Work in Progress
This page is regularly added to or corrected as I discover or am given more information. Any information you can provide about your family members, past or present, would be very welcome. Please forward to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This page was last amended on 10th June 2013.
The 1st and 2nd Earls of Peterborough, 1609 - 1697
Charles Mordaunt, 3rd Earl of Peterborough
The 4th and 5th Earls of Peterborough
Question marks - Sir Philip and an unknown Earl
Principal Internet sources
An overwelming host of information is available on the Earls of Peterborough, especially the first three, on Internet and in books. The principal aristocratic line died out in name in 1814.
Turvey was no londer the home base, Drayton in Northamptonshire, Fulham and other homes being prefered, ending in Dauntsey, Wiltshire. Turvey was eventually sold by the fifth and last earl in 1786/87 to the Higgins family who, to the best of my knowledge, now Longuet-Higgins, own the property to this day.
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography provides 56,521 biographies of people who shaped the history of the British Isles and beyond, from the earliest times to the year 2004. A number of Mordaunts are so acknowledged. If you are a subscribing UK library, you can log-in with your card number.
The Succinct Genealogy of the House of Mordaunt ends with an account of the life of John, 1st Earl and an autobography of Henry, 2nd Earl.
The 1st and 2nd Earls of Peterborough
- John Mordaunt (1598/99 - 1642), (5th Baron and later 1st Earl of Peterborough), son of Henry Mordaunt, 4th Baron, was forcibly taken from his Catholic family as a child on the death of his father and placed with the Anglican Bishop of London to be brought up in the protestant faith. "Neither did James minimize the importance of education as a means of counteracting the instruction of young noblemen in the Catholic faith. In the case of the 11 year old John Mordaunt, heir of Henry Mordaunt, Lord Mordaunt, who had been suspected of complicity in the Gunpowder Plot and imprisoned in the Tower, the King did not hesitate to separate him from his mother and entrust him and his education to the Bishop of London. " It is no smale parte of our care," he wrote to the Bishop, " that the nobilitie of this realme be bred both in such sort as becometh their ranck and in so good instruction of the religion established in our kingdome, as that by receiveing the corruption of superstitious and daungerous opinions they be not made unservicable." (Calender of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House, Volume 24).
Now raised to be a faithful courtier, he was created 1st Earl of Peterborough on 9th March 1628.
Notwithstanding, he "took the Parliamentarian side in the early days of the Civil War. He was made General of Ordnance and Colonel of a Regiment of Foot under the command of the Earl of Essex in 1642, and died in the same year."
He had married Elizabeth Howard (1603 - 1671), daughter of William, Lord Howard of Effingham, by 1721 and, among anyone else, had two sons who, opposite from their father, were staunch royalists in the Civil War:
A more complete account of his life is given in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography as well as by Halstead, page 404.
As a footnote, John Ford dedicated his drama "Tis a Pity She's a Whore" to "the truly noble John, Earl of Peterborough, Lord Mordaunt, Baron of Turvey"
- Henry Mordaunt (1623 - 1697), (2nd Earl of Peterborough and 6th Baron of Turvey).
He married Penelope O'Brian and had daughters:
A more complete account of the life of Henry Mordaunt, 2nd Earl is given in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography as well as his self congratulatory and self justifying autobiography under the pseudonym Halstead, page 405.
- Elizabeth Mordaunt died aged 12 years
- Mary Mordaunt (7th Baron of Turvey) was christened on 28th October 1655 at St. Mildred Poultrey with St. Mary Colechurch, London. She married 1. Henry Howard, afterwards Duke of Norfolk and 2. Sir John Germaine, baronet. The Mordaunt barony of Turvey could pass through the female line and therefore, although the earldom of Peterborough passed to her cousin, Charles, she inherited the Barony and the then principal family estate and residence at Drayton, Northants. On her death the barony too passed to her cousin but, not surprisingly as her cousin's actions had betrayed and had led to the downfall of her father, she made sure the he did not receive the Drayton estate. Charles tried to recover it over many years but did not succeed. An account of her life is related in the Dictionary of National Biography
- John Mordaunt (1626 - 1675) was created Baron of Ryegate (Reigate) and Viscount Avalon in 1659 for services to the Royalist cause during the Commonwealth.
He married Elizabeth Carey (? - 1679), who was much admired and respected by her contempories, such as the diarist, John Evelyn, who frequently found excuse to drop into her house in Parson's Green. Elizabeth herself kept her own diary, extracts of which were reproduced in the volume "English Women's Voices, 1540-1700". She was buried in All Saints, Fulham on 1st May 1679.
A more complete account of the life of John Mordaunt, Viscount Avalon is given in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
John and Elizabeth reportedly had eleven surviving children among whom were:
- Charles Mordaunt (1658? - 1735), (3rd Earl of Peterborough, 1st Earl of Monmouth, 2nd Viscount Avalon, 8th Baron of Turvey on the death of his cousin, Mary Howard, and 2nd Baron of Ryegate) See below
- (Elizabeth) Charlotte Mordaunt (1660? - 1718/19) married 1. Benjamin Albin Esq. on 18th September 1701 at St. Mildred Poutry with St. Mary Colechurch, London. She married 2. Sir joseph Alston, 3rd. bart. Websites are a little confused over the order of her marriages but her Will, published on the thekingscandlesticks website, clearly refers to 'Benjamin Albyn my first husband. All children named in the will were Alstons.
Painting attributed to Mary Beale (1632 - 1699)
National Trust collection, Castle Ward, Co. Down.
