John Hervey, 2nd Baron Hervey

John Hervey, 2nd Baron Hervey, PC (13 October 1696 – 5 August 1743) was an English courtier and political writer and memoirist who was the eldest son of John Hervey, 1st Earl of Bristol, by his second wife,[1] Elizabeth. He was known as Lord Hervey from 1723, upon the death of his elder half-brother, Carr, the only son of his father's first wife, Isabella, but Lord Hervey never became Earl of Bristol, as he predeceased his father.

The Lord Hervey

Lord Privy Seal
In office
MonarchGeorge II
Prime MinisterRobert Walpole
Preceded byThe Earl of Godolphin
Succeeded byThe Earl Gower
Personal details
Born13 October 1696
Died5 August 1743 (aged 46)
Spouse(s)Mary Lepell
Children8, including George, Augustus and Frederick
ParentsJohn Hervey, 1st Earl of Bristol
Lady Elizabeth Howard


Hervey was educated at Westminster School and at Clare College, Cambridge, where he took his M.A. degree in 1715.[2] His father then sent him to Paris in 1716, and thence to Hanover to pay court to George I.[1]

He was a frequent visitor at the court of the Prince and Princess of Wales at Richmond, and in 1720 he married Mary Lepell, daughter of Nicholas Lepell, who was one of the Princess's ladies-in-waiting, and a great court beauty. In 1723 John's elder half-brother Carr died, whereby he became heir apparent to the Earldom of Bristol with the courtesy title of Lord Hervey. In 1725 he was elected M.P. for Bury St Edmunds.[1]

Hervey had been at one time on very friendly terms with Frederick, Prince of Wales, but in about 1723 they quarrelled, apparently because they were rivals for the affection of Anne Vane. These differences probably account for the scathing picture he draws of the Prince's callous conduct. Hervey had been hesitating between William Pulteney (afterwards earl of Bath) and Robert Walpole, but in 1730 he definitely took sides with Walpole, of whom he was thenceforward a faithful adherent. He was assumed by Pulteney to be the author of Sedition and Defamation display'd, with a Dedication to the patrons of The Craftsman (1731). Pulteney, who, up to this time, had been a firm friend of Hervey, replied with A Proper Reply to a late Scurrilous Libel, and the quarrel resulted in a duel from which Hervey narrowly escaped with his life.[1]

Hervey is said to have denied the authorship of both the pamphlet and its dedication, but a note on the manuscript at Ickworth, apparently in his own hand, states that he wrote the latter. He was able to render valuable service to Walpole from his influence with the Queen. Through him the minister governed Queen Caroline and indirectly George II. Hervey was vice-chamberlain in the royal household and a member of the Privy Council. In 1733 he was called to the House of Lords by writ of acceleration in his father's Barony. He was then elected a governor of the Foundling Hospital prior to its foundation in 1739.[3] In spite of repeated requests he received no further preferment until after 1740, when he became Lord Privy Seal.[1]

After the fall of Sir Robert Walpole he was dismissed (July 1742) from his office. An excellent political pamphlet, Miscellaneous Thoughts on the present Posture of Foreign and Domestic Affairs, shows that he still retained his mental vigour, but he was liable to epilepsy, and his weak appearance and rigid diet were a constant source of ridicule to his enemies. He predeceased his father, but three of his sons became successively Earls of Bristol.[1]

Memoirs and literary quarrels

Hervey wrote detailed and brutally frank memoirs of the court of George II from 1727 to 1737. He gave a most unflattering account of the King, and of Frederick, Prince of Wales, and their family squabbles. For the Queen and her daughter, Princess Caroline, he had a genuine respect and attachment, and the Princess's affection for him was commonly said to be the reason for the close retirement in which she lived after his death. The manuscript of Hervey's memoirs was preserved by the family, but his son, Augustus John, 3rd Earl of Bristol, left strict injunctions that they should not be published until after the death of George III. In 1848 they were published under the editorship of J. W. Croker, but the manuscript had been subjected to a certain amount of mutilation before it came into his hands. Croker also softened in some cases the plainspokenness of the original. Hervey's account of court life and intrigues resembles in many points the memoirs of Horace Walpole, and the two books corroborate one another in many statements that might otherwise have been received with suspicion.[1]

