Robert Henley, 1st Earl of Northington

The Right Honourable
The Earl of Northington

Robert Henley, 1st Earl of Northington by Thomas Hudson

The Earl of Northington by Thomas Hudson.
Lord Keeper
In office
30 June 1757  16 January 1761
Monarch George II, George III
Prime Minister The Duke of Newcastle
Preceded by in commission, last held by The Earl of Hardwicke (as Lord Chancellor
Succeeded by himself (as Lord Chancellor)
Lord Chancellor
In office
16 January 1761  30 July 1766
Monarch George III
Prime Minister The Duke of Newcastle, The Earl of Bute, George Grenville, The Marquess of Rockingham
Preceded by himself (as Lord Keeper)
Succeeded by The Earl Camden
Lord President of the Council
In office
30 July 1766  22 December 1767
Monarch George III
Prime Minister The Earl of Chatham
Preceded by The Earl of Winchilsea and Nottingham
Succeeded by The Earl Gower
Personal details
Born 1708
Died 14 January 1772(1772-01-14)
Cause of death Natural Causes
Nationality English
Political party Whig Party
Spouse(s) Jane Huband
Children Lady Catherine Henley , Lady Bridget Henley, Jane Henley, Lady Elizabeth Henley, Mary Henley, 3 sons
Parents Anthony Henley
Residence Hampshire

Robert Henley, 1st Earl of Northington PC (c. 1708 - 14 January 1772), was the Lord Chancellor of Great Britain. He was a member of the Whig Party in the parliament and was known for his wit and writing.[1]


Henley's grandfather, Sir Robert Henley, was Master of the Court of the King's Bench. He was essentially a defence counsel. Henley inherited an estate in the Grange in Hampshire which was built for Sir Robert Henley by Inigo Jones. Henley's father Anthony Henley was educated at Oxford and was interested in literature. When arriving in London, he was the friend of the Earls of Dorset and Sunderland, and friends to Swift, Pope, and Burnet. After becoming a married man, Anthony Henley became a chosen member in Andover of the parliament in 1698. He died in August, 1711 and was succeeded by his eldest, Anthony; the second, Robert; and his youngest son, Bertie who died in 1760.[2]

Early life

Born the second son of Anthony Henley, Robert Henley was from a wealthy family in Hampshire. He was educated at Westminster School and attended the St. John's College in Oxford.[1]


Robert Henley gained a fellowship at the All Souls College and was called to the bar on 23 June 1732. He was elected a parliament member of Bath, Somerset in 1747 and became recorder in 1751. He was appointed Attorney General in 1756 and was promoted the next year to Lord Keeper of the Great Seal. He was the last person to receive this title. Although as Lord Keeper he presided over the House of Lords, he was not made a peer until 1760 when he became Baron Henley of Grange in the County of Southampton in Hampshire. When George III ascended to power, Henley came Lord Chancellor and then Viscount Henley and Earl of Northington in 1764.[1]

The delay in raising him to the peerage was due to the hostility of George II, who resented Henley's former support of the Prince of Wales's faction, known as the Leicester House party; and it was in order that he might preside as Lord High Steward at the trial of the Earl Ferrers for murder in 1760 that he then received his patent. He resigned from his position in 1767. At his residence in Hampshire, he died on 14 January 1772.

Personal life

In 1743, Henley married Jane Huband who was the daughter of Sir John Huband of Ipsley of Warwickshire. He had three sons and five daughters. The names of his daughters were as followed: Lady Catherine Henley (d. 9 Jan 1779),[3] Lady Bridget Henley (d. 13 March 1796),[4] Jane Henley (d. February 1823),[5] Lady Elizabeth Henley (d. 20 August 1821),[6] Mary Henley (1753-1814).[7][8]

He was succeeded by his son Robert Henley, 2nd Earl of Northington.



  1. 1 2 3 "Robert Henley, 1st Earl of Northington". WordiQ. WordiQ. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
  2. Henley (2nd Baron), Robert (1831). A memoir of the life of Robert Heneley, earl of Northington, lord high chancellor of Great Britain. Oxford: Oxford University. p. 162.
  3. Cokayne, G.E. (1910–1959). The Complete peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdoms, Extant, Extinct or Dormant. Glouester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing. p. 474.
  4. Mosley, Charles (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage. Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A: Burke's Peerage. p. 1248.
  5. Maubois, Caroline (2008). re: Penancoet Family.
  6. Cokayne, George Edward (1983). Complete Baronetage. Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing. p. 49.
  7. Mosley, Charles (1867). Burke's Peerage and Baronetage.
  8. "Robert Henley, 1st Earl of Northington". A genealogical survey of the peerage of Britain as well as the royal families of Europe. Peerage. Retrieved 30 January 2011.


Legal offices
Preceded by
William Murray
Attorney General for England and Wales
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Pratt
Political offices
Preceded by
In Commission
Lord Keeper
Succeeded by
The Lord Camden
(Lord Chancellor)
Lord Chancellor
Preceded by
The Earl of Winchilsea and Nottingham
Lord President of the Council
Succeeded by
The Earl Gower
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Marquess of Carnarvon
Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire
Succeeded by
The Duke of Chandos
Peerage of Great Britain
New title Earl of Northington
Succeeded by
Robert Henley
New title Baron Henley
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