A souvenir booklet produced in 1923 describing the Londonderry family and their home Seaham Hall

Edward Charles Stewart Robert, Viscount Castlereagh, whose majority is “being celebrated in December, was born on November 18th, 1902, at London, and at his christening King Edward VII acted as sponsor. The ceremony took place in the Chapel Royal, St. James’, the baptismal rite being performed by the Rev. Angus Bethune, the late Vicar of Seaham. He was educated at Eton and Oxford, and succeeded to the title in 1915, when his father, the present Lord Londonderry, took the higher title, on the lamented death of the late Marquess.

The coming of age celebrations will coincide with the cutting of the sod of the new coal winning to the North of the town, in connection with which preparations have been in progress for some months.
History is repeating itself in a remarkable way, for when the present Lord Londonderry came of age, the first sods of Dawdon Colliery were cut by his lordship, and by his mother, the late Dowager Marchioness, while the foundation stone of the new South Dock and the coping stone of the new North Pier were laid the same day by the present Lord Londonderry and Sir Michael Hicks Beach, Chancellor of the Exchequer, afterwards Lord St. Aldwyn. The date was Saturday, August 26th, 1899.




Lord Castlereagh is truly the scion of a noble house—one of the noblest undoubtedly in the United Kingdom—and a historic sketch of the family to which he belongs will probably be read with special interest at the present time. Such a sketch must necessarily be a history of two families, the Tempests and the Stewarts, for from both, the house of Londonderry traces its descent, and it may be remembered that the late marquess in 1885 was granted permission by Royal license for himself and his issue to resume the family surname of Stewart in addition to and after the surnames of Vane-Tempest, and to quarter the arms of Vane-Tempest with the family arms of Stewart.

The Tempests are a very ancient family, and it is pointed out in Burke’s “Peerage and Baronetage,” that a pedigree of full twenty-four descents, a great territorial inheritance, and a name interwoven with the historic events of the counties of York and Durham combine to entitle them to a very high place in the roll of the nobility of England. At an early period the Tempests separated into several distinct branches, of which the chief were those of Bracewell, Tong, and Broughton, in the County of York, and of Holmside, Stella, and Wynyard, in the County of Durham. The head of the family in the time of Henry V. was Sir Piers Tempest, of Bracewell, who served under that monarch at the battle of Agincourt. Rowland Tempest, of Newcastle, third son of Thomas Tempest, of Stanley, and brother of Sir Nicholas Tempest, the first baronet of Stella, married Barbara, daughter of Thomas Calverley, and sister of Sir John Calverley, of Littlebourne, County Palatine of Durham. His eldest son was Sir Thomas Tempest, of The Isle, County Palatine of Durham, a barrister-at-law, who was in 1640 appointed Attorney-General for Ireland.

He married another member of the Tempest family, Eleanor, daughter of William Tempest, fourth son of Thomas Tempest, of Holmside, Yorkshire, and by her had a son, John, who was nominated a Knight of the Royal Oak in 1661, and was M.P. for the County of Durham from 1675 to 1678. His wife was Elizabeth, only daughter and heir of John Heath, of Old Durham, and his eldest son was William Tempest, who was M.P. for the City of Durham 1678-80-89, and is called “Colonel” Tempest in 1694.

He married Elizabeth, sister of Sir John Sudbury, Bart., of Eldon, Durham, and niece of the Very Rev. John Sudbury, D.D., Dean of Durham, and was blessed with a family of six sons and six daughters. The eldest son, John, became, like his father before him, the parliamentary representative of the City of Durham, and married Jane, daughter and sole heir of Richard Wharton, of Durham. His son and successor, John, described as of Sherborne, County Durham, was M.P. for the city of Durham, 1741-47-54, and again in 1761, and his wife was Frances, a daughter of one of the Shuttleworths, of Forcer, in Yorkshire, and of Gawthorpe, in Lincolnshire—an ancient family, from which is descended Sir Ughtred James Kay Shuttleworth, Bart., M.P., of Gawthorpe Hall, Lancashire.

