John Sackville
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John Frederick Sackville (1745 - 1799)

John Frederick "3rd Duke of Dorset" Sackville
Born [location unknown]
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 1790 [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died [location unknown]
Profile last modified | Created 24 Jan 2016
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He was the inspiration for the character " The Scarlet Pimpernel" in the novel of the same name by Baroness Orczy.


They seek him here, they seek him there Those Frenchies seek him everywhere Is he in heaven or is he in hell? That demned elusive Pimpernel Emmuska Orczy, The Scarlet Pimpernel

baroness-emmuska-orczy, scarlet-pimpernel

John Sackville was a member of aristocracy in England.

John Sackville, 3rd Duke of Dorset Only son of Lord John Philip Sackville, second son of Lionel Sackville, 1st Duke of Dorset

The Duke of Dorset John Frederick Sackville, 3rd Duke of Dorset KG (24 March 1745 – 19 July 1799) was the only son of Lord John Philip Sackville, second son of Lionel Sackville, 1st Duke of Dorset. He succeeded to the dukedom in 1769 on the death of his uncle, Charles Sackville, 2nd Duke of Dorset. He was the British Ambassador to France between 1783 and 1789 in the lead up to the French Revolution.

He is best remembered for his love of cricket. He was both a good player and an important patron, but his interest was sharpened by gambling, cricket being a major attraction for gamblers throughout the 18th century. His other sporting interests included billiards and tennis, while he acquired a reputation as a womaniser.

Politics Edit

He was returned unopposed as the Member of Parliament for the county of Kent in 1768, sitting until he became the 3rd Duke of Dorset on the death of his uncle in 1769.[1]

He was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Kent in 1769, a position he held until 1797. He was Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard from 1789 until his death.

Cricket Edit

The young John Sackville was schooled at Westminster, where he first became a noted proponent of cricket. He went on to join Hambledon Cricket Club, based in Hambledon, Hampshire, which was the leading cricket club of the day. He was joined there by Sir Horatio Mann, a Carthusian, and Lord Tankerville of Eton and Surrey, who was his keenest rival.

Dorset gained a reputation as a keen competitor. The Morning Post in 1773 wrote: "The Duke...having run a considerable number of notches from off strokes, the opposing fielders very unpolitely swarmed round his bat so close as to impede his making a full stroke; his Grace gently expostulated with them on this unfair mode, and pointed out their danger, which having no effect, he, with proper spirit made full play at a ball and in so doing brought one of the gentlemen to the ground".[2]

In the same year, Dorset presented the Vine Cricket Ground, at Knole, Sevenoaks, Kent, to the town, at a peppercorn rent, literally. It is one of the oldest cricket grounds in England. The first nationally reported cricket match had taken place here in the 1734 season when "The Gentlemen of Kent" beat "The Gentlemen of Sussex". Sevenoaks Town Council still has the Vine Cricket Club, though the rent doubled to two peppercorns after the pavilion was built in the 19th century. They must also pay the Lord Sackville (if asked) one cricket ball on 21 July each year.

In 1775, a full-scale riot broke out at the Artillery Ground when Dorset's side was not performing too well. In 1782 the Morning Chronicle noted that "His Grace is one of the few noblemen who endeavour to combine the elegance of modern luxury with the more manly sports of the old English times".

Dorset's patronage of cricket was expensive — the Whitehall Evening Post in 1783 noted that the cost to Dorset of maintaining his team, before bets, was £1,000 a year. This was a lot, but less than the amounts some of his contemporaries were spending on racing. The report went to say that Dorset was unrivalled (among noblemen) "at cricket, tennis and billiards".[3]

Ambassador to France Edit

In 1784 Dorset moved to Paris, surprising his critics with newfound public dedication, to serve as ambassador to France. He continued to promote cricket amongst the locals and British expatriates. In 1786 The Times reported on a cricket match played by some English gentlemen in the Champs-Elysées:

His Grace of Dorset was, as usual, the most distinguished for skill and activity. The French, however, cannot imitate us in such vigorous exertions of the body, so that we seldom see them enter the lists. The following year The Times noted that horse-racing was losing popularity in France, with cricket, on Dorset's recommendation, taking its place. In 1789 Dorset planned what might have become the first international cricket tour. His touring side, which included William Yalden, William Bedster and Lumpy Stevens, got as far as congregating on 10 August at Dover. But the French Revolution meant that they never got to France, thereby making his tour the first international cricket tour to be cancelled for political reasons. Just as the American Civil War 80 or so years later destroyed the prospect of cricket becoming popular there, so the French Revolution destroyed any footholds the game had in France.

