William Wentworth, 2nd Earl of Strafford (1722-1791)

William Wentworth, 2nd Earl of Strafford (1722-1791)

William Wentworth, 2nd Earl of Strafford (17 March 1722–10 March 1791), was a peer and member of the House of Lords of Great Britain.


Strafford was the only son of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford (1672-1739). His paternal great-grandfather was Sir William Wentworth of Ashby Puerorum, a younger brother of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford of an earlier creation. His father was a cousin of William Wentworth, 2nd Earl of Strafford, who died childless, on whose death in 1695 he became the 3rd Baron Raby. However, the Strafford fortune, with the estate of the great Jacobean house of Wentworth Woodhouse, went to a nephew of the second Earl's by marriage.

The title of Earl of Strafford was created for the third time in 1711, for Strafford's father, and thus came to him on his father's death in 1739. [ [http://www.rotherhamweb.co.uk/h/strafford.htm Earl of Strafford] at rotherhamweb.co.uk (accessed 5 March 2008)]


Strafford added a neo-Palladian range to Wentworth Castle, his country house in Yorkshire, a project begun in 1759 and completed in 1764. As its principal designer, this gained him an entry in Colvin's "Biographical Dictionary of British Architects". [Colvin, Howard, "A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840" (Yale University Press, 1954, now in 4th edition, ISBN 0300125089)] [Hewlings, Richard, "Ripon's Forum Populi" in "Architectural History", Vol. 24 (1981), pp. 39-52 and 150-152] [ [http://www.rotherhamweb.co.uk/gallery/wentworth1/ Wentworth Castle and Stainborough Park estate] online at rotherhamweb.co.uk (accessed 5 March 2008)] Strafford's friend Horace Walpole described this south front on August 2, 1770, as showing "the most perfect taste in architecture": [Walpole, Horace, "Anecdotes of painting in England, with some account of the principal artists" (new edition, London, Henry G. Bohn, 1849) [http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=_VEEAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA813&lpg=PA813 page 813] online at google.co.uk (accessed 5 March 2008)] cquote|If a model is sought of the most perfect taste in architecture, where grace softens dignity, and lightness attempers magnificence; where proportion removes every part from peculiar observation, and delicacy of observation recalls every part to notice; where the position is the most happy, and even the colour of the stone the most harmonious; the virtuouso should be directed to the new front of Wentworth-castle: the result of the same elegant judgement that had before distributed so many beauties over that domain, and called from wood, water, hills, prospects and buildings, a compendium of picturesque nature, improved by the chastity of art.

Jacobite Duke

Strafford was the second "Duke of Strafford" in the Jacobite Peerage of England, a title created for his father by The Old Pretender in 1722.De Ruvigny, Marquis, "The Jacobite Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage, and Grants of Honour" (Edinburgh: T.C. & C.E. Jack, 1904, new edition by Genealogical Publishing Company, 2003, ISBN 0806317167) p. 171] Strafford's father, the first Duke, had been a leading conspirator in the "Atterbury Plot" to restore the Stuarts of 1720-1722, and was later also a party to the Cornbury Plot of 1731-1735. The Pretender appointed him one of his 'Lords Regent' in England and commander of the Jacobite forces north of the Humber. [Burrows, Donald, "The Cambridge Companion to Handel" (Cambridge University Press, 1997, [http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=RDvqOSFpg18C&pg=PA97&lpg=PA97&dq=Strafford&source=web&ots=Mqgb_SeODB&sig=MQPsgIhcPzEs0vImhkFDalA13eM&hl=en page 97] online at books.google.co.uk (accessed 5 March 2008)]


In 1741, Strafford married Lady Anne Campbell (born about 1715, died 1785), the second of the five daughters of John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll. The two became part of a social set which included Horace Walpole, who considered the countess to be a "vast beauty" and immortalized her in a poem which was published in 1765. [http://www.artsmia.org/viewer/detail.php?v=12&id=5996 Anne, Countess of Strafford (c. 1715-1785)] online at artsmia.org (accessed 5 March 2008)]

When Strafford was widowed in 1785, society gossip quickly linked his name with that of Lady Louisa Stuart (1757-1851), leading Lady Diana Beauclerk to remark "So Lady Louisa Stuart is going to marry her great-grandfather, is she?" ["Memoirs of the Argylls" in the "Journal of Lady Mary Coke", vol. 1, p. xlix] However, Stuart looked on Strafford merely as an elderly uncle, and not as a suitor, and he for his part did nothing to promote such an alliance. [Graham, Harry, [Jocelyn Henry C. Graham] , "A Group of Scottish Women" (New York, Duffield & Co., 1908) Chapter XVIII online at [http://www.electricscotland.com/history/women/scottish_women_chapter18.htm Lady Louisa Stuart (1757 - 1851)] at electricscotland.com (accessed 29 February 2008)]

Strafford died without issue in 1791.


Portraits of Strafford include one by Sir Joshua Reynolds which was engraved as a mezzotint by James Macardell. The copy of this in the National Portrait Gallery is erroneosly described as of 'William Wentworth, 4th Earl of Strafford (1722-1791)'. [ [http://www.npg.org.uk/live/search/person.asp?LinkID=mp57994 William Wentworth, 4th Earl of Strafford (1722-1791)] at npg.org.uk (accessed 1 March 2008)]

Strafford's countess was also painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds.


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