1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Edgecumbe

EDGECUMBE, or Edgecombe, the name of a celebrated west of England family, taken from the manor of Edgecumbe in Cornwall. One of its earlier members was Sir Richard Edgecumbe (d. 1489), who was descended from a Richard Edgecumbe who flourished during the reign of Edward I. Richard was a member of parliament in 1467; afterwards he joined Henry, earl of Richmond, in Brittany, returned with the earl to England, and fought at Bosworth, where he was knighted. He received rich rewards from Henry, now King Henry VII., who also sent him on errands to Scotland, to Ireland and to Brittany, and he died at Morlaix on the 8th of September 1489. His son and successor, Sir Piers Edgecumbe, went to France with Henry VIII. in 1513, and when he died on the 14th of August 1539 he left with other issue a son, Sir Richard Edgecumbe (1499–1562), a cultured and hospitable man, who is celebrated through Richard Carew’s Friendly Remembrance of Sir Richard Edgecumbe. Sir Richard’s eldest son, Piers or Peter Edgecumbe (1536–1607), was a member of parliament under Elizabeth for about thirty years.

Another famous member of this family was Richard, 1st baron Edgecumbe (1680–1758), a son of Sir Richard Edgecumbe. Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, he was successively member of parliament for St Germans, Plympton and Lostwithiel from 1701 to 1742; on two occasions he served as a lord of the treasury; and from 1724 to 1742 he was paymaster-general for Ireland, becoming chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster in 1743. Edgecumbe was a faithful follower of Sir Robert Walpole, in whose interests he managed the elections for the Cornish boroughs, and his elevation to the peerage, which took place in 1742, was designed to prevent him from giving evidence about Walpole’s expenditure of the secret service money. He died on the 22nd of November 1758. His son and successor, Richard, the 2nd baron (1716–1761), was comptroller of the royal household, a member of parliament, and a major-general in the army. A wit, a writer of verse, a gambler and an intimate friend of Horace Walpole, “Dick Edgecumbe” died unmarried on the 10th of May 1761.

Edgecumbe’s brother, George, 1st earl of Mount Edgecumbe (1721–1795), was a naval officer who saw a great deal of service during the Seven Years’ War. Succeeding to the barony on the 1st baron’s death in 1761 he became an admiral and treasurer of the royal household; he was created Viscount Mount-Edgecumbe in 1781 and earl of Mount-Edgecumbe in 1789. He died on the 4th of February 1795, his only son being his successor, Richard, the 2nd earl (1764–1839), the ancestor of the present earl and the author of Musical Reminiscences of an Old Amateur. He died on the 26th of September 1839. His son, Ernest Augustus, the 3rd earl (1797–1861), wrote Extracts from Journals kept during the Revolutions at Rome and Palermo.