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Hanbury Williams, Sir Charles

HANBURY WILLIAMS, SIR CHARLES (1708-1759), English diplomatist and author, was a son of Major John Hanbury (1664-1734), of Pontypool, Monmouthshire, and a scion of an ancient Worcestershire family. His great-great-great-grand- father, Capel Hanbury, bought property at Pontypool and began the family iron- works therein 1565. His father John Hanbury was a wealthy iron-master and member of parliament, who inherited another fortune from his friend Charles Williams of Caerleon, his son's godfather, with which he bought the Coldbrook estate, Monmouthshire. Charles accordingly took the name of Williams in 1729. He went to Eton, and there made friends with Henry Fielding, the novelist, and, after marrying in 1732 the heiress of Earl Coningsby, was elected M.P. for Monmouthshire (1734-1747) and subsequently for Leominster (1754-1759). He became known as one of the prominent gallants and wits about town, and following Pope he wrote a great deal of satirical light verse, including Isabella, or the Morning (1740), satires on Ruth Darlington and Pulleney (1741-1742), The Country Girl (1742), Lessons for the Day (1742), Letter to Mr Dodsley (1743), etc. A collection of his poems was published in 1763 and of his Works in 1822. In 1746 he was sent on a diplomatic mission to Dresden, which led to further employment in this capacity; and through Henry Fox's influence he was sent as envoy to Berlin (1750), Dresden (1751), Vienna (1753), Dresden (1754) and St Petersburg (1755-i?57); in the latter case he was the instrument for a plan for the alliance between England, Russia and Austria, which finally broke down, to his embarrassment. He returned to England, and committed suicide on the 2nd of November 1759, being buried in Westminster Abbey. He had two daughters, the elder of whom married William Capel, 4th earl of Essex, and was the mother of the sth earl. The Coldbrook estates went to Charles's brother, George Hanbury- Williams, to whose heirs it descended.

See William Coxe's Historical Tour in Monmouthshire (1801), and T. Seccombe's article in the Diet. Nat. Biog. with bibliography.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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