Ashley-Cooper, Anthony, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury (1801 -1885)
Anthony Ashley-Cooper was born on 28 April 1801 at 24 Grosvenor Square, London, the eldest son of the Cropley Ashley-Cooper, subsequently sixth Earl of Shaftesbury, and of Anne, fourth daughter of George Spencer, 3rd Duke of Marlborough. His early years were spent in London, but, on the succession of his father to the Earldom in 1811, the family moved to the ancestral seat at St. Giles House in Wimborne, Dorset, and Anthony was granted the courtesy title of Lord Ashley. Educated at Harrow, and Christ Church, Oxford, he obtained a first class in classics in 1822. In 1832 he took his degree of M.A., and in 1841 he was made D.C.L. In 1826 he entered politics and was elected Tory M.P. for Woodstock. He was returned for Dorchester in 1830 and 1831, and sat for Dorset from 1831 to 1846. In 1851 on the death of his father, he succeeded as the seventh Earl of Shaftesbury. A great philanthropist, among the many causes he championed were the reform of the treatment of lunatics, and the improvement of the conditions of factory workers and miners, especially with regard to children. He was also responsible for improving the social and living conditions of the urban poor. He was also a strong advocate of the movement known as the Restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land. In 1830 he married Lady Emily Caroline Catherine Frances Cowper (d. 1872), daughter of Peter Cowper, 5th Earl Cowper. Through the subsequent marriage of Lady Cowper to Lord Palmerston, Lord Ashley became stepson-in-law to the future prime minister. The marriage produced six sons and four daughters.