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Earl of Shaftesbury

earl of shaftesbury, earl of shaftesbury murder
Earl of Shaftesbury is a title in the Peerage of England It was created in 1672 for Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 1st Baron Ashley, a prominent politician in the Cabal then dominating the policies of King Charles II He had already succeeded his father as second Baronet of Rockbourne in 1631 and been created Baron Ashley, of Wimborne St Giles in the County of Dorset, in 1661, and he was made Baron Cooper, of Paulett in the County of Somerset, at the same time he was given the earldom

These titles are also in the Peerage of England Baron Ashley is used as a courtesy title by the Earl's eldest son and heir apparent The Baronetcy, of Rockbourne in the County of Southampton, was created in the Baronetage of England in 1622 for the Earl's father John Cooper He sat as Member of Parliament for Poole2


  • 1 History
    • 11 Other family members
  • 2 St Giles House
  • 3 South Carolina
  • 4 Cooper baronets, of Rockbourne 1622
  • 5 Earls of Shaftesbury 1672
  • 6 References
  • 7 Further reading
  • 8 External links


Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury

The first Earl was succeeded by his son, Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 2nd Earl of Shaftesbury He represented Melcombe Regis and Weymouth in the House of Commons His son, Anthony Ashley-Cooper, succeeded as the 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury upon his death The 3rd Earl sat as a Member of Parliament but is chiefly remembered as a writer and philosopher On his death, the titles passed to his son, Anthony Ashley-Cooper, who became the 4th Earl of Shaftesbury The 4th Earl notably served as Lord Lieutenant of Dorset and Councillor of the Colony of Georgia He died in 1711, at which time, his son inherited the title of 5th Earl

Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 5th Earl of Shaftesbury was educated at Winchester and served as Deputy Lieutenant of Dorset Cropley Ashley-Cooper, younger brother of the 5th Earl, inherited the title of 6th Earl upon the death of his older brother in 1811 The 6th Earl, represented Dorchester in Parliament He served as member of the Privy Council and Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords Upon his death, the title was passed to his son The 7th Earl was a prominent politician, social reformer and philanthropist He was known as the reforming Lord Shaftesbury in the 19th century, who fought for the abolition of slavery His eldest son, the 8th Earl, sat as Member of Parliament for Hull and Cricklade He was succeeded by his son, the 9th Earl, who was the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Lord Lieutenant of Belfast, County Antrim and Dorset and Lord Steward of the Household The 9th Earl was predeceased by his elder son Anthony Ashley-Cooper, Lord Ashley in 1947; on the 9th Earl's death in 1961, the titles passed to his grandson, the 10th Earl, son of Lord Ashley

In 2004, Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 10th Earl of Shaftesbury was murdered by his third wife, Jamila M'Barek, and her brother They were convicted of the crime in 2007, two years after the 10th Earl's body was found dismembered in the French Alps The 10th Earl was succeeded by his elder son Anthony Ashley Cooper, 11th Earl of Shaftesbury In May 2005, six months after succeeding to the Earldom, the 11th Earl died of a heart attack in New York City, while visiting his younger brother Nicholas Ashley-Cooper, who succeeded him as 12th Earl

Other family membersedit

Other prominent members of the Ashley-Cooper family include Liberal politician Evelyn Ashley, second son of the 7th Earl; his son, noted politician, Wilfrid Ashley, 1st Baron Mount Temple, who was a member of the Conservative Party, and his daughter, Edwina, who married Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, and last Vicereine of India

It is through the marriage of Edwina to the Earl of Mountbatten that the Earls of Shaftesbury became closely aligned with members of the royal family Edwina Mountbatten was a leading member of London society Edwina's mother was Amalia Mary Maud Cassel 1879–1911, daughter of the international magnate Sir Ernest Cassel, who was a friend and private financier to the future King Edward VII Cassel was one of the richest and most powerful men in Europe

When her grandfather died in 1921, Edwina inherited his vast fortune, which included £2 million, the 5,000 acres 20 km2 country seat of Broadlands, Romsey, co Hampshire; Brook House in London; Moulton Paddocks estate in Newmarket, Suffolk; and the seaside home at Branksome Dene in Bournemouth, Dorset She also inherited Classiebawn Castle, Mullaghmore, County of Sligo, Ireland Ashley and Mountbatten were married on 18 July 1922 at St Margaret's, Westminster The Royal family were all present and the then-Prince of Wales the future King Edward VIII served as best man The relationship between the two families continues today, as descendants of the Ashley-Cooper line have often been named godchildren of various members of the royal family

It was at the country seat of Broadlands that Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Phillip, spent their honeymoon night in 1947 In turn, Prince Charles and his first wife, Lady Diana Spencer, spent their honeymoon night there in 1981

St Giles Houseedit

St Giles House, the family seat of the Earls of Shaftesbury Portrait by Gerard Soest of a member of the Ashley-Cooper family

The family seat is St Giles House sometimes referred to as Ashley House near Wimborne St Giles in Dorset The estate at Wimborne St Giles came into the ownership of the Ashley family around the year 1460, through the marriage of Egidia Hamelyn and Robert Ashley, the 5th great grandfather of the 1st Earl of Shaftesbury

