Manuscripts and Special Collections

Biography of Evelyn Pierrepont, 2nd Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull (1711-1773)

Evelyn was the only son of William Pierrepont, Earl of Kingston. He was styled Earl of Kingston 1713-15, and Marquess of Dorchester 1715-26, before succeeding his grandfather as 2nd Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull in 1726.

He was sent to Eton in 1725, and the following year went on the Grand Tour, spending ten years on the Continent and becoming known for gambling and loose living. In 1736 he returned to England with his mistress, Marie-Thérèse de Fontaine de la Touche, who became a British subject, and who remained with him until 1750.

The duke had little interest in politics and did not take any part in governmental affairs. However, he acquired several local offices, such as Master of the Staghounds North of Trent in 1738, and Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire and Steward of Sherwood Forest 1763-65. He was invested as a Knight of the Garter in March 1740/1.

He took an active part in suppressing the Jacobite uprising in 1745, raising and becoming Colonel of his own Regiment, 'Kingston's Light Horse', which fought at the Battle of Culloden. He became Major General in 1753, Lieutenant General in 1759, and General in 1772.

Thoresby Hall was virtually destroyed by fire in 1745. The duke employed John Carr of York to design a new house, which was completed by 1772. He died in September 1773 in his other main residence, Holme Pierrepont Hall, upon which the title of Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull became extinct. He willed his estates to his wife for life; after her death in 1788 they passed to his nephew Charles Medows .

Engraved portraits of the Duke and his wife are available on the website of the National Portrait Gallery .


Portrait of the Duchess of Kingston

Portrait of the Duchess of Kingston , from Robert White, 'The Dukery records : being notes and memoranda illustrative of Nottinghamshire ancient history collected during many years' (Worksop: privately printed, 1904), p.180


In March 1769 the duke married Elizabeth, daughter of Colonel Thomas Chudleigh (c.1720-1788). However, in 1744 she had secretly married Augustus John Hervey, who succeeded as 6th Earl of Bristol in 1775. They were legally separated in 1769, but not fully divorced. Amongst considerable scandal, Lady Kingston was tried for bigamy before the House of Lords from 15 to 22 April 1776. She was found guilty, but pleaded her position as a peeress and was not sentenced. She spent the rest of her life in St Petersburg and France.

Archive Collections

  • Title deeds and estate papers relating to the Duke's ownership of his estates are held at The British Library (Egerton Charters 2301-8836; Egerton MSS 3516-3660)
  • Papers, dated 1722-84, are held in The British Library , Manuscript Collections (reference Eg MSS 3517-39 passim)
  • Newspaper cuttings and illustrations of the Duchess of Kingston's trial are part of the Manvers Collections (Ma 2 X 2)
  • Correspondence with the Duke of Newcastle, 1733-58, is held in the British Library , Manuscript Collections (reference Add MSS 32689-32880 passim)
  • Letters to Lord Cheyne, 1724-27, are held in the Huntington Library in California (reference 10625-749, 10752, 10824-59, 11028-31)
  • An account book of expenses of the 2nd Duke's travels abroad, 1726-31, is part of the Manvers Collection held in Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham (Ma 4355)

Published Sources

  • Priestland, Pamela, ‘Pierrepont, Evelyn, second duke of Kingston upon Hull (1712–1773)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [available online to subscribers, ]

Considerable interest has been taken in the life of the bigamous Duchess of Kingston. The following are publications relating principally to her, but mentioning the 2nd Duke:

  • An authentic detail of particulars relative to the late duchess of Kingston (London, G. Kearsley, 1788) [King’s Meadow Campus Special Collection DA483.K4]
  • Lettre a Madame L*** : sur ce qui a precedé et suivi la mort d’Elisabeth Chudleigh, autrement Duchesse de Kingston : pouvant servir de suite a l’histoire de sa vie (London: C. Foster, 1789) [bound with King's Meadow Campus East Midlands Special Collection Not 346.V38 PIE]
  • Boyes, M. 'The Notorious Elizabeth Chudleigh, Duchess of Kingston', Nottinghamshire Countryside (published as part of Nottingham Topic ), Feb 1978, 9, 13 [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Store Periodicals:Not]
  • Boyes, M., 'Bess of Holme Pierrepont', Nottinghamshire Countryside (published as part of Nottingham Topic ), Nov 1978, 8-9 [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Store Periodicals:Not]
  • 'Chudleigh, Elizabeth, styled Duchess of Kingston, defendant. Trial of the Duchess of Kingston', in Notable British Trials , ed. by L. Melville (Edinburgh: Hodge, 1927)
  • Brown, B.C., Elizabeth Chudleigh, duchess of Kingston (London: Gerald Howe Ltd, 1927). [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 346.V38 PIE]. Reproduced, with original pagination, in Sackville-West, V. M. and others, Six Brilliant English Women (Howe, 1930)
  • Corley, T.A.B., ‘Chudleigh, Elizabeth [married names Elizabeth Hervey, countess of Bristol; Elizabeth Pierrepont, duchess of Kingston upon Hull] (c.1720–1788)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biograph y, Oxford University Press, 2004 [available online to subscribers, ]
  • Gervat, Claire, Elizabeth: the scandalous life of the Duchess of Kingston (London: Century, 2003) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 346.V38 PIE]
  • Mavor, Elizabeth, The virgin mistress, a study in survival: the life of the Duchess of Kingston (London: Chatto and Windus, 1964) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 346.V38 PIE]
  • Pearce, Charles E. The amazing duchess, being the romantic history of Elizabeth Chudleigh, maid of honour, the Hon. Mrs. Hervey, Duchess of Kingston, and Countess of Bristol (London: Stanley Paul and Co., 1911) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 346.V38 PIE]
  • Waters, W. G. 'Elizabeth Chudleigh, Duchess of Kingston (1720-1788)', in Vincent, A., ed., Lives of Twelve Bad Women: Illustrations and Reviews of Feminine Turpitude Set Forth by Impartial Hands (T. F. Unwin, 1897), 225-258 [King's Meadow Campus Special Collection CT3203.V4]
  • Whitehead, Thomas, Original anecdotes of the late duke of Kingston and Miss Chudleigh (London: 1792)[Available as an eBook to University of Nottingham Library members via the Library's online catalogue ]
  • Wragg, R. B. 'The Chatelaine of Thoresby - or the Remarkable Miss Chudleigh', Nottingham Observer vol. 18, no. 144 (1968), [26]-[27]; and vol. 19, no. 145 (1968), [34]-[35]


Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
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