Arthur Collins.

Collins's peerage of England; genealogical, biographical, and historical (Volume 1) online

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T. Bensley, Printer,
15It Court, Flett Street, London,

V-. 1


It is generally admitted, that for some time a new edition
ofCoLLiNs's Peerage has been much wanted. Thirty-
five years have elapsed since the last was finished at the
press ; and the Supplementary Volume published by Mr.
Barak Longmate, as long ago as 1785, by no means
supplies the numerous deficiencies created by the changes
of so long and eventful a period. The profusion of Mr.
Pitt's ministry of seventeen years in the creation of
honours is sufticiently notorious; and the active part
which Britain has taken in almost every quarter of the
world since the commencement of that illustrious states-
man's power, hr.s drawn forward the talents and exer-
tions of so many extraordinary men, that any work of
personal history not embracing so brilliant an aera must
be comparatively meagre and dull, and without the most
interesting features of the glory of later ages.

Collins was a most industrious, faithful, and excel-
lent genealogist; to the families which then came within
the compass of his work, he left little of pedigree to be
done, except a continuation to the present day. But he
was more : he was to a certain extent a biographer and
historian. Unfortunately, the dryness of his early pur-
suits, and perhaps a want of early education on a liberal
scale, and, not improbably, a narrow sphere of life which
restrained him from any familiar acquaintance with ele-
vated society, made him contemplate rank and titles with


too indiscriminate respect and flattery. His compilations
therefore are miserably wanting in all those higher traits
of biography and history, which convey the most amuse-
ment and the most instruction.

These are the ingredients which the present Editor
has endeavoured to infuse into the work now offered to
the Public. He is aware how perilous a task he has un-
dertaken, and how impossible it has often been, without
decomposing the whole, to give life and light to the
inanimate mass. Too large a portion of it he therefore
fears still retains its original character. Yet the intelli-
gent and candid reader will duly appreciate the vast store-
house of important facts and characters which it fur-
nishes; in addition to a collection of authentic genealo-
gies, which are deduced with the greatest labour and
clearness, and are so numerous and extensive, as to em-
brace almost all the honourable alliances of the kingdom
in past as well as present times.

The pen of the general historian cannot stop to de-
tail those private connections of his heroes, which often
give a clue to their public conduct and characters. On
this account such a work as the present is of the greatest
use to every Briton who desires to be thoroughly and
deeply conversant with the political story of his country.

The constitution of the government, or at least the
practice of late times is such, that every eminent man in
the state, and all who have distinguished themselves in
the law, navy, or army, have aspired to nobility, and
generally for themselves or their posterity obtained it.
Hence a Peerage embraces an account of almost all that
has been illustrious in public life.

It is not for him who has taken this task upon him-
self to criticise the profusion with which these honours
have been sometimes conferred. The station of an here-
ditary senator, clothed with rank and privileges, is no


fight boon. It is due to splendid abilities exercised in
exalted and commanding situations ; it is due to brilliant
descent combined with large fortune and virtuous and
pa'riotic conduct. But there are pretensions of a less
eminent sort, to which enlightened and unprejudiced
minds do not think it often due. It is odious to the
gentry and the people to have men so lifted above them
without an adequate cause !

The materials of this work have been sought for in
an extensive range of literature, by one, whose inordinate
love of reading, unconfined to any track, has been un-
ceasing from the age of twelve years. He has drawn
many of his notices from places whither the mere genea-
logist never travels; and has brought not only history,
biography, and anecdote, but all the belles lettres, and
much of the minutiae of black-letter learning to his aid.
It is true, that the calls of the press, and a variety of
distracting circumstances, did not always allow him to
apply his materials as he would have wished : and above
all, he regrets that he had seldom time to form those ori-
ginal delineations of the characters of great men, which
he most delights to revolve in his mind and to attempt
to pourtray. He would in days of less hurry and per-
plexity, have drawn every great man's portrait with his
own pen ; and thus at least have claimed the praise of
being an original writer rather than a compiler. But he
has still this consolation, that he has brought together
the materials for a more able designer ; and that there
is little now to do but to combine them into perfect

