WALDEGRAVE, Hon. John (1718-84).

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



1747 - 1754
1754 - 28 Apr. 1763

Family and Education

b. 28 Apr. 1718, 3rd s. of James, 1st Earl Waldegrave, by Mary, da. of Sir John Webb, 3rd Bt., of Hatherop, Glos.  m. 7 May 1751, Lady Elizabeth Leveson Gower, da. of John, 1st Earl Gower, sis. of Gertrude, Duchess of Bedford, 3s. 5da.  suc. bro. as 3rd Earl 28 Apr. 1763.

Offices Held

Ensign 1 Ft. Gds. 1735; capt.-lt. 3 Ft. Gds. and lt.-col. 1743; col. army 1748; col. 9 Ft. 1751-5, 8 Drag. 1755-9; maj.-gen. 1757; lt.-gen. 1759; col. 2 Drag. Gds. 1759-73; gov. Plymouth 1761- d.; gen. 1772; col. 2 Ft. Gds. 1773- d.

Groom of the bedchamber 1747-63; master of the horse to the Queen 1770- d.; ld. lt. Essex 1781- d.


Waldegrave’s marriage to a sister of the Duchess of Bedford determined his political allegiance. A younger son without provision, he was more interested in professional advancement than in politics. He ‘united much frankness with steady attention to his interest’, wrote Horace Walpole:1 ‘he expresses with some aigreur’, wrote his wife to Bedford, 30 June 1755,2 ‘the hardships a younger brother must submit to’.

He served in Germany 1757-62, and won favour for his conduct at Minden. ‘If his Majesty thinks as highly of his merits as ... Mr. Pitt does’, wrote Rigby to Bedford, 31 Aug. 1759,3 ‘he will refuse him nothing.’ Waldegrave was given the command of the 2nd Dragoon Guards (from which Lord George Sackville had been dismissed): and ‘at the request of the Irish authorities’ (Bedford was lord lieutenant) a pension of £800 p.a. was settled on him to commence from the death of his wife4 (she was lady of the bedchamber to Princess Amelia).

Waldegrave was in Germany when the peace preliminaries were debated, and shortly after his return to England succeeded to the peerage. As a peer he was of little political importance. He voted against the repeal of the Stamp Act in 1766, but after the Bedfords returned to office in 1767 supported all Administrations (except the Fox-North Coalition); and in 1782 obtained from Rockingham a place at court for his son.

Waldegrave died 22 Oct. 1784.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. Mems. Geo. II, iii. 198-9.
  • 2. Bedford mss 31, f. 56.
  • 3. Ibid. 40, f. 54.
  • 4. T14/13/405.