Born in 1782, he was brought up by his Uncle, the Earl of Derby, after his father died the same year. He was educated at Eton and the Royal Military Academy and was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers in 1798.
He served at the siege of Malta (1800) and the capture of Alexandria (1807). He served on the staffs of Sir John Moore and Sir Arthur Wellesley during the Penninsula war from 1808-1815 rising to the rank of Lieutenant – Colonel. After a brief spell in the USA, he returned to France. In 1821 he was appointed Commander at the Royal engineers Depot at Chatham and in 1828 he became Garrison Engineer at Portsmouth. In 1838 he was promoted to Major-General and Knighted.
In 1845 he was appointed Inspector-General of Fortifications and worked on defences in Gibraltar and the Crimea as well as in the UK. In 1854 he became Colonel Commandant of the Royal Engineers, being promoted to the rank of General the following year. In 1865 he was appointed Constable of the Tower of London and retired in 1868 with the rank of Field Marshall.
He died in London in 1871 and was buried in Brompton Cemetry.