Augustus Hervey, 3rd Earl of Bristol

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The Earl of Bristol
Augustus Earl of Bristol.jpg
The Earl of Bristol by Thomas Gainsborough
Born 19 May 1724
Died 23 December 1779 (1779-12-24) (aged 55)
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Rank Admiral
Commands held Mediterranean Fleet
Battles/wars Seven Years' War

Augustus John Hervey, 3rd Earl of Bristol, PC (19 May 1724 – 23 December 1779) was a British admiral and politician.

Early life

He was born the second son of John, Lord Hervey and educated at Westminster School from 1733. He entered the Royal Navy in 1735 at the age of 11.

Naval career

His promotion in the Navy was rapid. He distinguished himself in several encounters with the French, and was of great assistance to Admiral Hawke in 1759, although he had returned to England before the Battle of Quiberon Bay in November 1759. Having served with distinction in the West Indies under Rodney, his active life at sea ceased when the Peace of Paris was concluded in February 1763. He was, however, nominally Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet in this year,[1] and was made Vice Admiral of the Blue in January 1778. He was known as the English Casanova, due to his colourful personal life.

Political career

Hervey was Member of Parliament for Bury St Edmunds from 1757 to 1763, and, after being for a short time Member for Saltash, again represented Bury St Edmunds from 1768 until he succeeded his brother in the earldom of Bristol in 1775. He often took part in debates in Parliament, and was a frequent contributor to periodical literature. Having served as a Lord of the Admiralty from 1771 to 1775 he won some notoriety as an opponent of the Rockingham ministry and a defender of Admiral Keppel.

From 1763 to 1775 he was a Groom of the Bedchamber to King George III. He was also Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1766-67) and a Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty (1771-75).

Personal life

In August 1744 Hervey had been secretly married to Elizabeth Chudleigh (1720–1788), afterwards Duchess of Kingston, but this union was dissolved in 1769. Lord Bristol died leaving no legitimate issue, and having, as far as possible, alienated his property from the title. From 1775 Hervey had taken as his mistress Mary Nesbitt a former artists' model of some notoriety. They lived together, apparently faithfully, at his Surrey home of Norwood House and she received property in his will.[2] He made changes to Norwood House including an ornamental lake and a stable. He died due to a gout in the stomach in December 1779, aged 55, and was succeeded by his brother Frederick .

Many of his letters are in the Record Office, and his journals in the British Museum. Other letters are printed in the Grenville Papers, vols. iii. and iv. (London, 1852–1853), and the Life of Admiral Keppel, by the Rev. Thomas Keppel (London, 1852). Hervey Bay, Queensland, a bay and city in Australia, was named after him by Captain James Cook while carrying out the survey of the east coast of Australia on 22 May 1770. Bristol Bay, the rich salmon fishing ground in southwest Alaska, was so named in honor of Hervey by Captain James Cook, who first charted the region in July 1778. Bristol Island, a five mile long ice-covered quake-prone chain of volcanos in the South Sandwich Islands, was also named in honor of Hervey by Captain James Cook.


  1. ^ Augustus Hervy at Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  2. ^ Stevenson, Janet H. (2004). "Nesbitt (née Davis), Mary". Oxford Biography Index. Retrieved 6 April 2009. 
  • History of Hervey Bay
  • Holmes, M J R (1996). Augustus Hervey - A Naval Casanova. Durham: Pentland Press.
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bristol, Earls and Marquesses of". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Felton Hervey
Earl of Euston
Member of Parliament for Bury St Edmunds
With: Felton Hervey 1757–1761
Charles FitzRoy 1761–1763
Succeeded by
Charles Fitzroy
William Hervey
Preceded by
John Clevland
George Adams
Member of Parliament for Saltash
With: George Adams
Succeeded by
Martin Hawke
Thomas Bradshawe
Preceded by
Charles Fitzroy
William Hervey
Member of Parliament for Bury St Edmunds
With: Charles Fitzroy 1768–1774
Sir Charles Davers 1774–1775
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Davers
Henry Seymour Conway
Political offices
Preceded by
Viscount Beauchamp
Chief Secretary for Ireland
Succeeded by
Theophilus Jones
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
George Hervey
Earl of Bristol
Succeeded by
Frederick Hervey
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