What a vast fund here is for those who love to study
the complexity and the course of human affairs, must be
apparent to every cultivated eye ! And though the world
has been apt to treat Peerages with contempt as they
have been formerly con(Uicted : (a prejudice which it vvlli


be difficult at once to efface, while the felicity with which
Burke characterized the pages of Collins as setting up no
other tests of merit than honours, and judging equally of
all who possessed equal titles and places, is remembered),
yet the truth will prevail at last; and the value of the
instruction which such a compilation is calculated to
convey, will be perceived and acknowledged.

Arthur Collins, the original compiler, was born
in \682] and according to a Memoir of him written by
Mr. Stephen Jones, and published in Gent. Mag. vol.
Ixix. p. 282, was son of William Collins, Esq. Gentleman
Usher to Queen Catharine in 1669, by Elizabeth, daughter
of Thomas Blythe, Esq. Mr. Jones adds, that he re-
ceived a liberal education; but it is clear, that at one
time he carried on the trade of a bookseller at the Black
Boy, opposite St. Dunstan's church in Fleet-street, from
the advertisement of books printed and sold by him an-
nexed to the edition of his Peerage in 1712.

He married about I7O8, and dj'ing in 176O, aged
seventy-eight, was buried in the church of Battersea in
Surry. His son, Major-General Arthur Tooker Collins,
died January 4th, 1793, leaving issue David Collins, Esq.
author of I'/ie Account of' the Engliah Settlement in Nea'
South Wales.

Thejirst edition of his Peerage was published in one
vol. 8vo. about 1709; the arms miserably cut on wood.

The second edition was in 1712, one vol. 8vo,- col-
lected as well from our best Historians, Public Records,
and other sufficient authorities, as from the personal infor-
mations of most of the Nobilitt/. ^ Two more volumes con-
taining the extinct Peerage were added about 1715.

But the^Vs; complete edition of the existing Peerage
was published in four vols. Svo. with the same copper

Tlie Editor has a large paper presentation-copy now before him.


plates, as were afterwards used, London, 1735. This was;
called the second edition.

To this were afterwards added two volumes of Supple-
mentf 1741.

The next edition, called the third, was published in
six vols. 8vo. 1756.

i\fter his death the Jour th edition came out in 1767,
in seven vols. 8vo.

The fifth and last edition was pubhshed in 1778, in
eight vols. 8vo. by Mr. Barak Longmate, "^ who in 1785
added a Supplemental Volume.

Collins also published a quarto volume, being part of
a larger Baronage, 1727.

A Baronetage ^incomplete) in two vols. 8vo. 1720,
which he reprinted and completed in 1741, in five vols.
8vo. an admirable work.

Besides these he gave to the world. Historical Collec-
tions of the Noble Families of Cavendish, Holies, Vere^
Hurley, and Ogle, fol. 1752.

Letters and Memorials cf the Sydneys, two vols. fol.

j4 Collection of Cases of Baronies in Fee, fol. 1734.

Life of Lord Burleigh, 1732, 8vo.

Life of Edward the Black Prince, 1750, 8vo.

These works are sufficient proofs of his uncommon in-
dustry. The indefatigable skill with which he searched
into records, wills, deeds, epitaphs, MS genealogies, can
be properly ascertained only by those, who have been
engaged in similar pursuits. How much he added to the
account of those later famili<;s, of whom Dugdale treated
at the close of his Baronage, may be seen by a reference
to that great antiquary's work. In matters of pedigree,
subsequent investigations have seldom found him to be

^ Barak Longmate, engraver, an excellent genealogist, and inge-
nicms man, died July 23d, 17p3, aged fifty-five.


erroneous. His flattery displayed itself in praises of cha-
racter; in reverential estimates of talents and integrity;
and not in genealogical untruths. This arose rather
from the nature and discipline of his mind than from
any wilful misrepresentations. History itself had not
then risen to its present philosophic character; and who
could expect it of a mere genealogist ?

