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Charles Vane, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry

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Title: Charles Vane, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry  
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Language: English
Subject: Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, William Vane, 1st Duke of Cleveland, Frances Anne Spencer-Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, George Vane-Tempest, 5th Marquess of Londonderry, Battle of Benavente
Collection: 10Th Royal Hussars Officers, 1778 Births, 1854 Deaths, 5Th Royal Irish Lancers Officers, British Army Personnel of the Napoleonic Wars, British Army Personnel of the Peninsular War, British Life Guards Officers, Diplomatic Peers, Duellists, Irish Mps 1798–1800, Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, Knights Grand Cross of the Royal Guelphic Order, Knights of the Garter, Lord-Lieutenants of Durham, Marquesses in the Peerage of Ireland, Members of the Parliament of Ireland (Pre-1801), Members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom for Irish Constituencies (1801–1922), Members of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, People Educated at Eton College, People from Dublin (City), People of the Irish Rebellion of 1798, Politicians from County Dublin, Recipients of the Army Gold Medal, Uk Mps 1801–02, Uk Mps 1802–06, Uk Mps 1806–07, Uk Mps 1807–12, Uk Mps 1812–18, Vane-Tempest-Stewart Family
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Charles Vane, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry

The Most Honourable
The Marquess of Londonderry
Minister to Prussia
In office
Monarch George III
Preceded by No representation
Succeeded by George Henry Rose
Ambassador to Austria
In office
Monarch George III
George IV
Preceded by The Earl of Aberdeen
Succeeded by Hon. Sir Henry Wellesley
Personal details
Born 18 May 1778 (1778-05-18)
Dublin, Ireland
Died 6 March 1854(1854-03-06) (aged 75)
Londonderry House, Park Lane, London
Nationality Irish
Spouse(s) (1) Lady Catherine Bligh
(d. 1812)
(2) Lady Frances Vane-Tempest (d. 1865)

Charles William Vane, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry KG, GCB, GCH, PC (18 May 1778 – 6 March 1854),[1] named Charles William Stewart and raised to the peerage as Baron Stewart in 1814, was a British soldier, politician and nobleman.

Charles Stewart (as he was before 1814) was educated at Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. He fought in the Peninsula War under both Sir John Moore and Sir Arthur Wellesley (who became the Duke of Wellington).

In 1810 Stewart was appointed Envoy Extraordinary to the Prussian Court in Berlin and remained in that position until end of the war in 1814. In 1815 he was appointed British Ambassador to Vienna (a post he was to hold for nine years), and was at the Congress of Vienna with his half brother Lord Castlereagh (the senior British plenipotentiary).

Lord Stewart succeeded his half-brother as 3rd Marquess of Londonderry in 1822. The following year he was created Earl Vane and Viscount Seaham. From 1823 he was Governor of County Londonderry and was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Durham in 1842. He was made a Knight of the Garter in 1853, and died a year later at Londonderry House.


  • Political career 1
  • 'Fighting Charlie' 2
  • Marriages and family 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Political career

Born in Dublin, Charles Stewart (as he then was) was the only son of Robert Stewart, 1st Marquess of Londonderry, by his second wife Lady Frances, daughter of Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden. Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, was his half-brother. Charles Stewart was educated at Eton, and at the age of 16 was commissioned into the British Army as a Lieutenant. He saw service in Flanders in 1794, and was Lieutenant Colonel of the 5th Royal Irish Dragoons by the time he helped put down the Irish Rebellion of 1798. Two years later he was elected to the Irish House of Commons as Tory representative for Thomastown, County Kilkenny, and after only two months exchanged this seat for that of Londonderry County. He sat for the latter constituency until the Act of Union in 1801, and then represented Londonderry in the British House of Commons until 1814.

'Fighting Charlie'

In 1803 Stewart was appointed Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. During the Corunna Campaign of 1808–1809 he commanded a brigade of cavalry, and played a prominent role in the cavalry clash of Benavente. In April 1809 he was made Adjutant General to Sir Arthur Wellesley (later the Duke of Wellington) with the British forces fighting in the Peninsular War, a post in which he distinguished himself, particularly at the battles of Busaco and Talavera. He received the thanks of Parliament in 1810, and on 20 November 1813 was made Colonel of the 25th Light Dragoons, becoming a Knight of the Bath that same year. Until the end of the war he was Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Berlin, and was also Military Commissioner with the allied armies, being wounded at the Battle of Kulm.

