Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Langdale, Charles

LANGDALE, CHARLES (1787–1868), Roman catholic layman and biographer of Mrs. Fitzherbert, born in 1787, was the third son of Charles Philip, sixteenth lord Stourton, by a sister of Marmaduke, last lord Langdale, a title which became extinct in 1777. In 1815 he assumed his mother's maiden name instead of Stourton by royal licence, in pursuance of a testamentary injunction of a kinsman, Philip Langdale of Houghton, Yorkshire. He was a Roman catholic, and as young man he appeared on the platform in London at the meetings held by his co-religionists at the Freemasons' tavern and at the Crown and Anchor; and stood side by side with the Howards, the Talbots, the Arundells, the Petres, and the Cliffords, to claim on behalf of English catholics the right of political emancipation. After the passing of the Relief Act he was one of the first English catholics to enter parliament, and he took his seat as member for Beverley at the opening of the parliament of 1833–4. He was not returned to the next parliament, but from 1837 to 1841 he held one of the seats for Knaresborough, near which the property of his father was situated.

Throughout his life he took a leading part in all matters relating to the interests of Roman catholics; and he exerted himself in an especial manner, as chairman of the poor schools committee, to promote the education of poor children belonging to that communion. He died on 1 Dec. 1868 at 5 Queen Street, Mayfair, London, having been admitted on his deathbed a temporal coadjutor of the Society of Jesus (Foley, Records, vii. 433). He was buried at Houghton, the family seat. Dr. Manning, archbishop of Westminster, in a funeral sermon, preached in London, described him as having been for fifty years the foremost man among the Roman catholic laity in England.

He married, first, in 1815, Charlotte Mary, fifth daughter of Charles, seventh lord Clifford of Chudleigh—she died in 1818; secondly, in 1821, Mary, daughter of Marmaduke William Haggerstone Constable-Maxwell of Everingham Park, Yorkshire, and sister of Lord Herries—she died in 1857. His eldest son, Charles, succeeded to the family estate.

As a young man Langdale was intimate with Mrs. Fitzherbert, whom he frequently visited at her house on the Old Steyne at Brighton. With a view to the vindication of her character he published 'Memoirs of Mrs, Fitzherbert; with an Account of her Marriage with H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, afterwards King George the Fourth,' London, 1856, 8vo. He undertook this work at the request of his brother, Lord Stourton, one of the trustees named in Mrs. Fitzherbert's will (the others being the Duke of Wellington and the Earl of Albemarle), in reply to the attack on the lady's character in the 'Memoirs of Lord Holland.' He was prevented by the two surviving trustees from making use of the contents of the sealed box, which had in 1833 been entrusted to their care, but he was enabled to use the narrative drawn up by Lord Stourton and based upon the documents therein contained [see Fitzherbert, Maria Anne].

[Funeral Discourse, by Father P. Gallway, London, 1868, 8vo: Gallway's Salvage from the Wreck, 1890, with portrait; Register. i. 110, 358; Oscotian. new ser. iii. 4.]

T. C.