Charles Talbot, 1st and last Duke of Shrewsbury

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Charles Talbot

Also Known As: "12th Earl of Waterford"
Death: circa February 01, 1718 (53-61)
Warwick House, Charing Cross, London, London, England, United Kingdom (inflammation of the lungs)
Immediate Family:

Son of Francis Talbot, 11th Earl of Shrewsbury and Anna Maria Talbot (Brudenell)
Husband of Countess Adelhida Paleotti Talbot, Duchess of Shrewsbury
Half brother of Mary Stonor; Conyers Talbot; George Talbot and A son Villiers, "Earl of Cambridge"

Managed by: Carole (Erickson) Pomeroy,Vol. C...
Last Updated:

About Charles Talbot, 1st and last Duke of Shrewsbury

Charles Talbot, 1st Duke of Shrewsbury

Charles Talbot, 1st Duke of Shrewsbury, KG, PC (24 July 1660 – 1 February 1718) was an English statesman. Born to Roman Catholic parents, he remained in that faith until 1679 when—during the time of the Popish Plot and following the advice of the divine John Tillotson—he converted to the Church of England.[1] Shrewsbury took his seat in the House of Lords in 1680 and three years later was appointed Gentleman-Extraordinary of the Bedchamber, suggesting he was in favour at the court of Charles II.[1]

With the accession in 1685 of James II Shrewsbury was appointed a captain in order to defeat the Monmouth rebellion, although he resigned his commission in 1687 after refusing to bow to pressure from James to convert back to the Catholic faith.[1] Making contact with William of Orange, Shrewsbury's home became a meeting place for the opposition to James II and Shrewsbury was one of seven English statesmen to sign the invitation to William to invade England in June 1688. In September he fled England for Holland and returned with William to England in November. Shrewsbury was influential in the making of the Revolution Settlement, arguing strongly in favour of recognising William and Mary as sovereigns.[1]

However in 1690 Shrewsbury resigned from William's government due to ill-health and opposition to the dissolution of Parliament and the dropping of the Bill that would have required an oath abjuring James as king. In opposition, Shrewsbury contacted the exiled Stuart court in France as a prelude to a Stuart restoration. However in 1694 Shrewsbury returned to government and was prominent in persuading the House of Commons to vote for the funds needed for William's war against France. Ill-health led to his resignation in 1698 but he returned to the government in 1699 until resigning again in 1700.[1]

From 1700 until 1705, Shrewsbury was in self-imposed exile abroad, visiting France, Switzerland, Italy, and marrying Countess Adelaide Roffeni. Upon his return to England, Shrewsbury concentrated on the construction of Heythrop Park. In April 1710 Shrewsbury return to government and was an early supporter of the Tory efforts to negotiate peace with France to end the War of the Spanish Succession, concerned at the negative financial impact it was having on landowners. However he was uncomfortable with peace negotiations that left out Britain's ally, the Dutch. In November 1712 he was appointed ambassador to France and then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, returning to England in June 1714.[1]

In July Shrewsbury was appointed Lord Treasurer but in August Queen Anne died and George I succeeded her. the new Whig regime opposed Shrewsbury remaining in government and by 1715 had lost all his governmental offices, although until his death he remained George's Groom of the Stole. Shrewsbury opposed the Whig's attack on the previous Tory ministers and opposed their other policies in the Lords, making contact with the Stuart Pretender, sending him money. He died of inflammation of the lungs in 1718.[1]

He was the only son of the 11th Earl of Shrewsbury and his second wife, formerly Lady Anne-Marie Brudenell, a daughter of 2nd Earl of Cardigan (she became the notorious mistress of the 2nd Duke of Buckingham, who killed her husband in a duel in 1668). Talbot was a godson of King Charles II, after whom he was named, and he was brought up as a Roman Catholic, but in 1679 under the influence of John Tillotson he became a member of the Church of England.

On his father's death he succeeded to the Earldom of Shrewsbury, received an appointment in the household of Charles II, and served in the army under James II. Nonetheless, in 1687 he was in correspondence with the Prince of Orange, and he was one of the seven signatories of the letter of invitation to William in the following year. He contributed towards defraying the expenses of the projected invasion, and having crossed to Holland to join William, he landed with him in England in November 1688 during the Glorious Revolution.

Shrewsbury became Secretary of State for the Southern Department in the first administration of William and Mary, but he resigned office in 1690 when the Tories gained the upper hand in parliament. While in opposition he brought forward the Triennial Bill, to which the King refused assent. In 1694 he again became Secretary of State; but there is some evidence that as early as 1690, when he resigned, he had gone over to the Jacobites and was in correspondence with James at his court in exile at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, though it has been stated on the other hand that these relations were entered upon with William's connivance for reasons of policy.

