WILBRAHAM, Sir Thomas, 3rd Bt. (c.1630-92), of Weston-under-Lizard, Staffs.
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Family and Education
b. c.1630, 1st s. of Sir Thomas Wilbraham, 2nd Bt. of Woodhey, Cheshire by Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Sir Roger Wilbraham† of Nantwich, Cheshire. m. 29 July 1651, Elizabeth (d. 27 July 1703), da. and h. of Edward Mitton of Weston-under-Lizard, 4da. suc. fa. 31 Oct. 1660.1
Sheriff, Staffs. 1654-5, Cheshire 1663-4; j.p. Cheshire 1652-9, Mar. 1660-80, 1683-7, Staffs. Mar.-June 1660, by 1665-87, ?1689-d.; commr. for militia, Cheshire and Staffs. 1659, Mar. 1660, assessment, Staffs. 1661-80, Cheshire 1663-4, 1673-80, Cheshire and Staffs. 1689-90, oyer and terminer, Oxford circuit 1665; dep. lt. Staffs. 1689-d.2
Wilbraham came from a much-respected family in Cheshire, for which one ancestor served as sheriff under Henry III, and another as knight of the shire under the Tudors. His father was appointed a commissioner of array in 1642, but although he was fined £2,500 for delinquency, his only offence seems to have been taking refuge in the royalist garrison of Chester. At the Restoration he was recommended for the order of the Royal Oak. Wilbraham’s mother was described by the local parliamentary commander in 1646 as ‘a very godly and gracious woman, and one who from the beginning manifested her zeal and good affections for this cause’.3
Wilbraham himself is named in a list of Staffordshire gentry, drawn up a few years after the Restoration, having made his home on his wife’s inheritance. He was said to be well-monied and worth £4,000 p.a., sober and of moderate ability, but a ‘believed Presbyterian’, under the influence of John Swinfen. His chaplain, a nonconformist, described him as ‘good-natured, bountiful to the poor, free to his friends, respectful to all good men, but grievously exercised with the stone’. He was returned for Stafford as a country candidate in the second election of 1679, largely through the influence of Walter Chetwynd. He is referred to only once in the Journals, when he was granted leave of absence on 17 Dec. 1680. In the following year he hoped to gain a country seat, although he had little significant support. A report among the Thynne papers describes the way in which his ‘Presbyterian envoys’ gained 500 votes by spreading false reports and continues:
Everybody ... did labour Sir Thomas Wilbraham to desist, but he said the country sought him, not he them, and having subscribed to stand if they should elect him, he could not recede. It is said that [at the] poll he will not have 10 gentlemen for him, and that he is in no likelihood of carrying it.
He in fact withdrew before the election and did not stand again. He was buried at Woodhey on 19 Aug. 1692, the last of the family. His Cheshire estate was inherited by Lord Huntingtower (Lionel Tollemache), but the Mitton property went to Richard Newport.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: A. M. Mimardière
- 1. Hist. Weston (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. 1899), 140-5.
- 2. Staffs. Dep. Lts. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. 1931), 285.
- 3. VCH Staffs. iv. 172; CSP Dom. 1663-4, p. 347; Cal. Comm. Comp. 978; Add. 33498, f. 69.
- 4. Gentry of Staffs. (Staffs. Rec. Soc. ser. 4, ii), 32; Thoresby Corresp. i. 85-86; Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 22, f. 193.