WISEMAN, Sir William, 1st Bt. (c.1630-88), of Rivenhall, Essex.

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



26 Feb. 1677
Mar. 1679
Oct. 1679

Family and Education

b. c.1630, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Thomas Wiseman of Rivenhall by Elizabeth, da. of Sir Isaac Sedley, 1st Bt., of Great Chart, Kent. educ. M. Temple 1648. m. by 1664, Elizabeth, da. of Sir Lewis Mansel, 2nd Bt., of Margam Abbey, Glam., 1da. suc. fa. 1659; cr. Bt. 15 June 1660; kntd. 24 June 1660.1

Offices Held

Sheriff, Essex 1659-Nov. 1660, j.p. Mar. 1660-87, Apr. 1688-d., commr. for militia Mar. 1660, assessment, Essex Aug. 1660-1, 1663-80, Maldon 1677-80; dep. lt. Essex 1661-?86, Apr. 1688- d. , commr. for corporations 1662-3, recusants 1675, col. of militia ft. by 1675-at least 1680; alderman, Maldon by 1679-86, high steward Mar. 1688-d.2


Wiseman’s ancestors had held land in Essex since about 1430. They first represented Maldon in 1554. The senior line was recusant, but numerous other branches were recorded at the heralds’ visitation of the county in 1634. Wiseman’s father was a royalist sympathizer during the Civil War. He was assessed at £1,500 by the committee for the advance of money in 1644, when he was in London, but no proceedings were taken against him. The estate was reckoned at £1,200 p.a. for decimation purposes in 1656, though the Protector approved his application for discharge, on the ground of assistance given to a parliamentary force in the second Civil War, and he was serving as sheriff at the time of his death. The Rump ordered Wiseman to complete his father’s term of office, and he was responsible for conducting the general election in 1660. At the Restoration he obtained through (Sir) John Bramston a baronetcy at the special bargain price of £500. But he was in trouble in 1668 for obstructing the excise farmers.3

Wiseman was returned for Maldon at a by-election in 1677 with the assistance of his cousin and brother-in-law, Sir Richard Wiseman, and was marked ‘doubly vile’ on Shaftesbury’s list. His only committee in the Cavalier Parliament was for a private bill. He was on the government list of court supporters in 1678, but he was not blacklisted in the ‘unanimous club’, and he was re-elected to the three Exclusion Parliaments. Shaftesbury now marked him ‘worthy’, but he was absent from the division on the bill, made no speeches, and served on no committees. He stood again in 1685 without success, and was removed from local office by order of the Privy Council in 1687. He was probably a Whig collaborator in 1688, being nominated high steward of Maldon under the new charter, and restored as deputy lieutenant and j.p. But he did not act in these capacities, and was buried in London on 14 June. His daughter married first John Lamott Honeywood and secondly (Sir) Isaac Rebow. Rivenhall was sold by his widow to the father of Samuel Western.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Gillian Hampson


  • 1. Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 527; Vis. Essex ed. Howard, 103.
  • 2. CJ, vii. 766; Essex RO, T2/26, Assize rolls 35/101-26; Essex Rev. vii. 58-61; HMC 14th Rep. IX, 281; CSP Dom. 1676-7, p. 115; Essex RO, DB3/12/3; Bramston Autobiog. (Cam. Soc. xxxii), 303-4.
  • 3. Morant, Essex, ii. 88; Cal. Comm. Adv. Money, 344; Thurloe, iv. 436; CSP Dom. 1656-7, p. 249; Bramston, 14, 119; Bulstrode Pprs. 68.
  • 4. Bramston, 173, 304, 377; Morant, ii. 147.