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George Spencer-Churchill, 6th Duke of Marlborough

George Spencer-Churchill, 6th Duke of Marlborough, DCL (27 December 1793 – 1 July 1857), styled Earl of Sunderland until 1817 and Marquess of Blandford between 1817 and 1840, was a British nobleman, politician, and peer. The great-grandfather of Sir Winston Churchill, he served as Lord-Lieutenant of Oxfordshire between 1842 and 1857.


The Duke of Marlborough

Georgespencer1793.jpg
Lord-Lieutenant of Oxfordshire
In office
1842 – 1 July 1857
MonarchVictoria
Preceded byThe Earl of Macclesfield
Succeeded byThe Duke of Marlborough
Personal details
Born27 December 1793 (1793-12-27)
Bill Hill, Wokingham, Berkshire
Died1 July 1857 (1857-08) (aged 63)
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire
NationalityBritish
Political partyUltra-Tory
Spouse(s)
  • Lady Jane Stewart
  • The Hon. Charlotte Flower
  • Jane Francis Clinton Stewart
Children
Parents
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford

Contents

Background and educationEdit

Styled Earl of Sunderland from birth, he was born at Bill Hill, Wokingham, Berkshire (an estate his father was renting at the time), the eldest son of George Spencer-Churchill, Marquess of Blandford (later the 5th Duke of Marlborough) and his wife, Lady Susan Stewart, daughter of John Stewart, 7th Earl of Galloway. He was educated at Eton between 1805 and 1811, and later at Christ Church, Oxford. He was also given an honorary Doctorate of Civil Laws by Oxford University on 15 June 1841.[1]

Political careerEdit

He became known by the courtesy title Marquess of Blandford in 1817 when his father succeeded to the dukedom. He sat as a Tory Member of Parliament for Chippenham between 1818 and 1820,[1][2] and for Woodstock from 1826 to 1831, from 1832 to 1835 and from 1838 to 1840, when he succeeded to the dukedom and entered the House of Lords.[1][3] In 1842, he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, a post he held until his death.[1]

In parliament, Blandford became an Ultra-Tory, splitting with Wellington in opposition to Catholic emancipation. In response to the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829, Blandford introduced the first major reform bill in February 1830, calling for the transfer of rotten borough seats to the counties and large towns, the disfranchisement of non-resident voters, the prevention of Crown office-holders from sitting in Parliament, the payment of a salary to MPs, and the general franchise for men who owned property. He believed that somewhat more open elections could be relied upon to oppose Catholicism.[4]

CricketEdit

He played cricket as a young man and is recorded in one first-class match in 1817, totalling 4 runs with a highest score of 4.[5]

FamilyEdit

 
Lady Jane Stewart
 
Lord Almeric and Lady Clementina, the children of the 6th Duke by his second wife, Charlotte Augusta Flower

As a young man, he and Harriet Caroline Octavia Spencer (1798–1831),[6] daughter of William Robert Spencer (youngest son of Lord Charles Spencer), went through a false ceremony of marriage with a relative of the groom posing as a cleric. A voyage to Scotland, where they lived as husband and wife, was intended by the bride and her parents to make this marriage legal under Scottish law. The sixth Duke did, however, successfully contest in a court of law that they had lived as if they had been married.[7]

Child by Harriet Caroline Octavia Spencer, who subsequently married Karl Theodor von Westerholt (1795–1863) in 1819:[6]

  • Susan Harriett Elizabeth Churchill (1818–1887), married Aimé Timothée Cuénod (1808–1882).

He married, firstly, his first cousin Lady Jane Stewart (1798–1844), daughter of George Stewart, 8th Earl of Galloway, on 13 January 1819. They had four children:

After his first wife's death in October 1844, aged 46, he married, secondly, the Hon. Charlotte Augusta Flower (1818–1850), daughter of Henry Flower, 4th Viscount Ashbrook, on 10 June 1846. They had two children:

  • Lord Almeric Athelstan Spencer-Churchill (1847 – 12 December 1856), died young.
  • Lady Clementina Augusta Spencer-Churchill (4 May 1848 – 27 March 1886), married John Pratt, 3rd Marquess Camden, and had issue.

After his second wife's death in April 1850, aged 31, he married, thirdly, his first cousin Jane Francis Clinton Stewart (1818–1897), daughter of the Hon. Edward Richard Stewart and grand-daughter of John Stewart, 7th Earl of Galloway, on 18 October 1851. They had one child:

  • Lord Edward Spencer-Churchill (28 March 1853 – 5 May 1911), married Augusta Warburton, daughter of Major George Drought Warburton, and had issue.

The 6th Duke of Marlborough died at Blenheim Palace on 1 July 1857, aged 63, and was succeeded by his eldest son, John. The Duchess of Marlborough died at 28 Grosvenor Street in Mayfair, London, in March 1897, aged 79.[1]

LiteratureEdit

  • Mary Soames; The Profligate Duke: George Spencer Churchill, Fifth Duke of Marlborough, and His Duchess (1987)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e George Spencer-Churchill, 6th Duke of Marlborough
  2. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "C" (part 4)
  3. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "W" (part 5)
  4. ^ Eric J. Evans, The Forging of the Modern State: Early Industrial Britain, 1783–1870 (2nd ed. 1990), p. 216
  5. ^ "Marquis of Blandford". CricketArchive. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  6. ^ a b Marquis Ruvigny, Plantagenet Roll of the Blood Royal, being a complete table of all the descendants now living of Edward III, King of England: Essex Volume (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1907), p.89.
  7. ^ The profligate Duke

External linksEdit