Vane, William Harry (DNB00)

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VANE, WILLIAM HARRY, first Duke of Cleveland of the second creation and third Earl of Darlington (1766–1842), was son of Henry Vane, second earl of Darlington, by Margaret, daughter of Robert Lowther, and sister of James Lowther, first earl of Lonsdale [q. v.] He was born on 27 July 1766 in St. James's Square, London, and was educated by a private tutor, William Lipscomb [q. v.], and at Christ Church, Oxford, whence he matriculated on 25 April 1783. He sat in the House of Commons for the borough of Totnes from 1788 to 1790, and from 1790 to 1792 for Winchelsea, being then styled Viscount Barnard. On the death of his father on 8 Sept. 1792 he succeeded to the peerage as Earl of Darlington. In 1792 he became colonel of the Durham militia, and lord-lieutenant of Durham in the following year; and in 1794 he was appointed colonel-commandant of the Durham regiment of fencible cavalry. In politics he was a whig, and from 1792 to 1827 was generally in opposition to government. He, however, voted for the seditious meetings prevention bill in December 1819, and gave independent support to Canning's administration and, subsequently, to that of the Duke of Wellington (Hansard, vol. xii. App. 1832, p. 115). He was an advocate of political reform, presented in the House of Lords a petition from South Shields on the subject on 3 March 1829, and proved himself throughout an influential supporter of the bill, and willing enough to abandon his six borough seats. He spoke seldom in the house of lords, and when he rose his manner is said to have been better than his matter (Grant, Random Recollections of the House of Lords). On 17 Sept. 1827 he was created Marquis of Cleveland, and on 15 Jan. 1833 Duke of Cleveland. Through his grandmother Grace, daughter of Charles Fitzroy, first duke of Southampton and Cleveland [q. v.], he represented the family for which in the first instance the dukedom was created.

The duke was more notable as a sportsman than as a politician. Living at Raby Castle for a considerable portion of every year, he proved himself an enthusiastic upholder of every form of sport. He commenced to hunt his father's hounds in 1787, and spared no expense on his kennel. His hounds were renowned for their speed, and were divided into two packs, one of large breed and one of small; with these he hunted on alternate days. After each day's hunting it was his habit to enter an account of the day's sport in a diary, portions of which were privately published at the close of every season. He paid considerable sums of money to his tenants for the preservation of foxes, and on their behalf he successfully opposed the first Stockton and Darlington railway in 1820, because in its course it encroached on a favourite covert. In 1835 he divided his celebrated pack between his son-in-law, Mark Milbanke, and himself, and the old district of the hunt was at the same time apportioned. Almost equally enthusiastic in his patronage of the turf, he maintained a magnificent stud, and was rewarded by winning the St. Leger with his horse Chorister in 1831.

The Duke of Cleveland died in St. James's Square on 29 Jan. 1842, and was buried in Staindrop church, where a magnificent monument was erected to his memory. Lord Brougham, whom he had introduced to the House of Commons as member for Winchelsea and who was a lifelong friend, was named executor under his will.

The duke married, first, on 17 Sept. 1787, Katherine Margaret, second daughter and coheir of Harry Paulet or Powlett, sixth duke of Bolton [q. v.], by whom he left eight children; secondly, on 27 July 1813, Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Russell of Newton, Yorkshire. He was succeeded in the dukedom by three of his sons in turn, each of whom died without male issue. The duke's honours and dignities (except the barony of Barnard, which passed to a distant cousin, Henry de Vere Vane) became extinct in 1891 on the death of the youngest son, Harry George, who married Catherine Lucy Wilhelmina (d. 18 May 1901), daughter of Philip Henry, fourth earl Stanhope, widow of Archibald Primrose, styled Lord Dalmeny, and mother of the present Earl of Rosebery.

There are several portraits and miniatures of the first duke at Raby Castle; and a portrait by Devis, in the possession of the Milbanke family at Barningham, has been engraved by Fry.

[Times, 31 Jan. 1842; Morning Post, 31 Jan. 1842; Gent. Mag. 1842, i. 543, ii. 676; G. E. C[okayne]'s Complete Peerage; Newton's Rural Sports, ed. 1867; Nimrod's The Chase, the Turf, The Chase, the Turf, and the Road, ed. 1837; and information kindly afforded by the present Lord Barnard.]

W. C.-r.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.270
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
130 ii 14f.e. Vane, William H., 1st Duke of Cleveland: for whose widow read who married
12f.e. for married secondly read widow of
11f.e. omit was
10f.e. after Rosebery. insert She died on 18 May 1901.