George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough, 4th Duke of Marlborough, was born 26 January 1739 in Althorpe, Northamptonshire, England, United Kingdom to Charles Spencer, 3rd Duke of Marlborough (1706-1758) and Elizabeth Trevor (c1713-1761) and died 30 January 1817 Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom of unspecified causes. He married Caroline Russell (1743-1811) 23 August 1762 in Bloomsbury, London, England.

George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough, KG, PC, FRS (26 January 1739 – 29 January 1817), styled Marquess of Blandford until 1758, was a British courtier, nobleman, and politician from the Spencer family. He served as Lord Chamberlain between 1762 and 1763 and as Lord Privy Seal between 1763 and 1765. He is the great-great-great grandfather of Sir Winston Churchill.

Background and education

Styled by the courtesy title Marquess of Blandford from birth, He was the eldest son of Charles Spencer, 3rd Duke of Marlborough, and the Honourable Elizabeth Trevor, daughter of Thomas Trevor, 2nd Baron Trevor. His siblings were Charles, Diana and Elizabeth.

Personal traits and characteristics

According to George III, who mentioned it to Fanny Burney,[1] the Duke suffered from severe red-green colourblindness. As he was unable to tell scarlet from green, Fanny therefore remarked that this was unlucky for someone in possession of so sumptuous a home as Blenheim Palace.


Marlborough entered the Coldstream Guards in 1755 as an Ensign, becoming a Captain with the 20th Regiment of Foot the following year. After inheriting the dukedom in 1758, Marlborough took his seat in the House of Lords in 1760, becoming Lord-Lieutenant of Oxfordshire in that same year.[2] The following year, he bore the sceptre with the cross at the coronation of George III. In 1762, he was made Lord Chamberlain as well as a Privy Counsellor, and after a year resigned this appointment to become Lord Privy Seal, a post he held until 1765.[2] An amateur astronomer, he built a private observatory at his residence, Blenheim Palace. He kept up a lively scientific correspondence with Hans Count von Brühl, another aristocratic dilettante in astronomy.

The Duke was made a Knight of the Garter in 1768, and was elected to the Royal Society in 1786.[2]

Dukedom of Marlborough

Arms of Churchill

Duke of Marlborough is a title of English Peerage created by Queen Anne in 1702 for John Churchill the noted military leader. The name of the dukedom refers to Marlborough in Wiltshire. A good number of their descendants have married into many of the other noble hours of England.

Blenheim Palace

Exterior of a large English Baroque palace fronted by lawns

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace, built between 1705 and 1722 for John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough (1650-1722), is the principal residence for the family of the Duke of Marlborough. It is one of England's largest homes, and the only non-royal, non-episcopal country house in England to hold the title of palace. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 and is the final resting place of several members of the family.


Marlborough married Lady Caroline Russell (1743–1811), daughter of John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford, in 1762, by whom he had eight children:

The Duchess of Marlborough died at Blenheim Palace in November 1811, aged 68. The Duke of Marlborough died at Blenheim Palace in January 1817, aged 78, and was buried there.[2]


Offspring of George Spencer and Caroline Russell (1743-1811)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Caroline Spencer (1763-1813)
Elizabeth Spencer (1764-1812) 20 December 1764 11 December 1812 John Spencer (1767-1831)
George Spencer-Churchill (1766-1840) 6 March 1766 Wormelighton, Warwickshire, England, United Kingdom 5 March 1840 Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom Susan Stewart (1767-1841) Susan Stewart (1767-1841) Matilda Glover (1802-1876)
Charlotte Spencer (1769-1802)
Henry John Spencer (1770-1795)
Anne Spencer (1773-1865) 5 November 1773 7 August 1865 Cropley Ashley-Cooper, 6th Earl of Shaftesbury (1768-1851)
Amelia Sophia Spencer (1775-1829)
Francis Almeric Spencer, 1st Baron Churchill of Whichwood (1779-1845) 26 December 1779 10 March 1845 Brighton, Sussex, England, United Kingdom Frances FitzRoy (1780-1866)




  1. ^ Burney, F. The Diary of Fanny Burney, Dent (Everyman edition), London, 1971, pages 107-8
  2. ^ a b c d George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough

See also

Honorary titles
Title last held by
The Duke of Marlborough
Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire
Succeeded by
The Earl of Macclesfield
Preceded by
The Marquess Townshend
Senior Privy Counsellor
Succeeded by
Lord Charles Spencer
Political offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Devonshire
Lord Chamberlain
Succeeded by
The Earl Gower
Preceded by
The Duke of Bedford
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by
The Duke of Newcastle
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Charles Spencer
Duke of Marlborough
Succeeded by
George Spencer-Churchill

Footnotes (including sources)

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