1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Buckinghamshire, Earls of

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BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, EARLS OF. The first earl of Buckinghamshire (to be distinguished from the earls of Buckingham, q.v.) was John Hobart (c. 1694–1756), a descendant of Sir Henry Hobart (d. 1625), attorney-general and chief justice of the common pleas under James I., who was made a baronet in 1611, and who was the great-grandson of Sir James Hobart (d. 1507), attorney-general to Henry VII. The Hobarts had been settled in Norfolk and Suffolk for many years, when in 1728 John Hobart, who was a son of Sir Henry Hobart, the 4th baronet (d. 1698), was created Baron Hobart of Blickling. In 1740 Hobart became lord-lieutenant of Norfolk and in 1746 earl of Buckinghamshire, his sister, Henrietta Howard, countess of Suffolk, being the mistress of George II. He died on the 22nd of September 1756, and was succeeded as 2nd earl[1] by his eldest son John (1723–1793), who was member of parliament for Norwich and comptroller of the royal household before his accession to the title. From 1762 to 1766 he was ambassador to Russia, and from 1776 to 1780 lord-lieutenant of Ireland, but he was hardly equal to the exceptional difficulties with which he had to deal in the latter position. He died without sons at Blickling Hall, Norfolk, on the 3rd of August 1793, when his half-brother George (c. 1730–1804), became 3rd earl. Blickling Hall and his Norfolk estates, however, passed to his daughter, Henrietta (1762–1805), the wife of William Kerr, afterwards 6th marquess of Lothian.

Robert Hobart, 4th earl of Buckinghamshire (1760–1816), the eldest son of the 3rd earl, was born on the 6th of May 1760. He was a soldier, and then a member of both the English and the Irish Houses of Commons; from 1789 to 1793 he was chief secretary to the lord-lieutenant of Ireland, exerting his influence in this country to prevent any concessions to the Roman Catholics. In 1793, being known by the courtesy title of Lord Hobart, he was sent to Madras as governor, but in 1798, after serious differences between himself and the governor-general of India, Sir John Shore, afterwards Lord Teignmouth, he was recalled. Returning to British politics, Hobart was called up to the House of Lords in 1798 (succeeding to the earldom of Buckinghamshire in 1804); he favoured the union between England and Ireland; from March 1801 to May 1804 he was secretary for war and the colonies (his family name being taken for Hobart Town in Tasmania), and in 1805 he became chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster under Pitt. For a short time he was joint postmaster-general, and from 1812 until his death on the 4th of February 1816 he was president of the Board of Control, a post for which his Indian experience had fitted him.

The 4th earl left no sons, and his titles passed to his nephew, George Robert Hobart (1789–1849), a son of George Vere Hobart (1761–1802), lieutenant-governor of Grenada. In 1824 the 5th earl inherited the Buckinghamshire estates of the Hampden family and took the name of Hampden, his ancestor, Sir John Hobart, 3rd baronet, having married Mary Hampden about 1655. On his death in February 1849 his brother, Augustus Edward Hobart (1793–1884), who took the name of Hobart-Hampden in 1878, became 6th earl. His two sons, Vere Henry, Lord Hobart (1818–1875), governor of Madras from 1872, and Frederick John Hobart (1821–1875), predeceased him, and when the 6th earl died he was succeeded by his grandson, Sidney Carr Hobart-Hampden (b. 1860), who became 7th earl of Buckinghamshire, and who added to his name that of Mercer-Henderson. Another of the 6th earl’s sons was Augustus Charles Hobart-Hampden, generally known as Hobart Pasha (q.v.).

See Lord Hobart’s Essays and Miscellaneous Writings, edited with biography by Lady Hobart (1885).


  1. Until 1784, when George Grenville, Earl Temple, was created marquess of Buckingham, the 2nd earl of Buckinghamshire always signed himself “Buckingham”; his contemporaries knew him by this name, and hence a certain amount of confusion has arisen.