WENTWORTH, Sir Michael (c.1654-96), of Woolley, Yorks.

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



17 May 1690
1695 - Sept. 1696

Family and Education

b. c.1654, 1st s. of John Wentworth of Woolley by Elizabeth, da. of Arthur Aldborough of Aldborough, Yorks. educ. Wakefield g.s.; St. John’s, Camb. adm. 25 Apr. 1670, aged 15. m. 18 Nov. 1673. Dorothy (d. 15 Jan. 1732), da. of Sir Godfrey Copley, 1st Bt., of Sprotborough, Yorks., 8s. (2 d.v.p.) 7da. Kntd. 5 July 1681; suc. fa. 1683.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Yorks. (W. Riding) 1677-9, 1689-90, capt. of militia ft. 1677, col. 1689-d., j.p. by 1680-Aug. 1688, Nov. 1688-96; freeman Woodstock 1686.2

Capt. ind. tp. June 1685, Earl of Peterborough’s Horse 1685-7.


Wentworth was descended from a junior branch of the family which acquired Woolley in 1599. His father, a younger son, spent the Civil War in the service of the royalist Lord Keeper Lyttelton. He compounded on the Oxford articles in 1646 for a fine of £70. In 1653 he bought the manors of Ellenthorpe and Aldborough from his father-in-law, which gave him a strong electoral influence in the borough, and on the death of his elder brother, Sir George Wentworth, in 1661, he inherited Woolley and other estates worth £1,136 p.a.3

Wentworth himself was on the Yorkshire commission of the peace by 1680, and was knighted in 1681, doubtless as an opponent of exclusion. He helped Sir John Reresby, governor of York, to prevent any disturbances on the accession of James II. Returned in the following month on his own interest for Aldborough, he was listed by Danby among the Opposition but was appointed only to the committee on the bill for the encouragement of woollen manufactures. He raised a troop of horse at the time of Monmouth’s rebellion, and after the battle of Sedgemoor transferred to the Earl of Peterborough’s regiment.4

Wentworth resigned his commission in 1687. To the lord lieutenant’s questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws he replied:

If I be chosen a Member in Parliament I shall give my vote upon the debate of the House. I having formerly been asked my opinion in this matter shall declare myself as I then did. With all humble submission I cannot give consent to the taking off the Penal Laws and Tests. If I concern myself in electing any other person to serve as a Member of Parliament, it shall be for such as in my judgment will be truly loyal to the King and established Government.

He was removed from the commission of the peace, and during the Revolution served as second-in-command under Sir John Kaye of a force of five or six thousand volunteers raised to defend Leeds from the disbanded Scots and Irish soldiers.5

Re-elected to the Convention, Wentworth did not vote to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant, and was given leave for six weeks on 18 June 1689. His only committee was in the second session, on the bill for preventing the making of cane chairs and couches, and no speeches of his have been recorded. He remained a Tory after 1690, and refused to sign the Association. He was buried at Woolley on 13 Sept. 1696, aged 42. His grandson Godfrey sat for York as a Tory from 1741 to 1747.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Paula Watson


  • 1. Clay, Dugdale’s Vis. Yorks. ii. 321-6.
  • 2. Yale Lib. Osborn mss; Yorks. Arch. Jnl. xii. 177-8; Add. 29674, f. 160; Eg. 1626, f. 56.
  • 3. Yorks. Arch. Jnl. xii. 159-176; Royalist Comp. Pprs. (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. xviii), 138.
  • 4. Reresby Mems. 350-1.
  • 5. Reresby Mems. 584.
  • 6. R. Morrice, Entering Bk. 2, p. 62; HMC Var. ii. 403; Yorks. Arch. Jnl. x. 163.