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Waldegrave

Waldegrave coat of armsThe Waldegrave family have been Lords of the Manor of Chewton Mendip since Tudor times but they have only been full-time residents since 1898. They are a family with a long and distinguished history on the national and international stage as described in their Wikipedia entry. The information about them in this page focuses on their influence on Chewton Mendip rather than a full account of the family history.
 Sir Edward Waldegrave ( c. 1516 – 1 September 1561) was granted the manor of Chewton Mendip by Queen Mary in 1553. It is significant that sir Edward was consistent in his support for Mary and the Catholic faith when many other people changed their religion with the change of monarch.He  was first imprisoned with Francis Englefield under Edward VI after they failed to get Mary to convert to the protestant faith. He imprisoned by Elizabeth I for practicing his Catholic faith too openly. It has been suggested that he built the ‘priest hole’ in the Manor House but there little evidence to support this theory. It is a sign of the respect felt by people who may have opposed his religious views that he was allowed to retain his lands and wealth. He was succeeded by his grandson, another Sir Edward
 Sir Edward Waldegrave, 1st Baronet (c. 1568 – c. 1650). He fought in the Civil War  despite being 70 at the time. He was succeeded by Henry Waldegrave.
 Sir Henry Waldegrave. There are no details published in Wikipedia.
 Sir Charles Waldegrave, 3rd Baronet. There are no details published in Wikipedia.
 Sir James Waldegrave, 1st Baron and  1st Earl(1661 – 24 January 1689) was the son of Sir Charles. He married Arabella Churchill, the illegitimate daughter of James II and the sister of the Duke of Marlborough. He was elevated to baron for this service. His second wife was Mary Webb who he married in 1714. For more information about this this family link, visit the site maintained by Neil Jenkins.  George II then made James Waldegrave an Earl and sent him to Paris and Vienna as his ambassador. His main residence was Navestock in Essex but the Manor House was built during his time and it fits with his status that he would have a prestigious house built in one of his west country estates. However, he is unlikely have felt the need to build a priest hole, especially as he later converted to the protestant faith
 James Waldegrave, 2nd Earl Waldegrave (4 March 1715 – 13 April 1763) was the son of the 1st Earl. He was a statesman and  married Maria Walpole, the illegitimate daughter of Sir Edward Walpole  on 15 May 1759.  This bought the Walpole home in Strawberry Hill into the Waldegrave family. He became Teller to the Exchequer in 1757 which was a role that later evolved into Prime Minister. He had three daughters so he was succeeded by his brother, John,  when he died of smallpox in 1763. Maria then married the king’s brother, Henry Duke of Gloucester and she had a further three royal children.
 John Waldegrave, 3rd Earl Waldegrave (28 April 1718 – 22 October 1784) was the brother of the 2nd Earl. He became an Member of Parliament in  1747 but continued his military career. He had married Lady Elizabeth Leveson-Gower, a younger daughter of the 1st Earl Gower on  7 May 1751 and they had four children. He became Major General in 1757 and fought at the Battle of Minden in 1759 and  became a Lieutenant-General that year. He also  fought at the Battle of Warburg in 1760. He later became a General in 1772.
 George Waldegrave, 4th Earl Waldegrave, (23 November 1751 – 22 October 1789) was the eldest son of John Waldegrave the fourth earl. He was also a soldier but he was not involved in any action. Promotion was by purchase in those days so whilst he became a Lt Colonel it aid more for his wealth than his military ability. He married his first cousin, Lady Elizabeth Waldegrave and they had five children. He inherited his father’s titles in 1784 and wealth from the Walpole and Duke of Gloucester estates as well.
 George Waldegrave, 5th Earl Wadegrave (13 July 1784–29 June 1794) was the son of the 4th Earl Waldegrave and his wife, Elizabeth Waldegrave, Countess Waldegrave. He inherited his titles at the age of five but drowned whilst swimming in the River Thames near Eton in 1794. He was succeeded by his brother, John. the 1794 map that has been used in this website may have been produced in his lifetime.
 John James Waldegrave, 6th Earl Waldegrave (31 July 1785–31 July 1835). He was the second son of the fourth earl who inherited the title when his brother drowned. He was also a soldier and saw action in the Peninsular war in 1812 and the battle of Waterloo in 1815.
