From the Archives

From the Archives – Steve Riedlinger, Club Archivist

Bentinck family connections with Roehampton Club and the Royal Family

The Bentinck family can be traced back to the 14th century in the east of the Netherlands. It was William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland who was the first member of the family to settle in the UK in the 17th century. From this point forward, its members served in the armed forces and as ambassadors and politicians including Governor General of India and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The family is also related to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother through the Cavendish-Bentinck lineage.

The first mention of the family in the 2001 Roehampton Club Centenary Book by Elizabeth Hennessy appears at the very beginning during the foundation of the Club when Lord Charles Bentinck was highlighted as one of the original shareholders alongside Lord Montgomerie and the Earl of Shrewsbury. Lord Charles was also present at the first meeting at 12a George Street, Hanover Square in London W1 when the Club was formed. Lord Charles had recently returned from the Second Boer War as a Lieutenant in the 9th Lancers and was slightly wounded in the Siege of Mafeking.

The Siege attracted considerable interest at the time and included the involvement of a number of other Roehampton Club Members such as Lord Hugh Cecil, whose brother Lord Edward Cecil was in the besieged town alongside Lady Sarah Wilson, war correspondent for the Daily Mail, daughter of the Duke of Marlborough and aunt of Winston Churchill.

The British commander at the time was Colonel Robert Baden-Powell who became a national hero with the lifting of the siege before going on to form the Boy Scout movement. The application form for Lord Charles Bentinck in December 1901 confirms his address as Lyegrove, Chipping Sodbury in Gloucestershire. His half-brother was William Cavendish-Bentinck, 6th Duke of Portland, British landowner, courtier and conservative politician who inherited the Cavendish-Bentinck estates around Welbeck Abbey in Nottinghamshire from his cousin William Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, the 5th Duke of Portland in 1879.

The wife of the 6th Duke, Winifred Anna Cavendish-Bentinck, Duchess of Portland was also a notable humanitarian and animal welfare activist. She campaigned against the use of skins and feathers in the fashion industry for hats and clothing and became the first and longest-serving President of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in 1891 before the society was accorded royal status by Edward VII in 1904. She was also Vice-President of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and President of the Ladies Committee of the RSPCA

Fast forward to the present day where we find Timothy Charles Robert Noel Bentinck, the 12th Duke of Portland who prefers to be known as Tim Bentinck. He is an English actor and writer probably best known for his role as David Archer, in the BBC Radio 4 series The Archers. He has a number of film, TV and theatre credits to his name as well as voice overs. For fifteen years between 1990 and 2006, he was the voice behind the ‘Mind the Gap’ announcement on the London Underground Piccadilly Line. Tim has also appeared as himself in a number of TV programmes including Call my Bluff, University Challenge and Celebrity Mastermind. He has published a number of books including his own autobiography in 2017 entitled Being David Archer and Other Unusual Ways of Earning a Living. Tim was awarded the MBE in the 2018 Queens Honours List for services to drama