WHITMORE, Sir William, 2nd Bt. (1637-99), of Apley Park, Salop.
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Family and Education
b. 6 Apr. 1637, 1st s. of Sir Thomas Whitmore, 1st Bt., and bro. of Sir Thomas Whitmore. educ. M. Temple 1652. m. 24 Nov. 1658 (with £10,000), Mary, da. of Eliab Harvey, merchant, of Lawrence Pountney Hill, London, s.p. suc. fa. May 1653.1
J.p. Salop July 1660-87, ?1689-d., Som. 1675-80; dep. gov. Shrewsbury Castle July 1660; commr. for oyer and terminer, Oxford circuit July 1660, Wales 1661; dep. lt. Salop c. Aug. 1660-86, 1689-?d., commr. for assessment Sept. 1660-80, 1689-90, corporations 1662-3, recusants 1675; freeman, Ludlow 1690.2
Whitmore’s ancestors can be traced back to the 15th century in Shropshire, and acquired the Apley estate, three miles north of Bridgnorth, with a London-based fortune in Tudor times. Whitmore’s grandfather added the extensive Bridgnorth property, upon which the family’s parliamentary interest rested, first representing the borough in 1621. Whitmore’s father sat in the Short and Long Parliaments until disabled in 1644. He was taken prisoner in 1645, and, after succeeding to Apley in 1648, compounded for his delinquency at £5,000. Whitmore demonstrated his own Anglican sympathies by providing a home for Sir Leoline Jenkins during the Interregnum. His estate remained intact, and he continued the family tradition by a prudent match with the sister of Sir Eliab Harvey.3
At the general election of 1660, Whitmore was elected for Shropshire, although as a Cavalier’s son he was disqualified from standing under the Long Parliament ordinance. He was inactive in the Convention, neither speaking nor being appointed by name to any committee, and was given leave to go into the country on 20 June; but he was appointed deputy governor of Shrewsbury and doubtless supported the Court. In 1661 he was returned by the family borough of Bridgnorth and held that seat without interruption until his death. In the Cavalier Parliament Whitmore was named to only fifteen committees, including those for the bills against conventicles and pluralities in 1664. Sir Thomas Osborne included him among the Members to be engaged by the Duke of Buckingham in 1669, but he appears on no further court party lists, and in 1677 Shaftesbury classed him as ‘doubly worthy’. He was again marked ‘worthy’ after his re-election in 1679, when he defeated John Wolryche. But he was named to no further committees, and, like most of the Shrophire Members, abstained from the division on the exclusion bill. He was removed from the Somerset commission of the peace in 1680, but in August 1683, in the wake of the Rye House Plot, Jenkins, now secretary of state, wrote:
it is the truest thing that can befall me to hear that my noble patron, Sir William Whitmore, has entertained those sentiments that become a true Christian and a loyal English gentleman against the horrid villainy now detected.4
Whitmore lost his remaining local government appointments after Jenkins’s death, and was listed among the opposition to James II in the country. His name did not appear on either list of those who voted to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant, and he obtained leave to go into the country for a month on 6 June and 7 Dec. 1689. Under William III he generally acted with the Tories, though he subscribed to the war loan in 1694, and signed the Association in 1696. He died without issue on 30 Mar. 1699, having considerably expanded his estates. His cousin and heir William sat for Bridgnorth as a Whig, with one interval, from 1705 till his death twenty years later.