However this may be, William appears to have had no suspicion of Shrewsbury's loyalty, for on 30 April 1694 the latter was created Marquess of Alton and Duke of Shrewsbury, and he acted as one of the regents during the King's absence from England in the two following years. In 1696 definite accusations of treason were brought against him by Sir John Fenwick, which William himself communicated to Shrewsbury; and about this time the Secretary of State took but a small part in public business, again professing his anxiety to resign. His plea of ill-health was a genuine one, and in 1700 the king reluctantly consented to his retirement into private life.

For the next seven years Shrewsbury lived abroad, chiefly at Rome, whence in 1701 he wrote a celebrated letter to Lord Somers expressing his abhorrence of public life and declaring that if he had a son he "would sooner bind him to a cobbler than a courtier, and a hangman than a statesman."

On the accession of Queen Anne the Whig leaders made an ineffectual attempt to persuade Shrewsbury to return to office. When he returned at last to England on 30 December 1705, he gradually became alienated from his old political associates, and in 1710 he accepted the post of Lord Chamberlain in the Tory administration, to which the queen appointed him without the knowledge of Godolphin and Marlborough; his wife was at the same time made a Lady of the Bedchamber.

After a diplomatic mission to France for the purpose of negotiating preliminaries of peace, Shrewsbury became Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1713; but he was in London in July 1714 during the memorable crisis occasioned by the impending death of Queen Anne. On 29 July, when the queen was dying, the Earl of Oxford received his long-delayed dismissal from the office of Lord Treasurer. On 30 July, Shrewsbury and other ministers assembled at Kensington Palace and, being admitted to the queen's bedchamber, Bolingbroke recommended the appointment of Shrewsbury to the vacant treasurership; Anne at once placed the staff of that high office in the duke's hands.

Thus, when the queen died on 1 August, Shrewsbury was in a position of supreme power with reference to the momentous question of the succession to the crown. He threw his influence into the scale in favour of the Elector of Hanover, and was powerfully influential in bringing about the peaceful accession of George I, and in defeating the design of the Jacobites to place the son of James II on the throne. His disinclination for the highest political offices remained, however, as great as before; and having resigned the lord-treasurership and the lord-lieutenancy of Ireland, he was appointed Lord Chamberlain. This place he resigned in July 1715, and he died on 1 February 1718.

The Duke of Shrewsbury was one of the greatest noblemen of the reign of Queen Anne. Though blind in one eye, he was strikingly handsome in person, his demeanour was dignified and his manners full of grace and courtesy. Swift described him as "the finest gentleman we have", and as "the favourite of the nation", while William III spoke of him as "the king of hearts". Like most of his contemporaries he endeavoured to keep himself in favour both with the exiled house of Stuart and with the reigning sovereign in England; but at the two critical junctures of 1688 and 1714 he acted decisively in favour of the Protestant succession. At other times he appeared weak and vacillating, and he never wholeheartedly supported either Whigs or Tories, though he co-operated with each in turn. His magnanimous disposition saved him from the vindictiveness of the party politician of the period; and the weak health from which he suffered through life probably combined with a congenital lack of ambition to prevent his grasping the power which his personality and talents might have placed in his hands.

In 1705 Shrewsbury married Adelaide Roffeni, daughter of the Marquis Andrea Paleotti and Christina Dudley Paleotti of Bologna. This lady, who is said to have had "a great many engaging qualities" besides many accomplishments, was the subject of much malicious gossip. She was the widow, or as some declared, the mistress of a Count Brachiano; and Lady Cowper reported that the lady's brother had forced Shrewsbury to marry her "after an intrigue together". After Shrewsbury's return to England the duchess became conspicuous in London society, where the caustic wit of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was exercised at her expense. During the Paris embassy she became extremely popular, due to her hospitality and lively conversation. The Duc de Saint-Simon thought that her eccentricity bordered on madness, but did praise the simple, practical hairstyle which she made fashionable. On the accession of George I the duchess of Shrewsbury became a lady of the bedchamber to the Princess of Wales, a position which she retained till her death on 29 June 1726. Shrewsbury left no children, and at his death the dukedom became extinct, the earldom of Shrewsbury passing to his cousin Gilbert Talbot.

