COVENTRY, George William, Visct. Deerhurst (1784-1843).
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Family and Education
b. 16 Oct. 1784, 1st s. of George William, 7th Earl of Coventry, by 2nd w. Peggy, da. and coh. of Sir Abraham Pitches of Streatham, Surr. educ. Westminster 1801; Christ Church, Oxf. 1802. m. (1) 16 Jan. 1808, Hon. Emma Susanna Lygon (d. 8 Aug. 1810), da. of William Lygon*, 1st Baron Beauchamp, 1s. d.v.p.; (2) in Scotland 22 June, and in England 6 Nov. 1811, Lady Mary Beauclerk, da. of Aubrey Beauclerk†, 5th Duke of St. Albans, 2s. 1da. suc. fa. as 8th Earl of Coventry 26 May 1831.
Lt-col. commdt. Worcester vol. inf. 1803; lt.-col. Worcs. militia 1806, col. 1838, recorder, Worcester 1831-5; ld. lt. Worcs. 1838-d.
Deerhurst’s father, ‘poor, blind and rejected by his father’, was saved by inheriting his uncle’s wealth in 1797. Deerhurst appeared in the courtesan Harriette Wilson’s memoirs as a profligate nobleman, stingy and unwashed. In 1811, then a young widower, he carried off an heiress. His father was recorder of Worcester and in 1812 he himself was defeated at the poll there, after standing late in the day. He stood on the ‘popular interest’, but it was supposed that he meant ‘to belong to the Prince [Regent] individually’.
In 1816 he was returned unopposed on a vacancy and the contest of 1818 was not directed against him. His first known vote was with ministers on the composition of the finance committee, 7 Feb. 1817; but he voted against them on the Admiralty questions of 17 and 25 Feb., and on 26 Feb., presenting a petition signed by 3,000 of his constituents for parliamentary reform, said that he was in favour of ‘a practical and salutary reform’. He voted against Catholic relief, 9 May 1817. On 9 June he thwarted the bill to legalize the sale of game. Although he had supported the suspension of habeas corpus in February, he announced his opposition to it on 24 June, calling for ‘conciliation’. On 6 Apr. 1818, on behalf of his constituents, he advocated the repeal of the leather tax. His only known votes in the ensuing Parliament were also with opposition: for Admiralty retrenchment, 18 Mar. 1819, against the salt laws, 29 Apr., and for Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May. He took three leaves of absence that session. Coventry died 15 May 1843.
PRO 30/8/141, ff. 121, 123; Oracle, 20 June 1797; Brougham mss 2029, 4615, 18062.