The Barons and Baronesses Lucas of Crudwell
Lucas arms in Silsoe church September 2011
The Title of Baron Lucas of Crudwell was created on 6th May 1663 for Mary, wife of Anthony Grey, 11th Earl of Kent and mother of the future Duke of Kent.
Mary, 1st Baroness Lucas of Crudwell
Mary was the only surviving child of John, 1st Baron Lucas of Shenfield. He had been created a Baron on 3rd January 1645 by Charles I (1625-1649) in the latter stages of the First Civil War, which the King lost. He was the eldest legitimate son of Sir Thomas Lucas of Saint John's near Colchester [Essex] and was born on 23rd October 1606. He survived the civil war and died on 2nd July 1671, aged 64. The title Baron Lucas of Shenfield then passed to Charles, his nephew as he had no male heirs.
Mary was the daughter of the 1st Baron Lucas of Shenfield and Anne, daughter of Sir Christopher Nevill (son of Lord Abergavenny), whom he married on 17th December 1628. Anne died on 22nd August 1660. As the Baron had no son he purchased a title for his daughter from King Charles II (1660-1685). The title was to pass to the male heirs of Mary and her husband, 11th Earl of Kent but with a very unusual proviso which read as follows: "that if at any time or times after the death of the said Mary and default of issue male of the body of the same Mary by the aforesaid Earl of Kent begotten there be more persons than one who shall be co-heirs of the body of the same Mary by the same Earl begotten So that We our heirs or successors can declare which of them we will to have and enjoy the name estate decree style title dignity and honour aforesaid by these presents given and granted or otherwise we can at our pleasure suspend or extinguish the same name estate degree style title dignity and honour. Then nevertheless the same name estate degree style title dignity and honour shall be no means be suspended nor extinguished but shall go and from time to time shall be hand and enjoyed by such one of the co-heirs aforesaid as by the course of descents at the Common Law of our Realm of England would be hereditable to other entire and indivisible inheritances namely to an Office of honour and public trust or to a Castle for the necessary defence of the Realm or to like things in case any such inheritance had been given or limited to the aforesaid Mary and the heirs of her body by the aforesaid Earl begotten: Our express will and intention being that the same name estate degree style title dignity and honour from time to time shall be and remain to the to the aforesaid Mary and the heirs of her body by the aforesaid Earl to be begotten in the same course of succession as such other entire inheritances (as it is above said) would descend or ought to descend by the Common Law of our Realm of England in case the same were given or limited to the same Mary and the heirs of her body as it is aforesaid".
What this piece of legalese meant, in a nutshell, was that the title could pass through the female line, father or mother to daughter, and did not automatically descend to the nearest male relative unless he was a son.
The 11th Earl of Kent died on the bowling green at Tonbridge [Kent] on 19th August 1702, aged 57 and was succeeded as Earl by his the son of he and Mary, Henry, who was later created Duke of Kent. Mary kept the title of Baroness Lucas until her death on less than three months later on 1st November.
Henry, 12th Earl of Kent, 1st Marquess of Kent, 1st Duke of Kent and 2nd Baron Lucas of Crudwell.
A biography of the Duke can be seen on a separate page.
Effigy of Anthony Grey, Earl of Harrold August 2011
Anthony Grey, Earl of Harrold and 3rd Baron Lucas of Crudwell
Anthony was the son of the Duke of Kent by his first wife Jemima. He was born on 21st February 1696 at Wrest Park and inherited the title of Baron Lucas of Crudwell on 8th November 1718 by writ as his father was still alive. This enabled him to enter the House of Lords. He, like his father, was a Whig in politics and was Lord of the Bedchamber from 1720 until his death. The holder of this position guarded entry to the King's bedchamber, assisted the King to dress and waited on him when he ate in his bedchamber. It was, thus, a position of great trust.
He married Mary, 4th daughter of Thomas Tufton, 6th Earl of Thanet on 17th April 1718; she was just sixteen. Sadly, he choked to death on an ear of barley at Wrest about 11 o'clock in the morning on 21st July 1723 (as noted by Robert Walpole in his diary), aged only 27. The Barony of Lucas then reverted to his father, who died in 1740. His widow married John Leveson-Gower, 1st Earl Gower on 16th May 1736 as his third wife. She died on 12th February 1785 from burns after her dress caught fire.
The Yorke coat of arms in the south aisle of Silsoe church March 2011
Jemima Yorke, 2nd Marchioness Grey and 4th Baroness Lucas of Crudwell
A biography of the Marchioness can be seen on a separate page.
Hume arms in Silsoe church September 2011
Amabel Hume-Campbell, 1st Countess Grey, 5th Baroness Lucas of Crudwell
A biography of the Countess can be seen on a separate page.