The daughter of this John Tempest, Frances, married in 1768 Rev. Sir Henry Vane, Bart., of Long Newton, Durham, prebendary of Durham Cathedral. Her brother John, described as of Wynyard and Brancepeth Castle, in due time succeeded his father, both in the possession of the family estates and in the representation of the City of Durham, for which he was M.P. in 1763-74-80-84 and in 1790.

He married Annie, daughter of Joseph Townsend, of Honnington Hall, Warwickshire, by whom he had an only son, John Wharton, who died unmarried in his father’s lifetime. In August, 1794, John Tempest died, leaving no surviving issue, and having devised his great estates to his heir-at-law and nephew, Sir Henry Vane-Tempest, Bart., of Long Newton (only son and heir of Rev. Sir Henry Vane, Bart., already mentioned), who was born in January, 1771, and who assumed the name and arms of Tempest in accordance with the will of John Tempest, whom he succeeded.

He married in April, 1799, Lady Anne Katherine MacDonnell, eldest daughter of Randal William, first Marquess and sixth Earl of Antrim, who became on her father’s death Countess of Antrim in her own right. She died in June, 1834, when the title passed to her sister, Lady Charlotte Kerr, in accordance with the limitations contained in the patent creating the dignity, dated 2nd May, 1785. Sir Henry Vane-Tempest, who was M.P. for Durham, died on the 1st August, 1831, leaving by the Countess an only daughter and heiress, Lady Frances Anne Emily Vane-Tempest, who married in 1819, as second wife, Charles William, third Marquess of Londonderry, K.G., who thereupon assumed the name and arms of Vane, and was created by patent, dated 28th March, 1823, Viscount Seaham, of Seaham, County Durham, and Earl Vane, with special remainder to the male issue of his second marriage. Their son and heir was the fifth Marquess of Londonderry.
But before proceeding further it will be well to glance at the history of the Stewart family from which the house of Londonderry also traces its descent. The Stewarts of Wigtownshire occupy an honoured position in Scottish history. Several members of the family held the rank of High Stewards of Scotland; one of them ascended the Scottish throne in 1371. Sir Alexander Stewart was raised to the Peerage by James the First, with the titles of Baron of Garlies and Earl of Galloway. John Stewart descended from Sir Thomas Stewart, of Minto (ancestor of the Lord Blantyre), settled in Ireland in the reign of James the First, who granted to his kinsman, the Duke of Lennox, and to his relations that large tract of land in County Donegal, lying between Lough Foyle and Lough Swilly, which had been forfeited.

The territory was divided into eight manors, two of which were given to the Duke, and a third, named Stewart’s Court, otherwise Ballylawn, with the territory and precincts of Bally reach, to John Stewart, a relative of the Duke, which manor and lands annexed descended in regular succession to Robert, first Marquess of Londonderry. On this manor the said John Stewart erected the castle Ballylawn. A descendant of his was Alexander Stewart, of Mount Stewart, County Down, who was born in 1699, and became M.P. for Londonderry. He married, in June, 1737, Mary only surviving daughter of Alderman John Cowan, of Londonderry, and sister and heiress of Sir Robert Cowan, Governor of Bombay. His eldest son, Robert—described as of Ballylawn Castle, County Donegal, and of Mount Stewart, County Down—became M.P. for the latter county, and in September, 1789, was elevated to the Peerage of Ireland as Baron Londonderry. In October, 1795, his Lordship was created Viscount Castlereagh; in the following August he was made Earl of Londonderry, and in January, 1816, he became the first Marquess of Londonderry. He married in 1766, Sarah Frances, daughter of Francis, Marquess of Hertford, by whom he had a son, Robert, who succeeded him in the marquisate; and in 1775 he married as second wife Frances, daughter of Charles, first Earl Camden, by whom, amongst other children, he had one son, Charles William, afterwards third Marquess of Londonderry.

