Open main menu

William Ward, 1st Earl of Dudley

The Earl of Dudley as caricatured by Ape (Carlo Pellegrini) in Vanity Fair, June 1870

William Ward, 1st Earl of Dudley (27 March 1817 – 7 May 1885), known as The Lord Ward from 1835 to 1860, was a British landowner and benefactor.

Background and educationEdit

Ward was born on 27 March 1817 at Edwardstone, Boxford, Suffolk, England, the son of William Ward, 10th Baron Ward, who had succeeded in the barony of Ward on the death of his second cousin, Foreign Secretary John Ward, 1st Earl of Dudley, in 1833 (the earldom becoming extinct). His mother was Amelia, daughter of William Cooch Pillans. He was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford and Trinity College, Oxford.[1] He played first-class cricket for Oxford University Cricket Club between 1838 and 1842.[2] He inherited the title of Lord Ward on 6 December 1835, when he became the 11th Baron Ward.[3] His inheritance included Himley Hall and the ruins of Dudley Castle. In 1837 his trustees purchased the Witley Court estate in Worcestershire from Thomas Foley, 4th Baron Foley.


The monument to William Ward, 1st Earl of Dudley, in Worcester Cathedral

William Ward never held any political office.[4] He was Colonel Commander of the Worcestershire Yeomanry in 1854.[4]

Between 1859 and 1877 Ward paid for the entire refacing and restoration of Worcester Cathedral[5] and there is a monument to him in the cathedral. In 1868 he defrayed one third of the cost of the tower and spire of St John the Baptist's Church at Hagley.[5] He was also a trustee of the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery.[1] In 1860 the earldom held by his kinsman was revived when he was created Viscount Ednam, of Ednam in the County of Roxburgh, and Earl of Dudley, of Dudley Castle in the County of Stafford.[6]


Lord Dudley married, firstly, Selina Constance, daughter of Hubert de Burgh, on 24 April 1851. She died on 14 November of the same year, aged only 22. There were no children from this marriage.

He married, secondly, Georgina Elisabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Moncreiffe, 7th Baronet, and Lady Louisa Hay-Drummond, on 21 November 1865. They had six sons and one daughter:[7]

His sister-in-law Harriet Moncreiffe, who a few years later, as Lady Mordaunt, became embroiled in a sensational divorce case, referred to him as "frizzle wig".[10]

Ward died on 7 May 1885, aged 68, at Dudley House, Park Lane, Mayfair, in London, and was buried in Great Witley, Worcestershire. His remains were later reinterred in Worcester Cathedral.

The Countess of Dudley survived her husband by over forty years and died in February 1929 at her home at Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park[11] at the age of 82, having spent over half her life as a widow.


  1. ^ a b William Ward, 1st Earl of Dudley
  2. ^ Cricket Archive: Lord Ward
  3. ^ Burke, Sir Bernard (1869). A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire. London: Harrison and Sons. pp. 367–368.
  4. ^ a b Cokayne, George Edward (1910). The complete peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, extant, extinct, or dormant. 4. London: The St. Catherine Press, Ltd. p. 490.
  5. ^ a b Folkes, J. Homery The Victorian Architect and George Edmund Street Transactions of the Worcestershire Archaeological Society. Third Series Vol 4 1974 p9
  6. ^ "No. 22356". The London Gazette. 14 February 1860. p. 518.
  7. ^ "William Ward, 1st Earl of Dudley". 26 December 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Ward, the Hon. Gerald Ernest Francis". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  9. ^ "Gerald Ward". Cricket Archive. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  10. ^ Hamilton, Elizabeth (1999) The Warwickshire Scandal
  11. ^ "Death of Georgina, Lady Dudley: A Great Lady of the Victorian Age". Glasgow Herald. 9 February 1929.

External linksEdit