John Ligonier, 1st Earl Ligonier

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John Ligonier, 1st Earl Ligonier

John Ligonier, 1st Earl Ligonier (born November 7, 1680 in Castres , † April 28, 1770 in London ) was a French-born British field marshal who, as commander in chief of the armed forces, exercised extensive control over Britain's army, later he was a member of the ministry Pitt-Newcastle, who led Great Britain during the Seven Years War .


He was a descendant of a Huguenot family from Castres in southern France who emigrated to England in 1697. Son of Louis de Ligonier, Sieur de Monteuquet, and Louise Ligonier (nee du Poncet). His younger brother Francis (1683–1746) became a colonel and was also an excellent soldier.

Early military career

John Ligonier was trained in France and Switzerland. He joined an English regiment under John Cutts, 1st Baron Cutts in Flanders in 1702 and fought with distinction in the War of the Spanish Succession . He was one of the first to penetrate the fortress during the siege of Liege in October 1702 . On February 10, 1703 he commanded a company in the army of the Earl of Marlborough at the Battle of Schellenberg (July 1704) and at Blenheim (August 1704). He took part under Marlborough in the battle of Oudenaarde (July 1708) and Malplaquet (September 1709). In 1712 he became governor of Fort Philip in Menorca . During the Four Alliance War in 1719 he was adjutant general of the troops of the Vigo expedition, where he led the attack on Pontevedra . Two years later he became a colonel in the Black Horse Regiment. In 1735 he was promoted to brigadier general. In 1739 he became major general, governor of Kinsale and proprietor of the Irish Buckhounds.

Ligonier accompanied Lord Stair from 1742 to 1743 on the Rhine campaign. On February 26, 1742 he was promoted to lieutenant general. On July 12, 1743, after the Battle of Dettingen , George II made him Knight Companion of the Order of Bath . In the battle of Fontenoy in May 1745 he commanded the British, Hanoverian and Hessian infantry. During the Jacobite Revolt of 1745, he was called home to command the British Army in the Scottish Midlands . In November 1745 he led a corps to Lancashire to fight the rebels. After he was promoted to the rank of major general on January 3, 1746 , he was placed at the head of the British and Allied armies in the Netherlands in June 1746 . He took part in the Battle of Rocoeux in October 1746 and after being promoted to Lieutenant General on March 19, 1747, he fought in July 1747 in the Battle of Lauffeldt , where he was in command of the British cavalry . During this meeting his horse was killed and he was captured by the French, but replaced within a few days. A few days later he was introduced as a mediator in the peace negotiations in Aachen .

On his return he was appointed Member of Parliament in Bath on March 25, 1748, but without being offered a candidacy. He became Lieutenant General of Ordinance; In 1749 he was appointed Colonel of the 2nd Guards Dragoons body regiment "The Queens". Until 1770 he also served as governor of the French Protestant hospital in St. Luke's, London, to which he was elected in 1748 after the death of the founder Jacques Gaultier.

On April 6, 1750 he was appointed governor of Guernsey and on February 3, 1753 he was entrusted with the command of the Royal Horse Guards.

Promotion to field marshal

In 1756, Ligonier was ousted by a political intrigue in favor of Charles Spencer , the second Duke of Marlborough to become major general. Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland was believed to be involved in this vicious transaction. King George II already consulted Ligonier on military matters more and more to the disadvantage of Commander-in-Chief Cumberland, and this is said to have supported Ligonier's removal. After the Duke of Cumberland signed the shameful convention of Kloster Zeven in September 1757 , Ligonier was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the British Land Forces as his successor . He worked closely with the Pitt-Newcastle Ministry, which sought its advice in connection with the ongoing Seven Years War operations. Ligonier was promoted to chief of the 1st Guard Regiment on December 3, 1757 and field marshal on December 10, 1757 . In the event of a French invasion expected in 1759, he would nominally have command of all British forces. In the same year he exchanged this title as General of Ordnance.

On December 31, 1757 he was awarded the hereditary title of Viscount Ligonier , of Enniskillen , in the Peerage of Ireland . Since he remained unmarried, he was awarded the further title Viscount Ligonier , of Clonmell, in the Peerage of Ireland on May 20, 1762 , this time with the special addition that the title was also given to his nephew Edward Ligonier (1740 –1782) and his male descendants are inheritable. In addition, he was in the Peerage of Great Britain on April 27, 1763 the title of Baron Ligonier , of Ripley in the County of Surrey and on September 10, 1766 the title of Earl Ligonier , both without special inheritance regulation.

He spent his later years on his estate at Cobham Park near Cobham , Surrey, which he had acquired around 1750. Ligonier died on April 28, 1770 and was buried in Cobham Church. In his honor, a memorial was donated by John Francis Moore in Westminster Abbey . With his death, all of his nobility titles were extinguished, except for the Viscountcy of 1762, which his nephew inherited.


Individual evidence

  1. ^ William Arthur Shaw: The Knights of England. Volume 1, Sherratt and Hughes, London 1906, p. 169.
  2. Peerage: LIGONIER at Leigh Rayment's Peerage
predecessor title successor
New title created Viscount Ligonier (of Enniskillen)
Title expired
New title created Viscount Ligonier (of Clonmell)
Edward Ligonier
New title created Baron Ligonier
Title expired
New title created Earl Ligonier
Title expired