For himself, the present Editor owes it to a just pride,
to disclaim the undue influence of titles or birth on his
mind. He feels no dazzle from them, that can destroy,
or affect his powers of discrimination. He thinks them
a disgrace to him, to whom they do not prove incentives
to liberal conduct, cultivated pursuits, and honourable
ambition. For those, whose insolence is founded upon
the possession of their privileges, but who turn with a
stupid or affected aversion from an inquiry into their
history, every sensible and rational mind must feel not
only disapprobation, but contempt. If they will not
look back with curiosity and respect on those merits,
which have procured them their present enviable station,
on what just grounds can they imagine themselves placed
where they are ? It is observable, that the most insolent
and haughty of the nobility are uniformly those who are
least conversant about its history. Perhaps they are
right: every page would teem with reproaches to their
own sensual lives !

A young British Peer, who cultivates his mind, and
refines his manners ; who studies the public affairs of
his country, and takes a virtuous part in them, is in a
situation as desirable as a chastised and enlightened am-
bition can form a wish for. Even thousrh his estate


should be moderate, the senate opens a field for his ex-
ertions, where they will be tried only by their merit,
whether of intention or talent. His rank will procure
him respect, and a due attention to all his suggestions;


and without being liable to the caprices and expenses of
popular elections, he may pursue the dictates of an honest
mind unvvarped and uncontrolled ; and glow with the
inward satisfaction of living for others, and of the daily
discharge of patriotic duties. To look up to such a lot
as the object of desire, is it to look to that, which is not
the desire of virtue and wisdom ?

Low-born people too often console themselves that
these exhibitions of illustrious blood are the fables of
interested flatterers. But upon what clear and incon-
trovertible proof the pedigrees in these volumes stand,
may safely be left to the most strict and rigorous scrutiny
of all those who have skill on the subject. The Peerage
can furnish a number of families who can boast in the
male line a most venerable antiquity. The names of
Nevile, Grey, Talbot, Courtenay, Clifford, Berkeley,
Clinton, Lumley, Stanley, Howard, Devereux, Sackville,
and St. John, will speak for themselves. The lapse of
time may in some cases have weakened the impulse and
dimmed the lustre of their energies, though it may not
have annihilated the extent of their fortunes. When
this derivative splendour is invigorated by the original
light of personal merit, how attractive and imposing is
it on the feelings of a contemplative mind ! Let those,
who delight in degradation, rather seek it in the declen-
sion of the representative from his transmitted glory,
than in the denial of past greatness, which can so easily
be proved ! They may then cast a sting where it is
merited, and may do good : the rest is wilful blindness
to the light !

There are some respects in which the members of the
Upper House of Parliament have undergone a material
variation of character and habits from those which they
formerly held. From their numbers, and from the nearer
equality of fortune of the major part of them, they arc


become more blended with the people. The power and
the distance of a stately and reserved aristocracy are lost:
and instead of separate rights and views, they possess
mingled interests with the commonalty. There are in-
deed a few vast and princely estates, chiefly the remnants
of feudal times, and unproportionably augmented by the
amazing rise in the value of landed property, which en-
title those who possess them to all the splendor and in-
fluence of predominant wealth. The Houses of Bedford,
Devonshire, Marlborough, Portland, and Northumber-
land: Buckingham, Stafford, and Hertford: Bridgewater,
Fitzvvilliam, Darlington, Spencer, Grosvenor, Povvis,
and Lonsdale, and perhaps a few others, have rentals,
which compared with those of ancient days, must appear
truly astonishing. Make every allowance for increased
prices, and depreciation of money ; and still their relative
power, as far as wealth can operate, must be augmented.
Whether the diminished respect for titles, and the altered
manners of society are not more than a counterbalance
to this, may be fairly questioned !

