LUMLEY, Hon. Richard (1686-1740), of Stansted Park, Suss. and Lumley Castle, co. Dur.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1708 - 1710
1710 - 1715

Family and Education

bap. 30 Nov. 1686, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Richard Lumley, 1st Earl of Scarbrough, and bro. of Henry, Visct. Lumley*.  educ. Eton c.1702; King’s, Camb. 1703, LL.D. 1728; travelled abroad (Germany) 1706. unmStyled Visct. Lumley 1710–21; summ. to Lords in father’s barony 4 Mar. 1715; suc. fa. as 2nd Earl of Scarbrough 17 Dec. 1721; KG 9 July 1724.

Offices Held

Freeman, Harwich 1709, Portsmouth 1731; v.-adm. co. Dur. 1710; ld. lt. Northants. 1721.1

Lt.-col. of horse 1712; lt.-col. 1 Drag. Gds. 1713; col. and capt. 1st tp. 1 Ft. Gds. 1715; col. and capt. 2 Ft. Gds. 1722–d.; maj.-gen. 1735; lt.-gen. 1739.

Ld. of bedchamber to Prince of Wales Sept.–Nov. 1714; master of horse to Prince of Wales 1714–27, to the King 1727–34; PC 15 June 1727.


After completing his education at Cambridge, Lumley was sent to Germany by his father in 1706, in company with the eldest son of John Smith I*. The young men were particularly instructed to pay their respects to the Elector of Hanover, to whom Lord Scarbrough wrote on 22 July:

Your Electoral Highness will I hope pardon this liberty I take, by my second son, whom, having finished his studies, I have ordered to begin his travelling in paying his earliest respects and duty to your Electoral Highness. The favours I have formerly received from your Electoral Highness, obliges me to make all my family sensible of your great goodness.

His travels over, and having come of age in 1707, Lumley was returned for East Grinstead in 1708. A member of the Kit-Cat Club, Lumley was classed as a gain for the Whigs by Lord Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*), and he was also classed as a Whig on a list of early 1708 with the returns added. In his first session he supported the naturalization of the Palatines, and on 1 Mar. 1709 told on the Whig side in the disputed Coventry election. Since he now wished to follow the rest of the family into the army, he applied to Robert Walpole II* for assistance. On 11 Jan. 1709 Walpole wrote on his behalf to the Duke of Marlborough (John Churchill†), saying:

Mr Lumley has been with me and acquainted me that the Duchess of Marlborough, at my Lady Scarbrough’s instance, has recommended him to your Grace’s favour, and there being now another company of the Guards vacant, I understand your Grace will be again solicited upon this occasion. I do not presume that my recommendation can add anything to his interest and the favour which your Grace has been already pleased to express for him, but I beg leave to say so much to your Grace, that as his quality may in a just measure justify his pretensions, his personal merit is so much more than usual, that I am confident your Grace will never have cause to repent, if you should think fit to distinguish him by a particular mark of your favour.

The vacancy did not in fact occur, but despite his want of a commission, he did join the Duke for the campaign in the spring and summer of 1709. So well did Marlborough think of him that on 31 Aug. 1709 he recommended him to Lord Godolphin (Sidney†) for a likely vacancy in the Duke of Argyll’s regiment. Godolphin replied that ‘the Queen remembers her promise to you for Mr Lumley, but there is no prospect of any vacancy at present. The gentleman who was sick is well again.’ In the next session of Parliament, Lumley told against the place bill on 4 Feb. 1710, and voted in favour of the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell. The death in April 1710 of his elder brother left him heir to the Scarbrough earldom.2

Lumley was returned for Arundel in 1710, when he was classed as a Whig on the ‘Hanover list’. In November 1711 he was rumoured to be the father of a child born to Lady Albinia Lindsey, wife of the Marquess of Lindsey (Robert Bertie*). He continued to support the Whigs, voting on 7 Dec. 1711 for the ‘No Peace without Spain’ motion, but despite his politics the Harley administration did not obstruct his military ambitions, and by January 1712 he was in possession of a commission. In the next session, Lumley told against a Court amendment to the Address on 10 Apr. 1713, and was listed as a Whig who voted on 18 June against the French commerce bill. A rumour the same month that he was to command the British troops in Flanders proved unfounded.3

Returned again for Arundel in 1713, Lumley was classed as a Whig on the Worsley list. He moved on 15 Mar. 1714 for an address asking the Queen for an account of the measures taken to remove the Pretender from the dominions of the Duke of Lorraine, and three days later he spoke and voted against the condemnation of Richard Steele’s* political writings, preparatory to Steele’s expulsion from the House. On 15 Apr., at the end of the debate on the motion that the succession was in danger, he moved an address for the removal of the Pretender from Lorraine. In July he gave the House the (incorrect) news that the Pretender was at Le Havre ready to embark for England with a French army, a message his father was at the same time delivering to the Lords. After the death of Queen Anne, he spoke on 14 Aug. for the motion that the Protestant succession was still in danger.4

Some months after the accession of George I, Lumley was summoned to the Lords in his father’s barony as Lord Lumley. He remained a Whig supporter, but in 1717 he was forced to sell his regiment for his adherence to the Prince of Wales, with whom he remained on the best of terms, up to and after the Prince’s accession as George II. In 1737 Lord Hervey reported that Lumley was suffering from a mental disorder, which some alleged had been caused by a blow to the head. He committed suicide on 29 Jan. 1740, apparently the day before his intended marriage with Isabella, widow of William Montagu, 2nd Duke of Manchester, thereby giving rise to much speculation. Lord Hervey wrote of him:

He . . . was bred in a camp, from thence brought to court, and had all the gallantry of the one and the politeness of the other . . . He was one of the Cabinet Council, and was equally fit to be trusted in the most important affairs or advised with in the most delicate, having knowledge, application, and observation, an excellent judgment, and (without the brilliant éclat of the most showish parts) a discerning, practical, useful, sound understanding. His education had inclined him a little too much to the love of an army. He was one of the best speakers of his time in the House of Lords, clear in his matter, forcible in his expression and gave weight not only by his words, but by his character, to any cause he maintained, or any opinion he inclined to.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Paula Watson


  • 1. Essex RO, Harwich bor. recs. 98/5, f. 96; R. East, Portsmouth Recs. 379.
  • 2. Orig. Pprs. ed. Macpherson, ii. 57; Camb. Univ. Lib. Cholmondeley (Houghton) mss 65/6, Walpole to Marlborough, 11 Jan. 1709; Marlborough–Godolphin Corresp. 1351, 1358, 1397; E. Milner, Lumley Recs. 140, 147–78.
  • 3. Wentworth Pprs. 208; NSA, Kreienberg despatch 23 June 1713.
  • 4. Cobbett, Parlty. Hist. vi. 1267, 1274; Kreienberg despatch 16 Mar. 1714; DZA, Bonet despatch 16/26 Mar. 1714; Douglas diary (Hist of Parl. trans.), 18 Mar. 1714; NLS, Advocates’ mss, Wodrow pprs. letters Quarto 8, f. 95; G. M. Trevelyan, Eng. under Q. Anne, iii. 338; Boyer, Pol. State, viii. 156.
  • 5. HMC Var. viii. 100; Hervey, Mems. 70–71, 750; Milner, 166–71.