BALDWYN, Acton (1681-1727), of Bockleton, Worcs.
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Family and Education
b. 27 June 1681, 1st s. of Charles Baldwyn*. educ. Balliol, Oxf. 1698; I. Temple 1701. m. 17 Oct. 1702, Eleanor, da. and coh. of Sir Charles Skrymsher (d.1709), of Norbury, Staffs., s.p. suc. fa. 1707.1
Freeman and common councilman, Ludlow 1710.2
Baldwyn’s election in 1705, which was owing primarily to his family’s strong interest at Ludlow, supplemented by strenuous efforts of his own, appeared in Lord Sunderland’s (Charles, Lord Spencer*) calculations as a gain for the Whigs, but he was classified as a ‘Churchman’ in a list of the new Parliament, voted against the Court in the division on the Speaker, 25 Oct. 1705, and was classed as a Tory in early 1708. Described, somewhat imaginatively, as a Tacker in an analysis of the 1708 returns, when he stood successfully at Ludlow with Sir Thomas Powys*, he subsequently voted against the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell.3
At the 1710 election Baldwyn was at first confident of being re-elected at Ludlow, where his ‘behaving himself so well’ in the Sacheverell affair had secured his popularity, but was faced with three other candidates, the other outgoing Member, Powys, his own cousin Humphrey Walcot*, and Francis Herbert*, whom he described pejoratively as ‘a thorough-paced Whig’. Each stood separately, and in this situation Baldwyn was reluctant to declare himself, only announcing his candidature at the last minute. After vain attempts to persuade ‘an honest gentleman’ to join with him, he eventually suggested to Robert Harley* (via an intermediary) that the resources of the new ministry be used to prevail upon Walcot to withdraw. When this had been accomplished, and Herbert had also withdrawn, Baldwyn and Powys were returned without effective opposition.4
Classed as a Tory in the ‘Hanover list’, Baldwyn was one of the ‘worthy patriots’ who in the first session of the 1710 Parliament exposed the mismanagements of the previous ministry and was listed as one of the ‘Tory patriots’ who opposed the continuance of the war. On 18 June 1713 Baldwyn spoke and voted for the French commerce bill. He was supported by Harley, now Earl of Oxford and Lord Treasurer, in his election in 1713, in which he was involved in a three-cornered contest with two other Tories. Following his heavy expenditure in 1710, some £200 in all, he was ‘resolved to spend no money’ on this occasion, and held onto his seat by dint of vigorous personal canvassing among the freemen. Perhaps this self-reliance in his constituency enhanced his independence of mind in the Commons: at any rate, he appeared in the Worsley list as a Tory who would sometimes vote with the Whigs.5
In February 1715 his brother reported that Baldwyn ‘owned to Mr Kingdon and me the other night he had an inclination to be a Whig three months ago, but now seems well convinced he shall not be pleased with their measures’. Even though he had not suffered on his own account in the purge of Tories from central and local office after the Hanoverian succession, being retained on the commission of the peace, he put up as a Tory in the 1715 election. He was defeated then, but recovered the seat again on the Tory interest, in 1722. The previous year a ‘Mr Baldwyn’ had been included among the Shropshire contingent in the list of ‘well-wishers’ prepared for the Pretender. Baldwyn died on 30 Jan. 1727.6
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: D. W. Hayton
- 1. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. ser. 4, ii. 344–7, 379–80; PCC 58 Farrant; Top. and Gen. iii. 269; VCH Staffs. iv. 157–8; IGI, Staffs.
- 2. Salop RO, Ludlow bor. recs. min. bk. 1690–1712.
- 3. VCH Salop. iii. 286–7; Staffs. RO, Aqualate mss, Ludlow poll 1708.
- 4. Salop RO, Bishop mss, Sir Thomas Powys to Henry Mitton, 29 July 1710; NLW, Ottley mss 2570, 2584, Charles Baldwyn to Adam Ottley, 25 July, 1 Nov. 1710; 2578, Acton Baldwyn to Adam Ottley, Sept. 1710; VCH Salop, 287; Huntington Lib. Stowe mss 57(4), p. 133; 58(5), pp. 218–19; 58(6), pp. 254–5; Add. 70263, Salwey Winnington* to Robert Harley, 25 Sept. 1710.
- 5. Chandler, v. 41; Aqualate mss, list of voters at Ludlow, 1713; Ottley mss 2578, Acton Baldwyn to [Adam Ottley], Sept. 1710; 2441, Charles Baldwyn to Adam Ottley, 21 Aug. 1713; Lincs. AO, Massingberd Mundy mss, Charles Baldwyn to Burrell Massingberd, [c. Sept. 1713]; VCH Salop, 287.
- 6. Ottley mss 1631, Charles Baldwyn to Adam Ottley, 17 Feb. 1714–15; L. K. J. Glassey, Appt. JPs, 247–8; Massingberd Mundy mss, Charles Baldwyn to Burrell Massingberd, 4 Jan. 1714[–15]; P. S. Fritz, Ministers and Jacobitism 1715–45, 153; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. 347.