John Carteret

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John Carteret

John Carteret, 2nd Earl Granville, Seigneur of St Ouen, 7th Seigneur of Sark, Bailiff of Jersey 1715-1763

The eldest surviving son of George, first Baron Carteret, and Lady Grace Granville, John Carteret was the great-grandson of Sir George Carteret, Jersey's famous Civil War Bailiff and Lieut-Governor.


His mother waas the daughter of Sir John Granville, 1st Earl of Bath, a a descendant of the Elizabethan admiral Sir Richard Grenville, famous for his death in the Revenge at the Battle of Flores. John Carteret was Seigneur of Sark from 1715 to 1720 when he sold the fief. He held in absentia the office of Bailiff from 1715.

He was educated at Westminster School, and at Christ Church, Oxford. Jonathan Swift says that "with a singularity scarce to be justified he carried away more Greek, Latin and philosophy than properly became a person of his rank". Throughout life he not only showed a keen love of the classics, but a taste for and knowledge of modern languages and literature. He was almost the only Englishman of his time who knew German (which allowed him to talk with George I, who spoke no English).


On 17 October 1710 he married Lady Frances Worsley at Longleat House. He took his seat in the House of Lords on 25 May 1711. Though his family, on both sides, had been devoted to the House of Stuart, Carteret was a steady adherent of the Hanoverian dynasty. He was a friend of the Whig leaders James Stanhope and Charles Spencer, and took part in defeating the Jacobite conspiracy on the death of Queen Anne.

John Carteret, Earl Granville.jpg


Carteret's interests were however in foreign, and not in domestic policy. His serious work in public life began with his appointment, early in 1719, as Ambassador to Sweden. During this and the following year he was employed in saving Sweden from the attacks of Peter the Great.

During this period of diplomatic work he acquired an exceptional knowledge of the affairs of Europe, and in particular of Germany. But he was not qualified to hold his own in the intrigues of Court and Parliament in London. Named Secretary of State for the Southern Department on his return home, he soon became helplessly in conflict with the intrigues of Charles Townshend and Sir Robert Walpole.

Rivalry with Walpole

To Walpole, who looked upon every able colleague or subordinate as an enemy to be removed, Carteret was exceptionally odious. His capacity to speak German with the King would alone have made Sir Robert detest him. When, therefore, the violent agitation in Ireland made it necessary to replace the Duke of Grafton as Lord Lieutenant, Carteret was sent to Dublin.


Carteret had inherited a one-eighth share in the Province of Carolina through his great-grandfather Sir George Carteret. In 1727 and 1728, John learned that the other inheritors of the original shares were planning to sell them back to the crown. He refused to join them. After the others surrendered their claims in 1729, Carteret in 1730 agreed to give up any participation in government in order to keep ownership of his share. This share was later defined as a 60-mile wide strip of land in North Carolina adjoining the Virginia boundary, and became known as the Granville District. The land remained in the Carteret family until the death of Carteret's son Robert in 1776. Following the American Revolution, Robert's heirs were compensated in part for the loss of the lands.

Earl Granville

On 18 October 1744 Carteret became Earl Granville on the death of his mother. His first wife died on 20 June 1743 at Hanover, and in April 1744 he married Lady Sophia Fermor, daughter of Lord Pomfret — a fashionable beauty and "reigning toast" of London society, who was younger than his daughters.


On the death of his distant cousin Sir Charles de Carteret with no heirs, Lord Carteret became Seigneur of St Ouen and Bailiff of Jersey. He never visited Jersey, but he took an active interest in its affairs and insisted that his Lieut-Bailiffs consulted him on major decisions. He tried to influence elections for Jurat and appeared before the Privy Council when island affairs were on the agenda. However, he was forced to sell the Fief of Sark and other properties in the islands to ease his financial problems.


He was President of the Privy Council until his death. He died in his house in Arlington Street, London, on 22 January 1763.

The title of Earl Granville descended to his son Robert, who died without issue in 1776, when the Earldom of this creation became extinct.

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