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John Manners, Marquess of Granby
John Manners, Marquess of Granby (1745)
Born (1721-01-02)January 2, 1721
Died October 18, 1770(1770-10-18) (aged 49)
Place of birth Kelham, Nottinghamshire
Place of death Scarborough, North Yorkshire
Allegiance  Kingdom of Great Britain
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1745 - 1770
Rank Lieutenant-General
Battles/wars Seven Years' War

Lieutenant-General John Manners, Marquess of Granby PC, (2 January 1721 – 18 October 1770), British soldier, was the eldest son of the 3rd Duke of Rutland. As he did not outlive his father, he was known by his father's subsidiary title, Marquess of Granby. Granby served in the Seven Years' War as overall commander of the British troops on the battlefield and was subsequently rewarded with the post of Commander-in-Chief of the Forces. He was popular with his troops and many public houses are still named after him today.

Early life

Born the eldest son of the 3rd Duke of Rutland and Bridget Manners (née Sutton), John Manners was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge,[1] and was returned as Member of Parliament for the family borough of Grantham in 1741.[2]

Military career

Four years later he received a commission as colonel of a regiment raised by the Duke of Rutland to assist in quelling the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745.[2] This corps never got beyond Newcastle, but young Granby went to the front as a volunteer on the Duke of Cumberland's staff, and saw active service in the last stages of the insurrection.[2] Very soon his regiment was disbanded, but he retained his rank and campaigned in Flanders in 1747.[2]

In 1752, the Government suggested to George II that Granby be appointed colonel of the prestigious Royal Horse Guards (Blues), in order to secure the parliamentary support of his family.[2] The king initially refused to make the appointment.[2] In the meantime, Granby advanced his parliamentary career, and was returned for Cambridgeshire in 1754.[3] Though he despised faction in government, he allied himself with Viscount Royston, the other knight of the shire, a government whig. The king came to view him more favorably, and he defended the Newcastle ministry in the House of Commons. He was promoted major-general on 18 March 1755,[4] and was at last made Colonel of the Blues in on 27 May 1758.[5]

During the Seven Years' War Manners was sent to Germany in command of a cavalry brigade.[2] While leading a charge at the Battle of Warburg, he is said to "have lost his hat and wig, forcing him to salute his commander without them". This incident is commemorated by the British Army tradition that non-commissioned officers and troopers of the Blues and Royals are the only soldiers of the British Army who may salute without wearing headdress.[6] He was promoted to lieutenant general in 1759:[7] later that year he fought at the Battle of Minden as commander of the second line of cavalry.[2] He was then appointed overall commander of the expedition replacing Lord George Sackville on 21 August 1759.[8] He became Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance on 15 September 1759.[9]

He went on to lead the troops to victory at the Battle of Warburg in July 1760 and the Battle of Villinghausen in July 1761.[2] His opponent, the duc de Broglie, was so impressed that he commissioned a portrait of Granby by Sir Joshua Reynolds.[2]

Political career

Granby returned to England as a hero: a painting by Edward Penny, The Marquess of Granby Relieving a Sick Soldier, showed him acting as a man of charity rather than as a soldier and this assured his appeal to the people.[2] He sought to steer a path independent of party politics but supported the Treaty of Paris.[2] He trusted George Grenville who promptly appointed him Master-General of the Ordnance under his ministry on 14 May 1763.[10] Granby was also made Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire on 21 February 1764.[11]

Granby painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1763-65.