Thank you to Alison Szarvas (see London page) who drew my attention to the portraits on the www.bbc.co.uk/arts webpages.
- Carey Eleanor Mordaunt (1661 - 1713) died unmarried and was buried January 8th 1714.
Painting attributed to Mary Beale (1632 - 1699)
National Trust collection, Castle Ward, Co. Down.
- Henry (Harry) Mordaunt (1663 - 4th January 1719-20), second son of John Mordaunt, Viscount Avalon. He was educated at Eton(?), admitted to the Middle Temple on 12th February 1673-74, matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford, on 17th December 1680 and was awarded his B.A. in 1684. He was treasurer of the ordnance 1699 and a Lieutenant-General in 1709. He was M.P. for Brackley in five parliaments 1692-8 and 1700-8, and for Richmond, Yorks, 1708 until his death. He married Margaret (abt.1674 - 1706), illegitimate daughter of Sir Thomas Spencer, third baronet, of Yarnton, Oxfordshire.
Painting attributed to Mary Beale (1632 - 1699) National Trust collection, Castle Ward, Co. Down.
After his wife, Margaret's death in 1706, Harry married Penelope Tipping of Ewelm in Oxfordshire.
- Charles Mordaunt (19th November 1691 - ?) was christened on 4th December 1691 in Westminster. He apparently died without issue.
- Harry Mordaunt (? - 1724) died without issue and was buried in All Saints Church, Fulham.
- John Mordaunt (1696/97 - 1780), soldier and MP. He never married. The proceeedings of his court-martial following the unsuccessful expedition against the French port of Rochefort are available on the Internet Archive collection
A complete account of the his life is given in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
- Thomas Mordaunt (? - 1721) died without issue and was buried in All Saints Church, Fulham.
- Herbert Mordaunt died without issue.
- Elizabeth Lucy Mordaunt (? - 1765) married Sir Wilfred Lawson of Isell in Cumberland in All Saints Church, Fulham on 14th March 1723. Confusingly, www.ancestry.co.uk transcripts of parish records has them marrying in Burton Upon Trent, Staffordshire, in February 1724. She is buried in the church together with her two sons, Wilfred Lawson (d. 1739) and Mordaunt Lawson (d. 1743) who both died in their minority.
- Margaret Mordaunt. A Margaret Mordaunt was buried in All Saints Church, Fulham in 1788; I cannot think who else it may have been.
- Penelope Mordaunt married Sir Monoux Cope, baronet, of Bramsill, Hampshire.
- Sir John Mordaunt Cope (? - 1772)
- Sophia Mordaunt (b. 1664) married James Hamilton of Bangor, Ireland. They had no surviving sons. Their daughter Ann had a fine memorial to them erected in Bangor Abbey under the terms of her Will.
Painting attributed to Mary Beale (1632 - 1699) National Trust collection, Castle Ward, Co. Down.
- Cary Eleanor Hamilton (? - 1725), was buried in All Saints Church, Fulham
- Ann Hamilton (? - 1st May 1760) was to inherit the family seat. She married Michael Ward, Esq, who was to become a Justice of the King's Bench in Ireland. She died in Dublin.
- Lewis Mordaunt (1665 - 1712/13), third son of John Mordaunt, Viscount Avalon. Educated at Eton(?), he was another soldier who rose to Brigadier-General. He married Anne Martin of Long Melford in Suffolk. It was presumably he who was listed as a captain of a company of the Earl of Monmouth's regiment of foot in the calender of State Papers, Domestic, William and Mary, on 15th March 1692.
Painting attributed to Mary Beale (1632 - 1699)
National Trust collection, Castle Ward, Co. Down.
After the death of Anne, Lewis married Mary Collyer, daughter of Lieutenant Collyer, Governor-General of Jersey
- Charles Mordaunt, son of Lewis, and his children are a worthy distraction. 'Colonel' Charles Mordaunt has numerous Internet references, many of which are, at best, contradictory and confusing and, at worst, simply wrong. Most of the trouble seems to arise over the use of the military rank 'Colonel' and the assumption of some websites that all Colonel Mordaunts are the same person. In earlier times the rank of colonel could be acquired more easily with the required wealth and status. It could have been in the regular army or in the local, highly social, militia. The first Colonel Mordaunt, Charles, son of Brigadier General Lewis Mordaunt and a nephew of Charles Mordaunt, 3rd Earl of Peterborough, is mentioned in 1712 when he acquired the Halsall estate through marriage.
"Two sisters were co-heirs of the properties: Elizabeth, who married a distant cousin, Digby, fifth Lord Gerard of Bromley, and died in 1700, leaving a daughter and heiress Elizabeth, who married James duke of Hamilton; and Charlotte, wife of Thomas Mainwaring, who left a daughter and heiress Charlotte, who married Lord Mohun, and died in or before 1709. Lord Mohun, by the will of the second Lord Macclesfield, became owner of his wife's share of the Gerard estates, and the duel between him and the duke of Hamilton, in which both were killed (15 November, 1712), originated in a dispute about the division. His widow was made the heir to his part of the estates, which included Halsall, and carried them to her third husband, Colonel Charles Mordaunt. Though Colonel Mordaunt had no issue by her, he remained in possession of the Gerard and Fitton properties, and Halsall descended to his son by a second wife, Charles Lewis Mordaunt, who at one time resided in the hall at Halsall. Eventually he sold the manor to Thomas Eccleston, lord of the adjoining manor of Scarisbrick, and the advowson of the rectory to Jonathan Blundell of Liverpool. He died at Ormskirk on 15 January, 1808, aged seventy eight."