Until the publication of the Memoirs Hervey was chiefly known as the object of savage satire on the part of Alexander Pope, in whose works he figured as Lord Fanny, Sporus, Adonis and Narcissus. The quarrel is generally put down to Pope's jealousy of Hervey's friendship with Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. In the first of the Imitations of Horace, addressed to William Fortescue, Lord Fanny and Sappho were generally identified with Hervey and Lady Mary, although Pope denied the personal intention. Hervey had already been attacked in the Dunciad and the Peribathous, and he now retaliated. There is no doubt that he had a share in the Verses to the Imitator of Horace (1732) and it is possible that he was the sole author. In the Letter from a nobleman at Hampton Court to a Doctor of Divinity (1733), he scoffed at Pope's deformity and humble birth.[1]

Pope's reply was a Letter to a Noble Lord, dated November 1733, and the portrait of Sporus in the Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot (1743), which forms the prologue to the satires. Many of the insinuations and insults contained in it are borrowed from Pulteney's A Proper Reply to a late Scurrilous Libel.[1]

Some literary critics, such as Martin C. Battestin,[4] suggest that Pope's friend and fellow-satirist Henry Fielding intended the character of Beau Didapper in Joseph Andrews to be read as Hervey. Beau Didapper is described as obedient to the commands of a "Great Man" (presumably Walpole) "which he implicitly submitted to, at the Expence of his Conscience, his Honour, and of his Country." Didapper is also compared to Hylas, and is mistaken for a woman in the dark on account of his soft skin.

The malicious caricature of Sporus does Hervey great injustice, and he is not much better treated by Horace Walpole, who in reporting his death in a letter (14 August 1743) to Horace Mann, said he had outlived his last inch of character. Nevertheless, his writings prove him to have been a man of real ability, condemned by Walpole's tactics and distrust of able men to spend his life in court intrigue, the weapons of which, it must be owned, he used with the utmost adroitness. His wife Lady Hervey (1700–1768), of whom an account is to be found in Lady Louisa Stuart's Anecdotes, was a warm partisan of the Stuarts. She retained her wit and charm throughout her life, and has the distinction of being the recipient of English verses by Voltaire.[1]

Marriages, affairs, and sexuality

Hervey married Mary Lepell (1700–1768) on 21 April 1720. They had eight children:

1. The Hon. Mary Hervey (c. 1720– ), married 1745 George Fitzgerald, of Turlough

2. George William Hervey, 2nd Earl of Bristol (1721–1775), unmarried

3. The Hon. Lepell Hervey (15 April 1723 – 11 May 1780), married 1743 Constantine John Phipps, 1st Baron Mulgrave, leaving issue

4. Augustus John Hervey, 3rd Earl of Bristol (1724–1779), died without legitimate issue

5. Frederick Augustus Hervey, 4th Earl of Bristol (1730–1803), married 1752 Elizabeth Davers, had issue

6. General Hon. William Hervey (13 May 1732 – 1815), unmarried

7. The Hon. Amelia Caroline Nassau Hervey (1734–1814), unmarried

8. The Hon. Caroline Hervey (1736–1819), unmarried

Hervey was bisexual.[5] He had an affair with Anne Vane, and possibly with Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and Princess Caroline. He lived with Stephen Fox often during the decade after he followed him to Italy in 1728. He wrote passionate love letters to Francesco Algarotti, whom he first met in 1736. He may have had a sexual affair with Prince Frederick before their friendship dissolved. He was in fact denounced as a sexually ambiguous figure in his time most notably by William Pulteney, then leader of the Opposition and as cited above, by Alexander Pope in his "Sporus" portrait: "Let Sporus tremble/What that thing of silk...His wit all seesaw between that and this/Now high, now low, now master up, now miss/And he himself one vile antithesis...". He was also attracted to Henry Fox before his affair with Stephen Fox.[6][7]


See Hervey's Memoirs of the Court of George II, edited by John Wilson Croker (1848); and an article by G. F. Russell Barker in the Dictionary of National Biography.[8] Besides the Memoirs he wrote numerous political pamphlets, and some occasional verses.

Modern portrayals

Hervey appears as a character in the 1999 British television series Aristocrats where he is portrayed by Anthony Finigan. He is shown acting as a patron to the younger Henry Fox.

