Thomas Brudenell-Bruce, 1st Earl of Ailesbury

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The Earl of Ailesbury

The Earl of Ailesbury by Joshua Reynolds.
Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire
In office
Preceded by The Earl of Pembroke
Succeeded by The Earl of Pembroke
Personal details
Born 30 April 1729
Died 19 April 1814 (1814-04-20) (aged 84)
Seamore Place, Mayfair, London, England
Nationality British
Spouses .mw-parser-output .plainlist ol,.mw-parser-output .plainlist ul{line-height:inherit;list-style:none;margin:0;padding:0}.mw-parser-output .plainlist ol li,.mw-parser-output .plainlist ul li{margin-bottom:0}

  • .mw-parser-output .marriage-line-margin2px{line-height:0;margin-bottom:-2px}.mw-parser-output .marriage-line-margin3px{line-height:0;margin-bottom:-3px}.mw-parser-output .marriage-display-ws{display:inline;white-space:nowrap}
    Susanna Hoare

    (m. 1761; died 1783)​

  • Anne Elizabeth Rawdon

    (m. 1788; died 1813)​

Children 5, including Charles

Thomas Brudenell-Bruce, 1st Earl of Ailesbury, KT (30 April 1729 – 19 April 1814), styled The Honourable Thomas Brudenell until 1747 and known as The Lord Bruce of Tottenham between 1747 and 1776, was a British courtier.

Background and education[edit]

Born Thomas Brudenell, he was the youngest son of George Brudenell, 3rd Earl of Cardigan and Lady Elizabeth Bruce. He was the younger brother of George Montagu, 1st Duke of Montagu, James Brudenell, 5th Earl of Cardigan and the Honourable Robert Brudenell. He was educated at Winchester College. In February 1747, aged 17, he succeeded his uncle, the 4th Earl of Elgin and 3rd and last Earl of Ailesbury, as 2nd Baron Bruce of Tottenham according to a special remainder in the letters patent.[1] In 1767 he assumed by Royal licence the additional surname of Bruce.[2]

Public life[edit]

Coats of Arms of Thomas Brudenell-Bruce

When the Wiltshire Militia was embodied on 8 November 1758 he was commissioned as its Colonel. He (and many of his officers) resigned in 1770 when the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire promoted a junior officer to the vacant position of Lieutenant-Colonel of the regiment.[3]

Lord Bruce served as a Lord of the Bedchamber to King George III, and was briefly in May 1776 Governor to the Prince of Wales and Prince Frederick. In June 1776 he was created Earl of Ailesbury (later styled Aylesbury), in the County of Buckingham,[4] a revival of the earldom which had become extinct on his uncle’s death. He subsequently served as Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire from 1780 to 1782, as Lord Chamberlain to Queen Charlotte from 1780 to 1792 and as Treasurer to Queen Charlotte from 1792 to 1814.

On 29 November 1786 he was made a Knight of the Order of the Thistle.


Lord Ailesbury married firstly, Susanna Hoare, daughter of the banker Henry Hoare and widow of Charles Boyle, Viscount Dungarvan, on 17 February 1761; her only child from her first marriage was Henrietta O’Neill, later a successful poet. They had five children:

Susanna, Countess of Ailesbury, died on 4 February 1783. Lord Ailesbury married as his second wife Lady Anne Elizabeth Rawdon (1753-1813), eldest daughter of John Rawdon, 1st Earl of Moira, on 14 February 1788. There were no children from this marriage. She died on 8 January 1813. Lord Ailesbury died at Seamore Place, Mayfair, London, in April 1814, aged eighty-four. He was succeeded in the earldom by his third but only surviving son, Charles, who was created Marquess of Ailesbury in 1821.[1]


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  • correspondence and papers[5]
  • papers[6]
  • miscellaneous correspondence 1753-1809[7]
  • 1796-1807 correspondence with Duke of Buccleuch[8]
  • 196-1807 Letters to Sir R J Buxton[9]
  • correspondence with Lord Elgin[10]
  • 1766-68 – ten letters to Lord Rockingham.[11]


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  • Ailesbury, Marquess of (1962). The History of Savernake Forest (first ed.).
  • Henning, duke (1986). Thorne (ed.). History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820. Boydell & Brewer.
  • Col N.C.E. Kenrick, The Story of the Wiltshire Regiment (Duke of Edinburgh’s): The 62nd and 99th Foot (1756–1959), the Militia and the Territorials, the Service Battalions and all those others who have served or been affiliated with the Moonrakers, Aldershot: Gale & Polden, 1963.


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  1. ^ a b Thomas Brudenell-Bruce, 1st Earl of Ailesbury
  2. ^ “No. 10793”. The London Gazette. 26–29 December 1767. p. 2.
  3. ^ Kenrick, p. 303.
  4. ^ “No. 11672”. The London Gazette. 4 June 1776. p. 1.
  5. ^ WRO [43] 15th HMC Report App VII
  6. ^ WRO 9, 100, 111; NRA 30725; Principal Family estate correspondence, 1996, A-K [12a]
  7. ^ BL, MSS, II, 1984
  8. ^ NRS GD224/663; NRA 34806
  9. ^ CUL BP; NRA 42238
  10. ^ NRAS 3955; NRA 26223 Bruce
  11. ^ Sheffield City Archives WWM; WRA 1083 Wentworth Woodhouse

External links[edit]

Court offices
Preceded by

Lord Chamberlain to Queen Charlotte
Succeeded by


Title last held by

The Earl of Guilford

Treasurer to Queen Charlotte
Succeeded by

Honorary titles
Preceded by

Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire
Succeeded by

Peerage of Great Britain
New creation Earl of Ailesbury
Succeeded by

Preceded by

Baron Bruce