Robert Nugent, 1st Earl Nugent

The Right Honourable
The Earl Nugent
First Lord of Trade
In office
19 January 1767  20 January 1768
Monarch George III
Prime Minister The Earl of Chatham
Preceded by The Earl of Hillsborough
Succeeded by The Earl of Hillsborough

Robert Craggs-Nugent, 1st Earl Nugent PC (1709 – 13 October 1788) was an Irish politician and poet. He was tersely described by Richard Glover as a jovial and voluptuous Irishman who had left popery for the Protestant religion, money and widows.


The son of Michael Nugent and Mary, daughter of Robert Barnewall, 9th Baron Trimlestown, he was born at Carlanstown, County Westmeath in 1709.[1] He succeeded his father in the Carlanstown property on 13 May 1739.

Political career

His wife's property included the borough of St Mawes in Cornwall, and Nugent sat for that constituency from 1741 to 1754, after which date he represented Bristol until 1774, when he returned to St Mawes. By 1782, he had become the longest continually-serving member of the Commons, and so became the Father of the House.

In 1747 he succeeded Lord Doneraile as Comptroller of the Household to the Prince of Wales. Nugent lent the Prince large sums of money, which were never repaid; the appointments and peerages he received later in life have been attributed to the wish of the Prince of Wales's son, George III, to compensate Nugent.

Robert Craggs-Nugent, as he then was, served as a Lord of the Treasury from 1754 to 1759, and was made a Privy Counsellor on 15 December 1759. He was Vice-Treasurer of Ireland from 1759 to 1765, First Lord of Trade from 1766 to 1768, and Vice-Treasurer of Ireland again from 1768 to 1782. In 1768 he was made a member of the Irish Privy Council. His support of the ministry was so useful that he was created in 1767 Baron Nugent and Viscount Clare, and in 1776 Earl Nugent, all Irish peerages.

Apart from his political career Lord Nugent was also the author of some poetical productions, several of which are preserved in the second volume of Dodsley's Collections (1748).


Lord Nugent married firstly, on 14 July 1730, Emilia (died in childbirth 16 August 1731), daughter of the fourth Earl of Fingall. They had one son, Edmund, who became a Lieutenant-Colonel and the father of two illegitimate sons (later Field Marshal) Sir George Nugent, 1st Baronet, and Admiral of the Fleet Sir Charles Edmund Nugent) before dying in 1771. Nugent married secondly, on 23 March 1736, Anna (died 22 November 1756), daughter of James Craggs and sister of the Right Honourable James Craggs, the secretary of state, whereupon Robert Nugent adopted the surname of Craggs-Nugent. She had already been twice given in marriage, but Robert, who was born a Roman Catholic, had abandoned his Church very early in life. He married on 2 January 1757 Elizabeth (died 29 January 1792), widow of the fourth Earl of Berkeley, who brought him a large fortune.

The earldom descended by special remainder to the earl's son-in-law, George Nugent-Temple-Grenville, 1st Marquess of Buckingham, and so to his successors, the dukes of Buckingham and Chandos.


  1. Woodland, Patrick (2004). "Nugent, Robert Craggs, Earl Nugent (1709–1788)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/20399. Retrieved 2015-07-29. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Henry Vane
Richard Plumer
Member of Parliament for St Mawes
With: James Douglas 1741–47
Lord Sundon 1747–53
Thomas Clavering 1753–54
Henry Seymour Conway from 1754
Succeeded by
James Newsham
Henry Seymour Conway
Preceded by
Edward Southwell
Robert Hoblyn
Member of Parliament for Bristol
With: Richard Beckford 1754–56
Jarrit Smith 1756–68
Matthew Brickdale 1768–74
Succeeded by
Henry Cruger
Edmund Burke
Preceded by
James Colleton
George Boscawen
Member of Parliament for St Mawes
With: Hugh Boscawen
Succeeded by
William Young
Hugh Boscawen
Preceded by
Charles FitzRoy-Scudamore
Father of the House
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Frederick
Peerage of Ireland
New creation Viscount Clare
Earl Nugent
Succeeded by
George Nugent-Temple-Grenville
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