The Marquess Of Rockingham


  • Richest of the Rich position: 160
  • Birth/Death: 1730-1782
  • Origin of wealth: Land
  • Wealth: £750,000
  • Net National Income: £195m
  • Net National Income Percent: 0.38%
  • In Today’s Money: £4.217 billion

The Marquess of Rockingham was a great landowner in Yorkshire and Ireland who ran his estates wisely to the point where he was able to garner an annual income from them of £24,000 in 1761. An active parliamentarian, who spent his early career promoting the interests of Yorkshire wool growers, Rockingham was also a keen follower of the turf and a member of the newly formed Jockey Club.

He inherited his estates and title in 1750, when his father died. At 35, he became First Lord of the Treasury, i.e. Prime Minister, where he was regarded as a man of honour and integrity. But he was too inexperienced to keep power in what was dubbed ‘an administration of boys’ by George II. In 1766, his administration fell. But he returned to office in 1782, with a stronger hand to negotiate American Independence, which he had long advocated.

But he had been in office a bare three months when he died of influenza at 52. His estates were worth at least £750,000, equivalent to around 0.38% of the £195m net national income of the day. Today’s equivalent would be around £4.2bn.

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