Robert Walpole was born on 26 August 1676 in Houghton, Norfolk into a wealthy landowning family. He was to become the first nominated Prime Minister although he would officially hold that title.
- His mother was Mary Walpole (née Burwell) and he was the third of seventeen children, eight of whom died during infancy.
- Educated Eton College and Kings College Cambridge, he left early as his elder brother died to assist his father administer the family estate.
- His early ambition had been to enter the clergy but the premature death of his elder brother left him as heir so that was abandoned.