Kilmarnock & District History Group · Kilmarnock · Ayrshire · KA1 3HY

The Dukes of Portland

Most Dukes in the 18th and 19th Centuries had to ensure the survival of their usually vast estates employing thousands of people through astute management and planning. 

Dukes of Portland had to pay attention to this as well. 

The 3rd Duke of Portland, father of the Marquis of Titchfield who married an heiress who owned the Kilmarnock Estates in 1795, pursued a political career being, Prime Minister twice 24 years apart, and in-between Home and Colonial Secretary as well as other posts - being a favourite of the King George III. Some said not a very effective PM and similar to another of the King's favourites who became Prime Minister, the 3rd Earl of Bute who had been the King's Tutor. 

It would appear that the 3rd Duke of  Portland was distracted from managing his estates so by the time his son was well in to marriageable age he probably thought that his son should marry a rich heiress - after all, was that not what his grandfather had done when, as the 2nd Duke of Portland, he  married Margaret Cavendish Harley the sole heiress of the Earl of Oxford. This had more than retrieved the losses due the "South Sea Bubble" incurred By his great grandfather the 1st Duke of Portland. Also the 3rd Duke of Portland, in 1794, was taken into William Pitt the Younger's Government to provide much needed Whigs to encourage more votes to go to the what was more or less a Tory Government. A leading member of Pitt's Government was Henry Dundas, a Scotsman, who had made his mark in the Westminister Parliament and, as a fixer with vast parliamentary experience, a man who provided patronage across Britain and the British Empire especially India. 

He was also, amongst other activities, a guardian of the late General John Scott's (who had been dead twenty years so by this time)  three girls "the pretty Miss Scott" the witty Miss Scott” and the" rich Miss Scott" who were relatives of Dundas. It looks like he got wind that the 3rd Duke was actively seeking a match for his son and such was the Duke's plight he was even contemplating the unthinkable being willing to consider a "Commoner" which was extremely unusual and usually a Duke would rather die than marry someone so below his station. 

The Duke was first in the Peerage "league Table" followed by marquis then Earl, Viscount, Baron. All got entry to House of Lords, baronet was excluded although was still heritable. The commoner was well off the chart and interestingly when the duke's son became the 4th Duke he threatened to disown any daughters who contemplated marrying a commoner! There must have been a considerable amount of money, Estates and Stocks and Shares on offer here to attract the 3rd Duke but where did most of this wealth come from? 

It was said that the Aristocracy in Georgian times were addicted to gambling.

We have a record of the 3rd Duke of Portland gambling at cards with Lord Harcourt. Such games could last all night long concluding early in the morning. At some time in the night probably the Duke was winning and possibly Harcourt had run out of money but still wished to gamble so he rashly bet his London Town House - Harcourt House- which the Duke went on to win and it became the Duke's of Portland London Town House for a number of years.

 Some 400 miles away in Edinburgh another Town House - Dundas House - changed hands over a game of cards - probably whist. This was a game between Lawrence Dundas and General John Scott of Balcomie (father of the three girls mentioned). Lawrence was a cousin of Henry Dundas and at one time a strong influence on Edinburgh Burgh Council as well as a Midlothian MP and was also owner of Orkney and Shetland and several estates in England and Scotland. He made his money by providing supplies to the British Army during the "Seven Year's War" and more recently doing the same task for” Butcher Cumberland “ in the '45. Such was his weight within Edinburgh he managed to alter the "New Town Plan" to get his new Mansion House built where St Andrews Church was supposed to be built in St Andrews Square. St George's Church was built as planned  in Charlotte Square. According to the plans St Andrew's Church was to be built facing St George's Church in the distant Charlotte Square. That was all changed putting St Andrew's in George's Street near St Andrew's Square. So again perhaps similar circumstances to the English change of properties with the exception that Sir Lawrence had not yet lived in his town house and General John Scott saw  that Lawrence was not happy to lose his recently built property. A compromise was proposed by Scott he suggested to Lawrence that he could keep his new house if he got the Adam Company of Architects to design and build Scott a Town House equally as good for him. That was agreed and this became Scott's Town house-  called "Bellevue" - near York Place in Edinburgh where his eldest daughter Henrietta was born in 29 May 1774 -" The rich Miss Scott"- followed by the other two girls. Scott died in 1775 as apparently the result of a hunting accident. So the girls did not see much of their father and the last to be born was still in her mother's womb when he died.

