Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: February 13, 2019
Webpage updated: February 13, 2019




George, 3rd Baron Edgcumbe, Viscount Mount Edgcumbe and Valletort and 1st Earl of Mount Edgcumbe

The title of the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe was first conferred upon George Edgcumbe, a descendant of the Edgcumbe family of Cotehele House, in the parish of Calstock, Cornwall.

Born on March 3rd 1720, he was the third son of Sir Richard Edgcumbe, the first Baron Edgcumbe, and his wife, Matilda, the daughter of Sir Henry Furnese, of Waldershare, in Kent.

He commenced a Naval career in 1733 and is believed to have been one of the first to attend the Royal Naval Academy at Portsmouth.  He became a lieutenant in 1739 and speedily passed through the ranks to become captain of HMS Kennington in 1744.

During a spell aboard HMS Salisbury, based on the home station, he became the Member of Parliament for Fowey, in Cornwall, but he rarely attend Parliament.  He had to give that up when, on May 10th 1761, he inherited the title of Baron Edgcumbe following the death of his older brother, Sir Richard Edgcumbe.  Shortly afterwards, on June 18th 1761, he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall.

On August 16th 1761 Sir George Edgcumbe married Miss Emma Gilbert, the daughter of John Gilbert, Archbishop of York.

In October 1762 Sir George was made Rear-Admiral of the Blue and between 1766 and 1770 held the post of Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth.  He was then appointed Vice-Admiral and in 1773 returned to the post of Commander-in-Chief at Plymouth.  Although he was promoted to the rank of Admiral in January 1778, he held no further sea-going posts.

Sir George was created Viscount Mount Edgcumbe and Valletort on February 17th 1781  [2] in gratitude for his 'voluntary and gratuitus sacrifice of several of the plantations at Mount Edgcumbe, military men having declared it absolutely necessary for the safety and defence of Plymouth in case of any hostile attack'.

On August 31st 1789 he was created the first Earl of Mount Edgcumbe.

Sir George, Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, died on February 5th 1795 at his home in Grosvenor Street, London.  He was survived by his widow, Emma, who died on December 26th 1807.

Richard, 2nd Earl of Mount Edgcumbe

Sir George and Lady Emma Edgcumbe had only one child, Richard, who was born on September 13th 1764.

Richard Edgcumbe married Lady Sophia Hobart, the daughter of Sir John Hobart, Earl of Buckinghamshire, on February 21st 1789.

He was Member of Parliament for Fowey from 1786 until 1795 and qualified as a Doctor of Civil Law (DCL) in 1793.  He became the 2nd Earl of Mount Edgcumbe upon the death of his father on February 5th 1795 and was also appointed as Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall in succession to his father.  Unlike his predecessors, he was inclined towards music and the theatre and wrote one opera which had only one performance.

Sir Richard, 2nd Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, died on September 26th 1839 at Richmond, in Surrey.

Since then the title of Earl of Mount Edgcumbe has been as follows:

3rd Earl - Ernest Augustus Edgcumbe (1797-September 3rd 1861);

4th Earl - William Henry Edgcumbe (1832-September 25th 1917);

5th Earl - Piers Alexander Hamilton Edgcumbe (1865-1944);

6th Earl - Kenelm William Edward Edgcumbe (1873-1965);

7th Earl - Edward Piers Edgcumbe (1903-1982);

and the 8th Earl - Robert Charles Edgcumbe (1939-to date).

As an example of the life of the Earl's family, on the afternoon of Tuesday April 29th 1856 the Countess of Mount Edgcumbe attended the second drawing-room of the season held by HM Queen Victoria at Saint James's Palace.  The Countess was there to introduce to Her Majesty to Mrs Rupert Featherstonhaugh, on the occasion of her marriage; and Miss Theresa Nicholl.  Others present were the Countess of Devon and Lady Yarde Buller.

For the occasion the Queen is recorded as wearing a train of white moire [watered silk] antique, trimmed with bunches of roses and white blonde, with a petticoat of white satin, also trimmed with roses and white blonde, to correspond with the train.