The magnificent palaces of Blenheim, Chatsworth,
Woburn, and Stowe ; the noble castles of Alnwick and
Raby ; the ancient and spreading mansions of Welbeck
and Milton; the venerable park and classical site of Ash-
ridge ; the rich and highly adorned seats of Trentham
and Althorp, become the rich Peers who own them, and
support the splendor of the British Peerage. In the re-
sidences of these great families, both in the country and
the capital, the arts flourish ; and learning finds the
amplest repositories. The Stafford, Carlisle, and Gros-
venor collections of pictures; the Spencer, Marlborough,
Devonshire, Bridgewater, and Pembroke libraries, are
national treasures, becoming a people who are contend-
ing for the empire of the world.

If to ruminate on the heroes of feudal times gratify a


wild curiosity, and raise a brilliant array of images in a
rich and picturesque imagination, it is perhaps in the
exhibition of those who have risen by their intellectual
merits in a more refined state of society, that we furnish
something more suited to excite the interest of the
moralist, and the sympathy of the heart. Cecil, Cooper,
St. John, Harley, Walpole, and Pulteney Chatham, and
his son Pitt; Holland, with his son Charles Fox; and
Melville Bacon, Clarendon, and Somers ; Yorke, Talbot,
Murray, Thurlow, and Dunning: these are men, whose
lives we may study without wasting our time in an idle
and uninstructive curiosity! Nor will the memoirs of
our great commanders, either by sea or land, be read
without virtuous emotions, or solid information.

The Editor in tlie undertaking of this heavy task
has been actuated by no other motive than a pure desire
to produce an useful work, which appeared to be much
wanted, fie began it without any demand or hope of
reward, merely as an inducement to the proprietors to
hazard the great expense of a reprint, when, if they had
had the additional cost of an Editor to pay, they might
have been discouraged from the scheme. The very hand-
some and large presents of books which the proprietors
have since bestowed on him without any stipulation, are
as gratifying to his pride, as they are honourable to their
liberality. The time consumed, and the occasional labour
have been such, as he confessedly did not foresee. But
he is aware that those, who had no other avocations nor
pursuits, might have executed the work much more ex-
peditiously. He confesses that, somewhat volatile and
uncertain in the objects of his curiosity and amusement,
he has been too often drawn aside by every flower, and
tempted by every new prospect. A reader in every
various path of polite literature, voracious of books, yet
impatient of steady application ; sometimes at a distance


from the materials and volumes required for this task,
and sometimes forgetting them in the more urgent dis-
cussions of temporary interest, or the more seductive
pages of affecting or playful genius, the progress of this
Peerage has too often languished, and even slept.

At length it comes, not without some anxiety of the
Editor, before the public eye. He looks for little praise ;
nor does he wholly hope to escape censure. Of the
reader, who adds candour to intelligence, he is not much
in fear. In such an immense number of facts and dates,
there must be some oversights, and some omissions. A
sound judgment will not require him to have heaped
together every thing which might be found on the sub-
ject, without selection; and pour out an indigested com-
mon-place book, or loaded memory on every article. It
is sufficient to have given the prominent features, and
pointed out the track of reading which may still lead to
farther illustration. The reader in prose, as well as in
poetry, wishes to have something for the exercise of his
own ingenuity, and a display of the stores of his own

- Of the materials and authorities, on which this work is
built, little further requires to be said. The references at
the bottom of almost every page speak for themselves.
A long familiarity with all the minutiae of pedigree, and
habits of research for more than twenty years among
original documents and ancient memorials, more especi-
ally the immense mass of genealogical MSS. in the
British Museum, have given the Editor a critical judg-
ment on such subjects, which secures him from indiscri-
minate compilation. Something more might unques-
tionably have been done in some cases by the aid of the
respective families of whom he has treated. But he is
not ashamed to confess, that to the task of solicitation
his pride would not submit. Besides, it might have re-


strained his pen in the exercise of that freedom integrity
and truth, tempered by candour, with which he has most
sedulously endeavoured to give the history of every