Early owners of the estate included the Malmayne family Matilda Malmayne, heiress of the estate, married Edmund Plecy The Plecy male line became extinct towards the end of the fourteenth century, and the estate was transferred to Edmund and Matilda's descendant Joan Plecy, as heiress Lady Joan Plecy was soon married to Sir John Hamelyn d 1399, but with no male heirs, the estate went to Sir John's daughter Egidia, by his second wife, who married Robert Ashley The estate has belonged to the Ashleys and Ashley-Coopers ever since

Construction on St Giles House began in 1651, by Sir Anthony Ashley-Cooper, later to become 1st Earl of Shaftesbury The manor house is built on top of the ruins of the previous estate home This large house and surrounding grounds include 400 acres 16 km2, along with a seven-acre lake and a 1,000 yards 900 m avenue of trees The family also owns Lough Neagh, the largest lake in the British Isles

As noted by Christopher Hussey in his article on St Giles' House,3 "The whole, so little changed in two centuries, is a splendid example of the Kent manner changing into the rococo of the mid-century" However, following World War II, the contents of these rooms have been gradually dispersed in a number of sales The record of these and a number of published articles indicate that the design of the furniture shows a highly accomplished progression from the architectural Palladian style to the full fanciful rococo style The accomplished design, together with the high level of craftsmanship, clearly indicate a metropolitan origin for the majority of these pieces, but unfortunately the surviving Shaftesbury Account Books contain few references to London cabinet-makers other than William Hallett, his name appearing a number of times between 1745 and 1757 with references to 'carved chairs,' 'the Blew Bed,' and 'Mahogany Cisterns' The payments to other cabinet-makers mentioned in accounts are small in nature and probably indicate their local origins4

The Shaftesburys are known to have had connections with London cabinet makers The 4th Earl's wife, Lady Susannah Noel, daughter of Baptist Noel, 3rd Earl of Gainsborough, was one of the 26 aristocratic subscribers to the first edition of Thomas Chippendale's Director 1754 His second wife, Lady Mary Bouverie, was the daughter of the 1st Viscount Folkestone who was a major patron of William Hallett and Benjamin Goodison, her brother the 2nd Viscount acquiring pieces from the Royal cabinetmakers William Vile and John Cobb5

South Carolinaedit

The Ashley and Cooper Rivers in South Carolina were named for the 1st Earl of Shaftesbury, who was the Chief Lord Proprietor of the Carolina Colony Charleston was founded on the western bank of the Ashley in 1670 at Charles Towne Landing, before moving across to its current peninsular location ten years later6

Cooper baronets, of Rockbourne 1622edit

  • Sir John Cooper, 1st Baronet died 1631
  • Sir Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 2nd Baronet 1621–1683 created Baron Ashley in 1661, and Earl of Shaftesbury in 1672

Earls of Shaftesbury 1672edit

The family's coat of arms
  • Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury 1621–1683
  • Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 2nd Earl of Shaftesbury 1652–1699
  • Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury 1671–1713
  • Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 4th Earl of Shaftesbury 1711–1771
  • Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 5th Earl of Shaftesbury 1761–1811
  • Cropley Ashley-Cooper, 6th Earl of Shaftesbury 1768–1851
  • Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury 1801–1885
  • Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 8th Earl of Shaftesbury 1831–1886
  • Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 9th Earl of Shaftesbury 1869–1961
    • Anthony Ashley-Cooper, Lord Ashley 1900–1947
  • Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 10th Earl of Shaftesbury 1938–2004
  • Anthony Nils Christian Ashley-Cooper, 11th Earl of Shaftesbury 1977–2005
  • Nicholas Edmund Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 12th Earl of Shaftesbury born 1979

The heir apparent and the only person in line of succession to the titles is the present holder's son, Anthony Francis Wolfgang Ashley-Cooper, Lord Ashley born 20117


  1. ^ "Shaftesbury, Earl of E, 1672" wwwcracroftspeeragecouk Retrieved 2017-07-24 
  2. ^ Doyle, James William Edmund The Official Baronage of England: Pembroke-Zetland, London: Longman, Green, & Company, 1886, Vol II, Pg 300
  3. ^ Hussey, Christopher Country Life, "St Giles's House, Dorset," September 10, 17, 24, 1943
  4. ^ Sotheby's Lot No 93permanent dead link
  5. ^ Doyle, James William Edmund The Official Baronage of England: Pembroke-Zetland, London: Longman, Green, & Company, 1886, Vol II, Pg 300
  6. ^ Historic Charleston Foundation
  7. ^ "Announcements" The Times London, UK: The Times 27 January 2011  Full text: "ASHLEY-COOPER, On 24th January 2011 to the Earl and Countess of Shaftesbury née Streifeneder a beautiful son, Anthony Francis Wolfgang"

Further readingedit

  • Kidd, Charles & Williamson, David editors Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage 1990 edition New York: St Martin's Press, 1990,page needed
  • Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages self-published sourcebetter source needed

External linksedit

  • Shaftesbury Estates – official website
  • The Grand Shaftesbury Run

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