Back in England, Dorset became one of the first members of the Marylebone Cricket Club; his public life continued in the post of Steward of the Royal Household — in which capacity his main role was to keep an eye on the dissolute Prince of Wales, the future George IV.

Personal life Edit

Dorset was a notorious womanizer. His best-known and most enduring mistress was the Venetian ballerina Giovanna Zanerini (1753–1801), who was the principal ballerina at the King's Theatre, Haymarket, and used the stage name Giovanna Baccelli.[4] Dorset commissioned a painting of her in 1780–81 from Thomas Gainsborough, which is reckoned to be one of Gainsborough's later masterpieces. He also commissioned a painting by Joshua Reynolds and a sculpture showing her nude and prone on a divan and cushions; this is still to be found at Knole. When made Ambassador to France, Dorset even took her to Paris with him, and she danced at the Opera by invitation. (When he was made Knight of the Garter (KG), she wore the blue ribbon of the Garter while dancing)[5] Dorset and Giovanna had a son together: John Frederick Sackville (1778–1796), who was raised by his father at Paris and Knole after the couple parted in 1789.[6][7]

The Duke was also known for his affair (ca. 1777–1779) with the Countess of Derby, and briefly (ca. 1784) with Lady Elizabeth Foster, daughter of Frederick Hervey, 4th Earl of Bristol and mistress of William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire. The first affair was notable because it did not lead to a divorce. The Countess of Derby was born Lady Elizabeth Hamilton, the only daughter of the 6th Duke of Hamilton and the beauty Elizabeth Gunning.[8] However, the Earl of Derby refused to divorce his errant wife. This meant that Lady Derby was ostracized for the remainder of her life,[9] and Dorset soon lost interest and abandoned his lover. He was received back into society, and even received by his former mistress's betrayed husband Lord Derby.

Marriage and descendants Edit

In 1790, after returning from France, Dorset married twenty-three-year-old Arabella Diana Cope (1767-1825), daughter and co-heiress of Sir Charles Cope, 2nd Baronet, and stepdaughter of Charles Jenkinson, 1st Earl of Liverpool.[10] They had one son together, George John Frederick, who was born on 15 November 1793, and two daughters, Lady Mary Sackville, born on 30 July 1792, and Lady Elizabeth Sackville, born on 11 August 1795. The Duke died 1799, aged 54, and left a life interest in his estates and free disposition thereof (in case of the death of their son) to his wife Arabella Diana. At his death, Arabella, Duchess of Dorset was thus a very wealthy heiress. (She remarried 1801 Charles Whitworth, who became 1st Earl of Whitworth, but had no further issue). From 1799 until her death in 1825, Arabella Duchess of Dorset (as she preferred to be known) controlled the Sackville estates and wealth; at her death, Knole went to her elder daughter the Countess of Plymouth, and Buckhurst and the Middlesex lands (of the Cranfield family) went to her younger daughter the Countess De La Warr.

Lady Mary Sackville married firstly Other Windsor, 6th Earl of Plymouth (1789-1833) on 5 August 1811 and secondly her first husband's stepfather William Amherst, 1st Earl Amherst on 25 May 1839. She died childless on 20 July 1864, leaving her estates to younger sons of her sister and their heirs male, following the remainder of the barony Buckhurst.

George John Frederick became the 4th Duke of Dorset on his father's death at the family seat, Knole House, by Sevenoaks, Kent, in 1799 aged 6. He spent the rest of his life under the legal and financial control of his mother and stepfather. The 4th Duke died in a riding accident in Ireland, aged 21. At his death, he had just become engaged to Lady Elizabeth Thynne (b. 1795), elder daughter of Thomas Thynne, 2nd Marquess of Bath. (She went on to marry October 1816 Lord Cawdor and have many children).

