Sarah Villiers, Countess of Jersey

The First Quadrille at Almack's, an illustration featuring Lady Jersey, second from left
Her daughter, Lady Clementina Child-Villiers, by Franz Xaver Winterhalter

Sarah Sophia Child Villiers, Countess of Jersey (4 March 1785 – 26 January 1867), was an English noblewoman, the daughter of John Fane, 10th Earl of Westmorland and Sarah Anne Child. Her mother was the only child of Robert Child, the principal shareholder in the banking firm Child & Co. Under the terms of his will, the Countess of Jersey was the primary legatee, and she not only inherited Osterley Park but became senior partner of the bank. Her husband, George Villiers, added the surname Child by royal licence.

Lady Jersey married George Child Villiers, 5th Earl of Jersey on 23 May 1804, in the drawing room of her house in Berkeley Square. Her husband's mother, Frances Villiers, Countess of Jersey (also Lady Jersey), was one of the more notorious mistresses of King George IV when he was Prince of Wales. Her sister Maria married John Ponsonby, Viscount Duncannon, later the 4th Earl of Bessborough, a brother of Lady Caroline Lamb.

Lady Jersey was one of the patronesses of Almack's and a leader of the ton during the Regency era. She was immortalized as Zenobia in Disraeli's novel Endymion. Lady Jersey was known, ironically, by the nickname Silence.[citation needed]

She died at No. 38, Berkeley Square, Middlesex now London.


Lady Jersey had seven children by George Child Villiers:

  • George Child Villiers, 6th Earl of Jersey (1808–59)
  • The Honourable Augustus John Villiers (1810–47), married Georgiana Elphinstone, daughter of George Elphinstone, 1st Viscount Keith.
  • The Honourable Frederick William Child Villiers (1815–71), married Elizabeth Maria van Reede, daughter of the 7th or 8th Earl of Athlone.
  • The Honourable Francis John Robert Child Villiers (1819–62).
  • Lady Sarah Frederica Caroline Child Villiers (1822–1853), married Nicholas Paul Carl (Miklós Pál), 9th Prince Esterházy (1817–94).
  • Lady Clementina Augusta Wellington Child Villiers (1824–58).
  • Lady Adela Corisande Maria Child Villiers (1828–60), married Lt.-Col. Charles Parke Ibbetson.

She outlived not only her husband, but six of her seven children.

External links

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