 When alive he was quite a colourful man being eventually a General in the Army and a Member of Parliament in total of 20 years in Caithness, Tain and latterly in Fife. Most of his considerable wealth seems to have been due to his phenomenal skill and luck at cards and dice. An online site 'The History of Parliament' states that “General John Scott of Balcomie may have gained as much as £500,000 during a lifetime of Gambling”. It also comments on his Parliamentary career stating that a Burgh Election he was involved in at Dunkeld was overturned by The Court of Session due to blatant bribery of Scott. But he was not disqualified as he had support in high places pleading to his cousin Lord Mansfield who was the Lord Chief Justice in England and Scott won the subsequent election.

 He is also mentioned in "The History of Gambling" where he is found  as a mere Captain Scott "with a modest income and a few debts" gambling with an aristocrat Lord John Bland at White's Gentlemen's Club where Bland is £32,000 down (today's equivalent about £3,000,000). This has brought a crowd onto London Streets with the rumour that an army officer was about to strip the wealth of a Lord. Whites had been a famous Chocolate House 100 years previously but like other Chocolate/ Coffee Houses it had been converted by the aristocracy into a Gentleman's Club. This happens in 1755 probably as Scott is in London as he was elected as Member of Parliament for Caithness with Government support in1754. In 1756 as a post note Sir John Bland shot himself on the way to Paris probably due to his mounting debts.

 General John Scott of Balcomie had the nickname of "Pawky" Scott - meaning clever in a sly way- and he even signed himself "Pawky Scott". Although he clearly had a way with women it was thought that he would be a bachelor for life, that was until 1770 when he married a 16 year old Mary Ann Hay.(the  rumour was this marriage was a settling of a gambling debt). It is also of interest because the young lady was the granddaughter of the  4th Earl of Kilmarnock who was executed in 1746 for supporting  "Bonnie Prince Charlie." However one of his sons, James Boyd, fought on the Government side and he was able to get  his father's lands but not his title.  He later obtained a title when a great auntie died and the title was Earl of Erroll  but he had to change his surname to Hay from Boyd. So Scott married Mary Ann Hay on 2nd November 1770 and she gave birth to a boy who unfortunately did not live long and this occurred within the first year of marriage. The birth apparently was recorded in the session records of Crail Church but you will not find it because someone has ripped out the relevant page---was it Scott ? Perhaps he suspected the father was a young officer in his regiment called Captain Sutherland of Duffus whom he thought could be having an affair with his young wife. This was quite close to the outbreak of "The War of Independence " in America. Scott had a plan to send Captain Sutherland to America to check up on the state of play and report back to him. As well as furnishing him with much needed intelligence it would keep Sutherland well away from his young wife. 

So he invited Captain Sutherland to dine at Balcomie Castle in Fife as was recorded in the divorce proceedings the following year. The details of the case reads almost like the book "Tom Jones" by Henry Fielding (who lived about the same time as Scott and the "Tom Jones" part being played by Captain Sutherland of Duffus) with a an elopement followed by a chase. On the eve of the elopement Mary Ann (Scott's wife) told her husband that she needed to write some letters and he should not wait up and so she would not waken him she would sleep with a female guest ( which was quite common in those days). When Scott awoke he asked a servant where his wife was and he was informed that she had gone with Captain Sutherland and Sutherland's servant at 3 a.m. They had taken Scott's best carriage. Without hesitation Scott assembled his supporters and they left Balcomie Castle heading south stopping at Edinburgh to collect Scott's Lawyer and then travelling night and day into England heading for London. Scott must have received intelligence that they had stopped at "The Red Lion" at Barnet just outside London. It was there Scott's party caught up with the eloping couple. When Captain Sutherland caught sight of Scott he shut and bolted the bedroom door and leaped out the window running across the fields and far away wearing his nightclothes and night cap not stopping until he could hide in a haystack. Meanwhile Mary Ann feared for her life but Scott said "Have no fear for your life but the marriage is all over" Scott hired Captain Sutherland's servant no doubt so he would have another witness for the divorce proceedings. Scott gets his divorce then heads for America not returning until 1773.

