Open main menu

Robert Darcy, 4th Earl of Holderness

Robert Darcy, 4th Earl of Holderness, PC (17 May 1718 – 16 May 1778), known before 1721 as Lord Darcy and Conyers, was a British diplomat and politician.[1][2]

The Earl of Holderness

Joshua Reynolds - Robert d’Arcy, 4th Earl of Holderness - Google Art Project.jpg
Secretary of State for the Southern Department
In office
6 April 1757 – 27 June 1757
MonarchGeorge II
Preceded byWilliam Pitt
Succeeded byWilliam Pitt
In office
18 June 1751 – 23 March 1754
MonarchGeorge II
Preceded byThe Duke of Bedford
Succeeded byThomas Robinson
Secretary of State for the Northern Department
In office
23 March 1754 – 25 March 1761
MonarchGeorge II
George III
Preceded byThe Duke of Newcastle
Succeeded byThe Earl of Bute
Personal details
Born17 May 1718
Died16 May 1778(1778-05-16) (aged 59)
Syon Hill, London, England
NationalityGreat Britain
Spouse(s)Mary Doublet
ChildrenAmelia Osborne, Marchioness of Carmarthen
OccupationDiplomat, politician



In 1741 he collaborated with G.F. Handel in the production of Deidamia.[3] From 1744 to 1746 he was ambassador at Venice and from 1749 to 1751 he represented his country at The Hague. In 1751 he became Secretary of State for the Southern Department, transferring in 1754 to the Northern Department, and he remained in office until March 1761, when he was dismissed by King George III in favour of Lord Bute, although he had largely been a cipher in that position to the stronger personalities of his colleagues, successively the Duke of Newcastle, Thomas Robinson, Henry Fox, and William Pitt the Elder. From 1771 to 1776 he acted as governor to two of the King's sons, a solemn phantom as Horace Walpole calls him. He left no sons who survived childhood,[2] and all his titles became extinct except the Baronies of Darcy (de Knayth) and Conyers, which were Baronies by Writ, and the Portuguese countship of Mértola. In those peerages he was succeeded by his daughter, Amelia Osborne, Marchioness of Carmarthen.

David Hume wrote, "It is remarkable that this family of d'Arcy [sic] seems to be the only male descendant of any of the Conqueror's barons now remaining among the Peers. Lord Holdernessae [sic] is the heir of that family".[4]


On 29 October 1743, Darcy married Mary Doublet, daughter of Francis Doublet and Constantia Van-der-Beck. The couple had three children, only one of whom survived childhood:[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "D'Arcy, Robert" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  2. ^ a b c Record for Robert Darcy, 4th Earl of Holderness on
  3. ^ A New Chronology of Venetian Opera and Related Genres, 1660-1760 by Eleanor Selfridge-Field, p. 492
  4. ^ History of England (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1975), p. 16 n. 14.
  5. ^ Wildeman, Marinus Godefridus, De grafboeken der Groote of St. Jacobskerk te 's Gravenhage, (1620-1830)... Robijns Publishers, 1898

External linksEdit