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Ulick de Burgh, 1st Marquess of Clanricarde

Ulick John de Burgh, 1st Marquess of Clanricarde KP, PC (20 December 1802 – 10 April 1874), styled Lord Dunkellin until 1808 and known as The Earl of Clanricarde between 1808 and 1825, was a British Whig politician.

The Marquess of Clanricarde

The Marquess of Clanricarde, 1847.
Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard
In office
1 December 1830 (1830-12-01) – 16 July 1834 (1834-07-16)
MonarchWilliam IV
Prime MinisterThe Earl Grey
Preceded byThe Earl of Macclesfield
Succeeded byThe Earl of Gosford
Ambassador to Russia
In office
Preceded byThe Earl of Durham
Succeeded byThe Lord Stuart de Rothesay
Postmaster General
In office
7 July 1846 (1846-07-07) – 21 February 1852 (1852-02-21)
Prime MinisterLord John Russell
Preceded byThe Earl of St Germans
Succeeded byThe Earl of Hardwicke
Lord Privy Seal
In office
3 February 1858 (1858-02-03) – 21 February 1858 (1858-02-21)
Prime MinisterThe Viscount Palmerston
Preceded byThe Earl of Harrowby
Succeeded byThe Earl of Hardwicke
Personal details
Born(1802-12-20)20 December 1802
Belmont, Hampshire
Died10 April 1874(1874-04-10) (aged 71)
Stratton Street, Piccadilly, London
Political partyTory
Spouse(s)Hon. Harriet Canning

Background and educationEdit

Born at Belmont, Hampshire, Clanricarde was the son of General John de Burgh, 13th Earl of Clanricarde, and Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Burke, 1st Baronet. Henry de Burgh, 1st Marquess of Clanricarde, was his uncle. He succeeded in the earldom in July 1808 at the age of five, on the death of his father. He was educated at Eton.[1] Burgh was a member of the Anglican Church, like his father, although his mother was a Catholic.[2]

Burgh was an active Freemason as a young man. While studying as an undergraduate at Christ Church, Oxford he was initiated into the Apollo University Lodge No. 711 (later No. 357) of the United Grand Lodge of England on 15 November 1820.[3]

Political and diplomatic careerEdit

In 1825, at the age of 24, Clanricarde was created Marquess of Clanricarde in the Peerage of Ireland,[4] a revival of the title which had become extinct on his uncle's death in 1797. The following year he was made Baron Somerhill, of Somerhill in the County of Kent, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom,[5] which entitled him to a seat in the House of Lords. In January 1826 the Earl of Liverpool appointed him as Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (alongside Lord Howard de Walden), a post he held until August of the same year. In 1830 he joined the Whig government of Lord Grey as Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard (Deputy Chief Whip in the House of Lords[citation needed]), which he remained until 1834.[1] He was sworn of the Privy Council in December 1830.[6]

Between 1838 and 1840 Lord Clanricarde served as Ambassador to Russia. In 1846 he was appointed Postmaster General, with a seat in the cabinet, by Lord John Russell, an office he retained until the government fell in 1852. He held his last ministerial post when he was briefly Lord Privy Seal under Lord Palmerston for a few weeks in February 1858. Apart from his political career he was also Lord-Lieutenant of County Galway between 1831 and 1874.[1] In 1831 he was made a Knight of the Order of St Patrick.[7]

Great HungerEdit

Burgh was a substantial landowner in County Galway, with his Norman-descended family holding their seat at Portumna.[2] During the years of the Great Hunger in Ireland, his record was mixed. A supporter of the British Whigs and sitting member of the Russell Ministry, his principal aim was upholding the interests of the Anglo-Irish landowning class.[2] Although he did not initiate mass clearances of destitute tenants from the estates, as Palmerston and Lansdowne were notoriously known for, there were more small-scale displacements over a longer period of time.[2] Burgh was the Crown's Lord Lieutenant of Galway during the Famine and did not condemn the large-scale evictions by his fellow Galway landowners, John Gerrard (and his wife Marcella Netterville) at Ballinlass, Christopher St George at Connemara and Patrick Blake at Tully.[2]

On the other hand, Burgh highlighted in his correspondence with Russell and the Whig administration in Ireland the plight of starving tenants.[2] He advocated a paternalistic state intervention, rather than a purely laissez-faire approach. He suggested state sponsored public works and land drainage and sought to have corn depots set up in Loughrea and Portumna to distribute food.[2] He donated some monies to local relief committees. Burgh supported financially assisting the emigration of poor tenants; this issue is controversial due to the fact that it still meant the displacement of the native population from the land, but supporters argue that it would have at least saved more lives (Charles Trevelyan opposed such programs). Burgh did not initiate any private work schemes on the estates under his control for tenants, like some neighbouring landlords, nor did he improve agriculture on the estates.[2]


Lord Clanricarde married the Hon. Harriet Canning (13 April 1804 – 8 January 1876), daughter of Prime Minister George Canning, on 4 April 1825 at Gloucester Lodge in Brompton. The couple had seven children:

Lord Clanricarde died at Stratton Street, Piccadilly, London, in April 1874, aged 71, and was succeeded in the marquessate by his second but only surviving son, Hubert. The Marchioness of Clanricarde died in January 1876, aged 71.[1]

External linksEdit

  • "Archival material relating to Ulick de Burgh, 1st Marquess of Clanricarde". UK National Archives.  


  1. ^ a b c d Sir Ulick John de Burgh, 1st Marquess of Clanricarde
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Landlord during the Workhouse Years". November 19, 2017.
  3. ^ "Alphabetical List of Fellows of the Royal Society who were Freemasons" (PDF). The Library and Museum of Freemasonry. November 19, 2017.
  4. ^ "No. 18182". The London Gazette. 8 October 1825. p. 1813.
  5. ^ "No. 18259". The London Gazette. 17 June 1826. p. 1478.
  6. ^ "No. 18753". The London Gazette. 3 December 1830. p. 2537.
  7. ^ "No. 18863". The London Gazette. 21 October 1831. p. 2167.
Political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Howard de Walden
Lord Francis Conyngham
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
2 January 1826 – 17 August 1826
With: The Lord Howard de Walden
Succeeded by
The Lord Howard de Walden
Preceded by
The Earl of Macclesfield
Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard
Succeeded by
The Earl of Gosford
Preceded by
The Earl of St Germans
Succeeded by
The Earl of Hardwicke
Preceded by
The Earl of Harrowby
Lord Privy Seal
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
The Earl of Durham
Ambassador to Russia
Succeeded by
The Lord Stuart de Rothesay
Honorary titles
New office Lord Lieutenant of Galway
Succeeded by
The Lord Clonbrock
Peerage of Ireland
New creation Marquess of Clanricarde
Succeeded by
Hubert George de Burgh-Canning
Preceded by
John de Burgh
Earl of Clanricarde
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Somerhill
Succeeded by
Hubert George de Burgh-Canning