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The 1st Duke of Richmond

The family - the beginnings


The Dukes of Richmond descend from the natural son of Charles II by his mistress, Louise de Keroualle.  This son, Charles Lennox, was made Duke of Richmond & Lennox amongst other titles which are discussed in chronological order below.

The Seigneurie of Aubigny

The honour was first conferred on Charles II’s direct ancestor, John Stuart of Darnley, who in 1422 was appointed to the joint command of a Scottish force sent to assist the Dauphin, later Charles VII, to save France from the English. John Stuart’s grandson was created Earl of Lennox. Both titles continued down the Stuart, but not the royal, line, but were not at this stage conferred on the same person, as the Seigneurie usually went to the second son.

Esmé Stuart, the 6th Seigneur, was brought up in France but at the invitation of his cousin James VI went to Scotland in 1579. In 1581 he was created 1st Duke of Lennox. Whereas his son Ludovic became 2nd Duke, (and 1st Duke of Richmond) his second son, also Esmé, inherited the title of 7th Seigneur. On the death of his brother Ludovic, he subsequently became 2nd Duke of Lennox and 2nd Duke of Richmond. He was thus the first to receive all three titles. His grandson, Charles Stuart, also inherited all the titles.

Riche Monte was the Yorkshire castle that Alan Rufus began building in 1071. William the Conqueror gave him the Honour of Richmond, and an Earldom was later created. The Honour and Estate were held until the end of the 14th century by his descendants, who were Dukes of Brittany. Title and possessions passed to the Tudors. Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, became King Henry VII.

The Dukedom of Richmond was created in 1525, when Henry VIII gave the title to his illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, who only lived to the age of  seventeen.  In 1623 and again in 1641 the Dukedom was recreated for the Stuarts. It became extinct with Charles Stuart, who died in 1672, as 11th Seigneur of Aubigny, 4th Duke of Lennox, and 3rd Duke of Richmond (of that third creation).

Charles II. The titles all reverted to King Charles, providing him with a distinguished but unnecessary combination of English and Scottish titles. In bestowing the Dukedom of Richmond on his natural son, he used the royal precedents mentioned above. By giving him the Lennox name and titles he celebrated the continuity of his bloodline in creating a new Lennox dynasty. However, a French King would be reluctant to give an English one a French title, so the Seigneurie of Aubigny was in abeyance until recreated as a Dukedom and bestowed by Louis XIV on Louise de Keroualle.

Charles, 1st Duke of Richmond and Lennox (1672-1723)

The natural son of Charles II and his beautiful, aristocratic French mistress Louise de Keroualle was given the family name of Charles Lennox.  In 1675 his royal father bestowed on him the titles of Duke of Richmond (Co York), Earl of March and Baron Settrington, as well as, one month later, Duke of Lennox, Earl of Darnley and Lord of Torbolton in Scotland. The English titles had precedence over the Scottish ones. In 1677 the young Duke was made a grant of 12p per cauldron of coal shipped from the Tyne at Newcastle. This brought considerable revenue well into the life of the 3rd Duke. The 1st Duke was also given the Castle at Richmond, now in the hands of English Heritage. 

The Duke loved hunting and gambling: he bought the small Jacobean house at Goodwood to use as a hunting lodge. He married Anne, daughter of Lord Brudenell and granddaughter of the Earl of Cardigan.

Charles, 2nd Duke of Richmond, Lennox and Aubigny (1701-50)

During his Grand Tour (1719-22) the 2nd Duke developed a great love of architecture and painting, as well as of opera, music and theatre. Lord Burlington and William Kent worked for him on the rebuilding of his London home at Richmond House where he lived for his attendance at court as Master of the Horse to George II.  He was also interested in gardening, landscape and nature, and built a menagerie in ‘High Wood’, behind the house, where he kept lions, tigers, bears, monkeys, eagles and ostriches. In 1729 the Duke became Master of the Charlton Hunt. The Duke pioneered organised cricket in Sussex: Goodwood was the first location at which matches were regularly played. The earliest set of written rules (sic) was penned for the 2nd Duke in 1727. He was a popular family man: he constructed the Shell House for his wife and daughters to decorate. The pavilion called Carné’s Seat was built next to it for banqueting and entertainment. He was also a military man, serving at the Battle of Dettingen and under the Duke of Cumberland in the ‘45 campaign against Bonnie Prince Charlie: however, he did not travel north beyond Derby. The Duke had an affectionate relationship with his grandmother, Louise de Keroualle, and used to visit her at Aubigny. At her death in 1734 he inherited the Dukedom of Aubigny. He married Sarah, daughter of Earl Cadogan, British Ambassador to the Hague.

