William Bentinck, 4th Duke of Portland

William Henry Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, 4th Duke of Portland PC DCL (24 June 1768 – 27 March 1854), styled Marquess of Titchfield until 1809, was a British politician who served in various positions in the governments of George Canning and Lord Goderich.

The Duke of Portland

Lord Privy Seal
In office
30 April 1827 – July 1827
MonarchGeorge IV
Prime MinisterGeorge Canning
Preceded byThe Earl of Westmorland
Succeeded byThe Earl of Carlisle
Lord President of the Council
In office
17 August 1827 – 21 January 1828
MonarchGeorge IV
Prime MinisterThe Viscount Goderich
Preceded byThe Earl of Harrowby
Succeeded byThe Earl Bathurst
Member of Parliament for Petersfield
In office
29 December 1790 – 18 April 1791
Preceded byHon. George North
William Jolliffe
Succeeded byWelbore Ellis
William Jolliffe
Member of Parliament for Buckinghamshire
In office
18 April 1791 – 30 October 1809
Preceded byThe Earl Verney
James Grenville
Succeeded byEarl Temple
William Selby Lowndes
Personal details
Born24 June 1768
London, England[1]
Died27 March 1854 (aged 85)
Welbeck Abbey, Nottinghamshire
Political partyConservative
Henrietta née Scott
(m. 1795; died 1844)
Children9, including William, John, George, and Henry
ParentsWilliam Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland
Lady Dorothy Cavendish

Background and education

Portland was the eldest son of Prime Minister William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland and Lady Dorothy, daughter of William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire and Charlotte Boyle, Baroness Clifford. He was the elder brother of Lord William Bentinck and Lord Charles Bentinck.[2]

He was educated first in Ealing under the tutelage of Samuel Goodenough graduating in 1774, followed by Westminster School (1783). He attended Christ Church, Oxford for two years but did not take a degree.[1] The third Duke, who spared no expense for his heir, sent him to The Hague in 1786 for experience working with the crown's envoy, Sir James Harris. He returned in 1789.[3]

He later received an honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law from Oxford in 1793.[1] He also served as a Family Trustee of the British Museum;[2] in 1810, he loaned the famed Portland Vase to the museum.[4]

Political career

William Henry Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, 4th Duke of Portland
William Henry Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, 4th Duke of Portland, as a child

Portland was Member of Parliament for Petersfield between 1790 and 1791 and for Buckinghamshire between 1791 and 1809.[3]

He served under his father as a Lord of the Treasury between March and September 1807. He remained out of office until April 1827 when he was appointed Lord Privy Seal by his brother-in-law George Canning.[5] He was sworn of the Privy Council the same year.[5] When Lord Goderich became Prime Minister in August 1827, Portland became Lord President of the Council,[6] an office he retained until the government fell in January 1828. Over time the Duke became less of a staunch Conservative, softening to some of the more liberal stances of Canning.[1]

Portland also held the honorary post of Lord Lieutenant of Middlesex between 1794 and 1841.


Portland married Henrietta, eldest daughter and heiress of Major-General John Scott of Fife and his wife Margaret (née Dundas), in London on 4 August 1795. At the time of his marriage he obtained Royal Licence to take the name and arms of Scott in addition to that of Cavendish-Bentinck. They were parents of nine children:[2][7]

Death and legacy

The Duchess of Portland died 24 April 1844.[1] Nearly 10 years later, Portland died at the family seat of Welbeck Abbey, Nottinghamshire, in March 1854, aged 85. Two of their sons predeceased their parents; their eldest dying of a brain lesion and their third son dying of a heart attack.

The duke expressed a desire to be buried in the open churchyard in Bolsover, Derbyshire, near the other family seat at Bolsover Castle. However, he was instead interred in the ancient Cavendish vault, that had previously been unopened for 138 years.[7]

He was succeeded in the dukedom by his second but eldest surviving son, William.

The department of Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham holds a number of papers relating to Portland: His personal and political papers are part of the Portland (Welbeck) Collection while the Portland (London) Collection contains papers relating to his estate business. The Portland Estate Papers held at Nottinghamshire Archives also contain items relating to Portland's properties.


