After The Civil War - 2/2
William succeeded to the Melbourne title in 1828 and was building up a distinguished political career. He became the young Queen Victoria’s personal adviser and confidant, and was her first Prime Minister. He may not have been the best Prime Minister of the century, but he was certainly the most charming.
After Lord Melbourne was defeated by Sir Robert Peel in 1841 and lost the premiership, he stayed at Melbourne on several occasions. William Lamb was succeeded as owner of Melbourne Hall first by his brother Frederic and then in 1853 by his sister Emily now married to Lord Palmerston, her second husband and another of Queen Victoria’s Prime Ministers. Lady Palmerston took great interest in Melbourne and Lord Palmerston laid the foundation stone of the Melbourne Athenaeum in Potter Street in 1853.
When Lady Palmerston died Melbourne passed to Francis, 7th Earl Cowper, her grandson by her first marriage. The 7th Earl had the unusual distinction of being a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, his forebear the 3rd Earl having been given the honour by the Emperor Joseph II in 1778 with remainder to his male heirs. The Cowper family seat was at Panshanger near Hertford, and it was not until the 7th’s sister Lady Amabel inherited Melbourne as an elderly lady in 1905 that the family returned permanently to the Hall. Lady Amabel Kerr was a follower of Cardinal Newman and the Roman Catholic church in Melbourne was built in her memory by her husband Lord Walter Kerr in 1907.
Lord Walter Kerr was succeeded at Melbourne in 1927 by his son Captain Andrew Kerr whose wife the late Mrs Marie Kerr lived at the Hall for over fifty years. The present owner is their grandson Lord Ralph Kerr who lives at Melbourne with his wife Marie Claire and their children. Lord Ralph is the second son of the 12th Marquis of Lothian. The Lothian title having been brought into the family through Lord Walter Kerr, 4th son of the 7th Marquis.