William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland

Last updated

The Earl of Portland
1st Earl of Portland
Hans Willem Bentinck by Hyacinthe Rigaud
Predecessor Bernard, Baron Bentinck
Successor Henry Bentinck, 1st Duke of Portland
Other titles Viscount Woodstock
Baron Bentinck
Baron Cirencester
Born(1649-07-20)20 July 1649
Diepenheim, Overijssel
Died23 November 1709(1709-11-23) (aged 60)
Bulstrode Park, Buckinghamshire
NationalityDutch and English
Residence Bulstrode Park
Offices English Ambassador to France
Spouse(s) Anne Villiers
Jane Martha Temple
13, including Mary, Henry, and Willem
Parents Bernard, Baron Bentinck
Anna van Bloemendaal
Quartered arms of William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland, KG, PC Coat of arms of William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland, KG, PC.png
Quartered arms of William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland, KG, PC

Hans William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland, Baron Bentinck of Diepenheim and Schoonheten, [1] KG , PC (20 July 1649, in Diepenheim, Overijssel  23 November 1709, in Bulstrode Park, Buckinghamshire) was a Dutch and English nobleman who became in an early stage the favourite of William, Prince of Orange, Stadtholder in the Netherlands, and future King of England. He was reportedly steady, sensible, modest and usually moderate. [2] The friendship and cooperation stopped in 1699.



Early life and nurse to Prince William

Hans Willem was the son of Bernard, Baron Bentinck of Diepenheim and descended from an ancient and noble family of Guelders and Overijssel. He was appointed first page of honour and chamberlain. When, in 1675, Prince William was attacked by smallpox, Bentinck nursed him assiduously, and this devotion secured for him the special and enduring friendship of William. [3] From that point on, Bentinck had the Prince's confidence, and in their correspondence William was very open.


In 1677 he was sent to England to solicit for Prince William the hand of Mary, daughter of James, Duke of York and future King of England. He was again in England on William's behalf in 1683 and in 1685. Later, in 1688, when William was preparing to assist in the overthrow of (now King) James including an invasion by Dutch troops, Bentinck went to some of the German princes to secure their support, or at least their neutrality. He had also been, since 1687, a medium of communication between his master and his English friends. [3] Bentinck superintended the arrangements for the invasion, including raising money, hiring an enormous transport fleet, organising a propaganda offensive, and preparing the possible landing sites, and also sailed to England with Prince William.

Titles and military service

The revolution accomplished, William (now King of England) made Bentinck Groom of the Stole, first gentleman of the bedchamber, and a Privy Counsellor. In April 1689 he was created Baron Cirencester, Viscount Woodstock and, in its second creation, Earl of Portland. (The first creation of the earldom had been made for Richard Weston in 1633, but it became extinct in 1688.) He commanded some cavalry at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, and was present at the Battle of Landen, where he was wounded, and at the Siege of Namur in 1695. [3]


Bentinck's main work was of a diplomatic nature. In 1690 he was sent to The Hague to help solve the problem between William and the burgomasters of Amsterdam. He was caught up in the corruption scandal concerning the East India Company in 1695; the board was losing its monopoly under pressure from a New Company and was engaging profusely in bribery in an attempt to renew its charter. He was however cleared in the matter.[ citation needed ] Having thwarted the Jacobite plot to murder the King in 1696, he helped to arrange the peace of Ryswick in 1697. In 1698 he was ambassador to Paris for six months. While there, he opened negotiations with Louis XIV for a partition of the Spanish monarchy, and as William's representative, signed the two partition treaties (Treaty of The Hague (1698)). [3]

Resignation and land gifts

William Bentinck had, however, become very jealous of the rising influence of another Dutchman, Arnold van Keppel, and, in 1699, he resigned all his offices in the royal household. He did not forfeit the esteem of the King, who continued to trust and employ him. Portland had been loaded with gifts, and this, together with the jealousy felt for him as a foreigner, made him very unpopular in England. He received 135,000 acres (546 km²) of land in Ireland, and only the strong opposition of a united House of Commons prevented him obtaining a large gift of crown lands in North Wales. For his share in drawing up the partition treaties he was impeached in 1701, but the case against him did not proceed. He was occasionally employed on public business under Queen Anne until his death at his residence, Bulstrode Park in Buckinghamshire. Portland's eldest son Henry succeeded him as earl, and was granted the titles of Marquess of Titchfield and Duke of Portland in 1716. [3]

Codex Bentingiana

While living in Holland, Bentinck maintained a garden boasting many botanical rarities. Illustrations of these plants were collected under the name Codex Bentingiana. This work has since disappeared from the botanical scene. [4]


Lord Portland was married twice. On 1 February 1678, he married his first wife, Anne Villiers (died 30 November 1688), daughter of Sir Edward Villiers and his wife Lady Frances Howard, daughter of the 2nd Earl of Suffolk. They had seven children:

He married on 12 May 1700, his second wife, Jane Martha Temple (1672 26 May 1751), daughter of Sir John Temple, and widow of John Berkeley, 3rd Baron Berkeley of Stratton. They had the following children:

Related Research Articles

1649 1649

1649 (MDCXLIX) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar, the 1649th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 649th year of the 2nd millennium, the 49th year of the 17th century, and the 10th and last year of the 1640s decade. As of the start of 1649, the Gregorian calendar was 10 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

William III of England 17th-century Stadtholder, Prince of Orange and King of England, Scotland and Ireland

William III, also widely known as William of Orange, was sovereign Prince of Orange from birth, Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders and Overijssel in the Dutch Republic from the 1670s and King of England, Ireland and Scotland from 1689 until his death. Popular histories usually refer to his joint reign with his wife, Queen Mary II, as that of William and Mary. As King of Scotland, he is known as William II. He is sometimes informally known as "King Billy" in Northern Ireland and Scotland, where his victory at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 is still commemorated by Unionists and Ulster loyalists, often showing orange colours in his honour.

