In memoriam: the 7th Marquess of Anglesey

Henry Paget, 7th Marquess of Anglesey. ©National Portrait Gallery

Henry Paget, 7th Marquess of Anglesey. ©National Portrait Gallery

George Charles Henry Victor Paget, 7th Marquess of Anglesey, who has died aged 90, was a soldier, historian and conservationist.

Plas Newydd, Isle of Anglesey. ©National Trust Images/Nick Meers

Plas Newydd, Isle of Anglesey. ©National Trust Images/Nick Meers

After serving with the Royal Horse Guards during the Second World War he succeeded to the marquessate of Anglesey in 1947. Substantial inheritance tax liabilities soon forced the reduction of the family landholdings from 650,000 acres to 40,000 acres.

The Staircase Hall at Plas Newydd. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The Staircase Hall at Plas Newydd. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Lord Anglesey became a military historian, writing a biography of his famous ancestor William Paget, Lord Uxbridge and later 1st Marquess of Anglesey, a dashing Napoleonic-era cavalry commander.

William Paget, later 1st Marquess of Anglesey, as Lieutenant Colonel of the 7th Light Dragoons, by John Hoppner and Sawrey Gilpin. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

William Paget, later 1st Marquess of Anglesey, as Lieutenant Colonel of the 7th Light Dragoons, by John Hoppner and Sawrey Gilpin. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Lord Uxbridge played a crucial part in the battle of Waterloo. As he was riding off the field with the Duke of Wellington his leg was smashed by grapeshot, causing him to remark with characteristic understatement: ‘By God, sir, I’ve lost my leg!’ – to which Wellington responded, with equal sang froid: ‘By God, sir, so you have!’ Uxbridge’s pioneering wooden leg is still at the family’s ancestral seat, Plas Newydd.

The 1st Marquess of Anglesey's wooden leg and shako. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The 1st Marquess of Anglesey’s wooden leg and shako. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The 7th Marquess’s magnum opus was an eight-volume History of the British Cavalry, 1816-1919, which received increasingly laudatory reviews as the individual volumes were published.

Lord Anglesey in his study at Plas Newydd. ©National Trust Images

Lord Anglesey in his study at Plas Newydd. ©National Trust Images

Lord Anglesey was also active in conservation, serving variously as founding president of the Friends of Friendless Churches, president of the National Museums of Wales, chairman of the Historic Buildings Council for Wales, vice-chairman of the Welsh Committee of the National Trust, member of the Royal Fine Arts Commission, trustee of the National Portrait Gallery and trustee of the National Heritage Memorial Fund. In 1976 he donated Plas Newyd and 169 acres of surrounding land along the Menai Strait to the National Trust, although he continued to maintain an apartment in the house.

9 Responses to “In memoriam: the 7th Marquess of Anglesey”

  1. Nikki Frater Says:

    A sad loss of a very good man and careful custodian of his heritage, particularly the wonderful house at Plas Newydd. He was also a link to the past; we will not know the like of his generation again. He was intensely proud of the beautiful Rex Whistler mural in the grand dining-room and never tired of sharing his enthusiasm with experts and visitors alike. This was lent particular poignancy by his close friendship with the artist, and with his death we’ve lost the last remaining person who had actually known Rex Whistler well.

  2. thelewiswalpolelibrary Says:

    A few years ago, the Lewis Walpole Library acquired a caricature of the 1st Marquess of Anglesey: “A Sketch in the island of Anglesey” by George Cruikshank: (you can see it online at: http://images.library.yale.edu/walpoleweb/oneitem.asp?imageId=lwlpr19049 ) Walpole wrote to Mary Berry in 1791: “The town talk of a marriage between the Duchess of Rutland and Lord Paget which is all I know of it.” (http://images.library.yale.edu/hwcorrespondence/page.asp?vol=11&page=187)

  3. columnist Says:

    I read the obituary in the Telegraph and was staggered at his extraordinary endeavours as a historian, and amused to be reminded of the Wellington remark. The portrait of George IV in the stair is either by Sir Thomas Lawrence, or a copy thereof. The house has a beautiful aspect over the strait.

