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After succeeding to his dukedom in 1795, at the relatively tender age of ten, the 4th Duke was educated at Eton but refrained from pursuing his studies further at university. Instead, in 1803, encouraged by the Peace of Amiens which provided a break in hostilities with France, his mother and stepfather took him on a European Tour. Unfortunately, war broke out once again, and the young duke was detained at Tours where he remained until 1806.
The 4th Duke was appointed to the usual offices for a man of his position - including Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire and Steward of Sherwood Forest and Folewood Park. Unlike other members of his family, he did not hold any national office, but he was extremely active in politics, both on the local and national stage. He became one of the leaders of the so-called Tory 'Ultras', staunchly supporting the traditional establishment of Church, Country and State.
He was a vehement opponent of policies such as Catholic Emancipation, and also of electoral reform. This stance led to attacks on his property during the Reform Bill Riots of 1831. Nottingham Castle was burnt to the ground and his residences at Clumber, Nottinghamshire and Portman Square, London, also had to be fortified against the mob. The duke's opinions were not altered, however. He had been used to exercising his political influence in areas where he was the major landholder, and complained bitterly that the Reform Bill had lost him the patronage and influence of six boroughs - including Aldborough, Yorkshire and Newark, Nottinghamshire - at a cost of around £200,000.
When he reached his age of majority, the 4th Duke succeeded to his vast family estates, mostly centred around Nottinghamshire, though his management of the estate was constrained by the provisions of his grandfather's will - originally designed to prevent his father and mother from controlling the estate. His marriage brought further Nottinghamshire properties into the family as well as considerable wealth.
Family was a central feature of the 4th Duke's life. He had a strained relationship with his mother, and was devastated by the early loss of his wife following a difficult childbirth in 1822. Left to bring up a young family alone, he strove to do his best for his young brood - though his methods were not always approved of. He sadly ended his life estranged from most of his children, particularly his heir, the 5th Duke.
In 1807 he married Georgiana Elizabeth Mundy (1789-1822), heiress of Edward Miller Mundy of Shipley, Derbyshire and his wife, Georgiana, widow of Lord Middleton. They had a large family:
- Anna Maria (1808-1822)
- Henry Pelham, later 5th Duke (1811-1864)
- Georgiana (1810-1874)
- Charlotte (1812-1886)
- Charles Pelham (1813-1894) and his twin
- Thomas Charles (1813-1882)
- William (1815-1850)
- Edward (1816-1842)
- Caroline Augusta (1818-1898), m Sir Cornwallis Ricketts in 1852
- Henrietta (1819-1890), m Admiral Edwin Clayton D'Eyncourt in 1859
- Robert Renebald (1820-1867)
The Duchess died in childbirth in 1822 giving birth to a stillborn girl and another son, George, who only lived 13 days. Her death, closely followed by that of their eldest daughter, Anna Maria, caused the Duke enormous grief.
- The 4th Duke's papers are part of the Newcastle (Clumber) Collection held in the Department of Manuscripts and Special Collection and include extensive estate and personal correspondence.
- Personal diaries of the 4th Duke for 1822-1851 are also held in the Department.
- Details of collections held elsewhere are available through the National Register of Archives.
Publications by the 4th Duke of Newcastle under Lyne
- Clinton, Henry P.F.Pelham-, 4th Duke of Newcastle under Lyne, Letter of the Duke of Newcastle to Lord Kenyon on the Catholic Emancipation Question (1828)
- Clinton, Henry P.F. Pelham-, 4th Duke of Newcastle under Lyne, An Address to All Classes and Conditions of Englishmen (1832)
- Clinton, Henry P.F. Pelham-, 4th Duke of Newcastle under Lyne, Thoughts in Times Past Tested by Subsequent Events (1837)
- Gaunt, Richard A. (ed.,) Unhappy Reactionary: The Diaries of the Fourth Duke of Newcastle under Lyne 1822-1850, Thoroton Society Record Series Vol. 43 (Nottingham, 2003)
- Fletcher, John (ed.,) Where Truth Abides. Diaries of the 4th Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyme (1822-1850) (Country Books, 2001)
- Gaunt, Richard A., The political activities and opinions of the 4th Duke of Newcastle, 1785-1851 (Nottingham University PhD Thesis, 2000 )
- Golby, John M., The political and electioneering influence of the 4th Duke of Newcastle (Nottingham University MA dissertation, 1961)