SOMERSET, Henry Charles, Mq. of Worcestershire (1766-1835).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1 Apr. 1788 - 1790
1790 - 1796
1796 - 11 Oct. 1803

Family and Education

b. 22 Dec. 1766, 1st s. of Henry, 5th Duke of Beaufort, and bro. of Lords Arthur John Henry Somerset*, Charles Henry Somerset*, Fitzroy James Henry Somerset*, and Robert Edward Henry Somerset*. educ. Westminster 1780-4; Trinity, Oxf. 1784-6; Grand Tour. m. 16 May 1791, Lady Charlotte Sophia Leveson Gower, da. of Granville Leveson Gower, 1st Mq. of Stafford, 2s. 8da. suc. fa. as 6th Duke of Beaufort 11 Oct. 1803; KG 17 Jan. 1805.

Offices Held

Ld. Lt. Mon. and Brec. 1803-d., Glos. 1810-d.; constable, St. Briavel’s Castle and warden, Forest of Dean 1812-d.; high steward, Bristol 1834-d.

Capt. Mon. militia 1788, 1792; maj. commdt. Mon. and Brec. militia 1793, col. 1813-20; col. R. Mon. militia 1820-d.


At the general election of 1790, Lord Worcester stood for Bristol, where the ministerialist Steadfast Society had adopted his father’s leadership. Beaufort took the precaution of returning him again for the family boroughs of Monmouth, but he was successful at Bristol after a token contest. He continued to support Pitt, but made no mark in the House. In 1791 he was listed hostile to repeal of the Test Act in Scotland. In 1793 he solicited a place, unsuccessfully, at the Treasury board.1 He voted against the abolition of the slave trade, 15 Mar. 1796, and at the subsequent general election was returned unopposed for Gloucestershire on his father’s interest. On 24 Apr. 1800 he presented a petition from Painswick against the clause in the Act of Union permitting the export of wool. He was one of the stewards for Pitt’s birthday dinner, 28 May 1802. Later in the year he was reported to be a supporter of Canning’s scheme for a memorial calling on Addington to make way for Pitt, which he was trying to persuade his father to sign;2 but he took no active part in Canning’s campaign of harassment against the government in 1803 and was removed from the Commons by his father’s death in October.

He never held political office and twice declined the lord lieutenancy of Ireland; but the electoral influence which he commanded as Duke of Beaufort won him the garter in 1805 and the lord lieutenancy of Gloucestershire in 1810.3 He died 23 Nov. 1835.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: David R. Fisher


  • 1. PRO 30/8/112, ff. 185, 189, 233.
  • 2. Malmesbury Diaries, iv. 109.
  • 3. HMC Fortescue, x. 343; Geo. III Corresp. iv. 2994; HMC Bathurst, 143.