Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Pierrepont, Evelyn (1665?-1726)

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PIERREPONT, EVELYN, first Duke of Kingston (1665?–1726), was third son of Robert Pierrepont of Thoresby, Nottinghamshire, by his wife Elizabeth, daughter and coheiress of Sir John Evelyn, knt., of West Dean, Wiltshire [see under Pierrepont, William]. Evelyn was returned to the Convention parliament in January 1689 for East Retford. At the general election in March 1690 he was again returned for Retford; but on 17 Sept. 1690 he succeeded his brother William as fifth Earl of Kingston-upon-Hull, and took his seat in the House of Lords on 6 Nov following (Journals of the House of Lords, xiv. 541). He was appointed one of the commissioners for the union with Scotland on 10 Apr 1706, and was created Marquis of Dorchester on 23 Dec 1706, with remainder in default of male issue to his uncle Gervase, Baron Pierrepont of Ardglass, afterwards created Baron Pierrepont of Hanslope, Buckinghamshire. Dorchester was admitted to the privy council on 26 Jun 1708, and on 19 Nov following was ordered by the House of Lords to present the address of condolence and thanks to the queen (ib. xviii. 582-3). In 1711 he joined in several protests against the resolutions which had been carried in the House of Lords with reference to the disasters in Spain (Rogers, Complete Collection of Protests of the House of Lords, 1875, i. 198-206). On 28 May 1712 he signed a strongly worded protest against 'the restraining orders' sent to the Duke of Ormonde, which, together with a protest against the peace, in which he joined on 7 Jun, were subsequently expunged by order of the house (ib. i. 209-17). On 15 June 1714 he signed the protest against the passing of the Schism bill, which had been carried against the whigs in the House of Lords by a majority of five votes (ib. i. 218-21). Dorchester was appointed warden and chief justice in eyre of the royal forests north of the Trent on 4 Nov 1714, a post which he retained until Dec 1716. He was sworn a member of George I's privy council on 16 Nov 1714, and was appointed lord lieutenant and custos rotulorum of Wiltshire on 1 Dec in the same year. He was created Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull on 10 Aug 1715, and took his seat as such on the 15th of that month (Journals of the House of Lords, xx. 166). On 10 April 1716 he supported the second reading of the Septennial bill, and insisted that it was the business of the legislature 'to rectify old laws as well as to make new ones' (Parl. Hist. vii. 296). He was appointed lord keeper of the privy seal in December 1716, but was succeeded in that office by Henry, duke of Kent, in Feb 1718. On 6 Feb 1719 Kingston became lord president of the council, and on 29 April following was elected a knight of the Garter. On 11 Jun 1720 he resigned the post of lord president, and resumed his former office of keeper of the privy seal. He died at his house in Arlington Street, Piccadilly, on 5 Mar 1726, and was buried at Holme Pierrepont, Nottinghamshire.

Kingston, who was one of the most prominent leaders of the fashionable world of his day, is thus described by Macky in 1705: 'He hath a very good estate, is a very fine gentleman, of good sense, well-bred, and a lover of the ladies; intirely in the interest of his country; makes a good figure, is of a black complexion, well made, not forty years old' (Memoirs of the Secret Services of John Macky, Esq., 1733, p. 75). According to his daughter, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Eichardson drew 'his picture without knowing it in Sir Thomas Grandison' (Letters and Works of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1837, i. p. 5). He was a staunch whig and a member of the Kit-Cat Club. He is said to have been created LL.D. of Cambridge University on 16 Apr 1705 (Annals of Queen Anne's Reign, iv. 12), but his name does not appear in the 'Graduati Cantabrigienses' (1823). He held the post of recorder of Nottingham, was appointed a deputy-lieutenant of Wiltshire in 1701, and was custos rotulorum of that county from 1700 to 1712. He acted as one of the lords justices during the absence of the king from England in 1719, 1720, 1723, and 1725-6.

He married, first, in 1687, Lady Mary Feilding, only daughter of William, third earl of Denbigh, and his first wife Mary, sister of John, first baron Kingston in the peerage of Ireland, by whom he had one son – viz. William, earl of Kingston, who died on 1 July 1713, and whose only son, Evelyn [q. v.], succeeded as second duke of Kingston –and three daughters, viz. (1) Mary, who became the wife of Edward Wortley Montagu [see Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley]; (2) Frances, who on 26 Jul 1714 became the second wife of John Erskine, sixth or eleventh earl of Mar of the Erskine line [q. v.]; and (3) Evelyn, who married, on March 1712, John, second baron Gower, afterwards first earl Gower, and died on 17 Jun 1727. Kingston's first wife was buried at Holme-Pierrepont on 20 Dec 1697. He married, secondly, on 2 Aug. 1714, Lady Isabella Bentinck, fifth daughter of William, first earl of Portland, and his first wife Anne, sister of Edward, first earl of Jersey, by whom he had two daughters, viz. (1) Carolina, who on 9 Jan. 1749 became the wife of Thomas Brand of Kimpton, Hertfordshire, and died on 9 June 1753; and (2) Anne, who died unmarried on 16 May 1739, aged 20. His widow died at Paris on 23 Feb. 1728, and was buried at Holme-Pierrepont on 3 May following. There is a mezzotint of Kingston by Faber after Sir Godfrey Kneller. A catalogue of his library was printed in 1727, London, folio.

[Memoirs of the Celebrated Persons composing the Kit-Cat Club, 1821, pp. 51-2, with portrait; G. E. C.'s Complete Peerage, iv. 406; Burke's Extinct Peerage, 1883, p. 428; Collins's Peerage of England, 1812, v. 628 n.; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. 1812, i. 368; Historical Register, vol. xi. Chron. Diary, pp. 11-12; Political State of Great Britain, viii. 96; Gent. Mag. 1739 p. 273, 1753 p. 296; Official Return of Lists of Members of Parliament, pt. i. pp. 560, 567; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. xi. 443, 8th ser. v. 268; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

G. F. R. B.