Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Liddell, Henry Thomas

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LIDDELL, HENRY THOMAS, first Earl of Ravensworth (1797–1878), born 10 March 1797, was eldest son of Sir Thomas Henry Liddell, sixth baronet (1775–1855), who was created Baron Ravensworth (of a second creation) 17 July 1821, by Maria Susannah, daughter and coheiress of John Simpson of Bradley. His father was a patron of George Stephenson, and rebuilt Ravensworth Castle in 1808 from designs by Nash. Other sons were General George Augustus Liddell, a groom-in-waiting to the queen, and deputy-ranger of Windsor Great Park; and Sir Adolphus Freak Octavius Liddell (1818–1885), who was appointed permanent under-secretary of state for the home department by Lord Derby in 1867. A son of Henry George Liddell, rector of Easington (the first baron's brother), was Henry George Liddell, D.D., dean of Christchurch. The first baron's father, Sir Henry St. George Liddell (1749–1791), made an eccentric journey to Lapland in 1786, probably in consequence of a wager, of which an account, with plates by Bewick, was published in 1789 by Matthew Consett, one of his companions.

Henry Thomas Liddell was educated at Eton and at St. John's College, Cambridge, where, though he did not graduate, he became a good classical scholar. In February 1826 he unsuccessfully contested the county of Northumberland in the tory interest. At the general election in June of the same year, after a poll of fifteen days, in which great sums of money were spent, Liddell and Matthew Bell were returned. He represented North Durham from 1837 to 1847. In 1852 he unsuccessfully contested South Shields, and from 1853 until 7 March 1855, when on the death of his father he succeeded to the peerage, he sat for Liverpool. On 21 Nov. 1826 he moved the address in the House of Commons, and frequently spoke on the tory side. Though he voted for the relief of Roman catholic disabilities, he steadily from 1829 opposed the Reform movement, and he strongly disapproved of the disestablishment of the Irish church. On 2 April 1874 he was created Earl of Ravensworth and Baron Eslington. He died suddenly at Ravensworth Castle on 19 March 1878. He married, on 8 Nov. 1820, Isabella Horatia (d. 1856), eldest daughter of Lord George Seymour, and by her had five sons and eight daughters, of whom the eldest, Henry George, second and present earl of Ravensworth, succeeded him.

Ravensworth was very popular in Northumberland, although in later life he found himself out of sympathy with the contemporary developments of conservatism.

He published in addition to speeches: 1. ‘The Wizard of the North, and other Poems,’ Edinburgh, 1833, 8vo. 2. ‘The Odes of Horace,’ London, 1858, 8vo; a translation into English verse. 3. ‘Carmina,’ London, 1865, 4to; a number of Latin poems, including translations of popular English lyrics. 4. ‘Virgil's Æneid, Books vii to xii,’ London, 1872, 8vo; a translation undertaken in conjunction with Mr. G. K. Richards, who had translated the first six books. 5. ‘Poems,’ Newcastle, 1877, 8vo.

[Burke's Peerage; Sharpe's Peerage; Times, 20 March 1878; Illustr. London News, 30 March 1878; Newcastle Daily Chron. 20 March 1878; Pepys's Diary, iii. 196; Sykes's Local Records, ii. 41; Lady Bloomfield's Reminiscences.]

W. A. J. A.