From: 'Townships: Halsall', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3 (1907), pp. 191-197.
So, his first wife, Elizabeth, Lady Mahon brought him the estate but no children. His second wife was Ann Scroope née Howe, daughter of Viscount Howe by his second wife. The marriage was conducted by his uncle George Mordaunt, minister of Little Paxton, Huntington, at St Benet's, Paul's Wharf, London on 8th May, 1728, - just in time: George died less than three months after.
Thanks to the Internet I learnt that Charles's family bible was sold at Sotheby's Rooms, London, on 4th May 1899, as Lot 264. It shows that having a Lancashire estate did not necessarily require one to live there and all their three children were born in Gerard Street, now part of London's "China Town."
He proceeded with a boundary dispute with his neighbours in 1719, which had started before his acquisition of the estate, which he lost.
I am not entirely sure but I think he may have died in London in 1762 and is the Charles Mordaunt, Esquire, buried in All Saints Chuch, Fulham
- Charles Louis Mordaunt (8th September 1729 - 15th January 1808). He was baptised at St. Anne, Soho, on 20th September 1729. The family bible spells his name Louis although many sources spell it Lewis. The family bible gives as his godparents his uncles, Charles, Earl of Peterborough, Viscount Howe and the Lady, Viscountess Howe. He too is often given the title Colonel in some Internet references.
- In 1770, he cut the first sod in the construction of the Leeds - Liverpool canal, the longest in the UK. There is a somewhat unattractive memorial commemorating the event erected in 2006.
- In 1781, he was the defendant in a breach of patent dispute with Richard Arkwright over the use of a water frame for cotton spining.
- Making his own coins to pay his employees. If you find one today they are quite valuable.
- Thomas Osbert Mordaunt (30th January 1730 (old calendar?) - 13th February 1809) is listed in most anthologies of English Verse and books of quotations for his lines written in the Seven Year War (1756 - 1763)
Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife!
Throughout the sensual world proclaim,
One crowded hour of glorious life
Is worth an age without a name.
The lines were the eleventh of a fourteen stanza poem about the thoughts of a young soldier fighting abroad, facing possible death, and thinking of his lady love back in England, the earliest known publication of which was in The Bee, a literary weekly published in Edinburgh, on 12th October 1791 with the title “A Poem, said to be written by Major Mordaunt during the last German War. Never before published.” A copy of this issue was found in Sir Walter Scott's library after his death. Scott had made the verse famous by using it (slightly misquoted) as a heading to Chapter XXV of his 1816 novel, "Old Mortality," attributing it as anonymous. The full text of the verses is given at the bottom of this page
In the family bible his godparents were given as his uncles, the Earl of Pembroke and Thomas Page, Esq., though Thomas Page was later crossed out, perhaps when he became godfather to the next son, and his aunt, the Hon. Juliana Page. As a teenager he was page of honour to the 9 year-old Princess Augusta but ultimately a major general in the Army and Fellow of the Royal Society. He was buried in All Saints, Fulham, on 18th February, 1809.
- Henry Mordaunt (20th October 1732 - 1778). His illustrious godparents were his cousin, Cosmo, Duke Gordon, his uncle Thomas Page and his aunt the Countess of Pembroke. He was, presumably, the "Mordaunt Henry, s. Charles of St. Anne's, Westminster, arm. CHRIST CHURCH, matric. 13 Nov.,1750, aged 18: B.A. 1755" in the list of Oxford University Alumni 1715 - 1886. He was to take Holy Orders and be granted the living of St Cuthbert's, Halsall by his father. The footnote records that Henry died after a fall from his horse. Unfortunately the on-line records of St Cuthbert's only start from 1838. He had been bequeathed the said family bible by his father
- Anna Maria Mordaunt (? - 1771). She was a maid of honour to Queen Caroline. In her youth she was a great beauty and Samuel Croxall dedicated to her his dramatic performance 'The 'Fair Circassian' (1720)
To Mrs Anna Maria Mordaunt
Madam, The Three Graces, which, above all other arts, so powerfully charm the soul, are poetry, painting and music. And each of these is nothing else but a certain agreeable beauty made up of a regular composition of language, colour and sound; which finding their way to the mind by those two noble instruments of sensation, the eye and the ear, entertain it in the highest perfection. All these probably were exerted together in Solomon's Fair One (from the biblical book "Song of Songs"); as the present age is convinced they are in you. Her language, like yours, was natural poetry; her voice music; and the excellent colouring and formation of her features, painting: But still, like yours, drawn by the inimitable pencil of nature, life itself; a pattern for the greatest masters, but copying after none; I will say angels are not cast in the same mould
Thus Solomon was a poet, and thus I translate. He drew the charms which his beautiful Saphira presented; and I transcribe from you. We may equally boast of being inspir'd, each of our breasts having been filled by a goddess: only with this difference; that my poem ought to excel, as I have had the advantage of a brighter object; whole beauties, as yet unsullied by the wanton gales of love, like the new-fall'n snow, glitter with a superior lustre. (and so on for several more pages!)
It seems odd to me that someone apparently so beautiful did not marry younger but, in February 1733, she married Stephen Poyntz Esq. (1685 - 1750). The link to her husband's biography has a less than flattering description of her latter years.
- William Poyntz (? - 1809) died without issue.
- Charles Poyntz, a prependary at Durham cathedral
- Margaret Georgiana Poyntz who married John Spencer, 1st Earl Spencer in 1755 and was therefore an ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales and therefore of HRHs the Princes William and Harry.
