Henry Phipps, 1st Earl of Mulgrave

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About Henry Phipps, 1st Earl of Mulgrave


Henry Phipps, 1st Earl of Mulgrave GCB, PC (14 February 1755 - 7 April 1831), styled The Honourable Henry Phipps until 1792 and known as The Lord Mulgrave from 1792 to 1812, was a British soldier and politician. He notably served as Foreign Secretary under William Pitt the Younger from 1805 to 1806.

Background and education

Lord Mulgrave was a younger son of Constantine Phipps, 1st Baron Mulgrave (also Baron Mulgrave, of New Ross), by his wife the Hon. Lepell, daughter of John Hervey, 2nd Baron Hervey, and was educated at Eton and the Middle Temple.

Military career

Lord Mulgrave entered the army in 1775, and eventually rose to the rank of General. He saw service in the Caribbean during the American Revolutionary War. In 1793, due to the fact that he was on a mission to the King of Sardinia in Turin, he was near at hand when British forces captured the French port of Toulon, and he briefly took command of the British land forces there, before withdrawing upon the arrival of more senior officers. In 1799 he was sent out on another special military mission, this time to the headquarters of the Austrian commander, Archduke Charles, to attempt to persuade him to retain his troops in Switzerland rather than removing them to the Middle Rhine, but he was unsuccessful.

Political career

In 1784 Lord Mulgrave was elected to the House of Commons for Totnes. He supported the government of Pitt, to whom he eventually became close. In 1790, he was elected for Scarborough in Yorkshire. He succeeded his brother Constantine Phipps, 2nd Baron Mulgrave as Baron Mulgrave in the Peerage of Ireland in 1792, but did not succeed to his brother's British title. In 1794 he was granted a British peerage as Baron Mulgrave, entering the House of Lords, and in 1796 he was made Governor of Scarborough Castle.[1] Mulgrave supported Pitt when he resigned in 1801, and in return for his loyalty was rewarded with the office of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1804–1805) in Pitt's second government. Following an accident suffered by Lord Harrowby, Mulgrave took his place as Foreign Secretary, in which position he helped Pitt to form the Third Coalition against Napoleon.

With the death of Pitt and the formation of the Ministry of All the Talents in 1806, Mulgrave, along with the other Pittites, went into opposition, but when the Pittites returned to power in 1807, Mulgrave served in various major offices, first as First Lord of the Admiralty (1807–1810), then as Master-General of the Ordnance (1810–1819), and finally as Minister without Portfolio (1819–1820). As First Lord he was heavily involved in planning both the successful expedition against Copenhagen in 1807, and the disastrous one to Walcheren in 1809. After moving to the ordnance board, Mulgrave became less active politically. He was created Viscount Normanby and Earl of Mulgrave in 1812.


The Earl of Mulgrave's grandfather William Phipps had married Lady Catherine Annesley, who was the daughter and heiress of James Annesley, 3rd Earl of Anglesey and his wife Lady Catherine Darnley (an illegitimate daughter of King James II by his mistress Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester). Lady Catherine Darnley had later married John Sheffield, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby, and hence Henry Phipps, 1st Earl of Mulgrave was the step-great-grandson of the 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby.

Henry Phipps, 1st Earl of Mulgrave married Martha Sophia, daughter of Christopher Thomson Maling, in 1795. He died in April 1831, aged 76, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Constantine, who was later created Marquess of Normanby. His second son was the Hon. Sir Charles Beaumont Phipps. The Countess of Mulgrave died in March 1849.

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Henry Phipps, 1st Earl of Mulgrave's Timeline

February 14, 1755
May 15, 1797
December 27, 1801
Mulgrave, Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom
July 28, 1805
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, United Kingdom
December 7, 1808
Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom
April 7, 1831
Age 76