Coat of arms of William Bentinck, 4th Duke of Portland
Coat of Arms of the Duke of Portland
The title Duke of Portland was created by George I in 1716 .
A Coronet of a Duke
Out of a ducal coronet proper two arms counter-embowed vested Gules, on the hands gloves Or, each holding an ostrich feather Argent (Bentinck); A snake nowed proper (Cavendish)
Quarterly: 1st and 4th, Azure a cross moline Argent (Bentinck); 2nd and 3rd, Sable three stags' heads cabossed Argent attired Or, a crescent for difference (Cavendish)
Two lions double queued, the dexter Or and the sinister sable
Craignez Honte (Fear Dishonour)


His full titles were Duke of Portland, Marquess of Titchfield, Earl of Portland, Viscount Woodstock, and Baron Cirencester.[2]

  • The Most Honourable William Cavendish-Bentinck, Marquess of Titchfield (1768–1795)
  • The Most Honourable William Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, Marquess of Titchfield (1795–1809)
  • His Grace The Duke of Portland (1809–1854)


Ancestors of William Bentinck, 4th Duke of Portland
16. William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland
8. Henry Bentinck, 1st Duke of Portland
17. Anne Villiers
4. William Bentinck, 2nd Duke of Portland
18. Wriothesley Noel, 2nd Earl of Gainsborough
9. Lady Elizabeth Noel
19. The Hon. Catherine Greville
2. William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland, Prime Minister of Great Britain
20. Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer
10. Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer
21. Elizabeth Foley
5. Lady Margaret Cavendish Harley
22. John Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle
11. Lady Henrietta Cavendish Holles
23. Lady Margaret Cavendish
1. William Bentinck, 4th Duke of Portland
24. William Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Devonshire
12. William Cavendish, 3rd Duke of Devonshire
25. The Hon. Rachel Russell
6. William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire, Prime Minister of Great Britain
26. John Hoskins
13. Catherine Hoskins
27. Catherine Hale
3. Lady Dorothy Cavendish
28. Charles Boyle, 2nd Earl of Burlington
14. Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington
29. Juliana Noel
7. Charlotte Boyle, 6th Baroness Clifford
30. William Savile, 2nd Marquess of Halifax
15. Lady Dorothy Savile
31. Lady Mary Finch

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "Death of the Duke of Portland". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 29 March 1854. p. 11.
  2. ^ a b c d Debrett, John (1828). Debrett's Peerage of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland: Volume 1. Debrett's. p. 31.
  3. ^ a b "CAVENDISH BENTINCK (afterwards CAVENDISH SCOTT BENTINCK), William Henry, Mq. of Titchfield (1768–1854), of Welbeck Abbey, Notts". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  4. ^ "The conservation history of the Portland Vase". British Museum. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  5. ^ a b "No. 18357". The London Gazette. 1 May 1827. p. 961.
  6. ^ "No. 18389". The London Gazette. 21 August 1827. p. 1785.
  7. ^ a b "Funeral of the Duke of Portland". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 5 April 1854. p. 12.

External links

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Hon. George North
William Jolliffe
Member of Parliament for Petersfield
With: William Jolliffe
Succeeded by
Welbore Ellis
William Jolliffe
Preceded by
The Earl Verney
James Grenville
Member of Parliament for Buckinghamshire
With: James Grenville 1790–1797
Earl Temple 1797–1800
Succeeded by
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Member of Parliament for Buckinghamshire
With: Earl Temple
Succeeded by
Earl Temple
William Selby Lowndes
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Westmorland
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by
The Earl of Carlisle
Preceded by
Minister without Portfolio
Succeeded by
Preceded by
The Earl of Harrowby
Lord President of the Council
Succeeded by
The Earl Bathurst
Honorary titles
Preceded by
In Commission
Lord Lieutenant of Middlesex
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Salisbury
Preceded by
Henry Dundas
Custos Rotulorum of Middlesex
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
William Cavendish-Bentinck
Duke of Portland
Succeeded by
William Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck

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