarchy in Western Europe between 1707 and 1801

The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain, was a sovereign state in western Europe from 1 May 1707 to 1 January 1801. 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". Since its inception the kingdom was in legislative and personal union with Ireland and 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.

Villiers family English aristocratic family

The Villiers family is one of England's preeminent aristocratic families. Over time, various members of the Villiers family were made knights, baronets and peers. Peerages held by the Villiers family include the dukedoms of Buckingham (1623-1687) and Cleveland (1670-1709), as well as the earldoms of Anglesey (1623-1661), Jersey and Clarendon. Perhaps the most prominent members of the family were those who received the two dukedoms: George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham (1592–1628) rose to fame and influence as favourite of King James I of England, while Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland (1640–1709) became a mistress of King Charles II of England, by whom she had five children.


Clarendon was the second son of William Villiers, 2nd Earl of Jersey, and his wife Judith Herne, daughter of Frederick Herne.

William Villiers, 2nd Earl of Jersey English politician

William Villers, 2nd Earl of Jersey, known as Viscount Villiers from 1697 to 1711, was an English peer and politician from the Villiers family.

Political career

Villiers received his education at Eton College and then Queens' College, Cambridge. [1] Following his graduation, he became a diplomat.

Eton College school in Windsor and Maidenhead, UK

Eton College is a 13–18 independent boarding school and sixth form for boys in the parish of Eton, near Windsor in Berkshire, England. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as Kynge's College of Our Ladye of Eton besyde Windesore , as a sister institution to King's College, Cambridge, making it the 18th-oldest Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference school. Eton's history and influence have made Eton one of the most prestigious schools in the world

Queens College, Cambridge college of the University of Cambridge

Queens' College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. Queens' is one of the oldest and the largest colleges of the university, founded in 1448 by Margaret of Anjou, and has some of the most recognisable buildings in Cambridge. The college spans both sides of the river Cam, colloquially referred to as the "light side" and the "dark side", with the Mathematical Bridge connecting the two.

Diplomat person appointed by a state to conduct diplomacy with another state or international organization

A diplomat is a person appointed by a state to conduct diplomacy with one or more other states or international organizations. The main functions of diplomats are: representation and protection of the interests and nationals of the sending state; initiation and facilitation of strategic agreements; treaties and conventions; promotion of information; trade and commerce; technology; and friendly relations. Seasoned diplomats of international repute are used in international organizations as well as multinational companies for their experience in management and negotiating skills. Diplomats are members of foreign services and diplomatic corps of various nations of the world.

Villiers became the British envoy to both the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Electorate of Saxony from 1740 to 1747. At the time both realms were in personal union under Augustus III of Poland. He was also sent to Vienna, capital of the Archduchy of Austria, as an envoy to the court of Maria Theresa of Austria from 1742 to 1743. He was last sent to Berlin, capital of the Kingdom of Prussia, as an envoy to the court of Frederick II of Prussia from 1746 to 1748.

Electorate of Saxony State of the Holy Roman Empire, established when Emperor Charles IV raised the Ascanian duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg to the status of an Electorate 1356

The Electorate of Saxony was a state of the Holy Roman Empire established when Emperor Charles IV raised the Ascanian duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg to the status of an Electorate by the Golden Bull of 1356. Upon the extinction of the House of Ascania, it was feoffed to the Margraves of Meissen from the Wettin dynasty in 1423, who moved the ducal residence up the river Elbe to Dresden. After the Empire's dissolution in 1806, the Wettin Electors raised Saxony to a territorially reduced kingdom.

A personal union is the combination of two or more states that have the same monarch while their boundaries, laws, and interests remain distinct. A real union, by contrast, would involve the constituent states being to some extent interlinked, such as by sharing some limited governmental institutions. In a federation and a unitary state, a central (federal) government spanning all member states exists, with the degree of self-governance distinguishing the two. The ruler in a personal union does not need to be a hereditary monarch.

Augustus III of Poland King of Poland, Elector of Saxony

Augustus III was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1734 until 1763, as well as Elector of Saxony in the Holy Roman Empire from 1733 until 1763 where he was known as Frederick Augustus II.

Villiers was also involved in domestic politics as a member of the British Whig Party, which at the time dominated the Parliament of Great Britain. He was elected to Parliament in the 1747 British general election. He sat as a Member of Parliament for Tamworth from 1747 to 1756. He retired from all diplomatic offices at this time.

Parliament of Great Britain parliament from 1708 to 1800

The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by both the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland. The Acts created a new unified Kingdom of Great Britain and dissolved the separate English and Scottish parliaments in favour of a single parliament, located in the former home of the English parliament in the Palace of Westminster, near the City of London. This lasted nearly a century, until the Acts of Union 1800 merged the separate British and Irish Parliaments into a single Parliament of the United Kingdom with effect from 1 January 1801.