Hervey appears as a character in the historical novel Peter: The Untold True Story (2013) by Christopher Mechling, a tale of 18th century feral child Peter the Wild Boy, whom the author believes to have been the inspiration for Peter Pan.[9][10]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Hervey of Ickworth, John Hervey, Baron" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 13 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 404–405.
  2. ^ "Hervey, John (HRVY713J)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. ^ R.H. Nichols and F A. Wray, The History of the Foundling Hospital (London: Oxford University Press, 1935)
  4. ^ Battestin, Martin C. "General Introduction" in Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews. Middleton, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 1967.
  5. ^ Lucy Moore, Amphibious Thing: the Life of Lord Hervey (Viking, 2000)
  6. ^ James Dubro – "The Third Sex: Lord Hervey and his Coterie", Eighteenth Century Life", Summer 1976 and see also "John Lord Hervey," Body Politic, Toronto. summer 1975.
  7. ^ Reed Browning, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004
  8. ^ Lee, Sidney, ed. (1891). "Hervey, John (1696-1743)" . Dictionary of National Biography. 26. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  9. ^ Archived 23 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Archived 23 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine

Further reading

For a recent account of Hervey and Caroline, see Janice Hadlow, The Strangest Family.The Private Lives of George III, Queen Charlotte and the Hanoverians. London 2014.

External links

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
James Reynolds
Sir Jermyn Davers
MP for Bury St Edmunds
1725–1733 with
Sir Jermyn Davers 1725–1727
Thomas Norton 1727–1733
Succeeded by
Thomas Hervey
Thomas Norton
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir William Stanhope
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
Succeeded by
Lord Sidney Beauclerk
Preceded by
The Earl of Godolphin
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by
The Lord Gower
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
John Hervey
Baron Hervey
(writ of acceleration)

Succeeded by
George Hervey

1696 (MDCXCVI)

was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar and a leap year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar, the 1696th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 696th year of the 2nd millennium, the 96th year of the 17th century, and the 7th year of the 1690s decade. As of the start of 1696, the Gregorian calendar was

10 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

1696 in England

Events from the year 1696 in England.

1696 in literature

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1696.

1730 in literature

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1730.

1733 in literature

This article is a summary of the major literary events and publications of 1733.

1733 in poetry

Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature (for instance, Irish or France).



was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar, the 1743rd year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 743rd year of the 2nd millennium, the 43rd year of the 18th century, and the 4th year of the 1740s decade. As of the start of 1743, the Gregorian calendar was

11 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

1743 in Great Britain

Events from the year 1743 in Great Britain.

An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews

An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews, or simply Shamela, as it is more commonly known, is a satirical burlesque novella by English writer Henry Fielding. It was first published in April 1741 under the name of Mr. Conny Keyber. Fielding never admitted to writing the work, but it is widely considered to be his. It is a direct attack on the then-popular novel Pamela (1740) by Fielding's contemporary and rival Samuel Richardson and is composed, like Pamela, in epistolary form.

Bussy Mansel, 4th Baron Mansel

Bussy Mansel, 4th Baron Mansel (sometimes spelled Mansell) (died 29 November 1750) was a Welsh peer.He succeeded his brother Christopher Mansel as Baron Mansel of Margam (or "Margram") in 1744.

Bussy Mansel married Lady Elizabeth Hervey, the daughter of John Hervey, 1st Earl of Bristol, and sister of John Hervey, 2nd Baron Hervey, on 17 May 1724. On 13 March 1729, he married Barbara Villiers, daughter of William Villiers, 2nd Earl of Jersey; she survived him. He had one daughter by his second marriage, Hon. Louisa Barbarina Mansel (died January 1776), who married George Venables-Vernon, 2nd Baron Vernon, on 16 July 1757. Louisa had no children, and the Margam estate ultimately passed to Bussy's sister Mary.

Celeste Gismondi

Celeste Gismondi (died 11 March 1735), originally known as Celeste Resse and nicknamed La Celestina ("The Heavenly"), was an Italian soprano opera singer, who performed a major role in the première of some works by George Frideric Handel, including Orlando.

Constantine Phipps, 1st Baron Mulgrave

Constantine Phipps, 1st Baron Mulgrave (22 August 1722 (baptised) – 13 September 1775) was an Irish peer. In 1767 he was created Baron Mulgrave, of New Ross in the County of Wexford, in the Peerage of Ireland.

