SOMERSET, Lord Fitzroy James Henry (1788-1855), of Cefntilla, Usk, Mon.

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



1818 - 1820
1826 - Mar. 1829

Family and Education

b. 30 Sept. 1788, 8th s. of Henry, 5th Duke of Beaufort, and bro. of Lords Arthur John Henry Somerset*, Charles Henry Somerset*, Henry Charles Somerset, Mq. of Worcester,* and Robert Edward Henry Somerset*. educ. Westminster 1803. m. 6 Aug. 1814, Emily Harriet, da. of Hon. William Wellesley Pole*, 2s. 2da. KCH 2 Jan. 1815; GCB 24 Sept. 1847; cr. Baron Raglan 11 Oct. 1852.

Offices Held

Cornet, 4 Drag. 1804, lt. 1805, mission to Constantinople with Sir Arthur Paget* 1807; lt. 6 Garrison Batt. 1808, 43 Ft. 1808; a.d.c. to Sir Arthur Wellesley in Portugal 1808; military sec. to Lord Wellington 1811-14, maj. 1811, lt.-col. 1812; capt. and lt.-col. 1 Ft. Gds. 1814; col. and a.d.c. to the Prince Regent 1815-22; maj.-gen. 1825; col. 53 Ft. 1830; lt.-gen. 1838, gen. 1854, f.m. Nov. 1854; col. R. Horse Gds. 1854-5; c.-in-c. Crimea Feb. 1854-d.

Sec. embassy Paris 1814-15, 1815-18; sec. of Ordnance 1818-27; military sec. War Office Jan. 1827-Sept. 1852; master gen. of Ordnance 1852-5; PC 16 Oct. 1852.


Somerset, the youngest of the 5th Duke of Beaufort’s 11 children, pursued a military career, making himself useful to the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsula. He displayed great courage, was wounded at Busaco and lost an arm at Waterloo. He remained attached to the duke (whose niece he married), as his secretary in his military and civil capacities from 1808 until the duke’s death in 1852. In 1814 he was described as ‘a fortunate man, but one who had not a word to say to Wellington, or ever read a despatch except a very public one indeed’.1 In 1818, while secretary to the duke at the Ordnance, he was returned for Truro on the interest of his first cousin Edward, 4th Viscount Falmouth, after a contest. He gave a silent support to administration until his defeat at the next election. When he was present to hear the Regent’s speech, 23 Nov. 1819, he said ‘he would rather watch the Park than attend the House’. He had mustered for ministers on the foreign enlistment bill, 10 June, and did so on the seditious libel bill, 23 Dec. 1819, but otherwise made no mark.2 He died 28 June 1855.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


C. Hibbert, The Destruction of Lord Raglan (1961) is the most recent biography.

  • 1. Broughton, Recollections, i. 126.
  • 2. Hibbert, 5; Phipps, Plumer Ward Mems. ii. 32.