The Twickenham Museum
People : Royals, Peers and Courtiers

Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax
Man of letters and Keeper of Bushy Park
1661 - 1715

The 1st Earl of Halifax

An eminent minister

The Earl of Halifax (the first earl of the second creation of the title) was an eminent minister in Queen Anne's reign and became Keeper of Bushy Park, Keeper of the Home Park, Steward of Hampton and Keeper of Middle Park and the Harewarren.

He was educated at Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was a friend of Isaac Newton. He became an MP in 1689 and a Lord of the Treasury in 1692 and the National Debt originated from his proposal. He introduced the bill establishing the Bank of England in 1694 and was Chancellor of the Exchequer and a Privy Councillor.

A man of letters

Halifax had read Alexander Pope's Pastorals in manuscript and was a subscriber to his translation of The Iliad. He arranged for a reading as the work progressed and Pope noted that:
"in four or five places Lord Halifax stopped me very civilly [saying that] there is something in that passage that does not quite please me. Be so good as to mark the place...I'm sure you can give it a better turn."

After taking advice from Jervas or Garth, Pope made no change but read the pieces again to Halifax some time later. The Earl pronounced himself entirely satisfied with the alterations.

Keeper of Bushy Park

When, in 1709, Halifax became Keeper of Bushy Park he re-built Upper Lodge, in 1710. He did not re-build Bushy House, as stated in a number of books, although he did start the process. He was proud of his gardens, particularly the water gardens, which survive today.

He was created Viscount Sunbury and Earl of Halifax in 1714 and died in 1715.

Further reading:

Peter Foster and Edward Pyatt, Bushy House, 1976
Bushy Park - The Hanoverian Rangers, Borough of Twickenham Local History Society Paper No17, 1970
Gerald Heath (ed Kathy White & Joan Heath), Hampton Court - the story of a village, The Hampton Court Association, 2002
Kathy White and Peter Foster, Bushy Park - Royals, Rangers and Rogues, Foundry Press, 1997

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