Francis Seymour-Conway, 1st Marquess of Hertford

Francis Seymour-Conway, 1st Marquess of Hertford KG PC (5 July 171814 June 1794) was born in Chelsea, London, and died in Surrey, England.

Family

He was a descendant of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset and his first wife Catharine Fillol. Their marriage was annulled and their children declared illegitimate. Their son Sir Edward Seymour (d. 6 May 1593) later served as a Sheriff of Devon.

The Sheriff of Devon was father to Sir Edward Seymour, 1st Baronet of Berry Pomeroy, grandfather of Sir Edward Seymour, 2nd Baronet of Berry Pomeroy, great-grandfather of Sir Edward Seymour, 3rd Baronet of Berry Pomeroy and a fourth-generation ancestor of Sir Edward Seymour, 4th Baronet of Berry Pomeroy.

The 4th Baronet was father to Sir Edward Seymour, 5th Baronet of Berry Pomeroy and grandfather to Edward Seymour, 8th Duke of Somerset. His younger son was Francis Seymour-Conway, 1st Lord Conway (1679–1732).

Lord Conway married Charlotte Shorter, a daughter of John Shorter of Bybrook. They were the parents of the Marquess. His father died when the younger Francis was about fourteen years old. The first few years after his father's death were spent in Italy and Paris. On his return to England he took his seat, as 2nd Baron Conway, among the Peers in November 1739.

Marriage

On 29 May 1741 he married Lady Isabella Fitzroy, daughter of Charles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Grafton, and they became the parents of thirteen children:

*Francis Seymour-Conway, 2nd Marquess of Hertford (12 February 174328 June 1822).
*Anne Seymour-Conway (1 August 17444 November 1767). Married Charles Moore, 1st Marquess of Drogheda.
*Henry Seymour-Conway (15 December 17465 February 1830).
*Sarah Frances Sewymour-Conway (27 September 174720 July 1770). Married Robert Stewart, 1st Marquess of Londonderry.
*Robert Seymour-Conway (20 January 174823 November 1831).
*Gertrude Seymour-Conway (9 October 175029 May 1782). Married George Mason-Villiers, 2nd Earl Grandison.
*Frances Seymour-Conway (4 December 175111 November 1820). Married Henry Fiennes Pelham-Clinton, a son of Henry Fiennes Pelham-Clinton, 2nd Duke of Newcastle.
*Edward Seymour-Conway (1752–1785).
*Isabella Rachel Seymour-Conway (born 25 December 1755). Married George Hatton, a Member of Parliament
*Hugh Seymour-Conway, Admiral of the Royal Navy (29 April 175911 September 1801). Married Anne Horatia Waldegrave, a daughter of James Waldegrave, 2nd Earl Waldegrave. They were great-grandparents of Charles Spencer, 6th Earl Spencer.
*William Seymour-Conway (29 April 175931 January 1837).
*George Seymour-Conway (21 July 176310 March 1848).
*Elizabeth Seymour-Conway (d. 1825).

Career

In August 1750 he was created Viscount Beauchamp and Earl of Hertford. In 1755, according to Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford, "The Earl of Hertford, a man of unblemished morals, but rather too gentle and cautious, to combat so presumptuous a court, was named Ambassador to Paris." However, due to the demands of the French, the journey was suspended.

From 1751 to 1766 he was Lord of the Bedchamber to George II and George III. In 1756 he was made a Knight of the Garter and, in 1757, Lord-Lieutenant and Guardian of the Rolls of the County of Warwick and City of Coventry.

In 1763 he became Privy Councillor and, from October 1763 to June 1765, was a successful ambassador in Paris. In the autumn of 1765 he became Viceroy of Ireland where, as an honest and religious man, he was well liked.

An anonymous satirist in 1777 described him as "the worst man in His Majesty's dominions", and also emphasised Hertford's greed and selfishness, adding "I cannot find any term for him but avaricious." However, this anonymous attack does not seem to be justified.

In 1782 when she was only fifty-six, his wife died after having nursed their grandson at Forde's Farm, Thames Ditton where she caught a violent cold. According to Walpole, "Lord Hertford's loss is beyond measure. She was not only the most affectionate wife, but the most useful one, and almost the only person I ever saw that never neglected or put off or forgot anything that was to be done. She was always proper, either in the highest life or in the most domestic." (Walpole visited Forde's Farm on several occasions from his residence at Strawberry Hill, Twickenham.) Within two years of the tragedy, Lord Hertford had sold Forde's Farm to Mrs Charlotte Boyle Walsingham, and a further two years later, she had re-developed the estate, building a new mansion which she called Boyle Farm, a name still in use today.

In July 1793 he was created Earl of Yarmouth and Marquess of Hertford. He enjoyed this elevation for almost a year until his death at the age of seventy-six, on 14 June 1794, at the house of his daughter, the Countess of Lincoln. He died as the result of an infection following a minor injury he received while riding. He was buried at Arrow, in Warwickshire.


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