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The Dukes of Newcastle

View across the lake to Clumber House with rider on horse back on the left and cattle on the right sitting under a large tree
Clumber House, 1760s | © National Trust Collection

Clumber Park was once the country estate of the Dukes of Newcastle, but for all their wealth and grandeur, they would eventually leave. Read on to find out more about each of them and their lasting impact on the park.

William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, 1593 – 1676

William was the only surviving son of Sir Charles Cavendish, and grandson to Bess of Hardwick from her second marriage to Sir William Cavendish.

Educated at St Johns College, Cambridge, William was favoured courtier to Charles I, who gave him the title Marquis of Newcastle–Upon-Tyne in 1643. As a staunch royalist, and after years of exile on the continent following the Kings defeat in the Civil War, he was created Duke of Newcastle–Upon–Tyne by Charles II in 1665.

Particularly famed for his horsemanship, William was appointed Governor to Prince Charles in 1638, teaching him to horse ride. In 1633, he entertained the King lavishly at Welbeck Abbey and again in 1634 at Bolsover Castle, where he had a large indoor riding school.

Henry Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, 1630 – 1691

He proved to be a royal supporter of James II but on the accession of William and Mary he relinquished all of his appointments and refused to take the oath to the new King and Queen.

Retiring at Welbeck Abbey, and following the death of his only son, he became concerned with finding suitable matches for his three daughters. His third daughter, Lady Margaret Cavendish, was to marry the 4th Earl of Clare, under the condition of retaining the Cavendish name, to become the Duke and Duchess of Newcastle–Upon–Tyne the third creation.

John Holles, 3rd Duke of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, 1662 – 1711

John was a royal supporter of William and Mary, and in November 1688 waited on the Prince of Orange as representative of the risings in York and Nottingham.

Upon marriage to Margaret Cavendish, he inherited all the 2nd Dukes estates in the East Midlands and Northumberland. This was angrily contested by his brothers-in-law resulting in a duel on 13 May 1692 with one, the 5th Earl of Thanet, in which both men were wounded. As 3rd Duke, his power increased becoming Lord Privy Seal and an influential figure in the Treaty of Union with Scotland in 1707.

He was succeeded by a daughter only, with the title eventually going to his nephew.

Thomas Pelham-Holles, 4th Duke of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne & 1st Duke of Newcastle-Under-Lyne, 1693 – 1768

Thomas was educated at Westminster School and Clare Hall, Cambridge. In 1711, he inherited the Holles and Clare estates and his uncle’s name if not his title. He inherited the Pelham family estates the following year and now held land in eleven counties.

To mark his support of the Whigs in 1715, George I elevated him to Marquis of Clare and Duke of Newcastle–Upon–Tyne. Thomas was a committed Whig politician holding many important offices of state, and along with his brother, Prime Minister from 1743 – 1754, was a dominant force in British politics at the time.

Married in 1717 to Henrietta Godolphin, Thomas had no heirs, and to avoid the Newcastle title extinction became Duke of Newcastle–Under-Lyne (created by George II) with provision this would pass to his nephew, Henry Fiennes Clinton, then Earl of Lincoln.

Henry Fiennes Pelham-Clinton, 2nd Duke of Newcastle-Under-Lyne, 1720 – 1794

Henry was known as Lord Lincoln until he inherited the Newcastle title from his uncle in 1768. Educated at Eton and then Cambridge, he was awarded a Doctor of Laws.

He was Gentleman of the Bedchamber to both George II and George III and held many official posts in which he had little interest, to the disappointment of his uncles. On succeeding to the Newcastle title he took the additional name, Pelham, making Clumber Park his principle seat.

1744 saw him marry his cousin, Lady Catherine Pelham, who gave him four sons. Thomas, his third and only surviving son, became estranged from his father due to his marriage to Lady Anna Maria Harrington, and the bulk of the estate was left in trust for Thomas’ heir.

Black and white historical image of the east side of the house and garden at Clumber Park; the house sits beyond a manicured lawn with shaped hedges and trees.
The 2nd Duke of Newcastle was the first to make Clumber Park a home, building a Palladian style mansion in the early 1760s | © National Trust

Thomas Pelham-Clinton, 3rd Duke of Newcastle-Under-Lyne, 1752 – 1795

Thomas embarked on a military career serving in America during the War of Independence as ADC to his relative, General Sir Henry Clinton, and later to the King. He eventually reached the rank of Major General.

Unlike his predecessors, he did not achieve national office although he did hold several local ones including Steward of Sherwood Forest.

In February 1794 he took the Newcastle title and by May 1795 had died from an emetic he had taken for whooping cough. His sudden death meant his father’s affairs had not yet been settled.

Henry Pelham Fiennes Pelham-Clinton, 4th Duke of Newcastle-Under-Lyne, 1785 – 1851

Educated at Eton, Henry did not pursue university after succeeding to the title of Newcastle at the age of ten. Instead, he went on a European Tour with his mother and step-father where he was detained for three years until 1806 after fighting broke out again.

From 1846, he became one of the leaders of the Tory ‘Ultras’, a stance that lead to earlier attacks on his property during the Reform Bill riots of 1831. Nottingham Castle was burnt to the ground and his residence at Clumber Park and Portman Square, London had to be fortified against the mob.

