Thomas Foley, 4th Baron Foley

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Thomas Henry Foley, 4th Baron Foley DL (11 December 1808 – 20 November 1869) was a British peer and Liberal politician. He held office in every Whig/Liberal government between 1833 and 1869.

Family and estate[edit]

Foley was the son of Thomas Foley, 3rd Baron Foley, and Lady Lucy Anne FitzGerald. James FitzGerald, 1st Duke of Leinster, and Emily FitzGerald, Duchess of Leinster, were his maternal great-grandparents, and through the latter he was a descendant of King Charles II.

Lord Foley married Lady Mary Charlotte Howard, daughter of Henry Charles Howard, 13th Duke of Norfolk, in 1849. He died in November 1869, aged 60, and was succeeded in the barony by his eldest son Henry Thomas Foley. Lady Foley died in 1897.

In 1837, he sold Witley Court and the heavily encumbered Great Witley estate to trustees of William, Lord Ward for £890,000. No longer having to pay interest on the debts charged on that estate, he was left considerably better off, as a result of the sale.

Political career[edit]

He was elected to the House of Commons for Worcestershire in 1830, a seat he held until 1832, when he was returned for the newly created constituency of West Worcestershire. In April the following year he succeeded as fourth Baron Foley on the early death of his father and took his seat in the House of Lords. He also succeeded his father as Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms, despite being only 24 years of age.

He remained in this post until the government fell in 1834, and held the same office under Lord Melbourne from 1835 to 1841, under Lord John Russell from 1846 to 1852 and 1865 to 1866, under Lord Aberdeen from 1852 to 1855, under Lord Palmerston from 1859 to 1865 and under William Ewart Gladstone from 1868 to 1869. However, Lord Foley was never a member of the cabinet. Apart from his political career he was also Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire between 1837 and 1839.

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Henry Beauchamp Lygon
Sir Thomas Edward Winnington
Member of Parliament for Worcestershire
1830–1832
With: Henry Beauchamp Lygon 1830–1831
Frederick Spencer 1831–1832
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for West Worcestershire
1832–1833
With: Henry Beauchamp Lygon
Succeeded by
Henry Beauchamp Lygon
Henry Jeffreys Winnington
Political offices
Preceded by
The 3rd Lord Foley
Captain of the Honourable Corps
of Gentlemen-at-Arms

1833–1834
Succeeded by
The Viscount Hereford
Preceded by
The Viscount Hereford
Captain of the Honourable Corps
of Gentlemen-at-Arms

1835–1841
Succeeded by
The Lord Forester
Preceded by
The Lord Forester
Captain of the Honourable Corps
of Gentlemen-at-Arms

1846–1852
Succeeded by
The Earl of Sandwich
Preceded by
The Earl of Sandwich
Captain of the Honourable Corps
of Gentlemen-at-Arms

1852–1858
Succeeded by
The Earl Talbot
Preceded by
The Earl Talbot
Captain of the Honourable Corps
of Gentlemen-at-Arms

1859–1866
Succeeded by
The Lord Ossulston
Preceded by
The Marquess of Exeter
Captain of the Honourable Corps
of Gentlemen-at-Arms

1868–1869
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Normanby
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Lord Lyttelton
Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire
1837–1839
Succeeded by
The Lord Lyttelton
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
Thomas Foley
Baron Foley
2nd creation
1833–1869
Succeeded by
Henry Thomas Foley