On the death of the first marquess, on the 8th April, 1821, he was succeeded by the son of his first marriage, Robert, who was born on the 18th July, 1769, and who was better known as Viscount Castlereagh. He was a statesman of consummate ability. The part he played in connection with the securing of the Legislative Union between Great Britain and Ireland is a matter of history, and he filled many high Ministerial offices with great distinction, especially when Secretary for Foreign Affairs during the latter years of the French war and at the Congress of Vienna. He married in 1794, Emily Anne, youngest daughter and co-heir of John, second Earl of Buckinghamshire, but had no issue. On his death at North Cray, on the 12th August, 1822, he was succeeded by his half brother, Charles William, who was born on the 18th May, 1778, and who had been elevated to the peerage of the United Kingdom as Baron Stewart, of Stewarts’ Court and Ballylawn, in July 1814.

His Lordship married, first, in August, 1804, Catherine, youngest daughter of John, third Earl of Darnley, and by her Ladyship (who was a descendant of the illustrious Scottish house of Stewart, of Darnley and Lennox) had a son, Frederick William Robert, afterwards fourth marquess; and, secondly, in April, 1819, Frances Anne, only daughter and heiress of Sir Harry Vane-Tempest, Bart., of Wynyard and Long Newton. County Durham, by whom he had, among other children, George Henry Robert Charles William, who became the fifth marquess. The third marquess was a distinguished soldier and diplomatist, was one of the ablest companions in-arms of the Duke of Wellington during the Peninsular War, and was no less efficient when attached to the armies of the Allies in 1813 and 1814, and as Ambassador at Vienna.
He was a general officer in the army, colonel of the 2nd Life Guards, Lord Lieutenant of the County of Durham, and Custos Rotulorum of the Counties of Londonderry and Down. In July, 1823, he was created Earl Vane, with remainder to the male issue of his second marriage. He died on the 6th March, 1854, and the earldom of Vane and the Viscountcy of Seaham thereupon passe 1 to his second son (afterwards fifth marquess), while the Irish honours and the Barony of Stewart came to his eldest son, Frederick William Robert, the fourth marquess. This peer was born on the 7th July, 1805, and became a Knight of St. Patrick, a Privy Councillor, colonel of the Down Militia, and Lord Lieutenant of the County Down, which county he at one time represented in Parliament. He married, in April, 1846,
Elizabeth Frances Charlotte, daughter of Robert, third   Earl of Roden, K.P., and widow of Richard, sixth Viscount Powers court, but died sine prole in November. 1872, and was succeeded by his half-brother, George Henry Robert Charles William, who, as already stated, had previously succeeded his father in the Earldom of Vane. The fifth marquess, who was born on the 25th April, 1821, assumed by Royal license in 1851 the additional name of Tempest. In July, 1867, he went on a special mission to St. Petersburg to invest the Emperor of Russia with the Order of the Garter, and on that occasion the Czar conferred on him the Grand Cross of the Russian Order of St. Alexander Newski. He was also a Knight of St. Patrick, and he was Lord Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum of County Durham, colonel of the 4th Battalion Durham Light Infantry, and Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant of the Seaham Artillery Volunteer Brigade. He married in August, 1846, Mary Cornelia, only daughter and heiress of Sir John Edwards, Bart., of Garth, County Montgomery, and had three sons and three daughters. On his death, on the 6th November, 1884, he was succeeded by his eldest son, Charles Stewart Vane-Tempest-Stewart, the sixth marquess, who was born on the 16th July, 1852.


The late Lord Londonderry, who died in 1915, was educated at Eton and at Christ Church, Oxford, and in 1887 he was made an hon. L.L.D. of Dublin University. He married in October, 1875, Lady Theresa Susey Helen Chetwynd-Talbot, eldest daughter of the 19th Earl of Shrewsbury, and had two sons and one daughter. He was M.P. for County Down. From 1886 to 1889 he was Viceroy of Ireland. Chairman of the London School Board from 1895 to 1898. He became a Privy Councillor in 1886, and a member of the Irish Privy Council in 1892. Chosen as an Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty Queen Victoria in 1897, and in 1888 he was installed a Knight of the Garter. He was a J.P., and D.L. of the County of Durham, and a D.L. for Montgomeryshire. He was Colonel Commandant of the 2nd Durham (Seaham) Volunteer Artillery, and Hon. Colonel of the 4th Battalion Durham Light Infantry. On his death in 1915, he was succeeded by his eldest son Charles William, the seventh and present Marquess, who was born on May 17th, 1878.


