- 1st Duke of Marlborough
- 1st Marquess of Blandford
- Prince of Mindelheim (1705-1714)
- Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire (1706-1712)
- Earl of Marlborough (1689–1702)
- Captain-General of the British Army (1702-1711)
- Colonel of The Duke of Marlborough's Regiment of Foot (1702-1704)
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, was born 24 June 1650 in Ashe House, Devon, England, United Kingdom to Winston Churchill (1620-1688) and Elizabeth Drake (1620-1698) and died 16 June 1722 Cumberland Lodge, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom of unspecified causes. He married Sarah Jennings (1660-1744) 1 October 1678 .
General John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, 1st Prince of Mindelheim, 1st Count of Nellenburg, Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, KG, PC (26 May 1650 – 16 June 1722 O.S.[lower-alpha 1]) was an English soldier and statesman whose career spanned the reigns of five monarchs. From a gentry family, he served first as a page at the court of the House of Stuart under James, Duke of York, through the 1670s and early 1680s, earning military and political advancement through his courage and diplomatic skill.
Churchill's role in defeating the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685 helped secure James on the throne, but he was a key player in the military conspiracy that led to James being deposed during the Glorious Revolution. Rewarded by William III with the title Earl of Marlborough, persistent charges of Jacobitism led to his fall from office and temporary imprisonment in the Tower of London. William recognised his abilities by appointing him as his deputy in Southern Netherlands (modern day Belgium) before the War of the Spanish Succession in 1701 but it was not until the accession of Queen Anne in 1702 that he secured his fame and fortune.
Marriage to Sarah Jennings and her relationship with Anne ensured Marlborough's rise, first to the Captain-Generalcy of British forces, then to a dukedom. As de facto leader of Allied forces in the Low Countries, his victories at Blenheim (1704), Ramillies (1706), Oudenarde (1708), and Malplaquet (1709), ensured his place in history as one of Europe's great generals.
His wife's stormy relationship with the Queen, and her subsequent dismissal from court, was central to his own fall. Incurring Anne's disfavour, and caught between Tory and Whig factions, Marlborough was forced from office and went into self-imposed exile. He returned to favour with the accession of George I to the British throne in 1714, but a stroke in 1716 ended his active career.
Marlborough's leadership of the Allied armies fighting Louis XIV from 1701 to 1710 consolidated Britain's emergence as a front-rank power, while his ability to maintain unity in the fractious coalition demonstrated his diplomatic skills. He is often remembered by military historians as much for his organizational and logistic skills as tactical abilities. However, he was also instrumental in moving away from the siege warfare that dominated the Nine Years' War, arguing one battle was worth ten sieges.
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.
Ashe House/Early Life
Ashe House, in the parish of Musbury in the county of Devon, is an historic estate of the Tudor style. Long the residence of the ancient Drake family, the heir of which remarkably was always called John, only one excepted, for ten generations.] It was formerly believed to have been the birthplace of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, though he was certainly baptized there.
Churchill was the second but oldest surviving son of Sir Winston Churchill (1620–1688) of Glanvilles Wootton, Dorset and Elizabeth Drake, whose family came from Ash, in Devon. Winston served with the Royalist Army in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms; he was heavily fined for doing so, forcing his family to live at Ash House with his mother-in-law.
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.
With the exception of the 10th Duke and his first wife, the Dukes and Duchesses of Marlborough are buried in Blenheim Palace's chapel. Most other members of the Spencer-Churchill family are interred in St. Martin's parish churchyard at Bladon, a short distance from the palace.
The palace chapel, as a consequence of the Duke's death, now obtained even greater importance. The design was altered by the Marlboroughs' friend the Earl of Godolphin, who placed the high altar in defiance of religious convention against the west wall, thus allowing the dominating feature to be the Duke's gargantuan tomb and sarcophagus.
Dismissal and disgrace
William III recognised Marlborough's qualities as a soldier and strategist, but the refusal of the Order of the Garter and failure to appoint him Master-General of the Ordnance rankled with the ambitious Earl; nor did Marlborough conceal his bitter disappointment behind his usual bland discretion. Using his influence in Parliament and the army, Marlborough aroused dissatisfaction concerning William's preferences for foreign commanders, an exercise designed to force the King's hand. Aware of this, William in turn began to speak openly of his distrust of Marlborough; the Elector of Brandenburg's envoy to London overheard the King remark that he had been treated – "so infamously by Marlborough that, had he not been King, he would have felt it necessary to challenge him to a duel".
