The Earls of Chesterfield were an aristocratic family from Derbyshire, England. Their ancestral seat is Bretby Hall at Bretby, Derbyshire, and their family name is "Stanhope". Upon the death of the thirteenth Earl, the title became extinct, as no more male descendants of the first Earl were living.
His death was an overwhelming grief to Chesterfield, and the discovery that he had long been married to a lady of humble origin must have been galling in the extreme to his father after his careful instruction in worldly wisdom.
Chesterfield, who had no children by his wife, Melusina von Schulemberg, an illegitimate daughter of George I, whom he married in 1733, adopted his godson, a distant cousin, also named Philip Stanhope (1755-1815), as heir to the title and estates.
Chesterfield was selfish, calculating and contemptuous; he was not naturally generous, and he practised dissimulation till it became part of his nature.
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