William Wellesley-Pole, 3rd Earl of Mornington

William Wellesley-Pole, 3rd Earl of Mornington bigraphy, stories - British politician

William Wellesley-Pole, 3rd Earl of Mornington : biography

20 May 1763 – 22 February 1845

William Wellesley-Pole, 3rd Earl of Mornington GCH, PC, PC (Ire) (20 May 1763 – 22 February 1845), known as The Lord Maryborough between 1821 and 1842, was a British politician and an elder brother of the Duke of Wellington. His surname changed many times: he was born with the name Wesley, which he changed to Wesley-Pole following his 1781 inheritance and in 1789 his name was Anglicised to Wellesley-Pole.


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

Early life

He was educated at Eton (1774–1776) before entering the Royal Navy, where he served between 1777 and 1783; most notably aboard HMS Lion (launched 1777) at the Battle of Grenada (1779)Per National Maritime Museum Records, Greenwich

Succession to Earldom

On the death in 1842 of his elder brother Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley and 2nd Earl of Mornington, he succeeded as 3rd Earl of Mornington.

Marriage & progeny

In 1784 Lord Mornington married Katherine Elizabeth Forbes, daughter of Admiral John Forbes and granddaughter of the George Forbes, 3rd Earl of Granard and of William Capell, 3rd Earl of Essex. They had the following progeny, one son and three daughters:

  • William Pole-Tylney-Long-Wellesley, 4th Earl of Mornington, who inherited his father’s titles.
  • Lady Mary Charlotte Anne Wellesley (d.1845), who married Right Hon. Sir Charles Bagot, Bart., G.C.B., on 22 July 1806. The couple had three sons and five daughters. The family accompanied their parents to Canada on the appointment of Sir Charles Bagot as Governor-General of British North America, on 12 January 1842. As the wife of a Governor-General in Canada, Lady Bagot assumed the title of `Her Excellency`, in Montreal in August, 1842. After her husband’s death at Kingston, Ontario on 18 May 1843, she accompanied the remains to England. She died in London on 2 February 1845.Morgan, Henry James Types of Canadian women and of women who are or have been connected with Canada : (Toronto, 1903)
  • Lady Emily Harriet (1792–1881), who in 1814 married Lord FitzRoy Somerset, later 1st Baron Raglan.
  • Lady Priscilla Anne (1793–1879), who married John Fane, Lord Burghersh, later 11th Earl of Westmorland.: Lotnotes by a drawing of the Wellesley-Pole sisters, by Thomas Lawrence. Url visited on 21 March 2012


He died on 22 February 1845.

Pole inheritance

Due to the debts of his father the family entered into financial stringency. This was partially alleviated following the death in 1781 of the childless William Pole (d.1781), of Ballyfin in Ireland, his godfather and the husband of his great-aunt Ann Colley, who bequeathed his estates to Wesley, on the condition usual in such situations that he should adopt the surname Pole. Thus in 1781, in accordance with the will, he changed his name to Wesley-Pole. Pole was descended from Peryam Pole, 3rd son of the antiquary Sir William Pole (1561-1635) of Shute House, Devon, and brother of Sir John Pole, 1st Baronet (c.1589-1658). He had married Ann Colley, the sister of Richard Wesley, 1st Baron Mornington (1690-1758) (born Richard Colley, having changed his name in 1728, following an inheritance, to Wesley), father of the 1st Earl of Mornington.Ancestry from Collins Peerage, 1812, (9 vols.) vol. 8, pp. 540-545

Political career

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, Co. Laois). From 1823 to 1830 he was Master of the Buckhounds and from 1834 to 1835 Postmaster-General.