Conway, Francis Seymour- (1718?–94), 1st marquess of Hertford , nobleman and politician, was born 5 July 1718 (or in 1719), at Lindsey House, Chelsea, London, son and heir of Francis Seymour, later Seymour-Conway, 1st Lord Conway, and his third wife, Charlotte Conway (née Shorter). He was educated at Eton, and inherited the family titles and estates in England and Co. Antrim in 1732. He was lord of the bedchamber (1751–64) to both George II and George III, was made a KG (1756), and was ambassador to France 1763–5. Nominally lord lieutenant of Ireland from August 1765 to October 1766, with his eldest son, Francis, Viscount Beauchamp , serving as his chief secretary, he was only in Ireland for one parliamentary session (October 1765–June 1766).
His appointment was gratifying to the undertaker elite, who believed rightly that Hertford would not challenge their political dominance. John Ponsonby (qv), speaker of the commons, commented complacently: ‘the public as well as private character of Lord Hertford, together with the great property which he has in Ireland, are the best securities which we can have for his good behaviour. There could not have been found a person to govern us who in all respects would be so likely to use us well . . .' (Malcomson, John Foster, p. xxii). But Hertford's approach to patronage and parliamentary management was not to be repeated in subsequent parliamentary sessions and contrasts sharply with that of Viscount Townshend (qv), the next viceroy to come to Dublin. Hertford returned to England on 11 June 1766 and was appointed lord chamberlain 1766–82 (and again April–December 1783). He was said to be discreet and very avaricious, but in 1766 granted land to William Coulson (qv) for a linen damask factory in Lisburn, and he helped the linen industry in other ways when he was lord lieutenant. He was created successively earl of Hertford (1750) and marquess of Hertford (1793); he died 14 June 1794 and was succeeded by his eldest son.
He married (29 May 1741) Isabella Fitzroy, daughter of the 2nd duke of Grafton; they had seven sons and four daughters. One of his sons-in-law was Robert Stewart (qv), 1st marquess of Londonderry; the 2nd marquess, Robert Stewart (qv) (Lord Castlereagh), was his grandson.