The fifth* of the British prime ministers, from 1754 to 1756, then again from 1757 to 1762. He was a Whig.

Born Thomas Pelham on 21st July 1693, he was educated at Westminster School and Claire Hall, Cambridge. He added the surname Holles to his own in 1711 (Thomas Pelham-Holles), and from that year also was known by the title Lord Pelham of Laughton. This was because he had succeeded to the estates, though not the title, of his uncle John Holles, Duke of Newcastle. (I'm sorry, but he's going to get even more confusing soon!) From 1714 he was Earl of Claire, and in 1715 he was created first Duke of Newcastle upon Tyne. (I presume that the old title had gone extinct with his uncle and this was therefore a re-creation.)

This is one of two completely separate, unrelated places in England, both called Newcastle, and he probably got fed up with people asking him "which one?" when he said he was Duke of Newcastle, because in 1756 he was also created first Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyme, presumably so that he could shout "both of them!". Course, by this time he was prime minister so he could get away with it.

In 1717 he married Lady Henrietta Godolphin, and they had no children, which must have been a sad disappointment to see the twin dukedom die with him.

He was appointed secretary of state by Sir Robert Walpole in 1724, joining his brother the secretary of war. He held this post for thirty years.

His first ministry began on 16th March 1754, ten days after the death of his brother, now prime minister Henry Pelham. It lasted until 26th October 1756. His successor was the Duke of Devonshire, who lasted until 1757. Devonshire's replacement the Earl of Waldegrave was unable to form a ministry, and on 2nd July 1757 Newcastle resumed office. He continued until 25th May 1762 (reappointed after the death of the king in 1760), when he was displaced by the Earl of Bute.

The real power in his ministry was however William Pitt the Elder, who was in charge of prosecuting the Seven Years War with France.

Newcastle died in London on 17th November 1768 and is buried near Lewes in Sussex, the same church as his brother. His wife died in 1776.

* fifth counting the Earl of Bath, who was appointed in 1746 but unable to form a ministry. Because numerous prime ministers served multiple disconnected terms, it is natural to number by the people, not the terms of office.

< Henry Pelham -- British prime ministers -- Duke of Devonshire > -- Earl of Bute >

In England you will of course find both a Newcastle-upon-Tyne and a Newcastle-under-Lyme, and the peerage dignity of Newcastle has existed in reference to both Newcastles. The 'Newcastle-upon-Tyne' variant existed as both an earldom and a marquessate before it first became a dukedom in 1665 whilst the 'under-Lyme' variant has only ever existed as a dukedom being created only the once in 1756 when it was granted to the then Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Notwithstanding the clear geographical distinction between the two Newcastles, holders of either title are generally simply known as 'Dukes of Newcastle', mainly because there has never an occasion when it was profitable to distinguish between the two.

Stuart and Cavendish

The title of Earl of Newcastle-upon-Tyne was first granted to a Lodovick Stuart, Duke of Lennox on the 17th May 1623 at the same time as he was awarded the superior title of Duke of Richmond. Ludovic however died within a few months on the 16th February 1624, rendering this particular creation extinct.

The next man to bear the title of Newcastle was William Cavendish, the eldest surviving son of Sir Charles Cavendish, himself a younger brother of the 1st Earl of Devonshire. Born in 1592 he attracted the favour of both James I and his successor Charles I becoming the Viscount Mansfield on the 3rd of November 1620 and then Earl of Newcastle-upon-Tyne on the 7th of March 1628. With the outbreak of the English Civil War, William supported the king and was given the command of the four northern counties and upgraded to the status of marquess on the 27th October 1643. However his efforts to secure the north for the king ultimately failed, and after the defeat at the battle of Marston Moor, he left England and lived abroad at Hamburg, Paris and Antwerp. William thereafter abandoned politics and devoted his life to horses, establishing a famous riding school at Antwerp and publishing in 1658 his 'A General System of Horsemanship'.

William returned to England with the Restoration in 1660 when he succeeded in regaining the greater part of his estates, and was further advanced to a dukedom on the 16th March 1665. The new duke however did not involve himself in public affairs, preferring to concentate on the pleasures of his racecourse at Welbeck and composing another work on horsemanship entitled A New Method and Extraordinary Invention to Dress.

Holles and Pellam

William Cavendish died on the 25th December 1676 and was succeeded by his only son Henry. The 2nd Duke married a Frances Pierrepont but his only son predeceased him and so Henry died in 1691 he had only daughters to succeed him. One of these daughters had married a John Holles the Earl of Clare, and it was this John Holles who was created Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1694.

However John Holles also died without male issue in 1711, at which time he left his entire fortune to his nephew Thomas Pelham. This Thomas Pelham, or Thomas Pelham Holles as he later became known, was the elder son of Thomas Pelham, 1st Baron Pelham, by his second wife Grace Holles, younger sister of the aformentioned John Holles. Thomas thus became one of the wealthiest landowners in the country and one of the mainstays of the Whig Party who played a large part in securing the Hanoverian succession. He was rewarded by being created Earl of Clare in 1714, and in the following year given the title of Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

The new Duke held the office of Secretary of State continuously for thirty years between 1724 and 1754 and only resigned that office to take up that of Prime Minister on his brother's death. In November 1756 he was replaced by the Duke of Devonshire, only to recover office in July 1757, although it has to be said that Thomas was never regarded as a particularly succesful British Prime Minister and was most notable for mismanaging the early stages of the Seven Years War.

