WESTFALING, Herbert (1630-1705), of Mansell Gamage, Herefs.

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

Constituency

Dates

24 Sept. 1661

Family and Education

b. 3 Jan. 1630, 1st s. of Herbert Westfaling (d.1638) of Mansell Gamage by Elizabeth, da. of John Frogmore of Claines, Herefs. educ. G. Inn 1653. m. 1650, Anne, da. of Sir Thomas Edwards of Greet, Salop, 1s. 4da. suc. gdfa. 1652, gt.-aunt Mary Rudhale at Rudhall House 1668.1

Offices Held

J.p. Herefs. July 1660-Mar. 1688, Oct. 1688-?96, Glos. 1677-Apr. 1688; commr. for assessment, Herefs. and Hereford Aug. 1660-80, 1689-90; common councilman, Hereford 1662-?Oct. 1688, mayor 1683-4; commr. for loyal and indigent officers, Herefs. 1662, recusants 1675, inquiry, Forest of Dean 1679, 1683; dep. lt. Herefs. 1683-Feb. 1688.2

Biography

Westfaling’s ancestors emigrated from Germany in the 15th century; his great-grandfather, bishop of Hereford from 1585 to 1602, left a plentiful estate, dissipated in the next generation. Westfaling’s father died of smallpox before the Civil War; although his grandfather had royalist sympathies, age and financial embarrassment precluded him from taking an active part. Westfaling succeeded to an estate of £800 p.a., and debts equal to one year’s income. At the general election of 1660 he was elected for Hereford, eight miles from his home, the first of his family to sit in the Lower House. He was an inactive Member of the Convention, being named to only four committees, of which the most important was to insert the excise clauses in the bill to abolish the court of wards. He signed the petition against the re-establishment of the court of the marches at Ludlow. Presumably a court supporter, he was proposed for the order of the Royal Oak.3

At the general election of 1661, Westfaling, through the gross partiality of the returning officer, was involved in a double return. The election was declared void by the House, and Westfaling was successful at the by-election, probably without a contest, but the whole proceedings had cost him £1,200. He was one of the most active back-benchers in the Cavalier Parliament, being named to 443 committees, and acting as teller in three divisions, but seldom speaking. In the 1663 and 1664 sessions he took part in considering the working of the Corporations Act, the misuse of the relief voted for loyal and indigent officers, and the suppression of conventicles. He was on the committees for the impeachment of Lord Mordaunt in 1667 and for the habeas corpus bill in 1668. Although he was in touch with the Court through Joseph Williamson as early as 1665, he remained an independent Member until involved in financial difficulties by the death of Roger Vaughan, for whom he stood bound for £1,000. On 18 Feb. 1673 he spoke in the supply committee to urge a decrease in the assessment of Herefordshire. He took part in the impeachment of Arlington in 1674, making a minor contribution to the debate. He was named to the committee on the bill for the suppression of Popery in May 1675. Before the next session, in which he was appointed to the committee for the exclusion of Papists from Parliament, he received the government whip; and he must have given satisfaction to the Government, for, when he called on Sir Richard Wiseman on 18 Dec., he was promised an excise pension of £200 p.a. He was one of the four Herefordshire Members of whom Wiseman had no doubt, and conversely one of the three whom the country party were determined to oust. In A Seasonable Argument he is described as holding a place in the customs house worth £150 p.a. but in fact he was only granted a reversion, which he disposed of after a few months. On Shaftesbury’s list of 1677 he was marked as ‘doubly vile’, though he acted as teller for the Opposition on the Newark franchise; and he appears as a court supporter on both lists of 1678. In the last session of the Cavalier Parliament, he took part in the inquiry into the Popish Plot, and was again appointed to a committee for excluding Papists from Parliament.4

Westfaling, who was named as a pensioner in the first Exclusion Parliament, and blacklisted in the ‘unanimous club’, is not known to have stood again. He was chosen mayor of Hereford under the new charter in 1683, and took part in the interrogation of Sir Edward Harley at the time of Monmouth’s rebellion. But he returned negative answers on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws and subscribed a modest £10 to the loan to the Prince of Orange in December 1688. As a magistrate he joined in binding over Papists who refused to take the oaths in 1689. He sold Mansell Gamage in 1701, leaving himself only the two-ninths of the Rudhall estate which he had inherited in 1668. He died in 1705, and was succeeded by his son Herbert Rudhall Westfaling, who sat for Hereford as a Whig from 1716 to 1727.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Edward Rowlands

Notes

  • 1. W. R. Williams, Parl. Hist. Herefs. 91; Cooke, Herefs. iii. 166-8; C142/563/117.