BERESFORD, Sir William Carr (1768-1854), of Beresford, Staffs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



28 June 1811 - 17 May 1814

Family and Education

b. 2 Oct. 1768, illegit. s. of George de la Poer Beresford, 1st Mq. of Waterford [I]. educ. Catterick Bridge; Strasbourg mil. acad. 1785. m. 29 Nov. 1832, his 1st cos. Louisa, da. of the Most Rev. William Beresford, 1st Baron Decies [I] and abp. of Tuam, wid. of Thomas Hope of Deepdene, Surr., s.p. legit. KB 16 Oct. 1810; cr. Baron Beresford 17 Mar. 1814, GCB 2 Jan. 1815; GCH 1818; Visct. Beresford 28 Mar. 1823.

Offices Held

Ensign 6 Ft. 1785; lt. 16 Ft. 1790; capt. 69 Ft. 1791, brevet maj. 1794; lt.-col. 88 Ft. 1795, brevet col. 1803; col. 88 Ft. 1807-19, brig.-gen. 1807; c.-in-c. Madeira 1807-8, maj.-gen. 1808; lt.-gen. in Portugal 1809 and marshal of Portuguese army 1809-19; lt.-gen. 1821; col. 69 Ft. 1819-23, 16 Ft. 1823-d.; gen. 1825; col. in chief 60 Rifles 1852-d.

PC 6 Feb. 1821; lt.-gen. of Ordnance 1823-4, master-gen. 1828-30.

Gov. Cork 1811-20, Jersey 1820-d.


After a far flung military career in which he had proved a distinguished officer and a controversial general,1 Beresford, the hero of Albuera, was thanked by Parliament for his services three weeks before he was returned for county Waterford on the interest of his legitimate brother the 2nd Marquess. The premier at once secured for him the government of Cork.2 The prominent part he played in the Peninsular war prevented him from taking his seat in the House,3 where he would have been expected to support government. At its successful conclusion he received a peerage, as well as similar foreign honours. At the time, according to Lord Liverpool, he possessed not an acre anywhere,4 but he subsequently purchased the ancestral estate of the Beresfords in England. Creevey described him as

such a low-looking ruffian in his air, with damned bad manners, or rather none at all [that] I defy any human being to find out that he is either a marshal or a lord; but you do find out that he has been in every part of the world, and in all the interesting scenes of it for the last five and thirty years.5

He died 8 Jan. 1854.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: P. J. Jupp


  • 1. Gent. Mag. (1854), i. 311.
  • 2. NLI, Richmond mss 73/1724.
  • 3. Surr. RO, Goulburn mss 2/13, Peel to Goulburn, 2 Nov. 1812.
  • 4. Add. 38257, f. 241.
  • 5. Creevey Pprs. ed. Maxwell, ii. 126-7.