- Louisa Poyntz (? - 1809) who died unmarried.
- Sophia Mordaunt was baptised on 24th October 1706 at St Martin's in the Fields, London. She married Sir Roger Martin of Long Melford in Suffolk, her cousin?
- Osmond Mordaunt (abt 1670? - 1690) 4th son of John Mordaunt, Viscount Avalon, was born at Parson's Green, Fulham. Educated at Eton(?), he matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford, on 17th December 1686, the university giving his age as 16. Most old directories and genealogies record that he was killed at the Battle of the Boyne, 1st July 1690, fighting for William of Orange, when he would have been only 19 or 20 years old. I have found no supportive evidence for this; the National Archives has nothing on the subject - there are, apparently, no records of the casualties of the Battle of the Boyne.
There is a curious entry, courtesy of London Metropolitan Archives, in the parish records of St. Peter's, Cornhill, London, dated 15th June 1673, ""Osmund Mordaunt son of Lord John Mordaunt of Fulham, Middx. and Mary Bulger of Liraan, Nr. Gorey in Ireland were married this day! Osmund could not have been more than 2 or 3 years old at this time and perhaps a lot younger and the entry and writing are markedly different from those around it. At least two 19th Century sources, first, second, denounce this entry as a forgery in support of a fraudulent claim to the dormant barony of Turvey but both the College of Heralds and the Privileges Committee of the House of Lords have both told me that they do not have any record of such a claim being made. The first source cited refers to a record the following year of the baptism of a son Peter. In fact it is an entry of burial, again courtesy of London Metropolitan Archives, - you would have thought the Rector would have noticed that - but the surname and place of burial are not given. The second source refers to an entry in the marriage register in Stoke Fleming in Devon in 1688 of an Osmond Mordaunt and Mrs Mary Hynne. At least this Osmond would have been about the right age but the denunciation overlooks the fact that there was a family of Mordaunts in Stoke Fleming around this time with several generations of Osmonds, please refer to the Mordaunts in the Rest of Britain webpage.
- George Mordaunt (1675 - 28th July 1728), 5th son of John Mordaunt, Viscount Avalon, was baptised in All Saints, Fulham in 6th December 1675. He matriculated at New Inn Hall, Oxford on 27th January 1691-2, the university giving his age as 15.
An entertaining account of his early life has been given in the book "Uncertain Unions and Broken Lives - Marriages and Divorce in England 1660 - 1857" by Lawrence Stone (OUP 1992/1992). It is amusing reading but has obvious inaccuracies, such as referring to his brother as 3rd Earl of Anglesey instead of Peterborough, which does not give one great confidence in the piece, and it is probably not very impartial given that most of the sources quoted were intended to totally destroy the character and credibility of the hapless Susan Forbes and her associates. The often quoted footnotes, "LAPC" refers to "Lambeth Palace, Court of Arches manuscripts" the court of appeal of the Archbishop of Canterbury which dealt with, among other things, matrimonial disputes. The mentioned seminary at Lambspring was not, in fact, so much a seminary as a monastery established by English Benedictines.
By his lover, Susan Forbes he apparently had a son
He afterwards married 1. A widow of apparent dubious reputation, Catherine (var. Katherine) Dormer, née Spencer, (d. 1714), daughter of Sir Thomas Spencer of Yarnton, Oxfordshire, at St Bride, Fleet Street, on 3rd December 1708. An heiress, she had inherited from her father a quarter share of the manor of Packwood, Warwickshire, which whole manor her widower George and all her family together sold in 1715. She died without children.
- George Morfor (1708 - 1708) baptised in July 1708 in the Portugeuse Ambassador's chapel who, fortunately for him perhaps, did not long survive.
He then married 2. Elizabeth (? - 1718), daughter of Sir John Doyly of Chiselhampton. She is buried in All Saints, the parish church of Fulham, where his parents lived and are buried. They had two daughters
George next married 3. Elizabeth Collier, the sister of Mary, the wife of his brother, Lewis at St. Benet Pauls Wharf, on 9th July 1720. He obtained or was given the living of Little Paxton in Huntingdonshire. His children were all baptised there and he presented a silver plate to the parish. The children of the marriage were not individually named in his Will in 1726, which made guaranteed provision for the two eldest children, by Elizabeth Doyly, on the basis of the earlier marriage settlement but poor George had to admit he could not afford to afford to fulfill his obligations to Elizabeth Collier and her children under her marriage settlement as it seems a third person had defaulted on a debt to him. His Will prompted her to sell all his property to raise money for herself and the education of the children. He clearly did not expect help from his wealthy brothers. All the same, Elizabeth did not do so badly by the children, obtaining a good marriage for at least one daughters.
- Sophia Elizabeth Mordaunt was named in her father's Will dated 1726, proved in 1728, but I have not yet seen her on any genealogical list. Either she died young or did not make a marriage the various directories and other references thought worth recording
- Anna Maria Mordaunt who married Jonathan Shipley, D.D., canon of Christchurch, Oxford, and later bishop of St Asaph, in north Wales.
- George Mordaunt (1723 - ?), baptised in Little Paxton, Hertfordshire, on 3rd May 1723
- John Mordaunt (1724 - ?), baptised in Little Paxton, Hertfordshire, on 6th May 1724
- Mary Mordaunt (1725 - ?), baptised in Little Paxton, Hertfordshire, on 24th August 1725, She married Valentine Morris (or Maurice), Esq., (1727 - 1789). Her portrait miniature was published in a Christie's catalogue. He was to become to become Governor of the Caribean island of St. Vincent and was incumbent when the island was captured by French forces in the American War of Independence and he returned to the UK impoverished. According to Wikipedia articles, Mary attempted suicide and was confined to a madhouse and Valentine was imprisoned for seven years for debt.