Arnold van Keppel, 1st Earl of Albemarle son of Oswald van Keppel and his wife Anna Geertruid van Lintelo

Arnold Joost van Keppel, 1st Earl of Albemarle,, and lord of De Voorst in Guelders (Gelderland), was the son of Oswald van Keppel and his wife Anna Geertruid van Lintelo. De Voorst is a large country house near Zutphen, financed by William III, and not unlike the royal palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn.

Earl of Portland Title in the Peerage of England

Earl of Portland is a title that has been created twice in the Peerage of England, first in 1633 and again in 1689. What proved to be a long co-held title, Duke of Portland, was created in 1716 and ceased in 1990 on the death of the ninth Duke, when the Earldom passed to the seniormost agnatic cousin, namely one of the 6th degree.

Baron Howard de Walden Title in the Peerage of England

Baron Howard de Walden is a title in the Peerage of England. It was created by writ of summons in 1597 by Queen Elizabeth I for Admiral Lord Thomas Howard, a younger son of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, by his second wife, the Honourable Margaret Audley, daughter of Thomas Audley, 1st Baron Audley of Walden.

William Arthur Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, 7th Duke of Portland,, styled Marquess of Titchfield until 1943, was a British peer and Conservative Party politician.

William Bentinck, 2nd Duke of Portland English peer

William Bentinck, 2nd Duke of Portland, styled Viscount Woodstock from 1709 to 1716 and Marquess of Titchfield from 1716 to 1726, was a British peer and politician.

Bentinck family family

The Bentinck family is a prominent family belonging to both Dutch and British nobility. Its members have served in the armed forces and as ambassadors and politicians, including Governor General of India and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The family is related to the British Royal Family via Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother's maternal Cavendish-Bentinck line.

Earl of Rochford

Earl of Rochford was a title in the Peerage of England. It was created in 1695 and became extinct in 1830.

Treaty of The Hague (1698)

The 1698 Treaty of The Hague, also known as the 1698 Treaty of Den Haag or First Partition Treaty was the first of two attempts by France, Britain, and the Dutch Republic to achieve a diplomatic solution to the issues that led to the 1701-1714 War of the Spanish Succession.

Henry Bentinck, 1st Duke of Portland, of Titchfield, Hampshire, styled Viscount Woodstock from 1689 until 1709, was a British Whig politician who sat in the English and British House of Commons from 1705 until 1709 when he succeeded to the perage as Earl of Portland. He was Governor of Jamaica from 1721 to 1726.

Cavendish family British noble family

The Cavendishfamily is a British noble family, of Anglo-Norman origins. They rose to their highest prominence as the dukes of Devonshire and Newcastle.

Sir Edward Villiers was an English politician and military officer from the powerful Villiers family.

Lady Anne Cavendish-Bentinck British noblewoman and landowner

Lady Alexandra Margaret Anne Cavendish-Bentinck was a member of the British nobility and one of the richest landowners in the country. She was a notable charity worker, art collector, and horsewoman.

William Byron, 4th Baron Byron British Baron

William Byron, 4th Baron Byron was an English nobleman, politician, peer, and Gentleman of the Bedchamber to Prince George of Denmark.

William Hendrik of Nassau, Lord of Zuylestein, 1st Earl of Rochford was a Dutch soldier and diplomat in the service of his cousin William III of England. During the reign of James II of England he travelled to England to liaise with William's English supporters, and played an important part in the preparations of the Glorious Revolution.

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.

Michel le Vassor (1648?–1718) was a French Oratorian priest and author, who became a Protestant in exile in England. He is known for theological, historical and political works.

Willem Bentinck van Rhoon Dutch politician

Willem, Count Bentinck, Lord of Rhoon and Pendrecht was a Dutch nobleman and politician, and the eldest son from the second marriage of William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland. He was created Count (Graf) Bentinck of the Holy Roman Empire in 1732. Bentinck played a leading role in the Orangist revolution of 1747 in the Netherlands.

Indio, Bovey Tracey Human settlement in England

Indio in the parish of Bovey Tracey in Devon, is an historic estate. The present large mansion house, known as Indio House is a grade II listed building rebuilt in 1850, situated about 1/2 mile south of Bovey Tracey Church, on the opposite side of the River Bovey. According to the Devon historian Pole (d.1635) it was originally a priory, however research from 1840 onwards has suggested it was more likely merely a grange farm, a possession of St John’s Hospital, Bridgwater, Somerset, from 1216.


  1. "House of Bentinck". Archived from the original on 30 July 2012. - website European Heraldry
  2. Japikse, N. (1927) Correspondentie van Willem III en Hans Willem Bentinck, Eersten graaf van Portland, Deel I, Het archief van Welbeck Abbey, p. XXI.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Chisholm 1911.
  4. The Anglo-Dutch Favourite - The career of Hans Willem Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland (1649–1709)
  5. A biographical history of England, from the Revolution to the end of George i's reign; a continuation of the rev. J. Granger's work, Volume 1, page 327
  6. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry, 15th Edition, ed. Pirie-Gordon, H., London, 1937, p.141, pedigree of Bentinck of Indio House

Further reading

Court offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Peterborough
Groom of the Stole
Succeeded by
The Earl of Romney
Preceded by
James Graham
Keeper of the Privy Purse
Succeeded by
Caspar Frederick Henning
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
English Ambassador to France
Succeeded by
The Earl of Jersey
Peerage of England
Preceded by
New creation
Earl of Portland
Succeeded by
Henry Bentinck
Dutch nobility
Preceded by
Bernard, Baron Bentinck
Baron Bentinck
Succeeded by
Henry Bentinck