Hervey, John (1665-1751) (DNB00)

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HERVEY, JOHN, first Earl of Bristol (1665–1751), second son of Sir Thomas Hervey, knt., M.P. for Bury St. Edmunds, by Isabella, daughter of Sir Humphrey May, vice-chamberlain of the household to Charles I, was born on 27 Aug. 1665. He was educated at the grammar school at Bury St. Edmunds, and afterwards went to Clare Hall, Cambridge, where he matriculated on 5 July 1684, and was admitted to the degree of LL.D. on 16 Apr. 1705. On 10 May 1692 he was appointed a deputy-lieutenant of Suffolk, and at a by-election in March 1694 was returned to parliament as one of the members for Bury St. Edmunds. He continued to sit for Bury until 23 March 1703, when he was created Baron Hervey of Ickworth in the county of Suffolk, a title which had already existed in the family, but had become extinct on the death of William, baron Hervey of Kidbrooke [q.v.], in June 1642. Hervey's elevation to the peerage is said to have been due to the influence of the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. He took his seat in the House of Lords on 22 June 1703 (Journals of the House of Lords, xvii 325). He was a staunch whig, and a warm supporter of the principles of the revolution and of the Hanoverian succession. For his Hanoverian zeal he was created Earl of Bristol on 19 Oct. 1714. After the accession of George I he look but little part in public affairs, though he appears in private to have been strongly opposed to Walpole's administration. A single speech delivered by Hervey in March 1733, in favour of the reduction of the army is the only one contained in the Parliamentary History' (viii. 1260). He died on 20 Jan. 1751, in his eighty-sixth year, and was buried, in Ickworth Church on the 27th of the same month. His epitaph, written during his life by his son John, lord Hervey, is in Gage's `Suffolk' (pp. 296-7). He was succeeded in the earldom by his grandson, George William [q. v,] (the eldest son of John, lord Hervey), who in right of his grandmother became joint heir to the barony of Howard de Walden, the exclusive right to which devolved, on the extinction of the issue of Essex, Lady Griffen, in November 1799, upon Frederick Augustus Hervey, fourth earl of Bristol [q. v.]

Hervey married, first, on 1 Nov. 1688 Isabella, sole daughter and heiress of Sir Robert Carr of Sleaford, Lincolnshire, bart., chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, by whom he had two daughters and one son, Carr, Lord Hervey (1691-1723). who was born 17 Sept. 1691, and was educated at Clare Hall, Cambridge. where he graduated M.A. in 1710. At the general election in the summer of 1713 he was returned for the borough of Bury St. Edmunds, which he continued to represent until the dissolution in March 1722. He was appointed one of the gentlemen of the bedchamber to the Prince of Whales, and is described by Horace Walpole as `elder brother of the more known John, Lord Hervey, and reckoned to have superior parts' (Letters, cxxiii.) According to Lady Louisa Stuart, Horace Walpole was generally supposed to be his son (Letters and Works of Lady M. W. Montagu, 1681, i. 71-4). There is some corroborative evidence for the story. He died unmarried at Bath on 14 Nov. 1723 aged 32. Two letters of his will be found in the first volume of the Countess of Suffolk's ' Letters,' 1824. pp. 21-5. There is a portrait of him at Ickworth.

Hervey's first wife died 7 March 1693, aged 23. He married, secondly, in 1695, Elizabeth, daughter and sole heiress of Sir Thomas Felton of Playford, Suffolk, bart., master of the household to Queen Anne, by his wife Lady Elizabeth Howard, daughter and co-heiress of James, third earl of Suffolk. By his second wife he had six daughters and ten sons, of whom John Hervey, baron Hervey of Ickworth, and Thomas Hervey are noticed separately. The second countess, `whose vivacity, eccentricity, and love of pleasure and of play are all celebrated by her contemporaries' (Letters of the Countess of Suffolk, 1824, i. 50, note), served as one of the ladies of the bedchamber to Queen Caroline, and was a friend and correspondent of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. She died on 1 May 1741, aged 64. Hervey was a very amiable man, and an accomplished scholar. He was on affectionate terms with his son John, lord Hervey, in spite of political and other differences. His character is sketched by the queen and John, lord Hervey, in the third volume of the `Memoirs' (pp. 240-3). Macky describes Hervey as `a great sportsman, lover of Horse-matches and play; … a handsom Man in his Person, fair complexion, middle stature, Forty years old' (Macky, Memoirs, 1733, p, 108). A large collection of Hervey's correspondence is preserved at Ickworth, and among it are several copies of verses, which he used at times to write. A portrait of him, painted by Kneller in 1699, is in the Guildhall at Bury St. Edmunds. There are two portraits of Hervey at Ickworth, and also one of each of his wives.

[Lord Hervey's Memoirs of tha Reign of George II, 1884; Gage's History and Antiquities of Suffolk. Thingoe Hundred, 1838, pp. 287-8, 295-7, 306, 308. 309, 316-17, 319; Collins's Peerage of England, 1812, iv. 152-5; Burke's Peerage, 1888, pp. 178, 737; Doyle's Official Baronage, 1886, i. 238; Grad. Cantabr. 1823, p. 280; Official Return of Lists of Members of Parliament, pt. i. pp. 569, 576, 583, 590, 597, 604, pt. ii. pp. 33, 44; Gent. Mag. 1741 xi.277, 1751 xxi. 42. 1799 vol. lxix. pt. ii. 1005, 1085; Historical Register, 1723, vol. viii. Chron. Diary, p. 52.]

G. F. R. B.