- Elizabeth Mordaunt (1726 - 1785), baptised in Little Paxton, Hertfordshire, in August 1726. She married in 1747 Sir William Milner, a baronet. Their son and heir was
- (Sir) William Mordaunt Milner. The family has kept the name Mordaunt, not as a hyphenated double-barrelled surname but as a sort of hereditory middle Christian name for all the children, right down to the present generation. The only exception appears to the the current baronet whose christening broke over 200 years of family tradition although not for his brother.
- Anne Mordaunt (b. 1666), youngest surviving daughter of John and Elizabeth, married James Hamilton of Tullamore, Ireland. He was presumably the member of the Council for the North East (Derry and Inniskillen) appointed for the "protection" of Protestants in January 1689
- James Hamilton (? - 1758), later Viscount Limerick and Earl of Clanbrassil.
- Elizabeth Mordaunt, the sister of Henry and John. She fits very nicely as the Elizabeth Mordaunt, the daughter of a John and Elizabeth Mordaunt, baptised on 1st October, 1627, at St Andrew By the Wardrobe. She married Thomas, Lord Howard of Escrick
- William Mordaunt, a brother of Henry and John, was baptised 17th August, 1633, at St Andrew by the Wardrobe, London. I have learnt nothing more about him and assume he died young.
Charles Mordaunt, 3rd Earl of Peterborough
- Charles Mordaunt (1658 - 25th October 1738) was, undoubtedly, one of the towering figures of his day. He succeeded to his father's titles, Viscount of Avalon and Baron of Ryegate. He was created Earl of Monmouth by William III and succeeded to the title Earl of Peterborough on the death of his uncle, Henry, and succeeded to the title Baron of Turvey on the death of his cousin, Mary.
An account of the life of Charles, 3rd Earl of Peterborough is given in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
He married Carey Frazier, who merits her own entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
One biographer, Brigadier-General Ballard, wrote in 1929,
In Lady Mordaunt (that is, Charles's mother)'s diary I can only find three mentions of her eldest son. Undated, but apparently in 1658, she gives thanks for "hops of an ayr to my family." In 1667 another thanksgiving for "the recovery of my sone Charles." On "March ye 3rd 1674 when my sone Charles went to Oxfod" we find a "prayre to butyphy his soule."
They had children in such rapid succession that the records of some given dates of their births are confusing. Between May 1709 and April 1710, Charles lost his wife to a "quinsy" and both his sons to smallpox.
Ballard went on to write "His education was remakably good; in spelling and grammar his letters are beyond reproach, the handwriting is firm and precise; private correspondance is lively and was considered witty.....; in official dispatches his style is strong and clear. Among peers of the realm he had a reputation for forcible eloquence. The wide circle of his friends included Locke, Dryden, Swift, Pope and other great authors of that brilliant period."
Portrait 1675 - 1700 by Godfrey Kneller, English heritage collection, Marble Hill House, Twickenham
Charles Mordaunt later married Anastasia Robinson, a singer, in 1722, the first known such union of a peer and the stage.
- John Mordaunt (1681 - 6th April 1710). Courtesy title Viscount Avalon. Matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford, 7th December 1699.
In his short life he served as both and M.P. and soldier and a brief life history from various sources is given on the Biographies webpage. He died of smallpox on 6th April 1710, and was buried at Turvey on 13th April 1710.
In 1708, he married Lady Frances Powlett (d. 1715), daughter of Charles Powlett, var. Paulet, 2nd Duke of Bolton. They had two sons:
- Charles Mordaunt (1708–1779) , 4th Earl of Peterborough.
- John Mordaunt (c. 1709–1767) , Lieutenant Colonel and commander of the Duke of Kingston's Regiment of Light Horse at Culloden (1746). He married 1. Hon Mary Howe (? - 1749) and 2. Elizabeth Hamilton (St. James, Westminster, on 11th March, 1758). He died without children and was buried in All Saints church, Fulham.
- Henry Mordaunt (1683? - 1710) was baptised in All Saints, Fulham on 28th April, 1683.
He grew up to be a sailor, serving with distinction in the Navy, and became MP for Malmsbury in 1705. An account of the his life is given in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
- Henrietta Mordaunt (1681/2 - 1760). There is, apparently, an entry in the parish records St. Thomas Church, Portsmouth, of the baptism of Henrietta Mordaunt, daughter of Charles Mordaunt and Carey Fraser, on 5th August 1706. Perhaps her parents had forgotten to do it earlier and were prompted to do so by an imminent marriage contract. The next year, in February 1707, she married Alexander Gordon, later Duke of Gordon. An account of her life is given in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
- Thomas Mordaunt (? - 1684) died an infant and is buried in All Saints chuch, Fulham
The 4th and 5th Earls of Peterborough
We should, perhaps, pause to note that about this time history is beginning to record the poorer Mordaunts mentioned on the other pages of this website. Charles Mordaunt a vintner in London, voted for the Tories in the 1713 general election; unfortunate Elizabeth would have served her sentence of transportation, if she survived it; Patrick and Margaret were already innkeepers and pawnbrokers in Shadwell in London's East End; George married Jenet in Lathom, Lancashire, and in County Wexford, in Ireland, perhaps the first Mordaunt tenant farmers were already leasing their fields.
