Frederick Augustus Hervey

Frederick Augustus Hervey

British aristocrat and bishop
Date of Birth: 01.08.1730
Country: Great Britain

Biography of Frederick Augustus Hervey

Frederick Augustus Hervey, also known as The Earl-Bishop, was a British aristocrat and church official, and a member of the Privy Council of Ireland. He served as Bishop of Cloyne from 1767 to 1768, and Bishop of Derry from 1768 to 1803. Born on August 1, 1730, Hervey received his education at Westminster School and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, earning a master's degree in 1754. Choosing a religious career, he became a chaplain to the king and spent some time in Italy, where he developed a keen interest in art.

Frederick Augustus Hervey

In February 1767, when his older brother, the 2nd Earl of Bristol, became the Viceroy of Ireland, Hervey took over as the Bishop of Cloyne. A year later, he was transferred to the much wealthier Bishopric of Derry. In 1779, Hervey inherited the title of Earl of Bristol from his brother, as well as the family estate of Ickworth in Suffolk, along with other significant properties, despite his brother's will. He embarked on the renovation of his country house in Ickworth in 1795, which remains unfinished at the time of his death in 1803. The completion of the project was left to his successor. In 1799, he also inherited the Elizabethan title of Baron Howard de Walden from a distant relative.

Contemporaries had mixed opinions about his character, considering him intelligent and cultured but also immoral and eccentric. Hervey was a passionate collector of art and openly professed materialistic views, identifying himself as an agnostic. He was infatuated with Countess Lichtenau, the mistress of Frederick William II of Prussia, and his unconventional style of dressing gave people reason to say, "When God created mankind, He created men, women, and Hervey." In Derry, he established himself as a hardworking and active bishop, as well as an enthusiastic philanthropist, but he could be cruel in mocking his subordinates. Despite indulging in luxury, Hervey spent considerable money on road construction and supported agriculture, sharing his generosity with the town of Derry. He built luxurious residences for himself, where he enjoyed rare works of art. King George III once referred to him as a "sinful prelate."

The Earl-Bishop advocated for full religious equality and opposed the tithing system. He occasionally left Ireland to travel to Italy and indulge in art, but upon his return in 1782, he enthusiastically joined the Irish Volunteer movement, quickly rising to a high position among the volunteers. In November 1783, he attended the state convention in Dublin. Driven by his position and growing popularity, Hervey began to speak about rebellion, leading to his arrest by the government. Afterward, he refrained from participating in politics and spent most of his later years in Europe. However, in 1798, he found himself imprisoned in Milan on suspicion of espionage, where he remained for a year and a half.

Hervey died on July 8, 1803, in Albano and was buried in Ickworth. The title of the 5th Earl of Bristol and the family estate passed to his younger son, Frederick Hervey, 1st Marquess of Bristol. In 1752, Lord Bristol married Elizabeth Davers, daughter of Sir Jermyn Davers, 4th Baronet, and sister and heiress of Sir Charles Davers, 5th Baronet, who died at a young age. They had four sons and three daughters. One of their daughters was Elizabeth Christiana Hervey, better known as the mistress and second wife of William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire.