Welbore Ellis PC, FSA, DCL, 1st Baron Mendip
1713 - 1802
Welbore Ellis was bequeathed a life tenancy of Alexander Pope’s Villa by the Will of Sir William Stanhope, owner of the Villa from 1745. Ellis had married Stanhope’s daughter, Elizabeth.
He was the second son of the Most Reverend Welbore Ellis, Bishop of Kildare and Bishop of Meath and Diana, daughter of Sir John Briscoe, kt, of Boughton, Northamptonshire, and Amberley Castle, Sussex. Born at Kildare on 15 December 1713, he was educated at Westminster School, and Christ Church, Oxford. He graduated with a BA on 5 June 1736.
Entering public life, he served as a Member of Parliament for 53 years. He was elected to the Borough of Cricklade in 1741. Following this he served variously as member for Weymouth & Melcombe Regis (twice), Aylesbury, and Petersfield (twice).
In February 1747 he was appointed a lord of the admiralty in Henry Pelham's administration, in the place of George Grenville, and Secretary at War in 1760. He was made a Privy Councillor in 1762, appointed treasurer of the navy in 1777 and Secretary of State for America in 1782.
Ellis was created a DCL of the University of Oxford on 7 July 1773, and was appointed a trustee of the British Museum in 1780. His library is said to have been one of the most valuable private collections in the kingdom.
In 1794 he was created 1st Baron Mendip of Mendip in the County of Somerset.
Marriage and Twickenham
Ellis married, Elizabeth on 18 November 1747. There were no children of the marriage and she died on 1 August 1761.
Stanhope, already the owner by inheritance of the enormous Eythrope estate in Buckinghamshire, had bought and extended Alexander Pope's Villa with wings, added a pediment and replaced Pope's portico with a double staircase. He also acquired a property, with land, across the lane at the top of Pope's garden together with properties on either side of the villa. Ellis continued the process, acquiring, in 1788, ownership of the Shirley estate, Heath Lane Lodge, the house known as Riversdale (previously known as “Spite Hall”) and Cross Deep Lodge in 1799.
On 20 July 1765 Ellis married again, Anne, the eldest daughter of Hans Stanley of Paultons, near Romsey, Hampshire. This brought him into contact with Christopher D'Oyly who later bought the Copt Hall Estate in Twickenham. That year D'Oyly married Anne's sister Sarah Stanley (1725-1821), at the age of 48. The sisters were grand-daughters of Sir Hans Sloane. Later, Ellis effectively acted as D'Oyly's patron when, in 1776, the latter was appointed under-secretary in the colonial department and commissary-general of the musters.
Ellis died at his house in Brook Street, Hanover Square, on 2 February 1802, in his eighty-ninth year, and was buried at Westminster Abbey on the following Sunday in the north transept.
Anne survived him, dying at Twickenham on 7 December 1803, in her seventy-ninth year. There was no issue of either marriage, and the barony of Mendip, in accordance with the special limitations of the patent, descended to his sister's grandson, Henry Welbore Agar, 2nd Viscount Clifden (1761-1836), who assumed the additional surname of Ellis.
Ownership of Pope's Villa reverted to the Earl of Chesterfield who immediately sold the property to Sir John Brisco, Bt (1739-1805) of Crofton Place in Cumberland.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
George Fisher Russell Barker, Welbore Ellis, first Baron Mendip (1713-1802), 1888