Charles Watson-Wentworth was born on 13 May 1732. He was a wealthy scion of the influential Yorkshire family Wentworth. When his father died in December 1750, Rockingham inherited the family title and huge estates, at age 20. He was the eighth of ten children, and the fifth son; but his four brothers and two of his sisters had died young. Thus he inherited the family seat of Wentworth Wood- house (among other properties), which had not quite been completed, although his father had spent lavishly on its construction over more than twenty years. The largest private house in England, with a dominating east facade that was 600 feet long, it symbolized the Wentworth family’s status. The young heir, early in his public career, set up the Rockingham Club in York—the county seat and electoral center—in an attempt to translate the family’s social status into political influence. Such were his political connections that he was made a Knight of the Garter by George II in May 1760, though as yet he had held no political office and had shown his loyalty only in the capacity of Lord of the Bedchamber.