Elizabeth Fox, Countess of Ilchester

Elizabeth Fox (or Fox-Strangways), Countess of Ilchester (c.1723–1792), née Elizabeth Horner, was the wife of Stephen Fox-Strangways, 1st Earl of Ilchester.

Elizabeth Hervey, Countess of Bristol

Elizabeth Hervey, Countess of Bristol (18 December 1676 – 1 May 1741), was a British court official and noble, the second wife of John Hervey, 1st Earl of Bristol. They had seventeen children.

She was the daughter of Sir Thomas Felton, 4th Baronet, and his wife, the former Lady Elizabeth Howard. She married Hervey on 25 July 1695 at Boxted Hall in Suffolk, and became Countess of Bristol when her husband acquired the earldom in October 1714.The children of the marriage were:

John Hervey, 2nd Baron Hervey (1696–1743), politician, court wit and pamphleteer

Lady Elizabeth Hervey (1698–1727), married Hon. Bussy Mansel, and had no children

Hon. Thomas Hervey (20 January 1699 – 16 January 1775), MP for Bury from 1733 to 1747; held various offices at court; he eloped with Elizabeth, wife of Sir Thomas Hanmer, 4th Baronet.

Capt. Hon. William Hervey, RN (25 December 1699 – January 1776), who married Elizabeth Ridge and had issue

Rev. Hon. Henry Hervey (5 January 1701 – 16 November 1748), who married Catherine Aston, assumed her surname, and had issue

A pair of twins: Rev. Hon. Charles Hervey (5 April 1703 – 21 March 1783), prebendary of Ely, and Hon. Henrietta Hervey (5 April 1703 – April 1712)

A stillborn son, 6 July 1704

Hon. James Porter Hervey (24 June 1706 – August 1706)

Lady Anne Hervey (c. 1707 – 15 July 1771)

Lady Barbara Hervey (c. 1707 – 25 July 1727)

Hon. Humphrey Hervey (b. 3 June 1708), died young

Hon. Felton Hervey (3 July 1710 – 16 July 1710)

Hon. Felton Hervey (1712–1773), MP for the family borough of Bury St Edmunds

Hon. James Hervey (5 March 1713 – May 1714)

Lady Louisa Carolina Isabella Hervey (1715 – 11 May 1770), who married Sir Robert Smyth, 2nd Baronet, and had issue

Lady Henrietta Hervey (25 September 1716 – July 1732)The countess was described by her friend, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, as "young, blooming, coquette and gallant", and said that "resolved to make up for time misspent, she has two lovers at a time". She became a Lady of the Bedchamber to the Princess of Wales and future queen, Caroline of Ansbach, in 1714, retaining the position until Caroline's death in 1737.The countess died four years after the queen and was buried at St Mary's Church, Ickworth, a traditional resting place for the Hervey family.

A portrait of the countess, by John Simon after Michael Dahl, is held by the National Portrait Gallery. She was also painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller.

George Hervey, 2nd Earl of Bristol

George William Hervey, 2nd Earl of Bristol (31 August 1721 – 18? or 20? March 1775), the eldest son of John Hervey, 2nd Baron Hervey, by his marriage with Mary (1700–1768), daughter of Nicholas Lepell.Lord Bristol served for some years in the army, and in 1755 was sent to Turin as envoy extraordinary. He was ambassador at Madrid from 1758 to 1761, filling a difficult position with credit and dignity, and ranked among the followers of Pitt.Appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1766, he never visited that country during his short tenure of this office, and, after having served for a short time as keeper of the Privy Seal, became groom of the stole to George III in January 1770. He died unmarried, and was succeeded by his brother.