1747 British general election

The 1747 British general election returned members to serve in the House of Commons of the 10th Parliament of Great Britain to be summoned, after the merger of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland in 1707. The election saw Henry Pelham's Whig government increase its majority and the Tories continue their decline. By 1747, thirty years of Whig oligarchy and systematic corruption had weakened party ties substantially; despite the fact that Walpole, the main reason for the split that led to the creation of the Patriot Whig faction, had resigned, there were still almost as many Whigs in opposition to the ministry as there were Tories, and the real struggle for power was between various feuding factions of Whig aristocrats rather than between the old parties. The Tories had become an irrelevant group of country gentlemen who had resigned themselves to permanent opposition.

Tamworth (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1997 onwards

Tamworth is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2010 by Christopher Pincher, a Conservative.

He was a Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty, one of seven members of the Board of Admiralty exercising command over the Royal Navy from 26 February 1748 to 17 November 1756. He served under First Lords of the Admiralty John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, and George Anson, 1st Baron Anson throughout his term.

Board of Admiralty authority with administrative and operational control of the Royal Navy

The Board of Admiralty was established in 1628 when Charles I put the office of Lord High Admiral into commission. As that position was not always occupied, the purpose was to enable management of the day-to-day operational requirements of the Royal Navy; at that point administrative control of the navy was still the responsibility of the Navy Board, established in 1546. This system remained in place until 1832, when the Board of Admiralty became the sole authority charged with both administrative and operational control of the navy when the Navy Board was abolished. The term Admiralty has become synonymous with the command and control of the Royal Navy, partly personified in the Board of Admiralty and in the Admiralty buildings in London from where operations were in large part directed. It existed until 1964 when the office of First Lord of the Admiralty was finally abolished and the functions of the Lords Commissioners were transferred to the new Admiralty Board and the tri-service Defence Council of the United Kingdom.

Royal Navy Maritime warfare branch of the United Kingdoms military

The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years' War against the Kingdom of France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is known as the Senior Service.

John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich British statesman

John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, PC, FRS was a British statesman who succeeded his grandfather Edward Montagu, 3rd Earl of Sandwich as the Earl of Sandwich in 1729, at the age of ten. During his life, he held various military and political offices, including Postmaster General, First Lord of the Admiralty, and Secretary of State for the Northern Department. He is also known for the claim that he was the eponymous inventor of the sandwich.

On 3 June 1756, the barony of Hyde held by his wife's ancestors the Earls of Clarendon was revived. Villiers was raised to the peerage as Baron Hyde of Hindon in the County of Wiltshire.

Hyde served as Postmaster General from 1763 to 1765. On 9 September 1763, he was admitted to the Privy Council. He also served as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster from 1771 to 1782 and again from 1783 to 1786.

On 14 June 1776 the earldom of Clarendon, which had become extinct with the death of Henry Hyde, 4th Earl of Clarendon in 1753, was revived and Hyde was made Earl of Clarendon. In 1782 he was also made a Baron of the Kingdom of Prussia, an honour which he received Royal licence to use in Kingdom of Great Britain.

Clarendon returned to the office of Postmaster-General in commission with Henry Carteret, 1st Baron Carteret, in September 1786. This was to be his final political assignment.

Lord Clarendon died in December 1786, aged 77. He was succeeded in the earldom by his eldest son Thomas.


The Grove, Watford. Now an hotel The Grove and golf course, Watford - - 131616.jpg
The Grove, Watford. Now an hotel

On 30 March 1752 he married Charlotte Capell, daughter of William Capell, 3rd Earl of Essex, and his wife Jane Hyde, daughter of Henry Hyde, 4th Earl of Clarendon (of the 1661 creation) and Jane Leveson-Gower. They had four children:

He bought and remodelled The Grove, a country house near Watford, Hertfordshire.

Styles of address

Related Research Articles

Earl of Longford title

Earl of Longford is a title that has been created twice in the Peerage of Ireland.

Earl of Clarendon peerage of England

Earl of Clarendon is a title that has been created twice in British history, in 1661 and 1776.

George Villiers, 6th Earl of Clarendon British politician and Colonial governor

George Herbert Hyde Villiers, 6th Earl of Clarendon, KG GCMG GCVO PC DL, styled Lord Hyde from 1877 to 1914, was a British Conservative politician from the Villiers family. He served as Governor-General of the Union of South Africa from 1931 to 1937.

Robert Nugent, 1st Earl Nugent

Robert Craggs-Nugent, 1st Earl Nugent PC was an Irish politician and poet. He was tersely described by Richard Glover as a jovial and voluptuous Irishman who had left popery for the Protestant religion, money and widows.

Henry Hyde, 2nd Earl of Clarendon English noble

Henry Hyde, 2nd Earl of Clarendon, PC was an English aristocrat and politician. He held high office at the beginning of the reign of his brother-in-law, King James II.

Algernon Capell, 2nd Earl of Essex English noble

Algernon Capell, 2nd Earl of Essex PC of Cashiobury House, Watford, Hertfordshire, was an English nobleman, a soldier and courtier.

Edward Villiers, 5th Earl of Clarendon English cricketer

Edward Hyde Villiers, 5th Earl of Clarendon,, styled Lord Hyde between 1846 and 1870, was a British Liberal Unionist politician from the Villiers family. He served as Lord Chamberlain of the Household between 1900 and 1905.