He was educated at the Rev.T. Cameron’s School at Mortimer, and Eton College. From Eton he passed into the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, being gazetted into the Royal Horse Guards (Blue) in 1897.

In his enthusiasm for the profession of arms Lord Londonderry resembles his great-grandfather, the third Marquess, who fought with the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsula, and who retired from the Army as Colonel of the 10th Hussars. Previous to going to Sandhurst he was Commandant of the Londonderry Schools Battalion and second lieutenant in the 2nd Durham (Seaham) Volunteer Artillery. When at Sandhurst he won the riding prize and the military cup.

His lordship was elected M.P. for Maidstone in 1906 and sat until he went to the House of Lords in 1915. When the war broke out he proceeded to France in 1914 and up to 1915 was on the staff of General Pulteney as A.D.C., and was mentioned in despatches. From 1915 to 1917 he served with his regiment, of which he was Major and Brevet Lieut.-Colonel.

Lord Londonderry is Hon. Colonel R.F.A., T.F., a battalion of Irish Rifles, and a battalion of the Durham Light Infantry; Lieutenant of County Down, President of Chelsea Hospital for women, and patron of seven livings. He was made M.V.O. in 1903.

His lordship, like his forefathers, has always been keenly interested in the affairs of state, both in Great Britain and Ireland. He was Finance Member of the Air Council, 1919, and Under-Secretary of State for Air and Vice-President of the Air Council from April, 1920, to July, 1921. He was appointed First Minister of Education in the Ulster Parliament, and a member of the Senate of North Ireland in June, 1921; P.C. (Ireland), 1918; K.G., 1919; and P.C. (North Ireland), 1922. He married in 1899 the Hon. Dame Edith Helen Chaplin, D.B.E., daughter of the late Viscount Chaplin. Besides their only son, Lord Castlereagh, Lord and Lady Londonderry have four daughters, namely, Lady Maureen, who married the Hon. Oliver Stanley, M.C., son of the Earl of Derby; Lady Margaret Frances Anne, Lady Helen Maglona and Lady Mary Elizabeth. His Lordship’s only sister is the wife of the Earl of Ilchester.

Lord Londonderry has always taken the greatest interest in his industrial undertakings in the Seaham district, and in this he is worthily following in the footsteps of his father. The late Lord Londonderry’s greatest commercial undertaking was the sinking of Dawdon Colliery. The present Lord Londonderry, in deciding to sink the new pit on the north side of the town is showing the same spirit of enterprise as has always characterised the Londonderry family since the foundation of the town and port, and the venture is sure to bring great prosperity to Seaham.

The following is a description of the armorial bearings of the Londonderry family:—Arms.—Quarterly: first and fourth, or a bend compony, argent and azure, between two lions rampant, gules, for Stewart; second, argent, a bend engrailed, between six martlets, three and three, sable, for Tempest; third, azure, three sinister gauntlets, or, for Vane. Crests.—First (Tempest), a griffin’s head erased, per pale, argent and sable, beaked gules; second (Stewart), a dragon statant, or ; third (Vane), an arm in armour, holding a sword proper, hilt and pommel or. Supporters.—Dexter, a Moor, wreathed about the temples argent and azure, holding in the exterior hand a shield of the last, garnished or charged with the sun in splendour, gold; sinister, a lion or, gorged with a collar, sable, charged with three mullets argent. The motto is “Metuenda corolla draconis”—”Fear the dragon’s crest.”

