Carolina Lords Proprietors

Henry Somerset, 3rd Duke of Beaufort


March 23, 1707 to February 26, 1745

Henry Somerset, 3rd Duke of Beaufort (March 23, 1707 - February 26, 1745) was the son of Henry Somerset, 2nd Duke of Beaufort and his second wife, Rachel Noel. As his father's eldest son and heir to his father's title he was known as (styled) Marquess of Worcester, a courtesy title. On his father's death on 24 April 1714 he succeeded him and became 3rd Duke of Beaufort. Upon his father's death, he and his brother, Charles Noel Somerset, inherited his father's share of Carolina. Since both were minors, this share was managed by Doddington Greville.

On behalf of Henry Somerset and Charles Noel Somerset, Doddington Greville sold their inherited share of Carolina to the Crown in 1728/1729.

Henry Somerset, 3rd Duke of Beaufort took his seat in the House of Lords in 1729, and in the same year he was elected as High Steward of the city of Hereford.

On 28 June 1729, Henry Somerset, 3rd Duke of Beaufort married Frances Scudamore, the only daughter and heir of James Scudamore, 3rd Viscount Scudamore and took his wife's name by an Act of Parliament later the same year. In 1742, he filed for divorce due to Frances's adulterous relationship with William Talbot, who later became Earl Talbot. Frances countersued, saying that Henry was impotent; in March 1743, he demonstrated before court-appointed examiners that he was physically able to have an erection. The divorce was granted, and he sued Talbot for damages. Frances later remarried to Charles FitzRoy-Scudamore. Henry had one illegitimate daughter, Margaret Burr, who married the painter Thomas Gainsborough.

After his death, Henry Somerset, 3rd Duke of Beaufort was buried at St Michael and All Angels Church, Badminton. Because he had no legitimate children, his titles and estates were inherited by his younger brother, Charles Noel Somerset, who became the 4th Duke of Beaufort.


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