Granby supported the government's issue of general warrants and prosecution of Wilkes,[2] but in 1765 spoke against the dismissal of army officers for voting against the government in Parliament.[2] In May 1765, Lord Halifax attempted to persuade George III to appoint Granby Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, in the hopes that his popularity would help quell the riot of the London silk weavers.[2] The king refused, having promised the reversion of the post to the Duke of Cumberland, but obtained Granby's retention as Master-General of the Ordnance in the new Rockingham ministry, although Granby did not co-operate with the ministry and voted against the repeal of the Stamp Act.[2]

Under the Chatham Ministry, Granby was appointed commander-in-chief on 13 August 1766.[2] Despite rumors of his retirement, he vigorously electioneered during the 1768 season, and increased the Rutland interests seats to seven, at some expense.[2] With the resignation of Chatham, he found himself somewhat isolated in the Grafton Ministry.[2] While he had opposed the attempts of the government to expel Wilkes from his seat in Middlesex, his personal dislike of Wilkes overcame his principles, and he voted in favor of the expulsion on 3 February 1769 and for the seating of Henry Luttrell afterwards.[2] It was to prove a serious political mistake.[2] Junius, a political writer, attacked the ministry accusing Granby of servility towards the court and personal corruption.[2] Granby's great popularity might have let him ride out the affair, but his reversal on Wilkes provided new ammunition.[2] Worse still, a reply to Junius by his friend Sir William Draper, intended in his defence, essentially validated the charge that the hard-drinking and personable Granby was easily imposed upon by less scrupulous acquaintances.[2]

Ultimately, it was not the attacks of Junius, but the return of Chatham that brought about his departure from politics.[2] Granby had always respected Chatham, and through the intermediation of John Calcraft, was eventually persuaded to break with the ministry.[2] On 9 January 1770, he announced that he had reversed himself once more on the propriety of expelling Wilkes, and shortly thereafter resigned as commander-in-chief and master-general of the ordnance, retaining only the colonelcy of the Blues.[2]

An Inn in Lincolnshire, named after him

Once out of office, Granby found himself hard-pressed by his creditors, and the loss of his official salaries had weakened his financial position.[2] In the summer of 1770, he unsuccessfully campaigned for George Cockburne at the Scarborough by-election.[2]


Granby died at Scarborough, Yorkshire, in 1770.[2] The outpouring of grief was real and sustained.[12] His friend and associate Levett Blackborne, a Lincoln's Inn barrister and Manners family adviser who frequently resided at Belvoir, was away at the time, visiting a family relation of Manners' and received the disturbing news on his return to Belvoir. He wrote to George Vernon at Clontarf on 12 February 1771, bemoaning Granby's proclivities that had brought him to ruin:

"You are no stranger to the spirit of procrastination. The noblest mind that ever existed, the amiable man whom we lament was not free from it. This temper plunged him into difficulties, debts and distresses; and I have lived to see the first heir of a subject in the Kingdom have a miserable shifting life, attended by a levee of duns, and at last die broken-hearted."[13][14]

He is probably best known today for being popularly supposed to have more pubs named after him than any other person - due, it is said, to his practice of setting up old soldiers of his regiment as publicans when they were too old to serve any longer.[15]


He had two illegitimate children by an unknown mistress:[16]

He married Lady Frances Seymour (1728–1761), daughter of Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset on 3 September 1750.[2] They had six children:[17]

  • John Manners, Lord Roos (29 August 1751 – 2 June 1760, London)
  • Lady Frances Manners (1753 – 15 October 1792)
  • Charles Manners, 4th Duke of Rutland (1754–1787)
  • Lady Catherine Manners, died young
  • Lord Robert Manners (1758–1782)
  • Lady Caroline Manners, died young