He was constrained in the running of his estate by the provisions in his grandfathers will to stop his father or mother controlling the estate. His marriage in 1807 to Georgiana Elizabeth Mundy brought extra wealth and properties to the family, and on his passing Henry left eleven surviving heirs.

Looking down the path of Lincoln Terrace with stone benches on either side
The 4th Duke left his mark with Lincoln Terrace and its spectacular statuary | © John Alcock

Henry Pelham-Clinton, 5th Duke of Newcastle-Under-Lyne, 1811 – 1864

Known as Lord Lincoln until succeeding to his title, Henry was educated at Eton and later Oxford.

He quickly followed a political career with various roles in public office, the most notable of which was with the War Office, from which he resigned in 1855 following the disastrous actions in the Crimean War.

In 1832, he married Lady Susan Hamilton Douglas but the marriage ended in divorce in 1850 after her public affair with Lord Horatio Walpole. The marriage left Henry with five children including four male heirs with all of whom his relationships became more distant, along with that of his father.

Henry Pelham Alexander Pelham-Clinton, 6th Duke of Newcastle-Under-Lyne, 1834 – 1879

Henry inherited the title from his father in 1864 and again was educated at Eton and later Oxford, matriculating in 1852.

With a fondness for high living and gambling, Henry was forced to leave the country in 1860 for failing to pay his debts, which amounted at that time to around £230,000. His fortunes were improved by his marriage a year later to wealthy heiress, Henrietta Adela Hope, upon which his debts were paid and an income of £50,000 per year bestowed.

Estates in Surrey, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and Ireland were added to the ducal estates, but provision in the will of his father-in-law meant he was never to control them.

Henry Pelham Archibald Douglas Pelham-Clinton, 7th Duke of Newcastle-Under-Lyne, 1864 – 1928

Aged only fifteen and still at Eton, Henry inherited the title from his father in 1879. The same year, a horrific fire destroyed a large proportion of Clumber House which the young Duke had rebuilt to the designs of Charles Barry.

He went on to be educated at Magdalene College, Oxford, and matriculated in 1884. It was here that he became influenced by the Tractarians and later became one of the ‘aristocratic giants of the Oxford Movement’.

Henry completed his education by taking the Grand Tour in both Europe and America, indulging his passion for church architecture.

Upon his return, Henry married Kathleen Florence May Candy on 20 February 1889 in All Saints Margaret Street, London, attended by the Prince and Princess of Wales. The newly weds devoted much of their time to the estates at Clumber, the house and to the building of the Chapel.

On 22nd October 1889, he saw the completion of his beloved 14th century Gothic Revival Chapel with a Consecration Ceremony and Holy Communion held. Torrential rain delayed the chief service and plans were put in place to build a tunnel from Clumber House to the Chapel but they were never carried out.

A boarding school for the choir boys, known as ‘The Chantry’ followed in 1912 in Hardwick village, and until 1920 they were educated with the other estate children.

The Duke and Duchess knew their tenants well and were attentive to their individual needs. Henry was committed to his locality and surrounding areas making contributions to churches and institutions, like paying for changes to the Lady Chapel at the Worksop Priory and donating the land on which Worksop College is built.

With a turbulent childhood and delicate health, Henry remained shy throughout his life with a lack of prominence in national and political arenas. He suffered constant pain with his leg for the first fourteen years of his life, after which he chose amputation.

The 7th Duke, Henry Pelham Clinton sat at his desk c1910
7th Duke, Henry Pelham Clinton at his desk c1910 | © Richard Alcock

Henry Frances Hope Pelham-Clinton-Hope, 8th Duke of Newcastle-Under-Lyne, 1866 – 1941

Before inheriting the title from his brother in 1928, Henry was known as Lord Frances Hope. He added the name Hope by Royal Licence in 1887 to reflect the substantial property left to him by his grandmother, Anne Adele Hope.

Educated at Eton and Trinity Hall, Cambridge, Henry enjoyed an extravagant lifestyle. It was to settle his debts that the famous family heirloom, the Hope Diamond, was sold in 1902. He followed this with the sale of the majority of the Hope estates, including his Surrey estate, Deepdene and all contents of the house.

Henry married twice, firstly to an American singer and dancer, which resulted in divorce in 1902, and then to his second wife, who gave him three children, including a male heir.

Henry Edward Hope Pelham-Clinton-Hope, 9th Duke of Newcastle-Unde-Lyne, 1907 – 1988

In 1941, Henry inherited the title from his father although he had already inherited the Clumber estate from his uncle in 1928. Educated at Eton and Cambridge, he went on to join the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, finally retiring as Wing Commander.

By the 1930’s, the family no longer spent much time in Nottinghamshire or at Clumber and the 9th Duke made the decision to have the house demolished.

Edward (Ted) Charles Pelham-Clinton, 10th Duke of Newcastle-Under-Lyne, 1920 – 1988

Educated at Eton and Trinity College, Oxford, he was the son of Guy Edward Pelham–Clinton and great-grandson of the 4th Duke of Newcastle–Under–Lyne.

During the Second World War, he served as Captain in the Royal Artillery. Following the war, he went on to become an expert lepidopterist (a collector of butterflies and moths), a butterfly catcher and observer and worked as Deputy Keeper at the Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh.

As a confirmed bachelor he left no male heir and died on Christmas Day, only a month after succeeding to his title.

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