Bentinck-Scott, William John Cavendish, fifth Duke of Portland 1800-1879, son of William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, the fourth duke, who, by royal license dated 5 Sept. 1795, was authorised to assume the additional final surname of Scott, by Henrietta, eldest daughter and coheir of Major-general John Scott of Balcomie in the county of Fife, was born 17 Sept. 1800. By the death of his elder brother, William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck (4 March 1824) he succeeded to the title of marquis of Titchfield, and to the seat of the late marquis in parliament as member for the borough of King's Lynn, being returned on the 19th of the same month. He represented that constituency until 1826, when he gave place to his uncle, Lord William Bentinck [qv.]. He succeeded to the dukedom in March 1854, but did not take the oaths and his seat until 5 June 1857. From 1859 till his death he was deputy-lieutenant for Nottinghamshire. As head of the Portland family, he was the person in whom the power of nominating a trustee to represent the Harley family on the British Museum trust is vested by statute. Throughout life he was an adherent of the tory party, but did not distinguish himself as a debater in either house of parliament. The turf and the management of his large estates chiefly occupied his time. He lived the life of a recluse, unmarried, and seeing little or no society, and it is said that he even refused to allow the workpeople engaged on the improvements which he carried out on his estates to show any sign of respectful recognition on meeting him. By assiduous care he succeeded in bringing the demesne and grounds of Welbeck Abbey to a high degree of perfection, his hothouses and greenhouses being reputed the best in the kingdom. He was a munificent donor to various charities. He died 6 Dec. 1879, and was buried on the 12th following at Kensal Green Cemetery with the utmost simplicity. His younger brother, Henry William, having died without male issue, 31 Dec. 1870, the title devolved upon the late duke's cousin, William John Arthur Charles James Cavendish-Bentinck, the present duke.
Times, 13 Dec. 1879, p. 5, col. 6
Official Return of Members of Parliament, part ii. pp. 289, 304
Lords' Journals, lxxxix. 63
Stat. 26 Geo. 11, c. 22, s. 7
Sims's Handbook to the Library of the British Museum, viii.
Contributor: J. M. R. [James McMullen Rigg]