After two centuries of distinguished service in public and military affairs, this main line of the Mordaunt family was to peter out with the two, perhaps profligate, final heirs. Perhaps the decline started with the latter years of the third earl, Charles, who for the final 20 years of his life led a comfortable and indulgent existance, without perhaps paying very much attention to the maintenance of the family's wealth. In fairness, society had changed and was becoming more professional. In 1721 Britain had its first modern-style prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole; the nobility were no longer expected to fill all the offices of state. In war also, the era of the gifted amateur was over, Charles, the 3rd earl, being perhaps the last. The nobility were becoming redundent.
- Charles Mordaunt (1708 - 1st August 1779), 4th Earl of Peterborough. He was hardly two years old when his father died and so was, presumably, raised by his mother, with probably little input from his grandfather. According to an Oxford University register he was born in York and matriculated at Balliol College, 13th November 1727, aged 17, (slight discrepancy on dates here).
It seems that the first true love of his life may have been the tragic Virginian heiress, Evelyn Byrd, (1707 - 1737), brought over to London to be shown off to society by her ardent protestant father who whisked her back to the Americas when she fell in love with the Catholic Charles. Did he pine for her as she apparently did for him? This reference to Catholicism came as a surprise to me and may be an additional explaination why he did not follow a predestined path to military or governmental greatness, since both careers were prohibited to Catholics under the penal legislation. Or perhaps it doesn't. Anyway, he seems to have flittered away his time with such idle and hedonistic pursuits as the Beefsteak Club.
Did he marry Mary Cox, the daughter of a wealthy Quaker wholesale grocer, in 1735, out of passion and love, or was he more following his perception of social and family convention and duty following his broken heart? In some circles, such a union of gentry and trade was looked down upon and excusable only by reason of great beauty or great wealth. Her sister, equally "successful", married a viscount. Whatever he had felt for her, in the mid 1740s Charles met and fell for Robiniana Brown, who was, apparently, a great beauty. Even years later, among all the ladies of the court attending the coronation of George III in 1760, she was particularly picked out for comment by Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford (published correspondence). However, by 1782, she was described in the correspondence of William Cowper as a "dissipated woman of fashion."
I had found out nothing of Robiniana until I received correspondence from Yvonne Solomon doing research into her own family. Not to take up too much space here I have reproduced her information at the bottom of the page
It must have been a very public relationship to the shameful and humiliating abuse of his wife. Robiniana bore him at least five children before the death of Mary and Charles waited only three months to marry her. I have no reason to doubt they lived happily ever after. I am sure all this is wonderful material for a woman writer of historical novels.
So much for the conjecture of a too idle and over-active imagination. The hard facts are that he married 1. Mary Cox (? - 1755). On her death, Mary was interred in Fulham. Details of all Mary's children are courtesy an interesting little booklet, Index to Obituary and Biographical Notices in Jackson's Oxford Journal compiled by Edward Albert Baldwin Mordaunt, who may be found on the 'Mordaunt Family in Lancashire' page.
Charles married 2. Robiniana Brown (? - 1794) in 1755. She had already borne him at least five children
- Caroline Mordaunt (? - 1736) was interred in the parish church, Hendon.
- Frances Mordaunt (1736 - 1798) married Rev. Samuel Bulkeley D.D. of Hatfield 10th October 1765 at St. Georges, Hannover Square. She died without issue and was interred in the church of St Ethelreda, Bishop's Hatfield, Herts
- Mary-Anastasia Grace Mordaunt (25th June 1738 - 1819) was christened in July 1738 at St James, Westminster. She was to become Baroness Mordaunt of Turvey on the death of her father. I am guessing that, as such, she was the Lady M. Mordaunt who attended the Queen's birthday party in 1778 and attended the Drury Lane Theatre with the King and Queen's party in 1789 to see a tragedy, "Mary Queen of Scots" with no less leads than Mr Kemble and Mrs Siddons! She did not marry and on her death the barony passed to a cousin, Alexander, 4th Duke of Gordon (grandson of her great aunt Henrietta, above), and so was lost to the Mordaunt name. Alexander, in turn, was succeeded by his son, George Gordon, but the title fell into abeyance when he died without heir in 1836. The chances of proving a claim now, after over 175 years, are somewhat remote.
After the marriage Charles and Robiniana had "legitimate" children, including a son and now legitimate heir
- Henry Mordaunt, (? - 1791?) according to the edition of the "memoirs of William Hickey," a diarist of the 1780s, published on Google Books, was "an illegitimate elder brother of the Earl of Peterborough, having been born before his parents were married." William Hickey does not paint a sympathetic portrait and neither does the biographer of his brother John below, but I do have sympathy for an oldest son who couldn't inherit the family title that should otherwise have been his if his parents had just married first. The National Archives holds a probate inventory, or declaration, on the estate of "Henry Mordaunt, bastard, bachelor, of Bengal, East Indies, captain in the East India Company's service at Bengal, East Indies, who died abroad."
- Charles Mordaunt (1748 - 1780?). The baptism of Charles, son of Lord Peterborough, at St. George's, Hannover Square, on 17th May 1748, is recorded among the documents in the India Office of the National Library. It records he was employed as a writer with the East India Company in 1764. The burial of a Charles Mordaunt, I am assuming they are the same one, on 6th April 1780 was recorded in Madras.
