The Twickenham Museum
People : Landowners and Gentry

The Earl of Denbigh
William Feilding, 5th Earl of Denbigh
1698-1755

Lord Denbigh's house. Detail from a view of Twickenham by Peter Tillemans in a private collection

Resident of Twickenham

Lord Denbigh is recorded as paying rates in Twickenham from 1728 until 1733. These were for the large house facing the river shown towards the right of Peter Tillemans' view of Twickenham of about 1725. Although described as "Lord Denbigh's" he did not own the property, leasing it from Sir George Bridges Skipwith. He had vacated the property by 1734 when it was occupied by M Chauvigny the French Ambassador. It burned down that year, as recorded by Horace Walpole:

"Where the house now stands by the waterside (on the left hand going to Mr Popes) built by Dr Battie was a house belonging to the Earl of Denbigh. It was let to Monsr Chauvigny the French Ambass (sic) during which time it was burnt: & the King of France paid largely for the loss."Alexander Pope made a passing reference to the fire in a letter to Fortescue. Apparently it caused him to return to Twickenham from London. The fire was reported in The Daily Journal; for Saturday 15 June: "…the house with its rich contents was entirely consumed".

It is not known what brought Denbigh to Twickenham: he was known to be a friend of Pope and he may have known the Earl of Mar, exiled in Paris after 1715. Mar had himself been connected with Twickenham, possibly responsible for the design of the house in association with Sir Thomas Skipwith.

A European

Lord Denbigh had married in about 1718, Isabella daughter of Peter de Jonge Burgomaster of Utrecht. The Denbighs were stated, in 1737, to be living "very elegantly in the middle of a fine vineyard three miles from Lyons". Clearly, with his Dutch wife he was a true European. When he died, in 1755 The Dowager Countess returned, to live with her sister, Marchioness of Blandford, on Twickenham's riverside. She developed, with others, a great admiration for Dr Stephen Hales, Perpetual Curate of Teddington, and after his death in 1761 took steps to ensure that she would not be separated from him, spiritually, for long. She bought space adjacent to his grave at Teddington, for her own grave, and was buried there herself in 1769.

Further reading:
Lewis Melville, Lady Suffolk & her Circle, 1924
P E Towell, Teddington Biographies Vol 4, 1933, LBRUT Local Studies Library

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