WOLSELEY, Sir Charles, 2nd Bt. (c.1630-1714), of Wolseley, Staffs.
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Family and Education
b. c.1630, 1st s. of Sir Robert Wolseley, 1st Bt., of Wolseley, clerk of the patents 1625-46, by Mary, da. of Sir George Wroughton of Wilcot, Wilts. educ. privately. m. 12 May 1648 (with £3,000), Anne, da. of William, 1st Visct. Saye and Sele, 7s. (3 d.v.p.) 10da. suc. fa. 21 Sept. 1646.1
J.p. Oxon. 1653-6, Staffs. 1653-70, Mar. 1688-?d., Cheshire 1655-6; commr. for scandalous ministers, Staffs. 1654, visitation, Oxf. Univ. 1654, militia, Staffs. 1655, Mar. 1660, statutes, Durham college 1656, assessment, Oxon. and Staffs. 1657, Staffs. 1661-3, 1664-80, 1689-90; dep. lt. Staffs. Feb. 1688-?d.2
Councillor of State 1653-9; commr. for trade 1655-7.3
Wolseley’s ancestors had held the estate from which they took their name since the 12th century, but apart from providing Members for Newcastle-under-Lyme in 1449 and Gatton in 1478 they had not sat in Parliament. Wolseley’s father, a successful office-holder, acquired the family estate from an improvident cousin for £7,275, and fought for the King in the Civil War. Wolseley was also a Cavalier, but, succeeding to the property at the age of 16, he was allowed to compound for £2,500. After his marriage he became a Cromwellian, and one of the Protector’s ‘kitchen cabinet’. He represented the county in the Protectorate Parliaments until called to the ‘Other House’. But by 1659 he had become a royalist conspirator under the influence of his friend Sir Robert Howard.4
Wolseley was returned for Stafford at the general election of 1660, and appointed to the committee of elections and privileges. He had applied to the attorney-general for a pardon by 15 June, and on 1 Aug. he was added to the committee to settle the revenue. He was not an active Member of the Convention, however, his only other committee being on the bill to prevent profanity (10 Nov.). He is unlikely to have stood for re-election in 1661, and never sat again, though he lived to see the Hanoverian succession. In 1662 he was described as ‘a very able man; hath been active, now lives retired’, and credited with an income of £1,000 p.a. He published two pamphlets on liberty of conscience in 1668-9, and remained a j.p. only until the passing of the second Conventicles Act. During the exclusion crisis he evinced ‘a great desire to be a Member’. He announced his candidature for Stafford in 1679, but eventually desisted when it was clear that the corporation was pledged to Sir Thomas Armstrong, the Duke of Monmouth’s nominee, and the republican Algernon Sidney urged his claims on the electorate of Bramber in vain. He was said to ‘offer very bountifully’ at Lichfield in 1681, but desisted before the poll. He was named among the supporters of the dissenters in Staffordshire in 1682, and imprisoned for a short time in Chester Castle during Monmouth’s rebellion. A Whig collaborator in 1688, he ‘declared himself right and ready to serve his Majesty in any capacity’, but doubted whether he had sufficient interest to be returned for Staffordshire ‘unless in conjunction with Sir John Bowyer’. But he was approved as court candidate for Woodstock, presumably on the Fiennes interest. His younger brother, an army officer, played a conspicuous part in the Revolution as leader of the Enniskillen Protestants; but Wolseley never stood again. He died on 9 Oct. 1714 and was buried at Colwich. The next member of the family to enter Parliament was a younger son of the fifth baronet, who sat for Milborne Port from 1775 to 1780.5