 His second marriage is much more successful as he marries Margaret Dundas the youngest (30) daughter of Robert Dundas The President of the Court of Session a half -brother of Henry Dundas Lord Advocate so he is now related to one of the most powerful political and legal families in Scotland, remember he is already a cousin to Lord Mansfield The Lord Chief Justice in England. So what can possibly go wrong ? When he married for a second time he was very close to the end of his life as he dies of a hunting accident age 50. Nevertheless "Pawky Scott" fathers three children to Margaret two girls and the third is still in his wife's womb when he dies so as far as he knows the child could be a boy but, it was another girl. Scott is still gambling right up until his death we find him at White's Gentlemen's Club when he hears of the birth of Henrietta his eldest daughter(Born 29 May 1774) he is £8000 down he immediately doubles his stakes and by the time of close of gambling the next morning he is £15,000 up.

 So General Scott of Balcomie has been dead nearly 20 years when The Third Duke of Portland and Henry Dundas are contemplating the marriage of The Marquis of Titchfield age 27 (The Duke's son and heir) to a commoner The" Rich" Miss Scott age 21 (Scott's Heir) .There however  is a snag to the marriage, Scott's Will, and being one of the guardians Henry Dundas duty probably was to see Scott's will was upheld. However Henry had the reputation as a fixer and by the time of this marriage one of the other girls Lucy -The" witty" Miss Scott- has already gone against her father's instructions in his will that none of his daughters are to marry a peer or son of a peer and if they do the inheritance "must go to the next senior in line".

 Lucy Scott has married Lord Doune son of the peer Earl of Moray. Henry Dundas is also one of her guardians and no doubt had a big role in the marriage. That leaves the third daughter Joan Scott - "The Pretty Miss Scott"-  who marries George Canning, a protégé of Henry Dundas, in 1800 and a commoner - just - the social status which would accord with her father's wishes. Joan and George sign a statement leaving the bulk of the inheritance with Henrietta and they take £100,000 into their marriage.

 Henrietta Scott was usually described as a Fife Heiress although she was born in Edinburgh. When her father died she inherited Balcomie Estate in Fife, Ratho Estate near Edinburgh, an Estate in Caithness  and, to make her  probably  more attractive to a future suitor at the age of twelve, her Guardians bought her Kilmarnock Estate in the same year as Robert Burns published his Kilmarnock edition in 1786 from The 14th Earl of Glencairn who was to became Burn's patron. Her Guardians also bought for her Cessnock Estate Galston, Mount Estate and Grange Estate in successive years, Cessnock Castle becoming the Ducal Seat in Ayrshire as Dean Castle because of a fire in 1735 was not suitable. No  doubt the the Marquis of Titchfield ( perhaps prompted by his father ) checked with Scott's Solicitor if the "must not marry a peer or son of a peer would be enforced" I suppose they decided to gamble after all the guardians did not seem interested in complaining to the courts. On 29 May 1795 when Henrietta reached her majority,  age 21, and the Burgh Council asked the people in that part of Ayrshire to rejoice and illuminate their windows and a celebratory meal was held in Sun Inn Kilmarnock.

 The Glasgow Courier announced on 23 June 1775 "That the Marquis of Titchfield is very soon to receive the hand of Miss Scott in Marriage". Yes it is very soon just over a month in 4 August 1775 she marries the Marquis of Titchfield in her mother's London house in Piccadilly and the commoner Henrietta becomes the Marchioness of Titchfield. They are married by the Reverend Goodenough a former tutor of the Marquis at Eton. The marriage took place in the evening - we have to wait to Queen Victoria's wedding for afternoon marriages. The newspaper article also comments on her wealth.

