|1st Earl of Jersey|
Kingdom of England
|Died||25 August, 1711 (aged 54–55)|
Kingdom of Great Britain
|Father||Sir Edward Villiers|
|Occupation||Peer, landowner, and statesman|
Edward Villiers, 1st Earl of Jersey (c. 1656 – 25 August 1711) was an English peer, courtier, and statesman of the Villiers family. He was created Baron Villiers and Viscount Villiers in 1691 and Earl of Jersey in 1697. A leading Tory politician opposed to the Whig Junto, he was made Southern Secretary in 1699.
He persuaded the young writer and diplomat Matthew Prior to abandon his former Whig allies and vote for the impeachment of his fellow Kit Cat Club member and patron Lord Halifax. Jersey replaced Halifax as Prior's patron.
His grandfather was Sir Edward Villiers (c. 1585–1626), Master of the Mint and Lord President of Munster who was half brother of George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham and of Christopher Villiers, 1st Earl of Anglesey. His sister was Elizabeth Villiers, the mistress of King William III, and was later Countess of Orkney as the wife of George Hamilton, 1st Earl of Orkney.
Villiers was Knight Marshal to the royal household in succession to his father. He was Master of the Horse to Queen Mary II and was Lord Chamberlain to King William III and to Queen Anne. In 1696 he represented his country at the Congress of Ryswick. He was ambassador at The Hague and after his elevation to the peerage (1697) was ambassador in Paris. In 1699 he was made Secretary of State for the Southern Department, and on three occasions he was one of the Lords Justices of England. In 1704 he was dismissed from office by Queen Anne, after which he was involved in some of the Jacobite schemes.
Marriage and children
On 17 December 1681 he married Barbara Chiffinch (1663 – before 13 December 1735), daughter of William Chiffinch (1602–1688). By her he had two sons and a daughter:
- William Villiers, 2nd Earl of Jersey (c. 1682 – 13 July 1721)
- Henry Villiers (died 1743)
- Mary Villiers (died 17 Jan 1734/35), who married twice:
- One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Jersey, Earls of". Encyclopædia Britannica. 15 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 330.
- "Villiers, Edward (VLRS670E)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- Abel Boyer. The history of the reign of Queen Anne. 10. p. 382.
- Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. .
- Field, Ophelia. The Kit-Cat Club: Friends Who Imagined a Nation. HarperCollins 2009.
| Secretary of State for the Southern Department
The Duke of Shrewsbury
| Lord Chamberlain
The Earl of Kent
The Earl of Portland
| English Ambassador to France
The Earl of Manchester
|Peerage of England|
|New creation|| Earl of Jersey
| Viscount Villiers|