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George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough

george spencer 4th duke of marlborough
George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough, KG, PC, FRS 26 January 1739 – 29 January 1817, styled Marquess of Blandford until 1758, was a British courtier, nobleman, and politician from the Spencer family He served as Lord Chamberlain between 1762 and 1763 and as Lord Privy Seal between 1763 and 1765


  • 1 Background and education
  • 2 Personal traits and characteristics
  • 3 Career
  • 4 Family
  • 5 References

Background and educationedit

Styled by the courtesy title Marquess of Blandford from birth, He was the eldest son of Charles Spencer, 3rd Duke of Marlborough, and the Honourable Elizabeth Trevor, daughter of Thomas Trevor, 2nd Baron Trevor He was the brother of Lord Charles Spencer, Lady Diana Spencer and Lady Elizabeth Spencer He was educated at Eton College1

Personal traits and characteristicsedit

According to George III, who mentioned it to Fanny Burney,2 the Duke suffered from severe red-green colourblindness As he was unable to tell scarlet from green, Fanny therefore remarked that this was unlucky for someone in possession of so sumptuous a home as Blenheim Palace


Marlborough entered the Coldstream Guards in 1755 as an Ensign, becoming a Captain with the 20th Regiment of Foot the following year After inheriting the dukedom in 1758, Marlborough took his seat in the House of Lords in 1760, becoming Lord-Lieutenant of Oxfordshire in that same year1 The following year, he bore the sceptre with the cross at the coronation of George IIIcitation needed In 1762, he was made Lord Chamberlain as well as a Privy Counsellor, and after a year resigned this appointment to become Lord Privy Seal, a post he held until 17651 An amateur astronomer, he built a private observatory at his residence, Blenheim Palace He kept up a lively scientific correspondence with Hans Count von Brühl, another aristocratic dilettante in astronomycitation needed

The Duke was made a Knight of the Garter in 1768, and was elected to the Royal Society in 17861


Marlborough married Lady Caroline Russell, daughter of John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford, in 1762, by whom he had eight children:

  • Lady Caroline Spencer 1763–1813, married Henry Agar-Ellis, 2nd Viscount Clifden and had issue, including George Agar-Ellis, 1st Baron Dover
  • Lady Elizabeth Spencer 1764–1812, married her cousin John Spencer a grandson of the 3rd Duke of Marlborough and had issue
  • George Spencer-Churchill, 5th Duke of Marlborough 1766–1840
  • Lady Charlotte Spencer 1769–1802, married Rev Edward Nares and had issue
  • Lord Henry John Spencer 1770–1795
  • Lady Anne Spencer 1773–1865, married Cropley Ashley-Cooper, 6th Earl of Shaftesbury and had issue
  • Lady Amelia Spencer 1774–1829, married Henry Pytches Boyce
  • Lord Francis Almeric Spencer 1779–1845, created Baron Churchill in 1815

The Duchess of Marlborough died at Blenheim Palace in November 1811, aged 68 The Duke of Marlborough died at Blenheim Palace in January 1817, aged 78, and was buried there1


  1. ^ a b c d e thepeeragecom George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough
  2. ^ Burney, F The Diary of Fanny Burney, Dent Everyman edition, London, 1971, pages 107-8
  •  Lee, Sidney, ed 1898 "Spencer, George 1739-1817" Dictionary of National Biography 53 London: Smith, Elder & Co 
  • The Collected Correspondence of Baron Franz von Zach, Volume 3 British Letters, 2008 Edited by Clifford J Cunningham Star Lab Press
Honorary titles
Vacant Title last held by The Duke of Marlborough Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire
Succeeded by
The Earl of Macclesfield
Preceded by
The Marquess Townshend
Senior Privy Counsellor
Succeeded by
Lord Charles Spencer
Political offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Devonshire
Lord Chamberlain
Succeeded by
The Earl Gower
Preceded by
The Duke of Bedford
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by
The Duke of Newcastle
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Charles Spencer
Duke of Marlborough
Succeeded by
George Spencer-Churchill

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