CHETWYND, Walter (1633-93), of Ingestre, Staffs.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
b. 1 May 1633, o.s. of Walter Chetwynd of Ingestre by Frances, da. and h. of Edward Hesilrige of Arthingworth, Northants. m. 14 Sept. 1658, Anne (d.1671), da. of Sir Edward Bagot, 2nd Bt. of Blithefield, Staffs., 1da. d.v.p. suc. fa. 1669.1
Commr. for assessment, Staffs. 1661-80, Warws. 1673-80, Staffs. and Warws. 1689-90; dep. lt. Staffs. 1662-87, 1689-d., Warws. 1686-7; j.p. Staffs. by 1665-d., sheriff 1684-5.2
Chetwynd’s ancestors took their name from a property in Shropshire that they were holding in 1180, and acquired Ingestre, four miles from Stafford, by marriage about 1263. His father was probably a royalist sympathizer; it was alleged in 1650 that he had assisted the Cavaliers with horses and men. But he took no part in public life after the Restoration. Chetwynd himself was appointed to the lieutenancy when he was described as ‘loyal and orthodox, sober and prudent’, with an income of £600 p.a. at present and £2,000 in reversion to his father. His chief interests were scholarly, though he never completed his history of Staffordshire. On succeeding to Ingestre he rebuilt the church to a design supplied by Sir Christopher Wren and increased its endowment.3
Chetwynd was returned for Stafford, probably unopposed, in 1674, and shared the representation of the borough with his cousin William for the remainder of the Cavalier Parliament. His neighbour, the Roman Catholic Lord Aston, commended him to (Sir) Joseph Williamson as being ‘so faithful a subject, and so gallant, knowing and obliging a person to all persons of merit, that you cannot ... but be most perfectly informed of all things of this country’. But he was not active in Parliament, being appointed by full name to only four committees, of which the first was the committee of elections and privileges in the spring session of 1675. Williamson sent him the government whip for the autumn, but he was unable to attend owing to a severe attack of the stone and the stranguary. ‘If it pleases God to enable me to undertake a journey to London’, he wrote, ‘I shall hasten to pay my duty to his Majesty and my country.’ He was noted as ‘ill at present’ and included on the working lists among the Members ‘to be remembered’. In 1677 his cousin and heir John Chetwynd was made receiver of taxes for the county, Sir Richard Wiseman listed him among the government supporters and Shaftesbury marked him ‘vile’. In A Seasonable Argument he was said to have been ‘courted, treated, and complimented out of his vote’, and he was included in the government list of the court party in May 1678.4
Chetwynd was one of the principal supporters of the court candidates for Staffordshire before the first general election of 1679, in which he was himself re-elected for the borough. Shaftesbury again marked him ‘vile’; but in the first Exclusion Parliament he was appointed only to the elections committee. On 4 Apr. he was obliged by William Sacheverell to admit that he had heard of some compromising expressions of Lord Stafford’s about the Popish Plot in a letter intercepted by a fellow magistrate; but he is not known to have spoken in the House on any other occasion, and he was absent from the division on the exclusion bill. His cousin Charles, a servant of the Duke of Monmouth and a member of the Green Ribbon Club, gave evidence to a Commons committee of a plot to discredit his friend Dugdale, the informer; but he was not believed. Nevertheless this connexion may have secured Chetwynd’s omission from the ‘unanimous club’ of court supporters, though it did not save his seat in the autumn election, and it can have been little consolation that he was proposed by William Leveson Gower for the county, where there was no prospect of ousting Sir John Bowyer. A very good friend of Sir Leoline Jenkins, he was prevented by an attack of fever from reporting on Monmouth’s progress through Staffordshire and Cheshire in 1682; but on 25 Sept. he wrote:
Though the mayor and aldermen of Stafford are (most of them) truly loyal, yet the inferior burgesses so far out-number them that my old fellow-Member Sir Thomas Armstrong may with reason expect to carry the election there against all opposition.5
Chetwynd was serving as sheriff of his county during the general election of 1685. But he had prudently obtained a dispensation to leave it, and hence was free to serve his borough again, on the recommendation of Lord Ferrers, the high steward. The execution of Armstrong and the death of Edwin Skrymsher had left both seats vacant, and he was probably returned unopposed. Listed by Danby among the Opposition in James II’s Parliament, he was again inactive, being appointed only to the elections committee and to consider the bill for the relief of poor prisoners. To the lord lieutenant’s questions in 1688 he replied that ‘he was never a friend to Penal Laws, much less to Tests, but, as to consenting or dissenting to the taking them away, he doubts’. Nor would he commit himself to the court candidates; indeed the royal electoral agents warned their master that if Bowyer and Sir Charles Wolseley stood for the county in support of his ecclesiastical policy, Chetwynd would join with Sir Walter Bagot to defeat them. It is not known whether he stood in 1689, but he regained the borough seat as a Tory in 1690. He died in London of smallpox on 21 Mar. 1693, and was buried at Ingestre.6
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: A. M. Mimardière
- 1. Vis. Staffs. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. v, pt. 2), 84.
- 2. Gentry of Staffs. (Staffs. Rec. Soc. ser. 4, ii), 9; Staffs. Hist. Colls. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. 1912), 338.
- 3. H.E.C. Stapylton, Chetwynds of Ingestre, 8, 42, 203-13; Cal. Comm. Adv. Money, 1184; Gentry of Staffs, 9; DNB.
- 4. CSP Dom. 1675-6, pp. 87, 323.
- 5. Grey, vii. 78; Staffs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lxiii), 50; CSP Dom. 1679-80, pp. 196, 214; 1680-1, p. 687; 1682, pp. 144, 370, 380, 426.
- 6. CSP Dom. 1684-5, p. 235; 1685, p. 31.