  1. "(MNRS738J)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.  missing name.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 2.30 "John Manners, Marquess of Granby". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  3. "No. 9370". 7 May 1754. 
  4. "No. 9459". 15 March 1755. 
  5. "No. 9794". 23 May 1758. 
  6. Interpretive sign at the Household Cavalry Museum in London.
  7. "No. 9871". 17—20 February 1759. 
  8. "No. 9924". 21 August 1759. 
  9. "No. 9930". 11 September 1759. 
  10. "No. 10312". 10 May 1763. 
  11. "No. 10393". 18 February 1764. 
  12. The Manuscripts of His Grace the Duke of Rutland, Preserved at Belvoir Castle, Charles Manners Rutland, Richard Ward, John Horace Round, Robert Campbell. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London. 1889.,M1. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  13. Some Account of the Military, Political and Social Life of the Right Hon. John Manners, Marquis of Granby, Walter Evelyn Manners,. Macmillan & Co. Ltd., London. 1899.,M1. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  14. Blackborne had served Granby's father during the Duke of Rutland's term as Lord Steward of the Household as his Steward of the Court of the Board of Green Cloth.
  15. "What's in a pub name?". This is Kent. 5 August 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  16. This mistress was likely connected to Lincoln's Inn barrister Levett Blackborne, grandson of Sir Richard Levett, Lord Mayor of London, who was one of John Manners's closest advisers, as well as frequently in residence at Belvoir Castle.(see The Manuscripts of His Grace the Duke of Rutland) Following the Marquess of Granby's death, Levett Blackborne wrote to Lord George Vernon, brother of the deceased Marquess of Granby: "Indeed my dear Sir this hath been a terrible stroke to the family.... I had been spending a week with my sister Chaplin at Tathwell when an itinerant clergyman... mentioned at dinner news of what happened at Scarborough the preceding Thursday.... The next morning brought me a letter from Tom Thoroton (Col. Thomas Thoroton, Levett Blackborne's stepbrother) confirming the whole and insisting on my speedy return to Belvoir, where I arrived the night after poor Lord Granby's remains had been deposited at Bottesford." (see again The Manuscripts of His Grace the Duke of Rutland) Other observers also confirmed that a close relationship existed between the families of Thoroton and the Manners, Dukes of Rutland. In her diary, Abigail Gawthem of Nottinghamshire commented that the woman-in-question was "mistress to the old John, Duke of Rutland, and mother to old Mrs. Thoroton of Screveton." The unexplained conjugal connection helps explain the close relationships between the Suttons, Manners, Thorotons, Levetts, Chaplins and other families. Who the woman-in-question was remains to be solved. Contemporary legal accounts confirm the illegitimacy of at least one of the Manners offspring.(see The Revised reports: being a republication of such cases in the English courts of common law and equity, from the year 1785, as are still of practical utility. 1785-1866, Volume 10) And the subsequent lawsuit of Thoroton v. Thoroton, which arose over disputed rights of illegitimate heirs, was a landmark of case law in the field.
  17. "The Peerage". Darryl Lundy. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 


  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. Encyclopædia Britannica Cambridge University Press 
  • Massie, Alastair W. (May 2006) [2004]. "Manners, John, marquess of Granby (1721–1770)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 18 October 2006. 
  • Mannings, David (2000). Sir Joshua Reynolds: a complete catalogue of his paintings. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. pp. 321–325. ISBN 0-300-08533-8. 
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
The Viscount Tyrconnel
Sir Michael Newton, Bt
Member of Parliament for Grantham
With: Sir Michael Newton, Bt 1741–1743
Sir John Cust, Bt 1743–1754
Succeeded by
Sir John Cust, Bt
Lord George Manners
Preceded by
Soame Jenyns
Viscount Royston
Member of Parliament for Cambridgeshire
With: Viscount Royston 1754–1764
Sir John Hynde Cotton, Bt 1764–1770
Succeeded by
Sir John Hynde Cotton, Bt
Sir Sampson Gideon, Bt
Military offices
New regiment Colonel of the 21st Regiment of (Light) Dragoons (Royal Forresters)
Succeeded by
Lord Robert Sutton
Preceded by
The Viscount Ligonier
Colonel of the Royal Horse Guards
Succeeded by
Hon. Henry Seymour Conway
Preceded by
Lord George Sackville
Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance
Succeeded by
Hon. George Townshend
Preceded by
The Viscount Ligonier
Master-General of the Ordnance
Title next held by
The Viscount Townshend
Title last held by
The Viscount Ligonier
Commander-in-Chief of the Forces
Title next held by
The Lord Amherst
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Duke of Devonshire
Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire
Succeeded by
Lord George Cavendish

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