Political offices

Preceded by

The Earl of Middleton Secretary of State for the Southern Department 1689–1690

Succeeded by

The Earl of Nottingham

Preceded by

Sir John Trenchard Secretary of State for the Northern Department 1694–1695

Succeeded by

Sir William Trumbull

Preceded by

Sir John Trenchard Secretary of State for the Southern Department 1695–1698

Succeeded by

James Vernon

Preceded by

The Earl of Sunderland Lord Chamberlain 1699–1700

Succeeded by

The Earl of Jersey

Preceded by

The Duke of Ormonde Lord Lieutenant of Ireland 1713–1714

Succeeded by

The Earl of Sunderland

Preceded byThe Earl of Oxford and Mortimer Lord High Treasurer 1714

Succeeded by

In Commission

(First Lord: The Earl of Halifax)

Preceded by

The Duke of Kent Lord Chamberlain 1714–1715

'''Succeeded by'''

The Duke of Bolton

Diplomatic posts

Preceded by

The Duke of Hamilton British Ambassador to France 1712–1713

Succeeded by

Matthew Prior

Honorary titles

Preceded by

The Earl of Shrewsbury Lord High Steward of Ireland 1667–1718

Succeeded by

The Earl of Shrewsbury

Preceded by

The Earl of Sunderland Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire 1681–1687

Succeeded by

The Earl Ferrers

Custos Rotulorum of Staffordshire 1681–1688

Succeeded by

The Lord Aston of Forfar

Preceded by

The Earl of Rochester Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire 1689–1691

Succeeded by

The Earl of Essex

Preceded by

The Viscount Carrington Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire 1689–1718


Title next held by

The Earl of Coventry

Preceded by

The 1st Earl of Macclesfield Lord Lieutenant of North Wales (Anglesey, Caernarvonshire, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Merionethshire and Montgomeryshire) 1694–1696

Succeeded by

The 2nd Earl of Macclesfield

Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire 1694–1704

Succeeded by

The Earl of Kent

Preceded by

The Earl of Bradford Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire 1712–1714

Succeeded by

The Earl of Bradford

Peerage of England

New creation Duke of Shrewsbury 1694–1718


Preceded by

Francis Talbot Earl of Shrewsbury 1667–1718

Succeeded by

Gilbert Talbot

Peerage of Ireland

Preceded by

Francis Talbot Earl of Waterford


Succeeded by

Gilbert Talbot

Notes* 1.^ a b c d e f g Stuart Handley, ‘Talbot, Charles, duke of Shrewsbury (1660–1718)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008, accessed 30 Jan 2011.

  • This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.


  • [Anon.] (1800). "Observations upon the Political Character of Charles Talbot, Duke of Shrewsbury, &c". The European Magazine, and London Review 37: 120–124.
  • Stuart Handley, ‘Talbot, Charles, duke of Shrewsbury (1660–1718)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008, accessed 30 Jan 2011.
  • Dorothy H. Somerville, The King of Hearts. Charles Talbot, Duke of Shrewsbury (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1962).

Further reading

  • W. Coxe (ed.), Private and Original Correspondence of Charles Talbot, Duke of Shrewsbury (1821).
  • Edward Gregg, Queen Anne (1980).
  • Henry Horwitz, Parliament, Policy and Politics in the Reign of William III (1977).
  • G. P. R. James, Letters Illustrative of the Reign of William III from 1696 to 1708 addressed to the Duke of Shrewsbury by James Vernon, 3 vols. (1841).
  • T. C. Nicholson and A. S. Turberville, Charles Talbot, Duke of Shrewsbury (1930).
  • Daniel Szechi, ‘The Duke of Shrewsbury's contacts with the Jacobites in 1713’, Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, 56 (1983), pp. 229–32.



  • Charles Talbot, 1st and last Duke of Shrewsbury
  • M, #12358, b. 24 July 1660, d. 1 February 1717/18
  • Last Edited=17 Dec 2008
  • Consanguinity Index=0.0%
  • Charles Talbot, 1st and last Duke of Shrewsbury was born on 24 July 1660. He was the son of Francis Talbot, 11th Earl of Shrewsbury and Lady Anna Maria Brudenell. He married Adelhida Palliotti, daughter of unknown Palliotti, Marchese di Palliotti. He died on 1 February 1717/18 at age 57.
  • He gained the title of 12th Earl of Shrewsbury. He gained the title of 1st Duke of Shrewsbury.
  • On his death, the Dukedom and Marquessate became extinct, but the Earldom etc., reverted to his cousin, Gilbert, son of the 10th Earl.
  • Citations
  • 1.[S3409] Caroline Maubois, "re: Penancoet Family," e-mail message to Darryl Roger Lundy, 2 December 2008. Hereinafter cited as "re: Penancoet Family."
  • From:



Private and original correspondence ... with king William, the leaders of ... By Charles Talbot, Charles Talbot (duke of Shrewsbury.)

Cracroftspeerage - Charles Talbot, 12th Earl of Shrewsbury later 1st Duke of Shrewsbury, KG PC

The Gentleman's magazine, Volume 89

Warwick Castle and Its Earls Part One By Frances Warwick



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Charles Talbot, 1st and last Duke of Shrewsbury's Timeline

July 24, 1660
February 1, 1718
Age 57
London, London, England, United Kingdom