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William Stanhope, 1st Earl of Harrington

William Stanhope, 1st Earl of Harrington

British politician
William Stanhope, 1st Earl of Harrington
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro British politician
Was Diplomat Politician
From United Kingdom Great Britain England
Type Politics
Gender male
Birth 1690, Elvaston, United Kingdom
Death 8 December 1756, London, UK (aged 66 years)
Mother: Dorothy Agard
Father: John Stanhope
Siblings: Charles Stanhope (1673–1760)
Children: William Stanhope, 2nd Earl of HarringtonThomas Stanhope
Eton College
William Stanhope, 1st Earl of Harrington
The details (from wikipedia)


William Stanhope, 1st Earl of Harrington, PC (c. 1683 – 8 December 1756) was a British statesman and diplomat.


Family home in Elvaston, Derbyshire, late 19th century

William Stanhope was born in 1683 at the family home in Elvaston, Derbyshire, third surviving son of John Stanhope and Dorothy Agard. His elder brother Charles Stanhope (1673–1760) was also a politician and deeply involved in the South Sea Company financial scandal, while his cousin James Stanhope (1673–1721) is considered an alternative candidate to Robert Walpole for the title of Britain's first Prime Minister.

He married Anne Griffiths, who died in 1719 giving birth to twin sons, William, 2nd Earl of Harrington (1719–1779) and Thomas (1719–1743).


Educated at Eton College, Stanhope was commissioned in 1703 as a Lieutenant in the 2nd Foot Guards during the War of the Spanish Succession, before transferring to the 3rd Foot Guards in Spain. By 1710, he was a Lieutenant-Colonel and missed the December 1710 Battle of Brihuega, when the British rearguard under his cousin James Stanhope was cut off and forced to surrender. In March 1711, he became Colonel of the former Lepells Regiment, which was disbanded in November 1712 as the army was cut back in the run-up to the 1713 Peace of Utrecht.

Stanhope was serving as a diplomat in Spain when the War of the Quadruple Alliance began in 1719 and joined the French army under the Duke of Berwick as a volunteer. When the war ended in 1720, Stanhope was appointed British ambassador to Spain and given the Colonelcy of the 13th Light Dragoons, later 13th Hussars; he retained this position until the Anglo-Spanish War began in March 1727, having built up his reputation as a diplomatist during a difficult period.

William Stanhope, 1st Earl of Harrington

As a reward for his part in negotiating the 1729 Treaty of Seville that ended the war, he was created Baron Harrington in January 1730. Later the same year, he replaced Lord Townshend as Secretary of State for the Northern Department under Robert Walpole. Despite policy differences over British involvement in the 1734–1735 war, he kept his position until Walpole's fall in 1742, when he became Lord President of the Council and created Earl of Harrington and Viscount Petersham.

With the support of his political ally the Duke of Newcastle, he was restored as Secretary of State in 1744 but resigned in February 1746 over his preference for an immediate end to the 1740–1748 War of the Austrian Succession. He was made Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1747 to 1751 and while his active military career finished in 1720, he received a number of promotions, ending a full General in 1747. He died in London on 8 December 1756.

Coat of Arms of the Earl of Harrington


  • Adjutant General's Office (1842). Historical Records of the British Army; History of the 13th Light Dragoons. John W Parker.
  • Pearce, William (2007). The Great Man: Sir Robert Walpole: Scoundrel, Genius and Britain's First Prime Minister. Jonathan Cape. ISBN 978-0224071819.
  • Woodfine, Philip (2004). "Stanhope, William, first earl of Harrington". doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/26257.
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Edward Mundy
Nathaniel Curzon
Member of Parliament for Derby
Succeeded by
Lord James Cavendish
Thomas Bayley
Preceded by
John Gumley
Marquess of Carnarvon
Member of Parliament for Steyning
Succeeded by
The Viscount Vane
Thomas Bladen
Preceded by
Lord James Cavendish
Thomas Bayley
Member of Parliament for Derby
Succeeded by
Lord James Cavendish
Charles Stanhope
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Robert Rich
Colonel of Harrington's Regiment of Dragoons
Succeeded by
Henry Hawley
Diplomatic posts
War of the Quadruple Alliance
Title last held by
John Chetwynd
British Ambassador to Spain
Succeeded by
Benjamin Keene
Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Coke
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
Succeeded by
Lord Hervey
Preceded by
The Duke of Devonshire
Northern Secretary
Succeeded by
The Lord Carteret
Preceded by
The Earl of Wilmington
Lord President of the Council
Succeeded by
The Duke of Dorset
Preceded by
The Lord Carteret
Northern Secretary
Succeeded by
The Earl of Chesterfield
Preceded by
The Earl of Chesterfield
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
Succeeded by
The Duke of Dorset
Peerage of Great Britain
New creation Earl of Harrington
Succeeded by
William Stanhope
Baron Harrington
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 14 Jun 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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