 There was a pre-Marriage Contract. On the Portland side the young couple were to take over an estate which had recently been inherited by the 3rd Duke of Portland, Welbeck Abbey a house which looked more like a Palace in 20 square miles of grounds (13,000 acres) which had a large mortgage of £72,000 - in today's money about £7 million - and if son and wife could take this off the Duke's hands this would help him to balance his books (although it did not help as when the 3rd Duke of Portland died he still left his son debts of £500,000 pounds) . On the Scott's side Henrietta's guardians want the Scott name added to the Portland name. They also want any Estates bought by Scott's money such as the Kilmarnock Estate as well as other wealth created by Scott's money to be inherited only by people  of Scott's blood.( in less than 100 years this would cause the Portland inheritance  to split when the 5th  Duke of Portland dies without issue). The Scott's side also want the Portlands to include the Scott's Coat of Arms within their own.

 After the marriage the Marquis of Titchfield and The Marchioness of Titchfield (Henrietta Scott) move into Welbeck Abbey in September 1795 shortly after the Marquis receives "The Freedom of Kilmarnock" from Kilmarnock Burgh Council. The Marquis had placed the Scott name within his name and the Scott Coat of Arms within the Titchfield Coat of Arms being in the centre of his Coat of Arms. However he goes further than this by changing his signature to "Scott Titchfield" and then when he becomes 4th Duke to "Scott Portland". Why did he do this?  Perhaps he was clearly aware that Henrietta's father wanted his name to live on after his death and maybe he felt a bit guilty about ignoring her father's main demand in his will.( She should not marry a Peer or son of a Peer and if she does she loses her inheritance).

 We can see in the Coat of Arms which Dukes and Barons have Scott blood and which do not. The 4th Duke placed the Scott Coat of Arms in the centre of the Portland Arms with the Cavendish Snake symbol to the Right and the Bentinck Feathers to the Left.

His son the 5th Duke puts double the amount of Scott Coat of Arms in his Portland Arms maybe he is saying" I have Scott blood while you have none"( which was true).  The 5th Duke did not want to be his heir as tragedy struck the son who was due to be heir at 24 causing his early death providing an opportunity for the less favoured one to become the 5th Duke of Portland. This Duke had the nickname of "The Mole" because he was famous for digging 12 miles of Tunnels under Welbeck Abbey. These tunnels were just below the surface all having sky lights and 4,000 gas lamps underground.(He also had a Gas producing Plant which extracted gas from coal) He was not liked by his fellow peers but his workers although finding him strange appreciated his generosity and care for them in general level of wages, housing in sickness and old age.

 The Coat of Arms of the 6th Duke of Portland does not have the Scott Coat of Arms in it so we know he has no Scott blood. This is because the 5th Duke had died without issue but there was still Scott blood and because all his three brothers had predeceased him the Scott part of the Portland inheritance then flowed down the Portland Female line with the surviving three Sisters Margaret Harriet Scott Bentinck, Charlotte Scott Bentinck married in 1827, now Lady Ossington, but with no children and finally Lucy Joan Scott Bentinck married in 1828 to Charles Augustus Ellis 6th Lord Howard de Walden who died in1868 and by 1889 the Dowager Lady Howard de Walden. She has 7 children six boys and one girl and when she dies the next to inherit is her out of favour son Frederick Augustus Ellis the 7th Lord Howard De Walden he lasts only 4 months and dies then his son inherits aged 19 - Tommy Evelyn Scott Ellis. His Coat of Arms includes two Scott Coat of Arms he clearly recognises his debt to General John Scott of Balcomie and he underlines this by converting Scott's grave in Kilrenny Fife into a Mausoleum with the Inscription "In Memory 0f General John Scott of Balcomie who died 20 December 1775 and his wife Margaret Dundas died 23 August 1797 Erected by Thomas Evelyn Ellis Scott 8th Baron Howard de Walden their great great grandson."

 Now we see Thomas puts General Scott's clearly in the Howard De Walden Coat of Arms with a diagonal repetition, he also for a time reverses  his name Scott Ellis name but maybe  advised by his lawyers that this was not a good idea (his Great Aunt Lady Ossington changed her name by Royal Licence to Charlotte Scott because she too knew where her inheritance came from.) The 6th Duke of Portland and Thomas Evelyn Scott Ellis  were at last longer term holders for their respective titles, the Duke 64 years and 47 years for the 8th Howard de Walden.

