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Edward Harley, 4th Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer

Edward Harley, 4th Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer FRS (2 September 1726 – 11 October 1790), styled Lord Harley from 1741 to 1755, was a British peer and Tory politician.[2]

The Earl of Oxford
and Earl Mortimer
The Earl of Oxford in a portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence, c. 1790
Personal details
Born2 September 1726
Westminster, London
Died11 October 1790(1790-10-11) (aged 64)
Brampton Bryan Hall, Brampton Bryan, Herefordshire[1]
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Susannah Archer
ParentsEdward Harley, 3rd Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer
Martha Morgan

Harley was the eldest son of Edward Harley, 3rd Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer and Martha Morgan, daughter of Welsh politician William Morgan. His two younger brothers were John Harley, Dean of Windsor and then Bishop of Hereford; and the politician Thomas Harley, who was Lord Mayor of London and also sat in Parliament.[3] He was educated at Westminster School (1735–44); and then Christ Church, Oxford, graduating with a Doctor of Civil Law in 1748.[4]

Harley was elected as MP for Herefordshire in at the 1747 general election, even though he was only 20 years old. Prior to the election, Lord Foley wrote to Harley's father, "As he is under age I am in great fear lest some trick should be played on him on the day of election ... which if it should happen I think would be of the most evil consequence to your family as well as to the interest of the county."[5]

Brampton Bryan Hall

He returned unopposed and took a seat on the treasury board, serving until in 1755 he succeeded to his father's titles and estates, including the family seat of Brampton Bryan Castle and Hall. He was High Steward of Hereford from 1755, a Lord of the Bedchamber from 1760, and Lord Lieutenant of Radnorshire from 1766, all until his death. He was also Harleian Trustee at the British Museum from 1755 until his death.[5]

In 1751, he married heiress Susannah Archer, daughter of William Archer, who brought a dowry of £50,000 (equivalent to £7,716,850 in 2018). He died at Brampton Bryan Hall at the age of 64. As he had no children, his titles and estates passed to his nephew Edward Harley.[3]


  1. ^ "Death of the Earl of Oxford". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 13 October 1790. p. 2.
  2. ^ Burke, Edmund (1791). Dodsley's Annual Register or a View of the History, Politics and Literature for the Year 1790. J. Dodsley. p. 244. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b Burke, John (1833). A General and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire. H. Colburn and R. Bentley. p. 275. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  4. ^ Collins, Arthur (1813). The Peerage of England: Containing a Genealogical and Historical Account of All the Peers of that Kingdom. W. Strahan, J. F and C. Rivington. p. 266. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  5. ^ a b "HARLEY, Edward, Lord Harley (1726-90)". History of Parliament Online.
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Thomas Foley
Velters Cornewall
Member of Parliament for Herefordshire
With: Velters Cornewall
Succeeded by
Sir John Morgan, Bt
Velters Cornewall
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Essex
Lord of the Bedchamber
Succeeded by
The Viscount Wentworth
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Howell Gwynne
Lord Lieutenant of Radnorshire
Succeeded by
Thomas Harley
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
Edward Harley
Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer
Succeeded by
Edward Harley