The recipient of numerous foreign honours, Stewart was also, in 1814, ennobled as Baron Stewart, of Stewart's Court and Ballylawn in the King. He was also made Ambassador to Vienna, a post he held for nine years, and was at the Congress of Vienna with his half brother Lord Castlereagh as one of the British plenipotentiaries, where, according to the renowned historian Adam Zamoyski in his book Rites of Peace: The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna, he made a spectacle of himself with his loutish behaviour, being apparently rather often inebriated, frequenting prostitutes quite openly and once even starting a fist fight in the middle of the street with a Viennese coach driver after he punched the coachman's horse.

He was appointed GCH in 1816 and made colonel of the 10th (The Prince of Wales's Own) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons (Hussars) on 3 February 1820.

Marriages and family

Memorial Statue by Raffaelle Monti in Durham.

His first wife was Lady Catherine Bligh,[3] daughter of the 3rd Earl of Darnley, whom he married in 1804; she was three years older than he. She died during the night of 10–11 February 1812, of fever following a minor operation, while her husband was on active service in the Peninsula.

Lord Stewart married his second wife Lady Frances Anne Vane-Tempest, daughter and heiress of Sir Henry Vane-Tempest, on 3 April 1819. He later took her surname of Vane in 1829, by royal licence, and used his new bride's immense wealth to acquire the Seaham Hall estate in County Durham with a view to developing the coal fields there. He also built the harbour at Seaham, to rival nearby Sunderland.

The family also used their new-found wealth to redecorate their main country seat in Ireland, Mount Stewart, and bought Holderness House on London's Park Lane, which they renamed Londonderry House.

Lord Stewart succeeded his half-brother as 3rd Marquess of Londonderry in 1822. The following year he was created Earl Vane and Viscount Seaham, of Seaham in the County Palatine of Durham, with remainder to the heirs male of the body of his second wife.[4]

Governor of County Londonderry from 1823, Londonderry was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Durham in 1842 and the following year became Colonel of the 2nd Regiment of Life Guards. He was finally made a Knight of the Garter in 1853, and died a year later at Londonderry House. Scrabo Tower in Newtownards, County Down was erected in his memory.

He was succeeded as 4th Marquess of Londonderry by his son from his first marriage, and as 2nd Earl Vane by his son from his second marriage.

Through his daughter Lady Frances, Lord Londonderry was the great-grandfather of Winston Churchill.


  1. ^ He was styled The Honourable Charles Stewart from 1789 until 1813 and The Honourable Sir Charles Stewart from 1813 to 1814, then The Lord Stewart from 1814 to 1822. In 1829 he took his wife's surname of Vane in lieu of that of Stewart by Royal license.
  2. ^ The London Gazette: no. 16909. p. 1255. 18 June 1814.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 17909. p. 498. 29 March 1823.

External links

  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Marquess of Londonderry
Parliament of Ireland
Preceded by
George Dunbar
James Kearney
Member of Parliament for Thomastown
March – May 1800
With: James Kearney March – April 1800
William Gardiner April – May 1800
Succeeded by
William Gardiner
John Francis Cradock
Preceded by
Thomas Conolly
The Earl of Tyrone
Member of Parliament for Londonderry County
1800 – 1801
With: The Earl of Tyrone
Succeeded by
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Londonderry
With: Sir George Hill, 2nd Bt 1801–1802
Lord George Thomas Beresford 1802–1812
Hon. William Ponsonby 1812–1814
Succeeded by
Hon. William Ponsonby
Alexander Stewart
Military offices
Preceded by
Richard Wilford
Colonel of the 25th Light Dragoons
Regiment disbanded
Preceded by
George, Prince of Wales
Colonel of the 10th (The Prince of Wales's Own)
Royal Regiment of (Light) Dragoons (Hussars)

Succeeded by
The Earl Beauchamp
Preceded by
The Earl Cathcart
Colonel of the 2nd Regiment of Life Guards
Succeeded by
The Lord Seaton
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir George Shee, Bt
Sir James Cockburn, Bt
Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies
With: E. Cooke
Succeeded by
Hon. F. J. Robinson
Hon. Charles Jenkinson
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
No representation due
to the Treaties of Tilsit
(previously John Frere)
British Minister to Prussia
Succeeded by
George Henry Rose
Preceded by
The Earl of Aberdeen
British Ambassador to Austria
Succeeded by
Hon. Sir Henry Wellesley
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Duke of Cleveland
Lord Lieutenant of Durham
Succeeded by
The Earl of Durham
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Robert Stewart
Marquess of Londonderry
Succeeded by
Frederick Stewart
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Earl Vane
Succeeded by
George Vane-Tempest
Baron Stewart
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