Campbell arms in Silsoe church September 2011
Thomas Philip de Grey, 2nd Earl de Grey, 6th Baron Lucas of Crudwell
A biography of the Earl can be seen on a separate page.
The Chinese Bridge in Wrest park, built by Countess Cowper in 1876
Anne Florence Cowper, Countess Cowper, 7th Baroness Lucas of Crudwell
Anne was the eldest daughter of the 2nd Earl de Grey and heir to the Barony of Lucas, which descended to the child irrespective of gender, but not to the Earldom which descended in the male line via primogeniture.
She was born on 8th June 1806 at the family house at 4 Saint James' Square, London and so she was 53 when she inherited the Barony. She married George Augustus Frederick Cowper on 7th October 1833. He became 6th Earl Cowper on 21st July 1837 and died on 15th April 1856 of heart disease whilst attending Maidstone Assizes. She died of apoplexy on 23rd July 1880, aged 74, at the house she had been born in. She had two sons and four daughters, one of whom died of a fever at the age of fifteen.
Francis Thomas de Grey Cowper, 7th Earl Cowper, 8th Baron Lucas of Crudwell and 4th Lord Dingwall and Lord Butler of Moore Park
He was born in Berkeley Square, London, on 11th June 1834 and must have been premature as this was thirty five weeks after his parents' wedding. He attended HarrowSchool and Christ's College, Oxford where he obtained a first class degree in Law and Modern History. He became Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire in 1861 (aged 27) and served in that capacity until his death.
He served as a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery from 1869 to 1874 and was made a Privy Councillor on 16th May 1871. From May 1880 to May 1882 he served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
He married Katrine Cecilia, first daughter of William Compton, 4th Marquess of Northampton on 25th October 1870; she was twenty five. The Earl died of bronchitis after an operation for a per-coecal abscess on 22nd July 1905 at Panshanger in Hertfordshire, aged 71 and was buried at Hertingfordbury.
He had no children and the title of Earl Cowper became extinct. His will was valued at a colossal £1,079,000. His widow died of bronchitis at Cannes on 23rd March 1913, aged 68. At the time of his death he had 10,122 acres in Hertfordshire, 9,105 acres in Bedfordshire, 5,294 acres in Nottinghamshire, 3,227 acres in Essex, 2,787 acres in Derbyshire, 2,536 acres in Wiltshire, 2,078 acres in Kent, 1,067 acres in Northamptonshire, 913 acres in Leicestershire and 696 acres in Suffolk – a total of 37,869 acres.
Notes from the Life of an Ordinary Mortal described the Earl as: "A very attractive man. He had a fine head and figure though there was a certain softness in both … He had courteous manners, rather of the old school, a capable intellect with a good deal of historical knowledge, and an interest in literature which made him a very agreeable companion. Besides these qualities there was in him a sort of stately kindness".
Auberon Thomas Herbert, 9th Baron Lucas of Crudwell and 5th Lord Dingwall
Born on 25th May 1876 he was the son of Auberon Edward William Molyneux Herbert and Florence Amabell, second daughter George Augustus Frederick, 6th Baron Cowper and thus the nephew of the 7th Earl Cowper.
He was educated at Bedford School and Balliol College, Oxford, He served as war correspondent in South Africa during the 2nd Boer War of 1900 to 1902 and lost a foot. He served in the Liberal administrations of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman (1905-1908) of Lord Asquith (1908-1916) as Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for War (Richard, Viscount Haldane) in 1907 and 1908 being under Secretary for War from 1908 to 1911. He became Under Secretary for the Colonies in 1911 and Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture from 1911 until 1914. He was made a Privy Councillor in 1912. He served in the Great War as a Captain in the Hampshire Yeomanry and as a Flight-Commander in the Royal Flying Corps. He was mentioned in despatches and died on 3rd November 1916 when his aircraft was forced down over German Lines. He is buried at the H.A.C.Cemetery, Ecoust-Saint-Mein. He died unmarried.
The south front of Wrest Park in 1917 [AD3237]
Nan Ino Cooper, 10th Baroness Lucas of Crudwell and 6th Lady Dingwall
The sister of the 9th Baron, she was born on 13th June 1880. She married Howard Lister Cooper, a major in the Royal Flying Corps, on 30th April 1917. She succeeded to the Barony on her brother's death and sold the family seat, Wrest Park, the following year, having run it during her brother's life. She died in 1958.
Anne Rosemary Palmer, 11th Baroness Lucas of Crudwell and 7th Lady Dingwall
The daughter of the 10th Baroness she was born on 28th April 1919. She married Major Robert Jocelyn palmer, formerly of the Coldstream Guards and third son of the 3rd Earl of Selbourne on 11th May 1950. She died in 1991
Ralph Palmer, 12th Baron Lucas of Crudwell and 8th Lord Dingwall
He is the son of the 11th Baroness and was born on 7th June 1951. He is the present  holder of the title.