 At this time the split in the Duke of Portland's inheritance favoured the 6th Duke of Portland in number of estates inherited. Originally the search for the 6th Duke Portland was awarded to the father but he died at age 52 - two years short of the death of the 5th Duke so the title was inherited by his son who was unmarried aged 22 and an Officer in the Coldstream Guards. This son was the only child to his first wife who died 4 days after the birth of their only son. The father had consequently re-married an Augusta Browne and he had 3 sons to her with one daughter an Ottoline Cavendish Bentinck (Ottoline Drive Troon is named after her). So when the son inherited the title and some six estates he initially visited the Ducal seat at Welbeck Abbey with his stepmother and stepsister Ottoline (a dutch name). Although Ottoline was only six at that time she was later to write down her impressions of Welbeck Abbey that day. It is important to remember the previous occupant of the building ,the 5thDuke, had built 12 miles of tunnels just below the surface of the Abbey and building operations had been going on for 18 years of the Dukes 25 years reign and he was in the midst of installing a plumbing system when he died. So with all the piles of rubble and trenches and mud all over the site, access to Welbeck Abbey was nearly impossible. However some workmen cleared rubble at the entrance and laid planks of wood over the trenches to enable the 6th Duke and his party to enter the Abbey. The Duke's first thoughts was to turn tail and head for his Gentleman's Club in London but his stepmother, Augusta Cavendish Bentinck, was made of sterner stuff and she persuaded the Duke to stay and bring back the Abbey back to what it had once been. The work took at least 3 years and after that time they were able to wine and dine the Prince Regent and his large Party.

 Disraeli invited the 6th Duke to meet him late in his second term as prime minister when he was at the height of his fame as he wanted to return a favour to the Portlands he had been given when he had been leader of the Conservative Opposition when such a post required him to be a landowner and to represent a County. He acquired a loan of £25,000 from the Portlands to Buy Hughenden in Buckinghamshire so he could attain his ambition to become Prime Minister. So he asked the 6th Duke what could he do for him. The 6th Duke asked that his stepmother Augusta Cavendish and his stepbrothers and stepsister be given some honour to raise them from their present status as they had missed their elevation to Duchess ,Lords and Lady. Disraeli met with Queen Victoria- who claimed that he was her favourite Prime Minister- and she agreed to elevate Augusta to 1st Baroness of Bolsover and her sons and daughter to Lords and Lady.

 So for the first 10 years of the 6th Duke's holding of the Dukedom the "Lady of Welbeck Abbey " was his stepmother Augusta Cavendish Bentinck- elevated to 1st Baroness of Bolsover about 1880. She was very popular with the over 600 staff whom she provided help for their welfare and supervised the collections of art at Welbeck and rescued the buildings and grounds from the "building site" status the 5th Duke had left of his unfinished "8th Wonder of the World".

 However as time past  the servants and his friends asked "Would the 6th Duke ever marry?" After all it was over 45 years since Welbeck Abbey had been graced by a Duchess and that was the 4th Duke's wife Henrietta Scott who died in 1844. At this time it was clear that that the 6th Duke's "love" was the sport of breeding and racing thoroughbred racehorses after all he had inherited a 100 stall stable one of the biggest in Europe and he had met with much success with "Ayrshire" winning the Derby in 1888 (this horse won £35,000 since 1880).

A life changing event was to happen on 11 June 1889 -this was the very year his horses made a record amount of winnings of almost £73,000 (about £7 million in modern prices) - and one of them "Donovan" won the derby about the same time he married a Winifred Dallas Yorke  on 11 June 1889. Just like his achieving the 6th Duke title his meeting of Winifred was just like a "bolt out the blue". He was on his way for a spot at of grouse shooting at Ladywell Caithness when he had to change trains at Carlisle and there he saw Winifred Dallas Yorke  who was on her way to visit her grandparents at Murthly Castle- her birthplace.

