Pelham, Henry Thomas (DNB00)


PELHAM, HENRY THOMAS, third Earl of Chichester (1804–1886), second, but eldest surviving, son of Thomas, second earl [q. v.], born in Stratton Street, Piccadilly, on 25 Aug. 1804, was educated at Westminster and Trinity College, Cambridge. On 24 April 1824 he entered the army as a cornet in the 6th dragoons, but, by the influence of the Duke of Wellington, was able on 14 Oct. of the same year to exchange into the royal horse-guards (Addit. MS. 33230, ff. 22–4). He became lieutenant in 1827, captain (unattached) in January 1828, and major in the army in 1841. In 1844 he resigned his commission. He was afterwards an active supporter of the volunteer movement. In 1825 the Duke of Newcastle invited him, without making any stipulation regarding Pelham's political principles, to accept his nomination for the parliamentary representation of the duke's borough of Newark; but Pelham succeeded to the earldom in 1826, before the election, and Mr. Gladstone became member in his stead. Chichester held whig opinions, but was not an ardent partisan. He was deeply interested in religious, social, and educational questions. On 22 Feb. 1841 he was appointed an ecclesiastical commissioner, and on 30 Jan. 1847 became a commissioner to report on the question of equalising the pecuniary value of episcopal sees. When the Church Estates' Committee was appointed in 1850 Chichester was made head of the board, with the title of first church estates' commissioner. He retained the position until October 1878, and after his retirement from it continued to be an ecclesiastical commissioner. To him were to a large extent due the important reforms carried out in the management and distribution of church revenues. Chichester was also for half a century president of the Church Missionary Society, and was connected with the Evangelical Alliance, the British and Foreign Bible Society, and the Church of England Temperance Society. He was also interested in the management of prisons; becoming in 1843 a commissioner of Pentonville prison, and editing in 1863 Sir Joshua Jebb's ‘Reports and Observations on the Discipline and Management of Convict Prisons.’ In spite of his evangelical views, he spoke on 16 July 1845 in support of the grant to Maynooth College. He was a regular attendant, and not infrequent speaker, in the House of Lords.

Chichester was appointed lord lieutenant of Sussex on 21 Nov. 1860, where he was very popular. He died at Stanmer House on 16 March 1886. He married, on 18 Aug. 1828, Lady Mary Brudenell, fifth daughter of the sixth Earl of Cardigan. She died on 22 May 1867, leaving issue four sons and three daughters. The eldest son, Walter John (b. 1838), who was M.P. for Lewes from 1865 to 1874, succeeded to the title.

[G. E. C[okayne]'s Complete Peerage; Doyle's Baronage; Brighton Argus, 17 March 1886 (with portrait); Times, 17 March 1886; Record, 19 March 1886; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Parl. Debates, 3rd ser. passim.]

G. Le G. N.