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General Charles FitzRoy, 1st Baron Southampton: unexecuted designs for a house, 1774 (13)

1774
Charles FitzRoy (1737-97) was the second surviving son of Lord Augustus FitzRoy, and the younger brother of the 3rd Duke of Grafton. He was a military officer from 1752, attaining the rank of General in 1793. During the Seven Years War he served for three years in Germany as aide-de-camp to Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick. He also served as a groom of the bedchamber in 1760-62; vice-chamberlain to the Queen in 1768-82; groom of the stole to the Prince of Wales in 1780-97, and as MP for Orford in 1759-61, Bury St Edmunds in 1761-74, and Thetford in 1774-80. He was created Baron Southampton in 1780. In 1758 he married Anne Warren (d1807) the daughter of Admiral Sir Peter Warren MP of Warrenstown, County Meath, with whom he had sixteen children, including their eldest son, George Fitzroy, 2nd Baron Southampton.

As evidenced by the surviving drawings within the Soane Museum, FitzRoy commissioned Robert Adam to make designs for an end of terrace house and its interior in 1774. The location of this house is unknown, and Adam’s designs are not thought to have been executed. One of the drawings for the house (Adam volume 45/10) was later inscribed as ‘near Southampton’ by William Adam, but according to King, the Southampton city archives have no record of such a house or such a client. It is suggested here, therefore, that this location may have been an accidental conflation by William Adam of FitzRoy’s title and house. King again notes that according to the Westminster City archives, FitzRoy lived on Grafton Street, although this house is unknown, and he died in 1797 in another townhouse in his possession on Stanhope Street. Further to this, FitzRoy was in possession of a property in Highgate, inherited from his mother in 1768, and known as Fitzroy Farm. An unknown building which came to be called Fitzroy House, on a piece of land neighbouring Fitzroy Farm, was purchased by FitzRoy, but not until 1782, and cannot therefore, be related to Adam’s designs.

Literature:
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 29, 71; T.F.T. Baker, and C.R. Elrington (eds), ‘Hornsey, including Highgate: Highgate’, A history of the county of Middlesex, Volume 6, 1980, pp. 122-135; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume II, p. 134; ‘FitzRoy, Hon. Charles (1737-97), of Highgate, Mdx.’, History of Parliament online; ‘FitzRoy, Charles, first Baron Southampton (1737-1797)’, Oxford dictionary of national biography online

Frances Sands, 2014
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