Baron Carteret

Baron Carteret is a title that has been created twice in British history, once in the Peerage of England and once in the Peerage of Great Britain. The first creation came into the Peerage of England in 1681 when the fourteen-year-old Sir George Carteret, 2nd Baronet, was made Baron Carteret, of Hawnes in the County of Bedford. The peerage was originally proposed for his grandfather Sir George Carteret, 1st Baronet, a celebrated royalist statesman, but he died before he was granted the title and as his eldest son, Philip, predeceased him, it was eventually bestowed on his grandson, George, with remainder to the latter's brothers. The Baronetcy, of Metesches in the Island of Jersey, had been created for George Carteret in the Baronetage of England on 9 May 1645. Lord Carteret married Lady Grace Granville, daughter of John Granville, 1st Earl of Bath. In 1715 Lady Grace was raised to the Peerage of Great Britain in her own right as Viscountess Carteret and Countess Granville. Lord Carteret and Lady Granville were both succeeded by their son John Carteret, the second Baron and second Earl. The titles became extinct on the death of the latter's son Robert Carteret, the third Earl, in 1776.

Thomas Villiers, 2nd Earl of Clarendon Earl of Clarendon

Thomas Villiers, 2nd Earl of Clarendon, known as Lord Hyde from 1776 to 1786, was a British peer and Tory Member of Parliament from the Villiers family.

John Charles Villiers, 3rd Earl of Clarendon, PC, styled The Honourable John Villiers until 1787 and The Right Honourable John Villiers from 1787 to 1824, was a British peer and Member of Parliament from the Villiers family.

George Villiers (1759–1827) British courtier and politician, 1759-1827

George Villiers, styled The Honourable, was a British courtier and politician from the Villiers family. The youngest son of the diplomat Lord Hyde, he was an intimate of Princess Amelia and personal supporter of her father, George III. His favour within the Royal Family and his father's influence brought him a number of sinecures to support him. However, Villiers was more interested in the operation of the royal farms at Windsor Castle than in politics or the duties of his offices. When his bookkeeping as Paymaster of the Marines was carefully examined in 1810, Villiers' carelessness and the speculation of his clerk had left him in debt to the Crown by more than £250,000. This exposure touched off a public scandal; Villiers promptly surrendered all his property to the Crown and threw himself on the king's mercy. The misconduct of Joseph Hunt as Treasurer of the Ordnance to some extent obscured Villiers' own misconduct, and he was able to retain other sinecures and a stable, if reduced, income from them until his death in 1827.

Thomas Brudenell-Bruce, 1st Earl of Ailesbury Earl of Ailesbury

Thomas Brudenell-Bruce, 1st Earl of Ailesbury KT, styled The Honourable Thomas Brudenell until 1747 and known as The Lord Bruce of Tottenham between 1747 and 1776, was a British courtier.

Henry Carteret, 1st Baron Carteret British politician and Baron

Henry Frederick Carteret, 1st Baron Carteret PC (1735–1826) of Hawnes, Bedfordshire, was Member of Parliament for Staffordshire (1757–61), for Weobley in Herefordshire (1761–70) and was Master of the Household to King George III 1768–1771. He was hereditary Bailiff of Jersey 1776–1826.

Thomas Thynne, 2nd Viscount Weymouth English Viscount

Thomas Thynne, 2nd Viscount Weymouth of Longleat House in Wiltshire was an English peer, descended from Sir John Thynne (c.1515-1580) builder of Longleat.

Mary Capel, Countess of Essex British countess

Mary Capel, Countess of Essex, born Lady Mary Bentinck, was the daughter of William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland, a Dutch and English nobleman who became in an early stage the favourite of stadtholder William, Prince of Orange and his wife Anne Villiers.

Jane Capell, Countess of Essex, previously Lady Jane Hyde, was a British court official, the first wife of William Capell, 3rd Earl of Essex. She was the daughter of Henry Hyde, 4th Earl of Clarendon, and his wife, the former Jane Leveson-Gower.

Charlotte Villiers, Countess of Clarendon, formerly Lady Charlotte Capell, was the wife of Thomas Villiers, the son of William Villiers, 2nd Earl of Jersey. Thomas would later be raised to the peerage as Baron Hyde and subsequently as Earl of Clarendon, both titles that originated from his wife's family.


  1. "Villiers, Thomas (VLRS728T)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Egmont
The Lord Trevor
Postmaster General
1763 – 1765
With: The Lord Trevor
Succeeded by
The Earl of Bessborough
The Lord Trevor
Preceded by
The Lord Strange
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
1771 – 1782
Succeeded by
The Lord Ashburton
Preceded by
The Earl of Derby
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Succeeded by
The Lord Hawkesbury
Preceded by
The Earl of Tankerville
The Lord Carteret
Postmaster General
With: The Lord Carteret
Succeeded by
The Lord Walsingham
The Lord Carteret
Peerage of Great Britain
New creation Earl of Clarendon
2nd creation
Succeeded by
Thomas Villiers
Baron Hyde
2nd creation