Thomas Watson-Wentworth

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Memorial to Thomas Watson-Wentworth in the north choir aisle of York Minster

Hon. Thomas Watson, later known as Thomas Watson-Wentworth (17 June 1665 – 6 October 1723), of Wentworth Woodhouse in Yorkshire, was an English landowner and politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1701 and 1723.

Origins[edit]

He was the third son of Edward Watson, 2nd Baron Rockingham (1630-1689) by his wife Anne Wentworth, only daughter of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford (1593-1641) and heiress of her childless brother William Wentworth, 2nd Earl of Strafford (1626-1695) of Wentworth Woodhouse. His eldest brother was Lewis Watson, 1st Earl of Rockingham, 3rd Baron Rockingham (1655-1724), who in 1714 was created Earl of Rockingham.

Early life[edit]

He matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford in 1683.[1]

Marriage and children[edit]

By licence dated 18 July 1689 he married Alice Proby, a daughter and heiress[2] of Sir Thomas Proby, 1st Baronet,[3] by whom he had children including:

Wentworth inheritance[edit]

Inscription on monument of William Wentworth, 2nd Earl of Strafford in York Minster recording his heir as Thomas Watson, with an obligation to adopt the surname "Wentworth"

In 1695 Watson inherited the fortune of his maternal uncle William Wentworth, 2nd Earl of Strafford, including the vast estate of Wentworth Woodhouse in Yorkshire, with others in Northamptonshire and Ireland. This was in preference to the Earl's first cousin once-removed Thomas Wentworth (later created Earl of Strafford), who shared with him common ancestry in the male line, and it led to a fierce rivalry between the two men and their families. In accordance with the terms of the bequest,[4] Watson adopted the additional surname of Wentworth, becoming Thomas Watson-Wentworth.[3]

Career[edit]

Watson-Wentworth was returned unopposed as Whig Member of Parliament for Bossiney at a by-election on 21 March 1701. He was only returned as a stop-gap and at the general election later that year he sought a seat elsewhere but in the end decided not to stand. At the 1702 general election, he stood at Higham Ferrers but was defeated. However his opponent died within a year and Watson-Wentworth was returned unopposed for Higham Ferrers at a by-election on 22 November 1703. He acquired the electoral interest at Higham Ferrers and was returned unopposed at the general elections of 1705, 1708 and 1710. He made little impression in his first parliaments, but being a church supporter moved progressively towards the Tories culminating in opposing the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell and being considered a worthy patriot. At the 1713 general election he was returned at Malton as well as Higham Ferrers and decided to sit for Malton. Now being considered whimsical or a Whig that voted with the Tories he supported the Whigs against the expulsion of Richard Steele and in other divisions.[3] After the 1715 general election, when he and his son were elected in a contest at Malton, he was classified as a Whig, but voted against the government on almost every occasion. At the 1722 general election he was returned unopposed again for Higham Ferrers.[5]

Death and burial[edit]

Watson-Wentworth died at Harrowden on 6 October 1723 and was buried in York Minster where his elaborate monument with standing marble effigy survives.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Foster, Joseph. "'Wasborow-Wesley', in Alumni Oxonienses 1500-1714, ed. Joseph Foster (Oxford, 1891), pp. 1577-1600". British History Online. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  2. ^ He displays her arms as an inescutcheon of pretence
  3. ^ a b c d "WENTWORTH, Hon. Thomas Watson (1665-1723), of Wentworth Woodhouse, Yorks. and Great Harrowden, Northants". History of Parliament Online (1690-1715). Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  4. ^ As is publicly recorded on the monument to William Wentworth, 2nd Earl of Strafford in York Minster
  5. ^ "WATSON WENTWORTH, Hon. Thomas (1665-1723), of Wentworth Woodhouse, Yorks". History of Parliament Online (1715-1754). Retrieved 10 January 2019.
Parliament of England
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Bossiney
1701
With: John Tregagle
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Higham Ferrers
1703–1708
Succeeded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Parliament of England
Member of Parliament for Higham Ferrers
17081713
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Malton
17131722
With: William Strickland
Thomas Watson-Wentworth (the younger) 1715
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Higham Ferrers
1722–1723
Succeeded by