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Francis Charles Seymour-Ingram, Lord Yarmouth (1777-1842), 3rd Marquis of Hertford (acceded 1822)

Francis Charles Seymour-Ingram, Lord Yarmouth (1777-1842), 3rd Marquis of Hertford was orn on 11 March 1777. He was the only son of Francis (Ingram) Seymour, second Marquis of Hertford and his second wife, Isabella Anne Ingram Shepherd (born in 1760), the daughter and coheir of Charles, ninth and last viscount Irvine (d. 1778), by his wife Frances Gibson (born Shepherd).

Yarmouth was a known cricketer and a wastrel who would do anything to acquire money. He graduated B.A. from St. Mary Hall, Oxford, 1796, and represented the family boroughs of Orford, Lisburne, and Camelford (1819-1822). The Duke of Queensbury, who wished Yarmouth to marry his illegitimate daughter, hinted that as a father-in-law he would be generous. Yarmouth eloped with the great heiress Maria Fagniani [1], marrying her on March 18, 1798. Queensbury was as good as his word and on his death in 1810 left Lord and Lady Yarmouth his freehold estates and £50,000 each to Lord Yarmouth, their daughter Lady Frances and the younger son Lord Henry. He left his daughter — Lady Yarmouth — £ 100,000. Maria stayed in Paris from 1804 onwards while Yarmouth returned to England. She died there in 1856.

A marriage of convenience for both, it was very much frowned upon by the Seymour family who for a while refused to cknowledge her. The newly married couple lived together for about three years in which time they produced a daughter and a son, after which they moved to Paris. Here her husband soon had a mistress, Madame Visconti. Meanwhile "Mie-Mie" befriended Madame Talleyrand while Talleyrand himself was friends with both Lord and Lady Yarmouth. After a while Lord Yarmouth returned to London alone. She continued to enjoy herself in Paris and in 1804 found she was pregnant. As Lord Yarmouth had been with his wife for a while, he passed as the father of Lord Henry Seymour. However, it is more likely that the father was Comte Casimir de Montrond.

Lady Yarmouth continued to live in France and in 1811 was again joined by her husband who tried to reconcile with her, but she had no wish to return to England. However, Lord Yarmouth began to take more interest in his son-and-heir, Lord Beauchamp, who for a while lived with his father in England. In 1822 Lady Yarmouth lost her daughter, who had married the Marquis de Chevign only a few months before. In the same year her father-in-law also died and she became Marchioness of Hertford. In 1824 a young boy, Richard Jackson, appeared in her household. She called him "my dear nephew" and he would call her "Tante Mie-Mie"; but in fact he was her grandson, Lord Beauchamp's son.

Yarmouth had great influence with the regent, of whose household he was vice-chamberlain. He was created K.G. on 22 November 1822, shortly after succeeding to the peerage. He was in 1827 envoy extraordinary (bearing the order of the Garter) to Nicholas I of Russia, from whom he had in 1821 received the order of St. Anne; but he is best remembered as the original of the Marquis of Steyne in Thackeray's Vanity Fair and Lord Monmouth in Disraeli's Coningsby. He died at Dorchester House, Park Lane, on 1 March 1842.

He was succeeded as fourth marquis by his son Richard Seymour Conway (1800-1870), also known from 1822 until his father's death as Earl of Yarmouth. Like his brother, Lord Henry Seymour he led an epicurean existence in Paris, rarely, if ever, visiting England, and amassing a splendid collection of pictures and articles of vertu, which he left, along with his Irish estates, to Sir Richard Wallace. Upon the fourth marquis's death, on 25 August 1870, the peerage passed to Francis George Hugh, son of Sir George Francis Seymour.

[1] I am grateful to Mr Franz Job, of Italy, for pointing out that the lady's name was Fagnani, and not Fagniani, as it is often written, may be for phonetic reasons. [back]

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Last modified 12 January, 2016

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