 William Waldegrave, 1st Baron Radstock (9 July 1753 – 20 August 1825) was the second son of John, the 3rd Earl  and Elizabeth Levison Gower. He was never the lord of the manor of Chewton Mendip but he is included because of his naval career.He joined the navy  at age 13 in 1766 at about the same time that another naval officer, Robert Brice acquired the church lands of Chewton Mendip through marriage.  William Waldegrave gained swift promotion, only partly due to his family connections. The navy did not allow the purchase of commissions so promotion was supposed to be purely on merit but some was influence was required to reach the higher levels.He was the third in command on the British side at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent in February 1797. A young officer callled Horatio Nelsonwas under his command.  He was offered a baronetcy for the role he played in the battle but declined on the grounds that, as a son of an earl, he already held a higher rank. It is tempting to think that he was taking an interest in his nephew’s affairs and was influential in getting the 1794 map drawn.He was appointed the Governor of Newfoundland, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, on 16 May 1797. He was faced with many difficulties and made many reforms which subsequent governors benefited from. One of the subsequent governors of Newfoundland was Sir Erasmus Gower,a very distant relative of his mother.He left Newfoundland in 1800 and was made Baron Radstock in 1802.
 George Edward Waldegrave, 7th Earl Waldegrave (8 February 1816–28 September 1846). He was the eldest legitimate child of the 6th Earl Waldegrave. He followed the family tradition of being educated at Eton and he went to Oxford university but he followed a very different career path from then on. Firstly, he married the widow of his illegitimate elder brother, Francis Braham, she is described in greater detail below.  That was illegal in those days so they had to elope to Gretna Green. They were married on 28 September 1840.In 1841 he was a sentence to six months in prison for assaulting a policeman when drunk. He got into debt, possibly through gambling, despite having inherited great wealth so he had to sell the Walpole treasure in 1842. They left the derelict Strawberry hill in 1844 and moved to Harptee Court. He died two years later of drink. Francis remarried tw more times but they did not have any children so George’s brother, William succeeded the title.
 William Waldegrave, 8th Earl Waldegrave (27 October 1788 – 24 October 1859) was a naval officer and politician. He was the third son of the fourth earl who inherited the title due to the misfortune of his brother and nephew. he married Elizabeth Whitbread in 1815. He retired from the navy in 1842 as a Rear-Admiral, inherited his childless nephew’s titles in 1846.William was married for a second time in 1842 to Sarah Milward, née Whitear. He was promoted to Vice-Admiral in 1858 and died in 1859. His eldest son, William Waldegrave, Viscount Chewton had died in 1854 so he was succeeded by his grandson, William.
 Francis Braham, now known as the Countess Waldegrave bought ‘Mr Jenkins very neat seat’ in 1850 which she remodelled as Chewton Priory. Here third husband was a Mr Harcourt of Nunham who did not last very long but she found greater happiness with her fourth husband, Chichester Fortescue, who later became Lord Carlingford. They contributed to both the Mehodist chapel and the Church Tower restoration fund in 1890 but they are known for many things other than those acts of generosity.
 William Frederick Waldegrave, Viscount Chewton (29 June 1816– 8 October 1854) was the son of the 8th earl. He served as a midshipman on his father’s ship, HMS Seringapatam whilst still at school. He emigrated to Canada and helped put down a rebellion in 1837. He returned to England and became a British army officer in 1842 and fought in  the Battle of Sobraon on 10 February 1846 which was part of the Anglo Sikh war. His father had inherited the title in that year so he assumed the courtesy title of Viscount Chewton. He  fought in the Battle of Alma, part of the Crimean war,  in September 1854, but died of his wounds a few weeks later so his son, William, inherited the titles of 9th Earl Waldegrave.