Since January 1691 Marlborough had been in contact with the exiled James II in Saint-Germain, anxious to obtain the erstwhile King's pardon for deserting him in 1688 – a pardon essential for the success of his future career in the not altogether unlikely event of a Jacobite restoration. James himself maintained contact with his supporters in England whose principal object was to re-establish him upon his throne. William was well aware of these contacts (as well as others such as Godolphin and the Duke of Shrewsbury), but their double-dealing was seen more in the nature of an insurance policy, rather than as an explicit commitment. Marlborough did not wish for a Jacobite restoration, but William was conscious of his military and political qualities, and the danger the Earl posed: "William was not prone to fear", wrote Thomas Macaulay, "but if there was anyone on earth that he feared, it was Marlborough".
The nadir of Marlborough's fortunes had not yet been reached. The spring of 1692 brought renewed threats of a French invasion and new accusations of Jacobite treachery. Acting on the testimony of one Robert Young, the Queen had arrested all the signatories to a letter purporting the restoration of James II and the seizure of William III. Marlborough, as one of these signatories, was sent to the Tower of London on 4 May (O.S.) where he languished for five weeks; his anguish compounded by the news of the death of his younger son Charles on 22 May (O.S.). Young's letters were eventually discredited as forgeries and Marlborough was released on 15 June (O.S.), but he continued his correspondence with James, leading to the celebrated incident of the "Camaret Bay letter" of 1694.
Mary's death on 28 December 1694 (O.S.) eventually led to a formal but cool reconciliation between William III and Anne, now heir to the throne. Marlborough hoped that the rapprochement would lead to his own return to office, but although he and Lady Marlborough were allowed to return to court, the Earl received no offer of employment.
In 1696 Marlborough, together with Godolphin, Russell and Shrewsbury, was yet again implicated in a treasonous plot with James II, this time instigated by the Jacobite militant John Fenwick. The accusations were eventually dismissed as a fabrication and Fenwick executed – the King himself had remained incredulous – but it was not until 1698, a year after the Treaty of Ryswick brought an end to the Nine Years' War, that the corner was finally turned in William's and Marlborough's relationship. On the recommendation of Lord Sunderland (whose wife was a close friend of Lady Marlborough), William eventually offered Marlborough the post of governor to the Duke of Gloucester, Anne's eldest son; he was also restored to the Privy Council, together with his military rank.[lower-alpha 2] When William left for Holland in July, Marlborough was one of the Lords Justices left running the government in his absence; but striving to reconcile his close Tory connections with that of the dutiful royal servant was difficult, leading Marlborough to complain – "The King's coldness to me still continues".
War of the Spanish Succession
In the late 17th and early 18th century, the single most important theme in European politics was the rivalry between the House of Habsburg and the House of Bourbon. In 1665, the infirm and childless Habsburg Charles II became the King of Spain. Spain was no longer the dominant global power it once was but remained a vast global confederation, with possessions in Italy, the Spanish Netherlands, the Philippines and large parts of the Americas. It proved remarkably resilient; when Charles died in 1700, it was largely intact and had even expanded in areas like the Pacific. Its possession could change the balance of power in favour of either France or Austria.
Attempts to partition the Empire between the French and Austrian candidates or install an alternative from the Bavarian Wittelsbach dynasty failed. When Charles died, he left his throne to Louis XIV's grandson who became Philip V of Spain on 16 November 1700. However, this was on condition Philip renounce his claim to the French throne; Louis' decision to ignore this once again threatened French domination over Europe and led to the Grand Alliance being reformed in 1701.
- Courtney, William Prideaux (1911). "Marlborough, John Churchill, 1st Duke of". Encyclopædia Britannica. 17 (11th ed.). pp. 737–740.
- Texts on Wikisource:
- Stephen, Leslie (1887). "Churchill, John (1650-1722)". In Leslie Stephen. Dictionary of National Biography, 1885–1900. 10. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 315–341.
- The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 18/A New Vindication of the Duke of Marlborough
- Text on the Column of Victory in the grounds of Blenheim Palace
- wikipedia:en:John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
- John Churchill - at the Peerage.
- British nobility
- This profile prepared courtesy of World of Scouting Members. Building a brighter future for our youth.
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- ^ Vivian 1895, p. 297.
- ^ Holmes 2008, pp. 40-41.
- ^ Barnett 1999, p. 22.
- ^ Chandler 1973, p. 46.
- ^ Hibbert 2001, p. 57.
- ^ Churchill 2002b, p. 327.
- ^ Churchill 2002a, p. 11.
- ^ Churchill 2002b, p. 341.
- ^ Chandler 1973, p. 47.
- ^ a b Cite error: Invalid
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- ^ Chandler 1973, p. 49.
- ^ Duffy 1987, p. 320.
- ^ Storrs 2006, pp. 6–7.
- ^ McKay & Scott 1983, p. 54.
- ^ Ingrao 2000, p. 105.
- ^ Thompson 2013.