Charles Cavendish-Bentinck (priest)

William Charles Cavendish Bentinck
Born (1817-11-08)8 November 1817
Died 17 August 1865(1865-08-17) (aged 47)
Known for Great-grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Spouse(s) Sinetta Lambourne
(Caroline) Louisa Burnaby
Children Charles William
Ann Violet
Parent(s) Lord Charles Bentinck
Anne Wellesley

The Reverend Charles William Cavendish Bentinck (8 November 1817 – 17 August 1865) was a clergyman of the Church of England, holding livings in Bedfordshire, and a great-grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II.

He used his names in the order William Charles Cavendish Bentinck, and his usual signature was W. C. C. Bentinck.

Life and career

Born at Kensington, Bentinck was the elder son of Lieutenant Colonel Lord Charles Bentinck[1] and of Anne Wellesley, formerly Lady Abdy.[2] He had a younger brother, Arthur Cavendish Bentinck, and two sisters, Anne and Emily. Their paternal grandparents were William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland, Prime Minister of Great Britain, and Dorothy Cavendish, a daughter of William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire, another Prime Minister, by his marriage to Lady Charlotte Boyle, a daughter of Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington. Their maternal grandparents were Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley, and his wife Hyacinthe-Gabrielle Roland, a former actress at the Palais Royal. Wellesley, a Governor-General of India, was an older brother of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, another Prime Minister.[3]

When they were born, there seemed only a remote possibility of Bentinck or his brother succeeding to the family's peerages, as their father's eldest brother, the 4th Duke of Portland, already had several sons, and their father had another older brother, Lord William Bentinck (1774–1839). Bentinck was educated at Merton College, Oxford, where his paternal grandfather the 3rd Duke had been Chancellor, matriculating on 1 June 1837, and later at New Inn Hall, Oxford, while his brother decided to follow a military career. Bentinck eventually took the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1845, promoted to Master of Arts in 1846.[4]

On 26 September 1839, while still an Oxford undergraduate, at St George's, Hanover Square, Bentinck married his first wife, Sinetta Lambourne, daughter of James Lambourne, a horse dealer with some claim to be the founder of Summertown, Oxford, where he lived, by his wife Sinetta Smith, a gypsy.[5] Bentinck stated his address as Brook Street, while Sinetta gave hers as Southwick Street, Paddington. They soon had two sons, but both died in infancy:

The cause of death for both children was "convulsions", and both were buried at All Souls, Kensal Green Cemetery, where Sinetta Lambourne (formerly Smith) was also interred.

After taking his degree, Bentinck confirmed his intention of becoming a Church of England clergyman and was appointed as Vicar of Husborne Crawley, Bedfordshire, a benefice in the gift of Francis Russell, 7th Duke of Bedford. On 23 November 1849 the Duke of Bedford also appointed him as Vicar of Ridgmount, Bedfordshire. In both parishes he was known as William Charles Cavendish Bentinck.[6][7]

The possibility of Bentinck becoming Duke of Portland was increasing, as all four of the sons of his uncle William Bentinck, 4th Duke of Portland, were unmarried or dead. The eldest, William, Marquess of Titchfield, had died in 1824, and Lord George on 21 September 1848. The eccentric Lord William (born 1800) and Lord Henry (born 1804) both remained unmarried. However, Bentinck's wife Sinetta died at Ampthill on 19 February 1850, of mesentery,[8] leaving Bentinck himself a widower with no surviving children.

His uncle the 4th Duke of Portland died on 27 March 1854 and was succeeded in his peerages and estates by Bentinck's first cousin William Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, who was still unmarried. The heir presumptive at that point was the new Duke's younger brother, Lord Henry, who was now 49 and also unmarried, and Bentinck himself was the next heir after him.

On 13 December 1859 Bentinck married secondly Caroline Louisa Burnaby, a daughter of Edwyn Burnaby, of the landed gentry, and of Anne Caroline Salisbury. With her he had three further children, all daughters:

Bentinck died on 17 August 1865, aged 47, and was buried at Croxton, Cambridgeshire. His cousin Lord Henry William died on 31 December 1870, and the 5th Duke followed on 6 December 1879. Thus, the next Duke was Bentinck's nephew William Cavendish-Bentinck, a son of Lt.-General Arthur Cavendish Bentinck, Bentinck's younger brother, who had died in 1877.

Bentinck's daughter Cecilia eventually married Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and became the mother of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (1900–2002) and the grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II.



  1. Charles Cavendish Archived May 13, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. Anne Wellesley Archived February 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. "Wellesley family genealogy". 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013. (Subscription required)
  4. Alumni Oxonienses, vol. 1, p. 97
  5. John Baddock "Origin, History and Description of Summertown in 1832"
  6. Ridgmont Churches at, accessed 29 August 2016
  7. Census of 1851, Ridgmount, Bedfordshire
  8. Register of Deaths for Ampthill Registrar's District, 1850, vol. 6, p. 4

Further reading

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