BERTIE, Robert II, Lord Willoughby de Eresby (1660-1723).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



27 Feb. - 19 Apr. 1690

Family and Education

b. 20 Oct. 1660, 1st s. of Robert Bertie I, 3rd Earl of Lindsey, by 2nd w.; bro. of Hon. Albemarle Bertie, Hon. Peregrine Bertie II and Hon. Philip Bertie. m. (1) 30 July 1678, Mary (d. 20 Sept. 1689), da. and h. of Sir Richard Wynn, 4th Bt., of Gwydir, Caern., 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 3da.; (2) 6 July 1705, Albinia, da. of William Farrington of Chislehurst, Kent, 4s. 1da. summ. to Lords in his fa.’s barony as Lord Willoughby de Eresby 19 Apr. 1690; suc. fa. 8 May 1701; cr. Mq. of Lindsey 21 Dec. 1706, Duke of Ancaster 26 July 1715.

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Lincs. 1677-80, Caern. 1679-80 Lancs., Lincs., Caern., Denb. and Merion. 1689-90, Mdx. 1690; freeman, Denbigh 1679; j.p. Lincs. 1680-7, 1689-d.; recorder, Boston 1685-d.; dep. lt. Anglesey 1685-Feb. 1688; ld. lt. Lincs. 1700-d.1

Capt. of horse, regt. of Robert Werden June-Dec. 1685.

Chancellor, duchy of Lancaster 1689-97; PC 19 June 1701-d.; ld. great chamberlain 1701-d.; one of the lds. justices 1715.


By his first marriage, arranged by Sir Thomas Meres, Lord Willoughby acquired a Welsh estate worth at least £6,000 p.a. ‘A fine gentleman’, who had ‘both wit and learning’, he was proposed as a candidate for Merioneth at the second general election of 1679. In November he attended the reception for the Duke of York at Stamford, arranged by his father as a gesture of loyalty. When the Duke succeeded to the crown he rewarded Willoughby by nominating him as recorder of Boston under the new charter of 9 Mar. 1685, and in the following month he was elected to Parliament for the borough. But he seems to have been in Opposition from the first, moving for the expulsion of minors from the House, and seconding the complaint of Sir John Lowther III about the management of the elections. A moderately active Member, he was appointed to five committees, including those on expiring laws, the clandestine marriages bill, and the bill for the general naturalization of foreign Protestants. He raised a troop of horse against Monmouth, but he was not ‘forward in Parliament to vote up the Popish officers’, and in December his uncle Charles Bertie wrote:

My nephew Willoughby, my brother Dick and my brother Harry—the three battering rams of our family—are all turned out of their employments as captains ... so that they have cleared the army of our whole family.

In 1687 he was removed from the commissions of the peace, and in 1687 he drew up for William of Orange, perhaps under Danby’s direction, a list of English peers in opposition to James II. He took part in Danby’s northern rising in 1688 and was present at the capture of York. According to Reresby:

My Lord Willoughby said it was the first time that any Bertie was ever engaged against the crown, and it was his trouble; but there was a necessity either to part with our religion and properties or to do it.

He was re-elected in 1689 without a contest, though defeated for Lincolnshire. He did not vote against the transfer of the crown. Indeed, he acted as William’s train-bearer at the coronation, and was rewarded with the chancellorship of the duchy of Lancaster, much to the annoyance of Lord Halifax, who described him as ‘a very young man, unused to business’ and ‘little qualified for the post’. In the Convention he was appointed only to a committee on a private bill. Returned for both Stamford and Preston in 1690, he was summoned to the House of Lords on 19 April. He signed the Association in 1696. He died on 26 July 1723, and was buried at Edenham. The family continued to sit for Lincolnshire and its boroughs throughout the 18th century.2

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Paula Watson


  • 1. J. Williams, Recs. of Denbigh, 138; P. Thompson, Hist. Boston, 458; CSP Dom. 1685, p. 189; 1697, p. 125; 1699-1700, p. 409.
  • 2. HMC Ormonde, n.s. iv. 498; Macky, Mems. (1733), 95; Lincs. N. and Q. xviii. 147; P. Thompson, Boston, 94-95; E. C. Legh, House of Lyme, 331; Reresby Mems. 402, 532-3; Wood’s Life and Times (Oxf. Hist. Soc. xxvi), 171; HMC Rutland, ii. 97; Browning, Danby, i 401, 449; ii 144; Eg. 3336, ff. 145, 450; Foxcroft, Halifax, ii. 206; HMC 7th Rep. 420.