 The Duke was entranced by the sight of Dallas Yorke and he was eager to formally meet her. He met her formally early in the New Year and they got engaged in the Spring, marrying in June 1889. All the servants at Welbeck Abbey were delighted as were his friends and peers  - at last the ducal estate Welbeck Abbey had a Duchess ( much of that role had been carried out by his stepmother Augusta Cavendish Bentinck who, shortly after the arrival of the Duchess, moved to her London Mansion.) That year he won a record winnings from his race horses and now there was a modulating force in his life and Winifred suggested  he use some of his winnings to help his estate workers who were old or disabled. So he had built a village of substantial houses and unwisely called the development "The Winnings" His friends accused him of bragging about winnings from gambling so put an explanation underneath the sign which did little to quell the uproar. After all the much criticised 5th Duke would regularly build houses for his workforce and estate workers not needing to await windfalls and doing it as part of the regular needs of the estate. Winifred Dallas Yorke is remembered in Kilmarnock by Yorke Place in Bonnyton.

 Here are the other Streets associated with the Marquis of Titchfield, 4th Duke of Portland, 5th Duke of Portland and the 6th Duke of Portland in Kilmarnock;

 1. Bentinck Street Dukes of Portland family name  of 4th Duke.

2.  Duke Street Built 1859 named provisionally Victoria Street but changed to Duke Street when 5th Duke gave the vital last contribution which enabled the street to be built.            

3.  Fullarton Street named after 4th and 6th Dukes favourite summer residence Fullarton House in Troon.            

4.  Henrietta Street name after the 4th Duke of Portland's wife Henrietta Scott.

5.   Portland Road time of 5th Duke of Portland.

6.  Portland Street time of 4th Duke of Portland.

7.   Scott Road perhaps named after Henrietta Scott wife of  4th Duke of Portland

8.     Titchfield Street probably named after Marquis of Titchfield who became the 4th Duke of Portland.

9.   Turner place named after the Duke of Portland Factors the brothers Turner        

10.    Welbeck Street named after the ducal seat Welbeck Abbey.

11.    Woodstock Street named after one of the 4th Duke of Portland’s other titles ‘ Viscount of Woodstock’

12.      Yorke Place named after the 6th Duke of Portland’s wife  Winifred Dallas Yorke

Total of 12 places

Troon

(1) Balcomie Crescent  named after General John Scott of Balcomie father in law of the 4th Duke of Portland.

(2) Bentinck Close Crescent and Drive The Dukes of Portland family name.

(3)Cavendish Court Lane Place another family name of the Dukes of Portland acquired through marriage.

(4) Cessnock Road probably named after the 6th Duke of Portland Ducal seat in Galston Estate.

(4) Dallas Court, Place named after 6th Dukes of Portland wife Winifred Dallas Yorke.

(5)Dukes Road probably named after the Dukes of Portland.

(6)Ottoline Drive named after the 6th Duke of Portland's step sister Ottoline(derived from Dutch) Cavendish  Bentinck (married name Morrell).

(7)Portland Street, Terrace, probably after 4th Duke of Portland.

(8) Titchfield Road after Marquis of Titchfield who became the 4th Duke of Portland.

(9) Welbeck Court, Crescent, named after the British ducal seat in Sherwood Forest Nottingham.

Total of  18 places

 

Galston

(1) Bentinck Square, Street, named after 4th Duke of Portland.

(2) Cessnock Place, Road, named after Cessnock Castle the Duke of Portland's Ducal seat in Galston Ayrshire.

(3) Duke Street named after the 4th Duke of Portland.

(4)  Henrietta Street named after the 4th Duke of Portland's wife Henrietta Scott.

(5) Titchfield Street named after the Marquis of Titchfield who became the 4th Duke of Portland.

(6) Welbeck Road  named after the British ducal seat in Sherwood Forest Nottinghamshire.

 

Howard de Walden

Kilmarnock.

(1) Charles Street, Place named after Charles Augustus Ellis 6th Lord Howard de Walden married Lucy Joan Scott Bentinck daughter 4th Duke 1828.

(2) de Walden Terrace named after second half op Howard de Walden name.

(3) Ellis Street the surname of the Howard de Walden's who came to Kilmarnock.

(4) Howard Park given to the people of Kilmarnock through the Kilmarnock Corporation formerly was a piece of Barbados Green.

(5) Scott Ellis Playing field named after Howard de Walden original surname Ellis and the additional Surname denoting Scott Blood which he acknowledged as the source of his wealth.

(6) Seaford Street  Howard de Walden was a double baron the other being the Baron of Seaford which is an area in Kent.

