Hervey, Frederick Augustus, 4th Earl of Bristol, Bishop of Derry (1730 -1803)
Frederick Augustus Hervey was the second son of the colourful John Hervey, 2nd Baron Hervey (1696-1743), who on the death of his elder half-brother, Carr, in 1723, became heir to the Earldom of Bristol, but predeceased his father, John Hervey, 1st Earl of Bristol (1665-1751). On the 1st Earl’s death in January 1751, the earldom of Bristol and the barony of Hervey, along with the estates of Ickworth House, passed to his grandson George (1721-1775), the eldest son of John, Baron Hervey, as 3rd Earl. On his death in 1775, George was succeeded by his younger brother Augustus John (1724-1779) as 3rd Earl. In 1779 Frederick Augustus succeeded as 4th Earl of Bristol. Known as “the Bishop-Earl”, Lord Bristol was educated at Westminster School and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, obtaining an M.A. in 1754. Entering the church he became a royal chaplain; and while waiting for other preferment spent some time in Italy, where he indulged his great interest in art. In 1752 he married Elizabeth Davers (d. 1800), daughter of Sir Jermyn Davers, 4th Baronet. By this marriage, Lord Bristol had four sons and three daughters.
In February 1767, while his eldest brother, George, the 2nd Earl of Bristol, was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, he was made Bishop of Cloyne, and having improved the property of the See, he was translated to the rich Bishopric of Derry a year later. As Bishop of Derry, he was active and philanthropic, although at times controversial. He declared himself agnostic, and identified with the Irish volunteer movement, and spoke openly of rebellion. In 1778 during a trip to Rome he met the architect Sir John Soane whom he brought back to Ireland with promises of rich commissions, though none materialized. In 1779, he succeeded his elder brother as 4th Earl of Bristol and owner of the family's ancestral home at Ickworth estate in Suffolk. In 1795, he then began expanding the existing country house at Ickworth, thus creating Ickworth House in its modern form. Most of the house was still unfinished when he died in 1803, and wings were completed by his successor. In 1799 he also inherited the Elizabethan-era title of Baron Howard de Walden from a distant cousin, when the abeyance of this peerage was terminated. The last years of his life were spent mainly on the Continent. In 1798 he was imprisoned by the French at Milan as a suspected spy, remaining in custody for eighteen months. He died outdoors at Albano, denied refuge, and was buried in Ickworth Church. On his death in 1803, his son Frederick succeeded as 5th Earl of Bristol.