The titles held by the head of the family are: Marquess of Londonderry, Earl of Londonderry, Viscount Castlereagh and Baron Londonderry, in the peerage of Ireland; Earl Vane (by which title he sits in the House of Lords), Viscount Seaham of Seaham and Wynyard (Co. Durham), and Baron Stewart of Stewart’s Court and Ballylawn, in the peerage of the United Kingdom. The various creations date as follows:—Irish titles—Baron, 20th September, 1789; viscount, 1st October, 1795; earl, 8th August, 1796; and marquess, 13th January, 1816. United Kingdom—Baron, 1st July, 1814; Earl Vane and Viscount Seaham, 8th July, 1823.


Seaham Hall is now closed, but the grounds are still open to the public. The mansion stands on the north slope of a small but exquisitely beautiful dene, within a few hundred yards of the sea. It was formerly the seat of the Milbankes, of Halnaby, and was purchased by the third Marquess of Londonderry shortly after bis marriage with the heiress of Sir Harry Vane-Tempest. The Marquess’ object was primarily to secure a suitable outlet for the produce of his collieries in this county, which came to him by this marriage, and it is said to have been the advice of the famous engineer, John Buddie, which influenced his lordship in fixing upon Seaham Harbour for the purpose.

The founding of this town and port took place on November 28th, 1828, when the foundation stone of the harbour was laid by the third Marquess of Londonderry in the presence of a large concourse of spectators. On the same day Viscount Seaham laid the foundation stone of the first house of Seaham. The undertaking was one of unusual difficulty, but his lordship was not one to be lightly turned from the task he had undertaken, and the fact that in the month of July, 1831, the first cargo of coals was shipped at this port, goes to prove with how much energy and skill the work had been carried out. The ship—a brig named the Lord Seaham— was towed out amidst the cheering of the inhabitants and the firing of cannon. Throughout the remainder of his life Lord Londonderry lost no chance of developing the town and its resources, and one of his last projects was the construction of a passenger line, which he did not live to see completed.

The associations of Seaham Hall are interesting, in so far as they are connected with the courtship and marriage of the great poet, Lord Byron. Anna Isabella, who became Lady Byron, was the daughter of Sir Ralph Milbanke, of Halnaby and Seaham. The marriage was solemnized at Seaham on January 2nd, 1815, and the register of the marriage is still preserved, signed by the bride and bridegroom, the then Vicar of Seaham, the Rev. Richard Wallis, and by J. C. Hobhouse, the friend of the poet. A pretty retired walk in the dene is still known as ” Lord Byron’s Walk.”

Royalty has at various times visited Seaham as the guests of the Londonderry family. So long ago as 1842 the Duke of Cambridge visited this town as the guest of the third Lord Londonderry, on the occasion of the birthday festivities of Lord Seaham, afterwards fifth Marquess of Londonderry. His Royal Highness was conducted over the docks and harbour works, and the visit created much stir in the neighbourhood. In the year 1859 the Duc d’Aumale, one of the Orleanist Princes of France, visited Seaham Harbour, and in 1862 the Comte de Paris and the Duc de Chartres, members of the same Royal house, visited the town, accompanied by Prince Michael Gortchakoff and other distinguished personages. On this occasion a parade of volunteers took place, and the volunteer drill hall (Vane Hall), which had just been completed, was inspected.

On January 15th, 1868, the town was gaily decorated, and there was considerable rejoicing on the occasion of the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Teck, who were accompanied by many other notabilities. Two years later the town was visited by Prince and Princess Christian. The Duke of Edinburgh, in his capacity of Inspector of Coastguard, paid an official visit to Seaham on November 17th, 1880, and on the 1st of February, 1884, his Royal Highness, the late Duke of Albany, visited the town, and was received at the railway station by a guard of honour composed of men of the 2nd D.A. Volunteers. The visit of their Royal Highnesses, the Prince and Princess of Wales, on November 1st, 1890, was an historic event in the annals of the town. Later, in 1896, the Duke of Cambridge visited Seaham Harbour as a guest of Lord Londonderry, and inspected his lordship’s fine regiment—the 2nd Durham—and also the ” Londonderry ” Schools Battalion. In 1898 His Royal Highness was again a visitor at Seaham Hall, and was present with the late Marchioness of Londonderry at the Inspection of the 2nd Durham (Seaham) Volunteer Artillery.