Simon Harcourt, 1st Earl Harcourt

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The Right Honourable
The Earl Harcourt
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
In office
29 October 1772 – 7 December 1776
Monarch George III
Preceded by The Viscount Townshend
Succeeded by The Earl of Buckinghamshire

Simon Harcourt, 1st Earl Harcourt, of Stanton Harcourt, Oxfordshire, PC FRS (1714 – 16 September 1777), known as 2nd Viscount Harcourt, of Stanton Harcourt, Oxfordshire, between 1727 and 1749, was a British diplomat and general who became Viceroy of Ireland.

Life and work

Simon Harcourt, 1st Earl Harcourt, was educated at Westminster School. He succeeded his grandfather Simon Harcourt, 1st Viscount Harcourt in 1727. In 1745, having raised a regiment for service during the Jacobite Rebellion, the 76th Foot (Lord Harcourts Regiment), he received a commission as a Colonel in the army, The regiment was disbanded on 10 June 1746.

In 1749 he was created Earl Harcourt of Stanton Harcourt. He was appointed governor to the prince of Wales, afterwards George III, in 1751; and after the accession of the latter to the throne, in 1761, he was appointed as special ambassador to Mecklenburg-Strelitz, to negotiate a marriage between King George and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (Princess Charlotte), whom he conducted to England.

He held a number of appointments at court and in the diplomatic service. He was the British ambassador to Paris from 1768 to 1772. He was promoted to the rank of general in 1772; and in October of the same year he succeeded Lord Townshend as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, an office which he held until 1777. His proposal to impose a tax of 10% on the rents of absentee landlords had to be abandoned owing to opposition in England; but he succeeded in conciliating the leaders of Opposition in Ireland, and he persuaded Henry Flood to accept office in the government. Resigning in January 1777, he retired to Nuneham Park, where he died on 16 September, apparently by drowning in a well while trying to rescue his dog.

He married, on 16 October 1735, Rebecca Samborne Le Bas (died 16 January 1765), daughter and heiress of Charles Samborne Le Bas, of Pipewell Abbey, Northamptonshire, by whom he had two daughters, Lady Elizabeth (18 June 1739 - 21 January 1811, buried at Hartwell), married on 20 June 1763 Sir William Lee, 4th Baronet, of Hartwell (12 September 1726 - 6 July 1799) and Lady Anne (1741–1746), and two sons, George Simon[1] and William, who succeeded him as 2nd and 3rd earl respectively.


  1. George Simon Harcourt, 2nd Earl Harcourt, of Stanton Harcourt (Cokethorpe, 1 August 1736 - Cavendish Square, 20 April 1809), married at Nuneham on 26 September 1765 his cousin the Hon. Elizabeth Venables-Vernon (21 January 1746 - Portman Square, 25 January 1826), daughter of George Venables-Vernon, 1st Baron Vernon and Martha Harcourt, without issue.
  • Public Domain Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. Missing or empty |title= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Horace Walpole, Memoirs of the Reign of George II (3 vols., 2nd ed., London, 1847), Memoirs of the Reign of George III (4 vols., London, 1845, 1894)
  • Henry Grattan, Memoirs of the Life and Times of the Right Hon. H. Grattan (5 vols, London, 1839–1846)
  • Francis Hardy, Memoirs of J Caulfield, Earl of Charlemout (2 vols., London, 1812)
  • Sir John Bernard Burke, Genealogical History of Dormant and Extinct Peerages (London, 1883)
Political offices
New office Master of the Horse to Queen Charlotte
1761 – 1763
Succeeded by
The Viscount Weymouth
Preceded by
The Earl of Northumberland
Lord Chamberlain to Queen Charlotte
1763 – 1768
Succeeded by
The Earl De La Warr
Preceded by
The Viscount Townshend
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
1772 – 1776
Succeeded by
The Earl of Buckinghamshire
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
The Earl of Rochford
British Ambassador to France
1768 – 1772
Succeeded by
The Viscount Stormont
Peerage of Great Britain
New creation Earl Harcourt
1749 – 1777
Succeeded by
George Simon Harcourt
Preceded by
Simon Harcourt
Viscount Harcourt
1727 – 1777