Knole was then inherited after Duchess Arabella's death (1825) by his elder sister Mary, Countess of Plymouth, whose second husband William Amherst, 1st Earl Amherst died at Knole in 1857. She died childless in 1864, and the estate passed to the Countess De La Warr, who was created Baroness Buckhurst in her own right (a title later inherited by a younger son Reginald who is ancestor of the present Earl De La Warr). Another line stemming from this lady is that of the Barons Sackville, a title created in compensation for losing the Buckhurst title. The 1st Baron Sackville inherited Knole, according to the will of Mary, Countess of Plymouth. (He died unmarried, as did his brother the 2nd Baron). Their nephew, the 3rd Baron Sackville, was father of the writer Vita Sackville-West who created a garden at Sissinghurst. Knole House, still lived in by the Sackville-West family, and Sissinghurst, the family home of Lord Carnock have both been given to the National Trust.

References Edit

^ "SACKVILLE, John Frederick (1745-99).". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 21 June 2016. ^ G. B. Buckley, Fresh Light on 18th Century Cricket, Cotterell, 1935. ^ G. B. Buckley, Fresh Light on Pre-Victorian Cricket, Cotterell, 1937. ^ Giovanna Baccelli (1753-1801): Born Giovanna Francesca Antonia Giuseppe Zanerini. a.k.a. La Baccelli, Jannette. ^ Jeremy Black. British Diplomats and Diplomacy: 1688-1800 University of Exeter Press, 2001 - 244 pages p. 107 ^ Sackville-West, Robert (2010) Inheritance: The Story of Knole and the Sackvilles. Walker & Co., New York ^ This illegitimate son himself fathered an illegitimate son Sackville Sackville who died without issue. Giovanna herself had a relationship with Henry Herbert, 10th Earl of Pembroke (d. 1794) until his death, and finally with a Mr. James Carey, with whom she remained until her death in 1801. This French blog claims that she married Carey, and that Dorset made her an annuity of 400 pounds. ^ The young Duke of Dorset, who had just inherited his title, had courted her in 1770 but failed to follow through to a betrothal. In fact, he left for France with his then-mistress Mrs Nancy Horton (Nancy Maynard), formerly mistress of the newly re-married Duke of Grafton. Her mother, now Duchess of Argyll, persuaded her to choose another suitor Edward Smith-Stanley, 12th Earl of Derby who would make a better husband. The couple who married in 1774 produced two children, a son and heir (b. 1775) and a daughter Charlotte (ca 1776-1805). By 1777, Dorset had returned from the Continent and the relationship was revived via Lady Derby's participation in the first women's cricket match. At this time, the Earl of Derby began courting the beautiful actress Eliza Farren (later his second wife in 1798), and perhaps this combined with Dorset's personal attractions convinced Lady Betty to succumb to Dorset. Her second daughter Elizabeth Henrietta (born ca 1778–1857) was popularly supposed to be fathered by Dorset; the Earl acknowledged the child, but Lady Derby slipped off to the up-and-coming resort Brighthelmstone which was conveniently near Knole. By 1779, Dorset and the pregnant Lady Derby eloped. ^ Georgian (18th century) social mores were less rigid than Regency or Victorian social mores. Only the Court and the most rigid families refused to receive women who had been divorced and had subsequently married respectably. By 1804, this was beginning to change, when the new Lady Holland was not received after she was divorced and remarried to her lover Lord Holland. However, fashionable men and a few ladies still visited Holland House. ^ By his first marriage 1769 to the Anglo-Indian heiress Amelia Watts, he was father of the Prime Minister Lord Liverpool. Her half-brother Charles Jenkinson, 3rd Earl of Liverpool (1784-1851)is the ancestor via his daughter Lady Selina Foljambe and her eldest son of the present Earl of Liverpool Further reading


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Public Photo Lady Elizabeth "Countess of Derby" Smith-Stanley formerly Hamilton


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On 15 Apr 2016 You wrote: Lady Elizabeth "Countess of Derby" Smith-Stanley formerly Hamilton Born January 26, 1753 in Scotlandmap Daughter of James Hamilton and Elizabeth (Gunning) Campbell Sister of James George Hamilton, Charlotte Susan Maria (Campbell) Bury and John Douglas Edward Henry Campbell [add sibling] Wife of Edward Smith-Stanley — married [marriage date?] [marriage location?] Mother of Edward Smith-Stanley

badges This person was or is a member of the royalty, nobility or aristocracy in the British Isles. If you are interested in this profile, see our British Isles Royals and Aristocrats 1500-Present Project. Biography

Elizabeth Smith-Stanley, Countess of Derby (née Hamilton; 26 January 1753 – 14 March 1797) was an English peeress. As the eligible eldest daughter of the 6th Duke of Hamilton, she married the 12th Earl of Derby in 1774, giving birth to three children. Lady Derby was popular among society and considered a leader of fashion alongside the Duchess of Devonshire.

