William Wellesley-Pole, 3rd Earl of Mornington

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The Earl of Mornington
William Wellesley-Pole, later 1st Baron Maryborough, and later 3rd Earl of Mornington (Thomas Lawrence)
Chief Secretary for Ireland
In office
MonarchGeorge III
Prime MinisterSpencer Perceval
Preceded byRobert Dundas
Succeeded byRobert Peel
Postmaster General
In office
MonarchWilliam IV
Prime MinisterSir Robert Peel, Bt
Preceded byThe Marquess Conyngham
Succeeded byThe Marquess Conyngham
Personal details
William Wesley

(1763-05-20)20 May 1763
Dangan Castle, County Meath
Died22 February 1845(1845-02-22) (aged 81)
Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, London
Resting placeGrosvenor Chapel
Political partyTory
SpouseKatherine Elizabeth Forbes
Alma materNone

William Wellesley-Pole, 3rd Earl of Mornington, GCH, PC, PC (Ire) (20 May 1763 – 22 February 1845), known as Lord Maryborough between 1821 and 1842, was an Anglo-Irish politician and an elder brother of the Duke of Wellington. His surname changed twice: he was born with the name Wesley, which he changed to Wesley-Pole following an inheritance in 1781. In 1789 the spelling was updated to Wellesley-Pole, just as other members of the family had changed Wesley to Wellesley.


The young William Wesley aged 14, painted in 1777 by Benjamin West

He was born as William Wesley, at Dangan Castle, the second son of Garret Wesley, 1st Earl of Mornington, by his marriage to Annie Hill, a daughter of Arthur Hill-Trevor, 1st Viscount Dungannon. He was the younger brother of Richard Wesley, later Marquess Wellesley, and the elder brother of Arthur, who became Duke of Wellington, and of Henry, who became Lord Cowley.

Early life[edit]

Wesley was educated at Eton (1774–1776) before entering the Royal Navy as a midshipman, serving in the Navy between 1777 and 1783; most notably aboard HMS Lion, a new ship launched in 1777, at the Battle of Grenada of 1779.[1]

Pole inheritance[edit]

Due to the debts of their father, the Wesley family entered into financial stringency. This was partially alleviated following the death in 1781 of the childless William Pole, of Ballyfin in Ireland, his godfather and the husband of his great-aunt Ann Colley, who bequeathed his estates to Wesley, on the condition which was usual in such situations that he should adopt the surname "Pole".

Pole was descended from Peryam Pole, third son of the antiquary Sir William Pole (1561–1635) of Shute House, Devon, a brother of Sir John Pole, 1st Baronet. He had married Ann Colley, the sister of Wesley's grandfather Richard Wesley, 1st Baron Mornington (1690–1758). This Wesley had been born Richard Colley, but had changed his name in 1728, following an inheritance, to Wesley. Thus it was that in 1781, in accordance with the Will of his great-uncle William Pole, Wesley changed his name to Wesley-Pole.[2]

Political career[edit]

A Tory, Mornington was a Member of the Irish Parliament for Trim from 1783 to 1790, and of the British House of Commons for East Looe from 1790 to 1795, and Queen's County from 1801 to 1821. He served as Secretary of the Admiralty under the Duke of Portland between 1807 and 1809, and as Chief Secretary for Ireland under Spencer Perceval between 1809 and 1812, and was also a Lord of the Irish Treasury between 1809 and 1811 and Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer between 1811 and 1812.

Mornington was sworn of both the British Privy Council and the Irish Privy Council in 1809. He served in Lord Liverpool's government from 1814 to 1823 as Master of the Mint. In 1821, he was elevated to the Peerage of the United Kingdom as Baron Maryborough, of Maryborough in the Queen's County (now Portlaoise, County Laois).

In 1823, he was appointed Custos Rotulorum of Queen's County for life. From 1823 to 1830 he was Master of the Buckhounds and from 1834 to 1835 Postmaster General. From 1838 he held the honorary position of Captain of Deal Castle.[3]

Succession to earldom[edit]

On the death in 1842 of his elder brother Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley, he succeeded as 3rd Earl of Mornington.

Marriage and progeny[edit]

In 1784, Lord Mornington married Katherine Elizabeth Forbes, daughter of Admiral John Forbes and granddaughter of George Forbes, 3rd Earl of Granard, and of William Capell, 3rd Earl of Essex. It was said that among the 1st Earl's sons, they had the only happy marriage. They had the following progeny, one son and three daughters:


He died on 22 February 1845.



  1. ^ National Maritime Museum Records, Greenwich
  2. ^ Ancestry from Collins Peerage, 1812, (9 vols.) vol. 8, pp. 540–545
  3. ^ "Captains of Deal Castle". East Kent freeuk. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  4. ^ Morgan, Henry James, ed. (1903). Types of Canadian Women and of Women who are or have been Connected with Canada. Toronto: Williams Briggs. p. 18.
  5. ^ Christie's: Lotnotes by a drawing of the Wellesley-Pole sisters, by Thomas Lawrence. Url visited on 21 March 2012

External links[edit]

Parliament of Ireland
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Trim
With: John Pomeroy
Succeeded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by Member of Parliament for East Looe
1790 – 1795
With: Robert Wood
Succeeded by
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Queen's County
1801 – 1821
With: Charles Coote 1801–1802
Henry Parnell 1802
Eyre Coote 1802–1806
Sir Henry Parnell, Bt 1806–1821
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Clerk of the Ordnance
Succeeded by
Preceded by Clerk of the Ordnance
Succeeded by
Preceded by Secretary to the Admiralty
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chief Secretary for Ireland
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer
Succeeded by
Preceded by Master of the Mint
Succeeded by
Preceded by Master of the Buckhounds
Succeeded by
Preceded by Postmaster General
Succeeded by
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by Earl of Mornington
Succeeded by
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Maryborough
Succeeded by