Thomas married Henrietta Godolphin, daughter of Francis Godolphin, 2nd Earl of Godolphin but there were no children from this marriage and thus the title of Newcastle faced extinction once more. Thomas' brother Henry Pelham died in 1754 and had also failed to produce any sons but had however left a daughter named Catherine who had married Henry Fiennes Clinton, 9th Earl of Lincoln. Thomas decided to make this Henry his heir and so in 1756 the Duke endeavoured to have himself created the 'Duke of Newcastle' once more, only this time as the Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyme, with a special remainder permitting his niece's husband to inherit. Thus on the death of Thomas on the 17th November 1768, his nephew Henry Clinton succeeded to the title.


The Clintons were a family of some standing in the kingdom who had long been represented in the House of Lords. First there was a John de Clinton, who had been first summoned to Parliament as the Baron Clinton in 1299 and then there was his descendant, Edward Clinton, 9th Baron Clinton, sometime Admiral of England and husband of Elizabeth Blount, the former mistress of Henry VIII, who became the 1st Clinton Earl of Lincoln in 1572. Now Henry Clinton the 9th in the line of Clinton Earls took a step up the peerage hierarchy and became the 2nd Duke of Newcastle after the death of his wife's uncle.

Although the 2nd Duke did not pursue a parliamentary career he was nevertheless an influential political figure, a member of the Privy Council and sometime Lord-Lieutenant of the counties of Cambridgeshire and Nottinghamshire. He died on the 22nd February 1794 and the title passed to his surviving son Thomas, who had very naturally adopted the surname of Pelham-Clinton. His tenure of the title was however brief, as he died just over a year later on the 18th May 1795 at the age of forty-two. He was succeeded by his eldest son Henry Pelham-Clinton as the 4th Duke, who like his grandfather sought no national public office but nevertheless remained an influential figure in local politics and was well known for his ultra-Tory views.

The 4th Duke was greatly affected by the death of his wife, Georgiana, in 1822 and began keeping a personal diary which eventually ran to over one million words contained in eight volumes, which remained unknown until rediscovered in 1966. He was succeeded by his eldest son, also named Henry Pelham, who like many heirs apparent to a peerage, sat in the Commons, first as the member for South Nottinghamshire and then for Falkirk Burghs until he succeeded to the dukedom on the 12th January 1851. Placed in charge of the newly created War Department during the Crimean War he was held responsible for the logistical failures that bedevil led the British in the first year of the war. He was forced out of office by a vote of censure in January 1855. He then went on a tour of the Crimea, no doubt hoping to gain some first hand knowledge of the practicalities of war. After his return to Britain he was Secretary for the Colonies from 1859 until his death on the 18th of October 1864, being succeeded as 6th Duke by his eldest son, Henry Pelham Alexander.

The 6th Duke married Henrietta Adela Hope, daughter and heiress of the very wealthy Henry Thomas Hope, who settled his estates and art collection on Henry Francis, the younger of the Duke's two sons, who on reaching his majority in 1887 thus assumed the name of Hope. Henry's elder brother, Archibald Pelham Douglas Clinton, duly became the 7th Duke of Newcastle in 1879, but died without issue on the 30th May 1928 at the age of sixty-three, at which time Henry Francis succeeded as the 8th Duke.

The 8th Duke was rather poor at arranging his finances, went bankrupt in 1894, prior to inheriting the title, and was most notable for his decision to demolish his country house at Clumber in 1938 shortly before his death on the 20th April 1941. The title duly passed to his only son Henry Edward by his second marriage to Olive Muriel Thompson.

The 9th Duke was married three times and was blessed with two daughters but no male heirs, and therefore with his death on the 4th November 1988 the title therefore passed to a distant cousin Captain Edward Charles Pelham-Clinton, who was a descendant of a younger son of the 4th Duke. Edward Charles was sixty-eight at the time of his succession and not in the best of health and died just over a month later on the 25th December 1988.

Unfortunately Edward Charles died without issue and there being no further eligible heirs his death rendered the title of Duke of Newcastle extinct. He was however also the 17th Earl of Lincoln, and that title, since it had a quite separate history prior to the time the Clintons had succeeded to the dukedom, had its own set of potential heirs. It therefore came to pass that the title Earl of Lincoln passed to a long distant cousin who was a 75 year old retired welder from Western Australia. (For which see Earl of Lincoln)

(incuding Earls and Marquesses)


As Earl of Newcastle-upon-tyne


As Earl of Newcastle-upon-tyne

  • William Cavendish, Earl of Newcastle (1628-1643)

As Marquess of Newcastle-upon-tyne

  • William Cavendish, Marquess of Newcastle and Earl(1643-1665)

As Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne



  • Thomas Pelham, Duke of Newcastle (1715-1768)

As Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyme



  • The 1911 Encyclopedia Brittanica entry for NEWCASTLE, DUKES OF
  • Public Record Office of Northern Ireland - The Blayney of Castleblayney Papers (D/1421, D/1406, D/971 etc.)
  • Catalogue of miscellaneous papers in the Newcastle (Clumber) Collection
  • A genealogical survey of the peerage of Britain at
  • Stirnet Genealogy at
  • The Peerages of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom at
  • Charles Arnold Baker The Companion to British History (Longcross Press, 1996)

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