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Edward Smith-Stanley, 12th Earl of Derby

Edward Smith-Stanley, 12th Earl of Derby PC (12 December 1752 – 21 October 1834), styled Lord Strange between 1771 and 1776, was a British peer and politician of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He held office as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in 1783 in the Fox-North Coalition and between 1806 and 1807 in the Ministry of All the Talents.


Background and education

Derby was the son of James Smith-Stanley, Lord Strange, son of Edward Stanley, 11th Earl of Derby. His mother was Lucy, daughter and co-heir of Hugh Smith of Weald Hall, Essex. His father had assumed the additional surname of Smith by Act of Parliament in 1741.[1] Derby entered Eton College in 1764, proceeding to Trinity College, Cambridge in 1771.[2]

Political career

Derby was returned to Parliament as one of two representatives for Lancashire in 1774, a seat he held until 1776,[1][3] when he succeeded his grandfather in the earldom and entered the House of Lords. He served as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster between April and December 1783[1][4] in the Fox-North Coalition headed by the Duke of Portland and was sworn of the Privy Council the same year.[4] He remained out of office for the next 23 years but was once again Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster between 1806 and 1807 in the Ministry of All the Talents headed by Lord Grenville.[1]

Lord Derby also served as Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire between 1776 and 1834.[1] He was also listed as a subscriber to the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal navigation in 1791.[5]

Horse racing

At a dinner party in 1778 held on his estate "The Oaks" in Carshalton, Lord Derby and his friends planned a sweepstake horse race, won the following year by Derby's own horse, Bridget. The race, the Epsom Oaks, has been named after the estate since. At a celebration after Bridget's win, a similar race for colts was proposed and Derby tossed a coin with Sir Charles Bunbury for the honour of naming the race. Derby won, and the race became known as the Derby Stakes. Bunbury won the initial race in 1780 with his horse, Diomed; Derby himself won it in 1787 with Sir Peter Teazle.[citation needed]


In A Peep at Christies' (1796), James Gillray caricatured Lord Derby (as "Tally-ho") next to his future wife Elizabeth Farren.

Lord Derby was twice married. He married as his first wife Lady Elizabeth, daughter of James Hamilton, 6th Duke of Hamilton, in 1774. After her death at the age of 44 in March 1797 he married secondly the actress Elizabeth Farren, daughter of George Farren, on 1 May 1797. There were children from both marriages. The Countess of Derby died in April 1829. Lord Derby survived her by five years and died in October 1834, aged 82. He was succeeded in the earldom by his son from his first marriage, Edward, Lord Stanley.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 thepeerage.com Edward Smith-Stanley, 12th Earl of Derby
  2. Stanley, the Hon. Edward (Smith) in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958.
  3. leighrayment.com House of Commons: Ladywood to Leek
  4. 4.0 4.1 London Gazette: no. 12470, p. 1, 26 August 1783.
  5. A list of the subscribers to the intended Bolton Bury and Manchester Canal Navigation. Greater Manchester County Records Office, ref. E4/78/419: Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal Company. 1791. 

Parliament of Great Britain

[[Category:British MPs 1774


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