Robert Stewart, 1st Marquess of Londonderry
|The Most Honourable|
The Marquess of Londonderry
The Marquess of Londonderry by Hugh Douglas Hamilton.
Lady Sarah Frances Seymour|
Lady Frances Pratt
Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh|
Charles William Vane, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry
Robert Stewart, 1st Marquess of Londonderry PC (Ire) (27 September 1739 – 6 April 1821), was an Irish politician and landowner, the father of politician Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh. He was also an ancestor of Winston Churchill.
Early life in Dublin
Stewart was born in 1739, son of Alexander Stewart, alderman of Londonderry in 1760, and Mary Cowan, daughter of John Cowan, alderman of Derry. He was also the nephew of Robert Cowan, the wealthy Governor of Bombay.
As the second son he expected to take up the linen trading business in Dublin. He did so, and it is for this reason that his first son was born in Dublin. His offices traded with many Baltic cities, including Saint Petersburg, Reval, and Memel. At the death of his older brother he moved to Ulster to be closer to his father and look after the family properties in Donegal, Londonderry, and Down.
Irish House of Commons 1771–1783
In 1779, worried by the presence of American and French vessels in the Irish sea, he organised the Newtownards Company of 115 men to act as fencibles. When he lost his seat in 1783 he was appointed to the Irish Privy Council. In the same year he inherited his father's properties in Co. Londonderry and Co. Down and settled at Mount Stewart, in the grounds of which he built the Temple of the Winds.
Irish House of Lords
In 1789 he was created Baron Londonderry in the Peerage of Ireland. The following year he took his son (the future Viscount Castlereagh) out of Cambridge University and had him run for the seat of County Down in the Parliament in Dublin, which he won. In 1795 he became Viscount Castlereagh. The following year he was elevated to Earl of Londonderry. His second son at this point also gained a seat in the Dublin Parliament.
Robert Stewart and his two sons favoured the Act of Union and fought to have it presented once more after it had been turned down in 1799. As a result of the vote Londonderry obtained a seat in the House of Lords in London, which he never took up. In 1816 he was created Marquess of Londonderry, again in the Peerage of Ireland. From 1801 until his death he was also an Irish representative peer.
Marriages and issue
Lord Londonderry was married twice. He married firstly to Lady Sarah Frances Seymour (27 September 1747 – 20 July 1770), daughter of Francis Seymour-Conway, 1st Marquess of Hertford. Together they had a son:
- Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh (18 June 1769 – 12 August 1822); married Lady Amelia Hobart, daughter of John Hobart, 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire. He became the 2nd Marquess of Londonderry upon his father's death, but committed suicide ten years later in 1822. He is most commonly known as "Viscount Castlereagh", the title by which he was known for most of his life. He and his wife had no issue.
After Lady Sarah's death in childbirth, Lord Londonderry married, on 7 June 1775, Lady Frances Pratt, daughter of Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden (1714–94). With Lady Frances he had another son:
- Charles William Vane, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry; born "Charles William Stewart". He married firstly, in 1804, Lady Catherine Bligh, daughter of John Bligh, 3rd Earl of Darnley, with no issue. He married secondly, in 1819, Lady Frances Anne Vane-Tempest, daughter of Sir Henry Vane-Tempest, and had issue. Through his daughter Lady Frances Anne, he was the great-grandfather of Winston Churchill.
|Parliament of Ireland|
|Member of Parliament for Down
With: Roger Hall 1771–1776
Arthur Hill, Viscount Kilwarlin 1776–1783
| Succeeded by|
Arthur Hill, Viscount Kilwarlin
Hon. Edward Ward
|Peerage of Ireland|
|New creation||Marquess of Londonderry
| Succeeded by|
|Earl of Londonderry|