There have been two eminent people who have taken the title Lord Farnborough upon being elevated to the Peerage.  The second (later) one did not have a local connection but took his title from Farnborough in Hampshire, see the panel to the right.

However the first Baron Farnborough, Charles Long, did have a strong local connection, although he was not born locally and did not actually live in Farnborough Village.  He had a distinguished political career, and was raised to the peerage in 1826. A full account of his life may be found on Wikipedia: Charles_Long,_1st_Baron_Farnborough

In 1793 Long married Amelia Hume, eldest daughter of the prominent art collector Sir Abraham Hume.  A watercolourist and garden designer, she completed her formal classical education with a visit to Italy, prior to her marriage. They purchased Bromley Hill, between the towns of Bromley and Beckenham, in 1801 and it was she who designed the celebrated Italianate grounds, which subsequently became the main source for her sketches.

He became Baron Farnborough in 1826, and died in 1838 about one year after Amelia. The estate continued intact until 1881, when the bulk of the land belonging to the house was sold for new housing.  The house itself survives, much modified, as the Bromley Court Hotel. The hotel website references the period during which the house was owned by Charles Long, see.Bromley Court Hotel

The Bromley Court Hotel, formerly Bromley Hill, the residence of Charles Long  

As he died without issue the title became extinct upon his death and was re-confered later in the century.  His title was therefore later clarified to be First Baron Farnborough; First Creation.

An Historical Account

This account was first published in 1883/4, republished 100 years later in 1984.

Bromley Hill, the name given to a mansion formerly belonging to the late Lord Farnborough and latterly the seat of Colonel Long, is situated at a short distance from the town, on the London road. The park, about 100 acres in extent is finely wooded, and the ornamental ground surrounding the house, which is party secluded by trees, are tastefully arranged. A broad terrace extends along the front of the mansion, and is connected by a long walk through the shrubbery with the gardens in the valley. In the grounds are springs and rivulets, bridged by rustic stone-work and stepping-stones, artistic summer-houses and pagodas, and velvety lawns adorned with the rarest of shrubs, and with miniature lakes. Bromley Hill has lately been sold, and the grounds are about to be cut up, and utilised for building purposes.

Lord Farnborough – better known, perhaps, by his former name of Sir Charles Long – was well known in the world of art, and one of the most accomplished and popular noblemen of his time. A native of Carshalton he was born in 1761, and he was for many years in Parliament, as member successively for Rye, Midhurst, Wendover, and Haslemere. Under Mr Pitt he held office as one of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, and he was later on appointed Secretary of State for Ireland, and subsequently nominated Paymaster General, a post which he held for some years. He was raised to the peerage in 1826, and he was for many years chairman of the committee for the inspection of national monuments, and also a trustee of the British and Hunterian Museums and of the National Gallery.

Lord Farnborough’s gallery of pictures was one of the most celebrated in the country. Along with Sir Robert Peel, he was one of the founders of the National Gallery, to which institution he bequeathed fifteen of his paintings, comprising specimens of the Dutch, Flemish and Italian schools. “Lord Farnborough,” writes his biographer in the Gentleman’s Magazine,
was a person of considerable taste and accomplishment, particularly in painting. Sir Benjamin Hobhouse, in some debate, called him the ‘Vitruvius of the present age.’ He printed a pamphlet; we believe for private circulation, on the projected improvements and alterations then proposed to be carried into effect in the metropolis. The title is ‘Remarks on the Improvements in London, 1826.’ He was also the author of a sketch of the character of Pitt, which he wrote for Gifford’s Life of that great statesman.  In the drawing-room at Bromley Hill is one of the last marble busts that Canova ever executed, and a beautiful statue of Flora, by Westmacott, is in the entrance-hall. He was held in much esteem by George III, and with his successor he was in habits of more familiar intercourse, and was consulted by him on all subjects connected with the improvement of the royal palaces and their internal decorations, and the purchase of pictures, &c.”

His beautiful domain at Bromley Hill, the creation of himself and his accomplished lady, was purchased by him towards the end of the last century, at which time it possessed nothing to distinguish it from the ordinary class of suburban villas, beyond the advantage of being in the close vicinity to the favourite retreat of Mr Pitt, Holwood Hill, in the parish of Keston. For nearly forty years Lord Farnborough found a delightful recreation in adorning and heightening its natural beauties. The little lodge on the Beckenham road is from a joint design of himself and Lady Farnborough. Lord Farnborough died in 1838, when his title became extinct. He lies buried at Wormley, Herts, by the side of his wife, who pre-deceased him about a twelvemonth. His property was divided among his nephews, the Bromley Hill estate falling to the lot of Colonel Long, of the Guards, who resided here till his death, in 1881. A portrait of Lord Farnborough, engraved by Picart from a drawing by H. Edridge, was published in 1810 in “Cadell’s Contemporary Portraits.” 

This is part of Chapter X111 of 'Village London' Vol 2, published by The Alderman Press March 1984.  First published 1883-4 by Casssell & Co Ltd., under the title 'Greater London'. 


The Second Lord Farnborough

Thomas Erskine May was born in Highgate, Middlesex, on 8 February 1815. He was christened on 21 September 1815 at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster.

He was educated at Bedford School, and went on to have a distinguished career in parliamentary service.  In 1873, he was elected a bencher of the Middle Temple and awarded an honorary Doctorate of Civil Law by the University of Oxford in 1874. In 1880, he was made a Reader of the Middle Temple and appointed to the Privy Council in 1884.

On 10 May 1886, shortly after his retirement as Clerk of the House of Commons, May was created "Baron Farnborough, of Farnborough, in the county of Southampton". His full title was First Baron Farnborough; Second Creation

He died just six days later and left no heirs, and so the barony became extinct once more.  It is the second-shortest-lived peerage in British history.

contact sitemap directions home home