Five years after the marriage, Lady Derby embarked in a very public affair with the 3rd Duke of Dorset. She eventually separated from her husband, which caused a scandal and led to her effective exile from society, especially after it was learned that she would not be marrying the Duke. Lady Derby moved abroad, only returning once her husband attracted embarrassing press attention for his very public relationship with the actress Elizabeth Farren, whom he married soon after Lady Derby's death in 1797.


On 26 January 1753, Lady Elizabeth Hamilton was born as the eldest child of James Hamilton, 6th Duke of Hamilton by his wife Elizabeth Gunning.[1] Two younger brothers followed, and her father died in early 1758. The Duchess of Hamilton, considered one of the most beautiful women of the day, remarried in 1759 to John Campbell, Marquess of Lorne (later Duke of Argyll). This marriage gave Lady Elizabeth three younger half-brothers and two younger half-sisters.[2]

Marriage[edit] By the time of her first London season, Lady Elizabeth (also known as Betty) was considered very eligible, with her name being linked to many young noblemen.[3] In 1773, the wealthy Lord Edward Smith-Stanley came of age and pursued "a brief and fervent courtship" with Lady Elizabeth, holding an opulent party in her honour.[4][5] The following year, during their engagement, he held an even more extravagant party with the young couple dressed in Anthony van Dyck-style costumes.[5] On 23 June 1774, the two were married.[4] Playwright John Burgoyne hosted a "glittering" assembly after the wedding, in which he wrote the comedy The Maid of the Oaks in honour of the occasion.[4] The extravagant event included choreographed dancers, acrobatic troupes, famous opera singers, and – for the grand finale – a mock wedding attended by nymphs with Lady Elizabeth presented at its altar.[6]

Elizabeth gave birth in quick succession to a son and two daughters. Lord Smith-Stanley succeeded his grandfather in 1776, becoming Earl of Derby, while Elizabeth became his Countess.[1][6] With her new elevated rank, Lady Derby was popular in the beau monde and her actions garnered significant press attention. Along with the Duchess of Devonshire, she was considered a leader of fashion.[6] In 1777, she organised a cricket match in which the two teams were populated with upper-class women, unusual for the time period.[7]

During or near 1776, a painting of the family was done by Angelica Kauffman. Lady Derby's mother is most likely the one responsible for commissioning this work, or it may have been gifted to her.[8] Kauffman painted two versions of a sitting portrait of the earl, countess, and their son; one of these works is kept in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, though it is not on display to the public, while the other is in the custody of the family's descendants.[9] Sometime between 1776 and 1778, George Romney painted Lady Derby; the work is now displayed in the National Portrait Gallery.[10]

Affair and separation[edit]

The Duke of Dorset, by Joshua Reynolds In early 1778, rumours began spreading that Lady Derby was having an affair with John Sackville, 3rd Duke of Dorset,[11] "the most notorious rake of the day."[4] His descendent Victoria Sackville-West later claimed that Sackville would disguise himself as a gardener at the Derby country estate of Knowsley Hall and climb through the Countess' window at night, though another descendent, Robert Sackville-West, 7th Baron Sackville, believes this improbable.[12] By May 1778, rumours of the affair were appearing in the press.[13] That year, Lady Derby's mother – unsuccessfully attempting to put down the rumours and show everyone there was nothing to hide – accompanied her daughter to the theatre.[14] By August 1778, the Countess was openly living apart from her husband in the country amidst gossip that she was suing for divorce.[15]