Charles, 3rd Duke of Richmond, Lennox and Aubigny (1735-1806)

Inherited the titles at the age of only fifteen, when he was still at school at Westminster. His mother was to die the next year. He went on his Grand Tour to the University of Leyden, where he studied medical science. He also travelled to Italy, and was always to be very interested in both art and science. On his return to England he had a Sculpture Gallery constructed at Richmond House in order for young students to learn to draw anatomy. An active military man, he distinguished himself at the Battle of Minden and became a Major General at the age of 26. In 1796 he was made Field Marshal. In 1765-6 the Duke was Ambassador to the Court of Louis XV at Versailles. Always active in the House of Lords, he was in 1766 a member of the Cabinet as Secretary of State in the South. A radical in politics, he submitted a bill for universal manhood suffrage, and supported the independent American colonies: in this cause he sailed his yacht through the British Fleet anchored at Spithead, off Portsmouth, flying the American flag. The Duke was a Privy Councillor and, from 1782, Master of the Ordnance, in which rôle he was able to exercise his interest in mechanics and construction. He founded the Royal Ordnance Survey, to map the whole of Britain at one inch to the mile. Having extended the house by the addition of the great Regency wings, the Duke died heavily in debt in 1806. He married Lady Mary Bruce, daughter of the 3rd Earl of Ailesbury. He had no legitimate children and was succeeded by his nephew.

Charles, 4th Duke of Richmond, Lennox and Aubigny (1764-1819)

The son of the 3rd Duke’s brother Lord George, Colonel Lennox was, as a young man, involved in an unfortunate duel with the Duke of York. However he became an ADC to the King and, in 1814, a full General. He spent very little time at Goodwood, which he had to leave because of the many creditors. In 1807 he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, where his secretary was the young Arthur Wellesley, later to be created Duke of Wellington. From 1814 he and his wife lived in Brussels, where she gave the legendary Duchess of Richmond’s Ball to confuse the French armies under Napoleon. In 1818 the Duke was appointed Governor General of Canada. He tragically died of rabies the following year having been bitten by a pet fox while on a tour of inspection. In 1789 he married Charlotte, eldest daughter of Alexander, 4th Duke of Gordon and his celebrated Duchess, Jane Maxwell. This was a union which was to have considerable ramifications in the next generation.

Charles, 5th Duke of Richmond, Lennox and Aubigny (1791-1860)

Educated at Westminster, the 5th Duke was another eminent soldier. He served in the Peninsula War as ADC to the Duke of Wellington. At Waterloo he was ADC to the Prince of Orange. He became Postmaster General and ADC to Queen Victoria. The Duke completed the additions to the house made by his great-uncle, the 3rd Duke. He was able to do this because in 1836 he inherited the vast Gordon estates in Scotland, through his mother, the sister of the last Duke of Gordon. He married Caroline, daughter of the Marquess of Anglesey.

The Dukedom of Gordon thus came to the family in 1876, forty years after the inheritance, when it was recreated by Queen Victoria for the 6th Duke of Richmond.

Charles, 6th Duke of Richmond, Lennox, Gordon and Aubigny (1818-1903)

Like his father, the young Earl of March was educated at Westminster and became ADC to the Duke of Wellington. He was also a prominent politician. In 1867-8 he was President of the Board of Trade, and from 1874-80 Lord President of the Council. He was extremely interested in the estate at Goodwood, spending large sums of money on building 400 cottages for estate employees. He planted many trees and installed a gas works in order to improve the heating and lighting in the house. He built a water pumping station by the Racecourse and a reservoir high on the hill behind the house. In 1876 Queen Victoria bestowed the Dukedom of Gordon, by now extinct, on the 6th Duke. He also made many developments on the Gordon estate in Scotland. He married Frances Harriet Greville, the niece of the diarist Charles Greville.



For further information please contact:

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