Manuscripts and Special Collections

Biography of Charles (Medows) Pierrepont, 1st Earl Manvers (1737-1816)

Charles was the second son of Philip Medows, deputy ranger of Richmond Park, and Frances, only daughter of William Pierrepont, Earl of Kingston-upon-Hull. He entered the navy, attaining the rank of post captain, before resigning in 1763.

His uncle the 2nd Duke of Kingston (d 1773) named Charles as his heir in his will. Charles's elder brother Evelyn challenged the will, and initiated the proceedings which eventually found the Duchess of Kingston to be bigamous, but failed to overturn its provisions. Charles succeeded to the duke's estates (though not his title) on the death of the Duchess of Kingston in 1788, and assumed the surname Pierrepont in place of Medows.

Sponsored by the Duke of Newcastle, he became M.P. for Nottinghamshire in 1778. He was not a prominent parliamentarian, but had Whig sympathies and was a supporter of the Duke of Portland, whose influence helped him to be raised to the peerage as Baron Pierrepont of Holme Pierrepont and Viscount Newark in 1796. In April 1806 he became Earl Manvers.

He was interested in agricultural reform and was a prime mover behind a large number of enclosure schemes in Nottinghamshire from the 1780s to the 1810s. He became vice-president of the Board of Agriculture in 1803.

He died in London in June 1816 and was buried at Holme Pierrepont.


He married Anne Orton, daughter of William Mills of Richmond (1756-1832), in 1774, and had:

  • Evelyn Henry Frederick (1775-1801)
  • Charles Herbert, later 2nd Earl (1778-1860)
  • Henry Manvers (1780-1858), envoy to the Court of Denmark 1804-07, of Conholt Park, Berkshire
  • Philip Sydney (1786-1864), of Evenley Hall, Northamptonshire
  • Frances Augusta (1802-1847), m 1stly in 1802 Vice-Admiral William Bentinck (d 1813), and 2ndly in 1821 Henry William Stephens

Archive Collections

  • Title deeds and estate papers relating to the 1st Earl's ownership of his estates are part of the Manvers Collection held in Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham
  • Letters to the Duke of Portland, 1794-1808 are held in the Portland Collection in Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham (reference Pw F 7667-78)

Published Sources

  • Pamela Priestland, ‘Pierrepont , Charles, first Earl Manvers (1737–1816)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [available online to subscribers,]
  • P. A. Symonds, ‘Pierrepont, Charles’, History of Parliament: The House of Commons, 1790-1820 (London, 1986)

Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

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