- John Mordaunt (1749 - after 1791) was baptised in St. Georges, Mayfair, on 15 June, 1749. He is perhaps best known as the subject of the Zoffany painting "Colonel Mordaunt's Cock Match," painted about 1784/86. It is with grateful thanks to Michael Mordaunt in Melbourne that I was pointed towards an affectionate and amusing biography published in "Select Reviews and Spirit of the Foreign Magazines" published in Philadelphia in 1809. (What a wonderful thing Google Books is!). It establishes that John was a younger brother to Henry and an older brother to Charles Henry, the "legitimate" heir to the family title. John apparently died in his 40th year a little after his brother, Henry.
The baptisms of three illegitimate children of a John Mordaunt, Captain, Artillery, were recorded in Calcutta in 1st April 1790: Sophia Mordaunt, aged 4 years 4 months, Lewis Mordaunt, aged 1 years 11 months and Gertrude Christina Mordaunt, aged 9 months. Was it the same or another John? I am grateful to Penny Graham who contacted me and told me about the records in the India Office of the National Library, which also led me to further discoveries of other members of the wider Mordaunt family, including a third son to Charles:.
- Frances Mordaunt(?) (1750 - ?). A Frances Mordaunt was baptised at St. George's, Hyde Park Corner, on 28th July 1750. The name of her parents was not given. As three other children of Charles and Robiniana were baptised in this church it opens the possibility that she was another of their children but I have found no other evidence of her. However, having already a daughter (by his first wife Mary Cox, it seems strange that he would give the same name to a later.
- Harriat Mordaunt (1751/52 - ?) was baptised 30th January 1751/52 at St George's, Hyde Park Corner. She presumably did not survive for long as, shortly after,
- Harriat Mordaunt (1753 - ?) was baptised 11th June 1753 at St George's, Hyde Park Corner. She
was in a better position than her brothers; as a girl she would not have been such an embarrassment to a young heir-apparent as having elder brothers obviously would have been, and so did not have to be banished to the East India Company. Her parents were legally married when she was only two years old and she could grow up in public society with all the comforts, privileges and standing of an earl's daughter, even if she may have been conventionally denied the courtesy "The Honourable." She was described in the correspondence of William Cowper as a "haughty beauty."
She married Maurice George Bisset of Lessendrum, Aberdeenshire, on 14th October, 1787, at All Saints, Southampton. The family lived mainly in the Isle of Wight, about as far from the family seat in Aberdeenshire as they could possibly get! In Bisset family records, the spelling of her name changed to Harriot. Bisset geneaologies often give her father's name as John Mordaunt, a clear error for which I have great sympathy, doing similar sorts of things myself. They had children
A monument in the church bears the inscription, "Sacred to the memory of Maurice George Bisset, Esq. of Lessendrum, who died at Lessundrum on the 16th December 1821, in the 64th year of his age. This tablet is jointly inscribed by Harriot, his affectionate and mournful widow, and his brother and immediate successor, William, Lord Bishop of Raphoe, in honour of his name, and in grateful recollection of his many virues that adorned his sacred character."
- Jane Harriot Bisset (? - 1866). She married a cousin, the Venerable Maurice George Fenwick of Lemmington, who at some time became Rector of Drumsholm and Archdeacon of Raphoe. On Jane Harriot later succeeding to the property of Lessendrum, her husband assumed the name Bisset. Her eldest son, Mordaunt Bisset (b. 1826) was to inherit the residual fortune of the Earl Mordaunts, however much that was, from the Will of his mother's natural uncle, Charles Henry, the 5th Earl, but only after her death. Until then it was held in trust.
- Anne Bisset (? - 1879)
I am grateful to Michael Younger, a descendent of the Bisset family, who made contact notifying me of Harriet's existence and providing many details. Further details of the Bisset family can be found at this webpage
- Robinia Mordaunt (1756? - 1756). A transcript on www.ancestry.co.uk records "Lady Robinia Mordant (sic), d. of Earl of Peterborough, buried 04 Oct 1756." Confusingly, the website states that this record was transcribed from the Hertfordshire Register of Marriages, 1569 - 1837! The "fact" that she was born after her parent's marriage is entirely my supposition based on the title 'lady'.
- Charles Henry Mordaunt (11th May 1758 - 16th June 1814) (5th Earl of Peterborough and etc to everything else except the barony of Turvey). He was presumably always "Charles Henry" to distinguish him from his illegitimate elder brother, Charles. He was baptised in Westminster on 10th June 1758 and matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford, 18th May 1776, his age given as 18. In 1779, two months before his father's death, he was described in the diary of Fanny Burney as "a pretty, languid, tonnish young man." He died without issue, bringing to an end the direct aristocratic line. All his titles became extinct.
He was 19 years-old when he succeeded to the titles from his father. He seems to have led a profligate and indulgent life, gradually diminishing still further the family fortune. In 1786/87 he sold the Turvey estate to the Higgins family (after nearly 600 years in the family although they had not lived there for 200 years). In the 1780s he had a very public affair with Lady Ann Foley, daughter of the 6th Earl of Coventry and wife of the the Hon. Edward Foley. This was to lead to a very public divorce, an Act of Parliament to dissolve the marriage and an action by Edward Foley against Charles Henry for criminal conversation, ("criminal conversation" was based on compensation for a man's loss of property rights over his wife, the wife being considered as his chattel, following adultery). Lady Ann later married a captain of 15th Hussars, Samuel Wright
There is, apparently, a record in St Nicholas's Church, Aberdeen, of the baptism of a baby girl, Rosana Mordaunt, the daughter of Charles Henry Mordaunt and Mary Brebner dated 20th July 1790. The Brebner family website suggests she may have been the daughter of William and Jean Brebner, he being one of the wealthiest merchants in Scotland and so possibly part of the Bisset's social circle. If it was she, she would have been 46 years old at the time, while Charles Henry was 32. Another possibility is that she was a young servant at the Bissett house.
