BERTIE, Lord Robert (1721-82), of Chislehurst, Kent

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



21 Nov. 1751 - 1754
1754 - 10 Mar. 1782

Family and Education

b. 14 Nov. 1721, 5th1 s. of Thomas, 1st Duke of Ancaster, by his 2nd w. Albinia, da. of Maj.-Gen. William Farrington of Chislehurst, Kent, and aunt of G. A. Selwyn. educ. Eton 1728. m. 5 Apr. 1762, Mary Chetwynd, da. and coh. of Montagu, 1st Visct. Blundell [I], wid. of Robert, 2nd Lord Raymond, s.p.

Offices Held

Ensign 2 Ft. Gds. 1737, lt. 1741, capt. 1744, col. 1752; col. 7 Ft. 1754-76; maj.-gen. 1758; lt.-gen. 1760; col. 2 Horse Gds. 1776- d.; gen. 1777.

Ld. of bedchamber to George III as Prince of Wales and King 1751- d.; gov. Cork 1762-8, Duncannon 1768- d.


Returned in 1751 for Whitchurch on the Selwyn interest, in 1754 Bertie was returned unopposed on the Ancaster interest at Boston, and was classed ‘for’ by Dupplin.

He served at Gibraltar in 1756, and at Byng’s trial testified in his favour. On 28 Apr. 1757 he made his only recorded speech in the House, declaring that the ten ships under Byng were not fully manned or provided with the necessary stores, and ‘insisting there was not a fire ship, tender, or hospital ship with the fleet’.2

Bertie seems to have been uncertain about his position at Boston, and on 21 July 1760 pressed Newcastle for an office for one of his constituents because ‘the contest that I have at Boston makes it very essential to my interest to oblige this gentleman in this particular affair’.3 And on 1 Oct. 1760 it was reported that ‘hot work is begun at Boston’, but Bertie was returned unopposed in 1761.

In December 1762 he was counted by Fox among those favourable to the peace preliminaries, and in the autumn of 1763 was classed as ‘pro’ by Jenkinson. But in a list of Members drawn up 15 Feb. 1764 by Augustus Hervey is the remark: ‘is a doubt if he stayed it out’.4 In Rockingham’s list of July 1765 Bertie appears as ‘pro’, but he voted against the repeal of the Stamp Act, 7 and 22 Feb. 1766, and in Rockingham’s list of November 1766 is classed ‘Bute’. He voted with the Government on the land tax, 27 Feb. 1767, and nullum tempus, 17 Feb. 1768; and was listed by Newcastle and Townshend as a Government supporter. This he remained under North, but in the Parliament of 1768-74 he appears in only two out of seven division lists, and in none after February 1774. ‘Lord Robert Bertie’, wrote Mary Townshend to George Selwyn, 17 May 1779, ‘... has lately had an attack of St. Anthony’s-fire in his leg, and he hurt himself whilst being reviewed at the head of his troop ... the fatigue was too great for one who had been so long an invalid.’5

When in 1780 he had to stand a contest at Boston, he topped the poll. But again he was absent from all, even the most critical, divisions. On 28 May 1781 George Selwyn wrote to Lord Carlisle: ‘Lord Robert Bertie is again relapsed as I hear, and if so will probably last but a very little time.’6

He died 10 Mar. 1782.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Mary M. Drummond


  • 1. Burke, Peerage (1931), Collins, Peerage gives 3rd s.
  • 2. Jas. West to Newcastle, Add. 35877, f. 365.
  • 3. Add. 32908, f. 406.
  • 4. Grenville mss (JM).
  • 5. Jesse, Selwyn, iv. 137.
  • 6. HMC Carlisle, 487.