Family Group Sheet
Family Group Sheet
Death1722, Windsor
FatherSir Winston CHURCHILL (1620-1688)
MotherElizabeth DRAKE (1622-1698)
SpouseSarah JENNINGS
The famous soldier.

The story of John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough, and Blenheim Palace is extremely interesting and unique. Both were created for John Churchill as rewards for his services to both crown and country.

John Churchill was born in 1650 near Axminster in Somerset. His father was Sir Winston Churchill who had been a Cavalier during the civil war (1642-8). When Oliver Cromwell and the Roundheads won, the estate and much of the family wealth was confiscated.

John Churchill began a career in the army at the age of 17, when, as a page to James, Duke of York, he was impressed with watching the soldiers. He soon enlisted as an ensign in The Kings Regiment of Foot Soldiers.

In 1675 he met and married Sarah Jenning, Maid of Honour to The Duchess of York. Ten years later The Duke of York succeeded to the throne and became King James II.

By the age of 38 Churchill had become a Lord and a Lieutenant-General. H was also good friends with James II's son in law The Dutch William of Orange. It was with Churchill's help that William succeeded to the throne, This was because James II wanted a Roman Catholic monarchy and Churchill was a staunch Anglican. He was rewarded the following year with the title Earl of Marlborough.

In 1701, the English and their allies were fighting Louis XIV and the French. Louis XIV had broken a pact made between him and William III and Churchill had been sent to teach him a lesson.
A year later William III died after being thrown from his horse. His sistein law Queen Anne continued to reign. It was in this year that Churchill won an important campaign against the French. On his return to England he was offered a Dukedom. At first he didn't accept it as he felt that the Queen was being too generous and also that he didn't own an estate large enough to befit a Duke. However he deeply respected the Queens wishes so he eventually accepted.

On the 13th August 1704, the Duke and his army ambushed a French army camp. This happened just outside a small village called Blenheim situated in what was then known as Bavaria, now Germany. He was victorious in this battle of Blenheim, as it became known. The French losses were immense and France was no longer able to maintain it's hold over Europe.

On his return in 1705, there was rejoicing and processions in Marlborough's honour. There was more to come, In February 1705 Queen Anne, with the consent of Parliament, made the Duke a grant of the Royal Manor of Woodstock, in Oxfordshire, with around 16,000 acres of land. With this land and a further gist from the grateful crown, he was able to build a property grand enough to commemorate his victory over Louis XIV.

During the battle of Ramillies, after Blenheim, the Duke was involved in a near death experience. Whilst his equerry was helping Marlborough onto his horse, a cannonball fired by the French, flew between his legs and sheared off the equerry's head.

By January 1712, Queen Anne had had arguments with Sarah and the Duke, and between that and a change of political party leading parliament, Marlborough was dismissed from all his official positions.

Marlborough began living in Blenheim Palace in 1719 even though the building was not finished. He had very little time to enjoy it as, in June 1722 he suffered a massive stroke. There was no hope or recovery and on the 26th June he died peacefully.

Wilkipedia entry

John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough (26 May 1650 – 27 June 1722) was an English soldier and statesman whose career spanned the reigns of five monarchs throughout the late 17th and early 18th centuries. His rise to prominence began as a lowly page in the royal court of Stuart England, but his natural courage on the field of battle soon ensured quick promotion and recognition from his master and mentor James, Duke of York. When James became king in 1685, Churchill played a major role in crushing the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion; but just three years later, Churchill abandoned his Catholic king for the Protestant William of Orange.

Honoured at William's coronation, Churchill, now the Earl of Marlborough, served with distinction in Ireland and Flanders during the War of the Grand Alliance. However, throughout the reign of William and Mary, their relationship with Marlborough and his influential wife Sarah, remained cool. After damaging allegations of collusion with the exiled court of King James, Marlborough was dismissed from all civil and military offices and temporarily imprisoned in the Tower of London. Only after the death of Mary, and the threat of another major European war, did Marlborough return to favour with William.

Marlborough's influence at court reached its zenith with the accession of Sarah's close friend Queen Anne. Promoted to Captain-General of British forces, and later to a dukedom, Marlborough found international fame in the War of the Spanish Succession where, on the fields of Blenheim, Ramillies and Oudenarde, his place in history as one of Europe's great generals was assured. However, when his wife fell from royal grace as Queen Anne's favourite, the Tories, determined on peace with France, pressed for his downfall. Marlborough was dismissed from all civil and military offices on charges of embezzlement, but the Duke eventually regained favour with the accession of George I in 1714. Although returned to his former offices, the Duke's health soon deteriorated and, after a series of strokes, he eventually succumbed to his illness in his bed at Windsor Lodge on 27 June 1
Notes for Sarah JENNINGS
Sarah Churchill (née Jenyns, spelt Jennings in most modern references[2]), Duchess of Marlborough (5 June 1660 (old style) – 18 October 1744) rose to be one of the most influential women in British history as a result of her close friendship with Queen Anne of Great Britain.

Sarah's friendship and influence with Princess Anne was widely known, and leading public figures often turned their attentions to her in the hope that she would influence Anne to comply with requests. As a result, by the time Anne became queen, Sarah’s knowledge of government, and intimacy with the Queen, allowed her to become a powerful friend and a dangerous enemy, the last in the long line of Stuart favourites.

In an age when marriage was principally for money, not love, Sarah enjoyed an unusually close relationship with her husband, John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, whom she married in 1677. Sarah acted as Anne's agent after the latter's father, James II, was deposed during the Glorious Revolution; and she promoted her interests during the rule of James's successors, William III and Mary II. When Anne came to the throne after William's death in 1702, the Duke of Marlborough, together with Sidney Godolphin, the first Earl of Godolphin, rose to head the government, partly as a result of his wife's friendship with the queen. While the Duke was out of the country commanding troops in the War of the Spanish Succession, Sarah kept him informed of court intrigue, while he sent her requests and political advice which she would then convey to the Queen.[3] Sarah tirelessly campaigned on behalf of the Whigs, while also devoting much of her time to building projects such as Blenheim Palace. She died in 1744 at the age of eighty-four.[4]

A strong-willed woman who liked to get her own way, Sarah tried the Queen's patience whenever she disagreed with her on political, court or church appointments. After her final break with Anne in 1711, she was dismissed from the court with her husband, but she returned to favour under the Hanoverians after Anne's death. She had famous subsequent disagreements with many important people, including her daughter the second Duchess of Marlborough; the architect of Blenheim Palace, John Vanbrugh; prime minister Robert Walpole; King George II; and his wife, Queen Caroline. The money she inherited from the Marlborough trust left her as one of the richest women in Europe.[5][6]
Last Modified 20 Apr 2014Created 28 Jan 2018 using Reunion for Macintosh