The affair shocked society and left her ostracised, though Dorset still remained friends with her husband and was even invited to Knowsley on occasion.[12] Lady Derby lost much of the social capital associated with her status. At first, it was assumed that she and the Duke of Dorset would soon be marrying; this caused many of her acquaintances to refrain from snubbing her for fear that she would be returning with a higher status.[15][12] During this short period, Lady Derby remained in the country while her husband ignored the situation and continued as he normally would have.[16] However, over a year after the separation, the Earl of Derby announced his refusal to divorce his wife.[4][15] Lady Derby's return to society as a duchess – previously plausible – was ruined, as she was not freed to remarry.[16] The children remained with the earl.[8] Alan G. Crosby posits that "Derby's steadfast refusal to divorce his wife and to grant her access to their children not only added to the sensation but also ruined the rest of her life."[4] Becoming a "chronic invalid,"[8] she avoided London society and lived abroad until 1783; meanwhile, her family attempted to persuade the earl to allow for a reconciliation with his wife.[16]

During this period, Lord Derby began a high profile – but unconsummated – relationship with the actress Elizabeth Farren. From 1781 onwards, the affair was much caricatured in the press, with Derby being comically described as a desperate man unable to convince Farren to a private audience.[17] Amidst this attention, Lady Derby quietly returned to London and gradually began appearing at events, later moving in with her brother the 8th Duke of Hamilton.[17] By 1784, she was accepted in society enough to again be seen accompanying the Duchess of Devonshire.[18] According to historian Hannah Greig, it appears that Lady Derby's social fate was tied to her estranged husband's – as Lord Derby's social capital decreased, hers went up.[17]

No reconciliation ever occurred between husband and wife; instead, the Earl and Farren waited expectedly for Lady Derby's death, which would free him for remarriage.[19] The Countess of Derby died on 14 March 1797 of tuberculosis, and her widowed husband married Farren less than two months later, following her retirement from the stage.[4][8][19] Roy Hattersley and Hannah Grieg suggest that Lady Derby's social crime was not that she openly consorted with the Duke, but that she left her husband,[15][20] while Robert Sackville-West, 7th Baron Sackville states that her mistake was in not conducting the affair more privately.[12]

Issue[edit]

Portrait of Lady Elizabeth Henrietta by George Chinnery (1794). Lady Derby gave birth to three children:[1][21]

Edward Smith-Stanley, 13th Earl of Derby (21 April 1775 – 30 June 1851); married his cousin Charlotte Margaret Hornby, daughter of Reverend Geoffrey Hornby and the Hon. Elizabeth Smith-Stanley Lady Charlotte (17 October 1776 – 25 November 1805); married her cousin Edmund Hornby, Esq., son of Reverend Geoffrey Hornby and the Hon. Elizabeth Smith-Stanley Lady Elizabeth Henrietta (29 April 1778 – ?); married Stephen Thomas Cole, Esq.


Jump up ^ "Edward Smith Stanley (1752–1834), Twelfth Earl of Derby, with His First Wife (Lady Elizabeth Hamilton, 1753–1797) and Their Son (Edward Smith Stanley, 1775–1851)". Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 25 January 2014. Jump up ^ "Elizabeth Stanley (née Hamilton), Countess of Derby". National Portrait Baetjer, Katharine (Summer 1999). "British Portraits: In the Metropolitan Museum of Art". The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, New Series (The Metropolitan Museum of Art) 57 (1): 5–72. Crosby, Alan G. (2004). "Stanley, Edward Smith, twelfth earl of Derby (1752–1834)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/47080. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.) Greig, Hannah (2013). The Beau Monde: Fashionable Society in Georgian London. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780191664014. Hattersley, Roy (2013). The Devonshires: The Story of a Family and a Nation. Chatto & Windus. ISBN 9781448182275. Hunt, William (1890). "Gunning, Elizabeth (1734–1790)". In Stephen, Leslie; Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography 23. London: Smith, Elder & Co. Innes, M. (1827). The Annual Peerage of the British Empire. John Murray. Lodge, Edmund (1843). The Peerage of the British Empire as at Present Existing: Arranged and Printed from the Personal Communications of the Nobility. Saunders and Otley. Rizzo, Betty (Winter 2002). "Equivocations of Gender and Rank: Eighteenth-Century Sporting Women". Eighteenth-Century Life 26 (1): 70–118. doi:10.1215/00982601-26-1-70. Sackville-West, Robert (2010). Inheritance: The Story of Knole and the Sackvilles. Walker Publishing Company. ISBN 9780802779267. Thomson, Peter (2004). "Farren, Elizabeth [married name Elizabeth Smith Stanley, countess of Derby] (1759x62–1829)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/9191. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)



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