Hyde, Jane (DNB00)

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HYDE, JANE, Countess of Clarendon and Rochester (d. 1725), was one of the two daughters of Sir William Leveson-Gower, bart.,andhis wife the daughter of John Granville, earl of Bath. Though her father was a whig (he had been one of Monmouth's bail in 1683; see Collins, Peerage of England, 5th ed. v. 141), she was married, 3 March 1693, to Henry, lord Hyde, eldest son of Laurence Hyde, first earl of Rochester [q. v.] Her husband's career was undistinguished; for a time he was joint vice-treasurer for Ireland, and he enjoyed a pension of 4,000l. a year on the post office, conferred in 1687 for ninety-nine years upon his father and himself (Ellis Correspondence, i. 212). In 1711 he succeeded to the earldom of Rochester, and in 1724 to that of Clarendon, both of which titles became extinct by his death on 10 Dec. 1753. At the time of their marriage Lord and Lady Hyde were described as a singularly fine couple (Correspondence of Clarendon and Rochester, ii. 341), and among their eight children, two daughters became in time 'top toasts ' for their beauty, viz. Jane, afterwards Countess of Essex (see Swift, Journal to Stella, 18 July 1711, 29 Jan. 1712), and Catherine, celebrated as Duchess of Queensberry [see under Douglas, Charles, third Duke of Queensberry]. But even they were considered inferior in beauty to what their mother had been before them. Accordingly, she was complimented in verse both by her kinsman, George Granville, lord Lansdowne, and by Prior, who extolled her as Myra in ' The Judgment of Venus;' while Swift condescended to call her his 'mistress,' and Pope tried to make Martha Blount jealous by praising her beauty (Works, ed. Elwin and Courthope, vii. 188, ix. 277 n.) She paid the penalty of fame in the scandalous aspersions which, many years after her death, are cast upon her conjugal fidelity by the venomous tongue of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (Letters and Works, ed. Lord Wharncliffe, ii. 274. Swift seems to allude to the scandal in the letter cited above). She died on 24 May 1725. Her husband survived her till 10 Dec. 1753. Her portrait was painted by Kneller and Dahl. There are two portraits by the latter in the Clarendon gallery at the Grove, Watford.

[Lady Theresa Lewis's Descriptive Catalogue of the Portraits at the Grove, in Lives of Friends and Contemporaries of Lord Chancellor Clarendon illustrative of Portraits in his Gallery, 1852, iii. 412-15; Doyle's Official Baronage of England, i. 406.]

A. W. W.