John Townshend, 1st Earl Sydney

John Robert Townshend, 1st Earl Sydney GCB PC (9 August 1805 – 14 February 1890), known as The Viscount Sydney between 1831 and 1874, was a British Liberal politician. In a ministerial career spanning over 30 years, he was twice Lord Chamberlain of the Household and twice Lord Steward of the Household.


The Earl Sydney

John Townshend, Vanity Fair, 1869-05-01.jpg
Caricature by Ape published in Vanity Fair in 1869.
Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard
In office
30 December 1852 – 21 February 1858
MonarchVictoria
Prime MinisterThe Earl of Aberdeen
The Viscount Palmerston
Preceded byThe Lord de Ros
Succeeded byThe Lord de Ros
Lord Chamberlain of the Household
In office
23 June 1859 – 26 June 1866
MonarchVictoria
Prime MinisterThe Viscount Palmerston
The Earl Russell
Preceded byThe Earl De La Warr
Succeeded byThe Earl of Bradford
In office
9 December 1868 – 17 February 1874
MonarchVictoria
Prime MinisterWilliam Ewart Gladstone
Preceded byThe Earl of Bradford
Succeeded byThe Marquess of Hertford
Lord Steward of the Household
In office
3 May 1880 – 9 June 1885
MonarchVictoria
Prime MinisterWilliam Ewart Gladstone
Preceded byThe Earl Beauchamp
Succeeded byThe Earl of Mount Edgcumbe
In office
10 February 1886 – 20 July 1886
MonarchVictoria
Prime MinisterWilliam Ewart Gladstone
Preceded byThe Earl of Mount Edgcumbe
Succeeded byThe Earl of Mount Edgcumbe
Personal details
Born(1805-08-09)9 August 1805
Died14 February 1890(1890-02-14) (aged 84)
NationalityBritish
Political partyLiberal
Spouse(s)Lady Emily Paget
(1810–1893)

BackgroundEdit

A member of the Townshend family headed by the Marquess Townshend, Sydney was the son of John Townshend, 2nd Viscount Sydney, by his second wife Lady Caroline Elizabeth Letitia, daughter of Robert Clements, 1st Earl of Leitrim.[1] He was educated at Eton and St John's College, Cambridge, graduating MA in 1824.[2]

Political careerEdit

Sydney was first elected to parliament for Whitchurch in 1826, a seat he held until 1831,[3] when he succeeded his father in the viscountcy and entered the House of Lords.[1] From 1828 to 1831 served Kings George IV and William IV as Groom of the Bedchamber and from 1835 to 1837 was a Gentleman of the Bedchamber to William IV.[4]

In December 1852 he was appointed Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard,[5] Deputy Chief Whip in the House of Lords[citation needed] in Lord Aberdeen's coalition government and was sworn of the Privy Council in early 1853.[6] He continued as Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard when Lord Palmerston became prime minister in 1855, but relinquished the position when the Liberals lost power in February 1858. The Liberals returned to office under Palmerston already in June 1859, when Sydney was made Lord Chamberlain of the Household,[7] a post he held until 1866,[8] the last year under the premiership of Lord Russell. In February 1866 he was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath.[9]

Sydney was once again Lord Chamberlain of the Household between 1868[10] and 1874[11] in William Ewart Gladstone's first administration. In 1874 he was created Earl Sydney, of Scadbury in the County of Kent.[12] He later served under Gladstone as Lord Steward of the Household between 1880[13] and 1885[14] and between February[15] and July 1886.[16] However, despite Lord Sydney's ministerial career lasting over 30 years he was never a member of the cabinet.

Apart from his political career he was also Colonel of the Kent Militia Artillery from when it was raised in May 1853 until 1890,[17] Lord Lieutenant of Kent between 1856 and 1890[18][19] and Captain of Deal Castle between 1879 and 1890.[20]

FamilyEdit

Lord Sydney married Lady Emily Paget, daughter of Field Marshal Henry Paget, 1st Marquess of Anglesey, on 4 August 1832. They had no children. He died in February 1890, aged 84, when all his titles became extinct. The Countess Sydney survived her husband by three years and died in March 1893.[1] The family seat of Frognal House was inherited by Lord Sydney's nephew Robert Marsham, who assumed the additional surname of Townshend in accordance with his uncle's will.[21]

Other notesEdit

The Sydney Arms on Old Perry Street, Chislehurst, was previously known as The Swan, and in Pigot's Directory of 1832 known as the White Swan. It was renamed in the 1880s in honour of John Robert Townshend, 3rd Viscount Sydney. The pub sign is a diagram of the Sydney family arms.[22]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c thepeerage.com John Robert Townshend, 1st and last Earl Sydney
  2. ^ "Townshend, The Hon. John Robert (TWNT822JR)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. ^ "leighrayment.com House of Commons: West Lothian to Widnes". Archived from the original on 14 October 2018. Retrieved 27 October 2009.
  4. ^ "Index of Officers-T" (PDF).
  5. ^ "No. 21397". The London Gazette. 31 December 1852. p. 3939.
  6. ^ "No. 21399". The London Gazette. 4 January 1853. p. 29.
  7. ^ "No. 22279". The London Gazette. 24 June 1859. p. 2471.
  8. ^ "No. 23137". The London Gazette. 13 July 1866. p. 3984.
  9. ^ "No. 23071". The London Gazette. 17 February 1866. p. 953.
  10. ^ "No. 23450". The London Gazette. 15 December 1868. p. 6654.
  11. ^ "No. 24071". The London Gazette. 3 March 1874. p. 1452.
  12. ^ "No. 24071". The London Gazette. 3 March 1874. p. 1453.
  13. ^ "No. 24841". The London Gazette. 4 May 1880. p. 2864.
  14. ^ "No. 25485". The London Gazette. 30 June 1885. p. 3000.
  15. ^ "No. 25585". The London Gazette. 12 February 1886. p. 682.
  16. ^ "No. 25617". The London Gazette. 17 August 1886. p. 4007.
  17. ^ Army List, various dates.
  18. ^ "No. 21896". The London Gazette. 27 June 1856. p. 2243.
  19. ^ leighrayment.com Peerage: Stratheden to Sysonby
  20. ^ "Captains of Deal Castle". East Kent freeuk. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  21. ^ worldonline.co.za "Lord Sydney"
  22. ^ https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2333682

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Horatio Townshend
Samuel Scott
Member of Parliament for Whitchurch
1826–1831
With: Sir Samuel Scott, Bt
Succeeded by
Sir Samuel Scott, Bt
Horatio Townshend
Political offices
Preceded by
The Lord de Ros
Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard
1852–1858
Succeeded by
The Lord de Ros
Preceded by
The Earl De La Warr
Lord Chamberlain
1859–1866
Succeeded by
The Earl of Bradford
Preceded by
The Earl of Bradford
Lord Chamberlain
1868–1874
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Hertford
Preceded by
The Earl Beauchamp
Lord Steward
1880–1885
Succeeded by
The Earl of Mount Edgcumbe
Preceded by
The Earl of Mount Edgcumbe
Lord Steward
1886
Succeeded by
The Earl of Mount Edgcumbe
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Earl Cowper
Lord Lieutenant of Kent
1856–1890
Succeeded by
The Earl Stanhope
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
John Townshend
Viscount Sydney
1831–1890
Succeeded by
Extinct
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Earl Sydney
1874–1890
Extinct