Denison, Albert (DNB00)

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DENISON, ALBERT, first Baron Londesborough (1805–1860), third son of Henry Conyngham, first marquis Conyngham [q. v.], by Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Joseph Denison, banker, of St. Mary Axe, London, was born at 8 Stanhope Street, Piccadilly, London, on 21 Oct. 1805, and educated at Eton, where he entered in 1820. On 21 Sept. in the same year his name, with the rank of cornet, was placed on the half-pay list of the disbanded 22nd regiment of dragoons. He joined the horse guards on 24 July 1823, but after serving for twelve months retired from the army. On entering the diplomatic service he was appointed attaché at Berlin in May 1824, became afterwards attaché at Vienna in May 1825, secretary of legation at Florence in February 1828, and secretary at Berlin from January 1829 to June 1831. George IV created him a K.C.H. in 1829, and he was also named a deputy-lieutenant of the West Riding of Yorkshire. He represented Canterbury as whig M.P. from 10 Jan. 1835 to February 1841, and again from March 1847 to March 1850, on the 4th of which month he was raised to the peerage by the title of Baron Londesborough of Londesborough, Yorkshire. On 4 Sept. 1849 he assumed the surname of Denison in lieu of Conyngham, in accordance with the will of his maternal uncle, William Joseph Denison [q. v.], who bequeathed to him the bulk of his immense wealth. In 1854 he purchased the manor of Selby, Yorkshire, and other estates from the widow of the Hon. E. R. Petre for about 270,000l. He acquired the domains of Londesborough, near Market Weighton, from George Hudson, M.P., and the estate of Grimston Park, near Tadcaster, from Lord Howden. Altogether he held upwards of sixty thousand acres, which produced an income of about 100,000l. He was an enthusiastic antiquary. His and Mr. Akerman's communications to the ‘Archæologia’ on the contents of the Saxon tumuli on Breach Downs and in the neighbourhood recorded a series of facts which have furnished much of the information we possess respecting the arts, customs, and usages of the Anglo-Saxons. He was elected F.S.A. in 1840, and a fellow of the Royal Society 13 June 1850. On the formation of the British Archæological Association in 1843 he accepted the office of president, took the chair at the congress held at Canterbury, entertained the members at Bourne, and caused tumuli to be excavated in their presence. In 1849, with many other persons, he gave up his connection with the Archæological Association, and later on became a vice-president of the Archæological Institute, and president of the London and Middlesex Archæological Society in 1855. Soon after, when president of the Numismatic Society, he commenced a series of receptions in order that he might make the personal acquaintance of all the members. He was also a vice-president of the British Association at the meeting at Hull in 1853. His career as a runner of horses and as a breeder was equally unsuccessful, yet he took a great interest in the turf, and was a frequent attendant at Doncaster, York, and Beverley. With the mansion at Grimston he became the owner of a collection of armour and other curiosities, some of which are described in a work entitled: ‘Miscellanea Graphica: Representations of Ancient, Mediæval, and Renaissance Remains in the possession of the Lord Londesborough. Drawn, engraved, and described by F. W. Fairholt. The historical introduction by T. Wright, M.A.,’ London, 1857, 4to. An account of a collection of rings made by Lady Londesborough was privately printed in a volume edited by Crofton Croker, while the plate was described in a book entitled ‘An Illustrative, Descriptive Catalogue of the Collection of Antique Silver Plate formed by Albert, Lord Londesborough. The engravings and letterpress by F. W. Fairholt,’ 1860, 4to. Towards the close of 1848 Lord Londesborough, while in ill-health, visited Greece and Italy, and in the following year printed his tour under the title of ‘Wanderings in Search of Health.’ In 1856 he was forced to remain in his villa at Cannes. In the winter of 1859 he went to St. Leonard's-on-Sea, but removed to his London residence, 8 Carlton House Terrace, where he expired on 15 Jan. 1860, and was buried on 24 Jan. in the family vault at Grimston. He married, first, in 1833, Henrietta Maria Forester, fourth daughter of Cecil Weld, first baron Forester, she died in 1841; secondly, on 21 Dec. 1847, Ursula Lucy Grace, eldest daughter of Admiral the Hon. Charles Orlando Bridgeman. Twelve children were the issue of these two marriages.

[Taylor's Biographia Leodiensis (1865), pp. 228–32, 482–3; Morrell's History of Selby (1867), pp. 275–7; C. R. Smith's Collectanea, v. 261–9 (1861); C. R. Smith's Retrospections, i. 262–8 (1883); Numismatic Chronicle, Proceedings for 1859–60, pp. 29–30; Sporting Review, February 1860, pp. 80–1; Gent. Mag. October 1853, p. 399, |March 1860, pp. 295–6, and December 1861, p. 680; Illustrated London News, 17 Sept. 1853, p. 225 portrait, and 4 Feb. 1860, p. 108 portrait; York Herald, 21 Jan. 1860, p. 7, and 28 Jan. pp. 5, 10; Scarborough Gazette, 19 Jan. 1860, p. 4, and 26 Jan. p. 4.]

G. C. B.