DISBROWE, Edward (1754-1818), of New Windsor, Berks. and Walton-upon-Trent, Derbys.
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Family and Education
b. 30 Jan. 1754, o.s. of George Disbrowe of Isleworth, Mdx. and Walton by Margaret, da. of Arthur Vaughan of Trederwen, Mont. educ. Pembroke, Oxf. 1770. m. 23 May 1789, Charlotte, da. of Hon. George Hobart† (afterwards 3rd Earl of Buckinghamshire), 3s. 3da.
Vice-chamberlain to Queen Charlotte 1801-18; registrar in Chancery Barbados 1802-d.
Maj. Staffs. militia 1790, 1798, lt.-col. 1803-12.
Gov. St. Katharine’s hosp. London 1801-d.
Disbrowe, a descendant of General John Disbrowe and his wife Jane Cromwell, sister of the Protector, was reckoned by contemporary observers to have been a ‘rank democrat’ and ‘great Foxite’ in his youth. Certainly the Townshends and Windham were among his close acquaintances in the period after the fall of the Coalition. He was said to have formed a relationship of mutual affection with the King in 1798, while serving at Windsor with the Staffordshire militia, and was appointed vice-chamberlain to Queen Charlotte in 1801. He evidently considered retirement in 1804, to the distress of the slowly recovering King, but in the event he stayed in the Household and remained a ‘great favourite’ with the royal couple and their daughters. In 1802 Disbrowe, whose large family was ‘inadequately provided for’, was furnished by his brother-in-law Lord Hobart, Addington’s colonial secretary, with a West Indian sinecure, the duties of which were executed by deputy, while Disbrowe himself took all the profits in excess of £200 per annum.1
Disbrowe was returned for Windsor on the court interest at the contested election of 1806 and retained the seat undisturbed at the next three general elections. There was a minor stir, 12 Mar. 1807, when ‘his coming up the House amongst the members of the minority’ during the division on the mutiny bill gave the false impression that he had voted against government, but it turned out that he had in fact voted with them.2 Throughout his career Disbrowe was a thoroughly dependable, though silent supporter of the government of the day and, to judge by the frequency of his appearances on the ministerial side in divisions, an assiduous attender. He consistently opposed Catholic relief.
Disbrowe, who was the first to inform ministers of the King’s approaching derangement in 1810, was a popular figure. Glenbervie described him as a man ‘of cheerful agreeable manner and pleasantry, and of excellent character’ and Edward John Littleton recalled him as ‘a most humorous, agreeable and gentlemanlike person’.3 He died, less than two weeks after his royal mistress, 29 Nov. 1818.