John Hervey

John Hervey may refer to:

John Hervey (c.1353-c.1411), MP for Bedfordshire

John Hervey, 1st Earl of Bristol (1665–1751), Member of Parliament (MP) for Bury St Edmunds

John Hervey, 2nd Baron Hervey (1696–1743), son of the above, also MP for Bury St Edmunds

John Hervey, 7th Marquess of Bristol (1954–1999), descendant of the above

John Hervey, Lord Hervey (1757–1796), British diplomat

John Hervey (died 1680) (1616–1680), English courtier and politician

John Hervey (1696-1764), British MP for Wallingford and Reigate

John L. Hervey (1870–1947), American equine historian

Lord Hervey

Lord Hervey may refer to:

John Hervey, 2nd Baron Hervey (1696–1743), English courtier and political writer and memoirist

John Hervey, Lord Hervey (1757–1796), British diplomat

Lord Arthur Hervey (1808–1894), Bishop of Bath and Wells

Marquess of Bristol

Marquess of Bristol is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom held by the Hervey family since 1826. The Marquess's subsidiary titles are: Earl of Bristol (created 1714), Earl Jermyn, of Horningsheath in the County of Suffolk (1826), and Baron Hervey, of Ickworth in the County of Suffolk (1703). The Barony of Hervey is in the Peerage of England, the Earldom of Bristol in the Peerage of Great Britain and the Earldom of Jermyn in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. Earl Jermyn is used as courtesy title by the Marquess's eldest son and heir. The Marquess of Bristol also holds the office of Hereditary High Steward of the Liberty of St. Edmund (a liberty encompassing the entire former county of West Suffolk). The present holder of these titles is Frederick Hervey (born 19 October 1979), the 8th Marquess and 12th Earl of Bristol.

The Hervey family has often been considered unconventional. The 18th-century phrase "When God created the human race, he made men, women and Herveys" is attributed variously to French philosopher Voltaire and to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. It has been read as a reference to the second Lord Hervey's noted originality and eccentricity, but has been applied to the family throughout the centuries. According to the Dictionary of National Biography the Hervey family have been described as "active and brave, but reckless and over- confident ... greatly addicted to intrigue ...". Dr Johnson thought them good company: "If you will call a dog Hervey," he said, "I shall love him."

Richard Neville Aldworth Neville

Richard Neville Aldworth Neville (3 September 1717 – 17 July 1793), until 1762 Richard Henry Ashcroft, was an English politician and diplomat.

Ancestors of John Hervey, 2nd Baron Hervey
16. John Hervey (1562-1630)
8. William Hervey (1587-1660)
17. ?Frances Bocking
4. Sir Thomas Hervey (1625-94)
18. Robert Jermyn (1539-1614)
9. Susan Jermyn (1590-1637)
19. Judith Blagge (1541-1614), daughter of Sir George Blagge
2. John Hervey, 1st Earl of Bristol (1685-1750)
20. Richard May (1550-88)
10. Sir Humphrey May (1573-1630)
21. Mary Hilderson (1554-1618)
5. Isabella May (1625-86)
22. Sir William Pooley (1562-1629)
11. Judith Poley (1598-)
23. Ann Jermyn (1586-1658), daughter of Robert Jermyn (no 18)
1. John, Lord Hervey of Ickworth
24. Sir Henry Felton (1560-1624)
12. Sir Henry Felton (-1690)
25. Dorothy, daughter of Sir Nicholas Bacon, Bt
6. Sir Thomas Felton, 4th Baronet (1649-1709)
26. Sir Lionel Tollemache, 2nd Baronet (1591-1640)
13. Susannah Tollemache (1621-)
27. Elizabeth Stanhope (1593-1661), daughter of John Stanhope, 1st Baron Stanhope
3. Elizabeth Felton (1676-1741)
28. Theophilus Howard, 2nd Earl of Suffolk (1584-1640)
14. James Howard, 3rd Earl of Suffolk (1607-88)
29. Elizabeth Hume (1599-1633), daughter of George Home, 1st Earl of Dunbar
7. Lady Elizabeth Howard (1656-81)
30. Sir Edward Villiers (c1585-1626)
15. Barbara Villiers (1622-81)
31. Barbara St John (1592-1672)
Southern Secretary
Northern Secretary
Lord Chancellor
Lord President of the Council
Lord Privy Seal
First Lord of the Admiralty
Master-General of the Ordnance
Paymaster of the Forces
Lord Steward
Lord Chamberlain
First Lord of the Treasury
Chancellor of the Exchequer
Leader of the House of Commons
Northern Secretary
Southern Secretary
Lord Chancellor
Lord President of the Council
Lord Privy Seal
First Lord of the Admiralty
Master-General of the Ordnance
Paymaster of the Forces
Lord Steward
Lord Chamberlain
Master of the Horse

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