To a few persons only has he to make his acknow-
ledgements of assistance. George Naylor, Esq. York
Herald, has, at the expense of the publishers, furnished
copies of all or most of the pedigrees of the new peers,
which have been entered at the Heralds' College. ^ These
will be apparent, and need not be particularized. To
the Right Honourable the Earl of Lonsdale, K. G. the
Editor is indebted for the curious memoir of his col-
lateral ancestor the first Viscount, printed for private
use. To ihe late Viscount Melville, for the printed me-
moir of his immediate ancestors, which is copied into
Vol. vi. To Viscount Sidmouth, and Lord De Dun-
stanville, for replies to the Editor's queries. To the
Honourable and Reverend Francis Egerton, for the life
of his ancestor the Lord Chancellor Brackley; and
to John Egerton, Esq. of Olton, M. P. for Chester,
for the deduction of his own branch of the family. To
Earl Nelson, Lord Sheffield, and the Honourable W. B.
Lygon, M. P. for Worcestershire, for corrections in their
respective articles ; which two last, though they arrived
after those articles were printed, will be noticed in the
Addenda. He is also indebted to the Rev. J. Blakeway,
of Shrewsbury, for the use of his Marginal Notes to his
copy of Collins ; and to T. B. How ell, Esq. the learned
Editor of the new edition of the State Trials, for a most
important addition to the article of the Earl of Doncaster
(Duke of Bucclcugh); to Frederick Holdsworth, Esq.
for his liberal offers of aid in the Roper pedigree; and
to J. Haslewood, Esq. for his addition to the Berkeley

' Some new Peers have not entered any pedigrees.


To Edmund Lodge, Esq. Lancaster Herald, if he has
not broken in on his time by requests of written assist-
ance which might perhaps have too much intruded on
his own views, (since Mr. L. himself is believed to have
had in contemplation an original Baronage, to which his
own admirable pen is capable of giving the highest in-
terest), the Editor is yet indebted for the instruction of
his conversation, and perhaps many hints and much
light which he would not otherwise have possessed.

A brief account of the Extinct and Dormant Peer-
ages, from the accession of King Henry VIL is appended
to the ninth volume. For a more detailed history of
them, the reader is referred to Banks's Dormant and Ex-
tinct Peerage, in three vols. 4to. published by White and

Whoever wishes to be acquainted with the law of the
Peerage, will do well to procure Cruise's 8vo. volume On
Dignities, in which he will find the subject treated with
admirable perspicuity and brevity ; and all the legal
points which have arisen in the investigation of claims,
clearly stated and discussed.

In the progress of printing this work, the necessity
of a regular attention to some technical arrangements,
which at first had been sometimes neglected, enforced
itself on the Editor's mind. Every Peer on his succes-
sion is, with these exceptions, distinguished by his name
and title being printed in capitals; so also is, or should
be, the Christian name of his eldest son, whose courtesy
title is printed in italics; by which also the Scotch and
Irish titles are distinguished. Every child of a Peer is
likewise, at least in the latter volumes, marked out by a
separate paragraph. On the whole it is hoped, that in
all such points this Edition will be found to be a mate-
rial improvement on the former.


Some years having been consumed in compiling and
printing so voluminous a Work, many deaths, marriages,
and births have occurred, after the articles to which they
belong were printed off. These of necessity could only
find a place in the Addenda.

With these explanations, it only remains to submit
the Work to its fate; not in confidence and exultation,
but in the mil :! and gentle hope, that not merely genea-
logists and antiquaries, but readers of almost every class,
and more especially all who are fond of biography and
history, will find extensive interest in these full volumes.

July 20, 1812.



Contains the Blood Royal, and part of the Dukes,


Contains the rest of the Dukes, and all the Marquises.


Contains the Earls to the termination of the seventeenth Century.


Contains the Earls from the comnencement of the eighteenth century,
to the death of George II.


Contains the Earls from the accession of George III.


Contains all the Viscounts ; and those Barons, whose honours ex-
isted prior to the death of Queen Elixaleth.

VOL. vn.

Contains the Barons from the accession of King James I. to the
termination of the Coalition Ministry in 1783.


Contains the Barons from the commencement of Mr. Pitt's Ministry

Online LibraryArthur CollinsCollins's peerage of England; genealogical, biographical, and historical (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 58)