William à Court, 1st Baron Heytesbury

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Heytesbury
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
In office
17 July 1844 – 8 July 1846
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Preceded by The Earl de Grey
Succeeded by The Earl of Bessborough
Personal details
Born 11 July 1779 (1779-07-11)
The Close, Salisbury,
Died 31 May 1860 (1860-06-01)
Nationality British
Political party Tory
Spouse(s) Maria Bouverie

William à Court, 1st Baron Heytesbury GCB PC (11 July 1779 – 31 May 1860), known as Sir William à Court, Bt, from 1817 to 1828, was a British diplomat and Conservative politician.

Background and education

Heytesbury was the eldest son of Sir William à Court, 1st Baronet, and Laetitia, daughter of Henry Wyndham. He was educated at Eton and entered the Diplomatic Service at an early age.

Political and diplomatic career

In 1812 Heytesbury was elected to the House of Commons for Dorchester, a seat he held until 1814. He was also Envoy Extraordinary to the Barbary States from 1813 to 1814, to the Kingdom of Naples in 1814 and to Spain from 1822 to 1824 and served as Ambassador to Portugal between 1824 and 1828.

The latter year Heytesbury was appointed Ambassador to Russia, where he had to deal with the Russo-Turkish War of 1828 to 1829. He remained in Russia until 1832. In 1835 Sir Robert Peel nominated him for the office of Governor-General of India, but the Tory government soon fell and he never took up the post. However, he later served under Peel as Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland from 1844 to 1846. Heytesbury succeeded his father as second Baronet in 1817, was admitted to the Privy Council the same year and made a GCB in 1819. In 1828 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Heytesbury, of Heytesbury in the County of Wiltshire.


Lord Heytesbury married Maria Rebecca, daughter of the Hon. William Henry Bouverie, in 1808. They had four sons and two daughters. He died in May 1860, aged 80, and was succeeded in his titles by his eldest son William.


External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Charles Henry Bouverie
Robert Williams
Member of Parliament for Dorchester
2 seat constituency
(with Robert Williams)

Succeeded by
Robert Williams
Sir Samuel Shepherd
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Sir Edward Thornton
British Ambassador to Portugal
Succeeded by
Hon. Sir Frederick Lamb
Preceded by
The Viscount Strangford
British Ambassador to Russia
Succeeded by
Sir Stratford Canning
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl de Grey
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
Succeeded by
The Earl of Bessborough
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Earl of Malmesbury
Governor of the Isle of Wight
Succeeded by
The Viscount Eversley
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Heytesbury
Succeeded by
William à Court-Holmes
Baronetage of Great Britain
Preceded by
William à Court
(of Heytesbury)
Succeeded by
William à Court-Holmes