The Twickenham Museum
People : Royals, Peers and Courtiers

The Earl of Strafford
Soldier and diplomat
1672 - 1739

Lord Raby's House, later Mount Lebanon

Twickenham connections and diplomatic service

Thomas Wentworth, Lord Raby, and from 1711 Earl of Strafford owned properties in Twickenham for 40 years, first on the Common in 1699 (a house later known as Gifford Lodge) and then on the riverside, from 1701.

The riverside property he rebuilt, or added to before 1711 and it later became known as Mount Lebanon. He built a small adjacent house for the summer use of his mother Lady Isabella Wentworth.

As a diplomat he spent much time abroad until 1714 when, a loyal Tory, on the accession of King George I he lost his official posts. In 1713 he had been one of the two principal negotiators of the Treaty of Utrecht.

Yorkshire rivalries

In 1708 he bought a Yorkshire estate, Stainborough Hall near his cousin's estate Wentworth Woodhouse. There was rivalry between the cousins both for status and for the revived earldom which was won by Thomas. He then embarked on ambitious additions to Stainborough, renaming it Wentworth Castle.

Friend of Pope

He was a friend of Alexander Pope, who presented him with a puppy from a litter of his hound Bounce. Pope had also endeavoured to engage his support in his dispute with Sir Godfrey Kneller's widow concerning the siting of Kneller's monument in St Mary's Church. This monument, which eventually found a home in Westminster Abbey, would have displaced Pope's memorial to his parents. Strafford's pew was adjacent.

According to Hervey, Strafford was "a loquacious, rich, illiterate, cold, tedious, constant haranguer in the House of Lords, who neither speaks sense nor English". More concisely Swift described him as "proud as Hell."

Further reading:

D H Simpson, Twickenham Society in Queen Anne's Reign, Borough of Twickenham Local History Society Paper No 35, 1976
J J Cartwright, The Wentworth Papers 1705-1739, 1883
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

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