 Why was I interested in the Dukes of Portland? When we moved to Kilmarnock from Stranraer in 1983 the house we eventually bought was in Grange Terrace. I asked and received an historical note from my solicitor which was almost a feu plan. The 6th Duke of Portland Feued 9 plots of land to build 9 houses on the  west side of Grange Terrace in 1920 the east side had already been built up including the Architect William Railton who laid out John Finnie Street and he designed and built his house in Grange Terrace in 1860. Feued houses were an early version of a planning authority, and although you bought the property you had "burdens". Firstly you must pay the annual Feu secondly you must obey the feu plan to not alter the property in any way without the permission of the Factor of the Duke, you must take out insurance with a reputable Company, You are not allowed to run a business from the property as well as other conditions. The most interesting bit of information was that the 6th Duke of Portland and his successors had reserved rights to any minerals beneath ‘my’ soil and at anytime he could search for such minerals and you the owner of the property were responsible for clearing up any mess created.

 Where did the Dukes of Portland come from?  When William of Orange landed at Brixham in Devon at the invitation of the ruling Whigs or invaded as the opposition Tories would claim within his party was a Hans Willem Bentinck a Baron already a favourite of the prince as he nursed him successfully through a serious disease, smallpox. Hans was a diplomat and a soldier and negotiated the marriage between William and Mary daughter to James 2 of Scotland  and 7th of England and fought as a Commander at the Battle of the Boyne. For his support William made him a Peer in the English Peerage honouring him firstly with the Baron of Cirencester, the Viscount of Woodstock finally Earl of Portland ( which was an extinct title which was revived for him) and giving him Bulstrode Park in Buckinghamshire and estates amounting to 135,000 acres of land in Ireland, and other estates in England and because of jealously in the Courts he had to turn down an estate in North Wales. Although he fell out with the King, for a while, when William was dying he again requested his old favourite to be by his side. However the first Bentinck to land in England did not reach the heights of Duke for that we have to wait until the Hanoverian succession and George1 when the 2nd Earl of Portland was raised by King George 1st in 1816 To the 1st Duke of Portland.

 The 1st Duke of Portland also was given a title for his son" Marquis of Titchfield" which is below "Duke" but higher than "Earl". When William of Orange became joint ruler of Britain with Mary his wife he not only brought a clearer way forward for the protestant religion but the possibility of adopting the Dutch financial system which seemed to be taken on in a measured way with the Bank of England founded 1694 and also imported the Dutch system of a national public debt funded through a Stock Exchange founded in Britain shortly after the Bank. It was the Stock Exchange which brought on one of the earlier Stock Market's Crashes called the South Sea Bubble. People got caught up in in investing in South America which was still much controlled by Spain and Portugal and these investment proved to be poor and with a high level of the funds invested in these poor funds the eventual collapse slowed down development for future projects in London and other parts of Britain. The 1st Duke of Portland was unfortunately heavily involved in such investments and when the Bubble Burst and he lost heavily so he probably turned to the King's advisers seeking the King's patronage and was offered The Governor of Jamaica which was not a much sought after post almost an earlier version of the "White Man's Grave". He arrived as Jamaican Governor at the age of 40 in 1820 and leaves in a coffin at the age of 46 in 1820.

 Meanwhile his son is only 17 when he becomes 2nd Duke Of Portland on the death of his father  in 1726. Then he marries at the age of 34  Lady Margaret Cavendish Harley an heiress of the Earl of Oxford who restores the Portland fortunes. However she has an expensive Hobby she, is a top collector of animals ,plants, paintings and ceramics surpassing other collectors be they men or women . She converted the then Portland ancestral home Bulstrode Park into a menagerie and aviary and she had many botanical specimens. Even the King George and his wife and their 16 children visited regularly as the collection was" fit for a King". She had a superb ceramics collection topped by the Portland Vase. The 2nd Duke dies at age 53 and his son succeeds him at age 24.

We have already commented on the 3rd Duke of Portland. He started his long political career in 1761 when he was Marquis of Titchfield and in politics through being twice Prime Minister and shortly after his second term he dies in1809 some say because of stress of politics added to by two members of his government fi