 William Frederick Waldegrave, 9th Earl Waldegrave  (2 March 1851 – 12 August 1930).  He was the eldest son of William Waldegrave, Viscount Chewton who had died in the Crimean War so he first gained the courtesy title Viscount Chewton in 1854. William Frederick inherited the title aged eight when his grandfather, William the 8th Earl died in 1859.Francis, Countess Waldegrave was still the de facto dominant force whilst William Frederick was young but it was the Waldgrave Estate Manager, James McMutrie, who ran the estate and is credited with reviving the family fortunes. Mining was now the main source of income for the Waldegraves but they had been buying former Kingsmills lands throughout the 19th century whilst selling their estates in the east.William Frederick married his first cousin, Lady Mary Dorothea Palmer, daughter of Roundell Palmer, 1st Earl of Selborne, on 5 August 1874. He n officer in the militia based in London but his main occupation was in politics. He became the government chief whip in the House of Lords.Lord Carlingford died in 1898 and George Frederick moved into Chewton Priory and assumed the role of ‘local squire’. He is seen as an older man in the cricket 11 of 1904 and other photographs. He died in 1930 and was succeeded, briefly, by his son, William.
 William Edward Seymour Waldegrave, 10th Earl Waldegrave (2 October 1882 – 30 January 1933) was the son of William Waldegrave, 9th Earl Waldegrave and Lady Mary Dorothea Palmer. He died unmarried at age 50 and was succeeded, also briefly, by his uncle, Henry Waldegrave
 Henry Noel Waldegrave, 11th Earl Waldegrave. (14 October 1854–30 December 1936). He was the second son of William Waldegrave who died in the Crimean war. He was born after his father’s death and he inherited the title when his nephew, William Edward Seymour Waldegrave, the 10th Earl died childless.He was a minister of religion and married Anne Katherine Bastard, the daughter of Rev. William Pollexfen Bastard, on  27 October 1892 and they had five children. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Geoffrey in 1936.
 Geoffrey Noel Waldegrave, 12th Earl Waldegrave (21 November 1905–23 May 1995) was the son of Henry Noel Waldegrave, who was breifly the 11th Earl. He had married Mary Hermione Grenfell (a grandniece of the 1st Baron Grenfell) On 22 October 1930 and they had seven children. He was known as Viscount Chewton from 1933 to 1936. He succeeded to his father’s titles in 1936 and became a member of Somerset County Council in 1937. He served with the Royal Artillery (Territorial Army) during World War Two.He held several government roles in agriculture and forestry after th war and is seen in many photographs up to his death in 1995. Some of the most significant pictures in the context of the history of the village are the village hall group pictures of c 1950 and the  farmers tenants lunch of 1955. He gave a talk to the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History society in 1970 which has provided some of the material for this article. His wife was the chairwoman of the Somerset Women’s institute and a keen historian. Henry Noel Waldegrave was succeeded by his eldest son, James and his other son, William.
 James “Jamie” Sherbrooke Waldegrave, 13th Earl Waldegrave  was styled Viscount Chewton until 1995 when he inherited his father’s title and is the current Earl. One of his claims to fame was that he was a page-boy at Elizabeth II’s coronation. He has kindly provided copies of the 1794 map and other material
 William Waldegrave, was a conservative cabinet minister under Margaret Thatcher and is now known as Baron Waldegrave of North Hill.
3 Comments
  1. Valerie Archer permalink

    I was hoping for more on the Waldegrave fmily tree as I am related. About 30 years ago I was a teenager looking for my family history when I wrote a letter to Buckinham Palace asking for help. As it turns out Lady Waldegrave’s daughter was a Lady in waiting to the Queen and forwarded my request for help to her mother, Mary. Mary was researching family history , we corrosponded for a while. I can’t find those old letters ( we have moved about 9 times since then), they had the family tree outline! Now I am trying once again to put the pieces together and was hoping your site would hold answers. Do you have any other suggestions? ( I believe Mary has since paseed away, I am sorry to hear). Any help you could give would be appreciated.
    Valerie

    • Richard Loxton permalink

      I am getting new information all the time so I would welcome a request

  2. I have updated my page about the Waldegraves with public domain data. I have some additional historical information that may help you. I work on a ‘fair exchange is no robbery’ basis so if you have some family links you would like to add I would be pleased to see if we can put any pieces of the jigsaw together.

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