John Stuart Bligh succeeded his father as Earl in 1835. On 31 August 1850, he married Lady Harriet Mary Pelham [d. 1905], eldest daughter of the 3rd Earl of Chichester. He served as a Lieutenant-Colonel in the West Kent Yeomanry Cavalry from 1863-1874. He was also a Deputy Lieutenant and County Alderman. Of his three sons and five daughters, son Edward Henry Stuart succeeded Bligh as 7th Earl in 1896.