Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton

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Thomas Wriothesley
4thEarlOfSouthampton.jpg
Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton
Born (1607-03-10)10 March 1607
Died 16 May 1667(1667-05-16)
Title 4th Earl of Southampton
Tenure 1624-1667
Other titles Earl of Chichester
Lord Wriothesley
Nationality English
Offices Lord High Treasurer
Predecessor Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton
Spouse(s) Rachel de Massue
Lady Elizabeth Leigh
Frances Seymour
Parents Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton
Elizabeth Vernon

Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton, KG (/ˈrəθsli/[1] REYE-əths-lee; 10 March 1607 – 16 May 1667), styled Lord Wriothesley before 1624, was a 17th-century English statesman, a staunch supporter of Charles II who would rise to the position of Lord High Treasurer after the English Restoration. His term as treasurer began concurrently with the assumption of power by the Clarendon Ministry, but his death would precede Lord Clarendon's impeachment from the House of Commons, after which the Cabal Ministry took over government.

Lord Southampton, having acceded to the earldom in 1624, attended St. John's College, Cambridge.[2] At first, he sided with the Parliament supporters upon the subjects leading to the English Civil War, but upon his realisation of their leaders' violence, he became a loyal supporter of Charles I. While remaining very loyal to the deposed monarch, he still vied for peace, representing the king at several peace conferences (as Encyclopædia Britannica notes, he attended at least two conferences: one in 1643, and one at Uxbridge in 1645). He was allowed to live within England, having paid the Commonwealth over £6000.

Several months after the Restoration, Lord Southampton was appointed Lord High Treasurer (8 September 1660), a position in which he would serve until his death. As the Encyclopædia Britannica notes, Lord Southampton "was remarkable for his freedom from any taint of corruption and for his efforts in the interests of economy and financial order," a noble if not completely objective view of his work as the keeper of the nation's finances. Samuel Pepys admired Southampton's integrity and the stoicism with which he endured his painful last illness, but clearly had doubts about his competence as Treasurer; in particular he graphically described the Council meeting in April 1665 where Southampton helplessly asked him where he was to find the funds requested.

Lord Southampton's name lives on in London; both Southampton Row and Southampton Street, Holborn are named after him.

Portrait of Rachel de Massue, Countess of Southampton, by Anthony van Dyck, c.1638

Family[edit]

He was the only surviving son of Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton and his wife Elizabeth Vernon.

He married three times and had three daughters. His first wife was French Huguenot Rachel de Massue (1603- 16 February 1640), the aunt of Henri de Massue, Marquis de Ruvigny, 1st Viscount Galway. Upon his death in 1667, his two daughters by Rachel, Elizabeth Wriothesley, Viscountess Campden, wife of Edward Noel, 1st Earl of Gainsborough and Rachel Wriothesley, the wife of William Russell, Lord Russell received all of their father's property. This property eventually passed to the Russell's only son, the 2nd Duke of Bedford.

His second marriage was to Lady Elizabeth Leigh, daughter of Francis Leigh, 1st Earl of Chichester from whom he inherited the title Earl of Chichester on Leigh's death.[3] Their only child, Lady Elizabeth Wriothesley would, firstly, marry Joceline Percy, 11th Earl of Northumberland and upon his decease, she, secondly, married Ralph Montagu, 1st Duke of Montagu.[4]

His third marriage was to Frances Seymour, the daughter of William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset and Lady Frances Devereux. He was the second of her three husbands. This marriage remained childless.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wells, J. C. Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. 3rd edition. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited, 2008.
  2. ^ "Wriothesley, Thomas (WRTY642T)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  3. ^ thepeerage.com
  4. ^ Leslie Stephen (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography 38. p. 263. Retrieved 2009-11-02. 
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Portland
The 1st Duke of Richmond
Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire
jointly with The Earl of Portland
The 1st Duke of Richmond

1641–1646
English Interregnum
Preceded by
Sir Henry Wallop
Custos Rotulorum of Hampshire
1642–1646
Preceded by
In Commission
(First Lord: Sir Edward Hyde)
Lord High Treasurer
1660–1667
Succeeded by
In Commission
(First Lord: The Duke of Albemarle)
Honorary titles
English Interregnum Custos Rotulorum of Hampshire
1660–1667
Succeeded by
Lord Percy
Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk
1660–1661
Succeeded by
The Lord Townshend
Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire
1660–1667
Succeeded by
Lord St John
Preceded by
The Duke of Somerset
Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire
1661–1667
Succeeded by
The Earl of Clarendon
Preceded by
The Lord Windsor
Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire
1662–1663
Succeeded by
The Lord Windsor
Preceded by
The Earl of Winchilsea
Lord Lieutenant of Kent
1662–1667
Succeeded by
The Earl of Winchilsea
The 3rd Duke of Richmond
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Henry Wriothesley
Earl of Southampton
1624–1667
Extinct
Preceded by
Francis Leigh
Earl of Chichester
1653–1667
Extinct