The Earl of Clarendon
Envoy Extraordinary to the Court of Augustus III
In office
MonarchGeorge II
Envoy Extraordinary to the Court of Maria Theresa
In office
MonarchGeorge II
Envoy Extraordinary to the Court of Frederick II of Prussia
In office
MonarchGeorge II
Member of Parliament
for Tamworth
In office
Prime MinisterHenry Pelham
The Duke of Newcastle
Preceded byLord John Sackville
Succeeded byWilliam de Grey
Postmaster General
In office
Prime MinisterGeorge Grenville
Preceded byThe Earl of Egmont
Succeeded byThe Earl of Bessborough
In office
1786 – his death
Prime MinisterWilliam Pitt the Younger
Preceded byThe Earl of Tankerville
Succeeded byThe Lord Walsingham
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
In office
Prime MinisterThe Lord North
Preceded byThe Lord Strange
Succeeded byThe Lord Ashburton
In office
Prime MinisterWilliam Pitt the Younger
Preceded byThe Earl of Derby
Succeeded byThe Lord Hawkesbury
Personal details
Died (aged 76/77)
Watford, England
Political partyWhig
SpouseLady Charlotte Capell
Alma materQueens' College, Cambridge
OccupationPolitician and diplomat

Thomas Villiers, 1st Earl of Clarendon, PC (1709 – 11 December 1786) was a British politician and diplomat from the Villiers family.

Clarendon was the second son of William Villiers, 2nd Earl of Jersey, and his wife Judith Herne, daughter of Frederick Herne.

Political career

Villiers received his education at Eton College and then Queens' College, Cambridge.[1] Following his graduation, he became a diplomat.

Villiers became the British envoy to both the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Electorate of Saxony from 1740 to 1747. At the time both realms were in personal union under Augustus III of Poland. He was also sent to Vienna, capital of the Archduchy of Austria, as an envoy to the court of Maria Theresa of Austria from 1742 to 1743. He was last sent to Berlin, capital of the Kingdom of Prussia, as an envoy to the court of Frederick II of Prussia from 1746 to 1748.

Villiers was also involved in domestic politics as a member of the British Whig Party, which at the time dominated the Parliament of Great Britain. He was elected to Parliament in the 1747 British general election. He sat as a Member of Parliament for Tamworth from 1747 to 1756. He retired from all diplomatic offices at this time.

He was a Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty, one of seven members of the Board of Admiralty exercising command over the Royal Navy from 26 February 1748 to 17 November 1756. He served under First Lords of the Admiralty John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, and George Anson, 1st Baron Anson throughout his term.

On 3 June 1756, the barony of Hyde held by his wife's ancestors the Earls of Clarendon was revived. Villiers was raised to the peerage as Baron Hyde of Hindon in the County of Wiltshire.

Hyde served as Postmaster General from 1763 to 1765. On 9 September 1763, he was admitted to the Privy Council. He also served as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster from 1771 to 1782 and again from 1783 to 1786.

On 14 June 1776 the earldom of Clarendon, which had become extinct with the death of Henry Hyde, 4th Earl of Clarendon in 1753, was revived and Hyde was made Earl of Clarendon. In 1782 he was also made a Baron of the Kingdom of Prussia, an honour which he received Royal licence to use in Kingdom of Great Britain.

Clarendon returned to the office of Postmaster-General in commission with Henry Carteret, 1st Baron Carteret, in September 1786. This was to be his final political assignment.

Lord Clarendon died in December 1786, aged 77. He was succeeded in the earldom by his eldest son Thomas.


The Grove, Watford. Now an hotel

On 30 March 1752 he married Charlotte Capell, daughter of William Capell, 3rd Earl of Essex, and his wife Jane Hyde, daughter of Henry Hyde, 4th Earl of Clarendon (of the 1661 creation) and Jane Leveson-Gower. They had four children:

He bought and remodelled The Grove, a country house near Watford, Hertfordshire.


  1. ^ "Villiers, Thomas (VLRS728T)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. ^ The Register of Births & Baptisms in the Parish of St James within the Liberty of Westminster Vol. IV. 1741-1760. 7 December 1757.