Our History

The Marquess of Londonderry

World war one


In 1821, as a consequence of failing health and increasing financial problems, Sir Ralph Milbanke sold Seaham Hall estate to soldier, politician and Irish born nobleman Charles Vane, Baron Stewart for £63,000. Having married the impossibly wealthy heiress Lady Frances Ann Vane-Tempest in 1819, Charles Stewart (as he was then), second son of the 1st Marquess of Londonderry, took the surname Vane by royal licence and used his bride’s immense fortune to acquire the estate with a view to developing the surrounding coalfields.

He quickly added a large northern wing to the house, containing kitchens and servants’ apartments, and also financed the building of the harbour at Seaham, hoping to rival the nearby port of Sunderland. In 1822 he succeeded his brother and became the 3rd Marquess of Londonderry.