  4. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Nikki, how interesting that he knew Rex Whistler – I suppose he was a teenager when Whistler was painting his mural at Plas Newydd. I have just read in the Plas Newydd guidebook that the ‘baby’ cello that features in the mural was used by the 7th Marquess when he was a boy.

    Susan, thank you for those other glimpses of the 1st Marquess. The Daily Telegraph obituary of the 7th Marquess (http://bit.ly/18k68tZ) quotes the 1st Marquess when his leg had just been amputated as saying, smiling: ‘I have had a pretty long run. I have been a beau these 47 years and it would not be fair to cut the young men out any longer.’

    Columnist, yes the portrait of the Prince of Wales/George IV is a studio version of the 1814 Lawrence portrait of the Prince in (or formerly in) the Londonderry collection.

  5. Twm Morys Says:

    Hen Gymro lliwgar a hwyliog

  6. Personal Nostalgia Says:

    Henry Anglesey was a most rare and extraordinary man whose loss will be sorely felt. He was “down-to-earth”, disliked snobbery or pretention, was extremely self-effacing whilst doing so many important and worthwhile “jobs” during his life ( many associated with the Welsh Built Heritage ). I was priveleged to know him and count him as friend for 10 years of my life, and I have many happy memories of time spent with him. My sympathies go to Shirley, Lady Anglesey, who also achieved so much in her own career.We will not see Henry’s likes again. RIP.

  7. Louise Hudson Says:

    I have only just seen this sad news… We live a few miles away in Cheshire but have often visited Plas Newydd over the years. Five or six years ago we had been round the house and grounds. The children and I were sitting on a bench at the side of the house overlooking the straits and the woodland.

    My children were chatting enthusiastically (ie: loudly) about what they had seen in the house when an elderly gentleman who had been sitting on the other bench wandered over to talk to them. They had a lovely conversation about how wonderful the house was, how we always came to revisit it when we were in the area (seeing family in Conwy and friends in Llandaniel Fab) and how we were NT members.

    The gentleman was thrilled with the children and insisted, despite my protests, on marching the children to the refreshments hut and bought my children ice creams – which ensured they never forget that day at Plas Newydd… The staff seemed to know the gentleman well when he said to put the cost on his tab. It was only after he left, and the children were fighting to get past the ice cream wrappers, that I asked them who the gentleman was…. and got a shock when they told me!

    I saw him with his wife a couple of years later when we were having a family meal at the Castle Hotel in Conwy. I didn’t allow the children to disturb their Sunday lunch when they wanted to say another thank you for their ice cream despite them being convinced he would remember them.

    Fond memories of a generous man who was willing to give his time (and ice cream) to a stranger’s children.

  8. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Louise, thank you so much for sharing this, what a lovely story.

  9. Reji'nald C. Padj'ett Says:

    My family inherited the name Padgett (the English revision of “Paget”) some how, which is a mystery to me because my family are Americans of African descent, I sometimes wonder why my thoughts seem normal to me but are perceived as lofty to other. When I experience epiphanies my scope of reasoning some how is inferred as being airy. Spiritually, I frequently experience logic processes that seemingly could only come from DNA of royal lineage or reasoning mentored through influences of interacting with nobility. Minor research on this family’s crest and coat of arms has give me some secular relief. Because of the lack of record/ log keeping in the “slave trade”, I have no accurate way to trace my ancestry. I don’t have any way to determine the promiscuous
    behavior of those of the descendants who’s name I bear, I’ll trust that “God” gave me the name I am suppose to have. “All things work for the good for those that love the Lord. So I’ll procure me a “Padgett Family Crest and Coat of Arms” and pass it on. Regards,
    Lineage of the Earl of Uxbridge, Marquess of Angelsey , American of African Descent , Sir Reji’nald C. Padj’ett

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