Egerton, Francis Henry, 8th Earl of Bridgewater (1756 -1829)
Francis Henry Egerton was the younger son of John Egerton, Bishop of Durham, and Anne Sophia Grey, daughter of Henry, Duke of Kent. He was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, where he matriculated 27 March 1773, age 16, and took his B.A. in 1776. He transferred to All Souls College, Oxford, taking his M.A. and holy orders in 1780, and was presented to the Rectory of Middle in Shropshire in 1781 and that of Whitchurch in the same county in 1797. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1780 and of the Society of Antiquaries in 1791. A respectable classical scholar, he published an edition of Euripides' Hippolytus and two odes of Sappho. A Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, on the death of his elder brother in 1823, he became Earl of Bridgewater. He lived for many years in Paris, in a house full of cats and dogs. Two of his dogs regularly ate at his table, and all were dressed in clothes as human beings. When he grew too feeble to leave his house, he kept rabbits and pigeons with clipped wings in the garden, which he used to shoot for the table. When he died he left a large sum to be employed on the Bridgewater Treatises, a series of books on the goodness of God as manifest in the creation, a subject on which he himself had written. He left his extensive collection of manuscripts to the British Museum, with a legacy of £11,000 to pay for a custodian and additions to the collection.