WHARTON, Humphrey (1626-94), of Gillingwood Hall, nr. Richmond, Yorks. and Kirkby Thore, Westmld.
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Family and Educationb. Feb. 1626, o.s. of Thomas Wharton of Gillingwood by 2nd w. Susanna, da. of Sir Thomas Hayes, Draper, of London, ld. mayor 1614-15. educ. Queen’s, Oxf. 1641; G. Inn 1647, called 1657, m. by 1649, Mary, da. of Christopher Byerley of Middridge Grange, Heighington, co. Dur., 4s. (3 d.v.p.) 3da. suc. fa. 1641.1
Recorder, Richmond 1659-62; j.p. Yorks. (N. Riding) July 1660-80, co. Dur. 1664-87, Westmld. 1674-87; commr. for assessment (N. Riding) 1661-80, 1689, co. Dur. 1667-80; moormaster, Weardale by 1666-? d. ; commr. for recusants (N. Riding), co. Dur. and Westmld. 1675; bencher, G. Inn 1676.2
Wharton was descended from a junior branch of the family. In 1609 his grandfather bought the manor of Gilling where he built Gillingwood Hall. Wharton himself, a lawyer, was appointed recorder of Richmond in 1659, but resigned three years later. Although his sympathies were probably with the nonconformists, he must have conformed since he sat on commissions of the peace for various counties until December 1686. With (Sir) Joseph Cradock he was accused of inciting a mob to attack a collector of hearth-tax. As moormaster of Weardale under the bishop of Durham, he was responsible for licensing lead mines, and a private bill steered through committee by (Sir) Francis Goodricke empowered Bishop Cosin to lease certain mines to him for three lives. He bought Kirkby Thore from a cousin, and he also had ‘considerable estates’ in co. Durham. Proposing his son Robert as a candidate for Liverpool in 1670 he wrote to his cousin (Sir) Gilbert Ireland:
You have heard, I presume, that I am a great trader. Very few in England trade more, and I think in the best commodity of England, in which I consume of my own growth at least £10,000 and keep a thousand men at work every day.But despite Ireland’s recommendation to the corporation and the aristocratic influence of Lord St. John ( Charles Powlett I), Robert Wharton was compelled to desist. A letter on his behalf from the Earl of Carlisle ( Charles Howard) to the Scarborough corporation was scarcely more efficacious. He twice stood the poll at Thirsk in 1673, and achieved a double return, but the House decided in favour of his opponent Sir William Wentworth.3
Wharton himself sat for Richmond, three miles from his home, in the Exclusion Parliaments. Although classed as ‘worthy’ by Shaftesbury, he was absent from the division on the first exclusion bill, and no committees or speeches can be positively attributed to him. On 22 May 1679 a committee was appointed to consider complaints from William Blackett that Wharton’s agents had intruded on his property and from John Parkhurst that he was withholding the bishop’s royalties; but it never reported.
He was accompanied by the mayor and some of the aldermen on his first day’s journey to the Oxford Parliament in 1681, but at the rate of 30 miles a day he is unlikely to have arrived in time. Sir Joseph Cradock later noted that Wharton and his son had been ‘sticklers in promoting petitions for a Parliament and for hindering all they could from signing the abhorrence’, and in the exclusionist press he was described as ‘a person of known worth and integrity’. In 1682 Wharton absented himself from a general meeting of gentry called to sign an address abhorring the Association, and after the Rye House Plot his house was searched for arms. He was buried on 24 Aug. 1694 at Gilling, the last of this branch to sit in Parliament.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Authors: P. A. Bolton / Paula Watson
- 1. Bodl. Wharton mss 11, f. 85; Harrison, Yorks. 94.
- 2. C. Clarkson, Richmond , app. xlvii; E134/32 Chas. II Mich. 18.
- 3. Clarkson, 117; EHR , li. 635; VCH N. Riding , i. 74; Nicolson and Burn, Westmld. and Cumb. i. 379; Trans. Hist. Soc. Lancs. and Cheshire , vi. 2*, 5*, 9*; CJ , viii. 656; ix. 262, 342, 627.
- 4. Prot. Dom. Intell. 15 Feb., 22 Mar. 1681; CSP Dom. 1683-4, pp. 39-40, 62; HMC Lords , i. 193; HMC Var. ii. 174.