The only other two references to Charles Henry I have found are both connected to his death. First, his Will both ignores and recognises his natural older sister, Harriat. Born before her parents were married, she legally did not exist. The Will makes no mention of her but the residual fortune of the Earl Mordaunts, however much that was, was passed to the son of Jane Harriot, her daughter and Charles Henry's natural niece, referred to only as "oldest daughter of George Maurice Bisset," but only after her death.
Second, I am grateful again to Michael Younger, who passed to me a copy of the 'Bath and Cheltenham Gazette' account of his very opulent funeral. Strangely to modern readers, there is no list of attending celebrities! Perhaps there were none. The report states he was buried at Dauntsey, Wiltshire which, according to British History Online, went to the Mordaunt family in 1690. Only estates in Wiltshire are mentioned in his Will, an indication perhaps of how much the family fortune had diminished by this time. The funeral was followed by an unseemly legal wrangle over the costs and expenses of the funeral which was finally settled out of court. The Times newspaper (bottom of the middle column) reported the cost as £2,568!!!!
- Paulett (assuming the www.ancestry.co.uk transcript is accurate) Mordaunt (12th July 1759 - ?) was christened in Westminster on 2nd August 1759. What became of him I have not yet discovered.
- Sir(?) Philip Mordaunt, aged about 27 years-old, shot himself in the head. This was clearly a well known event in its time, being refered to by Voltaire, Goldsmith and a 1835 medical textbook on diseases of the mind written in Pennsylvania. Described by Voltaire as a cousin-german (today we would say first cousin) to Charles, the 3rd Earl of Peterborough, this places him in time anywhere from 1690 - 1735 but Earl Charles did not have any male cousins. I have been unable to place him in any family tree.
- Robiniana Brown. My correspondent, Yvonne Solomon, wrote:
"My three great grandmother was Lucy Pearson née Hesketh. She had a half sister (same mother) Frances Shelley nee Winkley (Lady Shelley 1787-1817) who wrote her memoirs. Their mother was Jacintha Dalrymple. Jacintha married first Thomas Hesketh, secondly Thomas Winckley and thirdly James Barrington. Now Frances Shelley says in her memoirs that her mother's first cousin was the Earl of Peterborough "who welcomed us to London". This would be in about in 1793 and Lord Peterborough would therefore be Charles Henry Mordaunt (5th Earl). If they are first cousins one of Jacintha's parents would be brother/sister to one of Charles Henry Mordaunt's parents. Jacintha's father was Hew Dalrymple and his siblings are known and this connection can be ruled out. Jacintha's mother was Grizel Craw - but the Craw family apparently also used the name Brown. This fits with Charles Henry Mordaunt's mother Robiniana Brown. Thus I am concluding that Grizel and Robiniana were sisters.
"(several websites) give Robiniana's father as Colonel Browne. This fits with what I know about the Craws/Browns. My information comes from the book written about Grizel's daughter Grace Elliott née Dalrymple, "My lady Scandalous, the amazing life and outrageous times of Grace Dalrymple Elliott", by Jo Manning. To quote " the girl [Grace] was said to have been born and at the home of her maternal grandfather, Craw (or Brown, as the surname of this military family is sometimes given in error)". This fits with Robiniana's father being a Colonel. The family were Scottish and lived in Edinburgh."
"A Poem, said to be written by Major Mordaunt during the last German War*"
Go, lovely boy!** to yonder tow'r
The fame of Janus, ruthless King!
And shut, O! shut the brazen door,
And here the keys in triumph bring.
Full many a tender heart hath bled,
Its joys in Belgia's soil entomb'd:
Which thou to Hymen's smiling bed,
And length of sweetest hours had doom'd.
Oh, glory! you to ruin owe
The fairest plume the hero wears:
Raise the bright helmet from his brow;
You'll mock beneath the manly tears.
Who does not burn to place the crown
Of conquest on his Albion's head?
Who weeps not at her plaintive moan,
To giver her hapless orphans bread?
Forgive, ye brave, the generous fault,
If thus my virtue falls; alone
My Delia stole my earliest thought,
And fram'd its feelings by her own.
Her mind so pure, her face so fair;
Her breast the seat of softest love;
It seemed her words an angel's were,
Her gentle percepts from above.
My mind thus form'd, to misery gave
The tender tribute of a tear:
O! Belgia, open thy vast grave,
For I could pour and ocean there.
When first you show'd me at your feet
Pale liberty, religion tied,
I flew to shut the glorious gate
Of freedom on a tyrant's pride.
Tho great the cause, so wore with woes,
I can not but lament the deed:
My youth to melancholy bows,
An Clotho trifles with my thread.
But stop, my Clio, wanton muse,
Indulge not this unmanly strain:
Beat, beat the drums, my ardor rouse,
And call the soldier back again.
Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife,
Throughout the sensual world proclaim,
One crowded hour of glorious life
Is worth an age without a name.
Go then, thou little lovely boy,
I can not, must not, hear thee now;
And all thy soothing arts employ
To sooth my Delia of her wo.
If the gay flow'r, in all its youth,
Thy scythe of glory here must meet;
Go, bear my laurel, pledge of truth,
And lay it at my Delia's feet.
Her tears shall keep it ever green,
To crown the image in her breast;
Till death doth close the hapless scene,
And calls its angel home to rest.
* As originally printed, according to the Literary Digest, Sept. 11, 1920.
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