Background and education
Born at Apsley House, he was the eldest son of Henry Bathurst, 3rd Earl Bathurst, and his wife Lady Georgina, third daughter of Lord George Lennox. He was educated at Eton College and went then to Christ Church, Oxford, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1811 and a Master of Arts three years later. In 1820, he received a Doctor of Civil Law by the University of Oxford.
Bathurst served as a clerk to the Teller of the Exchequer and in 1812, he was appointed a Commissioner of the India Board, a post he held for the next six years. He was elected to the House of Commons as one of two representatives for Weobley in January 1812, sitting until October the same year. He then represented Cirencester until 1834, when he succeeded his father in the earldom and entered the House of Lords. He was one of the founders of the Royal Agricultural College in 1845.
Bathurst died at his country residence, Oakley Park, Cirencester, on 25 May 1866 aged 76 after a long illness. His body lay in state until it was interred on the estate in front of thousands of mourners.
He never married and was succeeded in the earldom by his younger brother William.